Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Cpl. James Heath Pirtle

27, of La Mesa, New Mexico.
Pirtle was in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle when a RPG struck his vehicle in Assadah, Iraq. He was assigned to C Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas. Died on October 4, 2003.

Pirtle was posthumously promoted to Corporal.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Army Cpl. James Heath Pirtle.


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Leave a message in memory of this servicemember, and/or to the loved ones left behind.

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"19 years my brother. Where has the time gone. Seems like we were just hanging out the other day. Miss you brother RIP"
Eric Odiorne of North Haverhill NH

"It's been a long time since I've visited this site, it's hard to do.
Not a single day goes by that I don't think of you and Katie and Ursula and Shane and Kai..."
Doyle Pirtle of Elizabeth

"I hear your name at least once a month in my house... this is not a bad thing, only a gentle reminder of how a soldier can stay with their army brothers even in death. My husband, David, still holds you dearly next to his heart. He isn't much for words but sometimes he will talk to me about life in yalls sandbox. Then he sometimes will speak of that fatal day when they all worked so hard to save you. I cry reading these messages... because you paid the ultimate sacrifice. Know that you continue to live on in the hearts of those who knew you and especially in the hearts and minds of those who were there in your final hours. My husband still struggles to cope with your loss most days. God bless you, Ursula and your baby girl Katie."
Jazzmin Swager of Milton FL

"Heath, we think of "Butterfinger" so often. You were such a funny kid. Every time we see or talk to Russ, your name comes up. We still miss you kid. You left a beautiful memory in Katie. Ursula, we haven't forgotten you and the joy you brought to Heath. Love you, kiddo."
Jack and Gynna Jenkins of Las Cruces, NM, USA

"Heath, I am sitting here almost 12 years later and I still to this day think about you and all the good times we have had. But most of all it still burns in my head of that tragic night in Iraq. Oct 3rd 2003. Normal night of patrols and then a turn of the worse. That night turned into the longest night of my life. The pain hit me hours later after the anger passed. It weighed on my heart for almost 9 years that I could have changed the outcome of that night. When I finally had my break down I called Ursula and talked to her for a while from Afghanistan. Once I heard her voice I lost it and broke down and cried. She comforted me over the phone and finally got it into my head that I could have done nothing and nothing was my fault. I still have the nightmares of that night but then I wake up and quickly Think of the good times and it brings me back to smiles. Me you and York shopping in the mall for clothes just before you met your wonderful wife. But now almost 12 years after losing one of the greatest friends I had ever met. And now I am only a few months away from retirement. I wish you were here to celebrate this amazing day of my life. I miss you so much brother and one day we will meet again. Rest in Peace brother"
Dave Barnes (Ret. SSG soon) of Fountain Colorado

"Thinking of you today as it is Veterans Day. Thank you for your service and making the ultimate sacrifice to protect our way of life."
Eric of New Hampshire


You married my classmate and friend and through her I learned of you. You have become the catalyst for me to hold in supreme appreciation each and every soldier. You will be cherished forever by all those that love you and even those that do not know you.
You have done for me, what I could not do for myself. You have sacrificed yourself, so I did not have to. I am humbled.
...but most of all, I am eternally grateful."
Richard of Laie, Hawaii

"It's your birthday again Son. 38 years ago today, I held you in my arms for the first time. I held you up to God and said "thank you, for blessing me with this Son".
I'm proud of you Heath,
as always, Strength and honor"
Doyle Pirtle of Elizabeth, Colorado, USA


Not even sure I really know what to say, even after all the years. We might not have been best friends or even hung out while we were in high school. But none the less, losing a fellow service member is never easy. I do not remember if you remember Todd Wilson, but he and I keep in touch and remember you always. Fair winds and following seas"
ENC (SW/SCW) Dominic Ramponi of Irvine, CA

"27 May 2013:
Ursula, Katie and Pirtle family,
Thank you for your sacrifice and for being part of Heath’s life. You raised Heath to be an outstanding example of what a man should be and were his inspiration as a father. He left a legacy that continues to touch others.
I still remember the times Heath, Shane, and Gene invited me to hang out with them at church functions and on the weekends when we lived in Carlsbad. They are to this day my role models.
Most humbly on this Memorial Day,"
MSgt Donnie Bryant, USAF of Colorado Springs, Colorado

"Dear Ursula and Katie,

We only met the one time at Heath's memorial service at Fort Hood. I am Betty Jo Beeman's cousin. Even after nine long years, seldom a day goes by that we are not reminded of you, Katie, and Heath. We continue to pray for you and Katie. 

We are humbled by the great sacrifice Heath made on behalf of his country and are keenly aware of the great loss you and Katie experienced in your lives.

We pray that God will bless you, comfort you, and watch over your family."
Donald Bailey of Woodway, Texas

"God on High, you've blessed me even beyond what you did for your self with four sons. Thank you dear Lord.
I'm glad that the majority of the American people under stand, and appreciate, the sacrifices that you and many, many others have made for our country.
Indeed, freedom is not free. It costs the most precious thing known to man, blood.
Thank you Son, thank you Dad, thank you Uwe, Thank you Jay. You all took that one step forward as voluntiers to fight for what is right.
Strength and Honor Gentelmen..."
Doyle Pirtle of Elizabeth, Colorado, USA

"Dearest Heath,
It's hard to believe its been more than 8 years since that night they knocked on our door and told me you were gone. It's still so fresh sometimes and the memory so clear. It was so hard to lose you but I accepted long ago that, for a reason I don't yet understand, all is as it should be. This is how our lives are supposed to go. Acceptance offers peace... which leads to joy... and fulfillment. Our family is happy, settled and content. Our Katie is 8 now and such a sweetheart. She is smart, funny, honest, caring, and silly just like her Daddy in Heaven. I tell her stories so she will know who you are and how much you love her. Walt is a wonderful father to her, he is close with the boys and my mom, and your parents love him too. :) There is an emptiness that will remain without you but there is a joy as well. I always smile thinking about the times we shared and how much we laughed.
You touched so many lives in your time... I'm grateful for everyone who writes to you and continues to honor you, your parents, brothers, and our family. :)"

"HEATH, I can't understand why it has been so hard for me to write over the past few years. Mom passed away in May of 2007, and unfortunatley for my family news just does not travel like it should. I'm sorry I never had the priviledge of meeting your family. The small amount of time I spent in carlsbad growing up was shared with you, and it it amzing to me that I just recentty had the nerve to send you a message. Cuz, having immediate family in harms way I realize the sacrifice you made for us. I only wished that over the years I hade the priviledge of knowing better the ones you loved. I have thoguht of you often, but yet have not had the nerve to write you. I have so few memories of us growing up, but amazingly, the ones I do have, I remember very well. I will truely miss the oppurtunity to speak to you again and the previledge of someday meeting the ones you loved. Put in perspective it is just hard to realize the honor that some put forth to protect those they cherish. God speed Heath and I hope that some day I have the honor of knowing those that loved you the most.
Your Cousin and friend,
Brian J. Bogle

Brian Bogle"
Brian Bogle of Atoka, tn

"8 year's ago... It can't be...
I could swear I talked to you just the other day.
Here they come... tears. The hurt is still there, it's just not as fresh.
Katie is so Beautiful, so smart. You are no doubt, very proud. Shane and Kai are such fine young men, I know you're proud of them too.
Urs is such an amazing rock, we thank God for her all the time. Matthew, Ranger and Ty, and now Amanda and all of us, thank you for your selfless sacrifice.
Strength and Honor Son,

God, Family and Country, those are still my priorities."
Doyle Pirtle AMERICAN! of Kenosha, Wisconsin & Elizabeth, Colorado

"Heath, how often we think of you, of course you will always be my other son. I am sure you and Jerry are laughing and pulling jokes on everyone. What a wonderful family you have. It's been to long since I've seen them. Oct 2, my birthday is the 3rd.You will never know how much we loved you. You left a big hole in our heart and family."
Marsha & Russel Owen of Carlsbad, new mexico

"Love you much, never forget"
craft of killeen,tx

"5/30/2011: Just want you to know Pirtle that Memorial Day and Veterans Day is every day for me now..I have 1 tattoo dedicated to you and another dedicated to 3RD Platoon..so everyday as I wake up and do my daily routine I am reminded of the sacrifice you made and the good times we had as a Platoon..I still talk to some of the guys and we still think about you man...I salute you Pirtle..see you when I get there..miss you bro..."
Sgt. Tabor Ret. of San Diego,CA

"Hello my friend, my brother, its been a long time and i still remember us talking about our loved ones while sitting on top of that bradley thru our many missions, and patrols, i miss u my friend, still remember u all the time, just know my brother that you are still in my heart and prayers, may god bless u and your family, thanks buddy may we meet one day again, it was an honor knowing u my friend, ursula if u ever need anything, please contact me at 956-544-0908"
SSG Rene Luis Cortez of Brownsville, TX

"Seven years... it's been a long time, but I can still remember the young PFC that came walking into the training room to work with me. The first Soldier I ever had after graduating PLDC. I can remember thinking "at least this guy is squared away... should be easy". Looking back on it, I get hit with the same thought every time. "What if I'd trained him better? Would he still be here? Would his daughter know her father?" I know after I left the unit I figured you'd be just fine. Hell, there were a lot of great NCOs there to look after you... and I know they did all they could. I can't look back on that time without my mind coming to you though. Any good memories I may have had about 2-8 INF seem... pale. I remember the day I found out you had left us. To tell you the truth man, I don't think I've been the same since then. It's not any special connection we shared... hell I was new to being an NCO, you were new to the Army... we never really got close. But you were my Soldier. One of my "kids"... and I can't help but feel like I failed you in some way. It's unfair that I'm sitting here and typing this out in Afghanistan and you're not around.

