Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Staff Sgt. Brett J. Petriken

30, of Michigan.
Petriken and Pvt. Kenneth A. Nalley were escorting a convoy in a HMMWV when a heavy equipment transporter crossed the median and struck their vehicle in As Samawah, Iraq. Both soldiers were assigned to the 501st Military Police Company, Wiesbaden, Germany. Died on May 26, 2003.

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"I think of Brett each year since his passing, he was "O's" squad leader back in Augsburg, GE. I remember "Tootie", so small, she's probably a teen now, just a few years younger than our oldest. A diehard Lion's fan, my husband made "Pet" a Barry Sanders picture just because. Donald REALLY looked up to him. I still
remember...we will never forget."
Christina Odom of Evans, Ga

"To the Petriken Family:
I know its late, but Im so sorry for your loss, Ive been wearing Brett's memorial band since 2005 and I think of his memory almost daily. He and I were stationed together in Augsburg, Germany in the mid 90's.. He was a great soldier,but a better man.
I know you must miss him terribly, and I knew he was going to make the Army his career because he was so good at soldiering. I see that he touched many people during his too brief of a stay on Earth, it says a lot about the Husband, Father, Friend, NCO and MP he was..
God Bless
Stephen Thayer
DACP- Ft Benning, Ga"
Stephen Thayer of Columbus, Ga

"SSG Petriken was my squad leader in the 293rd MP co. at FT. Stewart in '00-'01. I left the service shortly thereafter and can say that many years later he was the most fun-loving, patient, and respectful leader I ever had in the military. I learned of his death while watching Fahrenheit/911 in '04. I was shaken and immediately went home and found the cause of his death online. This site has allowed me to find the good memories I had of him again and give my thanks to his family. I remember meeting his daughter many years ago. I hope she is doing well and want her to know I thought very highly of her Dad and considered him a great leader and friend."
Tyler Horseman of Blacksburg, VA

"Brett, I remember the day that you and several other MP's arrived at the 65th MP Co at Ft Bragg right after Airborne schoool. You always had a smile and a laugh that could make others at ease. I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't know of your passing in Iraq until several years later. However, losing a friend is never easy. My condolenses to your family and my your memory live forever with those of us that had the pleasure of knowing you."
MSG (R) Michael Guetzke of San Antonio, Texas

"I just ran across this many years after ETS'ing from the Army. I served with Brett at Ft. Stewart, GA from 1998 until 2001. Sorry for your loss, Brett was a great guy and I was honored to know him and to serve with him."
Former SGT David Parker of Princeton, WV/ USA

"SSG P, you and Nalley will never leave my heart. I miss both of you guys."
SSG Meier of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

"I miss you Sgt P. You were ALWAYS looking out for someone else and not because you were an NCO but because thats just who you were. I remember in Bad Kreutznach in October, you walking with me downtown to go to the bar in a tank top just because you wanted to make sure I was okay. We shared the same heartache of having a broken relationship back in the states and missing our daughters like crazy. You were the true meaning of a good person and I would follow you to the end Sgt. My condolences to your family. I pray for you always."
Sgt Jay Broughton 501st MP-Medic of Milwaukee, WI

"As a Vietnam veteran and a member of the Military Police Corps for 24 great years, it is always sad to hear the loss of such great men and women who scarifice to much to defend the liberities we all enjoy. To there families it is so hard to accept, but let it be known, that your scarifices don't get unnoticed. To Brett, who I don't know as a person, but only as a soldier who asked to make the ultimate sacrifice, I Salute you for you unfaltering service to country. Thank you and God Bless the family"
Wayne G Cobb, SGM(ret) of Anniston, Ala

"Chris and Rhi, know that you are always in our prayers. We miss you greatly..."
Jennifer, Stephen, and Stacey Parris of Huntsville, Alabama

"Words alone can not convey the heart felt loss of Brett Petriken and Kenneth Allen Nalley. They are in my thoughts everyday and I hope we can remember our fond memories of their lives on this Memorial Day Weekend."
MAJ David Stender of Fort Hood, TX

