Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Spc. John O. Tollefson

22, of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.
Tollefson died in Ashraf, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV while out on patrol. He was assigned to the 411th Military Police Company, 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas. Died on July 27, 2005.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Army Spc. John O. Tollefson.


Contributions to the Families of the Fallen


Leave a message in memory of this servicemember, and/or to the loved ones left behind.

Please report inappropriate messages

"Hey Tollefson, man, you were a great friend. Glad I got to share the experience of basic with you. I've thought of you often over the years since, thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice. I will never forget you.
charles burton of lexington, ky

"to the family and friends of john, i had the priviledge of serving with john in iraq and i remember him always to play with my daughter nicole, he was a wonderful man and will truly be missed by myself and my family"
Daniel L. Paterson, SGT. (RET) of Sierra Vista, AZ USA

"Hey John. I don't know if you remember me, I'm Bill's daughter. You used to play football with my brothers and I when I was younger. I was 5 or 6 then and now I'm 13, but I still think about you all the time, and I wonder if you even remember who I am.... I led the Sabish color guard in the Veterans Day assembly about 2 weeks ago and when someone told me you did the same thing when you were at Sabish and I suddenly felt very proud to have that honor. You're my hero and you will be forever in my heart!"
Kassidy Veness of Fond du Lac

"Hey Johnny T,

Thinking of you today. Things are going really good, I just wanted to write and let you know you are never out of my thoughts."
Debo of Janesville, WI

"Hey John, Happy Memorial Day. We had a moment of silence here in Iraq today, and I thought of you. Thank you for your sacrifice, you will never be forgotten."
SGT Jessica Bartow of 344 TAC PSYOP Co, Iraq

"Couldn't sleep tonight so got up and listened to an old recording of you playing guitar for me then decided to read this- bad idea b/c now I am sobbing...i miss you...sdaats"
Jessica of Indianapolis

Hi honey. I can't believe it has been this long. It still feels like yesterday. I still cry like it was yesterday. But I try to remember all of the great things that we did together. I will always cry as well as smile every time I hear Fuel. I still remember watching you boys playing guitar and getting to take pictures of it all. I remember when Brett's sister got married. John, I remember that night before you left. You held me and promised me you would come home. You told me not to worry. You are amazing like that. Just so calm and soothing. I always felt safe with you. I miss you and I miss your smile. So much do I miss seeing your face light up. I think about your family often. Especially your sisters because I know how they feel. Losing my brother was so hard and is still hard. I am sure you and Nathan have gotten to know each other well.That gives me comfort. I remember your sister coming up to me and holding my hand while showing me the pictures of us. You will forever be in my heart, soul, and mind. Thank you for touching my life and leaving an imprint that can never be removed. Missing you...."
Meredith of Fond du Lac, WI

"Tollbooth, tollbooth, tollbooth...wow man, where to start... i miss you man, i miss you and Butler a lot. Your memory will always live, and you guys have inspired so much in not just me, but millions of younger americans, who are just now stepping up to the plate to go and fight. It was an honor and a priviledge to fight beside you. Thanks for always letting me borrow your guitar too by the way...we will meet again, you are missed, and you are loved..till next time brother..."
SGT Angel VIllegas of Ft. Hood, TX

"Hey Johnny boy,

Well here we are. 3 years later, and I'm finally done with the Army and back at the town I grew up in. It's sad that I don't get to see you around here. I remember I used to be so homesick when I was at Fort Hood and you or Brett would call me and tell me about the great time you were having at Point, or wherever you guys ended up that weekend. I really wish we could catch up on those good times. I have to say, I have never stopped thinking about you buddy. I don't write as much as I should, but everytime I hear "Champagne Supernova" or play "Fight for your right to party" it just brings a huge smile to my face. You should see our son, John. We named him after you and your buddy Adrian(we just spelled it a little differently). I couldn't name him after you for the first name, because you will forever be the only John, but we named him Aydrian John so we could call him A.J. and you two, like you are now, would be linked forever. Now I can tell people that ask he was named after the two greatest heroes i have ever met. Love you John, thinking of you."
Nathan, Amy, Ava and Aydrian John of Waupun, WI

"July 12, 2008
To the family of Spc. John O. Tollefson:
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

