Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Marine Maj. Ramon J. Mendoza, Jr.

37, of Columbus, Ohio.
Mendoza died of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations against enemy forces during Operation Steel Curtain in New Ubaydi, Iraq. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, his unit was attached to 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward). He was assigned to Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California. Died on November 14, 2005.

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"Major Ray Mendoza was my company commander in GTMO he always lead by example and made a great impression in my life I was barely 18 when I met him and I still try to lead my life by the example he gave me. I remember seeing him and his wife Karen in 2003 when I was checking out of housing in Camp Pendleton, he gave me that big smile he always had, I said remember me Sir?! He replied; remember?! You're in my family albums, you're family how can I not remember!! That's how he was all of his Marines were his family. God bless you brother and by the way I named my son after you, Isaiah Ray Gutierrez is his name he will be a Leader like you some day. My condolences to the Mendoza family."
Jorge Gutierrez of Vacaville, California

"Found this in CRAIGSLISTand maybe someone can pass the message along to the family about this keepsakeation: San Diego

Guantanamo Bay Cuba around 1999 to 2000. I found a keepsake that he or his family should have. It is a 3'x3' placard, signed by the men under his command while in Cuba. It really belongs to him or his family. I found it at the Santee swap meet in San Diego Ca. The person I got it found it in a storage shed he had purchased. The placard is made of wood and has the USMC insigne and MB Gtmo Bay H7S Company Commander on it along with a engraved plate that has his name on it "Captain Ray Mendoza". July 99-June 00 the ultimate warrior on it. I would really like to get this to the right people. So any Marines out there who know what I should do with this please give me an e-mail or call me at 619-772-7276. My name is Allen McMillan and you can reach me at 619-772-7276. Thank you so much.
Have since posting this learned that Captain Ray Mendoza was killed on Nov. 15 2005 by an IED. Anyone with info on his family's location please get back with me. Thanks again"
David Abarca of chula vista ca

"Major Mendoza,
You were a heck of a wrestler, a friend, and to me and the men you commanded, a hero. RIP...Marco Sanchez, Sunkist kids wrestling"
Marco Sanchez of Gilroy, Ca

"Semper Fi brother, this day is for you."
of Escondido, CA

"To the family of Major R J Mendoza, I was with 2/1 the year we lost such a great man and ever since then I have not forgotten what a leader and mentor he is to so many. With the passing of our 237th USMC birthday I still feel the regret of my shortcomings as a logistics chief which failed in the training prior to our deployment. I am reminded by members of the group so long ago that my inability to support the training led to the death of Maj Mendoza and 8 other Marines that year. For this I am greatly sorry and hope the families and friends can forgive such failures of a Marine. I pray for their souls to be kept in the highest honors of heaven."
SSgt Glackin, D. J. of Camp Lejeune, NC

"Awestruck and humbled by your service and sacrifice; remembering you on Veterans Day."
of Naperville, IL

"Thank you for your service, God bless. Semper Fi!"
juan rodriguez of san antonio

"I will always remember you. Semper Fi brother, we'll meet again."

"Hard to believe that it has been this long. Seems like yesterday that you guys stayed the night with us and Alex fished for the first time. Although we go on...the wheels turn...we will never forget you nor your sacrifice.

I miss you my brother."
Kyle Rackley of Mounds, OK

"You were the best officer I ever knew. I loved you and would follow you anywhere. You left an impact upon your Marines you'll never know."
M of San antonio

"RJ - never forget how much Ray loved your dad and your family. Every time we visit Ray, we visit your dad. We leave flowers and Budweiser beer for them. Ray wanted to be buried as close as possible to his best friend, your dad. They are together and they look over your family and ours. We have and will NEVER forget your dad RJ. And I will never forget the joy that you brought to your dad. His eyes would sparkle when he spoke of you RJ. We honor your dad when we honor Ray. Your dad will always be a part of our life.

Thank you for your kind words and recognizing that Ray looked after you after losing your dad. That means the world to me and I know Ray would be so honored to hear that from you. He never wanted you and your siblings to feel like you had no one to turn to.

We will stay together
We will stay strong
We will not falter
We will persevere
Because we have to

rkmendoza@yahoo.com"

"i knew major ray mendozas son alex judging from these other comments he was a good soldier when i become a marine i want to be like major ray mendoza and when i see him in heaven i will thank him and the other soldiers for what they have done while were safe in america they have put their lifes on the line thank major ray mendoza god bless your family"

"i didnt know major ray mendoza as a soldier i only new him as father to his kids he was a good man i was struck to hear of his death i knew his son i wish he could of came home he gave up everything for his country"

"Ray i really miss you you were my dads best friend and after he died you looked after me loosing you both is almost unbearable atleast you and my dad are together again"
rj of san diego

"Maj Mendoza was my CO when I was stationed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I will never forget him. He was the kind of Marine that all Marines wanted to be. I was completely saddened to hear of his untimely death, and on this memorial day my heart goes out to his family. I think of him every year in November, and I tell his story to all of my troops. He will never be forgotten. His legacy lives on in my heart, and hopefully in my Marines under me.

