Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Capt. Michael J. Mackinnon

30, of Helena, Montana.
Mackinnon died in Baghdad, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during convoy operations. He was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia. Died on October 27, 2005.

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"Rest in peace Michael. I will never forget. You are a hero to many. Ten years gone by and it seems like yesterday."
David Anderson

"I wear a bracelet with your name to honor you and to never forget your service and your sacrifice. I never take it off. Prayers and blessings to you and your family."
Kenna Nauenburg of Riverside, California

"Bandit 6,

You are by far the finest Company Commander I've came across. Unmatched superb Leadership...

Bandits for life!
~SFC Santiago"
Henry Santiago of Fort Campbell, KY

"I was a friend of Michael's in highschool. He is missed very much still. I hope you and your family are doing ok Mrs. MacKinnon. Memories to a wonderful human being."
Gretchen James of Reno, NV

"Nine years...you are missed. The Army needs leaders like you. I have no doubt you would have been in front of a battalion today! Godspeed and rest in peace brother!"
Dave Anderson

"To The family of CPT MacKinnon,

I named my 1st born son Ashton Michael John MacKinnon in honor of your son. I am a Iraq war veteran. Your son is a hero."
GREG of OHIO

"To the family of CPT Michael Mackinnon,

Your husband and dad was a mentor of mines. The first time I met him, he asked me if I was ready to come work in an infantry company, and do some real work. I guess it was because I worked on the battalion staff. I told him I already had a job!

I never thought I would end up being one of his platoon leaders. But as luck would have it, he brought me in under his wing. He opened up his room to me, allowed me to bunk there, and taught me the ropes. I lived with him until he was transferred out of B Co to the unit that needed him. He was the kind of leader that people sought out his talents, and I was lucky to have known him, and to work for him on several missions before he was taken.

To his son or sons, I have two boys today who are not much older than you were when you lost your dad. I learned I would be a father for the first time only a few days before your dad lost his life. It a real loss for me, as I thought about you when he passed. I will never forget seeing the photo of you and your dad posing together like Superman!

Today I wear the wristband that was made in his honor. Your dad was a hero, leader and mentor. He touched so many lives, and he lives on in my memory everyday.

Gone but never forgotten!

Best wishes to the Mackinnon Boy's, and to you Mrs. Mackinnon,

1LT Lennie Fort
Bandit3A"
Lennie Fort of APG, MD

"Michael,
Thinking about you brother! Seven years is a long time...today. That day is still fresh in my mind. Never forget! Noah, I have something that your father had made but was never able to pick up. It has been on 2 more deployments with me but I think it is time to pass it on to you. You can email me david.kevin.anderson@us.army.mil and i will explain how i came across it and was able to buy it from an Iraqi shop in 2007. Hopefully you see this soon! Your father was a great man, Soldier and hero."
Cyclone 6 Ancient of Killeen, TX

"Well sir, its been almost seven years since that day, i still dream about it. I remember the radio call that went out "dustoff inbound with Fallen Angel onboard." Truer words were never spoken."
Spc Alan Arnesto of Springfield, MO

"Mike - I think of you often. I still remember you growing up with my brothers and I. I remember what good friends you were with my little brother Eric, and how much fun you two had together playing tricks on me. I admit, one of the strongest pictures in my mind of you was from the Helena Lions swim team when you were about 8 years old in a speedo and must have weighed about 60 pounds dripping wet. Or running around Gil and Zola's backyard at a family get together.
I just wanted to let you know that you are missed. I am so glad to see your son found this site. I still give your dad hugs whenever we see him, although it has been a while since I have seen your sisters.
We miss you and remember you well in Montana."
Jaime MacNaughton (Gilbertson) of Billings, MT

"I am so honored to have served under such a great CO and leader. Thank you for all you have done for us. You will alway be in my thoughts. Bandits Lead the Way!"
Kim B.Co Medic of silver spring, md

"There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about you and your family. I hope I am making you proud. I miss and love you, Sir."
Jeff Mackinnon of Arlington, Virginia

