Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Sgt. 1st Class Jose A. Rivera

34, of Barranquitas, Puerto Rico.
Rivera was part of a patrol in Mumuhdyah, Iraq when his unit came under rocket propelled grenade and small arms fire. He was assigned to Delta Company, 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Died on November 5, 2003.

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"Rivera and I started out as privates at Dco. LRS in Germany. We were friends at the beginning of our tour and brothers by the end of it. He even made me an honorary Puerto Rican. We both served several years in the 82nd and Jose would always make time to visit and talk about the old days and the future. I had no idea at the time but we were in Iraq at the same time doing the same job, just in different battalions. I found out he had fallen by a Division newspaper. I was numb for days and he has been in my thoughts often since that time. I am not surprised at all that he has obviously touched so many lives in a positive way. He was a great paratrooper and a better friend. He is missed every day. I didn't get the privilege of meeting his wife and children, but GOD bless and keep you and know that many of us recognize not only Rivera's sacrifice but yours as well."
SFC Biggerstaff (Retired) of Athens, AL.

"I met SFC Rivera at Fort Bragg,NC while attending 11B BNOC, one of the most memorable moment in my army career. One day I was at the barrack so mad and angry for some situation at the academy. SFC Rivera walked in and noticed my anger, he started talking and even asked me, "Why are you angry?". I told him in some many different ways (beep, beep) why I was so angry. He looked at me and told me, "Let's go the gym". We went to the gym and let me tell you something, I was so mad that I wasn't thinking what he was doing. I was trying so hard to keep up with him doing abs that I totally forgot that I was angry. He smoked me so bad that he asked me with a big smile on his face, Sgt Q, are you angry now?. My answer was a big smile on my face, he was a PT monster. He used my negative vibes to do something positive.
Thank you, who knows what could happen if he didn't show up at that moment.
Unfortunately I went to NYC Rctng Bn just when SFC Rivera left NYC Rctng Bn and I heard every NCO, people at MEPS, on or around Ft. Hamilton about SFC Rivera and how he epitomized a true NCO. I worked at Hackensack RS and I even met a soldier that joined in our RS that was in SFC Rivera's PLT when he passed away. We spent so much time talking about how special he was and how special he made every single person that he approached.
Mrs. Rivera, I want to tell you that I thank God,that I'm HONOR and PROUD that I met your husband and that I can tell anyone that SFC Rivera IS an extraordinary person. All the way, Airborne!"
SFC(Ret) Quinones-Cerezo, Ricardo of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico

"Hey Sgt,
Dreams are what you make of them. You got to travel the world and the seven seas. Sleep easy, buddy."
S. Praizner of Virginia

"My name is Russ Killen and use to spar with Jose in 76'. He was the the toughest boxer I ever had to to spar with. I had to spar with him twice a week and he would leave me swelled up like a pumpkin. Best guy I've ever known and always had a smile on his face. We became great friends even through getting my a** handed to me in boxing. If you would like to know more, give me a call at 217-891-2648."
Russell W. Killen, SPC4 of Springfield, IL

"SFC Rivera, you are definitely missed. I wear a bracelet on my wrist and visit your stone laid at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum every Memorial Day since we placed it there. I was honored to be able to get your guidance while I was yours, and all of Delta Company's mechanic for that deployment. You did, and still impact me in so many ways. Thank you for our conversations we shared and the memories we made!"
SFC Ryan Shilling of USASOC Fort Bragg, NC

"Sgt Jose Rivera was my recruiter when he was stationed in Brooklyn NY at the bay ridge recruiting station. He was always smiling, he was always positive, and motivated all his recruits to want to be the best soldier. He was a PT machine, and he was dedicated to his job. I was very lucky to have met him and the other recruiters of that station. I couldn't believe when we were told of his passing. In always saw him as a super hero soldier. God bless his family and may he always be honored. Thank you Sgt. Rivera"
Tania Hajjar of Brooklyn NY

"Your always in my thoughts Brother, and though time passes you always remain. I still remember that morning we shared breakfast and talked of going to Ranger school together..We laughed, I miss our talks. Thank you for the impact you had on my life.......I know you have always been with me, Airborne.. All the Way!"
Robert Geer of Post Falls, ID

"Remembering you this Memorial Day 2015 and all other days, brother. May God continue to hold you in his hand and continue to take care of Sonia and the kids. We miss you brother. "See you on the high side"."
Christopher Reddix of Fayetteville, NC/USA

"Chico! Ah my friend, I have been thinking about you lately my brother. Last month we had a D.Co, reunion - CGC, Club 425. We all rasied a toast to you and to Rob - Paul, Cunningham, Cepek, Mushet, House, Kendrick, Buchl, Thor by tel, we all miss you. So much time has passed but once we were all there it was like we been together forever. I'd like to think you two are together waiting for the rest of us.

Mrs. Sonia Rivera, Stephanie, Orlando,and Sergio, Jose (ah, never ever called him that... always just Chico or Rivera) and I served together in DCo LRS and lived next door to one another. Went through LRS indoctrination during a brutal February side by side. I miss him and I miss his ever present grin. None of us from those days long ago have forgotten Jose. I too have some old pics and would be happy to make copies for you. Tel is 478 475 5142. My best, jeff"
Jeff Yazinski of Macon, GA

"It has been more than 10 years and feels like it just happened yesterday. I have been assigned to recruiting command for more than 22 years. I have not met a Soldier that has made a more resounding impact to his fellow Soldiers than SFC Rivera. The best NCO I have ever met. My continued prayers are with his family. You are truly missed my brother. God Bless"
MSG Willie D. Sullivan II of Fort Knox, KY

"Was thinking of you today brother and I hung a picture of you in my office! Sonia its been a long time since we talked not a day goes by that I dont think of Jose all these years later. Send me an email and we can catch up eightydeuce82@hotmail.com"
Jereme Ekiert of Kennewick, WA

"Hard to believe it has been ten years bro. Time does heal the burning pain, but I still think of you often. I pray your wife and kids are well. Before I retired I often told soldiers of your work ethic, team spirit and love of the Army (Airborne). Rest assured, when I think soldier, I think Jose A. Rivera. R.I.P."
SFC Antonio Baird, US Army (Ret) of USA

"Can't believe it's been 10 years. It still shocks me today that he's gone. I know he's proud of his family, and watching over them. I'll see you on the high ground brother! Tell Wayne I said what's up. R.I.P. AIRBORNE"
Kevin Reagan of El Paso TX

"Jose, I wish I could have met you. 3 Panther was my first real family that I can remember. I served with 3 Panther from Jan 01 to Nov 04, and had a lot of friends in Delta Company. I ordered a bracelet with his name on it, and I am going to do my best to honor him. Jesus is real and we'll meet again. God be with you and your family SFC Rivera."
Chet Wilcox of St Louis, MO

"Jose; I just got this site from my daughter, Brenda a while ago and I wish I had known about it much earlier. Your ultimate sacrifice to your country and the many lives you touched with your positive thinking and selfless behavior throughout leaves no doubt in my mind the person within you. I will always remember your deeds, your friendship and your courage as a human being. Jose, be it known that our veterans from Barranquitas will have a ceremony this coming Sunday, November 11th, 2012 at the Plaza to commemorate our 'Fallen Soldiers' and kindly remember your departure 9 years ago. We'll have your family there to be part of the ceremony and photos to remember you by. Until then, Joselito, may your star keep shining forever. Your brother in law, Jesus."
1SG (R) Jesus Ortiz of Barranquitas, Puerto Rico

