Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Sgt. John W. Russell

26, of Portland, Texas.
Russell died when two 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters crashed in Mosul, Iraq. He was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Died on November 15, 2003.

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"Well your date is creeping up on me and I can't help but think about the good times with you bro. I'd like to say that every year that goes buy it gets easier but it doesn't. I miss you brother."
SSG Christopher M. Settembrino of Fort Eustis, VA

"Hey bro, just sittin here having a cold one at my favorite watering hole. I made Veronica the bartender get her glass so I could make a toast. After being a complete PIA she finally got her glass of water and we I made a toast to you for the life you lived, the lives you touched, and the the life of sacrifice you made. This scripture is for you and Betty, ur father knows it but never lived it:Psalm 37: Let go of anger and abandon rage;
Do not become upset and turn to doing evil.
9 For evil men will be done away with,
But those hoping in Jehovah will possess the earth.
ו [Waw]
10 Just a little while longer, and the wicked will be no more;
You will look at where they were,
And they will not be there.
11 But the meek will possess the earth,
And they will find exquisite delight in the abundance of peace."
Chris of Worcester, MA, USA

"John was such an inspiration to me and I am the NCO that I am now because of him. Not a day goes by that I don't wish he was still here with us. Funny enough, I am now a part of his old unit. Makes me feel that I miss him even more."
SSG Christopher M. Settembrino of Fort Campbell, KY

"Thinking of you and yours each day but obviously more so today 15 NOV 2012"
C Kenney of TX

"Another year has gone by. Sherri and I have been busy since we opened our business, but not a day goes by that I don't think about John. I hope you are doing well Betty. I ask God for faith and endurance, but I also ask him for comfort for us in these difficult times. Someday soon I hope we will see John again and the pain of his loss will a memory."
Chris Russell of Shrewsbury, MA

"I used to work with John at Booter's in Corpus Christi,Tx,..I have many fond memories,the"Batbar" one Halloween (John was the Riddler!Arnold as Batman,Matt as Robin & I was Catwoman,..great pics!fun night!)comes to mind,..he was very funny & a pleasure to know.My sympathy & condolences go out to John's family & friends,..know that my thoughts & prayers go out to you all, sincerely,Michelle Hinson"
Michelle Hinson of San Benito,Tx

"Its been a long time and as I sit and type it still is very difficult to think that John Wayne Russell and I will never talk again. I will never get to ask another guy at 5am " Is that you John Wayne?". I served with John in Iraq while assigned to Delta Co. John, Derreck B. and I had numerous discussions on topics that covered everything from sports to motorcycles, tattoos to religon. I owe alot to John he taught me that life was about oppurtunity and every oppurtunity is what you make of it. John was one of the fairest and most solid NCO's I was ever around. Thanks John you'll live on forever and by the way you where right. So heres some whiskey for my friend and a beer for my "Horses". I still argue with my self since you not around that its "Hosses"."
M. Fennell of Pittsburgh PA

"Not a day goes by that I don't remeber talking to you on the phone. You were pulling recruiting duty in Ft. Collins, CO. and I had recently lost my mom. You were a good guy and not quick to judge. We found out we had a lot in common. I tried to call you back one day many months later and you had already been reassigned somewhere else. In 2007, I decided I had waited long enough. I googled your name and every word I could think of to link to anything about you. I was going to find you, call you and drive out to Texas with my wife and get to know the half of my family I have been denied knowing. Turns out it wasn't going to happen and my google search was quick. I knew it was you the minute the article from the Army Times "Remeber the Fallen" showed your picture. My wife said it best: "He's a younger version of you with blue eyes." I thought the resemblance was pretty scary. My worst fears were confirmed when the article I read listed your parents as Betty and Dennis. I knew it was you. Dennis told me all about remarrying after losing me and having you with Betty. We even compared notes. No family is perfect but it is nice when they are around. I'm sorry I didn't put more effort into getting to know you, but unfortunately that would have meant opening old wounds that I carry with me to this day. Your death makes the pain even worse. I have so little family, I would trade places with you if I could. It was like I told you on the phone: I wasn't worth keeping, at least you have alot of people that love you. I'm glad you touched so many lives and you certainly touched mine. I wish you had listened to me and flown a desk to finish out your 20yrs. then retire with your wife, kids and maybe some grandkids. All I can say is I miss you and not a day goes by that I don't wonder what you were like.
Love your big brother,
Christopher Russell"
Christopher Russell of Shrewsbury, MA/USA