I'm going to go before I keep rambling... but I hope that where ever you are now... you can forgive me for any failings I had... for not being there. I'll see you when I see you, Pirtle."
SSG Gray, Jeremy of Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan

"Heath, your picture and your flag stay out on display in our living room, with Katie's picture beside you. There is nothing I could say that would be adequate enough to thank you for your selfless giving for those of us left behind. Your Dad asked me once if I believed you and your daughter's souls met in the short time you were gone from here until she arrived. I do believe they did and you got to hold her and talk to her. It will be a wonderful reunion some day for all of your family! You are well loved and I understand your Dad's quiet, firm conviction... strength and honor!"
Rhonnie Bianco of Kenosha, WI

"Hey buddy,
Who would have thought it's been seven years. Well you'd never believe it but seven years later and I am an E-7. It took me a bit but I got some ink in your memory. I just wanted to drop a line. You are always in my thoughts and prayers. I know your always watching over me and my fellow Infantry brothers.
SFC. Bakowski, John of Fort Leonard Wood Missouri

"7 years brother... always in my heart...sorry bro...miss you...
the mexican J. Garza"
Jesus Garza of Harlingen, Texas, USA

"Hi Sweetheart,

Not a day goes by that I don't miss you and think about how happy I was when we were together. We had no money but we had each other and our family. It was the best time in my life. I love you baby... so very much."

"Another Memorial Day is approaching. Another chance for "We the people" to give thanks for those of you who "gave all" for God and Country.
Strength and Honor Gentlemen."
Doyle Pirtle of Kenosha, Wisconsin

I'm sorry for your loss. I wanted to ask you if James was related to the Pirtle's from Chattanooga, Tennessee, Raymond Pirtle, James Pirtle, John Pirtle, Lorraine Pirtle, Edna Pirtle? My name is Peggy Ann Pirtle, and related to Pirtle's living in chattanooga, Tenn. My father was John Clayton Pirtle, Sr. and mother, Anita Tan Pirtle.
Please contact if so, to email address: pirtlepeggy@yahoo.com

Thank you..."
Peggy Pirtle of Honolulu, Hawaii

"Heath, Dad, Uwe, I'm looking forward to seeing your faces again. What a homecoming it will be!
Strength and Honor Gentlemen"
Doyle Pirtle of Kenosha, Wisconsin

"Dear Ursala: I would like to send something to you and your children in memory of Heath. Not sure if you remember me, I was the doc at Fort Hood who delivered Katie. Please email me at GLuciMD@aol.com."
Gerald Luciani, MD of 492 Whites Hill Dr, Van Alstyne, TX 75495

"Dear Heath:
Think about you often and it still breaks my heart that you were taken before getting to meet Katie. You, Ursala and Katie remain in my prayers. Thank you for your service, you are certainly one of my heroes!"
Maj. Gerald Luciani, MD, USAF (Ret) of Van Alstyne, Texas

"Hey Little Brother - yeah, I still think of you that way! Although I may not be an avid writer on this forum (as it is always hard to read and I still feel like I failed you in some way) I do think of you often. I know our time together was short, but I had the utmost respect for you (well, you did marry my sister after all - LOL). Urs is doing a wonderful job raising Katie and of course Mom and Dad were there a lot to help her out too. Well, now it is just Mom, but her and Katie have grown very close over the past year. Just know that you are and will always be missed by the Kragl family - we all loved you very much! HOOAH!"
CW3(RET) Ute Kragl of Augusta, GA

"It has taken me years to accept the fact that you are gone!We spoke just before we both deployed, it should not have been our last conversation. I have known you since elementary school. It still seems unreal Heath that you are gone.i know that it has been so long and I am truly sorry for that, but I have had to bury to many friends and just recently lost one of my trainees.Ursula I know he was your husband, but he will forever be my brother. I will always love you Heath you are definently a class act guy That is looking down on all Infantryman, I need that more than ever!"
SSG Todd Wilson of Fort Benning, GA

"To Heath's Family, God Bless you and Guide you. To Heath's Mom I look up to you and remember how strong you have been even after all these years that have past.Thank you all for the ultimate sacrafice that you have made."
Olga & Wero of Hurley, NM USA

"Hey Brother,

Wow I can’t believe it’s been six years. Just wanted you to know that I and my family have not forgotten you and we NEVER will. We have your picture on our living room wall, alongside our family pictures. You ARE part of my family, and always will be. My children see your picture, know your name, and know the story of your bravery. Your life WILL continue to live on through my family… that I can promise you.

I’m writing this and it just came to my mind; I was a SGT in 2003 and now SFC, you were a CPL and always spoke to me about you being an officer. How I wish god would have let you continued your path in life. I know you would have been a good officer.
I wanted to say thank you for your sacrifice. On this day the world lost a great person, father, friend, and husband. All the life’s you have touched in the few years you was in this world will NEVER be the same without you. We love you and miss you deeply. Take care brother and please continue to look over us as we continue to deploy with your fighting spirit in all of us.

Ursula, if you EVER need anything please do not hesitate to call us; Erik 214-499-1491, Melissa 254-466-7482.

The Polanco Family"
Erik Polanco of 2nd Plt C co. 2/8 Inf. Now Dallas Recruiting Battalion, Dallas, Tx

"3 tours and a few changes of scenes still miss you brother,Memorial day has come to pass yet again. Once more I remind people why it is they have a long weekend to many things taken for granted these days. I cant believe it almost been 6 years doesnt seem that long ago living in sandbag castles and on the side of the road on a checkpoint.Still seems like yesturday to me. Not much has changed except the wonderful new acu pattern bdu, and the fact the fire retardant ones rip in the crotch so easy. Marvalous engineering. Ohh yeah wearing a sumbrarro and singing to the tune of johnny horton's bismark track was good memory Ursula. Ill write again soon. later dude.
panovic of iraq again x3

"Dearest Heath,

This Memorial Day has been so difficult but I am so proud of you and all our Fallen Heroes for serving our great nation and making a difference to others. Every time our little Katie sees an American Flag she proudly says ”That’s my Daddy’s flag!” She sang along with the Star Spangled Banner while it played at the reverent ceremonies we attended. Her sweet little voice singing just loud enough for us to hear. They sing it every morning at her elementary school then say the Pledge of Allegiance with little hands over their hearts. It’s a beautiful sight to see and goes to show we still have a patriotic generation to come.

Dad joined you in January after losing his fight with cancer. I can only imagine how much dark beer you two are drinking together! :) His suffering is over and for that I am extremely grateful. Mom is doing better than I could have hoped for and I am so proud of her. Living next door to each other for the past 6 years has been the best for all of us. Katie grieves for her “Opa” every day. He was the closest thing she ever had to a daddy and she misses him terribly. She has endured a lot of loss for a 5-year-old girl and now that she understands what its like to lose someone so close she has been grieving for you as well. Although you left us 4 weeks before she was born she she “misses” you all the time. She accepts that all the other kids have daddies and that hers is in Heaven. She is a very resilient and happy girl.

Katie loves her family and misses seeing her Uncle Matt, May, Uncle Ranger, Grandpa, Nana and Uncle Ty very much! We try to get together as much as we can living so far apart. I truly love and cherish your family which is my family too. :) Shane and Kai are my rocks and amazingly well-adjusted teenagers. We are very close and have fun together. Katie is definitely spoiled by her big brothers! The boys are still grieving for their Opa as well but are a big help to me and their Oma. Ute was here for a week on Mother’s Day and we are growing closer in our older years. Can you believe I’m 40???

I still miss you so very much and remember the wonderful man you are and how you made me feel. My love for you is eternal. I don’t know how it all works with me finding love again in this life but I have a big heart and will leave it in God’s hands.

Thank you for being the amazing and beautiful soul you are. I know without a doubt that you have even greater battles to fight. Strength and honor my love."

"Hey Panovic, thanks so much for writing to Heath. I was thinking of that day with the ice cream when I saw your letter. Good times. :) Keep up the great work and thank you for continuing to serve our nation!"
Ursula Pirtle


"Dear James, sorry it took so long to write I just want you to know, not so much as a week has gone by that I don't think about your memory, and the stories you shared. Like that one time we were sitting at an M4 range and you were telling me about this mitsubishi that you found on the side of the interstate. Anyone who knows you I would suspect they know what I am talking about. I remember hanging with you in the B's and that time you stopped by with usuela (sorry I cant spell that great) and she had brought homemade ice cream that is a memory that I will never forget. You and your family will always be with me.

Sgt.(p) Radovan Panovic
Aco. 1-18 In 1st ID
Ft.Riley Ks, 66442"
Sgt. (P) Radovan Panovic of Ft. Riley Ks USA

"Please accept my deepest and sincerest sympathies on the loss of your loved one, James. I did not know that we had lost a La Mesa resident to the Iraq war. Please feel free to contact me via e-mail at tenorvocalist23@aol.com. I would like to learn more about James. God bless you all."
Orlando-Antonio Jimenez of La Mesa, New Mexico, USA

"I stumbled across this while surfing the internet for our fallen heros. I want to thank you for your service and sacrifices you made for our country. I am currently in korea serving and miss my family during the holidays. I got a dose of reality after reading all these messages. Cpl Pirtle you were an amazing person on account of what i read. I wanted to thank you and thank your family for all your sacrafices. God bless you and your family"
Brandon of Korea

"Dear Heath and family - Altho I didn't have a chance to know you, Heath, I wanted to tell you how very much I honor you and appreciate your loyalty to our country and the sacrifices you made to save our freedom. I appreciate it more than I could ever say. And for your family - I am so sorry that your precious daughter never got to be held in her daddy's arms and grow to love the great man you were. And that your dear wife had to lose the most important thing in her life at so young an age. My heart goes out to her and your daughter. I also feel a great sense of loss having come to know your father, Doyle, who also is a great, kind, honorable man. I know his loss and that of your mother is also so very great. My prayers are with all of you as you try to understand and deal with this terrible loss."
Charlcy Green of Roswell, NM

"Another memorial day has come and gone. I'm as proud of you now as I was the day you told me you joined the Army and said "I want to serve my Country". I love you,
Strength and Honor Son!"
Doyle Pirtle of Eunice, New Mexico USA

"September 27, 2008
To the family of Cpl. James Heath Pirtle:
James 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

"Hey baby,

Jerry is with you now and I'm sure you two are having a ball. Katie and I will be at the funeral on Monday. I hope she'll put a smile on Russ and Marsha's faces. I can't imagine how hard this is on Russ. He still hasn't gotten over losing you, the closest thing to a brother he's ever had, and now his dad is gone too. I'll do whatever I can for him and Marsha. I know how much they mean to you. I'll get to see your dad, too, which is always awesome. He's a wonderful grandpa to Katie and she loves him very much.