Semper Fidelis"
Chad of 29 Palms

"TO MAJ.MENDOZA AND FAMILY : I WAS IN NEW UBAITI WITH MAJ.MENDOZA ON THE DAY HE MET HIS DEMISE. THAT COLD DARK MORNING SEEMED SO UNREAL JUST MINUTES BEFORE THAT HE HAD WALKED IN FRONT OF MY PLT. AND WALKED OVER THE SANDY HILL FIRST BEFORE WE GOT THERE.AFTER THAT WHAT HAPPENED NEXT I WISH WE COULD TAKE BACK. IT CAME TO A SHOCK TO ALL HIS MARINES WHEN WE RECEIVED THE HORRIBLE NEWS. HE WAS A GREAT LEADER. HE WASNT ONE TO HIDE IN THE BACK WHEN WE WERE ENGAGING ENEMIES. HE WAS A LEADER AND HE LED BY EXAMPLE.TO THIS DAY I STILL THINK OF HIM AND SEVERAL TIMES BEFORE I GOT OUT OF THE CORPS I RAN UP TO THE CROSS AND PAID MY RESPECTS TO OUR HERO.ALSO TO THIS DAY I HAVE HIS MEMORIAL BAND.HE WILL ALWAYS BE MISSED. SEMPER FAMILIA OORAH! 2/1 E.CO 1ST PLT"
JOSE L. ALAMILLO JR. of RAYMONDVILLE,TX

"Nov 15, 2010 - Just came back to read the messages and stories of Ray. I was a fellow officer on Ray's first 13th MEU deployment in 98-99. He was a very inspirational leader, and to read all of these stories again, is an unbelieveable tribute to the person he was, and still is in the hearts and minds of his family, friends, and Marines.

Semper Fi"
Bill Madden of Windham, NH

"November 14, 2010.....tonight I remember Ray Mendoza. I and my family will never forget and we will pass on your story to future generations."
Ron Krum - Father of Lcpl Adam Krum 2/1 Weapons 2004 - 2007 of Palmyra, PA

"I remember Ramon as my roomate @ West Point Prep in 1987. We were two young 18 yr old men striking out to become men. I remember I gave him the nickname "TERMINATOR" because he reminded me of the character from the movie, "powerful with few words!" He was honest, straightforward, dependable, with a HUGE heart! I had no idea he was deceased, but I see he lived a full life. God bless you Mrs. Mendoza and I'll never forger "Ray""
Kevin Hunter of Greensboro, NC, USA

"KAren and Family,

Your thoughts and prayers are still always with us. Your family was not only inspirational to chris and I but part of our family as well.
Your husband will always be missed and never forgotten!

Much love
Jessica Hankins"
Jessica Hankins of Camp Pendelton, Ca

"THE BEST CO my hubby could EVER HAD!! 2/1 will ALWAYS rock!! R.I.P. Maj. Mendoza!!
It sadness me that 4 1/2 yrs ago he was taken away from his family and his marines..
Maj. Mendoza, was Killed by a IED back in Nov 2005.
Karen if you read this THANK YOU for ALL that YOU did for us wife's and our marines. THANK YOU for showing us wife's what a role model looks like!! May the LORD BLESS YOU AND THE KIDS!!
Love you n the kids always!!
R.I.P. WARHAMMER"
Jasmine of San Clemente,CA

"I came to Echo in January 2005, and have to say that I was spoiled to have Maj Mendoza as my first CO. He was absolutely the best company commander a Marine could ask for. Like Chris Fried said earlier, after his speech on the USS Cleveland, before we went into Kuwait, I would have followed Maj Mendoza to hell and back. Maj Mendoza was the greatest company commander I have ever known, and he has given me the greatest example I could ever follow. Maj Mendoza, you are missed."
Jordan Vint of Camp Pendleton

"TO THE MENDOZA FAMILY,
I HAD THE CHANCE TO INTERACT WITH ALL OF YOU IN GTMO BAY, I WORKED AT THE DIVE SHOP, OUTSIDE OF DUTY HOURS AND REMEMBER HOW WONDERFUL ALL OF YOU WERE. SINCE THOSE DAYS OF FUN IN THE SUN, I HAVE SPENT MUCH OF MY TIME AS THE MAJOR DID WITH DIVISION, DEPLOYING, WORK-UPS AND ALL THE TIME AWAY THAT COMES WITH IT. IN THIS TIME I HAVE LOST MANY GREAT MARINES AND CORPSMEN, AND WAS SHOCKED TO HEAR THE DREADFUL NEWS. I CANT SAY I KNOW YOUR PAIN AND HARDSHIPS, BUT I KNOW HOW MUCH A LOSS LIKE YOUR HUSBAND WOULD EFFECT HIS UNIT AND THOSE CLOSE TO HIM. I AM TRULY SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS, THE MAJOR WAS A GREAT MARINE AND A MANS MAN."
HM1 KEVIN CORCORAN of EGLIN AFB, EOD SCHOOL

"I served under the WARHAMMER in 2/1 Echo Company, Weapons PLT on that fateful 13th MEU Deployment. When I first checked into Echo Company in 2005, the Company First Sergeant told me the C/O wanted to speak with me before I met my new platoon. I came to 2/1 because I had been kicked out of my first unit, and I wasn't expecting a warm welcome to this one. I was pleasantly surprised when I met (at the time) Captain Mendoza. He greeted me with his big smile and firm hand shake. He knew why I was there and was informed of my past, but there was no mention of it. He warmly welcomed me to Echo, and I knew right then I had found my new home in the Marine Corps. I'm thankful for the mistakes I made as a junior Marine, because if they were never made, I would of never of been an Echo Marine, let alone had the chance to meet and serve with Major Mendoza.

