Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Staff Sgt. Rene Ledesma

34, of Abelene, Texas.
Ledesma died in Baghdad, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device exploded near his Bradley Fighting Vehicle. He was assigned to 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas. Died on May 15, 2004.

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"My brother had the honor of serving with Staff Sgt Ledesma. I think its important that you know that he lives on in all of those who served with him and their families. My brother was kept home to stay with his wife through the last months of a terrifying pregnancy. I know hes always felt he should have been there. We all share your story. Please know we grieve with you although our grief can not be compared. Staff Sgt Ledesma will live on in the hearts of us all. My brother proudly and painfully shares him with his children his family and those he serves with now. No words to express my sorrow for the loss to his family and his Army family."
Karrol Verrette of Port Richey, FL

"7/16/2015
Here we are once again, another year passing without you and your memory has yet to fade. The impact you made on my life has influenced the person I am today. Although my children never met you, they are well aware of your existence and they love you for who you were to me. Celebrating your 46th birthday. Love you, Froggy. Always and forever in our hearts."
Girl from the hood of Abilene, TX

"Thought I would leave a message today as I have been thinking much about the past lately. I was in HHT 1/7 Cav from 2001-2005 OIF2. I remember SSG Ledesma well. Prayers for his family and his ultimate sacrifice will never be forgotten. RIP."
SGT Gary Fuller of Dallas, TX

"I remember getting the call from Scott, telling me, it still hurts his heart to talk about this, but he has.. and with much sorrow and also his sincere love and respect for his friend.. Mother's Day, it has never been the same.. Martha, you are thought of (and your children) and prayed for daily.. Today, with him in my thoughts, and your family, I just want you to know, your husband (and your family)are never forgotten.. God bless you and your family..."
Gayle Sandstrom of Paradise, Ca/USA

"SSG Des I can't believe it has been 10yrs since that day. I remember listening to the radio wondering what I could do to help. Not a day goes by that I do not think about you. Until we meet again at Fiddlers Green. My thoughts and prayers go out to your family. Real Cav"
Brian Sanford of San Antonio, TX

"SSG Des I can't believe it has been 10yrs since that day. I remember listening to the radio wondering what I could do to help. Not a day goes by that I do not think about you. Until we meet again at Fiddlers Green. My thoughts and prayers go out to your family. Real Cav"
Brian Sanford of San Antonio, TX

"SSG Dez.... Thank you for teaching me how to be a better soldier.... Thk for all the help you give me and my family went I came to Ft. Hood.. thank you, for teaching me how to speak English went I wasn't able to do... To take your time and teach me how to be a better soldier and 19D... I will never forget you!!!! With all my respect... Thank you!!! And God bless your family....."
SSG Benitezvega, Felipe of Killeen, tx

"I was in 1/7 C Troop I was actually one of the soldiers guarding the area after the incident he was a good man and leader. I am so sorry for your loss."
Donald Adamson of CA

"SSGT. Des..You were a man that showed extream kindness and faith. You were what any young soldier needed as a leader. I still think about that movie i still owe you...lol...but hey ...we all miss you"
SPC. Hanna Justin M of Copperas Cove

"SSG DES was one of the best NCO's ive ever had the honor to serve with. I was with him on that patrol in OIF2. After everything was done our whole platoon greived like we never had before. He was truly our Brother. I now try to live up to the example he set for us as an NCO and Soldier. You will never be forgotten Des. "Dirty Red!""
CPL Timothy Skobel, B Trp 1-7 CAV. of Ft Hood TX

"To the family of:Rene Ledesma
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"1-16-11"

"Rene u were one of a kind friend and brother in law! miss you and u will always be remembered and have a place in my heart..til we meet up again......rikki a sanchez"
rikki sanchez of abilene tx. taylor co.

