Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Marine Lance Cpl. Steven W. Szwydek

20, of Warfordsburg, Pennsylvania.
Szwydek died from an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations against enemy forces near Nasser Wa Salaam, Iraq. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Died on October 20, 2005.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Marine Lance Cpl. Steven W. Szwydek.

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"10/20/13:
It has been 8 years since Steven gave his life for Operation Iraqi Freedom. I wanted his family know we will never forget his sacrifice for his country. Love, Mst Sgt Wayne Byron, & parents June & Walt Smithers"
June Smithers of Ithaca, NY

"To the family of:Steven W Szwydek
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""

"Ooh Rah, Devil Dog!If you don't love running before you become a Marine, You do after.Marines stand and fight, so we have to run for fun! I'll be there Saurday running with you."
Eric Hollinshead (USMC) of Harrisonville, Pa.

"RIP Steve and thank you for your sacrifice. I feel guilty for not being there serving my country with you all. Thank god for guys like you. I found this page via google search after I saw a picture of you here http://www.facebook.com/4them#!/photo.php?fbid=209193405758927&set=a.207869789224622.57407.207323792612555&type=1&theater"
Matt of Central New York

"It would have been MY honor and privilege to have met you Steven. Our family had just started attending Needmore Bible Church in Sept. 2003 but it wasn't God's plan for us to cross paths. I know however that I will meet you when I go to be with The Lord. For nine years after I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior (Oct. 20, 1996) you earned your final promotion to be with The Lord. For that reason alone I shall never forget your sacrifice so ALL of us can be free in these United States of America.


Thank you Steven and to your family!"
Sgt. Matt Jones - Maryland State Police of Little Orleans,MD

"You know, as I sit and read some of the messages friends, family, and strangers have left, I find peace in knowing that you will never be forgotten son. I can't seem to enjoy the holidays and often am relieved when they are over, but I know that would disappoint you and we will continue on without your physical presence. We find peace in knowing that your work in Iraq was successful and the people of that country are now freed from tyranny. We'll never forget the joy you brought to so many and know that you continue to touch the lives of others.

Love you and miss you."
Mom

"for a while you were my driver, you were my friend. i miss the in depth discussions we had on just about everything. you will never be forgotten, your brothers talk and think of you always. you are deeply missed my friend.......until we meet again!"
sergeant george w. little of coral springs, florida

"Steven,
when i met you for the first time over ten years ago, i had no idea how much you would impact me and so many others. when we would see each other a couple of times throughout the year, all you ever talked about was being a Marine. i used to think to myself 'wow, this kid - so young! - and yet knows exactly what he wants to do with his life. that is special; God will use him.' as i fell in love with goldie, married her and started building a life with her i watched you mature into a fine young man. i will always remember the party we had for you at the store when you went away the very first time. you were excited to live out your dream and we were all so very proud of you. you know that many of us fall on different points of view when it comes to war, especially this one. but one thing we are all on the same side about is our utmost respect for our men and women in uniform. you represent the absolute best our country offers; you make us proud, you remind us that freedom has a price.

i am so glad Goldie talked me into attending your 2nd going away dinner. you had aged since the last time we talked...you were quieter, more serene. frankly, you looked a bit more concerned about going back to Iraq than the first time...maybe even scared, i don't know. no one could fault you if you were for you were able to complete a mission most of us could never even accept. we walked out together and i told you we all loved you. i then told you that i prayed for you and God laid this on my heart to tell you: you might be scared and it may be hell on earth, but the Bible reminds us that if we keep our eyes on Jesus we can walk on water. Even if we get distracted by our circumstances and we take our eyes off Him, He might let us sink, but He will never let us fall from His grasp. You said nothing and I kissed you goodbye, feeling in my heart i would never talk to you in this life again.

how i cried at your funeral...i could barely finish playing Amazing Grace. my heart was broken for your family. ever since i've been in your family we've always - Always - had great times together. this time was so different. it was so painful that i almost couldn't bear it. the only comfort was that you died doing what you loved and that God would take you close to His heart and i would see you again when I get there. when we all get to heaven what a day of rejoicing that will be.

so why am i writing all this now, almost 5 years later? i guess to tell you and all those that will read this that you still impact me and others. I still see sadness in your father's face. I still see a tear in your momma's eye. every easter, every christmas, every thanksgiving you are there; you are the unspoken weight in the room. not that you are a burdon at all; in fact, quite the opposite. we can't be a family without you and so we have never been without you. you are in our conversations, our thoughts, our prayers, the hearts of Stephanie's boys and the light of our families. if i only had a second of your time back, maybe i would have talked you out of going back or just hugged you tighter. maybe i would've just been selfish but that's why we all honor you: you were something the rest of us want to be but never quite got there. you lived your life and did what we didn't do, couldn't do.

