Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Remembering the servicemembers who died in the service of their country.

Army Staff Sgt. Omer T. Hawkins II

31, of Cherry Fork, Ohio.
Hawkins died in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his convoy. He was assigned to 44th Engineer Battalion, Camp Howze, Korea. Died on October 14, 2004.

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"I had the pleasure of serving with Sgt. Hawkins in the 37th Engineers (c)(a) out of Bragg from 01-03. I remember always going to him rather than my squad leader for advice. He was hilarious, encouraging, charismatic, and brilliant. When he received orders for Korea, I re bed him trying to get out of them to go to Iraq with us since we just got orders. I heard of this tragedy weeks after it happened and was devistated. He was a real role model and a great man. Omer helped make my first year at Bragg tolerable and his advice is a lasting voice in my head. He'd always say to me " Jesus Cercone I never thought that big * of yours could move that fast". He was such a great leader! My deepest sympathies to his family and he lives on in all our stories and our hearts . God Bless
Jordan Cercone, Bradford, PA"
Jordan Cercone of Bradford, PA

"SSG Hawkins was the kind of guy that becomes your best friend overnight. I know that is how I felt. I first met SSG Hawkins when he transferred from the other brigade in Korea so that he could deploy with us and I was there the day he paid the ultimate sacrifice and it was looking out for my platoon that he did.
To the Family: I am so lucky to have known this great man and I am sorry for your loss."
Russell Glick of Phoenix, Arizona

"Dear O.T., It's 9.11.13..Oct.14,2013 it will be 9yrs. since you have been gone. My heart still hurts. Have I told you lately how proud of you I am? Everyday. Do you know how much I love you and miss you? I do. It still feels so much like yesterday. Everybody misses you so much. Sometimes I think I hear your voice. But I know you are not here. Sometimes something funny happens and I start to tell you. But you are not here. I thank God daily for you. For knowing you. For loving you. People are still fighting and hating each other. I am glad you don't know that. Or maybe you do. I miss our talks. I miss your smile. I miss your humor. Oh Lord, I miss you so much it makes my heart hurt. You left such a legacy to America. I pray they remember it. You did so much and gave so much for your country. I refuse to forget your sacrifice. I refuse to let your country forget. People will be so tired of me talking about you. But I don't care. Your honor and courage went beyond words. I love you so! You have good reason to be proud of your brother. He is also a magnificent man. He also has accomplished so much for his country. I simply burst with pride and love for you both. God Bless you O.T.. And thank you for what you have done for me and your country. See ya next time kid. Love always, Mom"
Mona Lisa Christman of Hillsboro, Ohio U.S.A

"DEAR O.T.- SOON BE 9 YRS. SON AND MY HEART IS SO FULL OF PRIDE. MY WALKING ENCYCLOPEDIA!! THE TALKS WE'VE HAD HAVE NEVER STOPPED;BECAUSE I TALK TO YOU EVERYDAY. I MISS YOUR VOICE AND YOUR WONDERFUL SMILE. OMG YOUR LAUGH!! HAPPY 4TH OF JULY O.T. AND THANK YOU FOR HELPING US KEEP IT. LOVE MOM"
MONA LISA CHRISTMAN of HILLSBORO,OHIO

"At the time i knew him, it was Sgt Hawkins at work, but Omer in off hours unless you messed up... We had a Role playing group in Strasbourg Germany (40th Eng Bat) that would play Dungeons & Dragon in our off hours, or video games, heck he would even come over and play Command and conquer on my computer long after i went to sleep. The man was awesome, a friend for life even to the extent that i looked him up Aug 5 2012... cried when i found out... pour a shot {JD Wiskey} on the ground {in Honor}. A quote that i would like to toss out there... Give me 250,000$ and i could rule the world (benevolently I'm sure) . Of course he would not tell me the plan it was to dangerous he would say. At the time i thought it was play but we will never know. (cry) To his Family and friends, I may not know your pain if full but i feel it just the same. I was sure when i left the army in 2001 he would be destined for great things. Whats left of my heart bleeds for you and yours. He could have been the best of all of us. To his parents you could have not raised a better son, to his siblings, you Brother did it right! with all that's left of my heart (it cries for you, at you loss)... my quote (I hate the past... look to the future.)"
Spc. Patric A McDaniel II of Orlando, Fla

