Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Marine Sgt. Morgan W. Strader

23, of Crossville, Indiana.
Strader died as result of enemy action in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California. Died on November 12, 2004.

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"I messaged your sisters and called your mom today. We talked for a bit, not believing how fast it has all gone. To us though, I think it will always feel new that you are not here. There isn't a day I don't think of you, not a day I wonder about what you would be doing if you were here with us. I think we honestly do live on in the actions of our lives and for me you will always be the most selfless person I know. As we round on today, the 10th year since you left us know that we are still here, and we will always be missing you. We love you Morgan."
Doc Aragon Kilo Co. 3/1 of Bangor, WA

"Morgan I miss you everyday brother. I am blessed to have been able to call you a great friend and a fellow warrior. And I know you watch over us everyday. Semper Fi Brother"
Cpl Ryan Carter Lima Co 3/1 of Hot Springs South Dakota

"I was Morgan's Gunny, when he was an MP at Camp Pendleton prior to him returning back to his unit... He could have simply stayed an MP and EAS'd as his time was near, quite simply he wasn't that type of warrior. When the opportunity came to deploy with his old Unit, without hesitation Morgan answered the call. I remember him quite well, chatting on the back gate in the middle of the night about his girlfriend abroad (There's a beer drinking story, LOL) as well as others. A great Marine.. one never knows until its too late..."
Thomas Perez GySgt / USMC (Ret) of Riverbank, CA / Camp Pendleton

"Seven years ago today you left us to soon. I was emailing your sister and could barely hold it in. The time does nothing when it comes to this day. I hate it. I hate that your not here for me to joke with or fight with in person.......but I guess it's not up to any of us. I just miss you, and I miss you a little extra today. Just know that we are thinking bout you where ever you are. We love you Morgan....always."
Doc Aragon of Okinawa, Japan

"To the family of:Morgan W.Strader
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""

"It has been over five years and I think about you every day.The nite when you asked me about hunting and to tell you a hunting story and that you have never been. I promised to take you , I have a picture of you that stays in my hunting pack, you went with me to Alaska 3 months on a horse to hunt dall sheep then back the next year to hunt moose seen alot of grizzly bears and many other hunts hear in montana for deer, elk, black bear so you are always with me. I remember the knife that or grand father made and you asked me to sharp for you take care brother Im taking you bear hunting to nite"
Doc Embesi 3/1 kilo 2nd plt of conner montana

"It was five years ago today you were taken from me, from all of us. I hate this month, I hate what it has done to our memory. I guess it's cause I miss you so much. I've met few people who could anger me like you, and even fewer I would trust as much. Everyone I've met who ever knew is so imprinted by your memory it really makes me just think about how many good people we loose. But it isn't our choice I suppose, I've learned at least that in medicine......as much as we don't want something sometimes it just happens. I keep up with your family and check in on them to make sure they're alright. They send their love, always. I just wish I could have one more day, but as it is I guess I'll just have to keep laughing at your insane/odd jokes til we see each other again. We love you Morgan, beyond this life and into the next."
Doc Aragon of Camp Pendleton, CA

"I worked with Morgan at PMO in 2004 before he went back to his original unit. He was so funny to be around. It was nice especially standing post for 12-14 hours at a time being bored out of our minds when he would do something to make us laugh histerically!!"
Michael Carey of Olympia, WA (Camp Pendleton, CA)

"I had the chance to share some funny times with Morgan. It saddened me to hear what happened to this fine Marine. We were both in the same platoon in 2002 on a west-pac. Out of no where he would come with his quirky grin and say something off the wall and just make me bust out laughing. Many times he would do this when he saw I or someone else was down. Although he did argue a lot as someone previously mentioned, it was always funny to see him argue. I regret not being able to serve next to him. He will be missed.

I am sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you. I know he lived a great life. I am sure he is somewhere right now making more people laugh and smile, a place without violence and a place where he can be free. God Bless."
SG of TX

"November 23, 2008
To the family of Sgt. Morgan W. Strader:
Morgan 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

"To the Family of Sgt. Morgan Strader,

I remember your son from way back when we were kids at Eagle Elementary in Brownsburg. I didn't have a lot of friends at that time with the exception to your son and a few others. I won't forget your son becuse he was one of the first people that intorduced me to the state of Indiana; that didn't want to torture me for being a minority. I know your son must have grown up to be a fine man beofre his passing He will be an honored person in my memory. Semper Fi, Marine!"
Machinist Mate 2nd Class Joseph P. Herrera, NPDB 6 of Indianapolis, IN via Camp Bucca, Iraq

"We think of you often. Almost four years do not change that. It has been 11 years since you and your team mates won the European Cross Country Championship for Stuttgart HS.

