Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Marine Sgt. Fernando Padilla-Ramirez


26, of San Luis, Arizona.
Killed in action. Sgt. Padilla-Ramirez was last seen conducting convoy operations in the vicinity of Al Nasiriyah on March 28, 2003. His remains were identified on April 10, 2003. He was assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron-371, Marine Wing Support Group-37, Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Arizona.

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"Mrs.Padilla,

I was a member of 2/2 Fox the company responsible for bringing Sgt.Padilla home.I shared your post with my fellow Devil Dogs and we are eager to help. I understand your frustration and hope for change. Please reach out to us...
Bgfrank80nc@yahoo.com"
Frank Whitmore of Frisco, Tx

"14yrs ago... Only recently have I understood that the statement "no man left behind" is only sometimes true even-though some may try to alter its meaning... sad to say.
I was a Military Police with MWSS371 during that deployment and was present when the unfortunate events occurred. I was a driver in one of the (Military Police) Security HMMWVs and cannot understand why we did not stop and get our Marine. We had more than enough support and firepower to do it. I have never been as angry as I am nowadays about what happened to Sgt. Padilla and have subsequently happened to Mrs. Padilla and the rest of their family. The more I reflect and process that day (and many other issues throughout both of my deployments) the more upsetting it is for me (I am sure nowhere near as upsetting and frustrating to many others). I wished then, as I wish now that I could have done, and could do more for Sgt. Padilla. The puzzled look on our “leaders'-less” faces as they tried to say something coherent to explain what happened; and how they unashamedly, with a straight face told us that other Marines will get him is very frustrating. I am thankful, however, for Marines such as Rocha and Sgt. Madrigal (and many others) who helped our convoy push through Nasiriya and beyond, and that today, by sharing their stories, help people like me put pieces together by providing reaffirming and confirming stories about the events.
I pray Mrs. Padilla that soon, you and your family will be able to receive all that which was promised to you and your family by (maybe) well-intentioned and (most-likely) ill-prepared people. Those who speak to you and your family in such ways have no real understanding of your suffering and clearly are not prepared to tactfully and caringly care and help you and your family (or any other family/service-member for that matter). I pray also that once you receive that which was promised to you and your family, you will be able to live in a “new-normal” where life gets a little easier. His life and death, Mrs. Padilla, although in different ways means something to those who served with him also. My life has certainly changed and has opened my eyes to life’s deeper meaning. Part of my goal in life is to help and work with Veterans and their families through difficult situations. This may provide little to no comfort to you, but I wanted to share it with you (and others since it’s an open forum). Please, if you and others wish to speak/write about it feel free to contact me at: alexis_arzuaga@hotmail.com

Thank you…"
Alexis Arzuaga (Cpl. USMC 02-05) of Efland, NC

"My husband, friend, passed away 14 years ago-
In this time I have dedicated in raising our children and building a career for myself on the behalf of my boys-
I am running out of energy to keep fighting the VA on February 2017 my son got denied the MGIB-
honestly in this point of our life I am tired of being reminded of how my husband life only meant something for us- I miss him and you will never understand what life has been with out him-
I am not asking for donations I am asking to treat my boys with respect and to give what was promis to Fernando and myself 14 years ago.

And I am so sorry for the Veterans out there for who have to deal with such disrespect may God bless you and In behalf of my family thank you for your service..."
Mrs. Padilla of AZ

"Dear Sgt. Padilla-Ramirez's family.

Along with Sgt Madrigal, I to was apart of providing security for Sgt. Padilla's unit. At that time, I was a Sgt. and was the the lead team of that convoy, and I remember that night vividly as well. I remember, that was the night our rear convoy was hit, and we were ordered to push through. Once we found out, that we were missing one, I remember my assistant gunner and I was trying to go back to search for him, but was ordered not to by the convoy commander, that they were sending Marine Force Recon to do it. That was the time I realized that no man left behind was not applied in that scenario. That really made me upset as well as my assistant gunner. I remember thinking that if that was me, would my marines come back for me? In all honesty I think they would have, because our unit had some courageous men, such as Sgt. Madrigal as I have witnessed for myself in our first firefight in An Nasiryiah. I do think about Sgt. Padilla a lot, especially when I hear taps being played, though I will be honest, I did not really know him either. I have read a book by Nathaniel Fick called, "One Bullet Away." I truly believe he was the recon unit that went to look for Sgt. Padilla, by the way he describes it, though I may be wrong, but his book just brings me back to that day. I am truly sorry for your loss, and I will never ever forget that day, because we lost one of our own, my brother. Yet you have gain a son in me, and I pray that one day I will be able to shake his families hand(s). As well as I will keep his family in my prayers. May our good LORD of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in Christ, be with his family and loved ones. I Thank you and salute you for your service Sgt. Padilla, you will never be forgotten."
Roger S. Rocha (USMC 97-06) of Montclair, CA USA

"Sgt. Padilla's family, my name is Eric Madrigal. I was part of the convoy and remember vividly that night when it all happened. I didn't know him personally, we weren't part of the same unit, but my unit was tasked with providing security for their convoy/unit. I still think of him, especially the day it all occurred. He is a hero and is part of the reason why I have begun a non-profit focused on helping our veterans, SAVE 22 (www.save22now.org). If you ever read this, if you and your family ever need anything, please reach out to me via the contact page at the mentioned website. Semper Fi, Sgt. Padilla!"
Eric Madrigal (Sgt. USMC 99-03) of San Antonio, TX

"Thank you for your service as you will never be forgotten. Prayers for you and your loved ones."
Rudy Di Bene of Nogales, Arizona

"For some reason I was looking up mwss371 and I found this. I will never forget you SGT. I am happy I got to know you if only for a short time. I remember riding with you while I helped you teach the hmmv courses. I remember hanging out with you in the barracks and motor pool while you waited for your wife. they are simple memories but I'm blessed to have them."
CAMO of California

"I miss you my friend especially your smile..."
Roxanne

"I had the honor of serving with Sgt Padilla or then Cpl Padilla in 2000 when we were part of the 24th MEU out of Camp Lejeune. I was a newly promoted Cpl and I joined the unit right before we deployed, Sgt Padilla was really friendly and helped me get situated quickly. Throughout the deployment he was always the most level headed of the bunch and we all appreciated him. He was the first one to reenlist and move on. I was happy to hear that he was stationed close to his family. I am a First Sergeant in the Marine Corps now and I still remember him as the great person he was. Semper Fi brother."
Jose Patino of Eastover, SC

"My name is Sgt. Rafael Bustamante I was Sgt. Fernando Padilla's Sgt when he was stationed with me at Camp Lejeune North Carolina, we deployed together with the 24 MEU in the USS Nassau back in 1998 and USS Oakhill in 2000 I was his platoon Seargent for Trucks Platoon of MSSG 24 I had the privilege to meet his wife Roxana and his oldest son who play with my oldest son. "Nando" as I used to call him (short for Fernando) was my best Marine I had the honor to be in charge he always was striving to be the best and volunteer for any mission we had at any time without hesitation we serve in Kosovo and drove in some of the most strange terrains with mines on our sides and always looking to be challenged for more dangerous missions. He was always improvised, adapt and overcome any mission, he learned quick and always looking to take charged of the situation. I am proud of him and his family, Roxana you know that whatever you need you only need to ask and I will make it happen. Fernando the Lord have you in his Glory, Marines never died, we will always regroup and come back. Semper Fi! Devil Dog."
Sgt. USMC Rafael Bustamante of Fayetteville, North Carolina