Right before Echo off loaded into Kuwait, Major Mendoza had the company form a school circle after we were all briefed on our upcoming role in Operation Steel Curtain. I'll never forget the speech he gave us, I wish it was recorded. After he was done, I knew I'd follow this guy into the depths of Hell if that's where the battle took us. A few days before his passing on November 14th, Echo was clearing an urban market area of Husaybah, Iraq. After my squad had completing clearing an abandoned building, I was spray painting 2/1 on the door to signal to other units the building was clear. Major Mendoza suddenly appeared behind me and asked, "Where they at Fried?" (Referring to the enemy)"I'm looking for em’ sir." I replied. He shot me his big smile, and continued on his way. Tragically, this was the last time I would ever speak to with him.

There's not a day that goes by that I don't think of that day on November 14th. Major Mendoza was a Marine's Marine. He was one of those rare guys that you come across once in a lifetime. The times I had while serving under Major Mendoza were some of the best times of my life, and those memories would be impossible to forget. Semper Fi brother. Rest in peace. Grunts for life."
LCpl Chris Fried of Sunnyvale, CA

"I WAS THE GUNNER FOR THE TANK PLATOON COMMANDER ON THE DEPLOYMENT OF 2005-2006 AND I REMEMBER HIM ON COM SAYING "DONT TOUCH IT, LET TANKS TAKE CARE OF IT!" IT SEEMS HE LOVED TANKS.

R.I.P. BROTHER..........."
CPL. AJITSINGH of GLEN BURNIE, MD

"served with 2/1 wpns. plt. (l.t. gannon) rest in peace gentlemen. l.t. mendoza is a hard charging marine, who looks forward to accomplish the mission. when i, heard the news from one of the former marine ( sgt. aguilar 2/1 line plt.) he delivered the news on what happened to my former l.t. gannon and l.t. mendoza, i couldn't bealive it. memories stays alive till this day, good ol' memories. but when i, think of fallen heroes, my heart ache knowing two of the best marines that i, know are both now serving st. peter. gentlemen, thank you for serving the country. as a former marine, i will remain faithful with my comrades, semperfi and god bless our marines."
nessel gonzales F.M.F. 2/1 E CO. WPNS PLT of san diego

"Karen, Went up Horno December 26 and placed a plaque on what's left of the first cross. It has the seven names of those who first carried the cross and date it was carried. I have some pictures - but need your email."
scottandkristi@yahoo.com of Poulsbo, WA

"I never want to forget the sacrifices of so many young men and women. I am so proud it makes me cry. I understand in theory only that war is a part of human nature but so is love and caring. I wish I could take the families 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"
Scott Steiner of Gahanna, OH / USA

"Ray Mendoza was my Company Commander back in 1999-2000 while stationed in Cuba. I had nothing but awe and admiration for his strength, both in physical stature and in character. When I learned of his passing, it was some time later while I was at Quantico, and it struck me hard, as if it had just happened. My mind flooded with memories of him from Cuba, and I was moved to tears at the thought of him no longer being here with us. Though I didn't know his family, my heart and prayers go out to them. I cannot fathom what loss they must feel. Ray's absence is certainly an enormous gap which can never be filled. I miss him, and surprisingly enough, I find myself thinking about him from time to time, in spite of having known him so briefly. It is a testament to the impact he had on people's lives. He was an amazing man, and I shall never forget him.
God bless you Mendoza family."
Tad DeLaney of Fredericksburg, VA/USA

"”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 1,450 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!
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 God Bless You.
Sincerely and Respectfully,
Kenna"
Kenna of Manti, Utah USA

"To the familly of Major Ramon J. Mendoza

I have already told you in person however I wish to tell you again. To have served under such a great person was a true honour. The inspiring, rare add uplifting soul that he was still brings smiles for my face and I grieve for your loss. I carry the memories of him always."
Ltd. Jake Sanderson of Texas

"I served as an 0311 (infantryman) under the guidance and supervision as my Company Commander, Capt. (Maj) Ray Mendoza. I keep his picture here with me in my office and my house. The day that the word came over the radio that he was down, put a chill and a hush over the whole unit! I cannot immagine a better man in this world, with the exception of my own father, who meant so much to me and so many others. Major Mendoza lived every minute of his life to the fullest and is still a GREAT MAN! I know he is gone but I still live like he is here! He was, and still is, AMAZING! God bless Major Ramon J. Mendoza Jr. and his family!!!!"
Staff Sergeant Shane Bertrand of Camp Pendleton, California

"Mrs. Mendoza: You don't know me but I would like to tell you that I went to John Adams with Ramon. I actually started to train him for the wrestling team. From the first day he walked in he was actually very timid in his demeanor, was very quiet, but was an incredible talent that showed in his wrestling and his person. We became friends and partners as we were the same weight class. We also played football together too. As we graduated, I left the year before him and we lost touch. The internet provides so much that I was curious as to what happened to him and couldn't believe what I saw. I didn't know him as a Marine, but from what I have been reading I am not surprised as to how he turned out and his dedication to his profession. Coming from a military family myself, I appreciate his ultimate sacrifice and I am so proud to have known him. He will forever be in my thoughts and my prayers go out to you and your family. He had alot of school members that just found out about him and are all in shock. May he rest in peace. If you ever want to know anything about him from his school days you can always contact me and I will be glad to tell u more about him. My e mail address is topguntnl@aol.com"
Steven Matos of New York

