Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Marine Capt. Michael D. Martino

32, of Fairfax, Virginia.
Martino died when his AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter crashed while flying in support of security and stabilization operations near Ar Ramadi, Iraq. He was with the Marine Light-Attack Helicopter Squadron 369, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, his unit was attached to 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, II MEF (Forward). Died on November 2, 2005.

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"Remembering those who gave it all and the true meaning of Memorial Day. Never met you but heard many stories about you and "Woody". I had the great honor to be apart of the response team that day. I think about that day often and wish there was more we could have done."
Scott of Maryland

"Today is the 10th anniversary of their death, but they're still in all of our hearts. They were great men, great warriors, and although much time has passed, they're still remembered. GT66WWNF"
Salvador Zavala of Pomona CA

"Today is Memorial Day and I'm thinking about Mike and reading through the few emails I have left from him, and remembering little things; driving in his dad's Vette together, going fishing, talking to him on the phone when he was in Iraq, playing pool, laughing at the redneck girl at a checkout counter... and thanking him for all that he did. Wish you were still here Mike. Life can be so stressful but you always seemed so calm and collected. GS66WWNF"
Chuck Nelson of Warrenton, VA

"I was on the recovery team that went in on the TRAP mission when the bird was shot down near Ramadi that day. I was a GySgt then. It was 5 of us that went in. We were doing route clearance and repair with 8th ESB that morning. I saw his Cobra flying and heard the SAM launch and then observed the Cobra go down. We hopped on a Huey that landed on the MSR and flew in to the crash sight. When we landed we secured the crash sight and attempted to recover the pilot and gunner, but were unable to. We found evidence that insurgents attempted to remove both of them and by our team landing when we did it prevented them from doing so. We were on the ground for a couple of hours providing security for the crash site until a crash fire rescue team air landed. They were able to recover both Marines bodies and we all extracted a few hours later.

I will never forget that day for as long as I live. My prayers go out to the friends, family and their loved ones.

Semper Fi
MSgt Ken Beall USMC Ret.

Ken Beall of Jacksonville, NC

"I just wanted to take this opportunity to let Capt. Martino's family know that he is still very much with us, in our thoughts and prayers. I'll never forget 02 Nov 2005."
GySgt Jason Joly of Escondido, CA

"Hey Sir,

I still remember saluting you after we armed your weapons, for that final flight. You havent left my thoughts and part of me making a career in the Corps is impart to you and Major Beav. You will always be remembered."
Brad of USMC

"27 May 2012

Hey Mike, you're still on our minds. We'll never forget you."
of Carlsbad, CA

"I cannot believe it has been five years already. I served with Maj. Bloomfield and Capt. Martino for just a short bit, I got to know them both pretty well smoking cigars on the smoke deck in TQ. I hope you both are doing great on the other side and I will see you there. My thoughts and prayers go out to both families."
Bo Hawkins of Arlington, TX

"5 years ago today. The Gunfighters are doing well here in Afghanistan. We flew the flag at the Squadron all day in your honor, and after sunset we flew your flag in the AH-1W Cobra. From your Gunfighter family you are still very much in our thoughts and prayers. GT66WWNF"
Captain Troy Rees of HMLA 369 Helman Province, Afghanistan

"Monday May 31st, 2010. Thinking of a great leader, still. Good to have known him."
Tim of Orlando, FL

"As I was driving into work this morning in San Diego, I saw a truck with a Marine insignia and a tribute to Capt. Michael D. Martino. When I got into work, I looked him up and found his story. It is interesting to me because my eldest son is currently trying to become a Marine helicopter pilot. Captain Martino is an inspiration even now."
Ken of San Diego, California

"4 Years ago. You and your family are still in my thoughts and prayers. GT66WWNF"
Capt Rees of Carlsbad, CA


on this memorial day weekend i think of an American hero Capt. Michael D. Martino and the sacrifice he made for our country and our freedom. I grew up in Irvine and knew his brother Bobby and his sister. I just wanted the family to know i am aware of the sacrifice their son made and very proud to have know him and his family. god bless"
Santi Romo of windermere,fl

"Mr. and Mrs. Martino,
Your son and I had a co-birthday party long long ago out here in San Diego. I can still hear him laughing and see his big smile. My prayers are with you and your family, your boy is never ever forgotten."
Veronica of San Diego, CA

"Nov 2 ,2008. I think about you everyday. We will never forget. God bless"
2nd Lt Palmer of Manassas, Va

"November 2, 2008
To the family of Capt. Michael D. Martino:
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"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"My heart goes out to all who have fallen. My name is Lisa, I am a the spouse of Cpl Blankenship "Battletank" who last seen them as they went off and put there lives on the line. My husband was one of the mechanics at the time in "TQ" during this deployment. It is hard for him to talk about it. He carries a picture of them in his wallet and placed the "GUN SHOT 66 WE WILL NEVER FORGET" sticker on the top of his helmet. Still carries the patch. We even have one on all our vehicles. As all who still remain in the unit from time to time pass on the road with the same, with a wave because we will NEVER forget. Let us not say goodbye but we will see you soon.