God's ways are not our own and i try not to question God's will. but as strange as it may sound coming from me, i miss you a lot. very very much. it ain't the same without you and we want you back. I want you and readers to know that I thank you so much for showing me how much you loved us all and our country. We have a picture of you in our home with some Iraqi children; when jason asks who you are, my response is simple and sometimes varied: 'that's Steven, our hero and our heart'.

All gave some
Some gave All

PS - in my classroom hang your Marine photo and whenever we sing the National Anthem, we don't turn to salute the flag - we turn to salute you. I've been asked to do a presentation on Memorial Day for the school and I couldn't have a better subject than you, Steven. Thank you."
EBB of Maryland

"hey steve! Im a little late but Happy Birthday! it never fails that every year that comes around it hurts more and more that I can't be with you to celebrate your birthday! Im sure you are doing fine. A lot has changed since the last time I talked to you! Still haven't met anyone like yourself. I know when we went our separate ways you told me some guy one day will be the luckiest man in the world and all I want is for you to be treated right and happy. Im not as happy as I should but I get treated right at least from the people that I work with. You should know that I am re-enlisting on october 1st! I really wish you could be there to pin me ... even though you can't be there you will in my heart and thats all that matters...right ? :) Do you know last october was the first time that when the 20th came around I was strong enough that I didn't cry and the marine corps ball it never fails I cry. It has been sometime and few years that have gone by that this year I haven't fallen down my wallocker in tears telling myself I can do this.. I can make it through anything. I just would ask you for help ... you might not know it but you've helped me through a lot. and I thank you. Well steve I must go now... it 10:08 in the morning Okinawa Japan! I miss you so very much and your always and forever in my heart! love nora"
Noreen of Okinawa, Japan

"October 20, 2008
Three years ago today we found out that Steven had been killed in action. No matter how many days or years pass, the details of that day and the weeks to follow will remain fresh in my mind. It seems that the older my babies are, the more I miss Steven because I wish they had the chance to know what a brave and loving person he was. My hope is that none of us will forget Steven until we get the chance to meet again."
Stephanie Bard, sister of Warfordsburg, PA

"September 29, 2008
To the family of Lance Cpl. Steven W. Szwydek:
Steven 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

"hey steve hope all is well been thinking about you lately just think next month will be 4 years since the day we met... and guess what im coming home in november for the first time in a year n half. Joe is in college and the dog jake has gotten older now not moving around as fast as he should be... I can't wait to come home! I miss you soo much steve wish you were here.

Love always Nora"
LCpl Noreen Tarner of Okinawa, Japan

"Hey Brother- I cant tell you how much I miss you. Its been so long since that day and I'll never forget it. You were a brother, a mentor and a friend. I allways looked up to you when I was a boot and there isnt a day that I dont think about you. I'm up here in Quantico for MECEP and I'll be seeing you this weekend with a little gift this weekend. I hope you enjoy it. I miss you and I'm looking forward to laughing with you some day."
Sergent James Wallenstein of Quantico, VA

"Hey Steve I miss you so much and I am sorry that I couldn't be there for you. I couldn't make your funeral, I couldn't make it when they put the statue in front of your school for you. I knew you before I was a Marine. I think about your everyday and I am so glad that I took the time to get to know you! God Bless you and for the things you did. You always made everyone's day brighter"
LCpl Tarner, Noreen of Okinawa, Japan