"Brother just passing by to let you know that I keep your name going here at the Sergeant Major Academy"
MSG Fuentes of USASMA, Ft Bliss Tx

"As I sit here on the eve of my 12 year anniversary, all I can do is think of you SFC Rivera- Because of you, I have had the chance to serve and serve proudly. I can only thank you for your patience in processing me- The best recruiter, NCO, and leader that I had the chance to meet- Thank you! To his wife and kids, I thank you for supporting such a fine Soldier- In my heart you will remain. 2012/10/24"
SFC Alvarado of NYC Recruiting BN

"Glad I found this Memorial for SFC Rivera. I served with him in Iraq. He was the true meaning of the word soldier!! He always pushed himself to the edge and then some. Never asked of his troops that which he would not do himself, and respected and loved what he did for his country! To his family and loved ones I am sorry for your loss he was the real GI-Joe!!!!! I no longer serve but keep his photo in my office so all can see and know what a true soldier and hero really is."
L.Garland of Shelby N.C.

"Wish you were still here... I just miss having you in my life...."
Your lil sis of NYC

"Im just thinking about you today. So many years later- I have never forgotten about that place in time. Thank you for being the man you were and for showing me what being a leader is all about. I will never forget you.

Your friend

John"
John richard of Sterling va

"Im just thinking about you today. So many years later- I have never forgotten about that place in time. Thank you for being the man you were and for showing me what being a leader is all about. I will never forget you.

Your friend

John"
John richard of Sterling va

"Hey Bro, I was thinking of you today and all the fun we had in the past. Your sacrifice makes us all look small and the memory of you will live forever."
Henry Yip of Barranquitas, Puerto Rico

"Brother, just wanted to let you know that no matter the time I will always keep your name going!"
1SG Fuentes of FT Hood, Tx

"8 years today (11/5/11).....RIP, big Bro....One sweet day, we'll meet again."
Your Sis, Carmen of NYC

"In My Pocket

I have memories in my pocket.
They rattle among the change.

My memories of you are treasures I carry wherever I go.

They are stored in bits and pieces, parts of a beautiful whole
They give me comfort when I think I am alone.

Yes, I have memories in my pocket, like so much other stuff I keep there.

But of all the treasures I have, it’s the memories of you that are the most precious."

"Missing you a bunch today... I know you're looking down on us... keep looking... I'll keep praying...10/10/11"
Your Sis, Tita of NYC

"I'll be 19 in a few day's and it's still hard knowing you're not here anymore to celebrate with me. I'm getting older but I'll always be daddy's lil girl no matter what. I love you so much, I think about you everyday. It's hard growing up without a dad, but you are never forgotten daddy, you are missed dearly. I start school soon, and my goal in life is to keep you happy, I know you're looking down on me, I hope I make you proud <3 You're my hero, R.I.P"
Stephanie Rivera of Fayetteville,NC

"Sonia

I'm sorry I haven't reached out to you sooner or more frequently considering the friendship I had established with both Jose and your entire family. I can honestly say I was at a loss each time I tried to reach out to you and that continues to bothers me. When I brought Jose back to you I felt torn, honored that I brought my friend back home to his wife and family to get the respectful honors he had earned but reviled because I felt like the bearer of bad tidings and seen ill by the children. I considered Jose to be like the brother I had wished I always had. To this day I miss him and I can only wish I could be half the man he was. Please know your entire family stays in my thoughts and I wish nothing but all the best to all of you. Be well."
Eric Rodriguez of Camp Zama, Japan

"Sonia and family. I still think of and miss Jose. He was far too young to go. My love to you and yours. Anytime you are up here, look to me for help."
Mike Poirier of NYC

"C.G.C.= "Cool Guy Club". L.R.S.D. Airborne 103rd M.I. Batt Wurzburg Germany! "Delta House". Until we meet again..."
Lt. Larry Moses of Arizona

"I will always remember you and the sacrifice you made for our country! You are my Brother forever! Airborne all the way!"
Lt. Larry Moses of Arizona

"Missing you everyday!!!!!! :( love your wife and kids.... Sonia,Orlando,Stephanie,Sergio"
Sonia Rivera of Fayetteville NC

"Still thinking of you all the time bro, thanks for pushing me the way you did, changed my life!!!!"
Alex of Brooklyn

"Words can never express my thanks you. For the sacrifice this amazing young man made for this country. I hurt with you because, I and our family have experience the same loss. Your son courage and determination and choice will be remember and respected by those who truely know undertand living sacrifise."
patriot of Rochester, New york

"Miss you brother, thinking of you today. Hard to believe its been over 20 years since we first met during those hot days of basic and airborne school down at Benning and 17 since the D Co LRS days in Germany. CGC always."
CSM Jon Cepek of Cleveland, OH

"Not a day goes by that I don't remember you and the daily talks. The Night you passed has been one of the hardest things to overcome. You are a great man, father, husband and soldier. You are the measure from which all good men should be compared to. God Bless your family for the time you shared and may it make all people better for having known you."
Dave Conekin of North Port, FL USA

"7 years......wish you were here to see your nephews Marcos (7) & Matthew (4)... miss you....your sis Carmen (Nov.2010)"

"Siempre en mi pensamiento, Tu Amigo,
1SG Edgar Fuentes
Ft Hood, Tx
(Nov 2010)"
1SG Edgar Fuentes of Ft Hood Texas

"To any of SFC Rivera's family. I have a few photos of him from when I served with him in Korea 1997-98. They are mostly of us fooling around, but I would love to send anyone copies who would like them.

James Lowe
jameslowe4@gmail.com"
Lowe of Katy, TX

"I served under SFC Rivera in Korea 1997-1998. This was my first duty station and he was an excellent example of an NCO to learn from. He always pushed us to be the best and pushed us to have a good time when off duty. I took things I learned from him and use them today as an NCO. I am PROUD to say I served with you SFC Rivera!!!!"
Lowe of Katy, TX

"Sonia and family. Your thoughts and prayers are the same as mine for Jose. Rest assoured that he is in a peaceful place. Take care and be sure to lean on me if you are in the NYC area.

