Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Pfc. Damian L. Heidelberg

21, of Quitman, Mississippi.
Heidelberg died when two 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters crashed in Mosul, Iraq. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Died on November 15, 2003.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Army Pfc. Damian L. Heidelberg.

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"I still miss him to this day. As odd is it may be i went through reading the comments and 8 years ago today i posted on this and today it feels no easier. November 15th is always the worst day. Just know there's not a day that goes by i don't miss you man and not a day that goes by i don't think of you. Till we form again"
John Emerson of Paducah, KY

"Damien. I make sure every year that when Memorial Day comes around you are not forgotten by anyone that served with us. Until Valhalla where we form together again! RAKKASAN brother!"
Kenneth McBean of Claremore, OK

"We still think of Damian at the Batesville Job Corps Center now Finch-Henry Job Corps Center in Batesville, MS. We honor him. October 22, 2013"
Earlene Brewer of Batesville, MS

"There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about your son. I rode many convoys with him in Iraq. He was one of the most dependable soldiers in Iraq. A week before his death, my house burned down. Damian ensured I got to Mosul and processed out of the country safely. I thanked him as always, and we talked about how excited he was that his R and R was coming up and how much he wanted to see his family. I gave him a hug and told him to keep his head up and don't let those pog's slack on the way home. He laughed and we parted ways. I never got to see him again. When I returned to Iraq, I asked about him and learned what happened. It broke my heart that all of those soldiers died that night. It hurt to lose a friend,a dear one you could count on night or day. He is fallen but never forgotten."
Bennie Giles of Clarksville, Tn

"To D, and his Family;
Many years have passed since we served in Iraq together on those mail runs yet I still remember those days like it was yesterday....
I remember your eyes, your smile, your sense of humor and your love for your job and daughter. You were on my mind everyday and I would look for your EVERYDAY at the mailroom in Mosul so that I would know you were safe.
I remember when you told me about your convo getting hit and how untiring you seemed through it all. (It was great to read the full account on this site again) You are a true hero.
I remember telling you how much you needed to go on R&R and get a bag like I had to take to your daughter.
I remember telling you how proud your daughter would be of you some day because you were a might RAKKASAN :-)
I remember the teddy bear that you gave me and the movie that you bought me and told me to "always think of you".
I remember arriving at the mailroom in Mosul and everyone acting funny and not making eye contact with me.
I remember someone telling me you were in a helicopter crash.
I remember denying it "no no no D went on R&R, he is safe".
I remember crying at the memorial they had in Mosul.

I remember YOU!!!!!
You are gone, but you will NEVER be forgotten."
CPT MaurIsah Kushma of St.Louis, Mo

"Damien was a kind and gentle young man, which can be a hard thing to be in combat, believe it or not. I served with him in the TOC and he was always smiling and always spoke. When I heard of his passing, I was at home on mid- tour leave from Iraq. I felt bad because it wasn't me. That kind of trait found in Heidelberg is so hard to find, it must remain on Earth. However, I realize his body planted in the ground is merely a seed which after the winter will blossom and show its wonderful colors. We will then know he is again among us. We love you, brother."
SSG Sylvester Watkins of Ft. Campbell, KY

"I remember Heidelburg well, he was a good brother who never met a stranger. I got to know him over the few months before he left us. We clicked because he was from Mississippi like me and I knew people he knew in his home town. When I first heard about the crash I never would have guessed he was on the bird, and when i heard he was...i didn't want to believe he was gone. REST IN PEACE my friend, through Jesus Christ your name will live on forever. GOD BLESS your SOUL & your family."
SSG. THOMAS, CHRIS of Gulfport, Mississippi

"To the family of:Damien L. Heidelberg
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""

"It has been seven years since Damian gave his life for our freedom. I still think about him and pray for his family.
Gone but not forgotten Damian."
Earlene Brewer, Batesville Job Corps Center of Batesville, MS

"”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 the hero’s Mother, Father and/or spouse. We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization! Over 1,850 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!
This is a gift! We have some wonderful sponsors who help with the costs, and only want you know that we care.
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 served with PFC Heidelberg in Iraq. I just want to let his family know that I will never forget him. God Bless."
Freddie Ortiz of 129th Postal

"I was detailed to provide security for Damian on our numerous convoys between Mosul and Tal Afar. I can't remember how many times I made that run with Damian.