"This is bretts widow and daughter rhiannon we miss him very much he served his country and died for our freedom! Thank you for all your messages and prayers if you would like to contact chris and rhiannon you can email us at cpetriken@hotmail.com thank you once again and god bless each and every one of you.."
christine and rhiannon petriken proud wife and daughter of our hero of north carolina

"I think of Brett often. We served together with the 293rd MP Company at Fort Stewart, GA. Brett was one of the nicest people I ever met. He always had a smile. He was one of the best NCO's I ever had the pleasure to serve under. By chance, I was in Washington D.C. and attended his graveside memorial at Arlington. I still remember that day. Brett, I still wear a black bracelet with your service information. I cant watch a Detroit Lions game without thinking of you. Rest in Peace Brother. Red Dawgs."
Joshua Wilson of San Diego, CA

"Memorial Day now belongs to Brett, as we remember him and grieve his tragic loss 6 years ago today. He was a wonderful nephew, with a gift of laughter and a joy to be around. Rhiannon, you were his pride and joy, I am sure he is watching over you still. Sis, my heart breaks for you today."
Aunt Shelia of Milwaukee, WI

"SSG Pet (as we called you in Augsburg). I was stunned to hear of your passing but I do remember the good times. Rest easy my friend."
Tim Galvin of Anoka,Minnesota

"09 May 2008
Chris and Rhi,

I happened on the MP website and found Brett's name. It hit me like a brick, especially since I recently lost my brother. I remember those days in Augsburg teaching Brett proper "grill management" at your cookouts. Brett was one of the best troopers I ever had. This old MP will never forget. My thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless"
Michael Appleby of Omaha, NE, USA

"Chris and Rhi,

I happened on the MP website and found Brett's name. It hit me like a brick, especially since I recently lost my brother. I remember those days in Augsburg teaching Brett proper "grill management" at your cookouts. Brett was one of the best troopers I ever had. This old MP will never forget. My thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless"
Michael Appleby of Omaha, NE, USA

"APRIL 23rd 2008
SSG P.
Yes that is what we called you in good olí 501st. I remember you and a young SSG Raben always squaring away 4th platoon. The commander always knew you were one of the best and that is why he took you as his training NCO to get the unit ready to deploy, despite our retort. I fought to keep you with the troops, and when we deployed CPT Stender subsided that you were too great a leader not to be with those that need you, hence your move to 6th platoon. I will never forget go-go bars, training, and making sarcastic jokes about the lack of time to get everything accomplished; although it always got done. The lot that did get accomplished was surely a direct reflection of your unwavering dedication, resilient discipline, and sincere honesty. I am honored to have learned from you and stood in the presence of such a great man.
I know you would be 35 this year and it saddens me that you can't be with your family. Although I am sure you are looking out for your wife and daughter from where you stand.
God Bless"
CPT Christine Baker of Mililani Hawaii

"January 28, 2008
To the family of Staff Sgt. Brett J. Petriken:
Brett 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

"Brett,
I would like to say thank you to you and the other soldier who was also in that Humvee with you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy."
Mike Casey of El Paso, Texas

"To the Petriken family:

I served at the medical facility in Iraq where Brett was brought to after the accident. I prayed for your family then and still do today as the anniversy of his falling comes so close to Memeorial Day.

My prayers are with you, I know Brett is not forgotten."
MSgt Paul Williams of San Antonio, TX

"Dear,rhi and chris
im sorry for your loss but you may not know this but im always thinking of all of you.It is something you have to deal with in life!When we went to the grave them tears falling from chris eye were tears of love.rhi if you look at this i want you to know you are such a good bff!!!!!and all of you will be in my heart
love,mercedes"
mercedes of Beulaville N.C

"to the Petriken Family,

I am sorry for your loss, and have not stopped thinking of all the good memories. I was stationed with Brett in Augsburg in 1996. He was my gunner when we deployed to Turkey. I can not tell you how suprised I was to hear of his death. Once again, I am sorry for your loss, he will always be remembered."
SFC Jeremy Keene of Ft. Hood, TX

"Brett, my cousin, you look so much like your grandmother Marion! I found your photo in the July 21 03 Newsweek only wish I could of known you more! The red head little sweetie in the picture is our's to behold. Please let me know where to send a donation to this family."
Nancy Shannon Oakes of Marion, Massachusetts