SFC Mike Poirier"

"Sonia and family. I don't know if you remember me but I spoke at Jose's memorial service on Ft Hamilton. Today one of my Cadets brought his name up in class. My emotions almost overcame me as I recalled our friendship over the years. His constant commitment to us in the Tiger Battion and ferverent disire to see our Cadets succeed in life will always be foremost in my mind. Rest assure that Jose is in a place away from conflict and strife. He still jogs, he still makes his coworkers and angels smile and laugh. He still watches over you and your children day and night.Just as he did with his soldiers. Trust me on that. If you need ANYTHING in the NY area contact me and I will do my absolute best to get it done. May God bless you, Stephanie, Orlando, and Sergio."
SFC Michael W. Poirier of Ft Hamilton HS

"While at N. Myrtle Beach we found a silver bracelet that may belong to your family. The following was engraved: SFC Jose Riveria/Delta Co/3/505 KIA/5 Nov. '03/Iraq"
Carl Davidson of Mocksville, NC

"Happy Birthday, We love you Sonia,Orlando,Stephanie,Sergio..."
Sonia Rivera of Fayetteville N.C

"Happy Father's Day, We miss you very much. love you alway's and forever..wife Sonia,your daughter Stephanie.son Orlando and Sergio"
Sonia Rivera of Fayetteville,NC

"I served with Jose at Bay Ridge Recruiting Station in Brooklyn. He was like a brother to me. I remember it was Jose, Roberto Valentin, Jeff Garrison, Antonio Ricardo Baird, and myself who put the Bay Ridge Station on the map. We were a great team! I can remember Jose always cracking jokes and making us all split our sides laughing. I miss him and just want to type this message to Sonia and the kids to let them know as Memorial Day 2010 is upon us, I will never forget Jose as I know you all won't. May God Bless you and the kids and know your Soldier is watching over all of you. Take Care!"
SFC Christopher Reddix of Ft. Drum, NY

"I served with SFC Rivera in C-Co 2/325 Ft Bragg, 98 -01. It is with a heavy heart that I wish his family my deepest condolences upon hearing of his passing.

Ranger, Jump Master, Mentor. He could run like a gazelle and was one of the funniest people I've ever met. Total professional at his job and the heart of 2nd platoon during those years of service.

I wont forget him and I'm proud to have known him.

Yours sincerely,

Spc. Gary Parrish"
Mortar Squad of Brooklyn, NY

"Hey SFC Rivera, i can't believe its been this long already. I have only known you for about a year but the impact you made on my life and my character is something i can't even put in words. I am not 18 anymore, i am 25 now but due to the values, motivation and hard work you instilled in me, i owe all the success in my life to you.
Ill never forget you.

Alex from Brooklyn."
Alex P of Brooklyn

"Papa, I will never forget...(Nov 2009)"
1SG E. Fuentes of Ft Hood, TX

"6 years......miss you......rest in peace."
Carmen of NYC

"I hate people who kill for any reason at all. My deepest condolences to the family."
Abby of Rochester, NY

"Not a day goes by that I don't remember that night. I think of the sacrifice you made for us all everyday."
Wayde Pariseau of Saint Paul, MN

"Happy Birthday!!!!, We love you always and forever your wife and kids. Sonia,Oralndo,Stephanie,Sergio. Till we meet again God Bless you....Love you always...We miss you everyday of our life not a day go's by we don't think of you love you"
Sonia wife of Fay. N.C

"rest peacefull my brother... you will not be forgotten"

"Rivera family,
There are many instances a week that I think of Jose, like the jumps prior to deployment and or trip over. I am back at Ft Bragg again and frequently find myself at the Airborne museum in the early morning light. I check on our family there and remember. We ensure that our little girl knows about “The Men in the Trucks” and that they keep us safe.

Thoughts and Memories,

Always,

Jason Seeburger
D27"
1SG Jason Seeburger of FT BRAGG, NC

"Happy Father's Day!"
Love, Tita of NYC

"I was lucky enough to be one of the paratroopers in SFC Rivera's platoon in Iraq. I will always carry with me the memories of that great man, as well as the lessons he taught all us young Soldiers. He is and will remain the epitome of the NCO that I have tried to become. Not a day goes by that I don't think about this world's loss. I remain grateful that I was allowed to experience his personality and leadership."
SSG Andrew Palmer of Ft. Carson, CO

"mrs rivera, this is nick kreger i was there that night on route tampa and i have no other way to tommunicatewith you and i want to say just thank you for everything, the best nco ever, no the best friend ever. everyday is hard. it was like family in that tent, and he made sure of it. the night our humv rollover i busted my face and i had k-p duty the next day and sgt rivera picked up my k-p duty, no other nco would ever do that, i love him, and god bless wills too."
nick krewger of dayton, oh

"Papa you are still in our Hearts..."
1SG Edgar Fuentes of FOB Delta (NOV 2008)

"Five years in Heaven today, Nov.5th.........Miss ya...'til we meet again my brother....."
Love, Carmen of New York City

"November 5, 2008
To the family of Sgt. 1st Class Jose A. Rivera:
Jose 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

"I served with SFC Jose Rivera in Iraq. He was one of the finest NCOs in the BN, but more importantly just such an incredible and great person. So well rounded, respected and loved by his men. We will never forget his sacrifice and his lovely family. We pray for you all. He was watching over us and we knew it."
Andrew L. Carricarte of Miami, Fl

"To the Rivera Family,
My first duty station was at Camp Casey Korea B-Co 1-503 INF AASLT from 1997-1998 and this is where I had the honor of meeting and working under Sgt. Rivera as an AG on weapons squad. I am in absolute shock to find that Sgt. Rivera is no longer with us, he like my own father was always one of those guys that I considered to be indestructable. This man was an amazing soldier, a great man and an example for all to follow that are now or ever aspire to be an NCO. I learned so much from Sgt. Rivera and I regret not being better at staying in touch because it would have at least given me a few more years of knowing this great man. He will always be remembered with the utmost respect and I cannot sufficiently express how sorry I am for your loss.
gchewning@hotmail.com"
George Chewning of Caroline Co. Va.

"We love you and will always love you always and forever. We miss you more then anyone will ever know. Your wife Sonia and kids Orlando,Stephanie,Sergio"
Sonia Rivera of FAY. N.C

"Happy Birthday, Big Bro. You would have been 39 today.......Miss you."
Love, Lil Sis Carmen of New York City

"please don't let this be my nephew that the family been seaching for 23 year's his father been going crazy searching him,please response how old is this heroes."
Jose gonzalez 5779@yahoo.com of malden mass.

"please don't let this be my nephew that the family been seaching for 23 year's his father been going crazy searching him,please response how old is this heroes."
Jose gonzalez 5779@yahoo.com of malden mass.

"I was there in Al Mahmudiyah when this happen did not him but i know he was watching over the rest of time we were there."
Ben Hardwick of Edmond OK

"I can remember SSG Rivera as if I saw him yesterday, although I did not serve in his company I was however in the same unit. I remember him being a loyal soldier and a trooper thru and thru. I can remember him doing pull-ups next to the Battalion HQ every morning at Bragg. I will never forget the day he passed. God Bless your family SSG Rivera."
James Arterburn of Bowling Green, Ky. USA

"Jose A. Rivera family and friends,

I was a fellow recruiter with SSG Rivera in NYC. Although I was in a different company, he and I shared a special bond. Jose and I were the only two Master Parachutists in the Battalion. I lived on Ft. Hamilton for the first year as a recruiter.

Before we met, I would see this guy running by my quarters while I was stretching out to start my run. Every time I would run, I would see this stranger running. It was only later on that I found out that he did this every day. One day we finally met at the MEPS, because we were processing soldiers at the same time, we shared a few minutes talking. We talked about how we saw each other running in the mornings and how tough it was to squeeze it in our busy schedule. We talked about the benefits it provided. We talked about where and when we jumped, compared drop zones and different aircraft. The stuff paratroopers talk about when they meet.