"HEY STEVEN.... I'VE BEEN THINKING ALOT ABOUT THE CRAZY THINGS THAT ALL OF US HAD TOGETHER. I REMEMBER THE DAY THAT YOU CAME TO THE PLATOON AND WE ALL STARTED TO HAVE FUN TOGETHER. I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I MISS YOU MAN, AND THERE ISN'T A DAY THAT DOESN'T GO BY WITHOUT ME THINKING ABOUT YOU MAN, AND I WANT TO SAY THAT I MISS YOU. I STARTED A SITE FOR YOU MAN.... HOPEFULLY MORE PEOPLE ADD YOU ANDREW AND RICK. IF ANYONE WANTS TO LOOK AT IT IT'S AT marines.togetherweserved.com.
JUST TYPE HIS NAME AND YOU'LL SEE HIM. I MISS YOU MAN AND I'LL SEE YOU AGAIN ONE DAY BRO."
HM3(FMF) SAENZ, ANTONIO R. of BACK IN IRAQ

"HEY STEVEN.... I'VE BEEN THINKING ALOT ABOUT THE CRAZY THINGS THAT ALL OF US HAD TOGETHER. I REMEMBER THE DAY THAT YOU CAME TO THE PLATOON AND WE ALL STARTED TO HAVE FUN TOGETHER. I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I MISS YOU MAN, AND THERE ISN'T A DAY THAT DOESN'T GO BY WITHOUT ME THINKING ABOUT YOU MAN, AND I WANT TO SAY THAT I MISS YOU. I STARTED A SITE FOR YOU MAN.... HOPEFULLY MORE PEOPLE ADD YOU ANDREW AND RICK. IF ANYONE WANTS TO LOOK AT IT IT'S AT marines.togetherweserved.com.
JUST TYPE HIS NAME AND YOU'LL SEE HIM. I MISS YOU MAN AND I'LL SEE YOU AGAIN ONE DAY BRO."
HM3(FMF) SAENZ, ANTONIO R. of BACK IN IRAQ

"I read more about you and have the upmost respect for you, to volunteer a second tour. My cousin was in the Core and served just like you did and thank god that hes home with us. Im gonna make it a point in my life i wil make it to Arlington and pass by your memorial."
Anonymous of Not to close, But not to far

"Your brother talks about you alot, I dont know him well but i can tell that you are his hero. You sound like a great guy and are irreplacable to your brother. You gave all for this country and you are a hero. Watch over the ones you love up there."
Anonymous of Not to close, But not to far

"HAPPY VETERANS DAY, STEVE! YOU MAKE IT POSSIBLE. WE ALL FOUGHT AND LOST A PART OF OURSELVES IN A CONFUSING CONFLICT. YOUR MEMORY MAKES IT SEEM LIKE WE SERVED SOME PURPOSE. BUT YOUR LOSS MAKES ME QUESTION ALL WE GAVE. I MISS YOU MY FRIEND AND YOU ARE AS FRESH IN MY MEMORY TODAY AS YOU WERE THE DAY WE MET WHEN I FIRST CAME TO 2/2. I MISS YOU STEVE!!!"
LCPL FOREST L. HEWLIN of WARRENTON, NC

"As i sit here in my apartment at college not able to fall asleep i think back to all the times u and i had together as kids. It was either at the park on the baseball diamand or it might be all those stupid fights we had, i cant get u out of my mind. Its those times when im alone that it is hard to deal with that ur gone. You died doing wat u loved. I love u brother. ill see u some day. Semper Fi Marine"
Corey Szwydek of Blairsville PA

"I didn't know you Steven but I'd been to your families store a few times.My family is from Needmore.I will make it to see your name on the statue this week or next and I'll leave a rose and an Eagle Globe and Anchor. I want to say thank you brother for your sacrifice , Semper Fi and God Bless. All gave "some" and some gave "ALL""
(former) Cpl. Mike Gregory MWSS 374 of Orbisonia,PA

"On Sunday before Memorial Day, our church, First Baptist Church Orlando (about 10,000 members) held a special time of remembrance for all of the fallen in Iraqi and Afghanistan. At the end of the worship service, our Boy Scout troop passed out American flags to all in attendance, two flags for each of our fallen heroes, whose names were written on labels attached to each flag. We left the church and walked out to an adjacent field and placed the flags in rows beneath a sign reading "We Remember". The pastor instructed us to pray for the families of our fallen one as we made the walk out to the field.