And no matter how much I complained about all the things that we could have been doing instead of making that run, Damian never complained.
He really believed and loved his mission, and he was committed to it 100% every day.
My condolences."
SPC Lin of Baltimore, MD

"November 15, 2008
To the family of Pfc. Damian L. Heidelberg:
Damian 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 just want you guys to know what a great person you raise and he was i think about him all the time, he was one of the best people i knew he would always cheer me up when i was mad or let me use the internet to email my family he didnt care what it took he would help someone in anyway he could i still think about that day alot and miss him today july 31st 2008 the run for the fallen came to my town of 1200 and i am sitting here still crying because of the person we lost and i will never forget him and he will always be in my thoughts"
PFC Emerson c co 1-187 of brookport,IL

"I met Damian while stationed at Ft. Campbell Ky. He lived right next door to me in the barracks. He was a good friend. I want to let his family know we will never forget what he did and never forget him. I only wish his daughter could have met one of the greatest individuals I have ever met. He always made things better no matter how bad the situiation was. My condolences to his family. He was special. We will always miss Damian Heidelberg."
Steven Patino of East Tawas, MI

"Not many know that scott heidleberg has served in SPECIAL OPERATIONS in Iraq and many other unknown locations. Little is known of his status but certainly involved in Clandestine services. The extent of his special traning is kept very confidential but no doubt extremly capable of carry out any mission he is called upon to carry out. There are several Agents like him whom are carrying mission's to help keep america safe."
unknown

"me and heidelberg was good friends while in iraq i still have pictures of him when we went on R and R we hung out and fished at the DAM b.co was guarding at the time in duhuk iraq. we had such a good time that day. i will miss him a lot, he was a person that would bring joy to any one he encounterd."
SPC. R. MURRAY 1-187TH of CHICAGO,IL

"I met Damian in 2002 in Batesville, MS. Damian was a caring person. My very first day at BJCC he helped me with all my belongings and introduced me to all the other students. Damian will be missed and my condolences go out to his family."
Vonomecia of Savannah, GA/Iraq

"I met Damian in OIF one day helping our mail guy out. Damian made me laugh everytime I saw him. He was a great person and the world is at a loss now. I will always remeber him smiling and always being able to make me smile even tough we were at war. I will always keep his name on my wrist. I miss you brother and I know I will see you again up there."
Sgt. Ian M. Pearson of Birmingham, Alabama

"My Codolences to the loved ones. I was riding in vehicle that was behind heidelberg truck when the car on the side of the road exploded between his vehicle and mine and i can tell you that inmmediatly after the explosion and his vehicle in flames, heilderberg got out and open the rear tail gate and helped the soldiers riding in the back of the truck to dismount. He was doing this while other secondary explosions were going off. Heilderberg was sent to the ambulance i was ridin in and he came in and then he wanted to go out again to the area where the bomb wet off to check on the injured soldiers and i had to restrain him from going back. He kept saying to me that those were his soldiers and friends. Heilderberg and I spent the whole day toghether in mosul. There is something about that day that i have always will remember, after we ate breakfast we walked out and we were talking about the bomb then he stoped looked at the sky and said "god you did not wanted me with you today" I'm writing this as tears falls from my eyes. But i know that he is with god.
God bless his family. SGT Valle"
Rene Valle of Clarksville TN

"I had the pleasure to work with Heildelberg, even hang out on the weekends. I was the one that took that dreeded call the night the crash happened, naming all of fellow soldiers that passed away that night. I could not believe y ears when i heard his name, that sadness devoured me as i took down the message. he was a big part of our unit, and he will forever be missed. till we form up again in heaven."
Emmanuel Jimenez of Los Angeles, CA.

