Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Marine Maj. John C. Spahr

42, of Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
Spahr died from injuries received when the F/A-18 Hornet aircraft he was piloting apparently crashed in Iraq. He was assigned to Fighter Attack Squadron 323, Aircraft Group 11, 3rd Aircraft Wing, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California. His unit was embarked aboard the U.S.S. Carl Vinson. Died on May 2, 2005.

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"I went through flight school with Dukes and we spent some time with him and Diane when we lived in San Diego. I think about him and other good friends we have lost over the years. I was able to visit his grave site at Arlington when I worked at the Pentagon. We all miss you John, but still think about you and honor your sacrifice. 6 JUN 2016."
Ron Novak of Jacksonville, FL

"I was lucky enough to have served with Major Spahr and Cpt Hinz, i had seen then both just minutes before their flight on May 2 2005. Both were in great sprites, i remeber Major Spahr larger then life smile, he was a great mentor to the Marines of VMFA-323, personally i would like to say thank you to his family for sharing him with us, his life deeply in packed me. I often think about Duke and Trash and the wonderful memories. Today i seen the blue angles i emagened them flying..... miss you guys deeply..."
Sgt Flores (VMFA 323) of San Diego Ca,

"I flew Harriers in the USMC and met John in Miramar on many deployments. He is definitely a true American hero and will never be forgotten! I miss him greatly as a friend and Marine brother. My thoughts are with him and his family on this upcoming Memorial Day. Semper Fi."
Mike "Gomer" Neighbors of Phoenix, Az

"10 years ago today I received the dreadful phone call you were gone. For weeks I still thought you were coming home, but you never did. I miss You every day! You were the big cousin And I was your little tag along.. I visited you today at Arlington and toasted you! Slainte John..until we meet again..Xoxo"
Kerri of Jenkintown

"He was a cousin, a friend and a true hero to me. I thank the Lord that I was a part of his life. Sending all my love to Sabrina, Tracy, Kelly and Stephen, but most of all, my Aunt Eileen. I love you all."
Whitney kelly of Middletown CT

"If I ever needed a pinch of Copenhagen, Maj Spahr had one for me. Finest Marine Corps officer ever invented. After all these years I still think of him."
Electric Shop of Houston, TX

"Thinking about Maj Spahr on this Memorial Day. I deployed with him in 2003 and was in Iraq on the tragic day his plane went down. It was a hard blow to see two Snakes go down."
Joe Henson of Columbia, MD

"To My Buddy "Dukes",
It seems like it was just yesterday but your memory and spirit continue to inspire me. I will be forever grateful that you were a part of my life. I could tell stories of overstressing airframes, big Italian guinny stinkers on the smoking spannson or your proverbial, "Dice, you want to make that a double, don't ya?" but I just passed on to my 10 year old son the BEST stories about you. I told him of your life of courage, honor and sacrifice. I am sitting here typing this wearing the t-shirt you gave me in the 323's Ready Room. As long as I am sucking O2, I will never forget you, buddy.

S/F,"
Dice of New York

"Major Spahr was one of the finest gentlemen and Marine I was fortunate to know. A man dedicated to his family, and to his Marines. A little over 6 years since I last saw him, and I've yet to meet someone with the amount of integrity this man had. He left an ever lasting impression on my life, my success, and who I am today.

God Bless

VMFA-323 '00-'04"
Adam of Dayton, OH

"I am the coxswain of the Freshman 8 at the Prep. At the beginning of this season Coach Kilpatrick asked the team if we knew the significance of the name on the side of the boat to which we had been assigned and our 6 seat, Tom Kueny, raised his hand and told us about Lt. Col Spahr, his legacy at The Prep and his ultimate sacrifice as a true man for others.
We just returned from the 2010 Scholastic National Rowing Championships in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. where we defeated 24 schools to win the Gold Medal. Our coaches remind us often that we also represent our parents, The Prep and alumni when we compete. Yesterday we were very proud to carry the name of Lt. Col. Spahr as we crossed the finish line for the last time as freshman. As we prepare to celebrate Memorial Day the crew of the Freshman 8, Jon Ghaul, Steve Fediw, Tom Kueny, George Twardy, Mike LaViscount, Tom Roberts, Brant McGuigan and Dan Conroy and I would like to dedicate our victory to Lt. Col. Spahr and his family."
Jack T. Ribble III, Class of 13 of Rose Valley, Pa.