Katie will be 5 in October. Your mom and grandma are coming and it will be great to see them. Maybe we'll see them this weekend, too, need to check. I hope Matt and May can make it to Katie's bday party in Oct. If not we'll see them and Ranger in CA this Dec. Family is everything!

I still miss you so bad baby. Miss your personality, strength, inner peace and the joy you gave me. Please guide me through the rest of this life and watch over the kids.

I love you."
Ursula of Ft. Hood TX

"Freedom is not free. Thank you for giving your life to protect me, my family and our way of life. You are a hero. God Bless America, let freedom ring!Go with God my friend. You will not be forgotten."
Chris M of Denver

"It’s been years now since I last saw you Heath, but I remember it like it was yesterday.

I hugged you like I had never hugged you before. You were being deployed and I was so worried about you. You gave me a reassuring smile and told me you’d be alright. I got on the plane and that was it. It’d been a great vacation spending the weeks with you and your new wife Ursula and your sons. I didn’t really believe it would be the last time. I didn’t really allow myself to think about it.

It just doesn’t make sense. You’ve always been there for me. I want to talk to you. I want to hear your voice. I want you to tell me your latest news and I’ll tell you mine. When you’d call while you were on guard duty and we’d talk for hours, I always felt so much better. You’d make me laugh and forget about any problems I was having.

I’ve never known a world without my big brother Heath, and so far it’s not so great. I don’t know what we’re going to do without you. It’s just too hard."
Matt Pirtle of San Jose, Ca

"Just yesterday, I think it was, I was so proud to announce to the world, "I have a new born son." I held you up to God, as I have done with all my sons, and said "Thank you Lord for this". I knew even then that it was possible to lose you someday but I prayed that day would never come, but it did. I know we will meet you again someday and I look forward to that day we will all be together again.
Thank you my son for being you.
Thank you my Lord for my sons.
Strength and honor
Doyle Pirtle of Eunice, New Mexico, USA

"My Dearest Darling Heath,

I miss you so very much my love. Even now when its been 4 1/2 years since your spirit soared to a better place and 5 years since the last time I saw your handsome face and strong body walk away to go to war. It's so hard sometimes, Heath. You are the most amazing man I've ever known and losing you was almost more than I could bare. I had no idea how I'd live my life without you... how I'd raise Katie without a Daddy and the boys without the best roll model I could ever ask for. Somehow we made it, we got through everyday and we will get through the ones ahead.

I have realized my strength through all this. I have been able to make a difference to other widows and children. I have been able to tell so many people around our community, our nation, and the world about you and how wonderful you are. I've received many gifts... those that you can't buy, wrap or see... the kind that you carry with you everywhere you go and no one can ever take away from you.

One day I will be with you again. I have no doubt Heath. Although I'm trying to move on, trying to find love again, somehow, it will all work out. I know that God sees how big my heart is... He knows and thats all that matters. He knows I can love three children with all my heart yet love them equally.

I feel like you've kept us out of harm's way many times already. Thank you for watching over us and keeping us safe. Please don't ever let anything happen to our children... I don't think I could take that.

I still need you in so many ways... I still miss everything about you. I know you can't come back to me and I accept that. You are so much better off where you are and I'm still needed by my family and yours. I am so fortunate to have so many wonderful people in my life. I love your parents and brothers... they are all so wonderful!!!

Life is still full of joy and beauty. I cherish the moments we had and consider myself very fortunate to have had you for the time I did. I think of you every sunset because you loved them so much and teased me that the ones in NM are so much better than the ones here in TX. You gave up so much to become my husband and I've never taken any of that for granted. I wanted you to come home and let me show you how much I love you... let me show you how much I cherish and need you. All the plans we had...

Katie talks about you a lot. Its amazing how she seems to know things about you without me telling her. She loves you misses you although she's never seen you. I tell her about you all the time and how you watch over her and love her so very much. She sees the tears in my eyes and asks if I miss you and I say yes. I still have tears in my eyes for you everyday. I wish I could see you two interact... see the joy in your eyes as you look at her... she is so beautiful and looks so much like you. She would be Daddy's Little Girl for sure. I can only imagine all those things.

Always know whats in my heart.
I love you Heath."

"Strength and honor my son, strength and honor!"
Doyle Pirtle of Eunice, New Mexico, USA

"Dear Pirtle,

You and I talked quite a bit over there. I selected you to be my gunner when Spc MacDonald had to go to Baqueba. We had quite a few patrols together. I insisted that you would make a good officer and that you should try to go to school and get a degree. You told me that you wanted to be a fireman. Either way, you wanted to take care of your family. As responsible as you were, you were equally funny. I got to see you imitate me to the guys. As a platoon leader, I tried to have some kind of impact on my troops. I think I did. I miss you and think of you a lot. I have been blaming myself for what happened and I can't seem to shake it. Why does a decision have to be so hard. Sitting ducks or push through? My training taught me to push through. Only, if we had just rebooted your system before instead of after....everything happens for a reason and I am learning that. I pray that your family is at peace. I am tormented night after night. This is why I have struggled to write this. There is nothing to say, but I am sorry. I am sorry that I let you down. I promised everyone that we would all go home together. I struggled to always stay positive and say all of the proper military terms to keep you guys motivated, when it was hard to motivate myself. It was hard to push the message of fight harder, be swift and determined, when I didn't believe what we were doing was right. I am sorry man, brother to brother. You will always be with me. Finally, Pirtle, I am sorry that I never met your family, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. When we got back to Ft Hood, no one told me of the ceremony with 3rd Platoon since I was at Brigade. That hurt. I didn't know about it until after the fact. But, I don't think I could have gone. Please be patient with me. I promise that I will meet them someday. I promise that one day I will suffer no more. Until then, I am sorry.

CPT Trey Joslyn, aka Lieutenant Jinx

if you would like to keep in touch, my address is...
5407 Lavaca Rd
Grand Prairie, TX 75052"
Trey of Grand Prairie, TX


I haven't been able to leave a message on this website ever since it was started. It's just hard, knowing you are gone. I wish we would've just stayed a little longer and took more pictures that January before you were deployed. I'm am thankful we did get to see you though. I wrote a poem and wanted to dedicate this to you and all the other men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country and for freedom.

The title is


Living in yesterday
never knowing the cost
men who gave everything
memories so easily lost

boys became heroes
fighting side by side
leaning on each other
two worlds collide

never selfish,
loyalty in death
fighting for each other
till their last breath

freedom we enjoy
thanks to each of them
scars that never heal
eyes that now grow dim

reach out and hold on tight
to their legacy
forget them not
from sea to shining sea

Heath, we grew up together and I want you and everyone that reads this to know that you are my HERO!!!!!!!!!

Shane Pirtle of Whitesboro, Texas

"...brother pirtle,i will never forget your caring words,the way you would leave that goodness in ones heart when enlightening us with the word of god..your a man to the day i will never forget...those days when you died where crazy beyond belief,Alkie you did your best but the lord needed Pirtle,i love you bro.....Pirtle, i will honor you always brother...Ursula ,i wish you the boys and katie the best,im sorry for the lost of Pirtle.here recently i have been thinking of him the most..you see i just deployed and well its not iraq,but everyday i remeber that my love is waiting for me and my kids are waiting for dad.i cried last night when i saw the video 18 video tapes,it was the saddest thing i remember,your dogtags swaying in the breeze over your boots and weapon....im sorry ...god bless"
SPC Julio C. Loya ,El PasoTx of then 1st Plt medic,friend to pirtle and his family

"Hey buddy, Is me...again, Chuy Garza, four years bro,seems like yesterday, a lot of things have happened....I been learning more...and now I'm a Texas State Trooper, unbelieveble right? I wrote to your father some time ago... I moved from Killeen and now I'm living in the south, in the El Valle, I'm stationed in Raymondville Tx...but my family and I are living in harlingen. Wellmy frind take care there and I'll see you when my time comes...thank you so much......"
Jesus GarzaGomez of Harlingen, Texas,




Copy and paste this link into your browser and it will take you to the video on youtube. We are hoping it will be approved by CMT and air all over the country and around the world. It shares a very special message about children who have lost a parent in Iraq or Afghanistan. A lot of Americans don't realize how many Gold Star children and families there are and how hard it is to go on. It's a very powerful and moving video and I'm happy to share it with you."

"My Dearest Heath,
I still miss you so very much. October is a very difficult month remembering all that I had with you and how much it hurt to lose it all 4 years ago. Then Katie was born and it helped so much. She looks a lot like you... she's so beautiful. Her happy face and personality light up any room and she's always making people smile. What an amazing gift we all have in her. She has no idea how special she is... ok, maybe she does because she is a little spoiled. She knows her Daddy is in Heaven looking down on her and loves her very much. She loves you, too... she tells me. Shane is so tall, almost your size, and such a wonderful son. Kai is still funny and charismatic, so sweet. He needs a little more guidance. When you died he stopped being so happy-go-lucky and is more cynical, looking to be disappointed. They both miss you very much. You were a best friend to all of us. We learned so much from you and we still talk about the fun times with you and what a wonderful influence you were on the boys.

I'm grateful to be very close to your parents and brothers. We don't get to see each other or talk as much as we'd like but I know there is a deep and lasting bond between us all. I know your loving and caring nature came from the influence of your parents and grand parents. I truly appreciate them all!

I hear from your friends now and then. I am disappointed that your unit moved to Fort Carson, CO but change is always happening. I hope they will dedicate a room to you as they had done here at Fort Hood. I hope to be there for that and its closer to your family in CO.

I'm still volunteering at the Gold Star center on Fort Hood. I get to help other grieving families get through their pain. A lot of them see me as the happy, goofy person I am and it is like a light at the end of the tunnel. They realize that you can grieve and feel pain but not let it consume you completely. I know I have gained so much strength in the past 4 years and I am grateful for it. I appreciate everything that I have been given, even the brief but beautiful time with you. It was the best time in my life, Heath. I love you and miss you so very much.

Please continue to be our guardian angel and watch over the kids. I could not go on without Shane, Kai, or Katie.

It has been my greatest honor to be your wife, Heath. You are the most amazing man and I will never stop being impressed with the depth, beauty, and selflessness of your soul. That and your sense of humor! :)

It seems like so much longer than 4 years since you left us... more like a lifetime. But I still miss you so much."