"When I was a sorry private SSGT Petriken was the driver in my very first MP team. I was both honored and blessed to work with and learn from him. Even before he made sergeant he was a shining example of leadership; proud to be a soldier, motivated to excel in his profession; ready and capable of taking charge. What I remember most was how dedicated he was to taking care of his soldiers; support their goals, encourage boards, college classes, and family decisions. In the six years that I served in the Army, he was, beyond a doubt, my best impression of a model soldier. I'm stunned and saddened to hear of his death. What a great loss to his family and to America. When I think of our fallen hero's, I will always think of him. God bless"
Lisa Payan of Gainesville, FL

"To the family of:Brett J. Petriken 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"

"DEAR CHRISTINE AND BRETT, I AM DEEPLY SADDEN BY YOUR LOST OF BRETT. I REALIZE IT IS VERY HARD. AN WE REALLY NEVER GET OVER LOSTING SOMEONE WE LOVE DEARLY!NOT A DAY GOES BY I DO NOT TEAR UP. AN NEWS OD ANOTHER FALLEN SOLDIER I TEAR UP FOR THEM. LIKE I LOST ANOTHER SON AND OR DAUGHTER. BRETT I REALIZE YOU VERY KNEW OUR SON GREGORY. THIS I HOLD TRUE IN MY HEART. YOU BOTH BEEN MILITARY BROTHERS. AN GREGORY IS RE-UNITED WITH YOU. WATCHING OVER US! AN YOU BRETT HAVE NOT DIED IN VAIN. YOU ARE AN AMERICAN HERO! AN I URGE YOUR WIFE. TO REACH OUT TO THE VETERANS ORGANIZATIONS TODAY. REQUEST A STREET BE NAMED AFTER HIM. FOR BRETT SERVE HIS COMMUNITY, COUNTY, STATE AND HIS COUNTRY. BRETT THANK YOU FOR SERVING OUR COUNTRY. AN FOR BEING A MILITARY BROTHER TO OUR SON. FOR GREGORY ALWAYS CONSIDERED EVERY SOLDIER APART OF HIS FAMILY. BRETT YOU HAVE MADE AMERICAN ALOT SAFER SINCE 911! AN GIVEN THOSE IN IRAQ, HOPE! I AM NOT PRO OR CON TO THE WAR. I SIMPLEY WITHOUT QUESTION SUPPORT THE SOLDIERS. "OUR TROOPS" AN I THINK ALL AMERICANS SHOULD! CHRISTINE, BRETT IS ALWAYS IN YOUR HEART AND WITH YOUR FAMILY. GOD BLESS!"
LEONARD WAHL of VALLEY STREAM NY

"Chris,
This is Eddie and I have been trying to contact you since I heard your loss of Brett I can even find something on Dorothy(mom) Please email me at marinetx@aol.com if you get this.

God Bless
Eddie"
Ed Kenney of Azle, Texas

"SSG P
you were a great mentor for me. thanks for always being there. i wish you would of stayed my squad leader, but you still supported me, and helped me accomplish things. you always said be the best. for that thank you. i still remember you calling me killer. its almost been 2yrs, and not a day goes by your not in my prayers, same with nalley. it might be a while but i hope to see you again."
SPC. Chris Stromberg of Shape, Belgium

"I went to basic training with Brett at Ft. McClellan AL in 1991 with C Co. 787 th MP BN. I'm no longer an MP but I remember Brett from training. I'm sorry for your loss. Although I am against our occupation of Iraq, as a veteran and former MP I support the rest of the folks on the ground. God bless you all."
Jason Smith of Florida

"SSG P,
This is your old soldier here. I miss you so much and regret not being there with you.. I'd beg to go that day but you wouldn't let me. You are a great leader and showed me a lot about the Army and how to be a FAMILY MAN. I have the video of our departure from Germany and watch it from time to time. These memories will never depart me or anyone that knows you. You guys were the A-team man, and no one can break that. I have Thompson here with me at Ft. Myer, VA. Taking care of him as you would. He is my soldier and I'm getting him ready for the board. Yeah we are still close to you. We just can't get enough of you huh? Miss you SSG P and I pray for your family daily. I want to say thank you for the good times and tell Nalley I said thanks also. Hold a spot for us in heaven, I'll bring the dip this time.
To one of the best leaders I've had. Love you and miss you dearly,
SGT Jackson, Telly
6th Plt NightStalkers
FOREVER"
SGT Telly Jackson of FT MYER, VA USA

