Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Marine Lance Cpl. Eric J. Orlowski

26, of Buffalo, New York.
Killed by an accidental discharge of a .50 cal machine gun in Iraq. He was assigned to the 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, NC. Died on March 22, 2003.

His daughter Cameryn, 3, last talked to her father just 18 hours before he was killed. During that last conversation, Orlowski told her that when he came home, he would take her to Disney World.

Source: MSNBC/Newsweek

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I'm sorry I took so long to write this. We may of not been that close of friends. But we where brother Marines and always will be. I stood right behind you that day you spoke to your daughter and I over heard you talk about taking her to Disney. We talked later and I found out your daughter and my son were the same age. I still can see that day in my head like it was yesterday. And then that night is always in my thoughts every day. The shots rang out then the call for Doc. I turned to Top and he said go Mac. I ran to your tank and climbed on and tried everything I knew and worked with doc. I'm sorry I failed you. I'm sorry you never got to take your daughter to Disney. I wish I could of done more. To this day I work in emergency services to try and help others. I've learned that I can't always save everyone. It still hasn't helped me get through that night with you. I'm sorry brother I haven't been to see you more and to talk more. I promise I'll do better. I hope your daughter and family are well.
Semper Fi brother"
Sgt. Mac of Phoenix NY

"your mom was at my ex girl friend and my apartment for a party the day your passed your mom got the call at our house .she lost it the only thing she was thinking about was you .i dont know if you remember but we had watched you a few times you were a cute kid ,,if theres anything you need find me on
robert dubel of west seneca

"to my guardian angel... I .. we will never forget. GI Joe He Man Star Wars Transformers. a long time has passed. we love and miss you."
jared anne alyssa of west seneca

"To eric...I remember when me and u use to beat the crap out of each other when we were kids...The last time I seen u we were at rock and roll heaven and u told me u loved me and when u can back we were going to be in the same spot we were standing that day...that day never came...I think about u everyday of my life and miss u so much brother"
mikey desantis of depew ny

"Dear Kristy,
Some years ago I found a Fallen Heroes bracelet with Eric's name on in. I do not remember where I came across it, but just tonight I was organizing my jewlery box and there it was... I decided to look up Eric's name, and I saw your message. I wanted to tell you how sorry I am for your loss, and how thankful and proud so many of us are of soldiers like Eric. My dad was a Marine in the 60's, so I have always had an understanding of the sacrifice and dedication it takes to be a Marine.. and love a Marine. My dad passed away several years ago now, but I know I will see him again in heaven... and meet Eric too. God bless and keep you, and just know you are not alone.
John 14: 1-4"
Celina of Arlington Heights IL

"My sweet Eric 10 years have come and gone since you left and still I swear at times I can still feel you around me no surprise its usually during my times of greatest despair that I look back and realize that no matter how alone I may have thought I was, it was you that made me get up and fight on just as you made me promise I would do in that last letter you sent me. Written the afternoon of your death and delivered to me 3 months after you left this Earth. I can never explain to you the way seeing your handwriting on that tattered and weather stained envelope made me feel nor can I explain the desperation with which I tore it open just knowing it was finally what I had been waiting for - you telling me that it had all been an awful mistake and that you were headed home to wrap me up in your arms like you always did. But it wasnt a mistake was it baby? Instead it was you telling me that you loved me to the ends of time and back and to remember that nothing can ever stop or come between that and even if God saw fit for us to have to walk alone for a time I should never doubt that our ultimate place in eternity was with each other. You knew didnt you Eric?? I remember laying in the darkened silence in your arms the night before you shipped out and you saying "you know that no matter what I will find my way back to your side right my love?" Then the next morning I pulled you back from the gate 4 times because I felt something I couldnt put my finger on. I just knew it terrified me. You smiled your smile and told me to pick out the dress I was going to be wearing when you got back home and made an honest woman out of me and then you were gone. As I walked back toward the Jeep I cant tell you why but I felt a pull at my back and turned around just in time to see you had come back down the tarmac and stood watching guard over me as I made my way back to the truck. You were so handsome and my heart swelled with love and pride for you. My big strong Marine standing guard over me then and now. So 10 years roaming without you has been torture but the memory of your embrace and the way it felt to love and be loved by you has been my saving grace. It cant be much longer until I hear your voice whisper in my ear as you come up behind me "Ma'am this Marine would be honored to dance this dance with you. Please dont say no because that would just do me in and im pretty sure theres no ribbon they give for that ailment. So what do you say? Will you make a guy from Buffalo smile tonight. You can call it service to your country. They do give out medals for that you know!" You had me from the moment I rested my head on your shoulder that first waltz. Even if you destroyed my pedicure! I adore you still my love and I will keep logging time forever in limbo until the band plays our waltz again. I love you.