"Hey Pirtle,
Man I can't tell you how sad it made me to find out we lost you. I was still hopeing we would run in to each other and go on that hunting trip we had talked about. Not a day goes by that I dont think about you. You were the funniest guy I ever met and a dang good friend, one great soldier. This world is a darker place without you but I know heaven is a better place with you. I'll keep you and your family in my prayers."
Clay Potter of Levelland, TX

It has been 4 years today since we lost you. Not a day has gone by that you were not in my thoughts and dreams. I miss you so much. It still doesn't seem real. I still think that I am going to wake up and this bad dream will disappear. I imagine that I will pick up the phone some afternoon and hear your voice asking to speak with your dad or checking up on Ranger and Ty. Sometimes I am so angry that you have been taken from us; it reduces me to tears. I know our lives have to go on, but there is still a gaping wound where you once resided. I hurt so much. I feel like my heart has been ripped from my chest. I miss you!
Your dad and Ty seem to have been the most effected by your death. Ty, not knowing how to deal with your death, stepped into a dark world that almost claimed him. He has fought back and now stands tall and self confident. Ty is a man that you can be proud to call your Brother.
Dad still keeps his feelings buried deep inside. I don’t think he is ready to let go of his grief and anger that you were taken from us, but he is getting better all the time. A wound like this is sometimes slow to heal. We just all make sure that Dad knows that we love him and he still has us.
Ranger is adjusting well to living out on his own in this bold world of ours. He is a hardworking man, but still knows how to enjoy life. He reminds me a lot of you Heath. His smile can light up a room. Ranger took it to heart that you never know when your time will come so he is open and heartfelt in his dealings with others. He never forgets to tell us that he loves us. That is a pretty big thing for a 19 year old boy. It never has been ‘cool’ to tell your parents and brothers that you love them, but he does all the time.
I don’t talk to Ursula and the kids much. I guess that makes me a really lousy Grandma. I love them so much, but I do not want to intrude on their lives and happiness.
Please watch over your family as we keep you safe in our hearts."
Markette C Pirtle of Elizabeth, CO

"I use to work with Heath's Mother, Kay Beeman in Artesia,NM. She is a very good person and raised two wonderful sons. She had much love for them both. I can remember Heath visiting her everyday at work. I could see his love for his mother and her love for him. I was very saddened to hear of his death. He is a Hero to all of us, and I am very thankful that he protected and served our Country. His mother knew how much I adored children and longed for one of my own. In November of 2003, I saw her and Heath's family in a Veteran's Day Parade in our Hometown of Carlsbad, NM. She saw me and I saw her. My heart ached for her and her dear family. My son and daughter were with me too. I could see in her eyes that she saw us. And I cannot imagine what she was going through. I love you Kay, and I will never ever forget you. You are a wonderful person, a strong person, and I'm sure you are the best grandmother ever, especially to your little girl, your grandaughter. I could see your love for your two boys and wanted to be a good mother like you. Now I am trying my best to be that to my kids too. I will never forget you or Heath. My prayers are with you, his wife and children, and all of his family."
Shannon Trujillo of Carlsbad, New Mexico

"Its been 20 years sense i knocked on the door to your trailor house and asked your mother "can Heath and Matt come out to play?". It has been 4 years sense 4th ID left that place and 3 1/2 years sense I read your name on the wall in front of our old division's HQ. The years have faded away but the pain of your loss hasn't."
SGT Gilmore, David of Q-west, Iraq

"Heath was a classmate of mine at Carlsbad High School. I was shocked to see this site and am sorry to say here, it's 2007 - I am just now learning of his death. He was a great guy and he will be missed. Your family is in our prayers."
Meredith Doubrava (Nestor) of Houston, TX

"My Darling Heath,
May is a tough month to get through. Your birthday and Memorial Day. So many memories and I still miss you all the time. Everyday I wish you would have come home because we all love you and need you very much.
The boys are getting so tall and Katie is so smart. Can you believe she's 3 1/2 already? It amazes me to see her but it hurts that I could not see you two together. I'd give anything to see the joy in your eyes holding her. I know you'd be putty in her little hands and she would adore you and follow you everywhere. She knows her Daddy is in Heaven and that we can't touch or see you but that you watch over us and see her. She loves you. We all love you.
Your mom and dad were here for Memorial Day and it was great to be with them and honor you at the Central Texas Heroes Memorial Dedication. Katie, Shane, Kai, my parents, your parents and I were all there to represent you. It is the most beautiful memorial I have ever seen. Katie and I also went to the 2nd BN memorial dedication which is also very beautiful and it was deeply touching. It's been an emotional few weeks but always know that I am strong and we are all doing very well. I'm sure you can see that but I want to tell you for sure.
I'll always love you my sweet Heath."

Legeta of Artesia,New MexicoUSA

"Hey Heath, it's been a while. Memorial day is here and I see a lot of flags flying. It really makes me proud of you. I have so much I want to tell you, I'm really not used to you not being there every time I have a problem. You always give me good advice and I always feel better after talking to you. I miss you.
You were the best brother a kid could have. This world is just not the same anymore."
Matt Pirtle of San Jose, Ca

"You are in my thoughts and in my heart everyday. I miss you."
Markette of Elizabeth, CO

"I do remember you form Kahuku Cheerleader. I am Inge A.Surya brother,I do have the fun and share that friendship.I would like to know if we can be friends all over again. I truly believe your husbaand died for the freedom of this nation with pride and faith of freedom that we enjoy. I hope to hear from you with my love as youth of zions."
Harry H.Surya of NY NY

I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family and loved ones-especially your wife and children, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

"Patriae Fidelitas"(Loyalty To Country)
8th Inf. Motto"

"Pirtle family,

It is men like you that allow the rest of us to wake up and take a breath of fresh air every day.

I've never met you, or any member of your family, but know that I recognize your sacrifice and while I'll never be able to thank you or your family enough, I will most certainly remember what you have done and given for me and my family.

Hero is not a strong enough word for men like you, and the families that are by their side."
Joe of San Francisco, CA

"I miss you every day bro!!"

"My Dearest Heath,
Oh how I miss you... it has been three long years... I miss everything about you my love."
Always, Ursula

"A hundred times I've gone to this site, there is so much that I want to say but I can't see the keyboard through the mist for very long. Someday I will be able to write in this hallowed spot but not today..."
Doyle Pirtle of Elizabeth, Colorado USA

"Mrs. Pirtle,
I was a friend of Heath's in Carlsbad. We were in the same grade and it seemed we had a lot of classes together. As you know, he was a great person. I am so sorry for your loss. You have a beautiful baby. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. Heath, you are missed greatly. Thank you for fighting for our country. You will never be forgotten.
Your Friend Forever,
Tisha Monroe Martinez of Carlsbad NM

"hey buddy,
i cant believe its been 3 years. i still remember my first day in theater and you came to talk to me at the smoking pit and a few weeks later i would have to postpone our next talk. you will always be with us in spirit and we will talk more in due time. i will never forget you and i am looking foward to our next meeting."
wang of LA, Cali

"Hey, Bro, today have been three years since you left. You're are on my hearth and my family's, I remeber you every time, you are a good friend the best, I'll never forget you my friend, I'll see you there when my time comes.Thank you for be my friend and for teach me more english.....10/04/2006."

"Pirtle, I just want to let you know that you are still in the thoughts and prayers of me and my wife. 3 years have gone by and I still can't forget one of the best Soldiers and great friend I have ever served with. I see our old buddies from time to time here in California Young,Hoyt,Martinez...we still think about you bro everyone still misses you. see you when i get there.
All gave some some gave all I will never forget"
Excel Tabor of Hemet,CA



"This is in memory of all those who have paid the ultimate price for my freedom . THANK YOU"
Stefan Lerch of Frankfurt Germany

"Dear Pirtle Family,

I came across this page through Google. I am terribly sorry for the loss of your loved one. I was very moved by your words Ursula. When I saw those three pictures below the first thing that ran through my head was, "What a beautiful couple!" It is very rare nowadays to find love as pure as you feel for James. I want you to know that even though I have never met you or your husband, you both are in my heart as well as the family you created. He is always with you as is God. I am very proud of such a man who loved his wife and cared for her the way he did for you, and not only that, but to serve for our country. He's still protecting you and your beautiful children and always will be."
Brittany Pirtle of Augusta, GA

"Dearest Heath,
Our daughter sits on my lap and cries. She is upset for a moment. I can just imagine you holding her and making it all better. She would've been the biggest Daddy's Girl you've ever seen. Yesterday I looked at your handsome picture still hanging in the livingroom and wished you a Happy Father's Day. I miss you so much Heath. It still hurts so bad to know what we had and what I've lost. But I also look at what I gained with you. I know what true love is and what it feels like to love unconditionally. I treasure every moment we spent together loving, laughing, just doing the everyday things. I have never been so cherished and made to feel as special as you made me feel. Your tenderness moved me beyond words. Thank you for each kiss, every sweet word, each embrace, eyes full of love with every glance, and a world so beautiful it was paradise. Thank you most of all for the gift of our beautiful daughter who is living proof of our love and happiness. The day we were married, the day I said "I Do" to you in front of our families, was the happiest day of my life. The night I was told you were killed, I was still carrying Katie in my belly, was the worst. In one swift moment, my daughter had no father, my sons lost their wonderful step-dad, and I became a widow. Your parents lost their eldest son; your brothers lost their leader. Every aspect of our lives, no matter how great or minute, was changed in an instant. Please watch over our troops. We are losing so many and each family has to live a nightmare like we did. I don't wish that kind of pain on anyone.
Our family has come a long way in the almost 3 years since you've been gone. Time, a positive outlook, wonderful family and friends, and faith have helped us to heal tremendously. The future is bright and happiness is on the horizon. Thank you for your guidance and continuing to watch over us. We will always love you Heath."