"I been ask many times to move on to relax to let go. If you knew my husband, my friend, the father of my children you would know how this 13 years feels and why moving on is meaningful."
Roxanne

"It's been almost 13 years since we crossed that border. If I'd known then what I know now I would have had so much more to say to you. Seek n' Strike bro! Semper Fi!"
E5L of Syracuse

"Wow your birthday and your handsome baby boy will be turning 13. February and March are always the hardest on the family. You know that I am always here for trying my very best to support Rox. Lots of love from your sister-in-law. I try very hard for B and Kayin to know what kind of person their uncle was."
Nubia of Tolleson, AZ

"Sgt Padilla, I never knew you But I was attached to Fox CO 2/2 as a combat engineer that was task with the mission to recover your body. It was such a sad thing that we had to recover a fallen hero that should never have been left behind but it was truely the most gratifying and honorable thing I have ever done in my live.It was so special to return you to your family and the great country you died for instead of you being lost in that god forsaken crap hole. All gave some but you gave all, thank you and you will never forgotten, I have forgotten men's names I have served with but never forgot yours, never will. I will never forget everyone saluting you as we placed your body in the vehicle that toke you away, and the proud feeling of carrying straight back through the the town where they did this to you. I could go on but thank you brother, SEMPER FI DEVIL DOG!"
Cpl John Gabbard 2nd combat Engineers of WI

"To you Fernando as I am very proud that our lives crossed paths as young kids in the police explores and remained best of friends after I just want to say how much I miss you my friend. You did what you liked and did it well. You were just taken to soon from us but I am sure you keep us safe from up there and I am very sure you have other missions up there too. Miss you so much buddy."
Marco Guerra Jr. of Phoenix AZ

"Hey Sgt. Padilla
Many years have gone by and we still think about you. RIP Devil

Roxanne,
I hope you and the kids are doing well. Take care"
Sgt. Ortiz aka Albert of Yuma AZ

"It has been a quite a journey living without you and keep this family going . Our oldest son turns 18 years of age very soon. This brings to me quite a happiness and I won’t lie a bit of sour taste as well. I continue to keep my promise.."

"SGT H, We are getting our information from having been there. At the time I was LCPL Simon in security vehicle 1 with SGT Jackson (PMO), CPL Medina (PMO), and LCPL Arzuaga (PMO). The night of March 28 2003 FARP team Charlie joined other MWSS 371 Marines and was escorted by both Cobra air support which killed the sniper in a dirt building in Ash Shatra Iraq (vicinity where Padilla was lost) and LAVs whose Grunt unit I do not remember. When SGT Pedilla's truck was "hit" and ran into a ditch your account is correct. When we stopped, close to our destination, Qalat Sikar, is when it was realized that he had been left. Every security Marine and LAV Marine volunteered to go back. Request denied. A Cobra helicopter flew back and saw nothing of SGT Pedilla which is how Cravens made his determination. After he was confirmed deceased there was a memorial held for him in Qalat Sikar. Here you can view MWSS-371 FARP team Charlie's memorial for SGT Pedilla. The Marine that hung the colors had to be corrected. Originally the colors were hung so the stars were at top right. It was corrected before taps was played. Don't know if you can still purchase the print but here is the link. http://www.onlinewall.com/art/m16-a2-service-rifle-qalat-sikar-air-base-irag-693716.htm
Anyone wishing to contact me about that night can do so at sgtsimonusmc@yahoo.com"
SGT Simon, Joel

"Oooh Raaah Sgt. Padilla, I was with you at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma as well as over in the Middle East. I remember the day we came home and your wife and child was there....I visit Wesley Bolin Plaza Austin and see your name and talk to you. you taught me how to drive a Humvee :-). You and your family are forever in my prayers and I will never forget you! Lance Corporal Molina."
James of Phx, AZ

"It's January 21st, 2015...a little after midnight. After nearly 12 years, I have finally discovered the identity of the man whose lifeless body I helped recover. It is an honor to finally learn about you, Sergeant Fernando Padilla-Ramirez.

I will never forget the day we found you. I was very dehydrated because I foolishly left my canteens empty to lighten my load. When I was digging in the earth for you, under the blistering heat of the Sun, I barely had the strength to stand. But when we finally found you, your strength helped me forgot all about my weakness. It was the greatest honor to be the first volunteer to seek you out.

After a few moments, some of my fellow Marines joined in. The second man who did was SGT Mike Speer. Like you, he also eventually died in combat.

When we found your body, our SSGT prayed out loud for you. We all bowed our heads as one.

Helping to carry you was one of the greatest honors of my life. I hope to one day impact others the way you impacted me. We will never forget that day. I will never forget you, Fernando. It was an honor to have played a part in your return home. I hope our paths cross again one day...Always faithful, Doc B"
Doc of FMF

"I'm sitting here at a restaurant in Rochester, NY. The place is called Friendly's. You were synonymous with Friendly. We are celebrating Veterans Day today, and I couldn't help but tell your story to my new wife. You are missed, but I promise, never forgotten."
Brandon Terry of Rochester, NY

"Thank you for the service and sacrafice. My condolences to your friends and family.RIP"
Jeffrey K. Heck USAF 82-86 of Columbus, Ohio

"I wish you were here. I can never forget the lessons that you taught me in life. I constantly tell my kids about you. I have you in my mind daily. You are the reason that I am who I am today. Again I wish you were here to guide me. Till we meet again. Semper Fi brother!"
CONTRERAS of CA

"The years keep passing by, but the pain from us loosing does not. You are always with us."
Nubia B of Tolleson, AZ

"Every. Single. Day. We. Remember."
Wink

"It's been eleven years ago today. You will never be forgotten."
artur sadowski of NYC

"Eleven years today. Everlasting be his memory."
Arzuaga of Durham, NC

"Hello everyone. My name is Alejandro Salazar. I had the honor of serving with Sgt Padilla. I am a member of Ride2Recovery, a Veterans organization dedicated to getting Injured Vets off their couch and onto a bike. R2R does Honor Rides across the country in order to honor fallen troops. They will be doing their first Honor Ride in Phoenix on March 1st, 2014, and I have asked R2R to dedicate the ride in honor of Sgt Padilla. in order to do so, they need the permission of Sgt Padilla's family. I am trying to get a hold of the family of Sgt Padilla so that we can get their permission, and invite them to Phoenix for the Honor Ride. If anyone can please help me in locating Sgt Padilla's family, it would mean so very much to me to ride in his honor. I can be contacted @ (602) 349-3335 or emailed at salazar_a_n@yahoo.com. If anyone is interested in honoring Sgt Padilla, you are more then welcome to come ride in his memory on March 1st in Phoenix. Thank you so much."
Alejandro Salazar of Phoenix, AZ

"MCAS Yuma to dedicate sports field complex to fallen Marines




November 21, 2013 10:51 PM

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BY JAMES GILBERT @YSJamesGilbert



Marine Corps Air Station Yuma will conduct a commemoration and renaming ceremony Saturday morning for Ramada Field, which is located at the air station’s Sports Field Complex.