"I'm Lieutenant Dan Houston, I was the Intelligence Watch Officer onboard USS CARL VINSON on duty on the evening of May 2, 2005. I didn't know Major Spahr well, but whenever I did interact with him, he was very kind, and had a larger than life personality. I was terribly saddened when I learned what had happened. I'm not a religious person, but I prayed for you the family. I had a flight deck monitor in my workspace and watched Major Spahr and Captain Hines take off on that evening, I have that image in my mind, two heroes indeed. I think of Major Spahr often still to this day. Edmund Burke once said "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Major Spahr and Captain Hines were the good men who did something."
Lieutenant Dan Houston, USN of Delphi, IN

"I worked in Flight Equipment for VMFA 314 Black Knights. I took care of the pilots flight gear and often talked to all the officers. I am sadden to hear of your loss. He was a good officer. He will never be forgotten. Rest in peace, SIR"
SGT WADE "VLAD" VADNEY of DALLAS, TEXAS

"Seldom does a day go by when I am not reminded of John in one way, or another. Dukes left each of us with part of him every time we laughed, worked, or flew together. I think of John every time I look down from an airplane and see familiar landscape that we flew over in the Hornet...and sometimes upside down! Like I did a few days ago landing in Dallas when I caught a glimpse of the former Navy Dallas airstrip, which we landed on more than a few times. And, several weeks ago as we flew up the coast from LA to SF.....It seems that for me, most everyday something reminds me of John; aka "a Dukes moment".... We love you buddy and look forward to seeing you again one day."
Fface Slater of Los Angeles, CA

"Time passes and memories fade but not for our American heroes. LCol John Spahr USMC has not been forgotten."
Pat B of Cherry Hill NJ

"I have only recently learned of John's death and am deeply saddened by it. I knew John when he was at UD, working at Winstons and living in Southgate. I worked in the same building, and lived in the same complex. John and I got to be close friends. He was an exceptional guy. Very good hearted, kind and moral. A valued friend. Always seeing the good. After seeing Top Gun, that was all he talked about. Flying jets. I am so glad to know that he got what he wanted and, not surprisingly, did it well. I have always held a special place in my heart for my friend and hoped to cross paths again. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family for their loss. God Bless."
Christine (Staudt) Manjerico of Newark, DE/USA

"April 28, 2009
To the family of Maj. John C. Spahr:
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"
www.IraqWarHeroes.org"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"I will always love you. and hope to see you one day in heaven. Im sorry for the things we fought about when you were still here and i wish i could take them back. I miss you"
anonymous of a place

"Maj, You are gone in body, but Marines are never forgotten. As I stand each month in front of your squadron brothers and sisters, we all think of you and remember what you died for and stand for. The honor, integrity and love of country is as strong as ever. I thank you and all who serve or have served our country for your devotion and sacrifices. To your family and friends, I wish you well. Your loved one is not forgotten."
Cheryl Jones of San Diego, CA

"Sorry for your lost, you were truly a great man, I served with you in Miramar. VMFA-314. Your wife and my wife where expecting at the same time. God bless you. Sgt. Joe Rudd (Avionics)"
Rudd of Mebane, NC

"To the family of:John C. Spahr 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"

"Dukes,
Someone once said we're all immortal until we reach perfection. You were taken from us that day when you and Trash reached perfection and God called you home. I will remember the positive influence you had in all of our lives and the legacy we have to uphold in your honor.
S/F"
Topper of Baghdad, Iraq

"Major Spahr: It was an honor to serve with you at TopGun, NAS Fallon, NV. You really put a smile on my face when you caught me off guard during your return visit to Fallon before you deployed. I wish you could have seen my retirement ceremony Sir, we missed you in our ranks. Semper Fi!"
SSgt Eddie Rowe USMC (Ret), SNCOIC, MarDet TopGun of Farmington, NM

"John was the type of person you knew would never give less than 100% all of the time. He was a true man for others and embodied the Prep Spirit. May he rest in peace & his memory never fade."
Tom Muldoon, Prep '81 of Phila., PA

"To the Spahr Family: A year has passed and we still remember and honor an American hero."
Pat B of Cherry Hill

"Gene, You ain't heard nuthin yet! John was a good friend, rower, student, and man. He inspired the "mere mortals" like me to reach for greatness. John Spahr is one of reasons that Prep Crew is where it is today. A boathouse isn't enough to honor him"
Brian Brady, Prep '83 of Del Mar, CA

"John Spahr,
Im a Freshman at St. Joes Prep, Philly, Yesterday at the boathouse, a boat was dedicated to you, i never met you, but you sound like a great man. You are in my prayers. Rest In Peace and Thank You for your Service"
Gene Taras of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"John Spahr,
Im a Freshman at St. Joes Prep, Philly, Yesterday at the boathouse, a boat was dedicated to you, i never met you, but you sounds like a great man, Rest In Peace and Thank You for your Service"
Gene Taras of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"It was an honor to go to college and be teammates with John. Even though I was one of the guys trying tackle him (as I played defense), we had a great experience and it was terrific to be teammates with such an outstanding guy! I so much apprecaite John's service to the USA and freedom for others! John and his family are always in my thoughts and prayers. God bless."
Dave Wallace of Irving, TX