Semper fi Colonel D. C. Rapé USMC ret."
DC Rapé of College Station, TX

"I miss you brother!"
Doc Saffell of Ankeny, IA

"Thanks for what you have done.I was a member of the Strader Battalion in your memory."
C/SSG. Jesse Elser of Chattanooga, Tennessee

"Hey Morgan.... I still miss ya and look at all ur pics all the time. I hope I can be half as good a Marine as you are. semper fizzle"
beth of NC

"Today, I was honored to use your sons name and his sacrfice to, I hope make 2 young men better people. My 2 sons were just plain and whining about helping out with what we needed to do as a family. Yes, it was alot of work and yes it was on a Sunday when they could have been hanging out with the neighborhood kids. It came to a point that I just had to stop them and myself from arguing over who should do what. I couldn't believe I was having this much trouble getting my sons to take some responsibility and working for our families benefit. I really didn't think I raised these boy to be like this. I said Boys "All I am asking you to do is help your family by using our free day to do the work we need to do". This is not a big deal. As they informed me they were entitled too a day of no reponsibilities to anyone but themselves. I had to walk away. I was getting ready to go all Marine on them but I couldn't. I was just disappointed. I gathered my thoughts. I thought about comming back with the "When I was your age I did" speech. Then I realized It wasn't about me. It was about them. They don't know what sacrifice is. They don't understand the gift they have. Once I came to terms with my own anger and calmed down, I simply sat them down and handed them the program of Sgt. Morgan W. Strader's (USMC) memorial service. They didn't get it at first. Then I reminded them that the only reason they wake-up each morning with all the luxuries and all the opportunities they have is because of people like Sgt Strader and all the men and women that have really sacrificed. I as a Sgt in the USMC had to walk away. I did not use you son's name to make my kids do work. I used your son's name and sacrifice to make my 2 boys; (who are really are good students and good kids, both play baseball for Brownsburg) to realize how petty and stupid they were acting. I didn't say much to them the rest of the day because I was embarassed that my sons acted this way. I let them do nothing and I could tell that that made them uncomfortable. I let them know that tomorrow is a new day. Respect it and yourself for what it is; a gift, A gift given to them by people that have made real sacrifices. People that built America and our way of life, and to never, ever forget that you are not entitled, that at every level and every day you must get up and live your life the best you know how. This is what we are entitled to, because of people like Sgt. Strader. Read this or not, Thank-you, Sgt. Strader for making me a better person and a better parent. I know you have already made my sons better people. (PLS forgive my grammer)"
Sgt. Jeff Swenke of Brownsburg, IN

"i knew and loved Morgan and he and all of his family are in our prayers semper fi you are a ture hero Morgan. i am sorry i never got to say goodbye, i feel nothing but guilt when i think of you, along with Dale, Mike and Segura to name a few. to the parents of morgan i am sure you know you raised a very very fine young man no matter what was going on he could still put a smile on your face! in my heart he will live forever! RIP Morgan"
Lcpl Kris crawford of Brunswick Maine/USA

"Another year has passed and again we're at this day. I can't tell you how much it replays in my head. I miss you a lot. November is a hard time for all of us I think with the anniversary of the battle and all. I remember today more vividly than any other. You left us today three years ago. Through it all I thank you for even the opportunity to have known you, and although it was the hardest thing to be there at your side when you got hurt....I am honored that it was me. The world isn't the same without you Morgan. It all passes so fast I think at times I wont catch my breath just thinking about it. It is beyond me to even try to explain to someone why I can almost spasm and shake with sorrow at just a thought or seeing a picture. On the other hand I wouldn't trade a single moement with any of you. You are the best kind of friends anyone could ask for. Selfless. Please look after them for me. Love you Morgan."
Doc Aragon, Shaun M. of San Diego, CA

"Thank you SGT Morgan Strader for the bravery you have shown us all. You were a graduate from my High School and when JROTC started January of 2005 we named our Company after you. And now, we name our Battalion after you."
C/CPT Kristine Wheeler of Crossville, TN/USA

"I knew Morgan in high school in Germany. We had a homework period together and also did sports together. He was a good guy. He would talk to me about his crush on the prettiest girl in school and show me the notes he had written her. I don't think our little group of friends will ever forget him. He was unique."
Derek of Boston, MA

"I knew Morgan when he moved to TN and attended CCHS. So many funny stories... I agree with the post below... he was one of those people that would argue with you until you gave up. But all of my memories are good ones, and I do miss him."
Mary Thompson of Columbia, SC

"Thank you Sgt. Morgan W. Strader for being the wonderful young man that you were. You gave so much to so many. Although, I never meet you I hold you dear to my heart for you meant the world to my Brother Robert Ziarnick 3/1 USMC. Rob has spoke of many fun and crazy times you two shared. Like the crazy time the two of you rode a motorcycle from CA to AZ it would have been a site to see the two of you on one bike.
Morgan, Rob loved you very much! As for today his pain is so deep and at times unbareable for the lost of his bestfriend! Morgan you are a hero and will never be forgotten! May the Lord give your family confort and peace."
Michelle Ziarnick of Roseburg, OR

"it was good to be with morgans family for veterans day weekend. doc aragon and i went and visited his family for a few days and they are doing well or as well as can be expected. this is the hardest thing they have ever had to deal with. morgan is buried in a beautiful cemetery overlooking a valley by his grandpaws house. he has a wonderful family and a lot pf people miss him greatly"
doc gibson of gonzales, louisiana U.S.

