Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Marine Lance Cpl. John J. Vangyzen IV

21, of North Dighton, Massachusetts.
Vangyzen died as a result of enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, California. Died on July 5, 2004.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Marine Lance Cpl. John J. Vangyzen IV.

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"I was truly touched by this young fallen soldier's remaining family this week. It is amazing to see the strength his parents Jane and John and his siblings had to turn their grief into something positive with both the motorcycle run they hosted for years and for the scholarship they rallied for. It was an honor to meet Jane & John and too many of our fallen service men and women have their names forgotten. I will proudly wear a copy of his dog tag and his USMC remembrance shirts to keep his name alive and to encourage others who have a fallen soldier in their life, the courage to share their memories with others. A friend of mine will also be wearing his shirt and bringing him along for the ride at Sturgis this year!"
Diane of Braintree

"Jessica the value of the tears we shared have grown every second of every day. Your Brothers Love for Our Country. His Want to Fight for our Country. And Willing to Die For Our Country is the Strongest Thing known to man. John James Van Gyzen IV Your strongest desire has made this country a better place. I love you Jess!!! Keep Buddy alive in your memories. He is in mine."
Beth of Formally Mansfield, Ma

"John you are surely missed i wish you could see your beautiful daughter .Amanda is doing a wonderful job no matter what is said."
kelly of 29 palms ca

"Time has flown by so fast. 9 years since I lost you. My husband, best friend, soulmate and father of my daughter. We love you so much John and cherish your memory everyday! Rest in peace my love!
Forever in our hearts,
Cailin and Amanda Vangyzen"
Amanda Vangyzen of Temple, Pa

"I cannot believe its been 9 years already. We love you and miss you more and more every day! Good night Johnboy. You may be gone, but never forgotten."
Danny, Jenny, Sissy and buddy of West Plains Mo

"Happy 29th Birthday today Johnboy, love and miss you every day like crazy!!!!"
Danny, Jenny, Sissy, and buddy! Harper of west plains mo

"Hey Marine (My Brother)
On your 5th Anniversary you are in my mind all the time. I've kept in touch with our Mom. She is sooo proud of you, but misses you as if it were yesterday. Had a call from our Sis, Beth, that Mom is under the weather. I'll visit her this week. I'll stop by the Vet and we'll split a beer.

Forever your Brother
Geoff
Vietnam 67-68"
G.A.Colt of Exeter RI

"”Honor and Remember” - “Project Compassion” We love our Soldiers! We love our country and we cannot express enough love and compassion to the families of our fallen heroes. War does not discriminate – It breaks our hearts to see the faces of the fallen. We want to give this gift to you. We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization! Over 1,800 portraits have been completed and shipped to the parents and or spouse - at no cost as this is a gift from one American to another! This is not an advertisement.
Mothers and/or Fathers, of our heroes, please be aware that the Project Compassion sponsors will now help cover the costs of the portraits for you to have one - regardless if the spouse of the hero has one or not!
Contact us directly at Projectcompassion@manti.com. or go to www.heropaintings.com . If you have already had a portrait completed, we pray that you are enjoying the portrait and bless you.
Sincerely and Respectfully,
Kenna
Project Compassion
P.O. Box 153
Manti, Utah 84642"
Project Compassion - Kenna of Manti, Utah USA

"Thank you for your service. I applaud your bravery and celebrate your life."
Rich of Upton, ma usa

"John, You are not forgotten on your 5 year Anniversary. Matt and I came and spent some time with you. you and all the fallen hero at vetrans are remember.

Best friend of CPL Holly Charette"
Danielle of west warwick, RI

"Cousin, from the deepest debts of our hearts we thank you for sacrificing your life to protect those of us who cherish our freedom in this country,my children will be brought up knowing what a great man you were and the sacrifice you made with your own life to keep their future secure. I have placed a small memorial for you on myspace page in your honor. Thank you, your 2nd cousin."
Tracey Vangyzen-Scritchfield of Nixa, mo USA

"A grateful thank you goes out to those who continue to keep this country free. The blood of the brave continues to buy our freedom. My prayers go out that you are in a safe place and that you are able to watch over you child."
Concerned Member of Twentynine Palms

"To the family of John J. Vangyzen IV: My name is Whitney Raffle and I am a senior at Sumner High School in Sumner, Washington. Our school recently had a Veterans' Day Assembly and I was handed a slip of paper with John's name on it - to serve as a reminder of the sacrifices people make everyday in order to preserve and protect our freedom as members of the military. I just wanted to let you know that there are people out there memorializing John for how he served our country and that I truly appreciate the ultimate sacrifice he made. John has helped me to remember that freedom isn't free and that we must all remember and recognize our Veterans. My love and support goes out to all of John J. Vangyzen IV's family and loved ones. Thank you so much John."
Whitney Raffle of Sumner, Washington, USA

"Some of you may know me but most of you dont.. to his dad i still remember every day the day at the fair before he left. what a great day. i am sorry it took so long for me to get back. i love and miss him everyday and i hope to all his friends and family that one day we will all meet again. to his dad ty for being apart of my greatest memory with. the Date festival will never be forgotten and neither will John"
Marianne Aiello of Elkhart In USA