"November 15, 2008
To the family of Sgt. John W. Russell:
John 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

"It is impossible for us to do anything, or say anything, that can add to the honor that you so nobly have earned. Rather, it is our solemn responsibility to remember you and to give grateful thanks that when your nation called, you answered. I encourage everyone to take a few moments and walk through the cemetery, and visit the graves of our fallen service men and women. I assure you, there is no greater sense of gratitude than when you spend time personally reflecting on the sacrifices that these fallen comrades made for you and me. We owe each of them the highest regard, respect, and honor. You are not forgotten."
your Brother-in-law; Ray Flores, US Air Force, Retired of San Antonio, Texas

"I went to high school with John, he was a cool guy. Even though we were comepletely different people he was still nice ,which was odd for a jock..

Rest in peace, brother"
Adrian Lopez HT2 (SW) USN of San Diego, CA

My condolences to Sgt Russell's family. My son, SFC Michael Ream, served with John. Would like to be in contact with Mrs. Russell if at all possible. Blessings.
Christina Sharik of Ironton, OH USA

"Hey man. I thought of you the other day. Been awhile, hasn't it? Man, we had some fun times at the 507th, didn't we? Keith, Lance, Beatty, all our soldiers...I guess we didn't get around to drinkin enough, huh? I never told you, but I inscribed your name on a memorial at Anaconda when I was there....we sure could have used you around when the 5-0 deployed...we didn't have anyone to pick on like we did your dumbass! Anyway. Alright man, I'm gonna pop smoke. I'll catch up to ya later. Miss ya, John."
F. Kays of Killeen, Texas

"Where do I begin...My husband and I knew John when he was in Germany, Tennessee and Ft Collins, Co. They worked together many times and was recruiting together in Colorado. He was a really good friend to us. He always made me laugh with his jokes and his ways. We miss him very deaply! my mother in law had wrote a poem for him and just got her first book published with his poem in it. Tried to find his family to send flowers when he had passed but couldn't find anyone. So found this site and wanted to write a message. We miss him and will always remember him. Have a few trinkets that he gave us over the yrs. Our condolances goes out to his family and friends. We love you John!!"
SFC Michael Ream and Family of Harker Heights, TX

"To the family of:John W. Russell 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 serving with my brother, Scott. You are greatly missed by your family and friends. You touched more lives than you may know."
Ann Saboe-Remington of Hot Springs, SD

"I knew John when I was 6 years old. I used to go to his house everyday after school. We were boomers together on a soccer team that his dad coached. He was a very strong and competitive individual. God Bless the Russell Family and You, John!"
John Dupnik (SSgt USMC) of Corpus Christi

"Where can I begin? John wasnít only a great person but a wonderful uncle as well. He was always so full of life and entertainment. Every time I think about him I canít help but laugh. I have no bad memories of him. Itís been two years since my family and I have lost John. It gets very hard for everyone this time of year, who knew, appreciated, loved, and still loves John. I believe everything happens for reason, and even though we lost John at the prime of his life. I believe it helped bring all of my family together and it still does at this time of year. No matter how busy our lives are or no matter what our differences are we put them aside and seem to be closer this time a year. We shouldnít be sad that he is gone because he isnít he lives in each and every one of us, whom he made an impacted on. One day we will be reunited, but until that day we should live life like he had with a smile on our face and mischievously :) I miss you John! Love Your niece"
Ashley of Great Falls, Montana

"Two years have passed to the date and we still miss you John."
L.R.H of Portland, Tx

"I never met John...but feel a connection, let me share how.

I sent for a hero bracelet.(www.herobracelets.org)
Sent to me was the bracelet with the Sgt. John W. Russell's name on it.
I wear it everyday in memory of him and every soldier who has lost their life to protect our freedom.
I touch it many times during the day, look down and see John's name and say a prayer for him, his family and his fellow commrades.
Many people see my bracelet and ask me about John and why I wear it..
All I know about him is what I got from the internet...so I tell them what I know. They bow their heads and feel silly over a trivial thing that we may have just discussed and think about John and all the soliders who are fighting for us overseas.