"Pirtle, Till this day I can never forget you as a Soldier and as a friend, your are truly missed. May 29th 2006"
Excel Tabor of Hemet,California

"Wow. My sister LeeAnn told me 2 yrs ago that Heath had been killed in Iraq. I sat and cried for 3 days. Kay, Matt, I don't know if u remember, but my family grew up in Cavern Estates, a few doors down from you guys thru our childhood. Heath was in my grade. Matt, we loved you guys like our own brothers! And Kay, I loved you like another mom! I used to pray I'd look as good as u when I grew up! Heath and I were close back then just like twins! I sure do miss him, but I just showed my 9yr old boy this page. He's set on being in the Army, so I thought he should know One True Hero that I grew up with. Ursula, God Bless you and those babies! I could never imagine your pain. But as I can see that u know, He IS still here and what he has done for our country always will be. Please accept my love and blessing and prayers! If u would like, u may contact me, although I'm sure u have tremendous support already. My name is Becky Gage and my # is 801-920-5392. Say hello to my grampa for me Heath! Miss ya!"
Becky of Ogden, Utah, USA

"Dear Pirtle family,

I am doing a project for an english composition class at a local community college. Each student must choose a soldiers name from a list of names of the soldiers that have passed away. I chose your dear James. I found this cite so helpful in doing my research on him. Though he passed a while back, I am sorry for the loss of such a great man. It is with deep admiration that I write to you all; for without this cite I would not be able to find out his hobbies, his love, or his life. One can find so much on the deaths of soldiers, but hardly any information on their lives. So, I hope I do him justice, and give accurate information from what I found from this cite. Thank you for allowing me access to such personal information."
Tiffany Trojanowski of Virginia Beach, VA/USA

"My Heath,
Another new year has started without you. Another difficult holiday season is behind us. I miss you very much. You will always be a part of me and our family. We will cherish every memory as every moment with you was a wonderful gift. The kids are getting so big, as I'm sure you can see, and they still need you to watch over them. I need you, too. I still get tears in my eyes talking about you because we were so in love, so happy, and had such a promising future together. I miss you very much and wonder how I've made it through two years without you. It seems like I have lived a lifetime since you left but the time has flown by.

I will always love you, Heath."

"Pirtle Family,
I knew Heath. We worked together and shared an apartment in Denver for a while. He was a good friend and a good man. I can see he was also an excellent soldier. PLease accept my humblest regrets in your loss."
JoJo Padilla of Denver, CO

"My Heart and Prayers to The Pirtle Family. He served his country and now he is in Heaven. My maiden name is Pirtle. From Paducah, KY. God Bless you."
Nancy Pirtle Nichols of Paducah, Ky

"i didnt know pirtle that well but i am proud to have meet him. i left the army because i thought i was doing the right thing. its true what they say a coward dies a thousand deaths a soilder dies but one"
garth merson of baltimore md

There are times when I still cry because I can't believe your gone. 2 years have past and your memory is still with me. I cant forget about you man..you helped save my life in Kuwait..you would always let me stay in your room whenever I needed to get away from work..When we were deployed to Arkansas for Homeland Security you made sure I kept touch with my family letting me use your cell phone..Spc.Hoyt visited me over the summer and it reminded me of the fun times we had at OP-12 and in the field/garrison.Your always going to be one of my Top Soldiers..I wish i could of fought along side with you and the guys..And i still remember our last conversation..just like Barnes said...I hope to see you again to talk about old times...I miss you man..I salute you..
All gave some Some gave all
SGT. EXCEL TABOR U.S.Army Retired of San Diego, CA

We've been thinking about you a lot lately. As we look out over the formation, many of the old faces have left, replaced by new ones; soldiers who don't know of the sacrifices you and others made during our first trip over there. We will make sure that they learn of the sacrifice. More importantly, that they never forget.

Keep an eye on us over there."
CPT Colin Brooks of B/2-8 Fort Hood, Texas

"Dear Heath,
Two years ago today was the day you were taken from us. We all miss you and wish you were here everyday, we had a moment of silance for you today at work. We do this every year. Heath i miss you alot bro. and i wish i could have done something to stop everything that went wrong that night. I wish there was a way i could change everything so that none of this happened at all. Someday i will see you again and we can talk about all the good old days.
Well we are getting ready to head over there again, i am really scared. I am more scared this time then i was last time. I dont know if it cause of our PLT. or if it is cause i know what to excpect this time. Man i wish you were here man. It would make things a little easier on me.
Any way just so you know i got my strips now, yup im a E-5, go figure. Well i just wanted to let you know we still think of you and still miss you. Well take care of you self up there bro. and i will see you when i get there.

Peace out and much love, SGT. David Barnes"
SGT Barnes, David T. of FT. Hood TX.

"My Dearest Heath,
Two years ago today your life ended - so did mine. My life of joy, happiness, and pleasure with you was over the moment two soldiers knocked on my door and told me you were killed in action. I was trapped in my worst nightmare and just wanted to wake up. I lost my husband, my best friend, my lover, and the father of the little girl I was carrying inside me. I feel like I’ve lived an entire lifetime since that day.
The past two years have been challenging but still full of joy. The kids keep me going and the boys are my pals. We have lots of fun together and know we are so blessed in so many ways. My parents take such great care of us and allow me to rely on them and not be alone raising the kids. Your parents and brothers are so wonderful, we got to spend time with them this summer, and they love you and miss you so much. The pain is still very deep for all of us but we have learned to live with it as life continues to move forward with the passing of time. The wounds are healing but the scars will always remain.
I wish I could have said goodbye to you, Heath. Wish I could have held you as you were dying and let you know how much I love you. Wish I could have given you comfort, eased your pain and worry, and been at your side. Wish your last breath would have been a kiss between us to say goodbye and send you on your way to Heaven. I realize that was your day, baby, the day you would leave us in this life and continue yours at a higher level.
I know my life will continue without you by my side but I hope you will always be there for the kids to help guide them, protect them, and love them. Your parents and brothers still need you so very much, too. You touched so many people in your lifetime and they all need a little part of you to keep them going. I am so happy to share you with everyone; you cared so deeply for people and each person I’ve met that knew you said their life was enriched by knowing you and calling you family or friend. Thank you so very much for giving me the honor of being your wife. It was truly the happiest day of my life.
You know, I still can't get through the Star Spangled Banner without tears in my eyes. As I sing the words with my right hand over my heart "And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there," I imagine the RPG propelling toward your bradley, the explosive impact as you're hit, you being dragged out by your buddies as they try to keep you alive, and the next day our nation's flag flying over your camp as all heads are hung low. I know your death has honor and meaning. It is one of the many things I am so grateful for becasuse that's how you would have wanted it. The other day a special soldier told me what it meant that you received not only the Purple Heart but also the Bronze Star for your valor in combat. I know it would make you proud to have earned those medals serving your country and to leave such an honorable legacy for your loved ones.
I love you very much, Heath, and I always will. You showed me true love and happiness in this lifetime. I am hopeful for more happiness and ask for your guidance. I know you want only the best for me and the kids and will show me the way. I have always trusted you with our lives and will continue to do so. Thank you for loving us all unconditionally."
Always, Ursula

"To the family of:James Heath Pirtle 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 Chirst,"
Polly Ballew of Covington,Ga U S A

"Ursula, I want you to know that pirtle you and the kids will always be in my heart. You are a very strong and wonderful person. I am very sorry this happen to you. I know Pirtle is watching over you and the kids. God bless your family always."
Juliana Martinez of Barstow, CA

"Hello My Darling,
I sure do miss you so bad, sweety. It feels like an eternity since you held me in your arms and told me everything was gonna be ok and you'd be back real soon. If only you'd have come home from the war. Life would be so amazing.
Katie is so cute and funny. She is 21 months old now and looks so much like you. She's smart, independent, loveable, and so adorable. She definately has a mind of her own. The boys are so good to her and I'm afraid she's spoiled by all of us...especially by her Opa and Oma.
We all need you so very much and hope you can find ways to still be a part of our lives. I will love you always and forever.
Your wifey,"

"Baby Brother,

I am honored to say that I am the only one in the family that can call you that, even though I had to look up to you. I wish we would have had more time to get to know one another. I know you and Mark would have become good friends. He too is a good man! I miss you little brother and I gladly would have traded places with you, had I the option - and still would today. I have lived a longer life and served more years in uniform - it just doesn't seem fair. I still have tears rolling down my face when those patriotic country tunes play on the radio, when I see the scrolls on the news channels report another life lost, it all reminds me of you. The hardest thing I have ever done in my life is bring you home - in a box! Although it was an honor to bear you home to the family - and I would not have been happy if a stranger had that chore - it was not a pleasent one. I would much rather have bought an airline ticket for you in first class - where you should have kicked up your dusty boots and had a few beers on the long flight home to Urs, Shane, Kai and most of all your little girl, Katie. She does look just like you and reminds us every day of the love you and Urs share, it is in her eyes and her smile. I know you are proud of her. She is Daddy's little girl. You can be proud of them all. I miss you baby brother. Always your sister Ute..."
CW3(R) Ute Kragl, USA of Ft. Gordon, GA

"I stumbled upon this website tonight and have sat here crying. I knew Heath when I was in high school. He and Matt were like little brothers to me. Kay and my dad were close friends and she was also like a mom to me. I remember hearing of Heath's death and remember how sad I was, but also how proud I was of him. I remember seeing Kay and was so lost for words. I cannot imagine losing a child. I have not ever met you Ursala, but you must be a wonderful person to have had Heath for a husband. He was a wonderful person.I know he would have loved having a daughter. I had a daughter when his mom and my dad were around each other and Heath was so cute with her. Just like an uncle! I am sure she will know what a wonderful dad she has.
Kay, I am still so sorry. I think of you, Matt and Heath every day. I work at the courthouse and walk twice a day and you are always in my thoughts when I see the cross with Heath's name. Please know you are all still in my prayers. God Bless you all."
Charla Lewis of Carlsbad, NM USA

