Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Marine Sgt. Nathaniel S. Rock

26, of Toronto, Ohio.
Rock died as a result of enemy small-arms fire while conducting dismounted operations outside Haditha, Iraq. He was assigned to Marine Forces Reserve’s 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Brookpark, Ohio. As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, all were attached to Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward). Died on August 1, 2005.

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May we honor the lives of those who have fought for our freedom with the way we choose to live our own, I was chosen because of a very close friend who served with the 48 Marines and Corpsmen who sacrificed it all; to read each story, to get to know a small piece of their lives through families and friends. I chose to honor each of them with a bible verse:

Nathaniel S. Rock 8/1/05
"Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people." - Colossians 3:23 (Hardworking)"
Haleigh Kilgore of West Virginia

"To the Family and Friends of Sgt. Nate Rock,

The loss of Sgt. Rock was one that deeply affected my life. He was a Marine that I looked up to and had a great deal of respect for. He was a mentor and a friend to me. I don't know his family or what he was like at home, or who loved him, but if my brief service alongside him were any indication, then I know he was not only a great Marine, but a great man. This past weekend I had the honor and privilege of running in his memory, his name on my sleeve, with fellow Marines from 3/25 as we made our way from Albany to New Windsor. Nate lives on and the story of his life and sacrifice will not go untold."
Joe Shearer, LCpl USMC of San Antonio, TX

"Nate, I always respected you as a Marine and a man. We served our first 4 years together in Hawaii and we lived it up to the fullest. I was devastated to find out about your loss some years later. I only wish I had known earlier so I could have offered your family my condolences. Tara, if your reading this, Im so sorry. It was a pleasure meeting you and I thought about you first, knowing how close you and Nate were. I think about your brother all the time. Nate was such a stud. If you ever need anything, Im here. bartelair1@yahoo.com

Love you brother."
Kip Bartel USMC ret. of Livermore, Ca. USA

"To the family of:Nathaniel S. Rock
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 remember when they found a sniper rifle and bipod in your room during a health and comfort...that was truly halarious....rest easy my brother you have served your country well."
Sgt Thomas M Clouse of San Diego, CA

"I never want to forget the sacrifices of so many young men and women. I am so proud it makes me cry. I understand in theory only that war is a part of human nature but so is love and caring. I wish I could take the families pain away but I can't. I am committed to loving ALL people, myself and our environment. I am committed to working on my happiness everyday because so many have died for my freedom to live my life. Thank you is not enough but it is all I have. All my love and respect. ogersteiner@yahoo.com"
Scott Steiner of Gahanna, OH / USA

"Nate, I just wanted to tell you that Eli and I miss you dearly and he asks about you every day. Just the other day, he asked why you were gone and if you were mad at him. It broke my heart just because he cannot remember how much you loved him. It is hard to try and explain to such a little guy why you cannot be here to see him grow up. I told him what happened and how you will always be with him, watching over him and how much you love him. Just know he loves you so much and knows how brave you are. He even tried writing you a letter, it was scribbles but is was awesome, so I promised that I would write this to you.
I just wanted to let you know that we miss you and love you. We are so greatful for you being such a significant part of our lives. I am proud of you for your bravery and I can only hope to be as brave as you were one day. I look forward to the day that we get to see eachother again. Love you and miss you,"
Your little sis, Tara and nephew Eli of Ohio

"”Honor and Remember” - “Project Compassion” We love our Soldiers! We love our country and we cannot express enough love and compassion to the families of our fallen heroes. War does not discriminate – It breaks our hearts to see the faces of the fallen. We want to give this gift to you. We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization! Over 1,550 portraits have been completed and shipped to the parents and or spouse - at no cost as this is a gift from one American to another!
Contact us directly at Projectcompassion@manti.com or go to www.heropaintings.com . If you have already had a portrait completed, we pray that you are enjoying the portrait and God Bless You.
Sincerely and Respectfully,
Kenna - Project Compassion of Manti, Utah USA

"I personally knew Nathan I was a police officer in Yorkville and now im back in the army. To his family and especially his brother, I would like to say its an honor to have known and work with Nate, God Bless"
Ssg Gregory Jeffreys of Fort Eustis, Virgina

"i personally knew Nate and he was a great person. A friend you could always count on no matter what the circumstance. He was a good cop and an even better solder. The USMC and the Martins Ferry police department lost a great asset in Nate.