"To the Heidelberg family, my name is Antawyon M. Townsend, I didn't know Damian, but I went to Job Corps with Travis. I would like to send my deepest condolences to Travis and the family.If there is any thing I can do Travis call on your OT. (601-253-2626)"
Antawyon Coco Townsend of Walnut Grove, MS, US

"To the Heidelberg family, And to his
grandmother Bertha Heidelberg. Happy
new years, and still thinking of you all
down there in Shubuta, Mississippi. This
is my new email address you all can contact me at HeidelbergBruce@yahoo.com"
Bruce Heidelberg of Los Angeles,Ca U.S.A

"Jan 2006
Heidelberg always brought joy to everyone around him because he was in charge of recieving and handing out all of our mail. It didnt matter what was going on he always had a big smile and some kind of joke or funny action. My prayers goes out to his family. Stay strong. We are all proud of him..."
Jessica Douglas (Robinson) of Ft. Campbell,KY

"I had the honor of knowing Damian. I worked at the Post Office where he picked up the mail every day. I just want to wish him and his family merry christmas. I miss his big old smile every day and his great sense of humor. God bless you man and God bless your family."
Fellow Soldier (129th Postal) of Jacksonville, FL

"THE FINAL INSPECTION

The soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.

"Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"

The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.

I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell.""
Sgt. Ross of Mississippi

"fellow rakkasan! its been over a year now since the incident in iraq. my prayers are with you over this holiday season. watch over our boys, thats all you can do now, make sure they come home safe man...god speed"
joey of clarksville, tn

"Merry Christmas From Heaven

I still hear the songs
I still see the lights
I still feel your love
on cold wintery nights

I still share your hopes
and all of your cares
I'll even remind you
to please say your prayers

I just want to tell you
you still make me proud
You stand head and shoulders
above all the crowd

Keep trying each moment
to stay in His grace
I came here before you
to help set your place

You don't have to be
perfect all of the time
He forgives you the slip
If you continue the climb

To my family and friends
please be thankful today
I'm still close beside you
In a new special way

I love you all dearly
now don't shed a tear
Cause I'm spending my
Christmas with Jesus this year"
Vangi & McKaLyne Lunsford, wife & daughter of the late Sgt. Audrey Daron Lunsford of Batesville, MS

"I had the priveledge to meet Damian when he would go and pick up the mail in Mosul. I would also get there abou the same time as he did, but whenver he would see me, he always greeted me with a smile and handshake. My condolences to his family."
R. Blanchard, 101st MP Co (Air Assault) of Baton Rouge

"I served with Heidelberg while in Iraq. Heidelberg was a soldier who would put others needs before his own. This quality could not be expressed more than on 11-7-03 when the truck Heidelberg was riding in was destroyed by a car bomb sitting beside the road in Mosul. That day, Heidelberg was on a mission with other soldiers to collect mail in Mosul to bring back to our home base. This was a mission for which Heidelberg had done many times before which had made him a soldier whom others on the same detail looked to for guidance and leadership. I was medic whom began to treat the wounded soldiers immediately following the incident. The first patient brought to me to be treated was Heidelberg. When I examined Heidelberg, it was apparent that he had received a concussion and needed to be seen for further medical attention at the hospital in Mosul. I directed him to get in the ambulance which was met with his immediate resistance. Heidelberg refused to be treated until all other soldiers whom had been injured were treated first. Heidelberg had assumed the role as the head of the mail detail and insisted he not be treated until all others were treated first. After we placed him in the ambulance, he would get out and start looking for others whom was on the detail with him. He kept telling me about what type of injuries they had and reffered to them as "my soldiers." After assuring all soldiers were being treated he than got into the ambulance to be transferred. Upon arriving at the CSH(hospital) the familiar scene was again repeated. Heidelberg refused to be seen by a doctor until all others had been scene. The thing I remember most during the time following the car bomb was every five minutes having to explain to Heidelberg what had happened. An obvious sign of his concussion. However, he never forgot about his fellow soldiers injuries and never stopped insisting that they be treated prior to him. The following week, Heidelberg would go out of his way many times to give me thanks for helping his soldiers. On the day he gave his life, he was so excited about getting on the helicopter to head for R and R. God took all of the soldiers aboard the blackhawk that night, but I know if only one was to be taken, Heidelberg would have insisted that he be the one, for protecting his fellow soldiers before himself was his first priority. I share Heidelberg's self sacrificing attitude to my friends, fellow employees, and my medic students. For putting others needs before your own is a quality that all medics need to learn and I can't think of a better person to give as an example than PFC Heidelberg. He was a true self sacrificy friend to all soldiers he served with. May God Bless his family left behind."
Jim Mehaffy of Mediapolis, Iowa

"A family member never met, but will always be remembered."
Scott Heidleberg of Windsor, Colorado