"HEY DAD MISS YOU I STARTED READING THROUGH ALL THE COMMENTS BUT THEY WERE TO MANY OF THEM! IM GLAD YOU ARNT FORGOTTEN I WANT TO THANK ANYONE WHO LEFT A COMMENT AND I WANT TO THANK DAVID BELL FOR HIS SUPPORT LOVE YOU DAD"
noah mackinnon of Hamilton,OH

"RIP CPT Mac. You are not forgotten, and our times in 1st Brigade are still dear to me."
Chaplain Mark Nordstrom of Washington DC

"I had the fortunate pleasure of Serving with Capt Mike. That was one of the worst Days in my life. Just a week before to his death I had a long conversation with him about his Daughter Madison and my Daughter Madison. If you would like to know the content of that conversation , I can be reached at bryan.stavis@us.army.mil, Tommy.morrison3@gmail.com or 928-208-2781
SGT. Stavis"
Bryan Stavis of Yorba Linda ,Calif/USA

"I don't really know what to say on here that hasn't already been said by others. You were a great man, who I still think about almost every day. You were hands down the best commander I have ever served under, and you led by example. I saw the other post about you being a germaphobe and it made me laugh because you made me your driver and radio man, and dirt does not bother me in the least, so I always had to listen to you tell me how dirty the humvee was and keep some hand sanitizer on me at all times for your personal use lol. I remember when we got to Kuwait, and you and I were riding around our company area making sure everyone was doing what they were supposed to do, and you took a look around at all our guys and told me that it was gonna be a rough year, and we were gonna lose some good men. I remember thinking you were right, it just never crossed my mind that it would be you. You are loved and missed."
Todd French of Savannah, GA.

"Got home last night and realized it was the 27th. Miss you Capt. Mac, thanks for being a great commander who gave me enough rope - I judge all others by your example, and try to live up to it myself. I'll see you after."
D. O'Brien of Denver, CO

"This year we will have missed you for five years. I still think about that day, and although the pain isn't as sharp I doubt it will ever leave. Your leadership and professionalism were a sight to behold, and I am still following your lead. I suspect I always will."
Dan of California

"I started to think about Captain MacKinnon again today and had to look him up on the internet. I am so thankful I found this site. Some of the comments were extremely powerful and I think it helps a lot of us out that remember him so well. It didn't set in so much the first few weeks when he passed away but as the years grow longer it seems to consistently come back with a vengeance.

My biggest hope is that his family is doing well and that they know he was a great man. He is sorely missed.

Thank you to everyone that left a comment."
Jeff Harstad of Sioux City, IA

"I am sorry for your loss...I remember when CPT Mackinnon and LTC Wood were brought into the hospital. I remember the pain of their friends. God bless. Chaplain Leathers (Ibn Sina Hospital Chaplain, Baghdad, Iraq FY05-06)"
Robert of D.C.

"As one of you former platoon leaders, I will never forget you calmness and poise under pressure. I was proud to have served under your leadership."
CPT Casey McCotter of Iraq

"I remember the good times together in 4-64 AR. You will always be remembered brother."
Spearhead 6 (2004-'06)

"If there are any family members, or friends of the family, who are monitoring this site I would like you to contact me. I was a Ranger Instructor when Mike went through Ranger school. I found an item which belonged to Mike and I would like to get it to his family. You can contact me at robedwards43@gmail.com ... RANGERS LEAD THE WAY!"
Rob Edwards of Mayo, FL

"Cpt. Mackinnon was my first commander coming into the army in 04' with the Bandits. He left and impression to this day that even out of the army I still measure everything by. He was tenacious, passionate, and above all, sincere and loyal to his men. Never seen that in a leader since. May God bless your family. You WILL NOT be forgotten by me, nor will I quit sharing about you to others either. Thank You and see you in heaven."
Sgt. Almand, Benjamin P. of stn mtn georgia usa

"Mike...I miss you so much. I pray for your wife and kids every night as I lay down to sleep. I know your family misses you; especially your Dad. You were a wonderful friend...I miss your smile and your crazy laugh. I love you...all your crazy buds in MT. GO GRIZ!"
Carrie Zygmond Bodlovic of Potomac, MT

"Hey Mike,
The Bruins are playing CMR in the state championship tonight, just like in '92 when we lost to them. I asked them to dedicate the game to you to give you the state championship that eluded you in high school. They're pumped.