We talked about “his trusty steed”. That is what he called his motorcycle. Me being a new motorcyclist at the time, he talked to me about pipes on his bike and other modifications that he did to it to make safe wile maintaining style. We talked about recruiting and that it was not the job we would rather be doing for the Army. “Being a Platoon Sergeant in the 82nd” is what he told me loudly and proudly and with a smile. I struggled with the recruiting job and I wanted nothing more than to be somewhere else doing the Platoon Sergeant gig like I had before getting to NYC. There was no going back until the job there was done we both agreed.

His way of getting the job done put me to work harder because he set a higher standard than the rest. I was blessed to have talked with him that day, even for just a few minutes. I have been a Platoon Sergeant twice since leaving recruiting and not one time have I ever stood in the front of my platoon without thinking of SFC Jose A. Rivera and the example he displayed in everything that he did. I can not put on running shoes and go for a run without thinking of Jose already running out there before me. Leading from the front as always!

Reading the letters below and being in Ft. Hamilton, NY at his memorial service and listening to his family and friends speak about his character is truly inspiring. Soldier, leader, father, brother, son and a Christian in the highest standards. God had a special operation in heaven that needed him. We all can rest easy, because you know that whatever job it is, it is being done above the standard. If you do things like Jose did then he is not gone and not forgotten. Peace be with you."
SFC Matthew H. Martinez of LSA Anaconda, Iraq

"Hey Big Bro.....Christmas is almost here and I am missing you a lot more....wish you were here to see my boys grow. I think of you every day....the pain will never go away....."
Love, Tita of New York - 12/21/2007

"Brother, we miss you at Bragg. What you taught me in the art of solidering will be carried on for generations. You were the best NCO I ever meet and will strive to pass on the information you taught me. You were dedicated to the Army and your family, I respect you very much as does the rest of Fort Bragg. Thank you Brother. God Bless your Beloved wife and family."
Fort Bragg of Fort Bragg, N.C

"To SFC Rivera, and family-

I'm very sorry for me taken so long to write this. I found out about his passing when I was on a compassionate reassignment at Fort Hamilton. I talked to him when he was clearing Fort Hamilton, and getting ready to go to Bragg for his deployment. I was his recruit back in 2000. He changed my life forever. He was the only one that cared about me, when all the other recruiters couldnt waste their time because I was not eligable at the time, because of my police record. But not him.He called me one day just asking about my story because he wanted to help me. It took him almost 1 year, a ton of waivers, and a million headaches to put me in boots. It was the best year of my life. he didn't treat me like a number, but like a person. Actually a couple of us (recruits) were in the same boat. we looked at him like our father. When I finally got to basic training, my life didn't skip a beat. He told me everything that was going to happen (what, when, where, why, and how), but everyone else would talk bad about there recruiters, ie "they didnt tell me it was going to be like this". I would just laugh because I was so prepared. I kept in touch all the way until he left Fort Hamilton, and his response to my question of why not just finish his career here was, "This is what I was born to do, lead the troops I put in boots into combat". Well SFC Rivera has lived in my heart and mind until recently when I used him as my Army story. What is that you ask? well Im currently going through recruiter school at Fort Jackson and one of our assignments was to tell an Army story of someone/something that has impacted our lives that we can speak to recruits about. Everyone spoke about what happen to them in Iraq. I spoke about my recruiter, mentor, hero, and friend... SFC Rivera. I had a couple of students come tell me that it was the best story they heard. I was further shocked when one of the instructors came in and started talking to us, trying to gives us like a pep talk about the greatest person he had ever had the chance to work with, this that and the other, and then said SFC Rivera. One of my classmates said wait isn't that who SSG Alvarado was talking about? I said hell yeah, because I knew that there could only be one SFC Rivera that could ever make that kind of impact on someone's life. Since then three other instructers have come to me and asked me if i was really his recruit, and how HOOAH he was. I'm telling you we could talk about this man for days. I volunteered for recruiting for one reason and its on my packet as my description of why I want to do recruiting, and it reads, I want to have the opportunity to change the life of a person the way my recruiter did for me. I know that recruiting is about volume/quality, but if I only get one person to enlist and change a life, I will have accomplished what I set out to do. Familia Rivera; my wife, kids, and self are in debted to you and your husband/father forever. He will always live in my heart as he does in yours."
SSG Alvarado, Edgelbert of Fort Drum, NY

"“My Brother” Time will come and go, but I will never forget the reason that you are no longer with us… God Bless, Sonia you are always in thoughts.
5 NOV 2007"
1SG Fuentes of Ft Hood, Texas

"I've been thinking about you a whole lot Big Bro......I Miss You soooo Much....."
Love always your Lil sis, Tita of New York City 10/1/2007

"I never knew him, but witnessed the event when my squad was out on zulu patrol. Next mourning we had the ceramony. Even though I didnt know him it hurt to lose one of our own."
Sgt. Pinon, Armando of USA

"I served with SFC Rivera in Iraq when I was in A co 3/505 PIR. He was a great man, and always treated everyone with respect and love. I remember his funeral vividly; our whole battalion at FOB St. Michael mourned deeply. I still pray for him every night, and I know he listens to me in heaven. I miss you Jose, and I will never forget you and your family's sacrifice. Thompson and Zamora, be careful out there-- Pinnell hasn't forgot about any of you! Airborne. H-Minus, All the Way!"
Spc. Daniel Pinnell aka. JB of Santa Cruz, CA

"TO: Sonia, Orlando, Stephanie and Sergio. It's midnight and I am currently in Iraq. I cannot tell you how many times I have invoked the name of SFC Jose Rivera to the young Soldiers and NCOs in my unit. It has only been within the past four months or so that I can speak about Jose without tearing up. If I remember him like I do, I can only imagine how far his shadow is cast over his entire family. He loved you all unconditionally every minute of every day. May God Bless and Protect you all."
SFC ANTONIO R. BAIRD of ANACONDA

"I knew SFC Rivera in Korea. As a young corporal, SFC Rivera was the soldier I wanted to be. He helped me in everyway he knew to help develop me into a NCO. I met back up with him in Ft. Bragg and we made plans to go hunting when we got back from deployment. When he lost his life, I was never the same, I still do my soldiering the way he taught me and will pass it on to my soldiers. He was a good man and he is missed greatly."
SSG VOGEL of Ft. Stewart, GA

"When I arrived at C Co. 2/325 in February 2000, then SSG Rivera was in charge of my inprocessing into the company. I couldn't have had a better example to follow on that first day. He was the epitome of the American Paratrooper. He would exercise on his own every morning BEFORE coming in to do PT. He commanded great respect from the veteran troopers of C Co. Not long after that, he left to become a recruiter. His presence, however, left a lasting inpression on me."
SGT Neff of Tacoma, WA

"To the family of:Jose A Rivera 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"

"I didn't know Sgt. Rivera but our 82nd Chapter is in touch with his daughter Stephanie through one of our programs. Sgt. Rivera as I see here, was one hell of a parent and paratrooper.

God bless the family and friends.