"I have never met Damian but I wear his bracelet often. He lost his life the day after I returned home safely. All my symapathy and pride for him and his family."
Karen of Nellis AFB, NV

"I met Damian in Iraq when I was sent to HHC to wait for a return date. He was an easy person to get along with and we became fast friends. He was always quick with a joke and was one of those people you were happy to see because you knew he was going to make you laugh. I left Iraq in July and had no idea that anything had happened to him. If I could say anything to his family I would tell them that I am honored to have had the chance to serve with him. He never complained and did his job the best that he could all of the time. He set an example that all people could follow. I just regret that didn't know him longer. He will be missed. Rakkasan!!"
Sgt. Justin Lucas of Cco 1/187

"To the Family of Damian, America and Especially Mississippi will be so much less with his sacrifice. Rest in peace Brave Soldier."
Ray & Mary Dickson of Gautier, MS, USA

"I got to meet and work with Damian while in Iraq. Together, we used to go on convoys all time. He'd give me rides or I'd give him rides to Mosul at least 3 times a week. He was always cracking jokes making the drive go by quicker. Him and I bonded quickly, I never wanted to go to Mosul if he wasn't going. He is my friend and I'll never forget him. My condolences to his family, He is a true hero. RAKKASANS!!!"
Hector Garcia of Ft Campbell, KY

"I would just like to give my condolences to the family of this soldier. I worked with him in Iraq, along with many others. He was always a man to take charge, once a Staff Sergeant commented to me after his death that before departing on a convoy Heidelberg was telling everyone what order to roll out in, the Staff Sergeant not knowing who he was expected to see someone of higher rank, but saw PFC Heidelberg and was impressed by his actions and willingness to take charge. To Damian Heidelberg I would like to say, you are not forgotten. Rakkassan."
SPC Kraft of Ft Campbell

"to the family of Damien Heidelberg..i wear a kia bracelet with Damiens name on it though i never met him i think of him daily.i hope it gives you comfort that your pain is shared by so many............in a world that was just there would be no valor"
kelly blackwell of new smyrna florida

"To Bertha Heidelberg And Family sorry
for the lost of a cousin. Let everyone
in Shubuta and Waynesboro we send our
condolences and love to all the Heidelberg's. BruceHeidelberg@sbcglobal.net"
Bruce Heidelberg of Los Angeles,California

"TO THE FAMILY OF DAMIAN HEIDELBERG I LOVED BEING WITH "D" HE WAS A GREAT FRIEND AND A SUPER SOLDIER HE WAS THE TYPE TO GIVE HIS ALL FOR HIS FRIENDS I WISH HE DID NOT HAVE TO GIVE THIS MUCH HE IS MISSED EVERYDAY BY OUR UNIT "D" " UNTIL WE FORM AGAIN" RAKKASAN 1-187INF"
SGT BROWN of FT CAMPBELL KY

"TO THE FAMILY OF THIS FALLEN SOLDIER. I GIVE YOU MY DEEPEST SYMPATHY. I AM IN THE ARMY RESERVE CURRENTLY SERVING MY COUNTRY. I DIDN'T KNOW THIS SOLDIER BUT MY DEEPEST GRATTITUDE TO YOU AND YOURS."
SPC JORDAN of LAUREL, MS

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

"I met Damian while he was a student employee at The Batesville Job Corps Center and it was my honor and pleasure to meet such a happy, respectful young man. To Damian's family I send my heart felt sympathy. I've read the other messages left about Damian, and I pray and hope that the messages brought you some comfort and peace of mind in knowing that you'll raised the kind of young man who was respected and cared for by many.

May God Be With Each of You."
Vernessa Loveberry of Batesville, Ms

"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, Damian, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"I had an opportunity to know Damian on a spiritual level, while he was a student at Batesville Job Corps. He went to church with me several times, and I know from his spiritual experiences that his heart was in the right place. I felt the he loved the Lord and desired to do that wich was right. To the family be encourage, and know that Damian had righteous desires, and that God simle on that."
Louvirdia Clark of Bateville,MS/US

"Regardless of the career you choose, life is full of uncertainties. It takes a very brave person to choose a career that sends them far away from home to fight for their country. Reflecting back on Damian at the Batesville Job Corps Center, I can see him sacrificing his life so that others may have freedom. I pray that God gives his family strength to endure their sorrows and comfort in knowing that Damien is at peace."
Phyllis W. Johnson of Courtland, MS USA

