Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Spc. Jeremy L. Ridlen

23, of Maroa, Illinois.
Ridlen died in East Fallujah, Iraq, from small arms fire after a dump truck on the side of the road was detonated while his military convoy passed by. Ridlen was assigned to the Army National Guard's 1544 Transportation Company, Paris, Illinois. Died on May 23, 2004.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Army Spc. Jeremy L. Ridlen.


Contributions to the Families of the Fallen


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

Please report inappropriate messages

"You and your brother were the first people I met when I joined the 1544 th. You were soo kind, and funny, and made me feel welcome. I am honored to have served by your side. May you rest in peace, Ridlen. I will see you again battle."
serena spencer of sullivan, il

"To all of those who feel sorry for the Ridlen family, thank you. It was just today that I found out about his death. I was very sad when I found out what happened to him. (By the way, I'm a Ridlen. Jeremy is a distant relative.)"
Chirstina (Tina) Ridlen of Tuscon,AZ,USA

"Spc Ridlen, I may not have known you personally while serving next to you at that hell hole known as Log Base Seitz, but I do remember the day we honored your passing, the way the heat made us all sway while standing at attention.. the way we all felt honor at having served with you, and fear that we may be next. Your sacrifice will never be forgotten, your family and freinds will always remember you and that in turn will keep you alive in their hearts and minds until they can join you in that final roll call in heaven. You left your lifeless body in Iraq but your soul is in God glory now...keep watch on your brothers in arms..and pray for those still dealing with the time we spent over there. SSgt Tom Vande Burgt 3664th MC, Pt Pleasant WV.... visit our groups website... http://www.lestweforgetptsdsupport.org/ and continue to pray for those in harms way..and those still trying to find their way home still today....."
Tom Vande Burgt of Charleston WV

"May 20, 2009
To the family of Spc. Jeremy L. Ridlen:
Jeremy 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

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

"Thank you for volunteering on that mission Jeremy. You were always doing something to help someone around you. Your smile could never leave our minds. We love you. Thank You"
Jennifer Buffington of Carbondale, Il/ US

"Not a day goes by... I will keep you and everything you taught me close to my heart, always. Bless you."
E. Nussbaum of Bloomington, IL

"My name is Cameron Schilling and I have started “Portrait of a Soldier” which donates a portrait sketch of every Illinois soldier who has fallen in Iraq or Afghanistan. All 122 sketches will be on display for a Memorial Day Presentation in Chicago, Illinois on May 26-31 at the James R. Thompson Center in downtown Chicago. After the ceremony the sketches will be given to the immediate families of the Illinois soldiers. I would invite any friends or family members to come and honor these men and women from Illinois who have given their lives to our country. For more information please contact OperationHomeFront.org at 866-417-8889 which is an organization headed by the Lt. Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois who is in charge of the Memorial Day Presentation. Thank You.

Please check out www.portraitofasoldier.org
To contact Cameron email cameronschilling84@hotmail.com
To contact Operation Home Front call 866-417-8889"
Cameron Schilling of Charleston, Illinois

""To the Ridlen Family:
I am a Vietnam Veteran. When I came home from the War, I was called names
and spat upon. We didn’t DARE tell anyone, least we were shunned.
And worse, my friends that did not make it,,were treated as garbage and forgotten.
I always swore that I would NEVER let that happen AGAIN.
Since the War in Iraq started, I have been trying to find a way... to give our current Veterans
the Honor,,, that my friends should have gotten.
Thank you..SO MUCH.. for allowing an older Veteran.. to Honor Jeremy. It will be with me.. ALWAYS…
Jeremy did not die in vain, because I will not let his sacrifice go unnoticed.

Before Jeremy was born, I went and defended his Freedom…
And I will not forget him… for defending mine….

I wrote a song called “Thank a Veteran for your Freedom”
If you would like a copy, E-mail me at ….lkirkland@airsysco.com"
Larry Kirkland of Dallas, Tx

"My name is Cameron Schilling. I am a college student from central Illinois. I am the first generation of my family not to serve his country. I am extremely grateful for the sacrifice you and your loved one has given for the United States. I am disappointed by the way the news media has covered this war and the deaths of our youth. The media has stopped listing the names of the soldiers killed in Iraq and people only talk about the soldiers when we reach a specific milestone in deaths. If you just started watching the news today you would not even know there is a war going on. Partisan politics have replaced coverage of our young generation who have traveled to a foreign land in the name of the United States. Whether you believe the war in Iraq is wrong, right, justified or not everyone should pay even just a little more attention to what these young men and women are sacrificing. This is what I would like to do. I want to do my part in honoring these soldiers and their memories. Along with being a college student I am also a budding artist. I draw pencil portraits of local people in my community. I want to offer a pencil portrait sketch to the immediate family of every Illinois soldier killed in Iraq. Please contact me at cameronschilling84@hotmail.com."
Cameron of illinois

