Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Spc. Charles A. Kaufman

20, of Fairchild, Wisconsin.
Kaufman died in Baghdad, Iraq, where a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV. He was assigned to the Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry, Arcadia, Wisconsin. Died on June 26, 2005.

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"Ten years ago to this day, myself along with 20 or so other guys on whims noticed blocked traffic, set up a hasty check point somewhere near the 29 grid-line on route Tampa some 40 minutes North of Baghdad. After about 20 minutes of random car searches & 20,000 excuses as to why each random guy we were searching was not in fact “ALI BABA” and was hardly a practicing Muslim, and loved just about everything about the United States, the all too familiar sound of clambering overheating diesel HMMWV engines approached our checkpoint. As luck would have it, it was a convoy of our very own guys stationed at Patrol Base Olson out of Samarra that we hadn’t seen since arriving in country some 6 months before. I just stood there dumbfounded, ecstatic and giggling. When the driver in the first on coming Humvee nearest me pulled up and rolled down his ridiculously heavy and cumbersome up-armored window and shouted, “Hey you pussy!”, “Wanna wrestle?” I just about *……..There he was the “Chesire Cat” himself Charles Kauffman, toothy * eating grin in tow. I replied, “Sure!”, “but I wouldn’t wanna hurt you seeing you don’t have a spleen, you little *ing sally pants!” We both laughed! He stuck his hand out the window, we pounded fists and spent the next 2 minutes talking complete non-sense about what 20 year old boys from Wisconsin would talk about…….not exactly in this order but beer, girls, hunting, fishing and his cousin Adams wedding that I just so happened had been asked a few days prior to be a grooms man in and was coming up in July of that very next summer, a little over 1 year out. Oh and the brides maids, we talked about them too, we had no idea who they were going to be but we talked about them and in less than a minute had put together a plan to win each one of them over! For that brief time, amongst all of the haste and craziness around us, all was right with the world………… And just like that someone hollered “mount up, and move out.” And they were gone, headed south to Baghdad.

That was the last time I had seen or talked to Charles. 45 minutes later the vehicle he was driving was hit from what we were told by an EFP IED (Explosively Formed Penetrating Improvised Exploding Device) which struck right along the driver’s door handle, coincidently the only spot on the door of an M-1113 HMMWV that was not up armored. With one stroke of fate’s brush Charles lost his life that day. Some 6,000 miles from Fairchild Wisconsin, on a lonely bombed out section of route Tampa, in a place he didn’t need to be on a deployment he insisted on being part of.

We had packed up our hasty checkpoint right after the guys from Samarra left and headed back to the FOB. We downloaded our gear and minutes later received word from higher that one of the vehicles from Charlie Company had been hit. I remember feeling especially confused and exposed after being informed of Charles death. I kept thinking over and over, “I just seen him, this is impossible.” It was one of the first times in my young life I juggled with the perception of life and death and realized how quickly the fulcrum of fate can tip in either direction. It was an eerie reminder of how complacency and a false sense of security had taken over my mind. It was probably the exact moment cynicism germinated in my body.

A few days later I was on an airplane headed home for block leave. As luck would have it if I made all of my connecting flights I was going to get to see Charles one last time. In that tiny funeral parlor in Fairchild Wisconsin, standing above him dressed in my Class A’s I remember looking down at his casket and as hardened as I thought I was…….I lost it. I looked down and each time I opened my eyes it was someone else. My cousins Ryan & Scott, my best friend Art, myself, Tim, Larry, Chris, TJ, Kelly and for that matter it could have been any of us in Charlie Company. But that’s the thing, you don’t get to pick. Something broke my concentration and the spiraling stopped. I looked over to see a picture of Charles………..I giggled eyes welled up and bloodshot, thought to myself………… “Charles!” “You and that god damn smirk!”"
Kyle Bushman of Cochrane WI

"I did not get to meet this hero, that is due to the fact that I was 6 when he passed away tragically due to the IED that blew up near Spc. Kaufman's HMMWV back in 2005, it is currently 2015. I visited his grave numerous times before and read everything I could find on him. He has been an inspiration to me, and I am looking into becoming an 11B (infantry) next year when I am 17. Like him I also love children. Last vets day I visited his grave and put a small flag near him. I thought of how his life was played out and how mine might play out. My sincere condolences to the friends and family of Army Spc. Charles A. Kaufman. RIP hero. Fly high angel."
Darius of Fairchild/Neillsville WI

"We'll always have checkers Charlie."
Christian Truong of Madison, WI

"Hey Chuck. I can't believe it's been so long since the last time we sat in the PB playing Halo and having you snicker in my ear everytime you beat me. I think of you often."
Brian Little of NY,NY

"To the family of:Charles A. Kaufman
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""