While the ceremony, which begins at 10 a.m., is not open to the general public, Marines, sailors, family members, retires and local veterans are invited to attend.

Following the ceremony Ramada Field will be renamed MCAS Yuma Memorial Field Sports Complex, with each of its five athletic fields being named after a Marine or sailor, who lost their lives while assigned to MCAS Yuma.

Col. Robert Kuckuk, commanding officer for MCAS Yuma, will be the guest speaker for the commemoration and renaming ceremony.

The fields will be named after Lt. Col. Christopher "Otis" K. Raible, the commanding officer of the VMA-211, Sgt. Bradley W. Atwell, of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 13, Maj. Jay Thomas Aubin, Sgt. Fernando Padilla-Ramirez and Master Sgt. Kenneth E. Hunt.

• Lt. Col. Christopher "Otis" K. Raible, 40, and Sgt. Bradley W. Atwell, 27, both died in an insurgent attack on Camp Bastion last in September 2012.

During the attack six AV-8B Harrier jets were destroyed and two were badly damaged. In addition, three refueling stations were destroyed and six soft-skin aircraft hangars were damaged. Eight military members and one civilian contractor were also wounded.

Fifteen insurgents breached the perimeter of Camp Bastion in Helmand Province at about 10 p.m. that night and attacked the flight line with automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and suicide bomb vests. They were organized into three teams and penetrated at one point in the perimeter fence.

Coalition personnel returned fire and killed all but one of the known insurgents. The surviving insurgent was taken into custody.

• Sgt. Fernando Padilla-Ramirez, 26, was killed in action on March 28, 2003. He was was assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron-371 and was last seen conducting convoy operations near Nasiriyah, Iraq when he disappeared into the desert. His remains were found on April 10.

Born in San Luis Rio Colorado, Son, Padilla-Ramirez was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 2001. He had a lifelong dream of becoming a police officer in San Luis, Ariz. He was raised near the San Luis police station and at the age of 12 began asking the department about joining the Police Explorers program despite knowing the minimum age was 14.

Padilla-Ramirez attended Kofa High School, and upon graduation enlisted with the Marines. He served four years and re-enlisted for another three. Five days before returning to Iraq, Padilla-Ramirez’ second son was born.

• Maj. Jay Thomas Aubin, 36, was killed in action on March 20, 2003. He was assigned to the Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma. At the beginning of the Iraq War, Aubin’s Sea Knight helicopter crashed in a sandstorm near the Iraq-Kuwait border while transporting British commandos. He was one of the first casualties in the invasion.

• Master Sgt. Kenneth E. Hunt, 40, died on Oct. 12, 2005 from wounds received in combat. Hunt joined the Marines in 1983 and had served on bases around the world before being assigned to the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma. On July 24, 2005, Hunt was critically injured when his vehicle struck an anti-tank mine in Taqaddum, Iraq. He died two months later at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.


Read more: http://www.yumasun.com/articles/yuma-90767-air-station.html#ixzz2lWtOoaRE"

"As a Marine who helped bring you home......you are not forgotten. To his family ... It must hurt to lose a son and father so soon my pain is with you. Our unit carried his body with so much pride knowing that we were bringing him home....seems like yesterday...rip... Marine"
Fox Co Marine 2/2 of Dallas,TX

"Sgt. Padilla was recovered by the Marines of Fox Co. 2/2. Several of whom subsequently paid the ultimate sacrifice as well. Semper Fi"
USMC Fox Co. 2/2

"Yes we are sad and if you are like me bitter for past 10 years on how this all went down. This is the perfect time to reflex and ask yourself how did Fernando touch your lives to make you want to be a better person."
Nubia of Tolleson, AZ

"10 years ago today Sgt Padilla. I went and visited you at cemetary this morning, I didn't want to leave! Ive spoke with your parents and family recently. It was my greatest honor to serve with you. Semper Fi brother.

There was so much confusion that night, if anyone has any questions, I was the gunner in Sgt P's truck. Rexx724@yahoo.com"
Roland of Yuma, AZ

"It's been hitting me hard this week on the 10 year anniversary of this battle and the loss of Sgt. Padilla. I didn't know him personally, but I was with the Air Traffic Control unit that was attached to MWSS-371 during the invasion.

The events that transpired that night have surely haunted everyone who was there and I know I have always wondered what more could have been done. I was the driver of the FARP OIC's vehicle near the head of the convoy and remember hearing on the radio when his vehicle was hit and then getting confirmation that everyone was accounted for. As Sgt. H mentioned, it wasn't until we got to a checkpoint a few miles north that it was discovered he was missing. Our SSGT (and many others, I'm sure) volunteered for us to go back and search for him but Lt. Col Cravens denied permission for a rescue mission. I won't speculate as to his reasoning but I know there were some very unhappy Marines who objected to going against the Corps' ethos of "No man left behind".

I don't know if I ever even had a conversation with Sgt. Padilla, but I remember hearing about his newborn orphan and have often thought about him and his family as I raise my children. My oldest child was a newborn I hadn't yet met at the time and losing Sgt. Padilla really struck a chord with me.I can only pray that they grow up to know their dad as a hero and that the rest of us who made it back will honor him by living as well as we possibly can.



If anyone would like to speak to me further please contact me at n8winkler@gmail.com"
Wink

"Today is the 10 year anniversary of losing you. Rest in peace brother.

My recollection slightly contradicts that of Sgt H. I was on that convoy that night, and yes, from what I remember the turret gunner next to Sgt Padilla was also shot, the vehicle did go into a ditch, and the other occupants all thought he had gotten out into other vehicles that were behind it (as it was a rolling convoy and it wasnt the first vehicle that had been abandoned in an unsecured location). Once we got to a safe area every vehicle was checked asking if he was in it, and then to my recollection two humvee's of military police went back, found his truck in flames, but did not see him outside or anywhere near it before they turned back. Then his body was found by infantry Marines days later (not CIA). I can't be 100% sure I am right in my version, but its how I remember it.- MarineCorps5811@aol.com"
Artur Sadowski of Brooklyn NY

"On this month it marks the 10th anniversary of your departure. Our life continues without you and we continue to miss you and need you. I carry with me your last words. “When I am far away or in war and I can’t be by your side and ask how you are, lie to me and tell me you are doing well.” Not only do I carry with me your last words but I continue to honor your words."
Roxanne.. of AZ

"Happy Birthday... Told my kids its their uncle's Birthday :) celebrating it at Peter Piper."
of Tolleson, AZ

"Thank you Sgt. H from Yuma, for having the courage, to speaking up and telling the truth on how he was left behind."
Nubia of Tolleson, AZ

"Yes, the family does know he was left behind. This is way it is so hard to move on. We will always have a void in our family. For us heros sadly do not exist, we know that the people that left him behind will always live with the guilt."
Nubia of Tolleson, AZ

"I'm reading alot of these posts and am wondering where some of you are getting your info. the fact is, is that he wasnt lost in the desert or on charlie, im sorry to say but he was "hit", i wont go into details for family sake, but his truck wen into a canal ditch and the marines that were with him in his truck left him there. not on purpose, they thought he got out. when the marines got into other vehicles, they soon found out that he wasnt there and figured he was in another HMMWV. when they got the numbers the CO (LtCol. Cravens) decided it wasnt worth the risk to go back and get him. There was no marine from 371 that "brought him out". the fact is that the local citizens buried him and the cia later recovered him and brought him back..."
Sgt. H of Yuma...