"John, I don't count the years because it still feels like yesterday. I think about you everyday and still wonder about all the things that might have been. It brings tears to my eyes when I remember the trip we were going to take, and I still haven't brought myself to sit down and read all of those old letters and emails because of how hard it will be. I do remember one thing in particular from one of the last letters you wrote me though. You were talking about all of the things that you missed back home--simple things like the smell of fresh-cut grass. I can't see someone mowing lawn or smell that scent without smiling now. I feel so incredibly lucky to have gotten to know you and be a part of your life the way that I did, and to get to know your father and your sisters as well. Even with what has happened, I wouldn't trade a minute of it...I just might have done some things better. I truly believe I will see you again someday, and until then I will always carry a piece of you with me. You are, without a doubt, one of the most amazing people I have ever known. I miss you."
Julie of Florida, formerly Wisconsin

"Wow John, your dad sent me a bracelet he had made in your honor and I looked at it and can't believe that it has almost been three years. Yet, I still think about you on a weekly basis- sometimes daily depending on the week I am having. I call your dad every once and awhile, especially when I am missing you...I know how hard it is for me, I can't imagine how it is for him. I wish I could just call you, you were always my voice of reason and would help me out through any issue I was having...even if it was just playing guitar for me so I could get through my econ reading!!I can't believe how many great friends I got out of meeting you guys and it just sucks that you are still not physically part of that. I wish you would come back so bad...I miss you and am so honored to have known you, I just can't believe you are gone. I remember the conversation I had with you when you said you were thinking of joining- the one where I tried to talk you out of it- and I asked you- what if you don't come back- and you said that you were ok with dying for us- your friends and family- if it meant that we still were here. I think even if you had known you still would have went- you were always stubborn that way! I have so much more I could say, hopefully you don't tune me out too much when I am talking to you b/c I still do. I love ya and miss you dear- SDAATS!"
Jessica of Indiana

"Hi John, my name is Becky Klementowski. I'm the little sister to Pete Kementowski who worked with you in Fort Hood. I just wanted to say thank you for everything that you did for us. We will never forget what you did to keep us safe, and your memory will live on in our hearts. Thank you again!"
Becky Klementowski of Camillus, New York

"Hi John my name is Ciara Ransom and Iam doing an report on u and I just wanted to tell your mother and father that Iam sorry about your death and that I wish them the best

Love Always"
ciara ransom of Milwaukee WI

"Hi John my name is Ciara Ransom and Iam doing an report on u and I just wanred to tell your mother and father that Iam sorry about your death and that I wish them the best

Love Always"
ciara ransom of Milwaukee WI

It's been two years now. I have never left you a message on here before. I read all those from everyone who loved you and I smile. Kylie got a cat in June and it was black so she named it Sesame because that is "what her Uncle John named his cat and my cat is black like my Uncle John's." Kylie talks about you all the time and I swear you talk with her. You once wrote me a letter and thought that she didn't know who you were. Kylie always knew who you were. And John, she always will. I miss you. I wish you were here to tell me what I should do about things in my life. Even though you were my baby brother, you were always wiser then me when it came to a lot of things. I guess sometimes I need you more then I ever knew. I talk with you all the time, I think about you all the time, and I can't count the endless number of letters I have written to you praying that you were reading them somehow. There isn't a day that I don't think about you and I want you to know that Kylie and I miss you more than anything. I know you are Kylie's guardian angel and I couldn't ask for a better one. I miss you and love you John. Thank you for your sacrifice. Love you always. Your Biggest Sis. Jessie"
Jessica Tollefson of Fond du Lac, WI

"To the family and friends of John Tollefson...I had the privilege of walking with a veteran of the Iraq war around the California State Capitol this week (Memorial Day, 2007). The vet's goal is to walk one lap for each of the fallen and read out his/her name in remembrance. I happened to join the walk when SPC JOHN O. TOLLEFSON's name was read. I am getting a memorial bracelet to commemorate this brave young man's life. He has touched my heart and I'm sorry I did not have the honor to know him or thank him. Peace be with all of you here."
Mariellen of Sacramento, CA

"To the Family and Friends of John O Tollefson.. Today at church I received a flag with John's name attached. After the service all 6000 members of my church, First Baptist Orlando, recieved a flag with a fallen hero of the Iraq War. Everyone participated in a memorial prayer walk to place the flags in a field to remember our fallen soldiers! It was an honor to pray for your family and place a flag in his honor this morning. Thank you for your sacrifice to help keep our country free! We will never forget! God Bless!"
Terry Brown of St. Cloud, Florida