"We'll never forget.....may you rest in peace my friend."
N. Rose of IL

"To the Ridlen family:
Thank you for the sacrifice of your son and brother Jeremy. We are eternally grateful for his generosity and duty. May God bless each of you and comfort you.
My name is Reverend Liz Wold. My nephew PFC Owen D. Witt was killed in Iraq on May 24, 2004. As a family we were asked to participate in the Faces of the Fallen exhibit at Arlington National Cemetery. The portrait of Owen has been removed because it dishonored him. There are now 6 other wood carved portraits which stand out in this display. Please contact me at lizdcw@earthlink.net or 203-661-1719 if you care to see the portrait of Jeremy.
May you find strength as you go one day at a time. Respectfully Reverend Liz Wold"
Reverend Liz Wold of Connecticut

"To the Family of SPC Jeremy Ridlen:

My friends and I have constructed a memorial to the service men and women from Wisconsin and Illinois who have died in Iraq which includes, as of 7/12/05, 112 crosses and Stars of David. We would like your permission to put Jeremy's name on one of them.
We have called our display "Arlington Midwest" and it is located in Wisconsin Dells, WI.
It is our expression of mourning for the indescribable loss you have suffered for our country.

If you would like us to do this, please email me at ArlingtonMidwest@yahoo.com.

We invite you to visit Arlington Midwest. I can send you directions and some pictures by email.

"As long as we live, they too will live;
for they are now a part of us,
as we remember them."
Marty Preston of Wisconsin Dells, WI

"To the Ridlen Family:
Our family is proud to wear a Hero Bracelet that bears Spc. Jeremy L. Ridlen's name. He gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. We pray for God to grant your family & friends peace, comfort & strength during this tragic time."
The Burkett Family of Fayetteville, GA

3rd Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Run

50 Mile Run
Joliet Illinois chicagoland speedway to Marseilles for presentation, for dedication of memorial and party

Saturday, June 18, 2005
Start: at 8.00. am
Line up at 7:00am Departure at 10.00am
Cost per person: $10.00

Ride to the wall
Come all brothers and sisters. Find it in your hearts to ride to the wall, a 50 foot long, 6.5 foot high granite war memorial. This wall will have the names of all US soldiers who have died in the Middle East conflicts from Beirut forward. we will sadly be adding 800 more names since last year 2004

We will ride 50 miles along the Illinois River to Marseilles, Illinois. There will be ceremony speakers and more at this historic event.

Please come to honor this wall and their bravery, and to thank their family and their children. Last years run had12.000 thousand bikes, this year will be double or more with your help. All are welcome to ride from all across the state in this memorable event. We will stay in Marseilles, IL for the memorial and tribute music, food, raffles, and refreshments.

God bless America and God bless our troops
Support our troops!www ilfreedomrun.org

For more information please visit our web site at

www ilfreedomrun.org

"Taken so young, GOD bless you."
Peter of Australia

"Thank you brave soldier for sacrificing your today for my children's safer tomorrow. You have our utmost respect and gratitude. May God provide your family with comfort during their time of sorrow. May you forever rest in Heavenly peace. Neither you nor your sacrifice will be forgotten. For the family/friends: May time provide happy loving memories in place of present sorrows. Look to the sky for in the infinite meadows of Heaven the bright shining stars bloom...the forget-me-nots of angels. God bless you and thank you."
a grateful family in Phoenix, AZ

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

"Godspeed Jeremy L. Ridlen. Thank you for your sacrifice, the ultimate one, which will help to end this scourge of terrorism that threatens the very fabric of this country.
I have the honor of knowing your uncle, The Honorable Julian L. Ridlen, Judge, Cass Circuit Court, and while greatly saddened by your passing, he is also mightily proud of you and your brother who likewise is serving with our brave military.
You will meet again with your loved ones and will then rejoice!"
John S. Damm of Logansport, Indiana, U.S.A.

"To Jeremy's family, I am so sorry for your tragic loss. Please know that many of us appreciate his service to and sacrifice for our country."
F.Smith of Pennsylvania

"To Jeremy's Family and Friends:

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

The Family of Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco-Caldas, 82nd Airborne, KIA Iraq 12/28/2003.

Gloria Caldas (Ernie's mom) of San Antonio, TX

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

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

"Thank you Jeremy Ridlen, 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 Spc. Jeremy Ridlen:
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 Jeremy 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. Jeremy Ridlen:
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 Jeremy, 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