Highest regards,"
Lisa Blankenship of Camp Pendleton, CA

"always thinking of you"
Sheryl Parker of Tallassee, AL

"See You On The Flipside Sir... Rest In Peace Gunfighter..."
Sgt. James Zilligen of Oakland, Ca

"Dear Mr. and Mrs. Martino
I knew Michael, which is to say I was touched by him. He was, and still is one of the finest Marine Officers that I have ever had the privilege to work with. I say privilege because that is what I believe it was. We would often argue during his time in Okinawa, him being a Cobra pilot and myself a CH-46 pilot, and I would always lose our parry of words to his eloquence and style.
He was a phenomenal person and a Marine's Marine. I write this with tears streaming down my cheek. You did a fantastic job raising a stellar young man. He will be sorely missed."
David Rooney of Pensacola Florida

"To the family of:Michael D. Martino 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 a year ago today and not a day goes by that I don't think about it. I wish I would have been able to do more, but I am glad that we were able to get you out of there and return you to your family. Semper Fi GS66WWNF"
Capt Rees of San Diego, CA

"It's been almost a year since you were taken Mike, and your family thinks about you every day. We miss you.
Chuck Nelson of Warrenton, VA

"I was a scout/sniper that was able to fight with you in 2004 with Echo 2/1. It was an honor to be able to fight next to you and wish your family the best."
Ethan Place of St. Louis MO

"The Parents of Capt Martino,
I have only had the pleasure to have met you once at Mt Soledad for the memorial. I will never for get 2 Nov 05. That is day that will live on in all Gunfighters and families of. My wife Kristen and I pray for your family and ask for you blessings. Capt Martino and Maj Bloomfield were great men and two of the finest Officers I have ever had the pleasure of serving under. I will NEVER forget Gunshot 66!
Cpl Jonathan S. Chavez of Beaufort, SC

"To Michael's Family, I am so sorry for your loss. The tributes on this site are so beautiful for Michael. What a special man Michael is. Michael, you sir are a true American Hero. Thank you for all you have done in Iraq and in your life. May God bless you Michael and God Bless your family."
Mary Ghaney of Brooklyn, New York

"God, what a loss."
Tony Bird of Nellysford, Virginia

"The Next Room
Death is nothing at all, I have only slipped
away into the next room. I am I, and you are you.
What ever we were to each other, that
we still are. Call me by my old familiar name,
speak to me in the easy way which you
always used. Put no difference in your tone,
wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes
we enjoyed together. Pray, smile, think of me,
pray for me. Let my name be the household word
that it always was. Let it be spoken without effect,
without the trace of a shadow on it. Life means
all that it ever meant, It is the same as it ever was;
there is unbroken continuity, Why should I be
out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere
very near, just round the corner. All is well.
~by: Canon Henry Scott Holland~

Gone – but not forgotten.
Thank you for sharing your loved one with us,
and for the sacrifice made by you and your family on our behalf.
Proud mom of Lcpl Alex. Currently serving in Iraq"
Patricia of Bishop, CA

"To the family of Marine Captain Michael D. Martino:

I cannot imagine your sadness, and the pain you are living with right now. It was by chance that I happenned upon this tribute, and I felt compelled to write to you.

Tonight I will sit down with my family and pray that God will stengthen and console you, and we will pray in gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice that Michael made for all of us.