"7 yrs have passed since Rene lost his life serving our country. Not a year passes that we don't celebrate your birth, even if it's only in our hearts. This year won't be any different. You were always the protector who stood up for those without a voice. It's no wonder you grew into the soldier everyone is so proud to have served with. He once commented that he was a soldier born in the wrong time. It was a blessing when he found his calling in the Army. Froggy, we love you and miss you. We think of you often. God bless and thank you for the memories. 7/4/10"
Girl from the Hood of Abilene TX/USA

"Dez was a cool dude. I was at Squadron listening to the radios when it all went down. Helpless is the word that best describes the feeling at the time. There wasn't anything anyone could do, but everyone wanted to do something. Apache Troop, Real Cav."
Joe Gurba (SGT) of Grandview, MO, USA

"I served with Rene in Alpha Troop, 1-7 CAV for a few years. He and I were Bradley Gunners and then Bradley Commanders in the same Platoon together. He was my partner in crime...used to ride to and from work with him daily. I miss you, Des. Everyone will always remember Red 6. I'll be seeing you brother. "Overcome"...."
SFC Sean Jarvis of Ft. Drum, New York

"Rene (RANA) what i used to call him out of uniform i had the pleasure of meeting him and his family in 1-4 cav germany part of the avengers troop We would hang out in the barracks when he had CQ myself and lamboy would just do a bunch of nothing but had fun doing so. I learned alot from him i guess you can say he was more like a brother or a father role model to me. I heard of his death while in IRAQ my wife (at the time, ex-wife now) Well i will never forget him and just in case his family reads this please know that i am still around and they can call me (210) 748-8932 anytime"
Jose Sanchez of Albany, New York

"I just found this on Christmas Day of 2009 I was in the 1st ID 2/34 Ar I remember him as a buck pvt!!! does anyone know how i can get in touchh with his brother reyes? please email me racestarter@wi.rr.com"
Gary Huebner of Cudahy,Wi

"To the family of Staff Sgt. Ladesma: My son served with Rene in the the 1st Cav. Five years ago, my son's wife was hospitalized due to complications with her pregnancy. My granddaughter was not expected to survive her birth and my daughter-in-law was confined to bedrest the entire pregnancy. When my son got his orders to go to Iraq, we tried to find a way to have my daughter-in-law transferred to Tampa so that she would not be alone. However, her condition would not permit it. The Army decided to keep my son home to be with his wife while his unit, including Rene, went to Iraq. Rene took my son's place while the unit was deployed. My beautiful granddaughter was born healthy on Mother's Day, May 5, 2004. However, ten days later, an IED took the life of the brave soldier who was there in place of my son. I wear Rene's name on a bracelet everyday, as does my son. Rene's picture is on my desk and I tell his story everytime someone inquires about him. There are no words to express the gratitude we have for Rene's sacrifice. There are no tears that can be hidden each time I think that it could have been me grieving for my son. I just want you to know that his memory will always be honored by our family."
Janet McGuire of Clearwater, FL USA

"I miss you. I wish I still had you here with me.
I will always love you.....
your wife"
Martha of In my heart always, Tx

"”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 1,800 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!
Mothers and/or Fathers, of our heroes, please be aware that the Project Compassion sponsors will now help cover the costs of the portraits for you to have one - regardless if the spouse of the hero has one or not!
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 bless you.
Sincerely and Respectfully,
Kenna
Project Compassion
P.O. Box 153
Manti, Utah 84642"
Project Compassion, Kenna of Manti, Utah USA

"Dez...thanks for teaching me how to salsa in the motorpool one day. I was at the aid station when he came back, and I felt my insides just die when I found out what had happened. I am proud to have served with such a fine NCO. I can only hope to emulate even a fraction of what he stood for. God bless the family of such a fine man and hero. I miss you, Dez...and always will."
SGT Rebecca Deuel, Medic, 515th FSB, Camp Falcon 2004-2005 of Fort Hood, Tx

"Dez...thanks for teaching me how to salsa in the motorpool one day. I was at the aid station when he came back, and I felt my insides just die when I found out what had happened. I am proud to hav served with such a fine NCO. I can only hope to emulate even a fraction of what he stood for. God bless the family of such a fine man and hero. I miss you, Dez...and always will."
SGT Rebcca Deuel, Medic, 515th FSB, Camp Falcon 2004-2005 of Fort Hood, Tx

"May 7, 2009
To the family of Staff Sgt. Rene Ledesma:
Rene 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 Ledesma in two consecutive units (A Trp 1/4 CAV, and then again in 1/7 CAV in OIF 2). He was a good man and will be missed. I also had the pleasure of taking his name off of the war protest site in Crawford TX. 3 other 1/7 CAV soldiers and myself infiltrated their camp and made sure that they would not use this hero's name to dishonor his memory. Rest in peace friend."
SSG Brian Deschenes, HHT 1/7 CAV of JSS Istiqul'al, Iraq