"I had served with (then) Major John Spahr in a unit that you probably would never have found a pilot; in an infantry unit, as a company commander. I was his First Sergeant in H&S Co, 1st Battalion 4th Marines. Major Spahr was a jovial man, but took his new assignment as a company commander very seriously. He was a Marine's Marine in every sense of the word. He never hesitated to ask questions when faced with a challenge not normally associated with the "air" side of the Marine Corps. He took the advice of his senior enlisted and carried on his mission as if though he was an infantry officer. He was a consummate professional.

LtCol Spahr, you will be truly missed. May God watch over your family and may you rest in peace."
Leo Rivera, SgtMaj USMC (Ret) of Lake Elsinore, Ca

"I played college football with John and he was a great guy.I just now found about about his loss and am greatly saddened. Knowing John and the kind of man he was, I'm not surprised he served his country with valor. I hope his family can find peace in the thought he is in a better place. God Bless Him!"
Douglas Martin of Las Vegas, Nevada

"Dear John, my Brother,
I think about you all day long, every single day, and I pray for you at the end of every day - that's what I do, that's my life. Every night since you died, I kneel down and think of you and pray with you; and I will do so for the rest of my life. I will honor you, and think of you, every day until I see you again in heaven, I can't wait to see you again. You were one of those guys everybody loved, because you were loving, kind, honest, you really cared about everyone you met, that's why everyone love you John - When I would think about you, off in the world in your life as a Marine, who LOVED TO FLY, and to teach about flying (and LOVED your daugher too :) so very, very much) I always thought God, I could never be as nice as John, he's just such a great person. I also promise to do what you would want, and that is, to take care of your daughter in anyway I can - I will always be there for her and while I can never take the place of you - I will try to be You for her, to be the closet thing to your heart and soul for her, and to do everything I can for the rest of her life to help her - I know, that's what you would want.
I read and cherish every word that people write about you - I respect and am grateful for there comments - anything and everything they say about you is wonderful to hear - it helps, but I am sad forever. John, I have a Semper Fi (always faithful) sticker on my car - in honor of you and it will remind me of you for the rest of my life and all your fellow Marines, we are so proud of them and you. Here is what I wrote the day after you died - Here are our Memories of a Hero, Brother, Son, Father, and a Proud Marine, and the nicest "no kidding" guy I ever met, my brother,
Lt. Col. John C. "Dukes" Spahr
May 2nd 2005 We'll never be the same without you on our team, Love, Mom, Kelly, Sabrina, Tracy and Stephen
...Dukes, God in his Mercy took you at the top of your game, in the sky that you loved, doing what you loved to do, "fly". You are with God in peace and love, you will never suffer on earth, you were to good to suffer, when the pain of your loss is too great to endure, we will remember that God loved you John, so much, that he choose you to be with him now, because you had learned how to be on this earth, to be a good person, and you needed no more lessons. We will all learn from your death, to look towards heaven and to think of you, and your good heart, and to be better because of you. We wait, to see you again, leave us a space in the "booth", and we'll see your beautiful smile and your loving eyes once again. Semper Fi Love, Sabrina "Sabrina the Great" as I use to sign off to you!! P.S. Every time I see hawks in the sky it's you (and they are here every day) every time I see an American Flag, it's you, every time I see any military sign it's you and clouds use to be just clouds, they are messages from you and they are beautiful, I never noticed how much they change every moment throughout the day before, and when they are gray - you are sad and I am sad. And I am, forever sad, Sabrina"
Sabrina Spahr Lawrence of New Jersey