"Our older boy is now becoming a young man. I see how much he needs you and how much I miss you in his life. Our baby boy is now older yet still a kid. It hurts deeply how much you are needed you are truly missed ."
"B"

"I will always remember your family. I have such great memories of you that I will cherish. Roxanne, my heart is with you and the boys."
Heidi of Farmington, MO/USA

"After so long, I still think of that day. Like it was yesterday. Even though I was a child and didnt understand the real story, until today. I went through a similar situation with my husband and his deployment. So now I understand and appriciate. Every since his passing, I think of how it happend. What went on and why it happend. When my cousins were little, I could remember thier confused faces. I remember feeling sad and afraid. Sad for the tragic loss and afraid of not having a father. Up to this day, I hope he would walk in threw that door safe and sound. I truly deeply miss him. Tears fill my eyes because I have a empty space. I dont know exctally what happend but I do know he is still a Hero. Always and Forever a Hero. Love and Miss You Always Tio"
Yaniss Rodriguez Padilla of Las Vegas, NV

"Days have now become to years. Your boys are now so big, "B" has done an amazing job in raising them. You would be so proud of them."
Nubia of Tolleson, AZ

"Yes it has been 9 years since we lost our husband, father, and, friend. Always in my heart my beloved partner miss you and needing you more than ever.."
of Yuma, AZ

"Its been exactly nine years, rest in peace brother."
Artur Sadowski of Brooklyn, New York.

"Almost that day again my friend. I will go and light a candle for you. We will meet again someday."
CWO2 McKinney of 29 Palms

"my name is david marruffo i am the son of one of ur close friends ssgt marruffo he was one of ur marines that was in the convoy with u the truck behinde u my dad always talks about u to this day you sound like a really cool guy and marine u will never be forgotten"
david jr marruffo of oxnard ca, 29 palms ca

"Well we were at the gas chamber last month. I work with one of the Marines responsible for getting you out and home. He is my new XO, he's a pretty cool guy. We will meet again someday my friend."
CWO2 McKinney

"Sgt Padilla, I was in the convoy FARP team Charlie the night you fell. I barely new you. I was the lead convoy a-gunner. Every March and Nov I think somberly of you and the family you left behind. I met my first born when we, 371, came home. Thank you for your sacrifice and the giving the rest of us the opportunity to come home! Semper Fi brother and Thank you!"
Simon

"List of slain military with Yuma ties
September 10, 2011 7:49 PM
FROM STAFF REPORTS
In response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the United States launched two overseas conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and forever altered the lives of military personnel and their families.

To date, there have been 4,474 fatalities and 32,159 wounded in Iraq and 1,760 fatalities and 13,011 wounded in Afghanistan.

The following is a list of service members with a Yuma connection who were killed while serving their country in Iraq or Afghanistan:
Read more: http://www.yumasun.com/articles/iraq-72899-army-survived.html#ixzz1Y4mhoVvR

KIA March 28, 2003

Padilla-Ramirez, 26, was born in San Luis Rio Colorado, Son., and was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 2001. He had a lifelong dream of becoming a police officer in San Luis, Ariz. He was raised near the San Luis police station and at the age of 12 began asking the department about joining the Police Explorers program despite knowing the minimum age was 14. After witnessing his persistence, the department relented and made him an unofficial observer. “He practically lived here,” said police Lt. Heriberto Bejarano, who had known Fernando for most of his life. “He was the most dedicated Police Explorer we ever had.”

Padilla-Ramirez attended Kofa High School, and upon graduation enlisted with the Marines. He served four years and re-enlisted for another three.

Five days before returning to Iraq, Padilla-Ramirez' second son was born.

He was last seen conducting convoy operations near Nasiriyah on March 28 when he disappeared into the desert. His remains were found on April 10. He is survived by his wife and two children

Read more: http://www.yumasun.com/articles/iraq-72899-army-survived.html#ixzz1Y4mQ0biW"

"8 years and it still hurts. I am very happy that "B" picked you. You have a wonderful family, and I know you are very proud of your boys. I try my best to talk about you to them. Give them a sense of the person you are. Very proud to say that we are related."
Nubia

"I didn't know Sgt Padilla very well, I had met him a few times. One of which he signed my Humvee License. I participated in the convoy that night, and remember being so angry at the thought of one of our own, that was so close was gone. You will live on Sgt, through your family, and your fellow Marines. You will never be forgotten...Ooh Rah!"
Lcpl Taylor, Z. of Batesburg, SC

"8 years ago tonight, rest in peace brother."
Artur Sadowski of Brooklyn, NY

"I will always miss you till my last breath…"

"Happy birthday, missing you each year and day…"
"B" of Yuma ,AZ

"Hey Sgt P. I miss you very much. Its almost our birthday... I wish you were here. I miss hearing your voice, hearing th advise that you used to give me, I remeber when in Yuma we used to walk to the motor pool after PT. I wish you were here to learn from you once again. I wish I could be the half the man that you were. All I could say is that I miss you very much. You will always be in my daily reminder, that beacause of people like you, we are able to be free.

Sincerly one of YOUR Marines."
CPL Contreras, J of CA.

"Another night without your laughter, yet still standing strong just as you asked me before your long departure missing you always “B”."

"Sgt Padilla- today i remember you! It's not just the people in new York and pa that lost their lives on 9/11. It's also about the ones who made the sacrifice because of 9/11. You will always be in my heart"
Jennifer of Jacksonville, NC

"FERNANDO YOU ARE A TRUE HERO"
AC of SAN LUIS ARIZONA

"Life has a funny way of reminding me of what a special man you were. Miss you “P”"

"I didn't know you very well. We didn't talk very much. Still, it is days like this when families gather and I hear a song come on the radio and I remember these are days you no longer get to spend with your family. Today, like every day, you are still in my thoughts and your family is still in my prayers. You will always be remembered. Happy Father's Day."
Hansen, D.R. of Orange County, CA

"Library display honors San Luis residents killed in Iraq war
Comments 1 | Recommend 2
June 06, 2010 5:11 PM
JOHN VAUGHN - BAJO EL SOL EDITOR
The library in San Luis, Ariz., wants its patrons to remember the sacrifices of two residents who died serving in the Iraq War.

Yuma County Library District's branch in San Luis has dedicated one of its walls to a display honoring Marine Sgt. Fernando Padilla and Army Sgt. Ismael Solorio.

The display consists of framed photographs of the two, their medals, newspaper accounts of their service and other mementoes furnished by their parents, said Laurie Boone, a librarian in San Luis.

“The library is trying to create exhibitions that have meaning for the San Luis community,” she said. “When Memorial Day came around, we thought, what better way to honor residents who serve their country.”

The library staff finished putting together the display the Saturday before Memorial Day, she said, and will keep it up through June 11 to give all patrons a chance to see it.