Miss you,
matt"
Matt Kuntz of Helena, MT

"Michael - it's been four years. I think about it everyday. You won't be forgotten.
Cyclone 6 Ancient"

"September 27, 2008
To the family of Capt. Michael J. Mackinnon:
Michael 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 know this is a few years too late, but I never knew it existed. With all that anyone could say about Michael J. Mackinnon, I will only say even now you are missed by everyone you've touched. You made me a better Infantryman, you made ALL of us Bandits better men. BANDITS LEAD THE WAY!"
Spc. Steven Friedline of Tullahoma, TN

"Captain Mike MacKinnon, I don't know of anybody else that was more of a father figure in my development as a cadet at West Point. You were hard, but fair and compassionate, and I have a lot of respect for how you conducted yourself. I'll never forget the hundreds of meals we ate together, you as a firstie and me as a plebe, and some of your "greatest hits." Rest in peace, Mike. You will be missed."
Charles "Kris" Ketterman of Hollidaysburg, PA

"We served in Haiti, B Co 2/505th.
You were the PL and I was your Weapons squad leader. The one thing I remember you saying was and I might screw it up a little was "It ain't the size of the dog in the fight, it is the fight in the dog." If his kids ever read this just know your Dad was all about doing what was right. Period. Be proud. He was a great Man. Worthy of never forgetting, and I won't, NEVER. God Bless You."
SFC McCoy (Muldoon 4) of Ft Belvoir, VA

"Cpt. MacKinnon was a great leader. When I first got to Bravo Company, I did'nt know what to expect. All i knew was what the other Fisters had told me. " They hate us, we are trash." I beleaved that until the first time i was hurt in that freak accident working in the motorpool before we were deployed. Cpt. McKinnon and 1SG Barns took their Friday night to come see me and shoot the breeze. That ment so much to me. "They" did care! then when i was wounded in Iraq I remember Cpt McKinnon jumping in the back of the 113 i felt like i let the whole team down. He was right there with me the whole time reassuring me i was going to make it! I will never forget the last words i ever heard out of his mouth was when i was at Walter Reed he called me just after being reassiged. he told me to hang in there and that i was a great soldier and he was proud of what i had done. GOD BLESS YOU Cpt. McKinnon! you ARE missed! BANITS FOR LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Ret. Specilist Urbany of North Carolina

"I never had more confidence in anyone I have ever known. You were the most gifted of them all. I will always see you with your arms raised in victory. We were so fortunate to have you command us and I thank God that I knew you."
1SG Mark Barnes

"God Bless, and thank you!
We'll never have anything to live for, if we don't believe in the thing that we may die for. One life to give, and the Lord knows, it was precious!"
t. Mark Cordle of Too safe, in the USA

"Capt-Mac: I was not there in the day of your passing, but as a solider serving under your command in Camp Falcon, Iraq you were a man among men, a true warrior and you lived by the warrior ethos. I did not know you for very long but when I got wounded on 25Aug05 I remember those words you told me..."Son your going home and when you get there we will met up toast a glass of beer and enjoy our homecoming", but no Sir you are home and I will oneday met you for that beer."
Spc. Termath of Walnut, CA

"My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Mike we will never forget about you. Even though it's been a year and a half I think about you all the time. Your smile was so infectious and you are a true hero to all of us Montanans. You paid the ultimate sacrifice and my thoughts go out to your family each and every day. We will all miss you!"
Carrie Zygmond-Bodlovic of Potomac, MT/USA

"To the family of:Michael J. Mackinnon 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"