"Dear John, my Brother,
I think about you all day long, every single day, and I pray for you at the end of every day - that's what I do, that's my life. Every night since you died, I kneel down and think of you and pray with you; and I will do so for the rest of my life. I will honor you, and think of you, every day until I see you again in heaven, I can't wait to see you again. You were one of those guys everybody loved, because you were loving, kind, honest, you really cared about everyone you met, that's why everyone love you John - When I would think about you, off in the world in your life as a Marine, who LOVED TO FLY, and to teach about flying (and LOVED your daugher too :) so very, very much) I always thought God, I could never be as nice as John, he's just such a great person. I also promise to do what you would want, and that is, to take care of your daughter in anyway I can - I will always be there for her and while I can never take the place of you - I will try to be You for her, to be the closet thing to your heart and soul for her, and to do everything I can for the rest of her life to help her - I know, that's what you would want.
I read and cherish every word that people write about you - I respect and am grateful for there comments - anything and everything they say about you is wonderful to hear - it helps, but I am sad forever. John, I have a Semper Fi (always faithful) sticker on my car - in honor of you and it will remind me of you for the rest of my life and all your fellow Marines, we are so proud of them and you. Here is what I wrote the day after you died - Here are our Memories of a Hero, Brother, Son, Father, and a Proud Marine, and the nicest "no kidding" guy I ever met, my brother,
Lt. Col. John C. "Dukes" Spahr
May 2nd 2005 We'll never be the same without you on our team, Love, Mom, Kelly, Sabrina, Tracy and Stephen
...Dukes, God in his Mercy took you at the top of your game, in the sky that you loved, doing what you loved to do, "fly". You are with God in peace and love, you will never suffer on earth, you were to good to suffer, when the pain of your loss is too great to endure, we will remember that God loved you John, so much, that he choose you to be with him now, because you had learned how to be on this earth, to be a good person, and you needed no more lessons. We will all learn from your death, to look towards heaven and to think of you, and your good heart, and to be better because of you. We wait, to see you again, leave us a space in the "booth", and we'll see your beautiful smile and your loving eyes once again. Semper Fi Love, Sabrina "Sabrina the Great" as I use to sign off to you!! P.S. Every time I see hawks in the sky it's you (and they are here every day) every time I see an American Flag, it's you, every time I see any military sign it's you and clouds use to be just clouds, they are messages from you and they are beautiful, I never noticed how much they change every moment throughout the day before, and when they are gray - you are sad and I am sad. And I am, forever sad, Sabrina"
Sabrina Spahr Lawrence of New Jersey

"To John
I miss you. Thank you for protecting us. You truly were my hero. everyday I think you are going to walk thru the door. I am truly blessed to have a part of your family.
Your cousin
Kerri"
Kerri of San Diego, Ca

"My thoughts and prayers are with the Spahr family. I remember John as such a good guy. He had a way of putting a smile on your face whenever he was around. God bless him and all those who serve."
Tom Cunningham of Richmond, VA

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

"John was always a role model to me and a source of inspiration on how to be a better person. I was a TBS classmate of John's and a fellow U of DE alum. He was both an impressive Marine officer and a compassionate human being, and he will be missed."
Peter of Leesburg, VA

"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; Love leaves a memory no one can steal. We are deeply sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
From the family of LCpl Branden P. Ramey, KIA 11/8/04"
Sandy of CA

"To the family of John Spahr,

My brother Andrew Stern was killed in September. The pain for your family and mine will never vanish, but I hope with time it will be eased. My thoughts are with you.

Kyle Stern
UD class of 2008"

"To the family, Marine family and loved ones of Maj. Spahr, please know the thoughts and prayers of many sincerely grateful Americans from all walks of life are with all of you. His service and sacrifice and yours is respected and will be remembered."
Michelle Bastian of Green Bay, Wisconsin

"To the family and friends of Major John C. Spahr,

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

"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, John will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you ALWAYS. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"We are deeply sorry for your loss. We 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."
Jennifer and SSGT Larry Mays and family of Massillon, Ohio

"TO THE SPAHR FAMILY FROM THE WAHL FAMILY. WE ARE DEEPLY SADDEN BY THE LOST OF JOHN. JOHN HAS TOUCHED THE HEARTS OF MANY. FROM NEIGHBOR'S, FRIENDS, THOSE IN HIS COMMUNITY, HIS MILITARY FAMILY AND HIS LOVE ONE'S. AN HE WILL NOT HAVE GIVEN HIS LIFE IN VAIN. JOHN HAS FOUGHT TERRORISM FOR US ALL IN AMERICA. AN FOUGHT TO GIVE THOSE IN IRAQ A NEW BEGINNING. JOHN IS ONE OF THE THOUSAND ELITE SERVICEMEN SERVING OUR GREAT COUNTRY. AN NOT MANY LIKE JOHN ENJOYED HIS JOB. NO LESS WILLING TO PUT HIS LIFE ON THE LINE FOR US ALL. JOHN IS A HERO! ALTHOUGH, MY SON WAS IN THE ARMY. AN NEVER HAD MET JOHN. I APPRECIATE JOHN FOR WATCHING OVER HIS BACK AS GREG DID FOR HIM. BOTH ARE TOGETHER NOW. WE LOST GREG 05-03-04. I WILL ALWAYS KEEP JOHN IN MY HEART AND PRAYS. AS I PRAY FOR HIS FAMILY! JOHN WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN!"
LEONARD WAHL of VALLEY STREAM NY

"Thank you John Spahr, 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 Maj. John Spahr:
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 Maj. John Spahr:
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