Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Staff Sgt. Gregory V. Pennington

36, of Glade Spring, Virginia.
Pennington died in Baghdad, Iraq, when his camp came under mortar attack. He was assigned to 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas. Died on June 21, 2004.

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"Iíll never forget the time I served with Greg. He was a real friend and a true hero to our cause. I miss him. Iíll never forget what he did for our men. I think about him often as well as his wife Janet. Iím not sure if anyone has made a bigger impact on my life. I only pray that his family has found peace. I donít know if I ever will. His memory lives in my life, daily."
Kyle St. Laurent of Sturbridge Massachusettes

"I have worn his Hero Bracelet daily for many years. RIP Soldier. You are not forgotten."
Jim Bowland of Richardson, Texas

"21-Jun-2004, the day that I can not forget. That is the day I could not save my friend. My name is Tim Mauck. I was the medic assigned to C 2-7 Cav 3rd platoon. I can not began to tell the family of Greg how much I miss him. I think about him all the time. I treated Greg inside the Cav house until we got him into the FLA where I had to give care over to my other medic on site. It took me a very long time to understand that I did everything I could do to save him, I relived that day over and over in my mind everyday. Greg thank you for the leadership that you gave us, thank you for being the NOC that you was. No matter what was going on you was there to show a young soldier the right way. you always had a smile on your face no matter what. I am honored to have served with such a great man."
Tim Mauck "MM3" of Kirt, Tx

"Greg was my battlebuddy from day 1 in iraq. I re live that day in my mind everyday. I didnt recognize that it was him when it happened. I was standing right next to him when it happened. I feel so bad. I couldnt do anything but wait and help patch him up. I think about greg all the time. The day before he died he told me that when he gets back he wanted to help his brother get his life strait. He was making a calender for janet. Such a nice guy. Never got mad and always had something good to say in such a bad place. My life is better for knowing him
thank you penny rest in peace
Sgt Luke"
benjamin loukus of laurium

"I was the medic with the 4th Platoon Delta Co. 39TH INF BDE that got hit after coming in from a Civil Affairs Mission. We were in the parking lot next to the AID Station at FT. Apache. I was lucky that I was already in route to the AID Station for resupply when the first round hit my guys. Pennington did an awesome job helping my guys into the building. Because of him, none of my guys died that day. All of our NCO's were hit but they survived. I still see his face staring at me from the floor in my dreams almost every night. I'm sorry that I couldn't save him. I often wonder what I might have done differently to save him. If it means anything, I can assure you he didn't suffer. The medic stationed at Fort Apache, SPC James Poyner, bagged him during the entire evac trip in the back of the humvee, never giving up on him while I attended to the other 8 wounded soldiers Pennington helped save."
SSG Jason A. Motes of Jacksonville, AR

"i love you and miss you so much Greg. you were always like a dad to me and i will never forget what an amazing man you were to Janet. She loved you so much and she always will. we talk about you all the time. your the bravest man i know Greg and i hope one day ill meet a man just like you. i love you so very much."
Courtney of FL

"I knew Penny from the time he was a SPC driving for the CO. He was a great soldier but more importantly he was a great person which was why he deservingly was promoted to SSG in the years I served with him. I know that he is in a better place but it saddens me that such a great man was taken from us and more importantly from his wife. Penny's service and selflessness in the face of danger will ever be forgotten."
SSG DJ of Iraan, TX

"Great men seem to pass to soon. It will probably give you absolutely no resolve but the motor team was killed at a later date. I am deeply sorry for your loss."
Snake 1-Sniper Team Leader of AR, USA

"I learned of Greg's passing a while back and it deeply saddened me. Greg was in my platoon in basic training, 2-19 back in 99. I looked to him frequently for guidance and soon became close to him. After basic we went our seperate ways and I never did talk to him again. I am very regretful of that now. Rarely have I met such a kind and respected human being. Although I knew Greg for only a short portion of my life, he obviously truly affected me. My prayers go out to his family."
Collin Konow of Connecticut