"I first met Tom at Camp Howze, Korea my first night there. It was late and there was a knock at my door, when I answered there he stood, he said I just heard another Hawkins signed into camp and I had to meet him. From that day on we were inseparable. The stories I could tell. We told everyone we were cousins, who knows probably. I caught up with him again at Ft Bragg just before the war. I went to SF and it wasn't until a year later I found out about his death when his picture was scrolled across the screen at a memorial for the fallen. I was floored. I felt like I let him down in some way. We were such good friends but had not spoken in almost two years. I will never forget him."
SFC Scott Hawkins (RET) of Ft Bragg NC

"To the family of:Omer T. Hawkins ll
I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. My heart cries out for you in your grief and you have my thoughts and prayers. He died a hero defending freedom. May you have the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Prayerfully we will all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need prayer or need someone to talk to, please call or write my pastor: Rev. John Pearrell 11677 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015.
Your friend in Jesus Christ, Polly Ballew Covington,Ga""

"One of the greatest Soldiers I had the pleasure of serving with. I was never in his squad or platoon, but we were both in A CO. 40th Engineers. I remember a day when he brought a bunch of young soldiers together in a group and told them to snap out of whatever funk they were in and realize how lucky they are to be in Europe at the ages of 18-19. i was working on my HUMMVEE near by, and i was so damn motivated after hearing his speech. Loss of a truly great man."
SPC. Ed Haller of Casper, WY. U.S.A.

"Not a day goes by I do not think of you and the 14th of October 2004. So many words and thoughts I can not express to you. You are always in my prayers and thoughts. God Bless."
David Dunbar of Granite Falls, North Carolina

"Hey Omer; thinking of you this 4th. Got the old Plt Sgt comming over will share a beer together and remember you."
Geoff Partridge of FT Leonard Wood, MO, USA

"We didnt get to spend alot of time together in the 40th, but anyone who spent just a day with you would never forget your laugh. Take care my friend, we'll see you soon."
SPC Chad Keesee of Delta, PA

"SSG Hawkins-you were one of the greatest NCO that I had the pleasure in meeting and learning from. I remember the first time I met you in Korea and I had my 249. You were suprized that a female like me had a 249. From then on out when I saw you we would have great conversations about military tactics. I fed off your knownledge like a sponge soaking up water. I rememeber our last conversation that we had in Ramadi where we were talking about the missions that I had gone one and the ones that you had gone on, explaining concepts and better ways to approach sitautions. Again, it was an honor to have been able to serve and learn from you."
Rebeca Tarango of Clarkville, TN

"Hello my name Is James and this evening almost 7 years after the passing of omer T. Hawkins II , I was at my 12 y/o daughters soccer practice at sewer field in Pa. I looked down at my feet and saw a metal object , i picked it up and read the name Omer T. Hawkins cherry fork oh. and the date in 2004 I knew right away what this was and so I guess someone dropped it , who knows anyway I looked up the name and read all of the memorial comments from Omers family and friends . You know I just want to express my deepest sympathy to his family and friends and say thank you to Omer for fighting for my families freedom . I am just a dad who took his daughter to soccer practice where I guess I just met a hero. thank you ."
James of Hatfield , Pa. USA

"wow. what to say. i had the priviledge of serving with one of the best NCOS i could have ever met.like cole said ehe was always giving knowledge to those who he deemed necessary to give it to. he was a very polite man and well liked as i can see from eveybody that has left a message. i remember one day me cole and pacheo were in the back of bravo co 37th en ca cleaning up and there was an argument that broke out and ssg hawkins smiply just stepped in and diffused the situtation with even rasing his voice. i said thats the type of leader that i want to be one day.he pulled me to the side and said hey the next time i hear something like that going on and you dont do anything about it then im going to smoke you. i really respected him for that because that really made me the leader that i am today. RIP SSG HAWKINS you looked out for us thank you"
SGT Michael Clark of Memphis,Tn