All The Way,

Tom Laney
501st Apaches
82nd Airborne 1960-63"
Tom Laney of Colfax, WI

"God Bless Bro, Sonia you are always in our prayers."
SFC Fuentes of Camp Liberty Iraq

"Mrs Rivera and Family
I had the great privilege to serve with SFC Riveria while I was assigned to HHC 3-505 PIR. He was a great soldier and paratrooper. I was one of the medics helping him. I am sorry about your lose. SFC Rivera will never be forgotten. Airborne! H-Minus! All the Away!"
SGT Calvin Marchbanks of Fort Polk, La

"I had the privilage to serve with Jose from 93 till I got out of the Army in 96. We started out in the same squad(1st Squad , 2nd Platoon, Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 325th AIR). I was priviliged to learn a lot about being an infantryman from Jose. We both ended up in the training room, right before I got out. We never did figure out who was in charge, me or him. I have a lot of memories of Jose, most of them of humourus things that we would pick at each other about.

The Army Lost a good soldier that day. His family lost a good husband and father. I know he will be missed."
Gary Stinnett (SPC) of Lillington, NC

"To the rivera family, My family's thoughts and prayers are with you. I was Jose's Platoon SGT in Korea in 1997. We were on a Platoon excercise and won best platoon in the brigade for Recon,Ambush and Raid operations. If it were not for Jose this would not have happened. We were in Bco 1/503 Camp Casey korea. The tour with him was outstanding and I will never forget his candor and professionalism with all Ncos in the company. I will truly miss him. Another one of my squad leaders was SSG Manus who Knew him very well and notified me when it happened. We will never forget our fallen comrade doing his duty to fight terrorism. He has made it to the final patrol base and will never be forgotten.
Respectfully,
Al Martin"
Al Martin SFC ( Retired) of Dahlonega,Georgia

"I was stationed at FOB St. Michael with C/3-505 during our deployment to Iraq. I did not know SFC Rivera well, but I can speak with perfect sincerity that he will be sorely missed, and always remembered, by those who served under him, and to all those who made contact with him. He was a good man, and will live forever in our memories, and in our hearts. Please accept my deepest sympathies, but know that SFC Rivera made us all better for having known him."
Chad C. of Front Royal, VA USA

"I was stationed with SCF Rivera at the 3-505 I was in A co and rember the day so clearly that we lost him although I did not know him that well it still hurt enough to bring tears to my eyes because we were family even though we had spoken only several time before that. He was a great man and and a great leader and his soldiers loved and respected him. I am stll very sorry for your loss and know that some day we will see him again and be able to see his smiling face. God bless you and your family and I wish you all the happines in the word

SGT Thompson"
James Thompson of Eau Claire, WI United States

"To the family and friends of this amazing man. SFC Rivera was my recruiter in 2001 out of Brooklyn NY.
Since then i have become an NCO did a 13 month tour in Iraq ETS'ed out of the army 5 months ago and was looking to re-enlist so naturally i went back to the station that i had so many memories from and asked if anyone had heard of SFC Rivera, when i heard the news i was devestated so i called my wife to tell her what had happened and she was speechless. Right now it is midnight april 8th 2006 and as i type this letter i still cant believe why all the good ones have to go. To the family i know you already know that your husband and father was a great and honest gentlemen. True to the game. I did not know him for long and i never had the honor of working under him but he has had a tremendous impact on my life and the lives of my family. I still cant believe it. He will forever be in my heart as a brave, stand up gentleman."
Scott Tejada of Brooklyn, N.Y. USA

"To the family of SFC Rivera:

Jose Rivera was an outstanding man, a great soldier, and an American hero. I served directly under Jose for two years from 1998 - 2000 in 2nd PLT, C CO 2-325 AIR. He taught me what it truly meant to be a man of honor and integrity. He was comic who loved to poke fun at people to lighten the mood, a true leader by example, and a devout family man who talked proudly of his wife and children.
We were in California at NTC in January of 1999, it was freezing cold and we had not slept or ate in at least 2 days. Instead of resting with us for a few hours, he humped 3 miles to get us some chow and water. He didn't care that he was not able sleep that night. All he cared was that his soldiers were taken care of. Thats the kind of man he was.
I will graduate from USF with a BSCE in Civil Engineering in a few weeks, Spring 2006, a 5+ year commitment. I owe a large portion of my success outside of the army to his mentorship.
I will never forget what he meant to me and so many others."
Jeremy Couch of Tampa, FL

"TO THE RIVERA FAMILY,

GROWING UP I WANTED TO BE LIKE ALOT OF PEOPLE. BUT NOW AS A GROWN UP I UNDER STAND,THAT BEING A GREAT HUSBAND, FATHER AND SOLDIER LIKE SFC. RIVERA IS WHAT LIFE
SHOULD BE. WE LOST A GREAT HUMAN BEING, AND WE NEED TO KEEP REMEMBERING THE GREAT
FEELING OF BEING A SOLDIER HE BRINGS TO OUR HEARTS.


WE FEW
WE HAPPY FEW
WE BAND OF BROTHERS
SGT. CAMPOS"
SGT. CAMPOS of FORT BRAGG,NC

"Dear Family,

I just wanted to let you know that those of us from the 3-505 family will not forget you and Jose’s sacrifice!

SFC CB"

"My Fellow Boricua Brother, just to let you know that you are always in our thoughts. Sonia you are always in our prayers. God Bless."
SFC Fuentes
Q-West
Iraq
3 February 2006"

"I am grateful to have met and served with such an incredible NCO. Sonia, you and your family, are in our daily prayers. God Bless."
Major Jeff Robertson of Fort Bragg, NC

"my name is stephanie i wrote here a couple of times my dad is SFC Jose A.
Rivera i miss him dearly and i hate to wake up everyday knowing my dad is not coming back when you have a life like that is makes you just want to lay down be alone and cry even through knowing my dad wouldn't want me crying thats the only way i could express myself and i try really hard to see him in the cememtry in Puerto Rico but its that i can't see him like that because i start to get flashbacks of how much time we used spend together. Even at home i sit down and think of times we didn't spend together and when he got me a dog and when he was susposed to come home from Iraq we were susposed to take her running in the jeep me and him loved dogs dearly but now it doesn't even feel the same without him around my life is worthless but knowing that he is my dad and he is in my heart is what keeps me going every day thanking you for reading what i had to say GOD BLESS AND SUPPORT THE TROOPS"
Stephanie Nicole Rivera of Fayetteville, North Carolina

"To the Rivera family,
I was surfing the web and i passed this site. I read all the things that were said about your fallen soldier and i just wanted to leave my own message. My brother SSGT.Rivera is also in the Army and i know how difficult it must be to have lost him. I am sorry for your loss and i thank you for what he did for the future of our country. I am also a Rivera and a Marine. From what i have read i have been given inspiration for what i also have to do as a Marine. Thank You, and may God open the gates of Heaven for your fallen Hero."
PFC. Rivera, Mirta of Virginia Beach, VA

"I was assigned to Co C 3/505, but my PLT was attached to CO D while in Iraq. I didn't know SFC Rivera as well as most in the company, mostly just BS'ing with him while I was on radio watch in the TOC, but I did get the privilage and honor of being on the firing squad at his roll call. He will not be soon forgotten."
SSG Zamora, David C. of Fort Gordon, GA

"Let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us re-consecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”
--Dwight D. Eisenhower""

"SFC Rivera was an outstanding NCO, Paratrooper, and friend. I am writing this evening to remind him and everyone that he remains in our hearts and his family in our prayers. We will never forget you."
Salvador Menjivar of Phoenix, AZ

"SFC. Jose Antonio Rivera
We will never forget what a great nco and a great soldier you were."
spc valle of raleigh NC.