Padilla, who had been stationed in Yuma, was killed in action while serving in a military convoy in Iraq. Solorio had already completed three tours in Iraq when he was killed by a roadside bomb that exploded near a military vehicle in which he was traveling in April 2007.

The display would not have come together without the support of the servicemen's parents, who shared treasured mementoes of their sons, Boone said.

“They were really gracious in their desire to share with us the pride they feel for their sons,” she said.

The display is located on a wall near the service desk at the front entrance of the library.

The San Luis library is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays."

"I ran into a LtCol who was responsible for bringing you out of that city the other day. Fernando you had all the world at your feet. We served in 371 together and deployed in 03. I remember talking about both being new fathers before we went on that convoy, you were so proud of your wife and kids and talked about always wanting the best for them, they were your world, You talked of them with such compassion and the whole time you smiled. I will never forget that night and the feeling like we didnt do enough. I cant express how sorry i am to your Family, I know your kids will grown up to learn of a great Marine and an even better Man. You will always be remebered and NEVER forgotten brother!!"
GySgt Johnson of Camp Pendleton

"”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 the hero’s Mother, Father and/or spouse. We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization! Almost 2,100 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!
This is a gift! We have wonderful sponsors who help with the costs, and want you know that everyone here at Project Compassion does and will always CARE.
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
Projectcompassion@manti.com"
Project Compassion Kenna

"Our boys are now 12 and 7 years of age as I look into their eyes I feel blessed and honor. Mainly because I am able to see the greatest gift Fernando left me with. I continue to miss him in my life and mostly in their life. The past seven years without him have felt like an empty ocean. Is like being at the sea shore and remembering how beautify, wonderful, and magical the ocean is. Then suddenly one day you wake up and is empty. And now all I have of this ocean is an empty and hollow hole. This how feel living without my beloved friend. All I have now are memories of this beautiful wonderful and magical man who left to soon. I will always miss you…"
Roxanne

"Seven years ago tonight... semper fidelis"
artur sadowski of brooklyn ny

"Hey man..I don't even know where to start. It took me years before I could go to your grave and see you. I was afraid of what I would see. I broke down because you should not be gone. You should be enjoying your life with the family you were most proud of. I feel a change in me around this time frame because I often wonder why you. I have never met someone who could impact my life as much as you did. I still remember questioning your reasoning for the change of drivers. When we found out that you were missing..I still remember my heart dropping and your marines willing to risk our lives in order to look for you when we hit one of our final stopping points that dreadful night. We had no idea where to begin but we didnt care. The mission didn't matter, only you. I remember everything from that night and the following ones until you were found. Every conversation rolls thru my mind, scenarios are often played out and questions that have no answers. It was an honor for me to talk about you in our ceremonies in Kuwait and Iraq and even back home. I just wish there was enough passion in the words I spoke that described you. I remember being scared when I met your family because there wasnt enough words nor answers that I could of given to mend their broken hearts but man..did I try. I tried because you would of done the same for me. I talk to my son about you. I take him with me as often as I can so he knows what a great person you were in my life. Roxanne--I saw you this past weekend but was scared to say hi. Just didnt know how to. Please forgive me. I hope your family and kids are doing well. Your husband was an amazing person, marine and friend. Your family and him are always in my prayers...
"Sgt. Padilla..Always remembered..never forgotten.." 3/23/10"
Albert Ortiz ( Sgt ) of Yuma, AZ

"Hey man..I don't even know where to start. It took me years before I could go to your grave and see you. I was afraid of what I would see. I broke down because you should not be gone. You should be enjoying your life with the family you were most proud of. I feel a change in me around this time frame because I often wonder why you. I have never met someone who could impact my life as much as you did. I still remember questioning your reasoning for the change of drivers. When we found out that you were missing..I still remember my heart dropping and your marines willing to risk our lives in order to look for you when we hit one of our final stopping points that dreadful night. We had no idea where to begin but we didnt care. The mission didn't matter, only you. I remember everything from that night and the following ones until you were found. Every conversation rolls thru my mind, scenarios are often played out and questions that have no answers. It was an honor for me to talk about you in our ceremonies in Kuwait and Iraq and even back home. I just wish there was enough passion in the words I spoke that described you. I remember being scared when I met your family because there wasnt enough words nor answers that I could of given to mend their broken hearts but man..did I try. I tried because you would of done the same for me. I talk to my son about you. I take him with me as often as I can so he knows what a great person you were in my life. Roxanne--I saw you this past weekend but was scared to say hi. Just didnt know how to. Please forgive me. I hope your family and kids are doing well. Your husband was an amazing person, marine and friend. Your family and him are always in my prayers...
"Always remembered..never forgotten..""
Albert Ortiz ( Sgt ) of Yuma, AZ

"Its been almost 7 years since this tragedy happened! I often find myself thinking about you Sgt Padilla. I try and think about how anything i couldve done differently wouldve changed the course of things. I was one of the last two people to see you alive and I feel like I let you down. I have the greatest respect for you and will always remember you. Semper Fidelis Sgt. Padilla."
Sgt Castellanos of Yuma Arizona

"this marine was a true hero,he did his service true and was a true marine"
tim stepps of shreveport,la

"Hey Bro it's your cousin Eric. Well what can I say I miss you a lot, We served together not in th same unit but in the Marines. God Bless You, Roxanne, the kids and your parents. Semper Fi"
Eric of Flagstaff, AZ

"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 E. Steiner of Worthington, OH

"RIP Sgt. I was one of the MARINES with the 24th MEU FOX CO 2nd Plt who helped recover his remains. This is one of the most honorable things I have ever done in life by far. My prayers go out to the family and friends of this great MARINE. Semper FI Devil"
CPL Dreyer, Cory of Clearwater, FL

"I often think about Padilla and his family. My husband and him were good friends and the impact of his passing is felt everday. I remember that early morning you all left for Iraq. It was such a confusing time for all of us because so
much was uncertain.
Roxann- I think about you and the boys so often. I only got to really speak with you after Padillas burial. You are always in my prayers. Your husband was and still is such a positive influence for my husband. When he says that Padilla has made him a better person and Marine. It is the truth.
I wish you and your family all the best!"
Mrs. Lawrence of Iwakuni, Japan

"My old friend I am here pulling another long night missing you and needing you more then ever. I MISS YOU…your “B”"
of yuma az

"six years tonight, Semper Fidelis"
Artur Sadowski of Brooklyn, NY

"I first met Sgt Padilla back then lance corporal Padilla in my first year in the marine corps in 1999 in Camp Lejeune. We both where in the 24th MEU. He was one of the coolest marines I knew back then. I still remember when we had gone on our MED cruise with the 24th MEU, and Fernando, Arcos, Russo, Estes, and I took a road trip from Toulon, France to Paris in a rented car that we did not have permission to do. We where supposed to take the train to Paris. It was not authorized for marines to rent cars over seas. But we did any ways and we had a blast . I still have pictures of that trip with all the guys. Also when we had did our field op in the desert in Haifa, Israel. I still can’t get it through my head that he is gone. May he rest in peace ,..and guard those streets in heaven with all the other marines who have passed on.
Simper Fidelis, Devil Dog.