"CPT MACKINNON WAS THE BEST DAMN RANGER THERE EVER WAS. IF YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW WHAT A TRUE RANGER IS HE WAS THE EXAMPLE. IF YOU RAN 2 MILES IN 12 MINUTES HE WOULD DO IT IN 11 AND THEN TALK SMACK. IF YOU COULD SHOOT 38 EXPERT HE WOULD SHOOT 40. HE WAS SIMPLY THAT DAMN GOOD AND CHALLENGING. I ALWAYS TOLD HIM " SIR YOU CAN TALK SMACK, BECAUSE YOU CAN BACK IT UP" AND HE WOULD. I LOVED HIM LIKE A BROTHER AND WOULD SPEND TIME TALKING WITH HIM OFTEN ABOUT RANGERS, INFANTRY, HIS CHILDREN AND MINE AND OUR WIVES. HE LOVED WHAT HE DID IN THE ARMY BUT LOVED HIS WIFE AND KIDS EVEN MORE. JUST A SHORT TIME BEFORE HE LEFT TO GO TO DORA I HAD A CHANCE TO TALK TO HIM AND I TOLD HIM I WOULD ALWAYS BE THERE FOR HIM AND WOULD SERVE WITH HIM ANYWHERE, AND HE TOLD ME THE SAME. I NEVER MET AN INFANTRYMAN WHO HATED GERMS AND WORRIED ABOUT DIRT AS MUCH AS HE DID AND OFTEN I WOULD TEASE HIM ABOUT THIS. AND THE DAY I HAD HIM AND 1SG BARNES EAT AT A TOWN COUNCIL AND THEY HAD TO EAT GOAT HEAD (POCHE) THE LOOK WAS PRICELESS AND SO WERE THE LAUGHS. CPT MACKINNON SIR I WAS CRUSHED THE DAY I GOT THE WORD AND I WILL NEVER FORGET THAT NIGHT IN THE HOSPITAL BUT LIKE A TRUE RANGER I PICKED MYSELF UP DUSTED OFF MYSELF AND GOT BACK IN THE SADDLE JUST LIKE YOU WOULD HAVE. I WILL NEVER FORGET YOU AND I LOVE YOU LIKE A BROTHER"
SFC JAMIE WELLS of FT STEWART, GA

"Mike Mackinnon was a hero of mine in high school. I looked up to him as a student, an athlete, and a man. We weren't close friends, but there were few people I respected more. I am deeply saddened by his tragic death, and he will always remain a hero of mine. Thank you Mike, and your family is in my prayers."
Nathan Biehl of Missoula Montana

"Capt. Mike...that's what the locals knew him as. I knew him as Capt. Mac.
I was a Sgt in his Co., under his command. I drove him a few times, though not his regular driver. Capt. Mac was the best Commander I ever served. He was a driver, demmanded perfection, and would settle for nothing less than 100 %. He would plan every detail, leaving nothing to hope, nothing "in the air," no loose ends. He loved his family and loved his men. I cannot say enough about Capt. Mac with the exception of this; I was on patrol with the new Capt after Capt Mac died. We were in a little town, in Southern Baghdad. The locals said "where is Capt. Mike?" when they learned of his fate they cried, and wailed in what looked like agony.
I think back and thank God for Capt. Mac and, sometimes, cry myself."
Jason Baldwin of Long Beach, CA/USA

"To Beth, Madison, and Noah, I never knew your hero , husband , and father but our lives have crossed by way of Ohio. His courage and dedication will forever remain etched in my heart.His ultimate sacrifice will forever will be rermembered ,My nephew Marlin T. Rockhold was killed in May 2003 and I know the grief from the loss of a nephew. Michael MacKinnon will be remembered by me as one of the Angels of Freedom . Beth thanks for the medal and the pictures you sent to me that when the pictures were taken, you had no idea that our lives wouuld touch.Thanks from the bottom of my heart."
Karen Henderson-Butler of Hamilton, Ohio