"I knew Morgan for a short time but he is one of those people who I'll never forget. I remember the last email I wrote to him saying I haven't heard from you in a few days I hope things are ok. talk to you soon.I will never forget the feeling when I heard what had happened. Since then I have become so much more aware of just how everything can change so fast. Semper Fi Morgan. You are terribly missed you can't be thanked enought for what you have done."
Beth of jacksonville, nc

"There are so many words to be said and I am at a loss.
Heaven I know, is a better place with him and the earth is a lesser place without him and the void left in my family will never and can never be filled.
I pray for my uncle and cousins daily asking him to give them strength and aid them in thier time of mourning. Morgan is loved and will always be a hero in our eyes and hearts.
I know one day, when we all make it to heaven, Morgan will be the one on watch guarding the gates to heaven.
God Bless the Strader Family

Semper Fi"
Sgt. Perry B. Day (US Army) of Lucasville, Ohio

"Thank You
by Lily Michaels, 2003

I can't shake every hand.
I can't put flowers on every grave.
I can't console every family member.
But I can say thank you.

You have given me the freedom I enjoy today.
Your blood was shed in place of mine.
Your family grieved so mine could rejoice.
All I can say is thank you.

There are not words big enough.
There is not a hug strong enough.
There is not a smile wide enough.
All I can offer is thank you.

You are my hero.
You are in my thoughts.
You are in my prayers.
For all you've done, thank you.

Morgan Strader, you are a hero and will not be forgotton."
Judy D of Anderson, IN

"Morgan was a man of very many words. He would argue with you until you were tired of it and just give up even if you thought you were right the whole time. He was a great marine and served his country well. Most of you probably know that he didn't have to go to Fallujah and fight. He actually had a medical disease that was going to prevent him from going and they were planning on sending him home. His honor and dedication to duty made him want to go anyway. He was proud of what he was doing and I hope everyone is proud of what he has done. He is a great man."
Doc Gibson 3/1 kilo co. 2nd Plt. of San Diego, California

"You were an inspiration to us all Morgan. I will never forget you."
Cpl. Michael Bonaldo, Kilo Co 2nd platoon of Bethany Ct

"Morgan was what the world is truly in need of, selfless, devoted to something other to himself....a person that was to good for this world. As such he was taken from us...from me...from my very hands as I cared for him. We need to remember that everything in this life, everything is not without a cost. Whether we care to admit it or not what we do affects other people and what they do affects us. My mother once said, "Without suffering there would be no compassion", maybe someday, because of people like Morgan we can just have compassion alone. Till then I only ask everyone who reads this to remember that it is these men, these young selfless men who are out there everyday giving everything they have so that you may have the right to debate over how hard your day was. We live and sadly sometimes die together with a bond that far surpasses anything imaginable by most...Lord may we never take anyday for granted. It has been the biggest honor of my life to have served alongside Morgan and the rest of my Marines with the Thundering Third. Thank you Morgan...we miss you brother. Semper Fi.

Doc Aragon
3/1 Kilo Co. 2nd Plt"
HM2 Shaun M. Aragon of San Diego, CA

""all gave some,morgan gave all"
Semper Fidelis Marine and god bless your soul"
Sgt. Joseph W. Gary 3/1 Kilo co. 2nd Plt of Upper Darby ,Pa, USA

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

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

"As a former Marine who had no need to go to war, I am torn between what I hope for and what is needed. I hope for peace, and yet we need at times to fight for it. No other endevor in life can be so filled with such instant impact, the taking of or losing of life. It hurts to think that peace could not be won in negotiation rooms, or with songs or other positive words. It hurts to think that lives are forever changed and there can be no "do-overs", it hurts and I can't make it better... and so I pray. I pray for quick healing, for life to go on and prosper, I pray for the end of war, and I pray for the season of peace. May your family find that peace. Semper Fi"
William Gant of Nashville Tn.

"To Morgan's Family and Friends:

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

Sincerely,

The Family of Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco-Caldas, 82nd Airborne
KIA Iraq 12/28/2003.
Gloria Caldas (The Big Ern's Mom) of San Antonio, TX
gloria.caldas@banksterling.com"

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

"I am so sorry for your loss. I know that you are going thru a living nightmare right now. I pray that with time, the pain eases. Know that Morgan is never truly gone, just waiting around the corner till you can be together again. May the memories you have of him comfort you now and forever."
Elisha wife of fallen soldier PFC Shawn Pahnke KIA Iraq June 17, 2003 of Shelbyville,IN

"Thank You for the gift of Freedom. I will honor it in your memory."
P Bell of Macon ,Ga

"To the family and friends of Sgt. Morgan W. Strader,

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 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

"Thank you Morgan Strader, 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. Morgan Strader:
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 Morgan 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. Morgan Strader:
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 Morgan, 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