"I was Honored to have known and served with such a great man, and a great leader. I will never forget him. He will always have a place in my heart and thoughts."
Charles Bradford of Louisvile, KY

"I was honored to serve with this good man in OIF II he was truly an asset to me and the rest of his platoon. He will be missed and remembered always"
Tony Cole of Enterprise,AL

"I SERVED WITH SSG LEDESMA IN SCHWIENFURT, GERMANY 1-4 CAV AND I HAVE TO SAY HE WAS A GREAT PERSON, NCO, AND FRIEND I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HIS WAY OF ACTING SILLY AND MAKING EVERYONE LAUGH........REST IN PEACE RENE"
OSCAR LAMBOY of FT MEADE, FLORIDA

"I served with SSG Rene Ledesma in A trp 1-7 Cav in FT HOOD TEXAS. We deployed together to OIF II where we were at Camp Falcon. SSG Ledesma was a good person, friend, husband and soldier and will be missed dearly. I will always remember SSG Ledesma for his kindness and leadership towards the soldiers in A Trp. It was an honor to serve in the same Troop and also going on several patrols with him. My deepest sympathy goes out to his family and brother with whom i served with a short period of time. May god keep you strong and bless you always."
Brian Castaneda of Robstown, Texas

"QUE DIOS TE BENDIGA HERMANO, TO THE FAMILY I SHARE YOUR LOSS. I SERVED WITH SSG RENE LEDEZMA IN A TROOP 1/7 CAV. WE HAD TALKEED A FEW DAYS BEFORE AT THE CHAW HALL WE SHOOK HANDS AND WHENT BACK TO WORK. TO YOUR FAMILY QUE DIOS LES COMPANE SUS SENTIMIENTOS. FIDLERS GREEN."
SPC WILFREDO SANTIAGO of FT. HOOD TEXAS

"TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
THIS IS SSG SANCHEZ AND FROM MYSELF AND MY FAMILY. WE THANK YA'LL FOR YOUR KIND WORDS OF MY BROTER SSG LEDESMA, I ALSO AM SERVING IN HIS OLD UNIT. BUT WITH A DIFFERENT IDENTIFICATION (ALPHA TROOP 4/9 CAV 2BDE 1CD) "DIRTY RED" ME AND MY WIFE WERE TOUCH BY YA'LLS KIND WORDS OF MY BROTHER AND WE WISH YA'LL THE VERY BEST IN LIFE AND MAY GOD BLESS YA'LL THANK YOU AGAIN

REAL CAV!!!!!"
ssg sanchez,reyes of KILLEEN,TEXAS USA

"I'll always remember SSG ledesma for his great professionalism and his good stories. He was in good company that night, as he was on all of his patrols with the "Dirty Red" platoon of 1-7 CAV. One thing that he told me that I will never forget is, "You can do anything, it's just a mater of how bad you want it.""
SPC Baker of Fort Hood, TX

"I was in A troop 1-7 CAV with SSG Ledesma and I remember that day before he went out on patrol he came by my room and said that when he came back he would give me back the CD he borrowed. That was the last time I saw him. He was a good man and truly loved being an NCO in the Army. I still remember that night as I stood by the radio listening to the events play out and at the same time waiting for the word to get ready and move out to help in any possible. To this day i wear the commerative bracelet with his name and always will, he was a good friend, good father and husband will always be remembered."
SFC Roberto Garza JR of Schofield Barracks, HI

"May God bless the Ledesma family. I am his son's friend and i go to Liberty Hill Middle School with his son Vicent Ledesma."
DeVonte Ecford of Killeen,Texas Usa

"Thank you Staff Sergeant Rene Ledesma, you will not be forgotten. With your name you carry the legacy for us to admire. With your honor and unselfish sacrifice it gives us strength, and with your bravery, it paves the way for us to follow. My prayers are with the family and friends. Rene is God's soldier now. Take care of the Kingdom brother and I'll see you some day."
SFC Eduardo Ledesma (Retired Army) of El Paso, Texas

"we love you 4 doin this 4 us forget those werdios that did that love allways"
makenzi stiles of wheeler texas

"I served with SSG Ledesma in A TRP 1-4 CAV. He was a good man and I was saddened to hear of your loss. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family."
SGT Kyle Mullen of Schweinfurt, Germany