he will be missed"
SRA James Speights USAF of F. E Warren AFB Cheyenne Wyoming

"I never knew Nate personally, but he is family by marriage. I am a former Marine and was in Iraq when he was killed. He was betrayed by the Iraqis and no one has been punished by that betrayal. Even 'Combat Dairy' omitted the names of these 6 brave men from the movie and the memorium list at the end. They gave their lives for a shitty country that doesn't care about the service men who gave their lives for a better tomorrow. Even as the Iraqis demand the Marines stay in Al Anbar, 2 weeks ago a Marine LCpl was killed on guard duty by Iraqis while he was on an American base. this country suck and doesn't deserve to have our armed forces in it"
Jonathan Willoughby of Iraq

"July 4, 2008
To the family of Sgt. Nathaniel S. Rock:
Nathaniel 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

"Rock was a great Marine, I served with him in CBIRF, Thank you Rock, I will take care of your 270.win mag"
Livers, Mike of KC, MO

"We will always honor and remember you.
Until we link up again, Rest in Peace warrior."
Allen Boothby of Spotsylvania, VA, USA

I would like to say thank you to you and the other five Marines who were also killed in that ambush for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family, loved ones, and fellow Marines from 3/25, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Semper Fi Devil Dog!"

"“I would like to first start by thanking everyone for taking time to write a thing or two about Nate. I would also like to say Nate was not only a very good friend of the family, or just a neighbor, but he was also like a big brother to me. I grew up two houses down from Nate and his family. Nate and my brother were very good friends through high school and had enlisted into the Marines together. I always was one to look up to him. I don’t know if he knew this cause I never really had the chance to tell him but I know he that he knows now. I will also always know that he may be gone but he’ll never be forgotten! Nate we all love and miss you.”"
Justin Pucci of Toronto, OH

"My heartfelt condolences go out to Nate's family. I served with Nate in India Co 3/3 (Hawaii)97-01. Nate was an exceptional person and loyal friend to have. I have many great memories of Nate as Im sure many other people have that has crossed his life. To Nate: Brother I cant beleive this has happened but I know that you were doing what made you happy. Thank you for being a great friend and for the great memories and stories that I still tell to people. Your memory will always be kept. Semper Fidelis."
HM2(FMF/PJ) Michael Roby of Virginia Beach, VA

"I first want to thank everyone who took the time to write about Nate and especially the town of Toronto. Nate and I worked together hung out together lifted weights together we did everything. When I talked to him on the phone he never once had a complaint about him being over in Iraq. He talked about it with such pride and in all honestly happiness. He wanted to be there that was his "DREAM" to serve his country ever since he was born. The thing that I can't get over I guess is all the plans we had of trying to work full-time on a police force together. We didn't care where it was as long as it was together. A year about passed and I swear to the almighty god not one hour has gone by that I don't think about and miss him. He is my hero I never got to tell him that or that I looked up to him he was so professional in what he did whether it was a marine, police officer or just a plain ol' civilian. We always used to compete as well in EVERTHING if it was weight lifting, or how many girl's numbers we could get in a night. But I tell you one thing he went out like Elvis Presely always and forever remembered. I love you and I can't wait to meet you on the other side your the first I want to see..........."
JR of toronto

"It has been almost one year and not a day goes by that I don’t think of Nate. I got a chance to do a lot of fishing this year and every time I cast my line out I am overwhelmed with great memories of the good times Rock and I had while fishing the Potomac river. The last summer of our active service it became a nightly ritual to throw the rods and tackle boxes into Nate’s truck and head down to the dock for cat fishing, even when the fish weren’t biting our stories would keep us occupied.
I remember one time Nate’s cousin was in town (D.C) with two friends and we were giving them a hasty tour of the city. We came across a vender selling POW/MIA/KIA bracelets of soldiers who never retuned home (the bracelet is to be worn in their honor). I had purchased one. Recently I was going to replace it with one that bares Nate’s information, but I could not part from the bracelet that we bought together. The bracelet now not only has a name on it, it has memories as well, memories that have more meaning than just a name.
I owe Nate a great dept of gratitude for the vast array of knowledge and good times that he has shared with me. Nate’s honor and courage speak highly of his family and country. I am extremely proud to be able to say that Sgt Nathaniel Rock was my role model and more importantly my friend. If it brings any comfort to his family, Rock told me once while we were fishing that if he could pick any way to go that he wanted to do it fighting for his country. He is true hero!
Semper Fi,
John Howard Jr of Pittsburgh, PA