"I didn't know Capt. Mackinnon. I was looking for a constant reminder of the troops, wherever they may be. I chose Capt. Mackinnon's name to wear on a KIA bracelet - which I have not taken off since receiving it 6 months ago - because he was killed on my birthday. I am saddened by your loss and hope you find strength in your friends and family. While your husband/father will not be forgotten by you, know that he will also be remembered by me, across the country, every day. Each morning when I wake, I look at the bracelet and say a little prayer for him and you. I thank him for his sacrifice - for my freedom and my children. I just wish it didn't have to happen."
Kellee of Chantilly, VA

"To Michael's Family, I am so sorry for your loss. You are in our prayers. Michael, you sir are a true American HERO. You always will be remembered and honored. Thank you Michael for all you have done for us. God bless you Michael and God Bless your family."
Mary Ghaney of Brooklyn, New York

"Bethany, Madison, and Noah,
I am deeply sorry for the loss of your husband and father. Our family is thing of you and praying for you through these difficult times. If there is anything at all that we can do, we are here for you. With all of our love"
Sylvia Vasquez and Family of Hinesville, GA

""To The Family Of Capt. Mackinnon",
Although I did not know Michael, Me and my 2 sons send our deepest condolences. I know how it feels to lose someone so close to you. My children just lost their father Sgt. Evan Parker on Oct 26, 2005 as well as he was my husband of almost 7 years. Capt. Mackinnon along with Sgt. Parker and all of the other fallen heroes will always be remembered by me and my children. He and all the other will FOREVER live on. If there is anything you would like to talk about or if you need someone to talk to please don't hesitate to contact me. Again I am truly sorry for your loss."
Brandi Parker of Arkansas City, KS but currently in 29 Palms, CA

"My deepest respects to Michael and all of his family. For it is by the bravery and sacrifice of men such as Mike that we are allowed to live in freedom. My heart cannot express enough the appreciation that I have for Michael."
From one who knows your pain of Glendale, AZ

"Beth, Madison, and Noah--we are thinking of you and praying for your family. Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you. Michael was a very brave man, and we appreciate what he sacrificed for all of us. God bless you all."
Jennifer & Ken Raffery, Christopher, Morgan, & Andrew of Hinesville, Georgia USA

"MICHAEL THANK YOU FOR SERVING OUR COUNTRY. FOR YOUR LEADERSHIP AND BEING A MILITARY BROTHER TO OUR SON. MY TEARS NEVER STOPPED FLOWING FOR OUR SON GREGORY. HE IS MISSED AS YOU ARE TODAY MICHAEL. AN MY TEARS FLOW FOR YOU TODAY. FOR I REMEMBER SOMETHING GREGORY TOLD ME. DAD I HAVE MANY BROTHERS AND SISTERS; DAD YOU HAVE MANY SON'S AND DAUGHTERS. SO NEVER EVER FORGET US! MICAHEL, OUR SON NEVER KNEW YOU. AN HE ONLY WISHED HE HAD. HE DID AND DIDN,T KNOWN HE DID. FOR IT TAKES A VERY SPECIAL INDIDIVIDUAL TO BE UNSELFISH. TO RISK ONE'S LIFE DAY IN AND DAY OUT. FOR WELL OVER TWO HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF AMERICAN'S. YOU ARE ONE OF THE ELITE HANDFUL TO SERVING OUR COUNTRY. MICHAEL YOU ARE APART OF MILITARY, IRAQI, AMERICAN AND WORLD HISTORY. YOU FOUGHT OFF TERRORISM AND HELPED THOSE LIVING UNDER FEAR. GOD BLESS!"
LEONARD WAHL of VALLEY STREAM NY

""REST in Peace dear soldier. We are so sorry -
VERY GRATEFUL for your service and willingness to help others find the freedoms we take for granted here.
A Montana family""

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

"I am deeply sorry for your loss. May you find comfort and strength in God to face the days ahead.

Michele Carter
Sister of CPL Gary Walters
KIA in Baghdad on 24 April 2005"

"Thank you Michael Mackinnon, 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 Capt. Michael Mackinnon:
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 Michael 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 Capt. Michael Mackinnon:
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 Michael, 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