"SFC Rivera, you will be in our thoughts and prayers daily as we go through life. Your family misses you very much as you know and we pray for them. I know they will be O.K. Til we meet again "Brother""
SFC Dippel, Joseph F. of Raeford, NC

"To Sonia and family, I had the sad duty of notifying our brigade, and Drew that day that we had lost one of our brothers. While outstanding Soldiers bravely helped Jose fight for life, I prayed for him and your family. As the personnel officer for the Battalion while they were deployed, I had to send his notification through division across to the states, and there is no pride in a job like that other than doing it quickly, correctly and ensuring the family has all the Army assistance, information, and support they need on the other side. At his memorial cermony at FOB St Michael I had to hold back tears as I stood at the podium and his name was read for the last time off the roll call. Your husband was the epitome of a soldier and a noncomissioned officer; He was the example of an NCO because he chose, without hesitation, the hard right over the easy wrong. I will always look back on him as a humble man, who loved his family with shining pride, and dedicated every day of his life for his family and his Soldiers. There are many NCOs in the Army who make a name for themselves by the badges on their chests, the jobs they have held, how many stripes on their sleeves.

Sonia, your husband made a name for himself this way: Every paratrooper who served with him in that battalion loved him, and each in their own way carries on his example of courage, professionalism, integrity and spirit. I was honored to have known him even for a short while. Heaven is wealthy to have him, but we share in your grief to have lost the shining of example of what a soldier, and a man, should be."
Captain Brian Ellis, S-1, Mahmudiyah Iraq (Aug 2003-Feb 2004) of Cameron, NC signalcib@hotmail.com

"Hi Stephanie...I'm so sorry that you had to lose your Dad. Yes, it hurts so much. Sometimes I feel like I'm going to scream cause the pain is so strong that I don't know what to do with myself. I lost my nephew in Iraq last year (Sgt. Del Greco). The more we love someone, the more it hurts. We have to keep going, keep loving, keep remembering, keep honoring, keep talking about our loved one, keep them alive in this world. Also, remember that your Dad is in the best place ever...in heaven with God. He has eternal life and a new body. We will reunite with our loved ones on the day God calls us home. We will never be separated again. Until then, you have your life to live and you have the job of keeping your Dad's memory and honor alive here on this earth....burkabee@aol.com"
Bela of Woodbury, CT

"hey,
My name is Stephanie Rivera. SFC Jose A. Rivera is my dad he is loving and caring. I really miss him and so do my family. When my father passed away I felt lost and I would sit and think that I was alone and there was nobody who knew the pain and anger of lossing a loved one. When my dad I knewMy life was over because my was a big part of my lifeso in other words a huge chunk of my life is gone and that really really hurts. I just wanted to share a little bit of my life that i have left and that big chunk of my life is my dad and he will aways be remembered and so will the other soilders that were killed in Iraq."
Stephanie rivera of fayetteville north carolina

"I had the distingushed honor to serve with SFC Rivera in 3/505 PIR both in garrison and in Iraq. He was the NCO that other NCOs looked to for leadership advice and the one everyone looked to for his expertise and advice. Our unit is a better team because of the leadership that SFC Rivera brought to the table. I wish there were many more people in the Army like him. I think of that day in Iraq and the way we all felt. It was truly a great loss. The only greater loss was that of the Rivera family. My thoughts are always with them."
SSG White of Fort Bragg, C Co 3/505 PIR

"I rode from Fallujah to Mahmudiyah with SFC Rivera, and went on several missions with him. He will never be forgotten as a great leader and Paratrooper. A Paratrooper never dies.
God Bless."
CHRISTOPHER TEEL, 82d Airborne Division of Chicago, IL/USA

"Jose A. Rivera was my uncle,he was a great guy.He was brave and a very strong man.He fought for our country and died for it.I remember the last time I saw him in Tampa before he was sent over seas.He looked serious and ready to fight for us.I miss him very much and I know that my aunt Sonia his wife was devastated.But he is in a place he belongs heaven.God bless him.He knew what he had to do.And he did it perfect, he coundn't do it better than he did.He was a great recruiter and a great father and the best soldier.If it wasn't for him my dad probably wouldn't be in to Harley Davidson.He will not be forgotten."All gave some some gave all.He gave all.He will always be my hero.GOD BLESS AMERICA AND ALL THE SOLDIERS WHO DIED IN THE SERVICE OF THEIR COUNTRY,THEY WILL ALL BE REMEMBERED."
Anthony Maldonado of Cape Coral, Florida

"Oh SFC Rivera, thoughts of you rush in and out of my head constantly. I am reminded every day of you. I am living proof. You saved my life. If it was not for you....I would be dead right now. I thank god every day that you came into my life and helped me when I was down and out. I am FOREVER grateful to you. I am in your debt forever. I owe EVERYTHING I have now thanks to your persistance and guidance that you gave a little hot headed 19 year old Puerto Rican/Cuban girl back in 2001. Your voice resonates and soothes my soul when I am feeling out of it. I was looking forward to seeing you and telling you " Hey SSG Rivera, LOOK AT ME NOW! I am in Iraq and doing some cool and awesome stuff!!" I was coming home on Mid-tour leave in December 2003 to Fort Hamilton. I was so excited when I came back to Brooklyn, he was the first person on my mind that I wanted to see. I asked my sister and brother in law if he was still there. All they did was hold my hand and handed my the Fort Hamilton Newspaper. On the cover was Jose and how he had died in combat. I still can't believe he is gone. I was out there in Camp Anaconda when he passed away. I can't get over him. Not even 'til this day. THat man SAVED MY LIFE. I passed by his office in 2001. At that time I was 19,an alcoholic doing drugs, living from place to place. My family kicked me out,my so called boyfriend kicked me out, I was just too much for everybody. I would sleep sometimes on benches and think about killing myself all the time. But God brought me into the path of Jose A. Rivera. He straightened me out and made me stronger. I owe my life and undying thanks to him. I just wish I could have said good bye. He was a great man and an even better soldier, EVEN though he didnt get me my BONUS like he promised.hahahaha. I miss him. I loved that man like a father. He will always remain in my heart and in my prayers. He haunts me daily. He gives me strength in my times of weakness. I can still remember him standing outside with his big stinky cigar in his mouth and his mug of beer. I moved back in to 138A Poly place and he lived a couple of buildings down, he would see me smoking a cigarette and scream out"hey, YOU stop smoking chica It's bad for you! Meanwhile he's puffing away on that big old stog. He was great. He will be missed Forever and Always. I still have his recruiter card he gave. I look at it sometimes and think "Wow, look at all I have, if it werent for him, I would be nothing.""
Monica Robles of Colorado Springs, CO USA ( representin' Queenz!)