"WOW SSG. Hawkins...Explaining what he meant to me and the other soilders that served under his tutorage was like the first word in this tribute...WOW. Never met a more crazy and hilarious man with such vass knowledge like he had. I served with him with B.Company 37th. Enginner Bn....He was a squad leader in my platoon and he was just as on the edge as the lower enlisted. He always respected my decisions for not becoming an NCO and never pressured me. He called me "The In Between Man". His knowledge of demo only contributed to my cockiness on the range as well as any demo and any engineer competition. I knew I was the greatest because I learned from the greatest. Just like Beatty said in his tribute....I to miss those free meals. Years after I got out of the military I read a few of my ARCOM'S and A.A.M. bullets where the words and description of me to the Tee had me so proud of myself it brought me to tears. I'm torn at this moment today because he was a very cool person. Even when he would get pissed off, he'd end it with a crazy looking smile. I use to call him Dennis Leary with his voice. I miss you lil big guy and I thank you for all the knowledge you've giving me. You will always be a hero in my book and there will always be a memorial in my mind for you....R.I.P. SSG. OMER T. HAWKINS....AIRBORNE SAPPER ALL THE WAY...ESSAYONS"
MICHAEL COLE of FAYETTEVILLE, NC

"May God Bless the family of Omer T. Hawkins II. The greatest sacrifice, for his countrymen deserves more than we can give. Or maybe we can give back. What are we willing to sacrifice for the protection and preservation of the nation Omer willingly sacrificed his life for. I enlisted in 1982 because I felt I had a debt of gratitude for the fallen servicemen who made it possible for my family to enjoy so many freedoms, not to mention the freedom to lay our head on the pillow at night and not worry about who may be trying to overrun our borders, etc...

I have to believe this same sentiment was a part of who Omer was. Thank you, Omer and thanks to all of our servicemen."
David Hall of Tyler, Texas

"You were a good leader."
Robert Reidle of Lawrence, KS

"Hawkins huh? My Grandma's maiden name was Hawkins, maybe we're related (1991 Camp Hovey S. KOREA) Thus started a 4yr journey with a man I will always respect and adore. Omer, can't begin to explain what I feel. I'm a better man having known you. If there was ever a man that defined lifer you were it. Always vigilante. I learned so much from you. Rest in peace my brother in arms. I will never forget you. Tell Mitch I said hi! I know you guys are repelling off the pearly gates! See ya there bro!"
michaelcbutton72@gmail.com of Coos Bay, Oregon

"RIP SSG Hawkins. I Served With SSG Hawkins at Fort Bragg NC in from 2001 until 2003. We worked together in a small office 18-22 hours a day running the Operations Department for Bravo Company 37th Engineer BN (Combat Airborne). SSG Hawkins and I became extremely close during our operations adventures. He never drove, and always used the saying "You Fly, I'll Buy!" Needless to say Burger King was Free for a good year. I learned an extreme amount of information from SSG Hawkins even though sometimes I didn't like to admit it. His indepth knowledge of Demolitions, weapons and patrols made him an asset to the Line Platoons. SSG Hawkins Loved being a soldier, a leader, and freind. The Last time I saw SSG Hawkins I was signing him out of Battalion Headquarters to begin his journey to Korea once again. I never met a soldier so excited to return to Korea! That shows you the type of soldier he was. Always volunteering for the missions no other soldiers wanted. Which ultimately landed us together in that tiny Ops Office. RIP SSG Hawkins. You are a soldier to be looked up to forever.
SGT Edward S.Beatty"
of Milan, Ohio USA

