Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Staff Sgt. Kenneth I. Pugh

39, of Houston Texas.
Pugh died in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries sustained when his M1A2 Abrams tank encountered enemy forces small arms fire. Pugh was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas. Died on July 17, 2006.

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"Drill Sergeant-
I remember the punches in the gut you gave me to be better. I remember the push ups and ruck marches you pushed us thru to make us stronger. I remember the mentorship you gave us to make us ready to be leaders. I remember...Thanks to you I left for 2 tours and came home each time. I family tells me how proud I am of my service but I tell them about you; you brought me home. You gave me the warrior spirit to fight and come home. I will never forget my time with you at Ft. Knox 15 years ago and want you to know that you built a great Soldier, Leader and comrade. Thanks Drill!"
1LT Mark F. Grimsley of Manhattan, KS

"Hey Serg,
I'm sorry its been so long since i've written. Been real busy with work, you know how that goes. Well I have three girls now and a son on the way, you always said I'd have a big family. Man sure do miss our talks you take care up there and I'll try and keep up better.
SSG Josh Nicely"

"Drill Sergeant! Its been 15 years since you mentored me and made me into the Soldier I am. Walker told me he visited your grave recently, came all the way down from Minnesota to do so. You impacted many of us."
1LT Evan Ellis of Fort Polk, La. USA

"Thinking about you and wishing that you were here with us all to crack jokes and just enjoy life. You told some of the best jokes. Thank you for your sacrifice. You are appreciated and missed!!!!"
Teena Adler of Mesquite, TX

"You are remembered on this Memorial Day SFC Pugh. I knew you as KIP growing up in Hiram Clarke Houston, Texas. You played for the Eagles and I played for the Dolphins. Even then you had leadership skills. I went on to join the Air Force later and served in Iraq in 2007 when I heard of your passing. When I read the words of your soldiers, it was not surprising that you were selfless, hard working, caring and dedicated to your family and country. You were like that growing up. May God continue to hold your family together, and may God keep you in our memories forever, and may God continue to bless America. Sincerely, MSgt Sam 'Champ' Alix, Iraq 2007, FOB Warrior, 506 ESFS"
Samuel L. Alix of Seabrook, Texas, USA

"I served with Kenneth in Fort Knox, KY. We were Drill Sergeants together. We had great times together. That seemed like such a long time ago. I suppose it was. I remember when I heard of his passing. It saddened me greatly. Such a bright light extinguished way too early. He made a difference in many lives, to include mine. It has been 14 years since I last saw my friend. Not a day goes by that I don't think of him. Many great Soldiers have given their lives for our Country. Rest in peace, Battle. I hope when you look down on us, we have made you proud."
SFC (ret) Encarnacion Rodriguez, III of Germany

"SSG.Pugh you were like a brother to me. We were surpose to Retire together as we were plaining while in Iraq. Well I have retired and I truly miss u and my family always ask me about you casue I carry u with me everyday. You inspried me thur the years at Fort Knox and also While w e work together in Iraq. You will always be apart of my life until I leave this earth. And my god bless your woulderful family who i had a chance to meet 1 time."
SFC White Ron of Killeen, Texas, Bell

""But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.” Psalm 103:17-18 KJV
From a graduate of James Madison, Iraqi Veteran, formerly station at FT Hood. Prayerfully, along with the above passage of scripture, as a pastor and chaplain, I pray we, who continue to live on, will continue to honor the fallen by living to offer hope, encouragement and peace to others, in particularly, to the service person and their families."
CH (MAJ) W. W. Mays of Longview, TX

"Missing you but knowing you are with God. You will forever be in my memories. You taught me how to do so many things....how to play like the boys even though I am a girly girl. So many memories....you were the "big brother" I never had. I will always love you..... Punkin aka Shedra Forney Palmer."
Shedra "aka Punkin" Forney Palmer of Houston, Texas

"you were an outstanding nco! I appreciate the hair cuts, and you freeing my hand in baquaba. you'll never be forgotten."
patrick behrens of houston, tx-us

"I am just a couple of miles from the check point you were guarding. I wish you can see all the progress, I wish it did not happen the way it did. You never knew all the good you did and are still doing. If wishes were horses...."
Tyke of Bagahdad Iraq

"hey bud,
i cant believe its been 5 years already. it seems like just yesterday you were yelling at me because i told you your tank was broken. time sure flies. i want you to know the girls are getting big and i havent forgotten about you. ill see you again someday.
later sarg."
Josh Nicely of Clifton Forge,VA

"I can't believe it has been 5 yrs. You continue to set the standard as one of the best NCO's that I have served under. When it is all said and done, if people think of me as half the leader and teacher that you were I will count myself lucky."
SSG Robert Ward of Fort Riley

"SSG Pugh was a tremendous NCO, he inspired me and will always live on in the Soldiers that he trained and all of us who learned from him."
CPT Michael Soyka of West Point, NY

"*Hey DAddy k*

I just want you to know that you are truely missed.Nobody could ever take your place in my heart. I know at times I was stubborn but I know that you just wanted the best for me. You made my mother a happy woman while you were hear on earth and she thinks about you always...nobody can take your place in her heart. My grandfather ray also your father in law passed away march 9th but I'm sure yall are up there talking about trucks and such...LOL. I love you so much and thank you for everything...your memory is still alive in all of our hearts.