Allen D. Lopez
Cpl. USMC
from 10\17\98 to 10\18\02"
of San Antonio, Texas

"My name is Michael Martin I myself was in the marine corps 18 years ago,I went to the marine corps museum in august of 2007 and I saw the museum display of sgt. Padillas battleield memorial.For the longest time I did not know who it was for,I wanted to know who this Marine is,after some research
I found out it is sgt. padilla.I wish I could say something to help out his family with there loss and grief,all I can say is sgt. padillas memory will always be with me as a brother marine and a hero to friends and family.

michael martin cpl. usmc"
Michael Martin of Wellsburg,Westvirginia

"Although we lived in the same city, I never really met you. I used to be a member of the San Luis Police Explorers and I remember seeing you there, but I guess I was shy as well! I went to Iraq around the same time you did and now I'm a San Luis Police Officer. Me and you have a lot of things in common and maybe we could have been very good friends.

I just want you to know that I am very proud of you and that you will never be forgotten and hopefully someday we will meet in heaven. Thanks for your service."
Fernando of San Luis, Arizona

"SGT Padilla, it has taken me over 5 years to build up the courage to write here. Every March 28, I still celebrate the impact that you had on my life both personally and professionally as a Marine. I remember when I first got to the unit as a PFC, you were my NCO. As I climbed the ranks I had the pleasure of serving with you as an NCO myself. Its still hard to think about that night and the way we fealt when we found out you were missing. We all wanted to go look for you because you were our brother and friend. It's been 5 years now and I can honestly say that it has not gotten any easier. As I write these words I think of what I could have done. Questions enter my mind, was I alert enough? What did we do wrong that this happened? What could we have done to prevent it? Why you who had a family and not me who didn't? It haunts me nearly everyday of my life. My heart breaks for your family when that night crosses my mind. You and your family have always been in my prayers and that is something that will never change. I miss you Sgt Padilla. You will never be forgotten."
Marcus Kemerling SGT/USMC Retired-TDRL of Missouri

"Still missing you old partner “B”"
mrs.padilla of yuma az

"Five years ago tonight, never to be forgotten."
PO Sadowski of Brooklyn NY

"You will never be forgotten brother."
Janko, C.R. Sgt/USMC(OIF '03) of North Carolina

"Hey whats up sergeant. hope all is well up there. im not sure if you remember me but i was in you humvee class. i remember when we were hot, tired, and hungry while we were sitting in the back of the hatchbacks.regardless of the situation, you would figure out a way to make the situation bearable. i remember when you took us to the wash and to just rev the engines as fast as they would go..i remember you telling me not to be scared that these things are a beast and can handle this kind of punishment. i constantly talk about you to my fellow marines and now soldiers (yeah, i know, i turned to the darkside) and how you gave me the opportunity to attend the most fun, and interesting classes that i have ever attended. i always say stuff like "man, sergeant padilla would take us to the dunes and we would just put the pedal to the medal because sergeant padilla told us to not slow down because if we did, then all of us would get stuck and not to mentioned njp'd. lol" i think about you every day sergeant and i hope that one day when i meet up, you'll give me the opportunity to thank you."
Lcpl Montiel of Yuma, AZ

"Fernando, I just have to say that you owe me lots and lots of bags of gummy bears. We all miss you, not a day goes bye that we don't stop and think about you. Thank you for having been a part of my family. (Sorry R. our Family)"
Nubia Briceno of San Luis, AZ, USA

"HEY SGT P. I JUAT WANTED TO SAY THAT IM SORRY FOR NOT BEING THERE ON THAT MISERABLE DAY. THERE IS NOT ONE DAY THAT GOES BY THAT I DONT THINK ABOUT YOU. I REMEBER THE TIMES THAT YOU USED TO CHANGE IN MY ROOM, SO THAT YOU CAN GO TO YOUR POLICE TRAINING, OR AFTER PT. I MISS ALL THE STORIES AND THE MEMORIES. I REMEMBER THE DAY WE BURIED YOU, I HEARD YOUR SON, " MOMMY WHEN WILL DADDY PLAY WITH ME AGAIN" I WILL NEVER FORGET THOSE WORDS. BACK THEN I NEVER KNEW THOSE WORDS WOULD MEAN SO MUCH, NOW THAT I HAVE NY OWN KIDS I KNOW WHAT THEY MEAN. THERES DAYS THAT I SIT AND CRY REMEMBERING YOUR SACRIFICE AND IMAGINING THE PAIN THAT YOUR FAMILY GOES THROUGH. SGT P. I KNOW THAT YOU TOUCHED MANY LIVES, I WAS ONE OF THEM, AND FOR THAT I THANK YOU.

SEMPER FI"
LCPL of LOS ANGELES CA

"Sgt P,
I remember the stories you use to tell about Korsivo. I remember the day you pinned on Sgt and the look on your face. Sgt P we are still spades parteners. I have not played another game since the last one we played. Everyday I think about the times you and SSgt Barela would go out on the road and come back to dispatch and we would laugh and play spades. Sgt P SSgt Barela and I tried to come back and get you that night they wouldnt let us. Man I miss you so bad I look at your picture in the Motor T office and wipe the dust off of it and think about all the times we had bro. Sgt P you will never be forgotten and will always be missed. One day bro one day I will get that chance to play that hand of spades with you. Semper Fi"
Cpl Morris BS of Yuma, AZ

"Fernando,
I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country-not just in OIF, but also for your service in Kosovo as well. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy. After reading all the reflections left here for you, I wish that I could have had the honor of serving with you when I was in-you sound like you you were one of hell of human, Marine and NCO.

Semper Fi Devil Dog!"

"July 4, 2007
To the family of Fernando Padilla-Ramirez. Fernando 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

"Sgt Padilla- I heard your name mentioned the other day and I had to pause for a few minutes and just remember you. You were a great leader, teacher, and someone we could all go to. You taught me that sometimes its better to just lead with your heart. Its not only made me a better leader, but a better person, and I thank you. Mrs. Padilla, I know it has been very difficult for you and I hope you have gotten all the answers you needed. I pray that your son will grow up to be just like their father. The WORLD truly lost a great man."
Jennifer Filauro of Okinawa, Japan

"It was both a painful and a very proud moment when the Chaplain of MCAS Yuma called to request that I accompany and translate for the Lt. chosen to notify the next of kin. Mrs. Padilla, the wife of Sgt Fernado Padilla was as brave as her husband. I was honored to be able to honor Fernando's life and memory in that moment. From there we went to the home of Fernando's parents to give the same notification. In a heartbeat the news brought almost every member of the San Luis, AZ Police force to the Padilla's home. Those officers were not only real friends, but humble, grateful and honorable men, civic servants, who wept with the rest of us as we honored a fallen, hometown hero who will always be remembered. His parents brought him to the U. S. because of the freedoms in this country. He loved his family and those freedoms more than life itself. Fernando was a patriot and a citizen of whom we will always be proud. May his children forever make him proud of them and of his nation."
O. Ray Williams, D. D. of Yuma, AZ

