Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Sgt. Arthur S. Mastrapa

35, of Apopka, Florida.
Mastrapa died in Balad, Iraq, during a mortar attack when mortar rounds hit his camp. He was assigned to the Army Reserve's 351 Military Police Company, 95th Military Police Battalion, 16th Military Police Brigade, Ocala, Florida. Died on June 16, 2004.

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"I Just found this post. I did my best to get (STRAP) to the 351st MP co. Ocala fl.We were both in the Orlando MP company as well. I was a hard move for the both of us. While in country we would see each other during the few time we were both back at the same camp where ever that took us around the Iraq landscape. We saw many places in the Bible and and from the history books... We each get a chance to look around us and see how much we have. The best WE can do is to poss. help others in need and hope that we walk a with foot prints next to us when we look back. I do stop by his resting place and sit and have a cigar once in a while... 30 JUL 2015... E SPRITE DE CORPS. SSG.Bayl."
K. Bayl of Orlando Fl.

"Arthur was a great guy who was always willing to help others. He was easy to pick on and it wouldn't take much to get him all fired up. My fondest memories are of his smile and infectious personality. He was a servant of his country, his community and most importantly his family. He served with honor and will never be forgotten.
To his family, I extend my deepest sympathies and prayers. I know you will honor him forever as the outstanding father and husband that he was."
Carlos Aviles of St Augustine FL

"I participated in "Run for the Fallen" in Tampa today. Sgt Mastrapa's picture was placed on me instead of an entry number. It was quite an honor to run in his memory. I thought about what kind of a man was he. Where did he go to school. When was the first time he thought about being in the military? What was he doing or thinking the day he passed away? Did he have a family? When I was past the half way point and on the way to the finish line I grew pretty tired I kept looking down at his picture and wondered what he would be saying to me. I thought, maybe he'd be making fun of me saying "civilian, it's only 3 miles, I used to do a lot more with a heavy pack, stop wining"
I want friends and family to know that although he is gone and I am so sorry for it, I want you to know his spirit was with me today. I know that does not ease the pain of losing him, I lost the love of my life to cancer earlier this year but at least I had time to say goodbye, this was sudden and sure people think about Sgt Mastrapa every day and the pain is still there. I wish I was able to ease this pain. I did get a chuckle wondering how he would tease me right before the finish line, drenched in sweat and breathing heavy, he'd probably be shaking his head.

Thank you Arthur Mastrapa for your service to our country, for your sacrifice and having true courage."
Robert J Melio of Brandon, Florida

"I didn't personally know Arthur M but I remember this day like if it happened not to long ago. It has almost been ten years and I remember running to the PX to find a terrifying scene, dozens of bodies lying outside covered in blood. Arthur was one of four soldiers I personally went hands on with that day. It was sad when I discovered that he was set to go home to his family after a long deployment. I will always remember our fallen brothers in arms as they paid the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. You will never be forgotten."
A. Mendoza of Tacoma, WA

"I still think of you today, how we always talk about what we are doing in Iraq, and I would tell you we are working on getting home, and you give would give me that look like when. When the base was attacked I came out as the missile rounds keep dropping to find you or hoping you had made it back to the unit. When I found you my heart was hurt and my knees were weak but I had to keep going to make sure that you came home with us. Many heroes are never recognized until something happens but I knew you were always a hero, keep your light shining because your light is shining at the unit every day and night. Sleep well my Brother in Arms."
1SG Mulkey, Nathaniel and SFC Knowles, Jacquline of Auburndale, FL

"We honor your son's memory on this day."
Mr and Mrs F Miranda,Sr. of Apopka,fla

"To the family of:Arthur S.Mastrapa
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"2-4-11"

"I never want to forget the sacrifices of so many young men and women. I am so proud it makes me cry at times. I understand, in theory only, that war is a part of human nature but so is love and caring. I wish I could take your families and friends pain away but I can't. I am committed to loving ALL people, myself and our environment. I am committed to working on my happiness everyday because so many have died for my freedom to live my life. Thank you is not enough but it is all I have. All my love and respect. ogersteiner@yahoo.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEjz-wAQLSA&feature=PlayList&p=477CB1585D5551F3
A hundred times a day, I remind myself that my inner and outer life depends on the labors of other men, living and dead, and I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am receiving. - Albert Einstein"
Scott E. Steiner of Worthington, OH USA