Kristy of Buffalo NY

On today, the 10th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family and loved ones-especially your daughter I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Semper Fi Devil Dog!"

"Eric, It was my honor to stand in respect of your sacrifice today, the 10th aniversary of your passing. Watching your brothers, from missions and handshakes past pay tribute to your bravery and memory brought tears to my eyes. While I never had the priviledge of shaking your hand or looking you in the eye, I have worn those same boots and served those same missions. I am in awe of your bravory and sacrifice.

As a PGR member, we say we "stand for those who stood for us" and that "our brothers will never be forgotten" ... it was so inspiring to see that in motion today. Heros are never forgotten, just missed. Your brothers in arms showed in force today ..... and it was my honor to be a small part of a hero's remembrance.

Rest easy Marine .... mission accomplished."
PGR rider of Buffalo, NY

"Woodly swears he could hear you warning him every time they rolled into a dangerous situation. Thanks for your help getting the rest of the crew home safe. It is a huge loss to this Country every time we lose men of action like you. May God bless and watch over your Daughter, Mom and Dad."
Mike Bienas (Bean's Dad) of Lockport, N.Y.

"To my beloved father,
Every day i think of you and wounder how things would be if you were still alive. I think of the confident things about how he protected our country for his family and friends, his hugs and smiles. I love you so much dad!!!!!"
Cameryn Orlowksi of Buffalo, Ny

"To my beloved father,
Everyday i think of you and wounder how things would be if you were still alive. I think of the confident things about how he protected our country for his family and friends, his hugs and smiles. I love you so much dad!!!!!"
Cameryn Orlowksi of Buffalo, Ny

"This past weekend I was visiting the grave of my young daughter at St. Matthew's Cemetery when I was drawn to a nearby American flag proudly displayed. Pausing there I immediately recognized your name - a full 9 years later, going to prove that in your service you've truly left a legacy!"
Dan of West Seneca, NY

"i was standing behind eric in line the day before he died, waiting to use some camera crews' satellite phone. I remember his smile after talking with his daughter... He was an outstanding Marine and a better man. He is missed and will not be forgotten"
sean tuckey "4pac"

"Nothing I can say will do you justice, so I will just say this. You were my brother and it was an honor serving with you.

Semper Fidelis,"
Cpl Duke of Syracuse, NY

"Thinking of you Eric 8 years ago today. All of us Syracuse Marines miss you brother."
Sgt. Rob McIlroy of Camillus, NY


"Getting ready for the Marine Corps Ball this year 2009. Eric is not forgotten. Marines in Syracuse will be thinking of thier lost brother."
Mark Moon SSgt of Penn Yan , NY

"Lad, I did not know you. I met your family. I knocked that night and left a part of myself at that doorstep. I think of you often and what you have sacrificed for this republic, THANK YOU. March is a hard time.. My prayers are with you and for your daughter. Semper Fi Mac!"
Hunter of unknown

"My Dear Brother,
Just want to say that I love you and miss you so very much. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of your smile, laugh and love that you gave to our family.. I just want you to know you are the best and always will be. GROUP HUGS!!!!
Love you always,
Melissa Haffa of Lancaster, NY 14086

"I'm sad to report Cameryns mother lost her battle with Breast Cancer this week."
. of Buffalo, NY

"It's been five years since that day. To some it is just a day to mark off on a calendar. To a Grand Mother, a father, and especially, a daughter, it is a day when the world came to a stop. A day when a bright sun rose but suddenly it became dark.

Eric, we never met, since I left Buffalo before you were born but, your Grand Mother is my God mother, and I know how much you meant to her, her heart still breaks today. I want you to know that I will do everything that I can to ensure that your service will not be in vain. Our country is in strife today based only on political advantage. Some don't see that there is evil out there, and they disdain those who "Walk the Wall." To them, I say only that freedom isn't free, brave men walk that wall to allow their those people to wallow in their apathy and self pity . Sometimes there is a price to pay, and those of lesser conviction gladly let their betters pay that price. They can't understand, "Duty, Honor, Country." We reached a mile stone today, 4000 died for 3000. Those that don't understand is that the American fighting man would do the same for one.

Sleep well Marine for, you were one of the "Few, the Proud, and the Brave." Robert E. Lee may have said it best when he talked about Duty "....is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things ... You cannot do more; you should never do less." God knows you did your duty for that you can rest in peace.