"It's been four years ago tonight. semper fidelis."
Cpl Sadowski of Brooklyn, NY

"Mrs. Padilla I just wanted to say to you and your sons that Fernando was and still is a honorable man. He will always be in our hearts. I knew Fernando from the academy and to see those who have written to him from our class brings back old memories. He in deed was VERY proud of his family and would have done anything to protect it. Fernando has touched many of our lives here in Yuma and all over this great nation. Always remeber just like he wouldn't leave his crew behind Padilla will never leave you and your sons behind. He will always be with you and children somehow. One day you all will be able to see him again. God bless you and your children."
Anonymous of Yuma, AZ

"I must begin my expressing my gratitude for taking the time to write. It has taken me some time (precisely almost 4 years) to write or read your words but please understand it is not easy to read the good-buys of a love one especially how tragic his death was.
As some of you have mention, I did also loose my best friend and partner in crime. Yet the worst part of loosing him was my children lost a superior father. My boys never had the opportunity to meet him. I hope you all keep writing so by our words my child will get to meet that great father, son, brother, husband, and marine that was lost. One day my boys will read your words and I hope and pray it will ease their pain of losing him.… Tank you for your thoughts Mrs. Padilla…"
Mrs Padilla of San Luis AZ

"Sgt. Padilla, you were a great teacher and someone i looked up to most. you are always missed and everyday remembered. Don't worry, I'm still trying hard and not only doing something because it is whats expected but because it's right. thanks for your guidances."
Hailey Gill, Sgt/USMC of Yuma, Az

"Sgt Padilla, he will be missed. I served with Sgt Padilla in Operation Iraqi Freedom ( OIF-1 )2003. We were stationed at MCAS Yuma, AZ. with MWSS 371. He was a great person and a good friend. I will never forget talking with him only hours before his death. Sitting in a field, I saw his convoy pull up on the road. I went up to talk to all of my Marines that I knew and he was one of them. We was talking about the war and how we were doing. I said to him, man I wish I was like you and he said, what do you mean? I said, you have been through this before over in Kosovo. He told me that Kosovo was nothing like this over here in Iraq and I don't want to die over here. Little did he or I know that that is exactly how things would end only a few hours after telling me that. That is something I will never forget about Sgt Padilla. Great Sergeant of Marines, a great teacher and a great leader. May God bless his family. Have no doubt, we the Marines will continue to fight on."
Sgt Turner J. D. USMC of Camp Pendleton, Ca.

"I came across your name today. My last name is also Padilla and I served at MCAS Yuma during the first gulf war. I was shocked, you look so much like my brother. I don't know you but, I thank you. Semper Fi, rest in peace."
padilla of san diego, ca

"We will always remember how brave and determined you were. I think back to our Police Academy days when you would joke around in the back of the room with Peter and how proud you were about your family. I thank god every day that he let you see your newborn son before you left. The day all of us graduated we carried you and your family in our hearts and prayers. Now that most of us have become officers we know that you'll be that special angel that looks down and protects us in our time of need just like you did with your crew in the USMC. You have touched many peoples lives not only here in Yuma but all over this great nation. It takes a special person to stand up and defend our nation's freedom, so I thank you Fernando along with everyone from every branch of military down to firefighters god bless and never give up the fight!!

Always in our hearts and prayers,
John Mckinley
AWC Police Academy class #24"
of Yuma, Arizona

"Sgt. Padilla, I was there at your funeral in the Foothills. Just about all of Yuma showed up. I never got to Thank You for giving us the power to run the motor pool while you were over in Iraq. Your trust in the 5 of us made us feel like real adults. Thats my last impression of you. I will always be grateful for your leadership and guidance. You were always fair and respectful, and you will always be the ideal Marine that I can tell stories about.
LCpl Brandon Terry (Med Ret)"
Brandon Terry of Arizona City, AZ

"To the family of:Fernando Padilla-Ramirez 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

"hi"

"hi"

"Sgt. Fernando Padilla-Ramirez,

He was a great friend, who loved everything the Marines stould for, and wasn't afraid of anything. I wish I was there to work by his side, but unfortunatly life deals you cards to deal with. I got broke on a mission that lacked motivation, but someone had to step up. I was his corpral, and made that sacrafice during training, and not during combat; I'm truely sorry. His soul and life will always exist within me. He was a close friend.
Cpl. Howard"
Brandon Howard of Colorado

"My name is Tony Serna I am a relative of Fernando Padilla I attended his funeral. I want to Thank You for your heartfelt sincere messages

God bless Fernando

God bless the United States of America

God bless and protect our troops"
Tony Serna of Escondido ,Ca

"My name is Lcpl Matthew Caple and I had the honor of being part of Fox co 2/2 2nd mar div's job of searching and recovering the remains fo Sgt Ramirez.In my 26 years on this earth I have not done anything more important.Sgt Ramirez........you are not forgotten....and never will be.Semper Fi brother."
Matthew Caple of Norristown ,Pa

"i was a corpsman stationed at yuma 76-77. semper fi marine your child will always know the hero you are. God bless your family"
mihael p curran of northport ny

"you and i spoke after the brief about the stupidity of a night run through that town with the blue door, i never belived in the non combattant satus of corpsman so i unloaded on them with fury, you will not be forgot, and i am going again, so they will all pay, GOD BLESS
I gave my soul and broke my seal, Now i cant turn it of, Ckick"
HM2(FMF)SICKMAN of San Diego

"I REMEMBER YOU FROM HIGH SCHOOL ALWAYS SHY BUT FRIENDLY , A REALLY GOOD FRIEND WHO ALWAYS BE THERE TO ANYONE , ONE DAY WE ARE GOING TO SEE YOU AGAIN .... EVERYBODY WE ARE GOING TO THE SAME PLACE ONLY IN DIFERENT TIME ..... BUT I STILL THINK "THIS WASN'T YOUR TIME" ......"
GENESIS of SAN LUIS RIO COLORADO

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

"I am sorry for the pain that you have to go through. I do hope that you can find the strength to think about what this young man did for others.With out this man people could be out there with their lives in danger. Just think of all the wonderful things your son has done for other people and when you are in doubt think of what he would have done.Think of the jokes he would have told and think of the wounderful time he had an theis earth and now he is in a better place HEAVEN.I Hope that you can find the strength to carry on. I wll keep praying for your famly and the other familys that have lost love ones."
7th grade student of Barker Middle Scool

"To the family of Fernando Padilla-Ramirez,

I had many (12, including my father and mother) relatives die in Iraq at the gassing of Halabja and it is for them that I thank you for the sacrifice you have made. The memory of Fernando and all those like him will live in our hearts and in those of our descendants forever, for he and others like him assured us a justice that we never thought possible, and more importantly, that the fate of the hundreds of thousands who died for no reason other than a tyrant's brutality will not be shared by more innocents. Please accep our condolences for your loss."
Jalal of Houston, TX

"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

"I have worn your name on a POW-KIA bracelet for the past year to never forget those who pay the price for freedom. My love goes out to you and your family for their loss and your heroism.
Semper Fi"
Brian Hodge of Apex, NC/USA