"I sit here today still remebering how much I admired and looked up to,Lt. Mendoza at the time, he definately played a big part in my transformation into a leader in our beloved Marine Corp. I have so many fond memories that I will hold dear to me of this special Marine, husband, and father. It saddens me to know of your loss and my thoughts and prayers will always be with you and your family Mrs. Mendoza. Please know that he touched so many lives and will be sadly missed by all who knew him."
Cpl Nathan Bond Wpns Co. 2/1 81's of Manistee, Michigan

"I had the pleasure of serving under Major Mendoza when he was the 81's Platoon Commander with 2/1. He was a great role model for all Marines. His letter of recommendation to my current employer had a great infuence on their decision to hire me and something I'll always be thankful for. Major Mendoza was one of those people you meet during your lifetime that you often think about and will never forget. I am deeply saddened by your loss and the Mendoza family will always be in my prayers. Semper Fi. lstevens0341@yahoo.com"
Lee M. Stevens of St. Cloud, MN

""I served under Maj. Mendoza when he was Lt. Mendoza in Weapons Co. 2/1 81's PLT. I'm saddened to hear of his death as well as that of R. Gannon, my old XO. My prayers are with all the family members and friends. Judging from other comments made, I will be able to thank Maj. Mendoza personally when I see him in heaven."
Cpl. Corey Nalley Wpns co. 2/1 81's plt of La Crescenta, Ca

"I served under Maj Mendoza when he was a Captain in Cuba. He was a great officer and role model to those he commanded. I always thought the best of him and only recently saw his sacrifice as I "googled" his name to see if he was still in the service. Know that he was exactly what a Marine Corps Officer is suppossed to be. I was proud to serve with him."
Matthew Bauer (Sgt) of Jacksonville, FL

"just wanted to say how sorry i am for your loss and that you are not alone i pray everynight for you and your children"
Paris of Va

"To the Mendoza Family,
I was recently reminded of Maj. Mendoza while watching an episode of UFC. His name was called during one of his former college roommate’s fight and my wife asked me what was wrong. It saddens me that the gentle giant we once knew is no longer with us. He as you have read left and made a great impression with everyone he met. I had the pleasure to serve with Maj. Mendoza in the late 90's. He was my platoon commander at the time at 2/1 81mm plt. Knowing him and serving under was an inspiration that I carry with me to this day. I had the pleasure of meeting you and if I am not mistaken your daughter at an ammunition supply point in Camp Pendleton after our West-Pak deployment. I hope you and your family is doing well this holiday season. He is missed but not forgotten. Semper fi. alvarez4la@yahoo.com"
Luis Alvarez of Irvine, CA

"Major Mendoza, you inspired me to keep moving forward and were a leader by all avenues! I knew you as a new Lt in 2/1 and watched you promote to Captain. I was crushed when I heard the news today what happened three years ago. We shall meet up one day and regroup and get those bastards with all the fire support included. God bless you and you do guard the gates! Semper Fi Major
1stSgt Barry A. Paggi"
Barry A Paggi 1stSgt retired of Oak Harbor Washington

"November 14, 2008
To the family of Maj. Ramon J. Mendoza, Jr.:
Ramon 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

"Mendoza Family, I know you don't know me, as well as I don't know you. But I recently purchased a Hero Bracelet, and I decided to buy the memorial bracelet with a random soldier's name on it. I received mine in the mail yesterday. Major Ramon J. Mendoza Jr was printed across the top. I feel that by doing the random bracelet, I would be given someone's name who God meant for me to pray for their family. Your family and friends are in my prayers. I know not how it must feel to have lost Ramon, or as I've read was called Ray, and I am terribly sorry for your loss. I wear my bracelet proudly and I am in constant reminder of the lives lost daily. Your family will always be in my prayers now. Rest In Peace Major Ramon "Ray" J. Mendoza, Jr. Godspeed."
Victoria McBride of Paducah, KY

"Karen and the kids:

Thinking of you this memorial day ~

May he rest in peace."
Cassie of Camp Pendleton

"Semper Fi sir, Semper Fi"
Cpl. Koch of Oshkosh, WI

"Dearest Karen, Kiana and Alek, I just read your Mom's article "Her Year For Living" in People Magazine and looked at your family's pictures and the memorial to your beloved Dad, Ray. My heart absolutely aches for you. I have never seen such sad faces and understandably so. You have lost quite a hero, we all have.
I hope this is not inappropriate, but Karen, would you and the family accept my condolences and please contact me about a book I would like to write about you? I would have left a message on your late husband's personal message page as is suggested however the web page was "temporarily disabled."
My deepest condolences are with you as is my heartfelt pain.
Sincerely, Harriet Helberg
310.890-5762"
Harriet Helberg of Malibu, California, 90265, USA

"Karen, I met you and Ray in Quantico in 1995 during TBS. My husband is Major El LeBlanc. I'm sorry to hear about your husband's death. I just learned about it last night. I wish you well and my prayers are with you and the children."
Mellissa LeBlanc of Southern California

"To the Mendoza Family:

I served as a Corporal under Maj. Mendoza when he was the H&S Company Commander. He was a great leader, Commanding Officer, and fellow Marine. He always had a positive mental attitude that spread whenever he interacted with anyone. He will be missed and my heart goes out to him as well as to his family. Semper Fi."
Corporal Robert Ayala, 2/1 H&S Company Motor Transport '01-'04 of Richmond, VA USA

"Sir,
Just want you to know that you will never be forgotten.