Steven died defending our homeland for many he never knew (like me and my family). It is only fitting that we were able to pray for Steven's family, even though we never knew Steven or his family. We know that God knows them and can turn their loss into gain and their mourning into rejoicing. We also want to thank Steven's family for the supreme sacrifice they have made along with Steven of offering their son to preserve and spread the cause of freedom which we enjoy in the USA to the oppressed in Iraq and around the world.

May the Lord bless and keep Steven's family and reunite them with him one day in heaven, where there will be no more war, pain, tears or hurt, but only the joy of the Lord's presence and fellowship.

See photos of the Field of Flags at:

http://viewers.316networks.com/viewer/viewerframes_parent.asp?b=ie&p=win&WMP=1&WMPv=7&RPIE=0&sp=81920&networkID=3000335&gid=0&rnd=705&hi=223

and at

www.orlandosentinel.com/orl-md220070528033715,0,7405994.photo

and at

www.orlandosentinel.com/orl-md120070528033714,0,6357416.photo"
Ed Gamble of Orlando, Florida, USA

"I read this article about this outstanding young MAN and I am without words to express my gratitude to the MAN and his Mother and Father and family.
My Best Wishes to you in your time of sorrow and Pride in your son,a honored young American."
John Walter of N. Ft. Myers,Fl. U.S.A.

"Dear Szwydek Family ~ Thank you for allowing you son to serve to protect our nation! My 11 year old daughter and my 7 year old son thank your wonderful son!! As Christians, we look forward to meeting Steven and all of the incredibly brave and wonderful people who are willing to live and die for more than themselves. May God bless and comfort you with the knowledge that Steven is in a better place, and you will see him again some day!! Without men like him, America would be nothing! Blessings, The Waltons from Virginia"
Kerry of Vienna, VA

"Steven,
I read in a recent Leatherneck Magazine about a statue being unveiled in your honor in Chambersburg. I would just like to say thank you to you and the two other Marines who were also killed in that blast for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Semper Fi Devil Dog!"

"Hope your 4th is a good one, i miss you all alot and think about you and steven all the time.thank you for everything you have done for me, hope everything is well at home. miss you Danielle"
Danielle Maselli of Daytona Beach,FL

"This is a rough week. Memories of your last visit home over the 4th before leaving for Iraq continue to run through my mind. I think you knew to enjoy that week at home and make it special because God had plans for you, and you wouldn't be traveling this way again. Your courage, strength and determination still amaze me. We will continue to carry on your mission of promoting freedom to all and support the troops until the last one comes home. We love you, miss you, and are very proud of you. Mom"
Nancy of Warfordsburg, PA (USA)

"Freedom is not Free and Steven will always be remembered. He was a son, grandson, brother, cousin, nephew, god-father and friend to everyone he met. Steven never met a stranger and touched the life of everyone he came into contact with during his short twenty years. If life is measured in quality and not quantity, then Steven's life was definately full. Steven, you are missed every day and thought of often. You will always be loved."
Sherri Szwydek-Smith of Newport News, VA

"My heartfelt sympathy to the Szwydek family in the loss of Steven. I did not know Steven, ( I lived in the Easton/Bangor PA area 52 yrs.) but my heart is broken and I am sadden for your loss of such a young man. May God bring you peace in your heart as you reflect on all the wonderful memories you hold so close. Please know that you are in my heart and prayers. Saturday January 28th I was at Arlington National Cemetery visiting several other fallen heroes and I visited Steven's burial place. I prayed for him and your family.
I send each of you a hug from the most inner part of my heart.
Love and Peace
Tom

To live in the hearts
of those you leave behind
is never to die"
~Robert Orr~"
Tom Gugliuzza-Smith of Springfield, VA

"To the family of LCpl. Szwydek. We know the pain you feel and our heart aches with you. Please know we honor the sacrifice made by this young man for his country and our freedom. For God, Country and honor he along with the others have helped secure our freedom and freedom of thousands of others. His life was not given in vain it will long be remembered in the Hall of Heroes. May our God of Hope and comfort give you peace. Our family will always have the pain of our precious loss as yours will. We will learn to live with it and honor them by doing our very best each day and try to make life better for just one person if we can. May God be with you in your pain. Proud grandparents of L.Cpl. Juston Thacker 3/6 USMC KIA Afghanistan 6/24/04...lcpljustontthacker.com"
Tom & Dixie Sisk of Princeton, WV