"I served with SSGT Hawkins in Idar, Oberstein Germany and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

He is missed."
Evan Farley of Lakeland, Florida

"SGT Hawkins was my Squad leader in the 40th engineers. He was my best friend there. Ive been looking for him for years. i just found out today. SO much i wanted to say to him. Ill always remember the last time i saw him. nothing left to say."
SGT CLanin, Odos of Fort Lewis, Washington

"I knew him when he was a SPC. and a Corpral at Ft. Leonardwood Mo., and then again as Sgt. in Korea. I will never forget the day that i learned of his passing, i was in Haybania Iraq.
My squadleader at the time Ssg Skillings looked a little depressed and thats when he told me that one of his friends had passed. when he told me who it was, he was suprised to learn that i too had known Omar, it was indeed a sad night. But we had come to realize that we had both known him from Ft. Leonardwood, and began to realize that we had some of the same friends. My squad leader was with a different unit there. So instead of morning his passing, we reminessed on Omar and some of his crazy antics, and actually found a way to laugh. So knowing what i know of Omar, he died doing what he loved, and still managed to make people laugh.
To this day i still carry the tiny strip of news section that brought us the news that day.

Rest In Piece My Friend for though you are gone you will NEVER be forgotten"
Sgt. Steven Matthew Duffield of ColoradoSprings Colorado

"SSG Hawkins was serving with my father RET MSG WALZ in FT Leonard wood MO. I remember when he would come over and talk to my mom and dad about everything through all hours of the night. we all enjoyed his company. i remember going hiking and going to misc parks and caves that my mother would drag us to. of course tom was such a positive guy that he loved it. me, not so much. the army was his life. he put all of his time into his soldiers and helped to shape who they are today. i miss tom a lot, and my thoughts and prayers are with his family and close friends. people ask why we serve, and the only thing i can say, is someone has to do it. Without people like this,the men, women, and children of the u.s. would not be able to live this wonderful life we live. thanks for impacting my life in this very positive way, love you brother. see you on the other side"
CDT WALZ of Milwaukee Wisconsin

"I never want to forget the sacrifices of so many young men and women. I am so proud it makes me cry. I understand in theory only that war is a part of human nature but so is love and caring. I wish I could take the families pain away but I can't. I am committed to loving ALL people, myself and our environment. I am committed to working on my happiness everyday because so many have died for my freedom to live my life. Thank you is not enough but it is all I have. All my love and respect. ogersteiner@yahoo.com"
Scott Steiner of Gahanna, OH / USA

"”Honor and Remember” - “Project Compassion” We love our Soldiers! We love our country and we cannot express enough love and compassion to the families of our fallen heroes. War does not discriminate – It breaks our hearts to see the faces of the fallen. We want to give this gift to you. We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization! Over 1,750 portraits have been completed and shipped to the parents and or spouse - at no cost as this is a gift from one American to another!
Contact us directly at Projectcompassion@manti.com or go to www.heropaintings.com . If you have already had a portrait completed, we pray that you are enjoying the portrait and God Bless You.
Sincerely and Respectfully,
Kenna"
Project Compassion - Kenna of Manti, Utah USA

"I a great fiend of SSG hawkins and I was also there on that day and it still put great pain for me today and I alwas remember his love for the army and his wisdom. Well he will alwas be with me in life"
SSG Flynn of springfield, ill

"I remember you as SGT.Hawkins and we served together in Bosnia and Idar-Oberstein in around 96-97 and when you got your stripes I was a PFC and you were my teamleader(Alpha Co.40th Engr.Bn.)I remember I was your M113 driver and you were my TC.I remember watching TV,CNN and seeing your name go across the screen,and I thought no that cant be him.I remember you laughing and keeping SSG.Norton off our backs,LOL.Man may you rest in peace Omer,and I will never forget you."
SPC.DANIEL CLOSE of Sidney,Ohio/USA