"SSG P,
You were my leader, my mentor, my role model, my friend. Its been over a year now that we lost you and Nalley and the pain is still there. The 501st wasn't the same after you were taken, nor will it ever be for me. I will never forget, and I will still model myself after you for you were a great leader and person. Thank you for your memories."
SGT Aaron Meier of Ft. Sill, Ok

"I KNEW BRETT FROM SOUTHWESTERN BEFORE IT BECAME SOUTHWESTERN-ACADEMY...HE WAS A GOOD GUY IN HIGH SCHOOL. IT DISTURBED ME VERY MUCH TO LEARN OF HIS DEATH FROM A MOVIE. IT'S UNFORTUNATE YOU LOSE CONTACT WITH MANY SCHOOL MATES DURING THE YEARS. I AM VERY SORRY FOR THE PETRIKEN'S FAMILY LOSS. GOD BE WITH HIS WIFE AND DAUGHTER. FROM WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT HIM, HE WILL ALWAYS BE LOOKING OUT FOR YOU! :-)"
RACHEL of USA

"All messages are so appreciated and taken to heart.I was Bretts best friend back home since forth grade. He was my brother and best freind. Thank you all for your thoughts. I would to like to communite with others. Please contact me at CraigCenter@comcast.net. May God bless all and never forget our fallen men and women"
Craig Center of FLint - Michigan

"Dear Petriken Family,
Hello, my name is Diane Chaniewski, and I am a Junior at RHHS, in Rocky Hill, Ct. We each had an assignment to honor one soldier who has died serving our country and I picked your loved one. It is an honor to honor someone of such bravery and loyalty to our country and our freedom.
May 26, 2003 will be a date that will forever stick in your mind, as infamous as September 11th itself. It was a date that didn't hold any special meaning to me before, but does now. It is now a day of rememberence--rememberence that without people like Brett, I wouldn't be free. I wouldn't be free to walk down the streets without being shot and I wouldn't be free to practice my faith. Brett has touched my life without ever coming in contact with me. He never knew I existed, yet he was willing to protect me. That's the greatest thing anyone can ever lie down for another--his or her life.
In order to give tribute to Brett's life as a soldier I have bought bags of food from the local grocery store to give to both Foodshare and our town food shelter. Foodshare is a national food collection organization that gives food to the needy and our town shelter does the same. Even the disadvantaged who haven't heard of him will remember him this way. This food will bring someone through just one more day and give them hope and help them live for just one more day when they didn't think they could. Be rest assured that Brett will be remembered by people all over Connecticut and all over the nation.
Thank you Petriken family. Thank you for allowing your loved one to serve so that I may be free, thousands of miles away. You are in my thoughts and prayers every day. Although this war has brought your family grief, may you know that through that time of darkness a brighter light has been shone around the world. We must all aspire to be like Staff Sergeant Brett J. Petriken. Without people like him, America would not be as great a country as it is. God Bless You!
Sincerely,
Diane Chaniewski"
Diane Chaniewski of Rocky Hill Ct

"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.
At the beginning of the year and when it ends, 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

"To the family of Brett J. Petriken,
I was a shock to see Bretts name on the list of the fallen. I seems like only yesterday when we were stationed in Augsburg. I pray for Brett and his family and hope that his family is holding up well during this sad time. God bless you"
SSG Leif Anderson of Mo.