Semper Fi
Sgt Peraza 2/1"
Sgt Peraza of Claremont, CA

"To Mrs. Mendoza and Family,
Ray and I were classmates at EWS at Quantico from 2002-2003. I was one of the several Army students that got to know Ray. I was saddened to hear of his passing this morning from another classmate. I'll never forget Ray! Before we all left Quantico, he asked me to tune up his Ford Ranger pick up as he was about to drive it across country! He spent an afternoon at the house while we drank beer and worked on that truck! Not only a great Marine but a great person with a huge heart! My prayers and sincere condolences to the Mendoza family for your loss.

Frederick D. Ramirez
CPT, US Army"
Frederick D. Ramirez of Schofield Baracks, Hawaii

"RAY, IT WAS HARDER THIS MEMORIAL DAY THAN LAST YEAR'S. MAN, I MISS YOU BEING AROUND BROTHER! ALEC IS DOING WELL, HE HAS YOUR SMILE THAT KILLS ME WHEN I AM WITH HIM BUT HE IS VERY ACTIVE AND DOING WELL IN HIS SPORTS. KIANA AS ALWAYS IS ALWAYS STAYING BUSY AND DOING OUTSTANDING IN SCHOOL. KAREN KEEPS HERSELF BUSY AND IS ALWAYS INVOLVED WITH THE KIDS. I AM TRYING HARD RAY TO BE THERE FOR ALEC AND KIANA, I HOPE THAT I CAN CONTINUE TO BE THERE FOR THEM, BUT NOTHING IN THIS WORLD WILL TAKE YOUR PLACE. I MISS YOU VERY MUCH BROTHER AND I ALWAYS PRAY FOR YOUR FAMILY. OUR DAY WILL COME WHEN WE WILL MEET AGAIN, UNTIL THEN I WILL BE HERE FOR YOUR FAMILY AND MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE ALWAYS SAFE! SEMPER FI BROTHER!"
GUNNER ROY MONTOYA of MENIFEE, CA

"Sir, although it has bee so long it seems like just yesterday when u were my commanding officer. I still have that letter that u sent to my parents telling them of my combat promotion ad letting them know that i was ok. My Family will forever love u for that, I still have that letter hanging on my wall in a frame. You were always the one that made me feel safe in iraq, whenever we seemed to be in a tough spot u always had a calming smile on ur face and assured me we would be safe. I just wanted to let u know that no matter how much time passes i will never forget you. You saved my life by keeping me calm and for that i am always in your debt. Mrs Mendoza, i will never forget the day we returned from fallujah and Ray introduced us, it takes a special man to not only lead but to lead with his soul. I dont even know if u check this anymore but i just wanted to let u know that i am extremely proud to of served with him. And that i would like to visit his grave but i do not know where it is, if u would happen to check this please drop me a line and let me know how ur doing... my email is hackdogg_03@hotmail.com"
Cpl Lance Hackett of Camp Pendleton CA

"*~ i know that you husband is now in heaven. i know that everyone in thsi country appriciates what he has done and di know that everyone will miss him. he on now ith god and that is a sure thing well i hope that your family is blessed"
luz of bakersfield california

"Mrs. Mendoza,

I am sure you have heard this a million times, but your husband was a man who made quite an impression on those around him. I think the highest praise I could give him is that he was down to earth. He inspired respect in everyone he met, simply by by his self confidence and lack of all pretension. I have to say that of all the officers I met in the Marine Corps, he came across with the least "officer" attitude of any I can recall. Your husband was a man who had no need to hide behind the wall of rank; he was respected on his own merits and must have known it. Perhaps he never thought about it at all. It may have never crossed his mind, because his men recognized a born leader when they saw one. He was completely natural with the men under his command, friendly in a relaxed and unforced way. He seemed to know all of us personally, never passing by without saying hello. When he learned I was competing in jiu-jitsu tournaments, he told me about his friend who fought in the UFC, and promised to cheer me on in my next match. I was the company duty NCO on Christmas 2003. In the middle of my shift, there was a knock on the window. It was Captain Mendoza, soaking wet from the rain, and carrying plates of your delicious cooking for me and my assistant. I'll never forget that image, or the feeling that he actually wanted to spend time with his boys on Christmas. It was so unforced and natural. He was truly one of the good guys. As I remember now, I wasn't even in his company then. I was in Headquarters company, but as far as he was concerned we were all his Marines.

I can say that one of my regrets upon leaving the Marine Corps was that I would not serve in combat under Major Mendoza. I felt that the boys were in good hands under his leadership.

Tonight, I found out Ray had passed on. I ran into a few former 2/1 Marines. I specifically asked about your husband, expecting to hear an account of his leadership under fire. I was stunned to learn he had been killed in action. I can assure you that he will never be forgotten. He was a great Marine Corps officer, and it stemmed from being a fine man. Our country is poorer for no longer having Ramon Mendoza."
Matthew Murphy of Baghdad, Iraq

"To the Mendoza Family,

I served with Major Mendoza when he was a Lt. in charge of 2nd Platoon Echo Company 2nd BN / 1st Marines. Even though I was in 3rd Platoon at the time, I remember him a very gifted and natural Leader of Marines. Despite his intimidating size and strength, Major Mendoza was a kind and fair Officer who treated everyone he met with dignity and respect. I was very saddended when I heard the news of his passing. I can only take comfort in the knowledge that Major Mendoza died doing what he loved...leading his Marines in combat...at the tip of the spear. My deepest sympathies and condolences go out to your family. May he live forever in the memory of those who knew him well."
Cpl. Rob Hetrick USMC of Corona, CA