May you rest in peace
FALLEN BUT NOT FORGOTTEN"
Britney of Coxs Creek,Ky

"The day is coming brother I remeber you always & forver. DEATH DEALERS!!!"
Ray Garcia of Harlingen Texas

"It was a pleasure having the opportunity to have known, train and serve with you. To this day i still smile whenever i see the words or hear "homegrown". YOU WILL ALWAYS AND FOREVER BE REMEMERED!!!!"
SPC Bridge, Mark of Meansville, GA

"Sorry I'm a couple days late...You are truly missed and always in my heart and mind...."
Dena Brannan of Hershey, NE

"Thoughts and prayers are with your family today...sure miss your smile..and you picking on everyone!"
Dena Brannan of Hershey, Nebraska

"Hey Man, I can remember the days we had in Germany and in FT. Lewis Washington, even though we were not in the same company, I was blessed to be in your presence at times, we called ourselves having a Honda club back in the day, Man how I wish we could have those days again, you are very muched loved and you will never be forgotten, I know you are up there now looking down and you should be very proud of what you have accomplished in this life, now you are up there with the Father of all Fathers and no one can harm you anymore, to the family of Kenneth, The Lord and Kenneth are around you at all times with their arms around you keeping you safe. Take care and God Bless."
SFC. ALonzo Harper of ALI AL SALEM Kuwait

"To the family of:Kenneth I. Pugh I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. My heart cries out for you in your grief. He died a hero defending freedom and we are so grateful for anyone defending our freedom.
Know that I am praying for the peace of God that surpasses all understanding for you and that one day we will all meet in Heaven where we will rest in the arms of Jesus.
If you need someone to talk to or someone to pray with please call my Pastor at Gateway Community Church, Reverand John Pearrell 11677 Brown Bridge Rd Covington Ga. 30016 Phone 770- 787- 1015 (fax)770-787-8215.Your friend in Jesus Christ, Polly Ballew"

"Hey Sarg,
I can't believe it's been this long. I've been trying to find the right words to write, but somehow I don't think that words are enough to show the respect and appreciation that I have for you. I met you several years ago when you came back to 3/67. I was a tank mechanic. Everyone said we should get along good since we were both hard asses. They were right. There is so much that I learned from you. I have so many fond memories of us hangin out and working together that I will never forget. One that keeps playin over and over is from dan's wedding when you wouldn't let me fight some punks after I had a few to many to drink. I will always cherish the time we spent together and will never forget you. To the Pugh family.. If only I could have traded places with this great man and soldier I would have without a second thought. He was a true soldier and a true friend. I am forever in his debt. He was like family to me as are you. I think of him everyday."
Joshua Nicely (SSG.) 204fsb of Clifton Forge,VA

"I served with SFC Pugh at Ft. Lewis, WA back in the '94-'97 timeframe. At that time, he was SGT Pugh and I was PFC Strother. I was saddened to hear of his passing. I remember the soldier that he was back then, but even more so, I remember the man behind the uniform. He not only helped me learn how to be a better tanker, he set the standard on how to be a great leader. His sense of humor was uplifting during many tough times. It didn’t matter what was going on, he always managed to have a smile on his face, and in turn, put a smile on everyone else's face. I applied much of what I learned from observing him to how I conducted my own self. It was men like SFC Pugh and CSM Capps that set the example for me and guided me down my own path of becoming an NCO. I lost touch with everyone from Ft. Lewis when I PCS'd to Ft. Bragg, NC. I sure would have loved seeing SFC Pugh as a Drill Sergeant. That would have been an awesome avenue for his inspirational and unique leadership style. I have since separated from the Army and have begun a career in the Department of Transportation, but I will always remember the men like SFC Pugh (along with CSM Capps and SPC Day, also from Ft. Lewis), who I feel privileged to have served with... and honored to have known. My deepest and heartfelt sympathy goes out to his family and friends. My thoughts are with you all."
SGT Mark Strother of Mustang, OK

"SSG Pugh was more than just a great NCO, he was a friend that was there for his soldiers 24/7. I served with SSG Pugh in Iraq, he was my wingman. To this day, I think of him and his family every day. His room was next to mine, and we would always tease each other. He was a man's man. He was never wrong in his opinion, which would make me laugh every day. The Army lost a great soldier that day, I lost a good friend, but most importantly, his family lost a son, and a husband. I still see the soldiers wearing their wrist braclets remembering and honoring him. I wear mine everyday proudly, The way he cared and trained his soldiers, will be passed on thru me, and all the soldiers that knew him. It has been a little over two years now, and when his name is mentioned it still brings a tear, and a smile to my face. 3rd Herd, always missed never forgoten."
SFC Patrick Perkins of Southern Iraq