"Mike and Nancy;
We met Steven last year at the Marine Corp Ball in Chambersburg and were honored to meet you at this year's event. We share your sorrow in some small measure and want you to know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. The hole in your heart will never completely heal, nor should it. God gave you (and this nation) Steven for a short time and then welcomed him home. You have lost a son, the nation has lost a son also and we have lost a brother in arms. May God give you the strength, comfort and peace to continue on and honor Steven as he honored his country."
Doug and Pat Tait of Chambersburg, PA

"To the family of Steven Szwydek: I only met your son a couple of times but I could tell he was a really good man. And I was glad that my husband went to Iraq with such a fine Marine. Prayers for you during this difficult time...he will NEVER be forgotten."
Katie P of Jacksonville, NC

"To the family and friends of Lance Corporal Steven W. Szwydek,

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. If you're not certain that your loved one's next of kin is registered, please use our link and register them for a quilt so we can send our "Love Stitched Together."

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

"I will miss you Steven, you were my friend and like a brother to me. we had many good times togeather i wish you were still here with us but god has a place for all of us and yours is with him looking down on us. we all will miss you, dont worry, i will do my best to be there for your family thought these hard times. <3"
Danielle Maselli of Daytona Beach, FL

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

"Rest in Peace Tufelhunden...
J and T Taylor USMC
Sister of a Fallen Marine"

"TO THE SZWEYDEK FAMILY FROM THE WAHL FAMILY. DEEPLY SADDEN BY THE NEWS OF STEVEN. OUR HEART AND PRAYS ARE WITH STEVEN AND YOUR FAMILY. STEVEN HAS NOT GIVEN HIS LIFE IN VAIN! HE IS MORE THEN A SOLDIER, AN INDIVIDUAL, FAMILY MAN, AND HE IS AN AMERICAN HERO! ONE THAT HAS TOUCHED THE HEARTS OF SO MANY. TO THOSE HE HS SHARED VERY PRECIOUS TIMES WITH STEVEN. THAT ALL WILL REMEBER HIM DEARLY. I APPRECIATE STEVEN'S SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY. MORE IMPORTANT I APPRECIATE STEVEN. FOR BEING A MILITARY BROTHER TO OUR SON. NEITHER KNEW ONE ANOTHER, NOT IMPORTANT, BOTH UNDERSTOOD MILITARY BROTHERHOOD. THAT IN WAR WE MUST WATCH OVER ONE ANOTHER. WE LOST OUR SON IN BALAD, IRAQ LAST YEAR. (GREGORY) STEVEN YOU ARE AN AMAZING SOLDIER! UNSELFISHLY, RISKING EVERYTHING FOR SO MANY. BY FIGHTING OFF TERRORISM AND TO GIVE THOSE IN IRAQ HOPE; AND PEACE! YOU ARE APART OF MILITARY, IRAQI, AMERICAN AND WORLD HISTORY. STILL MY TEARS FLOW DOWN MY CHEEKS TODAY. AS IT DID FOR MY SON, THE TEARS ARE OVER YOU. HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF AMERICANS TODAY IN AMERICA. SAD ONLY A HANDFUL ANSWER THE CALL TO SERVE HIS OR HER COUNTRY. ALL OF AMERICA SHOULD BE HONORING YOU TODAY STEVEN. TO YOUR FAMILY;PLEASE REACH OUT TO YOUR COMMUNITY AND POLITICAL LEADERS TODAY. REQUEST A STREET BE NAMED IN STEVEN'S HONOR. SO NO ONE IN HIS COMMUNITY EVER FORGET HIS SERVICE TO HIS COMMUNITY, COUNTY, STATE AND COUNTRY. IT IS THE VERY LEAST HIS POLITICAL LEADER CAN DO FOR STEVEN! GOD BLESS!"
LEONARD WAHL of VALLEY STREAM NY

"Thank you Steven Szwydek, 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 Lance Cpl. Steven Szwydek:
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 Steven 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 Lance Cpl. Steven Szwydek:
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 Steven, 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