"Hi Mrs. Mendoza. Let me start off by saying that Major Mendoza was a great man to me while I was in the Marine Corps. I am deeply saddened by his loss. My name is CPL. Tony Berner. I am soon to be a Philadelphia Police Officer. I served with Major Mendoza in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He was a Captain back then. I found the news out on television and could not believe my eyes. He was such a great Marine and a great Man. He always talked to me about Philadelphia Flyers Hockey. I wanted to end by saying that we are so fortunate for knowing a man of his character yet so unfortunate for losing him. I wish you and your children the best and may God be with all of you. Semper Fidelis!"
Tony of Philadelphia/PA/USA

"Hi Karen and family, I found out today that Ramon had passed on since last year. My deepest sympathy to your family. He was a true friend and hero to everyone who knew him and he is now everyone's guardian angel. I knew Ramon since Junior High and High School. We are planning our 20th reunion and this is when the info was received of his passing. We are all so sadden yet fortunate to have been able to know such a special and God sent person. Ramon was a true gentle human being with lots of love in his heart for everyone."
Natasha of New Jersey

"Hi Karen, kids... it's been over a year, and somehow today, from okinawa, I found the need to google your name, to try to see where you are, how you may be adjusting...Still despite the time and distance and last time we see each other, Ray's death brings tears to my eyes. Maybe it is because his positive energy always shone through, regardless of my limited interaction with him at EWS--it was more than obvious that he is the great leader all these Marines seem to rememebr, and you Karen... you are an example of conviction, strength, generosity and concern for the military spouses that do so much to support the rest of America, and us, the green suiters. You guys, and your example as a family really touched my life in the few months I got to know you in Quantico, for you know that I am a mommy of two, also... I know Ray's spirit will be around you, his lady, and children always; and one day, all that energy wil be reunited.
Please know that my thoughts are with all of you..., I am more than proud of my brother Marine's actions and all marines that unselfishly give of themselves to step in harm's way for a greater cause. Many hugs to all and semper fidelis,
katia
Maj USMC, EWS Plan Owner Class 2003"
of okinawa

"To the family of:Ramon J. Mendoza,Jr 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"

"To the Mendoza Family,
I was with Weapons Co 2/1 81's Platoon and Maj Mendoza was my platoon commander. I been in the Marine Corp's for over 10 years and no other officer has even come close to Major Mendoza he will be greatly missed and always remembered. Semper Fi ace0341@yahoo.com"
Sgt Romeo Acevedo of Canoga Park California

"To the Mendoza Family,
I was with the 2/1 Comm Platoon and we were forward not far from where Ray was killed. I have to say that I have never served with a better Marine or a better Officer. Major Ray Mendoza, you will forever be in my heart and all of the hearts of 2/1 Marines that served with you. You have left a lasting impression in my life and I will never forget you. Semper Fidelis to the best Officer that 2/1 and the Corps has ever had in my opinion. GONE BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN."
Sgt Jeremy Hamilton of Sacramento, CA

"Mrs. Mendoza,
Although I did not know Major Mendoza, I was proud and privileged to have been part of the Color Guard detail who received your husband in San Diego. Siempre Familia"
Sgt Martinez of Okinawa Japan

"To the Family of Major Mendoza. My name is Ethan Place I was a scout/sniper with 2/1 H@s Company in 2002-2005. I will never forget the time I spent with him. I have some VHS type of Maj Mendoza from May of 2004. I would send it to you if you would like it. but at the same time I understand if you do not want it. The last day i was in, i made the run up to the cross. It holds a great place in my heart. Take care.

Sgt. Ethan Place
Scout/sniper TL GR40"
Ethan Place of St. Louis MO

"Karen & the Mendoza family:
While I did not know Ray as a Marine, I knew him as a wrestler at Ohio State. I wrestled at Indiana and remember seeing the mammoth of a man named Ray back in '93 (I think) at the Big Ten Championships. As a former Marine Officer, I thank you, the military spouse, for your dedication to a life that takes honor, courage, and commitment to another level. God Bless you and your family. Ray: "Semper Fi""
Gabe Bailey of Arlington, VA

"I severed with Mj. Mendoza in Gitmo. You are deeply missed, sir. Guard the golden streets proudly. Semper Fi!"
Brian Foster of Overland Mo.

"To Major Mendoza and his family....even though we did not know you personally, our son did and spoke of his relationship with you with great pride. He checked in to 2/1 as a PFC. You promoted him to Lcpl. in Fallujah, and also promoted him to Cpl. We got to pin his chevrons on upon making Sgt. WE are so glad that you were his CO, as proud as he was of being your Radio Operator. Thank you for being in his life and may God bless you sir and your family.."
Homero&Berzaida Menchaca of Milton-Freewater, Oregon

"I only knew Maj. Mendoza from his time as 81's plt. commander in 2/1. And even though I didnt' get to know him very well I knew what a great leader, Marine, and man he was by the way his marines spoke of him. He was definitely loved by all. It saddens me to hear of his passing as not only the Corps and country have lost a great man, but his family too. My prayers are with you all. Semper Fi Sir."
K. Candies Sgt. CM plt. wpns 2/1 of Texas

"1st LT. Mendoza was one of my first platoon commanders when I was with 2/1 as a new Marine. I did not know untill today that he had passed on. I will always remember him because in my 9 years in the Marines he is the best platoon commander I've ever served under. I will never forget the first time his wife met our platoon at a company party and knew all of our names. I later found out that it was because he had a picture of our platoon in his house and his wife had put names to faces before meeting us. That was how much he cared about his Marines and how much we were a part of his family. I doubt that I will ever meet a better leader of Marines or example to live up to for the rest of my time in."
SSGT Boyde Allen of RSS Rapid City SD

"I served under Ray when he was Lt. Mendoza in Weapons Co. 2/1 81's PLT. I'm saddened to hear of his death as well as that of R. Gannon, my old XO. My prayers are with all the family members and friends. Judging from other comments made, I will be able to thank Ray personally when I see him in heaven.