"I served with SGT Mastrapa in El Salvador. He was a great guy and will be missed."
Donald Dempsey of Lakeland, Florida

"The Mastrapa Family, I just now found this posting to leave a msg to the family of a man who was a good friend to me and made me laugh at every drill and when we were deployed to Iraq. I counted him as a dear friend and a man of integrity and I know he really loved his family. That is all he could talk about to me! I am very sorry for your loss and I think about him and his family a lot. I feel like I should have been with him during that time. Maybe he wouldnt have been there if I was. I know he is praising GOD in Heaven! If your family ever needs anything please do not hesitate to contact me at climing2@yahoo.com. All gave some,SOME GAVE ALL!!! HE surely DID!!! GOD BLESS!"
Chris Liming of Hudson, FL

"Mastrapa Family, I've been thinking about Arthur a lot lately. I'm back in Iraq for the third time, and being here brings back a lot of memories of "Straap". I still remember how excited he would get when he would get a video from the family. He would make me sit and watch so he could show off his wife and kids. I still miss him. I just wanted to let you know, that just like him, you all are still in my thoughts. Those of us who were lucky enough to know him will never forget him."
SSG Michael Porter (mstbmike@yahoo.com) of Patrol Base Hamiyah, Iraq

"I have to write a descriptive essay on anything I choose, and I choose a memory of my Dad. So I searched him up and started reading different things. And I just want to thank everybody who has prayed for us, Its been really hard to live my life without him but I'm hanging in there. I'm now 13, and grown up since I found out my father was killed in Iraq just a couple days before he was supposed to come back. If you need to contact me my email is: marisa7789@yahoo.com"
Marisa Mastrapa (His Daughter) of Longwood, Fl

"June 24, 2008
To the family of Sgt. Arthur S. Mastrapa:
Arthur 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 Sgt.Mastrapa for our whole 13 month deployment. I was also there about 5 minutes away from the px when he departed this life from us. I miss him dearly and I know that he is looking down at me smiling God Bless you for serving our country. Sgt.Frankie D. Johnson"
Sgt. Frankie D. Johnson of Cordele,Georgia U.S.A.

"SSG Mastrapa - We met, lived and chewed on the same dirt. I am not one for words so I will make this brief. You are a man of honor, and your memory will live for ever in my mind. I remember you introducing yourself to me by offering me some Papusas and a Malta! in El Salvador You are a friend, and I'm not at ease - because I can count in one hand how many of those I have, except now I only count 4. THANK YOU FOR WHAT YOU'VE DONE FOR MY FAMILIA.

god bless the the Florida Group

SFC ANDRES G. SEPULVEDA
320TH MP COMPANY (CS)

IN IRAQ W. 352ND MP CO."
Andres Sepulveda of ST Petersburgh, FL

"I remember his laugh and his humor. I served will SGT Mastrapa in El Salvador and Iraq as well. You are alive and well in my memory, my friend. I'm proud to have shared some of the most trying times in my life with you!"
Sgt Jimi Claxton of Lakeland, FL/USA

"I do not know this guy, but I have heard some stories about him from my unit. I just want to say that even though its been a few years, he is not forgotten. RIP Arthur Mastrapa"
SGT Hafiz of Jacksonville, Fl -351st MP

"Mastrapa...you were my friend and helped me so much with those difficult first months of our deployment. Even now your words about difficult times, "Just take baby steps and it will be ok", ring true and I use them as a guide post. You will not be forgotten. Rest easy my friend."
Spc. Mark "Bart" Bartholomew of Greensboro NC

"I am looking for the phone numer to the 418th MP Det in daytona...can you help...ikeclark@hotmail.com thanks"

"THE WORST DAY IN THE LIFE OF A COMMANDER WAS FOR ME THE DAY I MET THE FIRST PLANE OF 351ST MP CO SOLDIERS ARRIVING HOME AT HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD AND HAVING TO TELL THEM WHAT HAD HAPPENED JUST AFTER THEY LEFT. THE LOSS OF SSG MASTRAPA WHO HAD SERVED WITH ME IN THE 418TH MP DET WAS AS IF I HAD RECEIVED NEWS OF MY OWN SON. I'M RETIRED FROM THE ARMY NOW, BUT I WILL NOT FORGET THIS MAN, THIS SOLDIER."
LTC JACK REVILLE of JACKSONVILLE, FL.