"SFC Rivera was a good friend, and a great paratrooper. I served with him in Iraq, and also went to Jumpmaster school with him....I will never forget him. God Bless ya'll."
SSG Kevin Reagan of Fort Leonard Wood MO

"I served with Jose Rivera from 93-96 Cco 2/325 AIR and was saddened to see his face on the 60 Minutes program honoring our fallen soldiers. Although we werent close it felt as if I had lost a brother thats how it is in Army we are all brothers. My heart goes out to his family....may God bless you."
Jason Norton of Port Washington, WI USA

"I had the privelage of serving with SFC Rivera when i was stationed with Cco 2/325 back in 99 he was 3rd platoons PLT. SGT. i remember him very well we spent alot of time together. We all looked up to him as young privates and he had alot to teach his men. As my memories of my time in service begin to fade he is one person who i will always remember i will never forget his face or the things he had to teach us. With his funny humor and his rock hard mentality he exceded army standards and did well at everything he put his mind to. SFC Rivera you are my hero and were a good friend God bless you may your passage into heaven be an easy one. Forever with you knees in the breeze AIRBORNE ALL THE WAY!!!LETS GO!!!!"
The Ekiert Family of Virginia

"This old paratrooper will never forget the brotherhood of the greatest division in the world. Although I never ran across Rivera, my heart hurts for my brother. May you rest in peace."
Anthony of Denver, CO

"I would like to say, Sgt. Rivera was a great guy. He had a sense of humor like nobody else. I met him, at Fort Hamilton HS when he use to come over and talk to us during JROTC, and during the cafeteria.
I will really miss him. God Bless Him. He was the one who put me in the same uniform he wore proudly. Thank You Sgt Rivera......We Will Miss You.
You will always be remembered."
SPC Velez Erving A of Friedberg, Germany

"You were the best man among us. You will be missed."
Roman Skaskiw

"You were TRULY one of kind!"

"MRS. Rivera I am very sorry for your loss, I was assigned in 2-325 and went to school with Jose before he went back to Ft Bragg. I know he loved his family and his country. We have talked about the possibilities of things to come over a couple of black and tans while we were in school. I wish that there was a way to make things different but there just isn't. I hope you find peace in the fact that he died doing something that he loved."
SFC Donald Sell of Ft. Jackson, SC

"Te recordaremos siempre con orgullo! Que Dios te tenga en su reino."
Robinson Perez of Brooklyn, New York

"Airborne Paratroopers never die…
God bless you for everything...
Que Dios te bendiga..."
SFC Luis R. Mercado-Rodriguez of Ponce, Puerto Rico

"SFC Rivera, I will never forget the night you passed away. You will always be with us in 3 panther. You fought hard. We all miss you."
Sgt. Burkham of Ft.Bragg, Nc

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

"I didnt get to really know Sgt. Rivera as much as I would have liked too. I met him several times at Ft. Hamilton because he would help my bestfriend train before she entered the Army. He was a very kind and sincere man, who even though I wasn't too sure if I would join he was patient and still called me to ask how I was doing. He also put alot of time encouraging and training those who wanted to join. May God bless his family and friends and give them peace of mind that he was a good man who had alot of care in his heart."
Jason Rubiano of Queens, NY

"Mom i miss dad a lot i want him to come back he cant . will be fine. because i no he'll be always be there for us"
Stephanie N Rivera of North Calonia

"To Sgt 1st Class Rivera's Family:
Though we are strangers, we want you to know how sorry we are your Jose was taken from you. He is our hero. We will never forget. You are in our hearts."
Carol & Larry Miller of Tampa, Florida (2/24/04)

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

"Rest in peace brave soldier!"
Dan and Meg Manninen of San Antonio, Texas

"I didn't know Sgt. Rivera too well but he used to come to my high school and talk to the kids and try to get them to join the army. The first time we talked was when me and my friend were acting dumb while taking the asvab at the school. He gave us his card and continued to call my house and picked us up from school so we could talk at his office. He was really cool and felt like a good person to be around. The part that sticks out the most of me and my friend talking to him is everytime he would pick on us and keep saying " You wanna go out to Fort Hamilton, I'd love to inflict some pain on you guys". God bless you. To the Rivera family, your in my prayers."
Victor of Brooklyn

"I really miss you Sgt Rivera. You were a wonderful guy and a great friend. I'll never forget the time you put into the Tiger Battalion. On behalf of us all, we'll never forget you."
Cadet LTC Chessa Garrold

"Rivera Family,
I am so very sorry for the loss of SFC Rivera.Our thoughts and prayers will ALWAYS be with you and your family"
SGT Joshua Sorton and family of Fort Bragg NC

"Thank you for the costly sacrifice you have laid on the altar of freedom, for all of us. You will not be forgotten Jose. Fair winds and following seas."
LT Eduardo Gomez of Sicily, Italy

"To SFC Jose Rivera--- H-MINUS!!!! Paratroopers Lead The Way --HOOAH!!

You will always be remembered!!"
MAJ Marcus Odum of Germany

"I hope you like the poem..........It is a difficult thing to watch them fade away. Knowing that a loved one may pass on at any day. There isn't much to do but express to them your love. Soon their spirit will fly to Heaven like a white dove. You know that they are no longer in pain but your still sad. But knowing they're up there with God in Heaven should make you glad. I know it hurts to let that special person go. Imagine how they must of felt loosing everyone they know. And it may seem that your apart by a million miles. But they will always be close enough to enjoy your smiles. Because if they could they't hold your hands and dry your eyes. Because if only saddens them more to hear your sorrowful cries. You should always smile because that's what they want to see. To let them know that in your heart they will always be free"
Jessica and Mike Hernandez of Brooklyn,New York/USA

"Thank you Jose Rivera, 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

"Dear Sonia and family,
Please accept my sincerest sympathy on the loss of your husband. My heart goes out to you and your family. Please know that you are in my thoughts and that your husband will not be forgotten.
I only got to meet him once, but I will always remember how lovingly you talked about him. More than anything I wish you comfort and strength to make it through each day. My prayers are with you."
Susann of Ft. Meade, Maryland

"Hello, my name is Carmen. I am Army Sgt. 1st Class Jose A. Rivera's little sister. I was just recently told about this website. I have a few things I want to share...First, on behalf of all the Rivera Family, I would like to say Thank you for all your kind words and prayer. Second, Thank you for the websites to honor our fallen heroes, especially this one to honor my Big Bro. I strongly believe that our Service Men & Women deserve the outmost respect and recognition. They should be recognized at all times. They CHOOSE to put their lives on the line to make sure that we keep the FREEDOM that we have. Many have given their lives for us...that I never took for granted...much less now that my Brother gave his life too. Jose was a great Brother, I'll MISS HIM DEARLY. Sometimes, I still can't believe that he's gone...I lost my only living Brother. It's been tough...I'll never see nor hug him again. I'll never hear him tease me again...I'll miss that so much. He never got to meet my son Marcos, who was born 10/24/03. Jose was thrilled about Marcos...he was looking forward to the Christening. He was going to be Marcos's Godfather. To honor him, I will make sure that he's recognized as Marco's Godfather. When we Baptize our son, I know Jose will be there in spirit. To you my Beloved Big Bro, I want to say, I LOVE YOU, I'LL MAKE SURE THAT MY SON MARCOS GROWS TO KNOW YOU AND YOUR SACRIFICE. I'LL MISS YOU EVERY DAY...JUST LIKE I MISS DAD AND VICTOR. I'LL HOLD ON TO MY MEMORIES OF THE THREE OF YOU FOREVER...LOTS OF LOVE ALWAYS."
Carmen M. Rodriguez of Bronx, NY USA