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

"It's amazing how we all sit back and wonder what kind of people do we have in the military these days. Are they the real deal or are they just doing the job just to pass time and hope to survive to get that retirement money? I spent the last 3 yrs with Sgt. F. Padilla and his final hours in Kuwaitt/Iraq and I can tell you first hand he is the real deal as a matter of fact he was the man. He lead from the front and helped those who were falling behind. I am who I am today in the Marine Corp because of him because with out his quidance and friendship I would be lost to this day. We all think that it takes a lot for someone to touch our souls but it doesn't it sometimes only takes a hello or a hand shake. Fernando is a person that I strive to be like when it comes to the Marine Corp, and in life. He was a great Marine as a matter of fact he still is a great Marine and I will never ever forget him. I will go to war with him again any day of the week night or day. I pray that he him self will watch over me when I one day soon return to Iraq and he helps me to be a stonger person. Everyone thinks movies stars and musicians are great people to meet, you can have them because it was an honor and a pleasure to serve with Sgt Fernando Padilla-Ramirez. "Semper Fi" Thank you Padilla."
James Lawrence Cpl USMC of Yuma Arizona

"Sgt. Padilla-Ramirez, goodbye soldier and thank you. You are my hero."
Bill of Houston, Texas

"Rest in eternal peace brave soldier!"
Dan and Meg Manninen of San Antonio, Texas

"I just wanted to say that Fernando will never be forgotten. I new him when my ex and I were stationed in Camp Lejeune. Fernando and his family, Roxanne and (baby at the time)Oxan, were the sweetest people and were very good friends of ours during that time. I was so sorry to here of his passing. Roxanne, you and the kids will be in my prayers.
Love,
Heidi"
Heidi Woodley-McDowell of Springfield, MO

"To the family of Sgt Padilla-Ramirez, we extend our deepest condolences on the loss of Fernando. His sacrafice and yours will not be forgotten by the citizens of a grateful nation. He was a credit to his uniform and a hero to his countrymen."
Chief Bruce and Sandra Whitehouse of Corona de Tucson Fire Department, Corona AZ

"Fair Winds and following seas Fernando. Your sacrifice will not be forgotten."
LT Eduardo Gomez of Sicily, Italy

"Thank you Fernando Padilla-Ramirez, 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 never met this Marine, but I remember his name clearly. He was personally known by some of our Bible Study Marines at Ali Al Salem AB, Kuwait. When it was known that he was missing, we would pray for his safe return and others that were out doing what they had to do. Funny how you don't know someone but yet you know them through the eyes of others. We lost two of our pilots (Capt Sammis and Capt Ford, HMLA-267) out there also. For those of the faith, never lose it. We were and are strong due to Marines and others like Sgt Padilla who brought us together without even knowing us. For those who think Prayer does not work, it does. I am here due to your prayers. I can only hope that his death has brought meaning into those lives which this war has affected. ECC 3:1-8"
Daniel Quezada of Richgrove, CA

"My name is Sgt Owens and I did not know Sgt Padilla personally but I was a part of Fox Co 2Bn 2nd Marine Division and I can proudly say that we were able to overcome many obstacles to ensure that Sgt Padilla was not left in that god forsaken place. Although it was a very terrible thing to happen to him I hope that his family is happy that we were able to recover him. I can asure you that day will never be forgotten by anyone of us who served with Fox Co. 2/2
He will never be forgotten by an entire company of Marines who never even got to meet him.
God Bless his Family"
Eddie Owens of Richmond VA

"I visited your grave today for the first time since the funeral. I didn't know you for long but, long enough to know that you are a great person and will never be forgotton. We missed you in person at graduation but know you were there in spirit. You left a mark on each of our lives that no one else could ever know. Thanks for being our friend."
Class 24 graduate of Yuma, Az. U.S.A.

"My dealings with Sgt Padilla were minimal, but he did strike me as a faithful and warm man, He gave me my Humvee upgrade before I left Yuma, as well as attended to the needs and welfare of his Marines performing firewatch duties at the motor pool at Ali AL Salem, I also took part in the convoy that ill fated night, and what happened is indeed a tradgedy, my deepest condolences to his family."
LCpl Sadowski of Al Kut, Iraq

"The relatives of Sgt Padilla and to the Marines of Fox Co BLT 2/2, STA Tm #4, and Eng. Plt 2nd Squd
Good Job Marines
Resp"
Dario Raf of Fremont , ca

"A mere "Thank You" doesn't seem like it is enough so I hope and pray that we never forget the costly price of freedom and those individuals who fought to uphold that freedom. May God Bless and comfort you."
Gracie

"I had the chance to share the last few days with him. I learned so much about him, and he became a friend that I would never have let down in combat. He truly was an Amazing Sgt in the Marine Corps. My thoughts and prayers are with the family. Semper Fi."
LCpl. Cordova of Yuma, AZ

"To the family and friends of Sgt. Fernando Padilla-Ramirez:
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 Fernando 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. Fernando Padilla-Ramirez:
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 Fernando, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera, of Powder Springs, Georgia

"It seems like yesterday Fernando When you told Jose V. and myself that you were not afraid to go to Iraq and fight the war against terrorism. I remember a couple of days before you left, I told you It great that you saw your baby be born. I remember you telling me "I thank God for that".
We will always remember you in the Police Academy as a gentelman with perseverance and the dream of becoming a Police Officer. I hope every one in the academy accomplishes the same dream. For one thing we will always remember you as not only a Marine Hero, but also what you would have been with out a doubt a Police Officer.

Respectfuly, Your friend from the A.W.C. Police Academy.
Marco A. Santana."
Marco A. Santana of Yuma, AZ

"Fernando I still can't believe you are gone. I can still remember you growing up playing in the playground in grade school always the tallest of the class. Then in highschool being so shy and nice all the time. Yet I do remember you walking tall and proud walking down Main St in your Police Explorers uniform. You definately were making your parents proud then and well with mixed emotions I'm sure that even though they are in pain you are still their hero, as well as mine. May God recieve you in heaven and bless your family. You lived the ultimate sacrifice and died with the honor of knowing you were helping a lot of people and protecting a lot of lives. You will be missed and never forgotten."
Aleida Martinez of San Luis, AZ USA

"My prayers are with you and your son. He will always be remembered by those who cared."
Anonymous of Los Angeles USA

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Padilla-Ramirez family. Your son made the ultimate sacrifice for our country's continued freedoms and the desire to share those freedoms with the rest of the world. Thank you to him and to you for serving the U.S. with honor."
Kelly of New York, NY

"To Padilla and his family,
I Just want to say thank you for giving your life to protect my family's life and my own from terrorism. To his family I want to say thank you for making such a sacrafice like Padilla in the war to keep my family safe and my own life safe from the terrorism. Just remember Padilla is in a better place. to Padilla "Go Easy 'bro."
This come from his classmate from
the police academy,
John Romanucci"
John Romanucci of Yuma, AZ/USA

"To Padilla and his family,
I Just want to say thank you for giving your life to protect my family's life and my own from terrorism. To his family I want to say thank you for making such a sacrafice like Padilla in the war to keep my family safe and my own life safe from the terrorism. Just remember Padilla is in a better place.
This come from his classmate from
the police academy,
John Romanucci"
John Romanucci of Yuma, AZ/USA

"To your fallen Marine,

May he rest in peace and his family be proud knowing that he fought valiantly for his country and brought new found freedom to a country that will now be rid of a brutal dictator. Thanks to your son, we continue to live our lives the way that we do. Godspeed to you."
Annette of Berea, Ohio

"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