"July, 2008
To the family of Lance Cpl. John J. Vangyzen, IV:
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 just received my fallen hero herobracelet with John's name on it. I never knew him but I am privelaged to wear his name around my wrist for his and his families, ultimate sacrifice"
B Sansom of Waxhaw, NC

"To the family of:John J. Vangyzen 1V 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"

"We'll split that bottle of Jack somewhere else,some other time John...you,Dallas and myself.Rest in peace brother!"
Cpl Hadziomerovic 3/7 India Co. of Atlanta,GA

"Jane, The Willow Tree "Hero" holds a very special place in my heart. It is beautiful & I will treasure it always. The gold star pins we were given places us in a "club" no mother, father, family member or friend should belong to. I pray for you, your son, your family and all our fallen heroes as well as those still serving. In my rush to return home I've misplaced your e-mail address & phone numbers so please send them to me again. My e-mail address is janster2616@aol.com. So, please contact me & I will give you my phone numbers as well. I hope all of us who have lost loved ones in this terrible war will someday find peace of mind. God bless you & take care. I think about you & John everyday."
Janet Monti of Winterville, NC

"John-Boy, not a day goes by that I don't think about you.. All those times you selflessly gave up your copenhagen, cigarettes, chow, whatever your friends might need. All those days we spent in that beat up firm base, you kept me sane, you and Harper. I am blessed having been able to call you my friend. As I sit here choking back tears, I wish I could've been there for you, with you, even just to say goodbye. I miss you John-Boy, I hope I'm doing well in your eyes. I know we'll meet again. Have some long-cut waiting for me. One Love Brother, SEMPER FIDELIS"
SBEHCS

"For anyone who didnt know John, you missed a hell of a guy, he could make you smile, even when you were sad. Nothing could ever replace him nor will ever replace the memories. My husband was Johns best friend in the marine corps and was in the same accident with John. We have had the great pleasure and honor to get to know John's mother (Dotty)along with the rest of the family, we may have lost John but we still have the memories and the wonderful family to keep us strong. John will never be forgotten and I am happy to say that I am part of his life. To my brother John: Rebecca and now little buddy have someone to watch over them. Keep an eye on them and know that we love and miss you, we got the signs so we know you are here!thank you! We love you!"
Jenny, danny and becca too of West Plains Mo

"Lance Crp. John J. Vangyzen IV was more than just a friend to me but more of a brother. I don't know anyone else that would deal with me day after day but John. Everyday after school we'de rollerskate or ride bikes or go get in trouble doing something. We'd be fighting on the ground one day and be friends again the next. I never realized quite how much John ment to me untill it was too late, and now I'll never have the chance to tell him, or to say goodbye. John, Al, and I were all good friends also, and unfortunately I'm the only one left standing at this point in time. I miss John more than anything in this world and don't quite know how to express my feelings fully. All I seem to know how to do is cry for him and remember him. I want John's father, stepmother, and sisters to know they are all in my prayers and I'm there for anything they need. I loved John and always will. May he rest under God's protection and love and I will see you again my friend."
Jonathan Packer of N. Dighton, Ma

"I went through Highschool with John I was in vocational with him until he graduated he was a friend and a companion many many times i brought him home on occasion and was his friend allways. I think it was a year after that i was in drafting and john visted the class in his full uniform he looked so proud of how he was helping doing his part of his duty. that day would be one of the last days I ever talked to him in person. When i found out about his death i was very upset about it i still think about it and I know that john when he did pass he was doing something that he wanted to do and he was a true american. He will be truelly missed by myself, Brad, and Jenn and all who was a part of his life a true friend lost but never ever forgotten

"see ya some other day weasel"
joke between friends"
Joshua Bjorkman of Rehoboth Ma USA

"To John's Family,

My son, Jacob "Schebs" was honored to serve with your son in 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines in Iraq, and considered him great friend, a true patriot, and a man who touched the lives of all he knew. I heard funny, touching, and heartrending stories about your son from my son. John will always be honored and remembered in my sons life. God Bless all of you."
Kimberly of Davenport, Iowa

"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. YOUR words of strength, hope, and LOVE are truely a balm to our hearts as we express our consolations to you... Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"You will forever be "our" hero...you will never be forgotten.....GOD BLESS YOU!!"
The Almeida's of Taunton, MA USA