May he rest in peace."
Michael T. Martino of San Rafael, CA

"It's been over 2 months now since my brother in law Michael was killed, but it still doesn't seem real at times. Even after all the ceremonies and services we've been to, even after taking home his belongings... at times I still feel like he'll be home in April like he was suppossed to be and that we'll see him at the next family get together. Mike was so nice, so focused, and so quietly self assured while at the same time being so humble and quiet. The last time I saw Mike in person was right before he left to go back to CA and then on to Iraq. I told him to "stay safe and come back". I wasn't really worried about him though because he was such a good pilot and we thought he'd already been through the worst of it as a FAC in Fallujah on his first tour. But Michael being shot down has reminded me with a vengance how random and uncontrolable combat and war really is. Unfortunately it is not always up to a person to keep themselves safe or not. My sadness at his loss and my rage at those who killed him for no good reason is only marginally tempered by the knowledge that during his two tours in Iraq Michael helped keep many other Marines alive and contributed in the long run to helping the Iraqi people who want to simply live a peaceful life without dictators or religious zealots imposing their ways. I miss you Mike- as a friend and just knowing that someone like you was alive and here.
We'll never forget you as a person and what you did."
Chuck Nelson of Warrenton, VA

"To the Family of Michael~
I did not know your son personally, but feel as though I knew him because of his sacrifice for all of us in America! I was a classmate of Gerald Bloomfields and proud to of known him. What these fine young men did for our country is the altimate sacrifice and I just want you to know how proud and thankful I am for all they stood for. May God Bless and Keep you, and may your wonderful memories of Michael get you through every day until you are with him again!

Love and Sympathy~
Amy Dare
1984 Fowlerville Classmate"
Amy (Dare) Smith of Howell, Michigan, USA

"Our family has received hundreds of emails, phone calls, and letters in response to the death of our beloved son Michael. It is obvious from the tremendous response that Michael touched many lives. He was one of those rare and special people…gentle, caring, and very passionate about what he believed in; country, liberty, freedom, and family.

Mike believed it was in the best interest of our country for democracy to be established in the Middle East. He went to Iraq hoping to help people find freedom, but instead found himself fighting those who would suppress it. He was in Iraq to defend our own Nation against a terrorist threat. He understood that in order to provide more security for all of us, a free democratic and stable Iraqi government was essential. The overwhelming turnout at the voting booths in Iraq should be an eye opener to even the most vocal critics that maybe a free Iraq will emerge from this war that Michael and others have so courageously participated in and for which Michael gave his life. Freedom works and freedom is contagious!

Mike could have been anything he wanted to be yet he chose a life characterized by sacrifice and infrequent reward. Someone once said, “No life passes without a purpose”. I believe Michael’s purpose was to be a warrior and serve the country that he loved. In the Sermon on the Mount at Mount Sinai, God gave guidance to his disciples on the obligations of every society for its sustainment. Among these obligations, God said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God”. I believe Michael was put on this earth to be a peacemaker. Although I wished he had chosen a safer career, I know he was doing what God wanted him to do.

His entire family feels tremendous pride at the man he turned into. However, we are also inconsolable at his loss."
Sybil Martino of Nellysford, VA

"Michael was a truly remarkable person. His love and dedication to his country was only overshadowed by the love he had for his family and friends.

I love you Michael and I will always remember what a wonderful brother and friend you were to me. I know you are in heaven and I pray that we will meet again."
Lauri Martino Nelson of Virginia

"My heart aches that I will never see your face in this life again. But my heart is overjoyed to have loved and known you so well. "Gunshot 66. We Will Never Forget!!!" I love you Mike!!! See you on the other side."
Katie Ashford of Temecula, CA

"To the family and friends of Captain Michael D. Martino,

Those we hold most dear, never truly leave us. May you find comfort in love's everlasting connection.

In the Support section of this web site you will find links to many groups that support you at this crucial time. The Marine Comfort Quilt group would be honored to send a quilt to the next of kin. There are many, loving and caring Americans from all over the United States that will never forget the sacrifice that your loved one has made for our Freedom. If you're not certain that your loved one's next of kin is registered, please use our link and register them for a quilt so we can send our "Love Stitched Together."

Proud Marine Mom and Proud Member of Marine Comfort Quilts "
Sandra Moudy of Placentia, California USA

"My heart overflows with sadness.
Captain Michael Martino
and my nephew
Major Gerald Bloomfield II
died together on November 2. They served our country proudly and honorably. They died doing
what they loved and for what they believed to be right. I know Mike and Jer will continue to fly high.
May God bless them, bless our families and bless the United States of America.
Love, Aunt Meribeth Bloomfield-Bolt"
meribethbolt@aol.com of Grand Rapids, MI USA

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 "


"Words cannot describe the sense of loss. The war becomes so real when someone you know sacrifices their life for others. Captain Michael Martino was a very special person and their family is also special. Wonderful, loving parents who loved their son and was so very proud of him. May God Bless Michael and his family."
Jill Green of Oceanside CA

"Thank you Michael Martino, 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 Martino:
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 Martino:
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