"I had the great opportunity to meet Damian while serving as his Personal Counselor at the Batesville Job Corps Center in Batesville, MS. He was a wonderful student who possessed a very outgoing personality and a huge smile. My prayers are with his family. God Bless"
Pamela Norwood, Personal Counselor of Batesville, MS

"To your family. Thank you Damian for keeping us safe & free. You stood tall, firm, fierceless, proud and promised no harm would happen to us on your watch. You and countless others fulfilled that promise daily. Your ultimate sacrifice shall not be in vain. Knowing the perilous times we were facing you chose to stand. You believed in your country and fellow man. So do I. Your faith and love. Yes love, because only love that you lay down your life for your brother. You are an heir with our Heavenly Father. May your mother find comfort in knowing your soul is resting comfortably in the bosom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and you, now a guardian angel still continue to watch over your family and others. These words are only what my small mind can comprehend to say. No one can understand your mother's pain but our Heavenly Father. Believe me when we say you shall never be forgotten and the love extended to us we extend to you. May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ give your family strength. Wait upon the Lord and He shall renew their strength."
Diana H. Cooper of Batesville,MS/USA

""OUR special chosen words since day one of finding this site last year...have always been......REST IN PEACE BRAVE SOLDIERS/MARINES/WARRIORS We love you and MAY GOD BLESS you each. Your loved ones are in a beautiful place called Heaven now....When you look up to the sky at night and see the brightest star...it's your hero..shining down on you"
The Taylors USMC of NC

"I don't know what to say. I am the man that recruited Damian into the Army. Mrs. Brewer pulled me aside one day and broke the news to me about him, and I didn't believe her. It sank in when I read it in the news paper and heard it on the radio. It hit me really hard.
I was overcome with grief, wondering if I am doing the right thing here in the Batesville area. I spoke with some friends of mine in other parts of the world and it was unanomously decided that Damian would have joined anyway.
I am still sad and I don't think I will ever forget him. His picture is displayed on the wall in my office. I asked my commander if I could go to his funeral, but it had already occured. I hope that he was laid to rest with full military honors. I would like to visit Damian's final resting place and say farewell to a good kid. If a member of his family could email me and let me know how to get there, I would really appreciate it. colin.gilman@us.army.mil
My condolences go out to his family, and I hope they can find it in their hearts to forgive the man that put him their."
SSG Gilman, USArmy of Oxford, MS

"Thank you Damian Heidelberg, 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

"My name is Harry Sartin. I first met Mr Heidelberg when he entered my automotive class at Batesville Job Corps. He was a very pleasent and dedicated young man. We worked well together. Hearing he was wanting to serve in the Military,I as being ex Army told him of the honor and dangers involved. Damian told me this was what he wanted to do. Due to his decision,myself and all former military personel salute Damian as a true American Hero"
Harry Sartin of Batesville Ms U.S.A.

"Damian Heidelberg was a very hard working and dedicated young man. He will be greatly missed by his friends at the Batesville Job Corps Center. I will always remember Damian and feel very fortunate to have known him."
James Hudson, Instructor of Batesville, MS

"I met Damian at the Batesville Job Corps Center. Even though we were not close friends, I always noticed something different about him, he was very respectful of everyone and he was a really sweet person. Thank you for what you have done for our country."
Juline Haughton of Miami, Florida

"Damian was one of the finest students I have ever had in my twenty years of teaching. He was always polite and eager to learn. He never gave up, constantly striving to better himself.
I can close my eyes today and see his smile and that will never fade."
Doris Perkins, GED Instructor, Batesville Job Corps of Batesville, MS

"In memory of a young man that we watched grow from an infant to a man, he will be greatly missed. Damian was always well-mannered and respectful. He was so proud that he had joined the military. We are all very proud of his strength and courage. Our prayers are with the family (our family)."
Springhill Community of Shubuta, MS/USA

"I first met Damian when he was a student-employee at the Batesville Job Corps Center in Batesville, MS. Damian was a focused and successful student-employee. He will always be remembered here."
Earlene Brewer, BOT Instructor of Batesville, MS

"To the family and friends of Pfc. Damian Heidelberg:
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 Damian 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 Pfc. Damian Heidelberg:
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 Damian, 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