"hey ssgt
i still wish you were here with us, i miss you calling me killer, i miss your leadership. you were in my platoon when i first got here, and you helped me out a lot"
spc chris stromberg of baghdad iraq

"We Will NEVER FORGET !"
Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Brett will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

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

"My most fond memory of you, SSG Petriken, is your smile and the unconditional love you have for your wife and daughter. Brett you were an awesome leader and a faithful friend to the many who had the pleasure of being in your presence. Your memory will continue to permeate our lives and hearts as we continue to press on. Chris and Rhiannon, May God continue to Bless you. You are always in our prayers."
Sonja Bates (Smoot) of Honolulu, HI

"As a Royal Netherlands Army officer, I'm busy with the Dutch soldiers, based in As Samawah. Each report of the death of Coalition Forces turns my stomach around. Therefor I remember those who were fallen in "our" Area of Responsability. A moment of silence...."
Capt Ferry van Rosendaal of Holland

"Chris, I know it is so very hard to get thru each day without the person who is suppose to be standing beside you for a lifetime. Just know that I will always be here for you and Rhiannon, and I will help hold you up when you feel like falling down. Brett lived like a hero and he died a hero, now you must carry on and be a hero for that wonderful living legacy he left behind named Rhiannon. I love you girl."
Kendra of Hometown US

"Shocked and sadness is how I feel right now. I had the pleasure and honor of serving with Brett at Fort Stewart in the 293rd MP CO. He was a NCO other respected and followed. I have just saw this on a web site of his passing. My heart and prayers go out to Brett's family and friends and also to all that have lost a loved one in this war."
SGT Dave H. Cornelison of Waycross , Georgia

"Thank you Brett Petriken, 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

"As I held your Mother at the Veterans Day event in Clio, our hearts beat as one, she misses you as I miss Michael. As with me, she to will get through, keep us in your protection until you see us again. From Sgt. Michael Pedersen's Family"
Lila Lipscomb of Flint, Michigan USA

"Chris and Rhiannon,
You know how I feel, so I guess I really didn't have to post it here. Thank you, for the opportunity to be your friend. I'm honored to have known Brett, even for the short time that we were here. If you need anything, you know where to find me. We love you both so very much!"
Jonetta and the kids of Wiesbaden, Germany

"Military Police Corps Regimental Prayer
By Chaplain Michael Yarman

Heavenly Father - We approach You today because You have called us to be a people of prayer.

We praise You because You are our Creator, our Redeemer and our Provider.

We acknowledge our great need for You as we fulfill our mission as soldiers.

We have been called to serve our nation as Military Police and we are proud of the honored heritage of the Regiment and our motto: Of the Troops and For the Troops.

Whether we are fighting an enemy, securing as area, patrolling the streets, or helping someone in distress, help us, O Lord, to always be men and women of integrity who can be counted on to do the right thing.

Give us the strength to stand for what is right and to oppose those who would do harm to our nation and the people we serve.

May we always be truthful in Word, Deed and Signature, and bring honor through our service to the memory of those in the Regiment who gave the supreme sacrifice for their country.

Guide us now, Father, by giving us wisdom and knowledge from on high, that as Military Police we will always be prepared to Assist, Protect and Defend."
CPT Glidewell

"Military Police Corps Regimental Prayer
By Chaplain Michael Yarman

Heavenly Father - We approach You today because You have called us to be a people of prayer.

We praise You because You are our Creator, our Redeemer and our Provider.

We acknowledge our great need for You as we fulfill our mission as soldiers.

We have been called to serve our nation as Military Police and we are proud of the honored heritage of the Regiment and our motto: Of the Troops and For the Troops.

Whether we are fighting an enemy, securing as area, patrolling the streets, or helping someone in distress, help us, O Lord, to always be men and women of integrity who can be counted on to do the right thing.

Give us the strength to stand for what is right and to oppose those who would do harm to our nation and the people we serve.

May we always be truthful in Word, Deed and Signature, and bring honor through our service to the memory of those in the Regiment who gave the supreme sacrifice for their country.

Guide us now, Father, by giving us wisdom and knowledge from on high, that as Military Police we will always be prepared to Assist, Protect and Defend."
CPT Glidewell

"To the Family of Brett,
I'm Kenny Nalley's Mom. I thought I would send you a note to say that my Prayers and Thoughts are with you and your family. I hope that the sites that my son Dave has done in the memory of your son helps. I know when I look at them I can see how Happy Brett and Kenny where with what they where doing for our Wonderful Country. That is how I'm dealing with my Loss.
Mother of PV2 Kenneth Allen Nalley"
Roberta Brooks of Hamburg Iowa ,Fremont

"To the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Brett Petriken:
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 Brett 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. Brett Petriken:
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 Brett, 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