"Rock...yeah..the one with the 100%USDA choice tattoo on the back of his right leg I believe. It's hard to hold myself together just to write this. August 1st was one of the hardest days of my life next to Aug 3rd. To the 3/25 Marines I remember you all in my dreams. I never met Nate until the day of his passing. You see I'm a Mortuary Affairs Marine. To the family...know that as my brother I took honor in getting him home to you as soon as we could. I think I have the most honorable duty in the Armed Service.I may not have known him, but I didn't have to, to know that he was made from greatness. God Bless."
CPL B (Mortuary Affairs) of Marietta, GA

"Nate was a mentor to myself and many others in Hawaii (3/3 India Co.) His leadership and friendship will forever stay with us. Semper Fi Nate."
M.G. of N.H.

""It is the soldier, not the reporter who preserves the freedom of the press.

And it is the soldier, not the poet who protects our freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the campus organiser, who puts his life on the line to give others the right to demonstrate...

And it is the soldier,
Who salutes the Flag,
Who serves beneath the Flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the Flag
who protects the protesters right to burn the flag."

"Freedom is never free"

Calm seas and fair winds Leatherneck!

To the Rock family:
If the Army and the Navy ever look on Heaven's scenes, they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines.

God Bless You All!"
Gunny Ross of MCAS Cherry Point

"To The Rock Family,
Our Family, Our City, Our Country grieves with you. We are so saddened by your loss. Your Soldier is OUR HERO! We will never forget him or the others who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our safety & freedom. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless You and your Brave Marine..Semper Fi!"
The Grogans of TN..

"Rock, you were the one who taught me to shoot, got me that expert medal, the one who pushed me to stick with snipers. I won't forget you, I'm gonna miss the plan I had to ride along with you when we rotated back to the world. I can still hear your laugh when we watched those stupid movies at the dam. Take it easy bro, see you on the other side."
Doc of Cleveland, Ohio


"I've never met you... but in a way you are close to me in spirit. You died alongside my friend and first love, Sgt. David J. Coullard of Glastonbury, CT. Dave called me three weeks before that most horrible day, telling me how things were getting from bad to worse in Haditha. But the mission was clearer than ever and each one of you guys stood the course until the very end. Heroes are born, not made. Each one of you was and will always be a true American hero. To your family: I wish that they carry the memories you have given them close to their heart, never forgetting that you died with the utmost dignity. Semper Fi Sgt. Rock. You are a hero to all. May you rest in peace."
Brenda Bertolini of Long Beach, CA

"To Nate's Family,
We are so sorry to hear about your loss, our thanks go out to Nate for serving our country. Please know that if you ever need anything we will be there for you all. God Bless"
Myrtle and Melissa B. of Toronto, Ohio

"To the family and friends of Sgt. Nathaniel S. Rock,

Those we hold most dear, never truly leave us. May you find comfort in love's everlasting connection.

In the Support section of this web site you will find links to many groups that support you at this crucial time. The Marine Comfort Quilt group would be honored to send a quilt to the next of kin. There are many, loving and caring Americans from all over the United States that will never forget the sacrifice that your loved one has made for our Freedom. Please use our link and register so we can send you our "Love Stitched Together."

Proud Marine Mom and Proud Member of Marine Comfort Quilts "
Sandra Moudy of Placentia, Ca USA

"My husband served with Nate and is devasted to have lost him. They became great friends. I was looking forward to meeting him when they returned. Brian talked about him constantly. I pray that we will meet in heaven. I am praying for all the families of fallen soldiers and also for the safe return of the ones still serving. God Bless."
Nicole Casagrande, wife to Sgt. Brian Casagrande of Fowler, Ohio

"My heart and prayers go out to the family, friends and comrades of Nathaniel. My God bless you and give you comfort."
Marine Mom 3/25/4th of Western NY

"I can remember him as a baby watching him growup. Then i moved and only heard of the thing he did. My prayers go out to Agie and Tim and the kids."
Michele L Deptula of Andover Oh.