"To Jennifer - This is Danielle Cortez Shirk....mastrapa (mufasa) and I went to basic training together later caught up at MPI school (where I got to meet you) and then were stationed together in Germany. I just learned of his passing and wanted to say how very sorry I am. Mufasa was a great guy and loved you so very much. I am so sorry for your loss. shirk_dl@jpso.com"
Danielle (Cortez) Shirk of Marrero, LA/USA

"I did not know Arthur Mastrapa personally, but two months ago I ordered a "hero bracelet" from www.herobracelets.org and the bracelet I received memorializes Arthur. It contains his name, rank, what division on the armed forces he served with, where he was from and the date he passed from this world. I am a drummer with the Bergen County Firefighters Pipe Band in NJ and our band has requested that each member purchase one of these special bracelets to show our support for the soldiers who have lost their lives and also for their families. I wear my bracelet every day and never take it off. I often wondered about this man whose name I am wearing on my wrist and today I decided to search for information about him. After reading the numerous entries on this memorial page, I am saddened to know that a wonderful, brave, loyal human being is no longer here to grace this world with his presence. I keep the Mastrapa family in my prayers every day and will continue to do so."
Kathryn Tracey of Teaneck, NJ

"I can't believe it has almost been one year that you were laid to rest. I know that we cry for ourselves and for selfish reasons, like missing your smiling face. I remember when you were called to duty. You were such a brave man who loved his country. More importantly, you loved Jennifer, Marissa and Reece so much. It broke your heart to leave, but you knew it was your duty, and I am forever grateful for your sacrifice to this country and for our freedom.

I pray for your family, hoping God's grace fills their heart with the faith of knowing, soon we will all see your smiling face again.

I can only imagine, when that day comes . . .

To the entire Mastrapa Family: You are each in the prayers of my family, we love you!"
Stephanie McConnaughey of Apopka, Florida

"To the family of Arthur Mastrapa: I have thought alot about "straap" this last year. I served with him in IRAQ we bunked together for the first part of the war, we used to play playstaion and xbox together and have team matches on halo. We used to watch videos of his family when he got them in the mail. straap went on my first mission with me when i was able to do MP work. It wasnt much of a mission we just where sent out past the gates on the MSR, this was the first time we had been sent outside the gates, we just had to go paint some sign on the MSR to direct traffic the corrrect way down the MSR. I think we where all scared to at first but with straap in charge it made us feel okay. No one knows this accept me and straap but i was so nervous that first time out that i dropped my magazine right out of my rifle. we laughed about it several times throughout the deployment. But with his quidance that was my first and last mistake working as a MP. He was one of my good friends even though we got split up on later on when i was able to go back to Police work with my own platoon and we didnt get to hang out as much because we both where running missions and where always gone on the road. I had a conversation with straap right before we left to come home, we where joking in the tents about our last names, because mine was in the C's and his was in the M's i always used to go before him in alot of stuff so he would give me grief about it. So when it was time to leave we where joking around and said he would trade me names so he could get home and get to his family sooner. We laughed and then that was the last time i saw him. I sometimes wonder or wish that i could trade him spaces on the flight so he could be here today. I really miss him. I wish the best for his family. I'm sorry that i havent been able to write until now. Please feel free to contact me anytime.

SPC Cole, Christopher
4441 windergate ct
Jax, Fl. 32257
904-422-5060"
christopher cole of jacksonville, fl

"I was in Balad at Anaconda the day he died.May god bless him and your family."
Todd of Tacoma,WA

"I feel lucky to have known Stacey. He was a really warm and caring individual. I remember him laughing and laid-back. He always had such a positive attitude. He loved his family and he was always so honorable and responsible where they were concerned. It is my hope that my boys will grow up to be like him. He truly touched the lives of everyone he met. I pray for Jennifer and their son, Marisa, Kristy, Mark and Tracey, and Arturo and Nancy everyday. You guys are always in my heart."
Alice Meade Leon of Knoxville, TN