"JOHN'S FATHER AND I WOULD LIKE TO THANK FAMILY AND FRIENDS FOR ALL THERE LOVE AND SUPPORT GIVEN TO US IT THIS MOST DIFFICULT TIME. THE OUT POURING OF LOVE AND COMFORT FROM THE COMMUNITY AND FROM STRANGERS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY HAS BEEN OVERWHELMING BUT GREATLY APPRECIATED. WE ARE PRAYING FOR THE FAMILIES OF THE ALREADY FALLEN HERO'S AND FOR ALL THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO ARE STILL SERVING. WE PRAY FOR THEIR SAFE RETURN HOME. I WOULD LIKE TO END WITH A POEM CALLED "REMEMBER" , "REMEMBER ME WITH SMILES AND LAUGHTER, FOR THAT IS HOW I WILL REMEMBER YOU. IF YOU CAN ONLY REMEMBER ME WITH TEARS AND SORROW. THEN DON'T REMEMBER ME AT ALL." OUR SON JOHN WILL BE REMEMBERED FOR HIS LOVE OF LIFE AND HIS LOVE FOR HIS COUNTRY! "GOD! BLESS AMERICA. LAND OF THE FREE AND THE HOME OF "OUR" BRAVE. IF WE SHED TEARS IF THE FUTURE THEY WILL NOT BE TEARS OF SORROW BUT TEARS OF PRIDE FOR OUR SON JOHN . OUR AMERICAN HERO. THANK YOU!"
JANE VAN GYZEN of N. DIGHTON,MA

"I never had the honor or privledge of meeting John. My daughter is the wife of a marine stationed out of 29 Palms.
My daughter became fast friends with Johns wife Amanda. Through this friendship I have come to know John. I grieve for John and his family during this most tragic loss.
However, there is a beautiful, most joyous gift John has left with us here and that is the impending birth of a baby, as Amanda is pregnant. And for that, a beautiful gift from John will remain and carry on his legacy.
God Bless you John, Amanda, and the Vangyzen family. And most of all God Bless and protect their baby. This baby will bring the joy and love to this family that they have lost in their fallen hero.
Carolyn Parsons
Bellflower, CA"

"To John'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 his bravery and sacrifice.

Sincerely,

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

"I am a Viet Nam Combat Veteran, and work with John's Mom. As any Combat Soldier knows, we have an exclusive Brotherhood, of which John is a member. He is MY Brother,Friend, and Gaurdien of all Fallen Hero's! He stands "His Post" outside the Gates of Heaven, protecting all that enter! To John: Fear not, as you stand your Post, I'll keep an eye on OUR Mom! Oh, by the way, I'll stop by the Vet. Cem. every so often, so we can catch up and split a beer! Stand Tall, Be Proud, and remember we are Fratae Alterni"
Jeff Colt of Exeter, R.I.

"Hi
I am John's mother and I want to thank each and every one of you for your prayers and kind thoughts through this difficult time of grief. My son wanted more than anything to be a Marine and to keep America safe "on his watch" and he did that with his life, I couldn't be more proud of him than I am right now. Although I miss him dearly he is guarding the streets of Heaven with his other fallen heroes and they are all watching over us. I pray for peace so we can bring the rest of our children home safely. God Bless All of you."
Dotti Arsenault of West Warwick, RI

"I am the Marine that led the funeral honors for this fine great American Hero. I made every effort to ensure that he received the farewell of a President, he surely deserved that and so much more. In your short life, you have impacted more than any words here could ever begin to express. I did not know you personally, yet we shared a common bond of brotherhood and now the streets of heaven are safer with your presence. I pray that the Lord himself hold the hearts of your family left behind. God Bless you Marine, it is you and those like you that make this world a better place. Semper Fidelis."
1stSgt Todd M. Parisi of Providence, RI. USA

"I had the honor of watching John grow from an innocent boy with an unforgettable smile to a proud young man ready to serve his country. The last time I talked to John was at the end of my driveway with another neighborhood boy, Al, just before John left for his first tour of duty. He was so confident and proud of the job he was about to undertake. Little did I know it would be the last time I would ever talk to either boy. Shortly after, Al died in the Station fire in Warwick. It is unconceivable that our neighborhood has suffered another loss of this magnitude. These two boys were friends with my son, I watched them grow up together. I know the pain my family has felt at the loss of both boys. I can't begin to imagine the loss their families feel. John, Al, I know you are together in Heaven, reunited again. John, we are so proud of the fine young Marine who laid down his life so others half a world away could enjoy the freedom we take for granted. Al, we are proud of the music you made. You had an amazing talent. You will both always be remembered with pride!"
Barbara of North Dighton

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

"Thank you brave soldier for sacrificing your today for my children's safer tomorrow. You have our utmost respect and gratitude. May God provide your family with comfort and peace in their time of need and sorrow. May you forever rest in Heavenly peace. You will not be forgotten."
a grateful citizen in arizona

"I do not know Lance Corporal John J. Vangyzen IV, nor do I know his family. I did, however, just get done reading the July 11th article written in the Taunton Gazette and found myself with tears streaming down my face. I just wanted to let his family and friends know how very sorry I am for your loss. He sounded like such a wonderful person- one whom anyone would be proud and honored to have known. He obviously brought joy to all who knew him, I truly hope you find some degree of comfort in those precious memories. Rest in Heaven Lance Corporal Van Gyzen and thank you for your selflessness."
Tracy of Schweinfurt, Germany

"To the family and friends of Lance Corporal John J. Vangyzen IV,

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 USA

"To John'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

"Thank you John Vangyzen IV, 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. John Vangyzen IV:
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 Lance Cpl. John Vangyzen IV:
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