"Mother to mother, I know Nate died protecting all of us, and I will NEVER forget that fact. He will always be in my heart as a soldier, a friend and a son."
Anna of Darien, New York

"My heart broke when I heard the news. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."
Ashley S of Nationwide, Canton, OH

"To the family or Nate, please be strong. I am so proud and honored to have known him, and as I know you are proud to call him family. He will never be forgotten."
Kristy of OHIO

"My deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of Nate. What an amazing young man! He will always be "Our Unforgotten Hero""
mw of steubenville

"i dont no what to say but im sorry im ret usmc my self i have 5 kids an i sat down an told them what happened an all i have in my hart is love for him an the family my family is your family so ill say we have love for you an yours"
noah l kosicki of elyria ohio 44035

"My heart goes out to the family members and friends of Sgt. Nathaniel S. Rock. Though he may be gone he will never be forgotten. He paid the highest price a man can possibly pay for the sake of freedom. Nate, may you rest even in the arms of God. "Paula, my dear friend, my thoughts and prayers go out to you."
Elaina D. Chimenti of Keyport, New Jersey

"Paula , our very deepest sympathy to you and your family. May God bless you and all of those who lost loved ones in this terrible tragic incident."
Kathi&Frank Vornauf of Richmond, Indiana

of Brook Park Ohio

"We all love you Nate.You will always be a hero."
Beth OBrien of Toronto,Ohio

"so sorry for your lost but he will away be a hero to me"
betty of michigan

"God Bless You Nate. You Died A Hero Our (USA) Hero. It's people Like You that make this country the beautiful & free place that it is. Our prayers are with you and your family through these sadden times you will never be forgotten We love You & will never forget what you & all of the other service troups our doing for this great Nation of Ours

We Love You"
Becky & Mike of Ormond Beach, Florida USA

"Dear Family of Nathaniel Rock: I lost my son, Marine LCpl Chad Maynard, on June 15, 2005 in Ramadi. When I heard the news on the radio about your son, it was like I was reliving that day all over again. It's hard for me to type this even now. I'm so sorry for your loss. On the temporary head stone on my son's grave is the saying, "Not In Vain". That is truly what my son believed and what we, as his family, have to believe every day. Please know that I feel your pain and loss, and I cry with you. They say time eases the pain, and I guess they may be right, but with every new report, I feel the ache of missing my son so much. Always remember, you are not alone. There are others who love you and care about you and know exactly what you are going through. Thank you for your son and his service to us all."
Cindy Maynard, mother of Marine LCpl Chad Maynard and Marine Cpl Jacob Maynard of Kennewick, WA


"Rest In Peace Tufelhunden.
J and T USMC NC"

"First I want to thank everyone for the comments on this site, I am Nate cuz James. I'm not sure if my aunt and uncle know about this site but i will make sure they see this. Nate was a very devoted marine, he died doing what he loved to do, he looked at it as if he went over there it kept some one with kids here at home, he will be greatly missed by all of us. No matter what bud you'll always be a hero to us. we love you"
james of toronto ohio

"Thank you for the ultimate sacrifice, Nate! May GOD bless your family and comfort them at this time. And GOD bless AMERICA!"
Saun of Stratton, OH

"The Salute

To those who have died,
And to those who have cried.
We Salute You.

To those who have lost,
Paid the ultimate cost.
We Salute You.

And to those who still serve,
The Red White and Blue.
Our grateful Nation,
Proudly Salutes You."
Tom Balstad of West Warwick RI

"You will never be forgotten Sgt Rock. My heart and prayers go out to this hero's family and friends."
Proud Sister of a 3/25 Marine based in Akron, Ohio

"We are deeply sorry for your loss. America will forever honor your Hero.
The Courage, Honor, and Valor that your Hero showed will always be remembered.
We are grateful for the sacrifice that was made and we will NEVER FORGET.
God Bless your family and please know that you are not alone.
All of our prayers are with you."
SSGT Larry Mays and Jennifer Mays of Massillon, Ohio

"my heart goes out to your family for your son,Nathaniel,for he was a true hero...mom of a lcpl in iraq"
Bonnie Sponable of Parish,NY

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

"To the Rock Family, I wish to offer you my deepest condolences. Your Nathaniel will always be remembered and honored. Nathaniel is a true American Hero. We are praying for you all. God Bless you all and God Bless Nathaniel."
Mary Ghaney of Brooklyn, New York

"Thank you Nathaniel Rock, 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 Sgt. Nathaniel Rock:
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 Nathaniel 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. Nathaniel Rock:
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 Nathaniel, 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