"MRS RIVERIA I AM SORRY FOR YOUR LOST. I CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR YOU AND ALL OF THE OTHER FAMILIES OF FALLEN HEROES AND THE SOLDIERS STILL DEFENDING OUR COUNTRY. MAY GOD BLESS YOUR FAMILY AND KEEP YOU SAFE. NAOMI GARDNER, MOTHER OF SGT MARVIN L. GARDNER(DELTA COMPANY 3-505)"
NAOMI GARDNER of FLORISSANT, MO/USA

"I had the privilege and honor to serve with Rivera, while stationed in New York and now in Iraq. The death of Rivera is a great loss to his family and a great loss to those who knew him. In part, I will always remember him for the good times that we had, while stationed in Brooklyn. The times we spent BSing about recruiting and discussing upcoming boxing fights, while listening to some old school salsa and let's not forget about him smoking his good cigar, while detailing his Harley. That's the Rivera that I will remember. An outstanding NCO, a great person and a great friend. For as long as I live, I will keep your spirit and legacy, of one great Boricua, alive. God bless you Bro! Sonia, the Fuentes Family will always be here for you. Take care and God bless."
SFC Edgar Fuentes of Taji, Iraq

"My heart & prayers go out to your family. God bless."
Rebecca (Sgt. Catalano's Fiance') of New Orleans, LA

"Mrs. Rivera and family,

My son had the honor and privilege of serving with your husband. My son, Sgt. Steven Donato, and our family , send our deepest heartfelt sympathies and prayers to you and yours. I'm sure the words arent much, but please know the sentiment and feelings behind them are true and sincere. Your husband is our hero and shall not be forgotten. God Bless you all!"
Teresa Reed of Willis, TX

"Sonia,I'm honored that my husband was able to serve beside your husband during this conflict. The guys of Delta Co miss him greatly and continue on in his name,know that we are here for you when ever you need us. Your family is in our prayers."
SSG D'Amato Mark and Susan D'amato of Lillington

"Sonia,
Please remember that your husband will never be fogotten by the members of D Co. and there families our thoughts and prays are with you and your family. If you ever need anything please let us know we will always be here for you."
PFC Ron Miller and Bridget Miller of Fort Bragg,NC

"To Sonia, Orlando, Stephanie & Sergio,
My deepest sympathy on the lost of your husband and father. It is a tragedy to have lost Jose, in what was the prime of his life. Though alot of things that are said, can not provide you with the comfort that's needed to ease this unbearable pain, just knowing that Jose was and will continue to be a true Hero, who sacrificed his life for the love of his country, I hope will bring some comfort to you all. We will never forget Jose nor the others, who also have also sacrificed their lives for this country. Our hearts and prayers go out to you and your family."
The Fuentes Family of Killeen, TX

"Sonia and family,
We will never forget your husbamd and the ultimate sacrifice he made. Please know that you will always be in our hearts and our prayers. Sincerely"
2lt Sean Hevey, Misty and family of Fayetteville North carolina

"IS COST ME A GREAT DEAL OF PAIN KNOW THAT ONE OF OUR PATRIOTAS HAD FALLEN IN THE UNREASOBLE WAR IN IRAK . BUT AT THE SAME TIME I FEEL PROUD CAUSE SGT RIVERA WAS ONE THE BEST AND GAVE HIS LIFE SERVING OUR NATION.PLEASE ACEPT MY CONDOLENCES TO ALL THE HIS FAMILY ESPECIACY HIS WIFE SONIA AND HIS BEAUTIFUL KIDS. MAY THE LORD GIVE THEM THE STREANDHT TO COPE WITH THIS TERRIBLE LOSE AND GOD BLESS ALL HIS FAMILY FOR EVER AND EVER !!!!!!!!AMENNN!!!!!

SINCERILLY YOURS

A FRIEND OF THE FAMILY

P.S . LETTING KNOW THE FAMILY THAT IS THEY NEED ME FOR WHATEVER THEY NEED THEY CAN COUNT ON ME, ILL BE AT YOURS SERVICE"
GONZALEZ, FAMILY of BETHLEHEM, PA

"To Sonia, Orlando,and family

I have been blessed in many ways to know Jose Rivera and his family the way i do. I will always remeber and treasure in my heart the brave, funny, intelligent man Jose was and always will be. To the Rivera family,which i consider my own, God Bless you all, I love you, and my prayers go to you everyday. To Jose, in my heart no matter what happens, i consider you and always will consider you my father inlaw. I thank you for everything you've accomplished and for being one of the many great soldiers. Your our hero and you made us all proud,God Bless you. Thank you Sonia and Orlando for letting me be part of such a beautiful family, and knowing such a wonderful man. - God Bless"
Krystal Marie of Brooklyn, NY

"Dear Sonia and family,
We think of and pray for you and your children daily. We will always remember you, your children, and of course your husband. God Bless the Rivera Family..."
1 LT Hawkins and Andrea Hawkins from D CO of Fayettevile, NC

"To The "Rivera's" family and Sonia:
You will always be in our hearts and prayers. You will always have our support from our family, Delta Company and 3-505th PIR Battalion Family Readiness Group. You will NEVER be forgotten. And remember this always, that yourself and family will always have a special place in our hearts."
SSG Alejandro E. Reyna and Yvonne Reyna of Fayetteville, NC - USA

"Dear Sonia and Family,
I am Monica's Aunt Phyllis. I have never met you nor your husband but i know he died fighting so others could be free. May the Great Spirit of All things shine down upon you and your children with his mercy and love. Deepest Sympathies."
Phyllis of Catawissa, PA

"SFC Jose Rivera, you will always been in our hearts and in our thoughts. We will not forget you nor your family for they have touched our hearts and our minds."
SFC Karl and Monica Wilson of Fort Bragg, NC

"Thank you all for your thought and prayers. I'm Mrs. Sonia Rivera, I truly miss my husband, He was the best father, husband and soilder. We love him very much. Our three children miss him so much. It been very hard but I know my husband is with me at all time. To my husband I love you always and forever your wife Sonia Rivera. I won't say bye if not till we meet again. XOXOXOXO"
Sonia Rivera of Fay. N.C

"Jose Rivera was a good man, and a even better soldier. He was my recruiter and my cousins also. We always looked out for his soldiers. He would pick us up every afternoon to do P.T. since he knew i was so out of shape. He will truly be missed. God bless him and his family"
Rodriguez Family of Brooklyn, New York

"What a brave guy he was. A gentleman full of pride. It was an honor to have known him and even share intimate moments about his amazing background growing up in the Bronx. He was very athletic, and knew so much about sports; which he probably picked up running in the streets in the Bronx, NY. As private as he was, he did mention a childhood sweetheart he grew up with side by side in the Bronx. So private and full of pride, he did have a soft spot in him--and a fierce one to fight for our country. He'll be missed."
Paul Santos of Brooklyn, NY

"Attending today's memorial service at Ft. Hamilton was tough on my soul, but not as tough for your family. May God always bless you and lift your spirits high as Jose lifted the spirits of every human being he encountered. My family will keep yours in our prayers. It was a privilage to serve with Jose."
J.Soto of Bronx, NY

"To the family and friends of Sgt. 1st Class Jose Rivera:
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 Jose 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 Sgt. 1st Class Jose Rivera:
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 Jose, 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