"Hey Johnny T,

Well here we are, nearly two years later. Things are still moving pretty fast. Ava is getting huge, it'll only be a matter of time before she's walking, and maybe we'll let her chase Wally around the kitchen table. I've talked to you in so many of my dreams, and they're always the same...Everything was a mistake, you're fine, glad to be home, we play Guitar Hero 2 for the 360 and pretend nothing ever happened. Sometimes I wish that I didn't even have to wake up from those. Thank you to the Klementowskis, your kind words are making my eyes well up right now. I may be headed back to Iraq again Johnny...I don't quite know how I feel about that, I just know that I miss having you around. It's been a while since I talked to Wally, I hope that you're watching over him and keeping him safe. Love ya buddy."
Nathan & Amy DeBoer of Waupun, WI (currently in Hawaii)

I stumbled across this site and saw Debo's message. Desiree and I felt that we should leave a message here for you. When we heard about happened, it hit us kinda hard.....knowing how close Debo, Pete and you were. We felt like there had to be something to give. After alot of talking ( each amount to Desiree and I both agreeing rather quickly ) that we should name our son after you and Debo. This way in some small way something we could honor the memory of you guys. Desiree and I say it all the time that we're proud of all the soldiers out there giving it all to keep us safe here at home. We're proud of you guys and everytime someone gives their life for us it feels like a friend was taken. We wanted you to know that we're proud of ya...even though we never met. Also that at some point when Nathan asks who he was named after we're going to tell him two friends, who kept us safe ( and when he gets old enough to understand better......we'll explain that you gave your life to keep him and everyone safe here and he was named in honor of you and Debo )."
Matt and Desiree Klementowski of Camillus, New York

"John, I hate that I have only this to say I am sorry. That was a terrible day etched in my mind forever. I wish that there had been more for me to do to help you and Adrian. I told you when we got there that I would bring all of you home, but I didn't hold up my end of the deal and I am sorry. God gave me the task of being his eyes and hands, and I could only do so much with that. I know you are in a better place, I just wish things would have been different. I have been thinking about that day alot lately, and I just wanted to say I am sorry. All of you guys were my big brothers, and my kids. I miss you. Bianca Foreman (your medic, squierlette)"
Bianca of Newport News, VA

"John had to have been one of the greatest guys I've had the privilege of working with in the army. I'll miss him a lot. You'll never be forgotten."
Robert Olsen of Ft. Hood Tx.

"Wow its hard to believe you have been gone a year johnny. I still miss you so much, but i know you are in a better place. It has been a rough year John, but every rough moment i know you're up there watching over me. I think about you everyday john, i think about all the times you were my best friend and made me laugh and all the times you turned big brother and gave me advice on everything. For that I just wanna say thank you. I love you Johnny. We all know you couldn't make it in person to em and jasons wedding, but we all knew you were there in spirt. I love you Johnny, and i miss you so much."
Erin N of Waupun, WI

"John you are the best, you will be greatly missed and remembered forever.
Love you man."
Stephen Crenshaw of Amarillo, Texas

"To the family of:John O. Tollefson 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"


Hey buddy whats up. It's been a year now, I want you to know that in no way, shape, or form have I stopped thinking about you. I know you have cursed the Gamecube so Brett can't beat your record, and I think that's awesome. I hope this site is here for 100 years, because this is the only time I get to tell you things that are going on. Man, I still miss the way you always make fun for of me for being such a dork...I can't finish anyone's sentences quite like I could yours...Amy misses you keeping her in line, and she still cherishes that picture of her wearing all your gear, and I still have the one of you wearing mine before I left for Iraq the first time. So much has happened. We're expecting our first child, Ava Claire, in October. If it comes out and looks like Brett or Gargs, I will be pretty mad. J/K. By the way, if you remember Klementowski from Fort Hood, his brother needed a name for their newborn baby boy. He chose Nathan John (don't worry, just because John Nathan didn't work as well together) and I am HONORED to share a child's name with you. I hope that kid is running around slapping people in the butt by age 2 Johnny. I know it would make you proud. Your dad is still making sure I don't run myself off the road even to this day too bud. I hope you are doing well up there in heaven. Even if I'm 83 years old and still writing on this website, I'll still look forward to the day I can see you again. Take care."
Nathan & Amy DeBoer of Waupun, WI (currently in Hawaii)