God Bless,
Josh"
Josh Duke of Boston, Massachusetts

"Elena Zurheide,
I can not tell you how many prayers I have sent your way. Ray was 2/1 H&S Company when your husband was sent to heaven. Ray and your husband also carried the 300 pound memorial cross up the hills of Camp Horno. They did it together and now they are together in heaven. Ray wanted to attend the baby dedication last year, but he couldn't bear to do it. It was too difficult for him to be up there without your husband there as well. After Ray's services, I had a "motivational hump" to the cross at Camp Horno. We scattered the dirt from Ray's gravesite and I know Ray was with us that day. My 8 year old was one of the first to arrive at the cross. When I finally got up there, he told me that he heard his daddy's voice. Ray's family and friends humped up that hill not to remember only Ray but all of the brothern Marines lost in the pursuit of freedom for all of God's children. I thought of you at the top of the hill and prayed a special prayer for you and your son. You have always been in my thoughts in prayers. Thank you for reaching out to me, as we both now walk in the shoes down the path without the father of our children, and the love of our lives. I am humbled by your extension of love. May God's Grace always be with you and your son.

"Difficulties do not define you, they simply strengthen your ability to overcome."

Hope to hear from you Elena: rkmendoza@yahoo.com"
Karen Mendoza of Oceanside, CA

"To Mrs. Mendoza
My name is Elena Zurheide, My husband was in the same unit as your husband at one point. I just want to give you my condolences I know that your husband as well as mine are our gardian angels and that they are proud of us. I hope to hear from you sometime in the future. God Bless you and your family."
Elena Zurheide of Tucson, AZ

"To Major Mendoza's Family, I am so sorry for your loss. To Major Mendoza, words cannot begin to thank you for all you have done in Iraq and with the Marines. You sir are a true American Hero. You will always be remembered and honored. God Bless you all."
Mary Ghaney of Brooklyn, New York

"I felt an angel near today,
Though one I couldn’t see.
I felt an angel, Oh-So-Close,
Sent to comfort me.

I felt an angel’s gentle kiss,
Soft upon my cheek.
An oh, without a single word,
Of caring it did speak.

I fel and angel’s loving touch,
Soft upon my heart.
And with that Tough, I felt the Pain,
And Hurt within depart.

I felt An Angel’s tepid tears,
Fall softly next to mine.
And knew that as those tears did dry,
A new day would be mine.

I felt and angel’s silken wings,
Enfold me with Pure Love.
And felt a strength within me grow,
A strength sent from above

I felt an angel, Oh-So-Close,
Though one I couldn’t see.
I felt an angel near today,
Sent to comfort me.


Gone – but not forgotten.
Thank you for sharing your marine 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

"Maj. Mendoza,
Sir, I would like to say thank you to you and the other Marine from your unit(2/1) who was killed for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Semper Fi Devil Dog!"

"Dear Maj. Ramon J. Mendoza, Jr.'s Family....

No words can comfort your loss. Honored Marine, now in glory, He will be missed.
We thank him for his service to us in the "War on Terrorism".
He is now resting in the arms of Jesus!
And Jesus is saying the honored words all Marines want to hear: "Well Done, Marine!" God Bless your family always;
You will see him again!

The Walters Family, Steve, Zaida, and Amy.
p.s. We lost our brave Marine-March 26, 2004 in a gun battle in Fallujah.
Pfc. Leroy Sandoval Jr. (our son and brother)"
Steve and Zaida Walters of Houston, Texas

"To the family and friends of Major Ramon J. Mendoza, Jr.,

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, Ca USA

"MAJOR MENDOZA WAS MY PLATOON COMMANDER. WE (2ND PLT, ECHO CO 2/1) WERE HIS FIRST PLATOON. I CAN STILL REMEMBER THE DAY THE MAJ, BACK THEN A SECOND LT CHECKED IN. I COULD NOT BELIEVE MY EYES. THERE STOOD THE MAN THAT WOULD LEAD US, INTIMIDATED WE ALL WHERE, FOR THOSE THAT NEW THE MAJOR CAN RELATE. BUT THEN CAME THIS BIG SMILE THAT MADE ME FEEL AT EASE, A SMILE THAT WE WILL ALL REMEMBER.

I RAN INTO THE MAJOR A FEW DAYS BEFORE HE DEPLOYED. I WAS A CAMP PENDLETON RECRUTING FOR LAPD. BOTH THE MAJOR AND I WERE SO HAPPY TO SEE EACH OTHER AS ALL MARINES ARE WHEN THEY RUN INTO SOME ONE THEY HAVE SERVED WITH. I WAS HAPPY TO SEE THAT THE MAJOR WAS LEADING THE COMPANY WHERE HE STARTED OUT AS A YOUNG PLT COMMANDER. HE WAS HAPPY AND AS ALWAYS VERY MOTIVATED. I KNOW THE MAJOR DIED DOING WHAT HE BELIEVED IN, HE DIED LEADING MARINES.....TAKING THE POINT.