"Hi Darling!
We just got back from our trip to Germany. I took you along in my heart and mind but I really wish you would have been there in the flesh with us. The scenery and buildings are so beautiful and the weather is cooler than here. You would have loved all the dark beer and fine wine as well as the German cuisine. I wish you could have met all our relatives and friends - they would have loved you! Everyone just adored Shane, Kai and Katie and were so happy to see us as I hadn't been there since I was a teenager.
We made a special trip up to Kaiserslautern to visit with wounded troops from Iraq. I wanted to let them know how proud we are of them and that they are not forgotten. They thanked us for our sacrifice and said they were all so proud of you. I told them I am, too, and hope that you are proud of me.
I'm doing my best to raise the kids and take care of everything but it seems so overwhelming at times. My parents are such a big help and I'm so grateful they are right next door but it's not the same as having you here. But given the chance to bring you back there's a big part of me that wouldn't. You are in Heaven, baby, and I love you so much that I know it would be selfish of me to take you away from that. I wish every day that you had come home safe and whole. I wish we never had to experience this heartache and that you were here with us. But I can't change what happened, only how I choose to deal with it.
I am so glad we found eachother, baby, and I wouldn't change that for the world. I'd rather spend a short time with the right man than a lifetime with the wrong one. You are the only one for me and I will always be your loving and devoted wife. Nothing or no one will ever change that. I know our love is stronger than ever and we will be together again one day. You and the kids are my world. I pray to not lose one of them in my lifetime as I don't think I could recover from that. I can't imagine the pain your parents suffer losing their son but I hope they always know how much I appreciate them bringing you into this world and raising you to be such a fine man. It seems rather unfair sometimes that you're not able to raise your own children. I wish you were here for them more than anything. They need you the most.
Thank you so much for the sacrifices you made for our nation and for those less fortunate. I am so honored to be your wife, Heath, and will love you forever. I miss you today just as much as the day you left. You are such a big part of me, baby, and I will always need and want you. I am incomplete without you. Always know what's in my heart."
Your wifey, Ursula

"Dear Ursula Pirtle,
My name is Robert L. Pirtle; my hometown was Roswell, NM. My father was James Burgher Pirtle. Our family is kin to the Pirtles of East Grand Plains there in Roswell. I am terribly saddened at the loss of your husband, perhaps moreso because deep down I feel that we are kin; he even looks like one of our family. There are many of our Pirtle cousins living in Texas. If you could, send me an e-mail and give me details of your husband's family genealogy. Robert L. Pirtle"
Robert of Pirtle

"Dear Mrs. Pirtle-
I just saw your story on NBC World News Tonight- I was overcome with emotion at the sacrifice your husband made for our country and at the sacrifice you will now have to make without him to raise your daughter and sons. I cannot imagine what you have had to go through- I gave birth to my daughter one year ago this weekend and it was the most beautiful day of my life- I am now pregnant with my second child and realize every single day that it is because of men like your husband, father to Katie, that make this world a better place. Thank you for his sacrifice for all of us here in the United States of America and we are saying a prayer for your family tonight- for you, your daughter and sons and we hope you continue to have the strength, hope and courage to continue the beautiful life you began with your husband- it appears from all the messages to him that you are doing just that. We were privileged to hear your story and it reminded us how many families have sacrificed loved ones for our country. God Bless You and your Family."
Jennifer Goodfriend of Los Angeles, CA

"Dear Pirtle,
Im not really good on words...All I want to say is I will never forget the sacrifice you made for this Country..earlier today my 7 year old daughter was singing " Proud to be an American" when she sang the part "And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me" , I thought about you Pirtle..I wished I could of thanked you for helping save my life in Kuwait when i got sick. As im typing this its so hard for me to get the right words out. I really wish I could of been with You and the rest of the Section in Iraq.It was an Honor serving with you Pirtle. I can never forget a true Friend, a true Soldier and true INFANTRYMAN..on this Memorial Day I SALUTE YOU PIRTLE.I will NEVER FORGET"
SGT. EXCEL M. TABOR (RET) of Mira Mesa, CA.

"Happy 29th Birthday, Heath!"

"Oh Baby. I miss you so very much and wish I could give you the biggest birthday kiss and do all these sweet things for you. I wanted to spoil you when you got back from Iraq and take care of you like a wife should. Not because you made me feel like it was my duty, but because I wanted to show you how much I love you. You've always been so easy to please, baby, but I still wanted to try so hard to make you happy. I miss doing thoughtful things for you. I had so many plans and ideas of all the sweet and romantic things I would surprise you with. Special days, holidays, every day. I just wanted to express in actions all the love I have for you in my heart because it overflows at the mere thought of you. I wanted you to always feel loved and appreciated. I can just imagine your smile and the twinkle in your eyes looking at me. You gave me all your love and made my life Heaven on Earth. It would give me the greatest joy to do the simplest task for you.
So I struggle to find the ways to show you how much you mean to me without you by my side. I can't give you hugs and kisses and rub your feet or back. I just want to look into your deep blue eyes and tell you that I love you more than my own life. I know you would tell me you love me just as much.
So Happy Birthday to you, Darling! The boys and I looked up to the stars to wish you a wonderful day. Katie kissed your picture and smiled at her DADA. I put flowers by your memorial on Fort Hood and called your parents to thank them for bringing the most beautiful boy into the world 29 years ago. You are my dream come true, baby, and I am yours forever."
Your wifey, Ursula

"Hi Baby,
Today, April 10, marks the last time I saw you two years ago. How can it be that two years have passed since I last saw you, touched you, and kissed you? How can it be that two years have passed without you holding me and telling me that everything will be alright? How can it be that two years have passed since I cried in your arms and we said goodbye and you headed off to war on the other side of the world?
Oh how I miss you with every breath I take. I love you so much, baby, and still wonder how I can live the rest of my life without you by my side. I know I have you in my heart and that we will be together again one day. That keeps me going. But raising a little girl who will not get to meet her Daddy in her lifetime is heartbreaking. Katie is so cute and funny. She has such a silly little sense of humor and is so smart. She beams when she looks at your picture and proudly says DADA with a big smile. I know you are still a part of her life as the boys and I talk about you all the time. I tell her everyday how much you love her and wish you could be here with her. The boys are getting so grown-up and could really use your advice and guidance. I try to be everything they need but your shoes are too big for me to fill, baby. We need you so very much. I don't have your strong back to carry Katie around when she is tired. I need you so bad, baby. Please watch over the kids, keep them safe and happy, and help me to be the best Mommy I can. We still need you in any way you can be here for us.
I miss sitting on your lap and talking to you as we shared our days. The simple pleasure of your company is intoxicating and one of the things I miss most. I need your perspective, your intelligence, your understanding. I need you.
Always know what is in my heart, baby. Know how much I love you and can't wait to be with you again. I'm waiting for that day, baby. It will be a long time from now, but you are so worth the wait. I love you more than life, Heath."
Your wifey, Ursula

"Heath my love,
Please be my Valentine.
Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Forever I will be yours."

"Dear Family, Friends and visitors to this site,
Thank you so very much for taking the time to view Heath's webpage and keeping him in your memories. Please feel free to leave him a message and let everyone know that you care. Each and every message is precious and appreciated. Heath is the most beautiful soul and was so proud to serve his country. Given that October 3, 2003 was his destined date to meet our Lord (he passed before midnight but paperwork done after), this is how he would have wanted to go. He was a proud American, a champion to those less fortunate, and a devout Christian. We all look forward to our reunion with him and in the meantime will treasure each memory of his extraordinary life. Heath lived every moment to the fullest and loved his family deeply and unconditionally. He serves as the greatest example of a human being that I have ever met.
Thank you again for respecting, remembering, and appreciating James Heath Pirtle. He is deeply loved, missed and respected by us."
Ursula, Shane, Kai and Katie

"Merry Christmas Darling. We're apart that's true.
But I can dream and in my dreams I'm Christmassing with you.
Holidays are joyful. There's always something new.
But everyday's a holiday when I'm near to you.
Though the lights on our tree I wish you could see. I wish it everyday.
Logs on the fire fill me with desire to see you and to say.
That I wish you Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, too.
I've just one wish on this Christmas Eve. I wish I were with you...
I wish I were with you.
Ursula (Yours Forever)

I met you when my tank plattoon was attached to your company in Iraq. You always had a smile on your face and that always motivated me. Although we only knew each other for a short time, I grew to know you as a true friend. I miss you my friend. I hope that God has made a special place in heaven for you. To your family, please know that James was a true soldier and a caring person. I remember when he showed me pictures of his family and how proud he was of them. You will always be in my heart , James. Until we meet again, I wil do my best to live the standards that you set everyday."
Spc. Jason Imhoff of Ft.Hood, Texas

"Dear James,

James, im glad i met you. I didnt know u that long but the time i did, u sure motivated me to keep strong. I enjoyed ur friendship very much and i keep u in my heart always buddy. Mrs. Pirtle, he told me very wonderful things about u guys, godbless u and ur children. Its an honor to say that i knew James Pirtle. Im sorry i never gave u that ride on my M1 Tank like i promised u thats something i wish i could of done for u man. James, Godbless u and u are one of the best soldiers ever!! I SALUTE U JAMES PIRTLE!!"
Carlos Arturo Garza of Brownsville, Tx USA

"I'm Italian but I cry when i read the message of Ursula. You are an hero and I'm sure that you look from heaven on your wife and your baby. I love you and everybody young that die in this orrible war"
Fabio of Milan, Italy

"Heath and Ursula - married November 26, 2002

Happy 2nd Anniversary, Darling!
I miss you so very much, Heath. Two years ago life was so amazing, so beautiful, so complete. We promised ourselves to each other and united our families. The boys were thrilled to have you as their step-dad and I was awestruck that you would have me as your wife. We wanted a baby as soon as possible and everything was so right.
Today our love is still deep, strong, and true. I believe in you so very much and in our family being eternal. Although I miss you with every breath I am so grateful that we found each other and became one in the eyes of our families and in the eyes of God. It still is hard to believe sometimes that we had that blissful, short time together but then I look at our little Katie and know that it wasn't just a beautiful dream, it was our real life. She is a living, breathing part of you and me.
I treasure every moment we had together and cherish the deep love we share. Stronger than my anguish for missing you is my joy for the time we had and, although I wish it would have been longer, it was enough. Enough to sustain me until the end of my days knowing that we will have an eternity together. You are so worth waiting for, my love.
Happy Anniversary, Darling. I will love you deeply forever and ever."
Your wifey, Ursula

I have not forgotten about the sacrifice you made for this great country. Ursula I want to let you know that Pirtle and the other guys in 3rd Platoon help save my life out there in Kuwait. Before I left Killeen I had a bracelet made for me with Pirtles name on it and a pair of dog tags honoring all those who gave all. I truly miss Pirtle and all the guys in 3RD Platoon. Pirtle will never be forgoten. I have told my 2 kids the importance of veterans day. It is because of soldiers like him."
Sgt. Excel M. Tabor U.S. Army Ret. of San Diego, CA.