"I AM RENE'S COUSION WHEN I HAD FOUNT OUT THAT MY COUSINO HAD DIED I HAD WENT O TEXAS TO THE FUNIRAL I HAD CRIED BECAUSE HEY HAD FOUGHT FOR OUR COUNTRY BUT NO MATTER WHAT HE IS STILL MY HERO NO MATTER WHAT FOR ALL THE SACRIFICE'S RENE HAD MAID FOR ALL OF US IN THE UNITED STATES. P.S GOD BLESS YOU RENE.THANK YOU RENE FOR ALL HARD WORK "
JUAN SANCHEZ JR of DADE CITY FLORIDA USA

"Thank you, Staff Sgt. Ledesma, for your sacrifice. May God be with you and your family. We won't forget."
Sabra Crowe of Lubbock, TX

"To the family, may god bless you and be with you in every aspect of life. I met SSG Ledesma at Ft. Knox, KY. as his BNCOC instructor. He was a good man and gave evertything that he had to his peers throughtout the course. May God be with him.

SSG JULIAN M. GLASCOE"
SSG JULIAN M. GLASCOE of FT KNOX, KY. 40121

"I returned to Kuwait from Baghdad with the remains of SSG Ledesma. There were 12 or so other soldiers on that plane and each was touched in a profound way with the sacrifice SSG Ledesma had paid. SSG Ledesma's coffin was treated with solemn respect by all. The USAF personnel who loaded the coffin were respectful and rendered honors as he was loaded onto the airplane. Honors were sincere and respectful. I felt no one was just peforming a ceremony, but sincerely grieved for him and his family.

Once the C-130 landed in Kuwait, and SSG Ledesma's coffin was offloaded each and every soldier spontaneously came to attention and rendered salutes showing honor and respect as only other soldiers can.

I just want the family of SSG Ledesma to know that he didn't travel alone. He was in the company of soldiers who cared for him and loved him with a depth of understanding of the sacrifice that only another soldier and that soldiers family will understand."
COL Ben Barnhill of NYC, NY

"My son said he was the best sergeant he'd worked with, and he misses him terribly."
Kathy Lenhardt--mother of PFC Kyle Lenhardt, Sgt. Dez's Bradley driver, of Buena Park, CA

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

"Today, we sorrow for the loss of a great man and an American Hero. SSG Ledesma and I served together in Vilseck a few years back and I still remember his great sense of humor and devotion to his job. He will be missed. God Bless his family!!!!"
D. Padilla of Dallas, TX

"I am so sorry for your loss, bless Rene for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us. May God bless you and your family"
Roger and Sharon Kritzer of Irvona/PA/USA

"To Rene's family, I am so sorry for your tragic loss. Please know that many of us appreciate his service to and sacrifice for our country."
f.Smith of Pennsylvania

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

"My son over in Iraq had nothing but praise for SSG Ledesma. He was a great soldier, NCO and a friend. His death had an severe impact, but it was his life that helped in molding so many young soldiers into quality men. I wish to thank him and his family for their service to our great country, it will never be forgotten."
Father of PFC Justin M. Hanna of Queen Creek, Arizona

"He was stationed with my fiance'.He was a good friend.Please accept our deepest condulences on your loss.God bless your entire family."
SGT Killian/J.Kersting of 1-4cav schweinfurt germany

"To Rene'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

"To Rene'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 his bravery and sacrifice. Que descanse en paz!

Sincerely,

The Family of Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco-Caldas, 82nd Airborne, KIA Iraq 12/28/2003.

Gloria Caldas (his mom) of San Antonio, TX
gloria.caldas@banksterling.com"

"Dear Ledesma Family, God be with you. Our pain is your pain; my nephew,Bradley Kritzer, was killed the same way May 5th."
Laurie Miles of Coalport, PA

"May God be with you all in this time of sorrow. My nephew,Sgt. Ryan Young, died the very same way Rene did, so my heart goes out to you. My prayers are with you all. Thank you Rene, you will never be forgotten."
Maureen Ledet of San Angelo, Texas

"I was stationed with Rene. He was a good friend. He will be missed.
God bless his family."
SSG Shawn Wussow of Ft. Knox KY

"Thank you Rene Ledesma, 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. Rene Ledesma:
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 Rene 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. Rene Ledesma:
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 Rene, 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