"July 3, 2008
To the family of Staff Sgt. Kenneth I. Pugh:
Kenneth gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
www.IraqWarHeroes.org"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"he was my drill DELTA 2-81 FT KNOX IN 99 YO I CANT NOT BELIEVE THIS MAYNEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE I CANT BELIEVE THIS"
S SHAH of HOUSTON,TX

"b2 always missed never forgotten"
kirk mckean of dallas

"b2 always missed never forggoten"
kirk mckean of dallas

"To the family members of SSG Pugh, a Tanker I will never forget. I was stationed with him at fort knox Drill Sergeant and will never forget that man. I will always miss him and may god be with you all. SFC Salas, Ariel Master Gunner Forever!!!!!!!!"
Ariel of San Antonio Tx

"SSG Pugh was and still is always there for me. He helped me all the time and made sure that I was always taken care of. He was a big part of my life when we deployed in April 2003. He always said "I got you, Dont worry about it" He was a perfessional in eveything that he did and he made sure anyone around him did the same. He will never be forgotten, Always watching from above. I just wanted to say Thank you SSG Puge for everything that you did for me and my family. To the Puge family my heart will always go out to you."
SGT Villegas of Fort Sam Houston, TX

"SSG Pugh Was one of a kinda person, He was always there when you needed guidance and when you started to slip he was always there to get in your *,he was a fair NCO and a great one hands down, He is not here with us but we will always remember SSG Pugh, Greatly missed always though of."
SSG Sabillon of Fort Hood TX

"ssg pugh was one of the greatest nco's i have known the four years i was active if you had any problem he was there for you to talk to you about it no matter what i was in iraq with him my heart goes out to the family ssg pugh is gone but will never be forgottin in my eyes he will always be c-32 tc he always joked around with everyone he was a good man ssg pugh& his family will always be in my heart he was one of the army lost a great nco ssg pugh you will be miss my friend"
spc. joseph day of modesto ca

"I did not know this man. I am only saddened by his passing, knowing that perhaps he still had a lot he wanted to do on this earth--instead he chose to do something more important than anything else--he chose to protect and defend. We have benefitted from his selfless service. TO THE LOVED ONES I thank you for your sacrifice as well. This is obviously the way he lived--helping others--a great tribute to a life well-lived. May the way we live our lives continue to honor his gift to us."
MARY of Philadelphia PA

"Kenneth Pugh was my loader in Germany when I was a SGT. He was the fastest loader in the Company during TCGST, so naturally he was hand picked to load for me on our Commanders Tank. We shot a perfect run the following gunnery; 1000 points on Tank Table VIII on Range 117 in Grafenwoehr Germany under the watchful eye of the 7th ATC’s TCET team (if you know those folks, you know we were good). It was bitter sweet being the “Top Gun” in the Division. During a fowled ceremony early the next morning, the Division Commander wrongfully pinned our crew with Army Achievement Medals (the Brigade policy was 1000-point crew members receive impact Army Commendation Medals). We tried later to reverse the award to have it upgraded. Since no one wanted to approach the Division Commander and challenge the issue, the award was never upgraded. Regardless of not being properly recognized, Pugh continued with his duties and was phenomenal as a loader. I hope someone out there remembers the C-66 crew of 3-77 Armor and gives a nod our way. I lost Pugh when I made Staff Sergeant and took my own tank. Pugh quickly made Sergeant shortly thereafter and assumed a Tank Commander position after our unit move from Germany to Fort Lewis. I PCS’d shortly thereafter, but I understand from his Commanding Officer he did a fine job as a Tank Commander there in 1-33 Armor until his departure for his Drill Sergeant assignment. Please reply if you knew Kenneth. I want to say I was an integral part of his development as a Solder and as an NCO, but I suppose that is subject to debate by others. I am sorry I posted this so late after his death. I was in the Sergeant’s Major Academy when I received the terrible news. By the time I confirmed the information, I was preparing to graduate. I thought about Kenneth often after I confirmed the incident on the government site and felt bad I did not know any of his family members to send on my sympathy to. I miss Kenneth. I am not sure where this message will go, but I am sorry for this loss. I hope I do not bring up any issues that upset anyone, including family members, but I want everyone to know I love him and will miss him dearly. He was and will always be fastest loader I have ever seen. During my last live fire exercise with Pugh loading, we fired seven rounds in 21 seconds with one already chamber when we “ceased fire”… show me a loader that can beat that without lap-loading!"
CSM Richard H. Capps of Fort Hood, Texas

"Kenneth,
I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy."
Mike Casey of El Paso, Texas

"SSG Pugh helped make me into the soldier I once was. His leadership and knowledge made me a better soldier and a better person. One of the greatest NCO's I ever met. Please take my condolences and know that I will remember him always. CPL Scriven"
Ken Scriven of Sacramento, California

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

"To the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Kenneth Pugh:
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 Kenneth for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Kenneth Pugh:
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 Kenneth, 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