Semper Fi.

Your cousin with great respect.

Thom Blas of Gulf Breeze, FL

"The day that Orlowski died I had pull his next of kin information so that my Captain could start the casualty call to the states. I was so saddened when I saw that he had a daughter the same age as my son. Four years later and I still think of that day and wonder how his little girl is doing without her daddy. My two little boys will always know and appreciate Eric Orlowski and the sacrifice he made for this country."
Maria Ramirez, Sgt USMC of Lexington, KY

"I first met O-Dogg during CAX 2001. We were on the same tank together. I later transfered to a another unit and heard of his death just days before shipping out to Iraq. Eric was a gentle giant and an excellent Marine. My thoughts and prayers are with his family."
Sgt Alex (Dirty Chuck) Charlanow of Niskayuna, NY

"Hello. I have written a book that I would like to dedicate to Eric, in honor of his sacrifice. I learned of Eric through the NYT article last weekend, and it inspired me to get my website up and get going. The website is www.ripgerber.typepad.com and the book is called The Journeyman. I am donating proceeds to organizations that support the families of those who have fallen, and hope that people will hear about the book. i would like to send you a copy at no charge, in honor of Eric. If you could let me know where to send it, or in care of an organization if you don't want to disclose your address, i would appreciate it. I also welcome comments on my site. Yours, Rip Gerber - email - rip@ripgerber.com"
Rip Gerber of San Francisco, CA

"I was "the Big Orlowski's" roomate in tank school. He was a good marine and he was awesome to have around. My thoughts and prayers go to he's daughter and family. You will be missed brother. Semper Fi"
Sgt Palafox of San Diego, CA

"On this day beore memorial day, I remember "SKI", I was the Duty SNCO that took the casualty call the day he died. I was also his "DOC" at 8th Tank Co, Bravo CO. Semper Fi"
HM1(SW) Michael A. Venezia, USN, Ret of Cleveland, NY

"May 22, 2007
To the family of Eric J. Orlowski. Eric 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

"May you always remember him as the hero that he was. In giving his life for his country, he earned our grateful thanks."
Lorene Meacham of Monument, CO, USA

I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Semper Fi Devil Dog!"

"Hello.First and foremost I'm so sorry about your loss.I also have a loved one who is in Afghanistan right now.The reason I also wanted to write is because last march I got a memory bracelet with his name on it-from hero bracelets.org.I did not ask for anyone specific and when I received mine with Eric's name on it I looked up his name on the internet to learn more about him.Many people have asked about the name on my bracelet and I've told them about Eric. I don't take it off,I wear it so people will not forget what price freedom is .He is a Hero.May God Bless your family."
Christina Szewczyk of Syracuse, New york U.S.A

"To the family of:Eric J. Orlowski I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. He died a hero defending freedom. May you have the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Prayerfully, we will 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, Gateway Community Church, 11677 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015. Your friend in Jesus Christ,"
Polly Ballew of Covington,Ga

"I am posting this message because my fiance was a close friend of Eric. Jeff was in Iraq when he died and thinks of him often. We wanted to let the family and everyone know that he is always in our thoughts. I also felt that I should tell you that we have a 1 year old son, Eric named after Eric J. Orlowski. I would love to be able to share pictures and keep in touch with his family and let them be a part of my sons life. If you would like to contact me please feel free: maslyn_jl@yahoo.com"
Jessi of Clifton Springs, NY

"I knew Eric for a long time, he was my brother's best friend. Eric was the kindest and funniest person we have ever known and most trustworthy. Eric will always be in our hearts and in our prayers. We will also keep his family in our prayers for we know how much this has pained them. We love & miss you Eric."
Christine Roach of Cheektowaga, NY, US

"We are all proud of you."
Bill Orlowski of Arizona

"My name is Kathryn Orlowski, I was on google and I came across the tragic story of Eric Orlowski. We are not related (that I know of) and my heart goes out to his family and friends. God bless"
Kathryn Orlowski of Shawnee Mission, Kansas

"Semper Fi to you and your family. I have a soft spot for tankers and fellow Western New Yorkers."
Jessica of Richmond, VA - Buffalo, NY

"God looked around His garden and found an empty place. He then looked upon this Earth and saw his face. He put His arms around him and lifted him to rest. God's garden must be beautiful he always takes the best. He knew that he was suffering, He knew that he was in pain, He saw the road was getting rough and the hills were hard to climb, so He closed his weary eyelids and whispered peace to thine. It broke our hearts to lose him but he didnt go alone for part of us went with him the day God called him home."
Kristy of Depew, NY