"To the family of:Gregory V.Pennington
I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. My heart cries out for you in your grief and you have my thoughts and prayers. He died a hero defending freedom. May you have the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Prayerfully we will all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need prayer or need someone to talk to, please call or write my pastor: Rev. John Pearrell 11677 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015.
Your friend in Jesus Christ, Polly Ballew Covington,Ga"2-2-11"

"My name is Will Tackenberg By coincidence found your name. Live in the Netherlands
If you are interested contact me by e-mail
will.tackenberg@wxs.nl ."
Will (Wilhelm) Tackenberg of the Netherlands

"My name is Patricia Tackenberg and my husband Brian served with Greg at Fort Hood, TX. I was great friends with Janet and Brian and I pray frequently that she is doing well. Brian wears his fallen hero ID bracelt, inscribed with Greg's name and unit, everyday. Greg and Janet were the epitomy of great people, friends, and a true blessing to our lives. I pray for you, Janet, and hope that you are doing well. May God bless you and your family."
Patricia Tackenberg of St. Louis, MO (tack921@aol.com)

"June 21, 2009
To the family of Staff Sgt. Gregory V. Pennington:
Gregory 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

"Greg was one of the best friends I have ever had and I miss him greatly. I think about our times in the Army together and it always brings a smile to my face. Greg had such an influence on everyones lives and influenced others to do incredible things. I hope Greg's legacy lives forever and I was honored to have known him.

Janet we love you.

SA Todd Cavaliere of California

"Dear Janet,
I hope and pray that you and your family are well. Greg is thought about today on this very special day as he is on many days throughout the year in the Casselle household. He was truly a special soldier and it is an honor to have served with him.

Lawrence Casselle (former C CO XO)
Special Agent, DSS"

"Gregory was a good man, one of the best men that I knew while I was in the Army. He was a good NCO, and I admired how his soldiers looked up to him. Even though I wasn't in his platoon, I looked up to him as an example of how an NCO is supposed to be.

I remember a day in 2003, right after I was promoted to SGT. SSG P was the NCO in charge of us at gate guard, and Janet went to HEB and brought everyone sandwiches, chips, and soda. That small gesture really stuck with me as an example of "taking care of soldiers" that an NCO is supposed to do.

I was shocked when the First Sergeant came to our camp and told us what had happened. I remember the funeral a couple of days later, and how hard it was to stand there at attention in a room full of strong men who were all trying not to cry."
SGT Mark McCoy, formerly of 2nd Platoon C Co 2/7 CAV of San Antonio, Texas

"RIP soldier, god bless you and your family."
Brian of Austin, Tx

"I was there the day that SSG Penny died. He died escorting some fellow soldiers that were not familiar with the base into the building. He made the ultimate sacrifice to his country to try and save fellow soldiers lives. His selfless service reflects the utmost of what a good soldier is and a great NCO of the United States Army."
Dennis Robertson of Saint Cloud, Minnesota

"To Greg,
It's been a long time since I saw you back in Fort Knox, KY. You actually process out from the Army and said that you are going to work in the hospital in your town. Since then I have been wanting to get in touch with you right after I left the service in 1993. And now I was saddened to learn just now (4 years later)to what happened to you. I know that your that kind of person to do such a thing without a doubt. We were a tight group from the S-3 section of HHC 2-10 CAV, you were like my little brother and I still got all your pictures in my album. When I went to the first Gulf War I was always wondering, if you joined and comeback again and where your wereabouts. There are so many Gregory Pennington in VA, and I have tried calling some of them and just cant find you. We had so much fun in our younger days especially when we took you out celebrating your 21st B-day and you got in trouble, but all my memories about you are all pleasant and cheerful. This nation is celebrating this freedom we have because of a person like you who serve and protect the freedom that some people taken for granted. Now my search is over, I know that my best friend is in the safer place to be and may God bless your family and friends for their loss.
Your friend,
SGT Isidor Jardin"
Isidor Jardin of Fremont,CA