"John, I don't have the words to express exactly how I'm feeling. It's almost been a year since you've passed, yet it seems like yesterday. Just want people to know that you and my fiancee, Adrian, have not been and never will be forgotten. And on this memorial day I wanted to say a special thank you to you for making the ultimate sacrifice...and thank you to your family who obviously did a wonderful job in raising an amazing son that sacrificed his life serving his country!!! THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!!! AND THANK YOU TOLLEFSON FAMILY!!! May God be with you always!"
Ruth Olvera of Austin, TX

"gosh johnny.. its soo hard.. going on without you... i really dont know what to write.. words can hardly scratch the surface of my emotions these days.. but i'll try... i miss you lots.. and cry for you every once in a while.. i miss you most when i need some brotherly advice.. or when im eating ice cream.. or maybe just when im lonely.. i always feel bad that i never wrote to you.. even though i started to many times. and i feel bad because I should've prayed for you more.. i know i could've never done what you did.. serving our country like that.. it was something great that you did and you'll always be remembered by this counrty for that.. but for us back home.. we'll always remember you as john john.. our sweet and loving john john.. im sad that you can't be with us at emmy and jas's wedding.. and that i cant walk down the aisle with you and dance with you later.. but you'll be there in everybody's heart.. i carry with you everyday.. you've been such a good influence on me.. and i miss you very much. not a day goes by that i dont think of you..but all i need to do is think of you're laugh as you would gently tease us on being short adn already i feel better... im definetly going to miss that.. no one can make fun of us neevel girls for being short like you did! well i just wanted to say that i miss you.. so goodbye DEAR... you are very very loved.. and surely missed.."
Ellie Neevel of Waupun, Wisconsin

"John i love you like a brother and i will never forget you. You and your family are in my prayers. We are forever gratful for you being on our lives"
Kenny of fosston mn

"Oh Johnny T, i've been watching this site of yours grow for quite a while, but never quite knew what to write myself. I guess i still don't, but i just had to let others know what a great guy you were. Even though i hated those typewriters, i'd put up with them forever to have you back again. You were one of my best friends, like a brother to me. It's just not the same without you. I'm going to miss the days at the pool, sitting by the pond drinking a beer, the rides on your bike, and talking about harry potter with you. I miss your laugh, i still hear it all the time- and i miss you calling me dear. Its so hard to believe it's been almost a year since i last saw you. I remember sitting on your lap and wishing you would stay, praying you would be alright. There so many things i had wished for you that will never happen. I wanted you to stand up for jas and i at our wedding, and watch our kids grow up together. I wanted to spend more weekends at the cabin, and more nights playing sheepshead and feeding nickel peanut butter. I know i could never have done what you did, and we all owe you so much for your sacrfice. You were always so brave and confident about what you were doing, always reassuring me. Know that you are loved and missed so so much, and one day we will meet again. love you dear..."
Emily N of Waupun, WI

"to the family of John, i extend my deepest condolences. Even though you were a soldier, a former Marine says that a post is waiting for you at the gates of heaven."
j. of wisconsin

"Wow, I'm very sorry I dind't find this site sooner. For a while there I stopped looking your name up on the internet John because it really bothered me. I miss a lot things these days my friend I really do. I know you died doing what you thought was right and for that I respect you more than I can express through some post on the internet. But now I have to say some things to you that I've needed to say for a long time and haven't been able too. I'm sorry I never got the chance to grow old with you John I really am. More than anything I wanted our kids to be able to play together like you and I did. I wanted to meet the wife you would have, and then get drunk at your wedding and make a stupid speech about how much I loved the both of you. I wanted to walk back and forth during horse-shoes like Burt and Wally and talk about old times. I wanted to jam with you more, to play Smash. Bros., and to finish that pack of Busch Light we left at Gargy's house on Thanksgiving. I'll miss our late night talks about girls and whatever was pissing you off at the time I really will. I'll miss paintballing with you, ticking off baber and Kirstin at the pool, and running around with our wooden swords prettending we were really something. You know I guess I'll just miss you. You will always be my best friend, and my brother. To all the families out there that have lost those most dear to them, or seen them hurt, you WILL be in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you to everyone who was kind enough to write a post on this board. Walter, your a second father to me and you know it. John loved you in every meaning of the word and that's the truth. Thank you for listening John, I'll see you again."
Brett Wiersema of Stevens Point, Wisconsin