"September 30, 2008
To the family of Staff Sgt. Omer T. Hawkins, II:
Omer gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
www.IraqWarHeroes.org"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"I served with Ssg Hawkins in Korea and Iraq. I was there and will never get it out of my memory of that afternoon."
Ssg Dunbar of Granite Falls, NC

"Such a tragic waste of life for a BS war."
Man from England of England

"To quite possibly the greatest NCO I have ever known. I am truly sorry it took me this long to visit this site. Today is the anniverssary of you passing. I remember that day vividly. There are many things I wish I could change. I am truly sorry a man of your caliber was taken. I will remember you always. I still remember our comversation that morning, I wish it had been longer. See you when it is over."
SGT Caleb Morse of FOB Loyalty Iraq

"Dear Bro, Omar, SPC, SGT, "Mother Hen" or simply Hawkins

I had the distinct honor of serving with you not once but twice; as SPC at Fort Leonard Wood and as NCOs at Idar-Oberstein, Germany. You could almost say a third time, since I now reside in your former compound, prior to deployment, where you are immortalized overhead at the bar, The Hard ROK. Carlson still speaks highly of you, often. I never did care to stay up all night playing boardgames with "the crew" out in the common area. "Dude, can I borrow your phone?"-Omar~1995 "Good God man, you bank damn near everything, don't own a car and are too cheap to have a phone installed, but what the hell, man." aka Martin. Your technical and tactical prowess was unmatched. I caught up with you in the 40th EN BN and did the Bosnia thing together; high adventure. Iraq turned out terribly and left a lot to be desired even if our tours there were offset by a few months. Unfortunately, you are one of many I know, whose photos now grace my office and whose voice haunt me. Combat changes folks, forever. I can assuredly say, you are a better man than I. It really sucks to think about."
CPT Martin, Nathe of Camp Castle, Korea

"Omar died doing what he loved. I was proud to have him as my squad leader in Camp Howze, Korea. My prayers go out to him and his family. God bless all the soldiers who have fallen!!"
Spc. Kreider of Clyde, Ohio

""To the Family of SSG Hawkins,
I am MSG Howard Jemerson, and I served with SSG Omer T. Hawkins in Korea and at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. when he was a new private. I had the opportunity to train and watch him mature from a new private to an outstanding Staff Sergeant. He was a super Combat Engineer who cared about his soldiers and mission. I will always remember him and keep his pictures with me. God Bless his sacrifice and selfless service for our country, family and friends."
MSG Howard Jemerson of Aurora, IL

"To the Family of SSG Hawkins,

I am sorry for your loss and I hope things will get better for you.

I am SFC Tommy Exley and I was the Platoon Sergeant for Omar in Korea. He was a good soldier and someone that I could count on to get missions accomplished. He had open arms for soldiers with problems or concerns. He was someone that all the troops wanted to be like. It is a great loss for you, me, and the Army. Seeing his face on this web site brings the reality of the WAR and its affects. I wish you luck and God's Speed."
SFC Exley of Camp Blanding, Florida

"Soldier Hawkins,

I salute you!

forever indebted to you,"
Angela of Fort Worth, Texas

"I randomly put my finger on Omer's name on a list of fallen soldiers during Operation Iraqi Freedom. I wanted to see how real these people were and I searched for Omer. I have found what I was looking for: a real soldier who breathed, loved, and will be remembered. I send my condolences to Omer's family and I give my utmost respects on this Memorial Day, 2005."
E. D. Nussbaumer of Maryland

"I was his PL in Korea while he was assigned to 2D En. He was a great friend and a great soldier. I will always remember him."
LT Partridge of Pheonix AZ

"I had the honor to serve in the same company and platoon as SSG Hawkins. HIs aura always gave great hope to his soldiers. He was a stunning leader and a great man, I am just thankful to have known him. He has left a permanent impact on me. Rest in peace "Mother Hen"....."
Spc Justin Malzac of Ft. Leonard Wood, MO

"I don’t believe that we understand all that you gave, or how your sacrifice will affect the future for our sons or daughters. I believe you confronted the evil that has enslaved mankind throughout history, the same evil that many American soldiers have confronted in many battles.