Just know John's name is worn in memory by a mom in Dallas and many prayers are sent to John and his family.
Thank you John and May God Bless your family and help them through the void that is in their hearts with losing you."
Diana Gray of Dallas, Texas

"I served with John in Iraq. I was 2nd squad leader and He was 1st squad leader in Maintenance Platoon, D co 4-101st Avn. We were In TallaFar together. I only knew him for 7 months, but I learned alot about being a soldier and a Non-Commisioned Officer from him. He is missed, even after a year"
SGT Downey, Aaron of Ft Campbell, Ky

"John, I miss you so very much! There is not a week that goes by that I don't wish I could call you and laugh about something that only you would get!! I am so very proud of you. I just wish I could have told that to you. My prayers are with your family and I know that we will see each other again."
Amy Slaughter of Austin, TX

"I didn't know John but I feel his presence in our community and our nation. I also feel an emptiness when I pass through his neighborhood and feel for those who knew him and loved him.


They shall grow not old,
as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them,
nor the years condemn.
At the going down on the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

---Laurence Binyon, English Poet 1869-1943"
Larry Knauff of Portland, Texas

"To the Russell's:
Although the circumstances were painful, I truly enjoyed meeting you both this weekend as we honored our courageous sons during the San Antonio Armed Forces Parade. We truly share the same loss ... the same pain. Please stay in touch!


Gloria Caldas (Ernie Blanco's Mom)

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

I miss you so much. I really needed to hear your voice the other day and I went to call you and you were gone. You were such a wonderful friend and so very much more.YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN! I am so very sorry to betty and your father for the loss they have suffered. Everyone who knew you knew you were a proud soldier. Thank you so very much for paying the highest price for our freedom. My prayers are with your family and friends. I wish I could have come to Texas to say goodbye.
I will see you my dearest freind in heaven.

I love you!"
melissa of maryland

"please someone please give me info. John was a dear freind and i have just hurd about this and It can not be true.my email is missyguertin@hotmail.com"
melissa of apg md

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

""OUR special chosen words since day one of finding this site last year...have always been......REST IN PEACE BRAVE SOLDIERS/MARINES/WARRIORS We love you and MAY GOD BLESS you each. Your loved ones are in a beautiful place called Heaven now....When you look up to the sky at night and see the brightest star...it's your hero..shining down on you"
The Taylors USMC of NC

"I was so saddened to learn of John's death. He was a true hero. My sincere sympathies go out to all of his family. Having been a member of their extended family in the past, I know this is a great loss for them as well as our country."
Jana (Catchings) Caryol of Sherman, Texas

"I knew John for many years. He was a great soldier, and dedicated to serving this great country. He will always be remembered. My condolences to his mother and father who loved him so very much. I know that he loved them more than words could ever say. I can't imagine how Ms. Russell must feel having lost her only child. No words will ever take away the pain, but they can be proud of what John did for his country, forever. God bless John, and God bless you all. We WILL remember."
Pamela of Houston, TX, USA

"Thank you John Russell, 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

"I served with John when he was a Recruter in Ft Collins, CO. He was well liked in our office and was a friend to each of us. Above all he loved the Army and was a proud soldier. Although I did not know for sure I thought that John was probably in Iraq, and I thought of him when I heard of the crash. I was deeply sadened to learn he was among the soldiers on board the aircraft and had lost his life in the service of his country. My deepest condolences to his family and friends."
SSG Kevin Gross of Fort Carson, CO

"I started emailing a man I know as John in the spring. We tried several times to meet but something always came up. Then he got orders to Iraq. He and I continued to email back and forth. He made me promise to be at the Airport when he arrived home because he said he wanted me to be there. I promised. I waited and waited for word that he would be home. Well, I got word one night when they reported the two helicopter crashes in Mosul, in Iraq. My friend John was on one of those helicopters and was killed. I was hurt and I cried for hours. I never had a chance to know him more than an email back and forth. The time I waited for him I started making him an american flag afghan. I would love his family to have it in memory of what he meant to me. Here is my email address marmic1046mi@yahoo.com I would be more than happy to mail it to his family. My thoughts and prayers are with you."
Michelle of Hermitage, TN USA

"To the family and friends of Sgt. John Russell:
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 John 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. John Russell:
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 John, 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