"I knew John from UW-FDL. I learned of his death 3 days before I left for Basic Training. I joined the army partly inspired from Rachel Bosveld, the first wisconsin woman to die in iraqi freedom. Her and John's death is not in vain. God Bless you all, and being a part of the United States Army is the best thing I have done for myself and my country."
PFC Jessica Bartow of Fort Meade, MD

"John was one of the most amazing people I have ever met...I have never known another person who gave of himself so effortlessly...he touched so many lives, including mine...I will never forget his intelligence, kindness and gentle nature...John will be remembered forever..."
Jennie of Israel


"To John's Family, I send my condolences and Love. I am the mother-in-law of Sgt. Tony Wood. I have just gotten home from Washington DC, Walter Reed Hospital with my grandchildren, Tony's 15year old son and 13 year old daughter. It was best that they be with me as Tony and his wife, my daughter, endure the healing process. I would really appreciate it if someone did contact me, if it is appropopriate. Tony has a lot of internal injuries and it is going to be a slow healing process. We praise God daily for his blessings. Please you need to know that he feels and shares your lost, as he has said that John was a dear friend. His body will heal much faster then his mind. He is alert and sharp. It has not been easy on Tony remembering what happened that the day of the accident. Please forgive me if this is inapproopriate and just delete. We are truely sorry for your lost. angelsrainbows@hotmail.com"
Sheila Andrade of Kaneohe, Hawaii

"I never did have the pleasure of meeting you, John. However, I heard so many good things about you thru my fiance, Adrian J. Butler, which passed away along with you the same day. You all continue to be side by side and watch over us. You and Adrian will forever be remembered as our heroes!!!!

To the family of John O. Tollefson, I send my deepest condolences. I pray that God be your source of strength and comfort, as he has been mine. God Bless you all."
Ruth of Austin TX

"To the Family of SPC John Tollefson:
We have constructed a memorial to the service men and women from Wisconsin and Illinois who have died in Iraq which includes, as of 8/25/05, 119 crosses and Stars of David. We would like your permission to put John's name on one of them. We have called our display "Arlington MidWest." It is our expression of mourning for the indescribable loss you have suffered for our country.

If you would like us to do this, please email me at arlingtonmidwest@yahoo.com.

We invite you to come to visit Arlington MidWest if you can. I can send you directions and some pictures by email.

"As long as we live, they too will live;
for they are now a part of us, as we remember them."
Marty Preston of Wisconsin Dells, WI

"Hey John John.. all i want to say is thank you for everything u have done for us.. you have givin us the chance to live how we should.. and have also done that for others around the world.. me and my family are so proud of you.. and we all miss you terribly.. its still so hard to believe your gone.. the day i found out.. was one of the most painful days of my life! but i realized that we dont need to worry about u anymore..because we know your in a better place.. and that your watchin over us everyday..still protecting us..you were the closest thing to a brother that I ever had.. and ill never forget the times u helped me finish my math homework..(or even did it for me!) Im goin to miss you so much.. and think of you each and everyday.. Love you.. and Miss you soo much!! ur my inspiration to keep living life to the fullest! and ur my gaurdian angel!! we will never forget you!"
Beth Neevel of Waupun, WI

"What can I say? John, there aren't words for how much we miss you. You were a big brother to me and Amy. There are so many things I wanted to say to you John... Thanks for jamming w/me, thanks for helping me beat brett in sma h brothers, thanks for driving me around for a month when I got back from Iraq (I really wish I could've done the same), thanks for being there all the time, thanks for serving with me, thanks for being a great besr friend. Not a day goes by when i think about you buddy. We love ya"
Nate & Amy of Kapolei, Hawaii

"I'll miss you John John. You were my brother and my hero. Ill miss your silly jokes and the excuse to eat ice cream any time in the day with you. Love you Johnny T!"
Erin Neevel of Waupun, Wisconsin


"John even though me and Matt had only seen you a few times with Nate, you were a great guy. I will miss having you go bowling with us. I know Nate misses you a lot and I know you are in a better place now. We miss you so much."
Brittney Linville of Fort Hood, Texas

"To the best friend a guy could ask for !
Man I will miss you !"
Christopher of Fond du Lac, WI

"John, may our Lord hold you in His arms.
May the family of John find peace.
I thank you for raising a fine young man who gave his life for my freedom. For this he will never be forgotten."
Candy of Poynette, WI

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 "

"Thank you John Tollefson, 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 Spc. John Tollefson:
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 Spc. John Tollefson:
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