"I am so sorry to hear about your tragic loss, but I can say that I understand. My husband, Spc Justin W. Linden was also killed in Iraq on June 4, 2004. These soldiers were all so brave, strong, and courageous. Though they are in heaven now there memories will live on forever in our hearts. So many great American's pray for you all every day, and I am one of them! Stay strong and remember your never alone!"
Sarah Linden of Portland, OR USA

"RIP Marine"
Petty Officer Cawthon of RTC Great Lakes, IL

"I was in Iraq with Erics unit. He will always remain in my heart and mind. Semper Fi Brother..."
Lcpl Anthony . J Nunez . Jr. of Rochester NY

"Memorial Day, 2004
Today I attended the "Arlington West" memorial on the beach in Santa Monica, California. 800 crosses were placed on the beach in memory of those who gave their lives in Iraq. They had a list of the fallen and people could write a name and place it on a cross along with some flowers. I chose Eric's name and just wanted you to know that he was remembered out there on the beach today."
Lynn Soban of Beverly Hills, CA

"Hi my name is Taylor. I am in 7th grade. When my loved ones died I was told that they were chosen by god. Also they were chosen for a reason. Also they were serving a higher purpose. Last that they were not in any pain. I would like to tell you that I am sorry that your loved one was chosen.I had an Outstanding life,

I rarely did not think about ,
the people I Love,
I have an Out standing family,
Who I love
I have a Sweet
and Kind wife
I have a 3 year old daughter who I love."
7th grade student of Barker Middle school

"Eric was one of my good buddies in Tank School, back in 2000, we always hung out and went to the gym in the barrcks together. He was a very cool guy, I am so sorry to hear what had happened to him. When I first heard about the incident I was in total shock, I couldn't believe the news, I needed to see a picture to believe it. My thoughts and prayers go out to his daughter and his family. He was a good Marine!!!!"
Cpl. Richard Velasquez of Upland, California

"In loving Memory..Its been a year..

At the rising of the sun and at its going down, We remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of Winter, We remember them.
At the opening of buds and in the rebirth of Spring, We remember them.
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of Summer, We remember them.
At the rustling of leaves and the beauty of Autumn, We remember them.

As long as we live, they too will live;
for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.
Rest in Peace Dear Soldier!!! We will NEVER FORGET!"
The Grogan Family of Lakeland, TN

"We Will NEVER FORGET !" As the first anniversary of the death of your loved one arrives;
Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering all your family and loved ones in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Eric, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"O-Dogg was my loader for 2 years until he was killed in Iraq. He was the greatest friend anyone could ever have and a great crew memeber. His knowledge of '80s hairband songs kept us entertained in Kuwait and his impression of Jim Kelly was spot on during our pick up games in the desert. Big O, you will always be missed."
Sgt Adam (Beans) Bienas of Lockport, NY

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

"To the Family of Eric Orlowski,
I send my love and thoughts to you. Elaine Orlowski, daughter of Gunny Richard Orlowski."
Elaine Orlowski of Virginia Beach, Virginia

The Taylors of USMC NC

"Thank you Eric Orlowski, 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

"I was in Eric's unit, and was there that night. We all miss him terribly, and his sacrifice will never be forgotten by any of us for the rest of our lives. He is a true hero, and one of the best men I have ever had the honor of serving with. Rest in Peace, O-Dogg. Semper Fi."
Nick Bausch of Hamlin, New York USA

"I just got back from Op. Iraqi Freedom last week when I heard the news of Eric. I went to boot camp with him and I just want to say I am so sorry for your loss. He was a great guy and an outstanding Marine. It was an honor just to be able to meet him."
Lcpl. Mike Deutsch of Bel Air, Maryland

"Our prayers are with your family during this difficult time. Thank you brave soldier, your courage and sacrifice will nerver be forgotten."
Ken and Maritza Holley of Pembroke Pines, Florida

"Thank you for protecting us all! He gave the ultimate sacrafice to protect us all now and to insure his daughters freedom in the future!"
The Wright Family of Bradford, PA

"To the family and friends of Lance Cpl. Eric Orlowski:
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 Eric 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 Lance Cpl. Eric Orlowski:
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 Eric, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera, of Powder Springs, Georgia

"Thank you for allowing your hero to protect our freedoms!"
Holly of VA

Honor them by remembering... Freedom - is their gift to us But his soul goes marching on