"Hi Baby,
Katie is now a year old and so cute. I would give my right arm to get a chance to see you two together, even just for a moment. I know she would be the biggest joy you've ever known. No matter how hard or long your day at work would have been, you'd have come home to a little girl who would make it all better for you in an instant. My life would be so different if you had come home. Every aspect of it would be altered from what it is now and so full of joy. Life with you was like a fairy tale. To go from that to this is difficult to say the least. I miss everything about you, Sweety. You are so perfect for me and made me happier than I'd ever been. With you I felt whole. Life was as good as it could get. The world was so beautiful with you in it.
Our Katie does help to fill some of the void as do the rest of your family. The boys, of course, are my champions and cheer me up when I'm crying. They need you so much, too, yet they worry about Katie and I even more than that. They are wonderful boys we have. You made such a difference to them and they still follow your example to this day.
Thank you for coming into my life, for finding me, loving me, and marrying me. For creating a child with me who is a living, breathing part of you. She has no idea how much joy she brings to all of us who love you so very much.
I wish there was a word more potent than love. You and I talked about how over-used that word is to describe so many things and how inadequate it is to convey our feelings for each other. Until a better word comes along, always know that I LOVE YOU WITH ALL MY HEART, DARLING, ALL SOUL AND EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING. I am deeply and completely in love with you and fall head-over-heals in love with you again every single day. You are the only man I want to look at and your pictures still make me giddy and excited. No other man does that for me, just you. I miss you more than these words can ever say. I need you like I need food, water and air. I will love you always and forever."
Your wifey, Ursula

"To my dearest Cousin,
Although we where only related by marrage, we are still family and if i have to i will give anything and everything to help Katie, Ursula and the boys. I know that before we both joined the military, I had multiple times to see you and now I wish that I would have taken advantage of them. Every time I hear the song, "American Soldier" by Toby Keith, it brings a tear to my eye. I wish that there was a way that i could show you how much you meant to me. I love you bud.

Ursula, if you ever need anything all you have to do is call. I will try everything I can to help out family and also a fallen commrade.

Katie, I know in the future you will be proud to have a Dad like Heath. It will be hard, but it is hard for me also not having him around to talk to.

i love everyone of you.
Christopher J. Ayres GM2(SW) USN

"Heath, I have the torch now and it will NEVER go out.""
GM2(SW) Christopher J. Ayres of Virginia Beach,VA / Clovis, NM

"How could one ever thank you and your family for your sacrifice? Heath will always be remembered as a hero! His memory will live on in the treasured freedoms that he fought for and because of you and his children. Though I only met him once, I know the joy he brought you. I am eternally thankful to you and your family."
Erin Lampkin of Fort Wood, MO

"My Dearest Darling Heath,
A year ago today two soldiers knocked on my door and gave me the news that turned my world up-side-down. My heart was shattered into a million pieces but somehow kept on beating. Thankfully our little girl that was still inside me didn't miss a beat either. But the ones that took you didn't ruin my life. I wouldn't let them have that satisfaction.
I can't believe this year has gone by so quick and that I've made it this far. I sure do miss you so bad, baby. You're my favorite person and having you beside me was Heaven on Earth. Our love is everlasting; as is our family. I have so many blessings to count. I found in you my soul mate, my completeness, and the deepest love. Shane, Kai and Katie are my precious bundles of joy who keep me sane and in stitches. My parents are the best and I love being with them. Your family is amazing and gladly share their memories of you with us. We have healthy food, clean air and water, reliable transportation, a beautiful home in a safe and friendly neighborhood, living in a land of vast beauty and freedom. We are so fortunate as it could truly be so much worse.
Our time together was so short but filled with so much joy, love and laughter. I miss you terribly but I will be alright. Please don't worry about me and the kids, baby. We are together, healthy, and happy.
Thank you for protecting our freedom and for trying to bring love and peace to a land of poverty, hatred, and violence. I know you made a difference, Heath.
I love you with all my heart, Darling, and long for our reunion. In the meantime, I will enjoy this time with our children and not forget to stop and smell the roses.
Hugs, kisses and much love to you from your wifey down here. I will always be your wife and love you with all my heart. You're stuck with me, sweety. :)"
Your wifey, Ursula


"Hi Baby,
I miss you so much, Heath. I love you with all my heart and can't wait to be with you one day. Katie is so beautiful. She looks and acts so much like you and brings us all so much joy. The boys miss you so bad. They both had questionnaires in school last week asking if they had one wish what would it be. Neither hesitated in wishing you were still here with us. I try to explain that you are so happy in Heaven and were badly needed there. They understand but still need you and want you. Just like me.
We're doing well, though. Things are a little crazy sometimes but nothing I can't handle. Just would rather go through life with you by my side. Please watch over the kids and keep them safe. I fall in love you all over again every day. You are my heart and soul. My husband. Forever."
Your wifey, Ursula

"Heath Pirtle is and will always be an unforgotten hero! His life is a testament to what it means to be a "true" patriot of the United States of America. I miss him, as all of our family members do and will. His smile, his laugh, his light-hearted spirit are forever traits that will be in the utmost memories I have of a cousin I admire and love. My deepest sympathy goes out to my Aunt Kay and to my cousin Matt as well as to Ursula and the precious baby "Katie Sky" that I know Heath would be so proud of. I love you all and I know 'that all things work together for good to those that love God, and to those who are the called according to His purpose- Romans 8:28 -"
Lee Anne McNally of Dallas, TX

"What a joy to have Heath's family in our home this past weekend. Your class mates got to meet your
beautiful wife and daughter and your sons. How proud you would be in the job Ursula is doing.
When I looked at Katie I saw you. Your eyes and the way she held her head, and that stare. Ursula is so
good at sharing Katie with us just as your mom shared you with us.
If any of you ever have the chance to visit Carlsbad, New Mexico you will find the beautiful Pecos river that Heath loved.
Along this river are many benchs in memory of loved ones, you will find one in Memory of James Heath Pirtle."
Jerry and Marsha Owen of Carlsbad, New Mexico

"Heath Pirtle (P-dawg), I've known you since we went to Pate School elementry and an honor it is to have had a class with an American hero. We grew up in a special town, in that we had no race boundries, no money class seperation when it came to school or everyday life. I went to our ten year reunion and you and Jason were honorably remembered. I couldn't help to think that we all saw each other grow up. I saw your wife and your daughter and I'm happy to see that your bloodline of special people will go on. You not only helped secure our Freedom but you also helped others gain Independence! "With charity for all;With firmness in the right, As God gives to see the right, Let us strive on to finish the work we are in; To bind the nation's wounds; To care for him who shall have bourne the battle, And for his widow and his orphan -- To do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations".( Abe Lincoln) Your Heart, Courage, and Spirit will always be remembered in my household. Thank You Heath!!!!!!!!!"
musah abdul raheem(Moises Duran) of Albuquerque, NM USA

"The following poem was written for Katie shortly after her Daddy was killed. It is very precious, insightful, and emotional. Dondee Barrick is one of Heath's classmates from high school and very close to the family. Thank you, Dondee, for sharing this from your heart. -Ursula

By Dondee Barrick

Dirty blankets all filled with sand
Sleeping with one eye open...gun in hand
How I can't wait to leave this land
To see those faces back home again
A girl's on the way...so I'm told
When I see her she'll be 6 months old
Yet as I lay here in this same sand
God is telling me of another plan
So here I am, Katie Sky
Face to face, eye to eye
I was sent here to see you first
To spend time with you
Before the day of your birth
I am your father, but don't be sad
Though I won't be able
to hold your hand
I will always be your dad
People will tell you about how I was
The funny things I did when I was young
And how you are just like me
except, of course, you're more girly
As you grow, continue to know that I'll be there...
When you laugh or cry...I'll be there
When your happy or sad...I'll be there
On your first day of school...I'll be there
I will be there to warm you, guide you,
protect you, and love you always
So, now it's time for you to go
Just as it was my time to come Home
Keep your head high, be proud and love life
You know I'll be watching from this side...
my darlin' baby girl...
Oh yeah...one last thing before you go
You've got two good brothers to look after you
and a wonderful mother to care for you
And there may be times when mom feels sad
and starts to cry
Just hug her and kiss her,
tell her you love her and that Daddy says, "Hi.""

"Dear Mrs Pirtle and Family,
I saw the unveiling of the memorial at Ft. Hood today on Fox News and heard you speak of the memory of your husband and was deeply touched by your sacrifice. As a Veteran of the US Air Force I am proud to realize that honor lives on in the United States. I thank you for your sacrifice as tears stream down my cheeks. God Bless you."
Charles A. Rotramel, Sgt USAF of Tulare Ca USA

"Andrew Alquisira was the medic who attended to Heath that night. He did all that could be done for my sweety. No hospital in the world would have been able to save him; his injuries were fatal. All the soldiers that were there said he tried so hard to keep him alive. I appreciate that more than anything.

Thank you Andrew for trying to keep Heath here with us. I know you did all that anyone could. It was his destiny to leave us that day. I cannot thank you enough."
Ursula Pirtle

"im so sorry!!! i really wish i could have done more for you that night... i wish it would have been me instead. i had nothing to lose...you did, and i feel horrible. please forgive me there was nothing i could do..."
andrew a. alquisira of anaheim, ca

"Dear James Heath Pirtle,

I did not have the blessing or joy of having you in my life. Your wife, Ursula, is so very special to me. I have known Ursula since we attended Hauula Elementary School back in Hawaii through our graduation from Kahuku High School. Ursula was a sunshine through many times of adversity and to know that she found her soulmate and the joy of her heart fills me with so much happiness. My husband and I thank you for protecting our freedom and our love. Ursula, to you and your three beautiful children, God bless you all. Our deepest love and aloha to James Heath, Ursula, Shane, Kai, and Katie."
Aloha from PJ

".....James Heath Pirtle.....