"Today is Veteran's Day four years after you gave your life for our freedom. I knew your family, but you were in the service when I moved to Fairchild. I never had the chance to meet you and thank you for giving to our country. I am so sorry that your family lost you and my prayers are for you and your family. Thank you for your service and for giving your life to our country and my freedom. God bless you."
Angela Hull-Martin of Pekin IL

I will never forget the times spent in the back of the 5 ton. Thanks for all the good hunting talks!"
SPC Robert J Keopple HHC 1-128 INF of Wisconsin

"26 JUNE 2008

This day in 2005 will forever be etched in my memory as-well-as the memories of the other soldiers that were with Charles the day his life was robbed by the enemies of the United States. I have a great respect for the soldier that Charles had become. He was a very strong person and will always be remembered. I also have a great sorrow for his family, but they know that he was doing something that he deeply believed in and that was serving the greatest country and her people in the fight for freedom. Thank you Charles for your sacrifice and you will be remembered forever as an American Hero.


"June 15, 2008
To the family of Spc. Charles A. Kaufman:
Charles 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"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"Memorial Day 2007. I didn't know you Charles, although I served in the same battalion. I think of your sacrifice every day. I went to the Highground near Neilsville and thought of you as I drove through Fairchild.

I will never forget."
Troy Stoneberg of Altoona, WI

"My brother knew and served with you...we'll always remember your sacrifice..."
of wi

"Hey chuck, come acroos this site and thought id leave ya a message here also. we all miss ya so much bro, just isnt the same with ya gone. were all proud of you and thankyou for what ya did and love ya for how ya touched all of us. love ya man"
andrew,tony,derrick of fairchild

"Thank you Charles for your bravery and for the sacrifice you made for all of us. Bless your Mom and Dad and family who dearly miss you. We think of you often and will never forget you."
Patty luey of Tomah Wisconsin

"God Bless you. You and your family are in my prayers."
Stephanie of Augusta, WI

"To the Family of SPC Charles Kaufman:
We have constructed a memorial to the service men and women from Wisconsin and Illinois who have died in Iraq which includes, as of 8/25/05, 119 crosses and Stars of David. We would like your permission to put Charles' name on one of them. We have called our display "Arlington MidWest." It is our expression of mourning for the indescribable loss you have suffered for our country.

If you would like us to do this, please email arlingtonmidwest@yahoo.com.

We invite you to come to visit Arlington MidWest if you can. I can send you directions and some pictures by email.

"As long as we live, they too will live;
for they are now a part of us, as we remember them."
Marty Preston of Wisconsin Dells, WI

"To Charles's Family and Friends, I wish to extend my deepest condolence for your loss. Charles is a true American Hero who will always be remembered. God Bless all of you, and know that Charles is with Him now safe and at peace."
Mary Ghaney of Brooklyn, New York

I know that everyone will miss you alot. I will never forget you and how you have touched my life. You have done a wonderful thing. You will always be remembered in my heart when ever i see a flag flying, a star in the night and when i look back at the memories that i have with you. I will never forget you and love you more that words could ever come close to saying."
Ashley of Wisconsin

"God's Blessings on Charles' family. Thank you is such a trivial phrase when it comes to loss of life. A true hero, Charles will not be forgotten. I am free because of exceptional people like him. Bless you, be at peace in His love."
Candy of Poynette, WI


"Thank you Charles. Thank for for your sacrifice for me and my family. I will be sure that my children know and remember the sacrifices you and so many other brave American souls made for them. To charles' family. My deepest and most heartfelt sympathies go out to you."
Timothy Wendeborn of Baltimore, Md

Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Charles will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you ALWAYS. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"Two weeks ago we lost our dear nephew, Lance Corporal Dustin Birch under similiar circumstances in Iraq. In the New Testament there are the parables of the Lost Coin, the Lost Sheep and the Lost Son (the prodigal). I believe these writings were included to bring comfort to those who have lost someone/something in their lives also. To assure all that everything lost - everyone lost, including your Charles - will be found once again. In Luke the Savior tells us that He "came to save that which was lost." May these words bring comfort to you - along with the knowledge that all of our prayers - and gratitude for your family's sacrifice are lasting. “These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we attain too cheaply, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article
as freedom should not be highly rated.”

by Thomas Paine, published December 19, 1776"
Drake & Paulette Kirkham of Taylorsville, Utah

"We are deeply sorry for your loss. America will forever honor your Hero.
The Courage, Honor, and Valor that your Hero showed will always be remembered.
We are grateful for the sacrifice that was made and we will NEVER FORGET.
God Bless your family and please know that you are not alone.
All of our prayers are with you."
Jennifer and SSGT Larry Mays of Massillon, Ohio

"Thank you Charles Kaufman, 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 Spc. Charles Kaufman:
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 Charles 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 Spc. Charles Kaufman:
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 Charles, 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