I will teach my son and daughter of your sacrifice and your heroism.

Proud Family of Pfc. Kohler serving in Ar Ramadi, Iraq"
Anderson Family of Montana

"To everyone:

I am the brother of SSG Omer Hawkins (OT, Tom as he is also known. On behalf of our family, I want to express our gratitude to all of those who have written such wonderful things. Especially to the Barbret and Beard families, two other soldiers killed in the attack, our thoughts remain with you. Please keep your thoughts on our troops. Also, there are two others badly injured in the same attack. These soldiers are at Brooke Army Medical Center still fighting to recover. Keep them in mind as well. My brother was a tremendous soldier who died doing the job he loved...he'd be proud of the support. Again, thank you. buckhawkins@hotmail.com"
SSG Buck Hawkins of Rolla, MO

"it hurts me to hear about your lost. i know you get tons of e mails and tons of mail so i wanted this to be short. i am Pfc Mark A. Barbret's little brother. when you read this i hope that you could e mail me b423@howecadets.com
because we have both have cannon size holes in our hearts. i would like to put some information about both mark and omer for a article. I am praying for your family and after all this has happened i can only do one thing and that is hold my head high. they both went for the greatest honor in the world the USA.

stay stong and may god bless your family

Paul Barbret
Pfc Mark A. Barbret's little brother"
paul of MI shelby twp

"Sergeant Hawkins, goodbye soldier and thank you. You are my hero."
Bill of Houston, Texas

"To the family of Omer T. Hawkins II
Omer will never be forgotten. He is a HERO. He lived his values and ultimately sacrificed his life for what he believed in and for us. My gratitude and prayers go out to the family."
Charlotte Barbret-Cupol of Roseville, MI

"To Omer's Family and Friends:

On behalf of the Blanco-Caldas family, we send our sincerest condolences. We share the same loss ... the same pain. Our prayers are with you in this most difficult time and we thank you for your soldier's bravery and sacrifice.

Sincerely,

The Family of Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco-Caldas, 82nd Airborne
KIA Iraq 12/28/2003.
Gloria Caldas (The Big Ern's Mom) of San Antonio, TX
gloria.caldas@banksterling.com"

"Words can not begin to express how very sorry we are for your loss. Just know that we appreciate the sacrifice Omer made to keep us safe."
Mrs. Arthur's 4th grade class Nelsonville, Ohio

"To the friends & family of Omer Hawkins:

There are no words to express my sorrow for your loss. My cousin, PFC Mark Barbret, also died in the same explosion as Omer. I share in your grief & wish that one day you will find comfort & happy times again. Know that our HEROES did not die alone, nor are they alone now. They served together & died together. Now they are together in a much more peaceful place watching over their fellow soldiers & us. These HEROES will forever be in our thoughts. God Bless You All!!"
Melissa (Barbret) Macchi of Roseville, MI

"We Will NEVER FORGET !"
Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Omer, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you ALWAYS. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"To Omer's Family:
There are no words to express the sorrow we feel for your loss. May God bless you and help you through this time."
Dan and Meg Manninen of San Antonio, Texas

"My deepest sympathy, our family has also suffered the loss of a precious life in this battle for freedom. May God bless you and help you through this time. Forever in our hearts a HERO Omer T. Hawkins II."
Amy & Aaron Monier of Waterford, MI.

"Thank you Omer Hawkins II, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"To the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Omer Hawkins II:
May God's grace be with you during your time of grief. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and we feel your loss and share in your sorrow. Bless Omer for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Omer Hawkins II:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. He will always be remembered as a hero for fighting for freedom. I hope that this website will be a source of comfort and encouragement for you during this difficult time, and in the future as you recall the memories of Omer, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera of Powder Springs, Georgia

Honor them by remembering... Freedom - is their gift to us But his soul goes marching on