He was a child, a son and a brother.
He grew into a man, a friend and a husband.
He died a leader, a soldier, a father and a hero.
We will love and miss him always.
You will always be my son."
Rick Beeman of Carlsbad, NM, USA

"My Dearest Darling Heath,
Thank you for your sacrifice, sweetheart. For believing that our freedom is worth fighting for. For serving your country and its citizens. Memorial Day was a bit hard, but it is very important that we all stop and remember to honor you and those like you who have died for our great nation.
I miss you with every breath, darling. You are the most amazing man and I am so honored to be your wife. Please know that I am doing well. I laugh more than I cry. Shane, Kai, and Katie are doing great. They keep me going and I am so grateful to have them. Your family is just wonderful, sweety. There are so many blessings to count.
I am grateful beyond words that I found you in this lifetime, Heath. I wish our time together would have been longer but one day we'll have forever. I am waiting patiently, raising our children, and enjoying the beauty of this life in the meantime.
I love you with all my heart, darling. Every part of me is deeply in love with every part of you. I miss your strong arms around me, your sweet lips on mine, the simple pleasure of your company. You're my best friend, sweety, and it's hard to imagine a life without you but please don't worry. Just watch over the kids and keep them safe. Help me to raise them if you can because it was meant for us to do together, not me alone.
I will love you forever, Heath."
Your wifey, Ursula

"Mrs. Pirtle,
I recieved your email regarding my son Wayne, I truly thank you so much for your response during your hard time you have had. It truly was a blessing. Just talking to someone who has experienced it helps alot. I have a fiance who is a blessing to me too, and has helped me through all this along with my two precious sons and grandson.Wayne would come home on leave before Caleb could even walk and go get him and keep him for hours just to spend time with his nephew.He will always be missed like your precious husband, but never forgotten. They are truly heroes. Thank you so much.I hope to keep in touch with you so we can see how the other one is doing through the years. May God Bless you and your family always."
Wyvonne Bollinger of Poteau, Okla

I didn't really know you, and I'm sorry I never got the chance. You're Aunt Kathy, Uncle Javan, and Cousins Donna & Shane are a blast, so I can only imagine what you'd be like. I wish I could have gotten the chance to know you. See ya in Heaven!"
Ryan McGonagill of Carlsbad, NM, United States

man i miss you, c-co2/8 will not be the same without you. i want to thank you and all the guys for saving my life. i am leaving ft hood but all those memories will not be forgotten. thanks Pirtle for all the fun times. I will truly miss you.OP-12(Pirtle,Hoyt,Tabor)I will never forget that, i will never forget you and all my buddies in 2-8,you guys were family to me. I SALUTE YOU PIRTLE."
sgt. tabor, excel m. of killeen , tx.

Over the years I have watched you grow from a cute little kid to a man I am proud to count among my family. During the time that you were in Iraq my friends would ask how I could stand you being there; fighting in this war. My answer to them was simple. You were fighting over there to keep the war away from what you hold dear: God, Country, Family. You hold within you everything that makes this country a great place to be: Strength, honor, intergrity, passion, love, hope, compassion, justice, respect, and valor. I will miss your happy warmth and quit strenth, but I know that I will see you again. In the time between I know that you are watching out for us all. You have my greatest love and respect."
Markette Pirtle of Parker, CO

"Mrs. Pirtle,
I did not know your husband, but I truly want to say thank you to him and to your, your family for him serving our country in a time like this.
I kinda know your hurt, but in a different way as my loss was my middle son Doyle"Wayne" Bollinger, Jr. He was killed June 6 in Al Kut, Iraq of a detonated device some of his navy buddies found in their camp. He will always be loved and greatly missed as your husband will. I am truly sorry for your loss."
Wyvonne Bollinger of Poteau, Okla

"To the Friends and Family of Spc. Pirtle,
He is deeply missed. And it is truly an honor to live in the same country as such a brave man. May god bless you as you go along in life. To the children of Spc. Pirtle, I did not get the pleasure of meeting your father. But Im sure he was the greatest. Just remember that as you get older Daddy is still watching you. And that my family and I pray for you and the family everyday. It has got to be the hardest thing for you. God Bless and God Speed. HOOAH"
Helena Leatherman of Fort Hood, TX USA

"My Darling Heath - how I miss you, yearn for you, and love you so very deeply. You are the most impressive and amazing person I've ever met. You are funny, witty and clever. Intelligent, smart and sensible. Kind, gentle and sweet. Fierce, strong and capable. Your are the most handsome, sexy and desireable man I've ever seen or met. I am truly honored to be your wife and will spend the rest of my life being devoted to you and our children. Our little girl, Katie, is the sweetest gift from Heaven. She looks just like you and is adored by all, especially her brothers. Shane and Kai are not your flesh and blood yet you love them as they were. They miss you terribly and still talk about how much fun it was wrestling and playing with you. We include you in our daily conversations as you will always be a huge part of our lives. You are the most fun, interesting and enjoyable person I've ever been around. You did so much in the 27 years you were here on Earth. You're a cowboy, soldier, friend, husband, father and Christian.

I sure do miss you so badly, Sweetheart. You made my life a fairy tale; you are so perfect for me. No one has ever treated me the way you do, baby. I've never been so cherished or loved. It helps so much to know that this physical parting is only temporary. One day we will have our long-awaited reunion and nothing will ever tear us apart again. You are my soulmate, Heath. The one made for me as I was made for you. You are more than worth waiting for and I will gladly wait a lifetime to be with you again. You are mine. I am yours. Forever.

I know you are in the better place, My Love. I selfishly wish you were here with me, but know that you are much happier there, with Jesus. Your work in Heaven is even more important than here although we owe you so much for sacrificing yourself for your country. You love America so very much and gave your life for our freedom. I will continue to miss you and long for you everyday of my life, Darling. I never knew I could love a man so deeply and completely as I love you. Please watch over our children, Sweety. Keep them safe. And watch over our families. They are all wonderful and miss you terribly. I am so grateful for all of them especially my parents who take such good care of the kids (including me).

I still have the biggest crush on you, Heath. I fall in love with you all over again every day. I LOVE YOU.

Your wifey."
Ursula Pirtle of Harker Heights, TX

"On the battlefield, we lost one of America's bravest and dedicated soldiers. Pirtle, you will not be forgotten. I will keep my promise and continue to look over your family as you would mine. Thank you for being you."
Tim Stroud, former Sr. Line Medic for C CO, 2/8 IN of Ft. Hood, TX

"We call him Heath. He was part of our family not by birth but by friendship. Our sons best friend and brother. We will miss him and his wonderful smile. I have met his new daughter and what a beauty she is. I know he looks down upon his beautiful family with pride. Thank you Heath for your sacrifice for our freedom. You will be greatly missed by the Owen family."
Jerry, Marsha, and Russel Owen of Carlsbad, New Mexico USA

"To the family of James Heath Pirtle....I am so sorry for this tragedy. James was quite possibly the funniest person I have ever met and it should not have happened to him. I left the Army before his unit deployed but I will never forget him. He was an amazing person and obviously a dedicated soldier....there is nothing greater than that and I am very proud to have served with such a great man. If there was anything I could do I would do it. I am sure we will all see him again and I know I am looking forward to that day. Thanks so much James for the pleasure of being your neighbor, fellow soldier, and friend..."
Ryan Shaffar of Medford, Oregon

man you are missed and i am so sorry that this had to happen to you. i had so many hopes for you. sending you to sniper training. getting you into the turret. and everything that you did you excelled in. sorry me and doc did everything we could to keep you. i will never forget you brother. i promise this to you i will do everything i can to help out your family now. much love justin "the Diesel" sorensen"
justin of ft. hood tx


""Goodbye my friend you will be missed by all who knew you and loved you. I will never forget you, you where always there when i need someone to talk to and help me with my problems. You where more then just and great friend you where a brother and a mentor. I love you and miss you lots bro." James was a great soilder and an awsome person and an even better friend. Those of us who knew he are very honored to have known him and those of us who served with him will never forget him, WE ALL SALUTE YOU."
Spc.Barnes, David.T. of Ft.Hood, TX.

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

"Thank you all for your kind words. It means so much to my family and I.
I know my brother touched so many lives it’s sometimes easy to forget that we’re not the only ones who lost him. In trying to figure out how to get through this it’s helpful to know that others are there with us. I take pride in his life count myself lucky to have had a brother like him. Caring and protective he guarded his loved ones like treasures. One of the funniest people I’ve known, people were always drawn to his personality. He held a certain stature in his gaze that routinely prompted military personnel to salute him thinking he must be an officer. He made you want to follow him and be near him. A trait clearly inherited by his beautiful daughter Katie, now four months old.
I’m happy to report that Katie and her mother are doing well. She’s healthy and growing quickly. Her big blue eyes already capable of attaining anything she wants with just a glance. And although she didn’t get to meet her daddy, she will certainly know him through our stories and enduring love and respect for a true hero.
Thank you for your prayers, and please remember that our soldiers are still fighting. Pray for their safe return as well."
Matt Pirtle of San Francisco, CA

"To the Family of James H. Pirtle. I just want to say stay strong in the Lord and remember that he will not put more on you than you can bear. I cannot say that I know this type of loss but I can sympathize with the loss for I know what it feels like to lose a loved one. I've heard great things about James from My fiance Sgt. Morris Terry also of Cco co 2/8 INF. Who at one point thought he should've taken his place. What your Son(Grand), Husband, Father, Brother, Uncle, Cousin did is a prime example of what greatness is. Our American Hero. Many people live their lives not realizing the sacrifice of each family member who selflessly gave their loved one courage into the battle. God bless you and We will never forget. Proud to be an American!!!!"
Sgt. Morris Terry and Marquitta Jordan of Killeen, Texas USA

Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, James, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"To the Family of SPC Pirtle,
I had the honor of serving with him while I too was stationed in 2-8 Infantry at Fort Hood, TX. He was a good man... and a fine soldier. He will be sorely missed."
SGT Gray, Jeremy of Cleveland, OH

"My name is SFC Everett, I am currently on deployment to the National capitol, and found the fallen heroes site with your loved one’s name and since I am from Farmington I thought I would send My condolences to your family at this time of loss. My wife and I appreciate the sacrifices that all my fellow servicemen and women make every day and it is a sad thing every time I hear of another fallen comrade. Our prayers are with you all."
SFC Everett J Noble III, NMARNG of Washington, DC, USA

"Thank you James Pirtle, 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

"May God be with you always. To your family, my prayers and thoughts are with you."
Melanie Brooks of Dumfries, VA

"To the family and friends of Spc. James Pirtle:
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 James 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 Spc. James Pirtle:
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 James, 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