"This is the firts time I have been able to face up to the passing of my friend.I recall spending time with Mastrapa at Ft. Stewart before we deployed. I always felt welcome by him and comfortable around him. Mastrapa was my friend. I will not forget."
Brian. of Lady Lake Florida

"My childood is filled with fond memories of the Mastrapa home. Living just a few streets down from my cousins, I spent nearly as much time there as my own home. Arturo and Nancy have always been my 2nd set of parents. My cousin Kristy and I grew up like sisters to each other and I always looked up to Mark and Stacey as my big brothers. They always joked and even picked on me as much as their own sister. They also always bossed me around but looked out for me if I was ever in any trouble. I remember Stacey would let me listen to his tapes on his stereo in his room and I remember thinking how cool my cousin was. I'm sure he had no idea what a profound influence he would be in my life. I know I didn't. I would trade the world to have Stacey back one more day just to let him know how much I loved him and how proud I am of him. Yesterday was his birthday and it made it all finally seem real. My heart aches for his wife, daughter & son. I miss him so much and I hope we will all be reunited in heaven one day soon."
Rachel Mendez of Apopka, Florida

"Que Dios los bendiga y les de fuerzas para poder soportar estos momentos tan dificiles por la perdida de un ser tan querido. Nuestras mas sinceras Condolencias."
Familia Cervantes of 410 sw 88 ct Miami Fl 33174

"Hero

What is it, that makes a hero
Out of a man
It's not a sports star or movie star Signing autographs for a fan

It's a husband cherishing
And caring for his wife
Whose love means more than anything
Even his life

It's a father who loves and
Raises his children
Always cheering for them
Whether the lose or they win

It's a buddy who'll stand by
And be there for a friend
Whose loyalty and courage
Will never waver, never bend

It's a soldier who fights the enemy
He protects and defends
Not for his country nor his flag
But his family and his friends

A hero is not always the bravest,
The strongest, or the most true
No, a hero is hero
Because he cares for you"
SGT Michael Porter of Ocala, FL

"To my Mastrapa family,
Stacey is ALWAYs in my thoughts and prayers as all of you are. I hope that you find the strength to meet each day knowing that Stacey was a beautiful soul who touched so many peoples lives. God Bless!"
Clara Acosta of Valley Stream, NY

"To the Mastrapa Family,
I had the privilige to serve with Arthur in Germany. I was his sponsor when he first arrived in country. We both shared a love of reading and I would constantly be over at his house to borrow a book. You will be missed my friend. allen.stephens@us.army.mil"
SSG Allen Stephens of Ft. Lewis, WA

"I'm so proud to have had a cousin like Stacey, always with a smile and always loving his family so much. I'm so sad I lost my cousin, but I'm so glad he belonged to this great family. To my uncle, my aunt and my cousins--Kristy, Mark, Jenifer, Tracy-- you're always in my prayers and in my heart. Thank you for you love. I feel blessed to have you and to be part of this awesome, loving family. I know one day soon our whole family will be together with Stacey again, having that big family reunion we always have, but this one will be better. Love you always!"
Geysa Mastrapa of Apopka, Florida

"My Mastrapa Family, not a day goes by that I do not think of you. I walk the memorial here at Ft Stewart and my heart aches for the loss you have had to endure. Being together for the funeral has only deepened my love for you all. I stand proud to call Stacey my cousin and a true hero! May God bless you and sustain you through this most difficult time. I love you, tu prima, Lourdes"
Lourdes Miller of Ft Stewart, GA

"SGT then SPC Mastrapa worked for me as a customs investigator (MPI) in Germany. He was a hard worker and a joy to be around who cared for and loved his family above all else. This was a shock for me to see and I just would like his family to know they have the deepest sympathies of myself and my wife Debra. Art will never be forgotten."
James C. Steel of Jackson,NJ

"To the Mastrapa family,
I served with Art in Bad Kreuznach, Germany as his team leader. I remember his kindness and general affable character. He was a dedicated soldier to his duty. I will be deployed to the Mideast in 2005 and will write his name on my gear in his remembrance. God bless his sacrifice. I will never forget. If you would like to contact me: chaas@state.pa.us"
Charles Haas of Harrisburg, PA