"SKIPPER" YOU WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN

SGT PERAZA (KNUCKLE DRAGGERS) 2/1"
SGT PERAZA of CLAREMONT, CA

"We are deeply sorry for your loss. The Courage, Honor, and Valor that your
Hero showed will always be remembered.
We are grateful for the loyal service and sacrifice that was made and
WE WILL NEVER FORGET.
Our cousin LCPL Michael Smith Jr. gave his life on 4-17-04 fighting for freedom.
Please know that this was not in vain and these American Heros will FOREVER be honored.
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

"We care and share your sorrow."
7th Grade Louisburg Middle School of Louisburg, KS

"MAJOR, THANK YOU FOR SERVING OUR COUNTRY! FOR BEING A MILITARY LEADER TRAINING OUR SOLDIERS, TO UNDERSTAND THAT BEING A SOLDIER TAKE'S HEART! AN MUCH TRAINING ALONG WITH SCARIFICE. THAT A SOLDIER'S LIFE COMES BEFORE HIMSELF AND FAMILY. FOR WE HAVE A MISSION TO ALWAYS BE ALERT, TO PROTECT OUR COUNTRY AND ANSWER TO OUR PRESIDENT COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF. MANY AMERICAN'S BELIEVE THE NEGATIVE BEFORE THE POSITIVE. NEVER MET ONE SOLDIER WANTING TO WOUND, KILL ANOTHER NO LESS BE WOUNDED OR KILLED. MAJOR, YOU ROLE WITH OUR SOLDIERS WAS TO PREPARE THEM. YOU HANDLE THAT MISSION. AN YOU SIR, HAVE NOT DIED IN VAIN! YOU ARE AN AMERICAN HERO! STILL YOU ARE MUCH MORE THEN A SOLDIER AND HERO! YOUR AN AMAZING TO YOUR LOVING FAMILY. LOSTING SOMEONE SO PRECIOUS IS VERY DIFFUCULT. AN WE ALL DEAL WITH IT VERY DIFFERENTLY. IT'S A VERY HARD PROCESS. SO I URGE YOU TO GIVE SPACE TO ONE ANOTHER. REFLECT ON ALL RAMON MEANT TO YOU! YOU BE AMAZED HOW? HE HAS TOUCHED YOUR HEARTS AND SO MANY. AN BELEIVE IT OR NOT TO THOSE THAT DIDN'T KNOW HIM. RAMON AND OUR SON GREGORY, DIDN'T KNOW ONE ANOTHER. CHANCE BE DIM SERVING TWO DIFFERENT BRANCHED OF SERVICE. STILL BOTH MILITARY BROTHER'S AND SISTER'S. WITH A COMMON BOND TO WATCH OVER AND PROTECT ONE ANOTHER. MILITARY BRANCHES ARE A SOLID BOND, UNTIL IT'S SAVING A SOLDIER'S LIFE. NOW RAMON AND GREGORY HAVE MET. AN THAT IS MY COMFORT KNOWING MY SON IS WITH SOLDIRS SUCH AS RAMON AND OUR FALLEN. ALL ARE WITH US. IN MY HEART I PRAY FOR RAMON TODAY AND HIS FAMILY. AN I URGE YOU TO REACH OUT TO YOUR POLITICAL LEADERS TODAY. REQUEST A STREET BE NAMED AFTER RAMON. FOR HE SERVED HIS COMMUNITY,COUNTY, STATE AND COUNTRY. WE CAN NOT AS FALLEN FAMILIES ALLOW AMERICA NOT TO HONOUR THEM NOW. WE CAN NOT WAIT UNTIL AFTER A CONFLICT AND OR WAR. PEOPLE FORGET, WE NEED TO FOCUS TO KEEP IT FRESH IN THE MINDS OF AMERICANS. IT IS THE VERY LEAST HIS COMMUNITY CAN DO TO HONOUR RAMON. GO BACK TO OUR VIETNAM VETERANS, MISTREATED WRONGLY BY AMERICANS. WE CAN NOT LET THIS HAPPEN TO RAMON AND ALL OUR WOUNDED AND FALLEN FROM AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ. RAMON REST BUDDY! YOU ARE LOVED AND IN OUR HEARTS! KIA SGT GREGORY L. WAHL BALAD, IRAQ 05-03-04 US ARMY DRAGON SOLDIER"
leonard wahl of valley stream ny

"To Ray's family and friends,
I served with Ray on his first trip with the 13th MEU from Dec 1998-June 1999. As a fellow officer, I remember having a deep respect for Ray's physical presence and athletic ability. What was more powerful though was his complete self confidence and the poise with which he carried himself. I am sure he was a truly inspirational leader to his company, and all the Marines he led during his career. I will remember him together with Major Rick Gannon (from the same BLT in that MEU) as two truly exemplary Marine Corps officers, leaders and family men. The Marines who were in their charge are better people after serving with them. I am truly sorry for your loss.
Semper Fidelis"
Bill Madden of Boston, MA

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

"Thank you Ramon Mendoza, Jr., 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 Maj. Ramon Mendoza, Jr.:
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 Ramon 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 Maj. Ramon Mendoza, Jr.:
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 Ramon, 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