"My husband Chris Lawson served with your husband in 2/7 cav. We both thought the world of him. Of both of you! It's odd to think that not so long ago we lived barely a block away from each other on Fort Hood. We would feed your dog when you went for trips and you fed our cats. I hope life is going well for you. I am at a loss for words even now but I couldn't stop by this page and not leave you a message if for no other reason then to let you know that we will always remember and he will always be in our hearts. Everytime we drink a Fosters we dedicate it to Greg. God Bless you and Thank you SSG. Pennigton for fighting for our freedom and giving us memories that will last a lifetime. My children will know the story of Greg Pennington. We will never forget."
Addie Lawson of Seaside, CA



"SSG Pennington was a great soldier. When I first got to the unit he showed me the ropes. It was an honor to know such a great man."
Spc Iverson of Fort Hood, TX

"To Greg and all of his family... I served with him in C co, 2-7 Cav back several years ago. I recieved the news before I deployed over here to Iraq in Jan of 2005. Greg was a dear friend and I will NEVER forget his voice or the way he was always there for us. I was thinking back to my 5 years with 2-7 CAV today. I miss it a lot and wish I could turn back time for us all. Greg, you were always there for everone and always looked out for the younger guys. You were like a big brother to us all. I enjoyed greatly the bond all of us NCO's had over there and how we always worked together.

Greg, you have taught me so much and I often think back to your leadership style. Thank you for taking the time to be a brother to me. Myself and SSG Andrew Drake will never forget you..... You will always be remembered in my heart and prayers.

I look forward to the next time we meet and the old "Charlie Crew" can be back together. It will be a wonderful day for us all.

With all I have,

SGT Travis Bennett
Travis Bennett of Comfort, Texas

"I wear his bracelet every day. He exemplifies the true Special Forces courage and dedication.
God Bless Staff Sergeant Pennington and his family."
Jim Bowland of Richardson, Texas

"Hello, my name is Ryan Bradford and i am from Ohio. I recently contributed to the Hero Braclet organization for families of fallen heroes. I received a black metal braclet inscribed with Staff Sgt Gregory V. Pennington. I just wanted to let anyone who reads this (especially his loving family) know that I have had this braclet on since the day it arrived in the mail and I will continue to wear it, out of respect and admirration for him and all the other soldiers who are fighting for me and the rest of country, until all our troops come home. On behalf on of myself, and the staff of WHIZ-TV in Zanesville, thank you for all you've done."
Robert Ryan Bradford of Zanesville, Ohio, USA

"Dear janet, may god bless you and others in your family on your loss.Know that all of us truly appreciate his sacrifice for freedom. I will always remember that young men from our area are fighting for the right of all to speak their thoughts. Know that all will one day answer the same question-What did I do to help someone else-Lets hope we can answer with pride in what we did as greg can-god bless-I'm proud to be an american because of men like greg-thank you always"
Mary D of Bristol, Va,usa

"SSG Pennington was a hero among men. He perished while saving the lives of others. On June 21, 2003, Ft. Apache came under heaving 80mm indirect mortar fire. SSG Pennington was outside during the barrage. He had already moved to a covered position, when he noticed approximately 20-25 soldiers still out in the impact area. Greg moved from his covered position to direct the disoriented soldiers to cover. SSG Pennington endured the heavy fire until every last soldier was safetly behind cover. During the attack, SSG Pennington was struck with fragmentation. He was evacutated to the Baghdad CSH where he later succumed to his wounds.

SSG Greggory Vahn Pennington has been posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor for his heroic actions. Never doubt and more importantly, never forget that SSG Greg Pennington was a hero and gave his life saving others.

The Roughriders will never forget you. We miss you, always.

You continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. We love you, and thank you vehemently for your sacrifice."
CPT Kyle A. St.Laurent, former Platoon Leader of the Roughriders of Taji, Iraq

"Sgt. Pennington,
I will never forget you. I am honored to have served with you in C company, 2-7 cav. I will miss talking football with you, and hope that god watches over and protects your family. You were a great soldier and an honored friend. You are truely missed."
Cpt. Brent Wiese of California

"To the wife of Staff Sgt Pennington

I know that your husband was a good soldier and a wonderful man. My husband Spc. Eves was very fond of him and was greatly saddened by his passing. I can only imagine the pain that you are going through. I know that I pray everyday that my husband comes home and even though I could never feel the pain that you feel I know that my husband will always be proud to say that he served with someone so brave. My deepest condolences go out to you and your family."
Yvonne Eves


"Gregory you will always and forever be an American Hero. To his family and friends please know that you have my deepest sympathies and my thoughts and prayers are with you all. I share in your loss. My fiancee Spc Shawn Davies lossed his life in Iraq on 7-8-04 he was 22. He was also a part of the 1st Calvary Division. I hope that you may find some comfort in wonderful memories you have made with Gregory and know they will always and forever be etched in your heart. God Bless"
Autum Shingler ashingler09@yahoo.com of Aliquippa, Pa

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

"To My friend Greg Pennington, It seems like only yesterday we were graduating in that hot gym across from the Auditorium in 1986. But today I came back to pay you a very special and honored visit in that Auditorium.Today I was reminded of what time could not erase. As I walked through the halls at Holston High I felt sadness in this place.But as a friend a fellow comrade from the previous Gulf War I realized everything that you had gave for us. Any words of mine will never express your heroics on the Iraqi battlefield. I saved all the newspapers and have put everything in my Military room. I often think Americans doesn't realize the price of freedom no matter what country we may travel. But Greg your the very reason why we live free today. Nothing is more honorable than service to your Country. And one day the people of the United States will see, you fought so Iraq could be free.I know as Americans we argue over the Television on what channel we watch . In Iraq people may live under a blanket for their home. Greg you have answered our Nation's call. And everyday around the Tri. Cities people ask me how I'm doing. And I tell them this day is extra. And because of brave noble men like yourself is why I say extra. Because I understand the true price of Freedom . Greg you and the great Veterans across this land who have given so much, makes me want to be a better person today! I am so honored to have been in that graduating class with you at Holston. It reminds me each day of the heart of yourself, and the great people from Konnarock and Damascus. Where people ask for so little , but yet willing to give so much. And you my friend have given me the very freedom's I enjoy so much today! This will never go unnoticed or unspoken . As A friend, A classmate, A fellow Veteran , I will make it my moral obligation to always speak loudly in your honor Greg because you are truly the cream of the crop! God Bless you Greg , and God Bless The U.S.A.!"
Randy Upright of Bristol, Tennessee

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

"You are home Greg. You gave all and will never be forgotten. You, those before you, and those that will follow are appreciated more than anyone will ever know. God bless you and the ones you left behind. Our hearts and prayers go out to them all."
Cheryl J of Damascus, VA/USA

"To Gregory's Family:
There are no words to express the sorrow we feel for your loss. May God bless you and help you through this time."
Dan and Meg Manninen of San Antonio, Texas

"To Gregory's family I want to say thank you for the sacriface he made for all of us. He gave his life for a noble purpose, which is more than most people do. He will be remebered as a hero and one day I will thank him personally.

Rest in peace."
Sarah of CA

"To Gregory's Family and Friends:

On behalf of the Blanco-Caldas family, we send our sincerest condolences. We share the same loss ... the same pain. Our prayers are with you in this most difficult time and we thank you for his bravery and sacrifice.


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

"Dear Gregory,
I am deeply bothered by your passing. Men like you are the real heroes in today's world of selfishness and excess. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for serving America and for doing what is right. You are a hero."
mark reif of winchester, VA

"Thank you Gregory Pennington, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"To the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Gregory Pennington:
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 Gregory 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 Staff Sgt. Gregory Pennington:
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 Gregory, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera of Powder Springs, Georgia

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