"Thank you brave soldier for sacrificing your today for my children's safer tomorrow. You have our utmost respect and gratitude. May God provide your family with comfort in their time of sorrow. May you forever rest in Heavenly peace. Neither you nor your sacrifice will be forgotten. To the family/friends: May time provide happy loving memories in place of present sorrows. Look to the sky for in the infinite meadows of Heaven the bright shining stars bloom....the forget-me-nots of angels. God bless you and thank you."
a grateful family in Phoenix, AZ

"Thank you brave soldier for sacrificing your today for my children's safer tomorrow. You have our utmost respect and gratitude. May God provide your family with comfort in their time of sorrow. May you forever rest in Heavenly peace. Neither you nor your sacrifice will be forgotten. For the family/friends: May time provide happy loving memories in place of present sorrows. In the infinite meadows of Heaveny the bright shining stars bloom...the forget-me-nots of angels. God bless you and thank you."
a grateful family in arizona

"Sgt. Arthur Mastrapa, you are so very missed by the soldiers that are still in Iraq, the last ones you were with before you passed. Among those Msg. Adrian Pagan, Jr. It broke his heart... ...he is still in Iraq, and for you and other soldiers that either passed or came back home he will continue to fight for freedom. You have touched his heart and mine. God Bless You!!"
Lynn Quilan for Msg. Adrian Pagan, Jr of Poinciana, FL

"Our prayers are with you. As a fellow mail carrier, I read about Arthur's death just the other day, and it hit me real hard. My daughter, Alyssa Peterson, was killed in Iraq in September, 2003, and I had hoped that no other postal family would have to suffer such a great loss. Our faith in the Lord, and the prayers of a lot a good people have carried us these last ten months.
May the Lord bless you in your sorrow.
Stay strong, but break down when you need to.
Arthur is a hero. Our gratitude cannot be expressed sufficiently. Thank you, Art"
Rich and Bobbi Peterson of Flagstaff, Az

"Jennifer & Family,

Art was our mailman at an apartment complex in Altamonte. He would always talk about you and the kids. He loved you all so much. His face would just light up our office! He is deeply missed. I am so sorry for your family's loss, but you know his spirit is right beside you. God Bless, and you are in my prayers."
Shirley Koss of Casselberry, FL

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

"TO straps family he was my team leader my friend my brother. He was a man of his word....although always sarcastic. He will be missed more then anyone but yourselves will know. Im gonna miss you coolerboy."
Spc. Lohrmann of crystal river, florida

"To Sgt. Mastrapa's Family,
I grieve with you on the loss of your husband, father, son and brother. No words can express your grief; no one can understand your loss or carry your burden for you.
Still, know that our hearts weep for and with you at this time. While I watched the homecoming of the 351st in Ocala last Thursday, I couldn't help but remember that Arthur was not part of those joyous reunions.
However, if there is any comfort to be had, let it be that there will be another reunion someday, more joyous than the one we experienced here, and Arthur will be there.
His service to his country, and your sacrifice, will not be forgotten.
Those of us in the Ocala post offices are with you, if not in body, in spirit. Our prayers are for your comfort."
Stephen Montgomery of Ocala, FL

"To Arthur'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

"love you and will always miss you and your smile,loved playing softball with you and i hope to convince the post office altamonte springs fla to do something special so we never forget that you were a hero to us all.love always your fellow worker joe marzano alt spgs p o ."
joe marzano of altamonte springs florida

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

"To Arthur'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.

Sincerely,

The Family of Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco-Caldas, 82nd Airborne
KIA Iraq 12/28/2003.
Gloria Caldas (Ernie's mom) of San Antonio, TX
gloria.caldas@banksterling.com"

"I served in the Army Military Police Corps at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama with Art in 1995. I remember him being very outgoing and a dedicated soldier. It saddens me to learn that he has paid the ultimate sacrifice. To his family, I offer my condolences and say that I had the pleasure of knowing him and that he was someone I called a friend."
SSG Morlen of Ft. Polk, Louisiana

"Thank you Arthur Mastrapa, 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 Sgt. Arthur Mastrapa:
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 Arthur 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 Sgt. Arthur Mastrapa:
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 Arthur, 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