Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Sgt. Daniel Ryan Varnado

23, of Saucier, Mississippi.
Varnado died in Haswa, Iraq, when his military vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the Army National Guard's C Company, 1st Battalion, 155th Infantry, Biloxi, Mississippi. Died on May 23, 2005.

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"Happy Veterans Day Danny !! I salute you and honor you for your service and giving your life so that we can live to see ours !! Thank you Sgt Varnado !! 🇺🇸💙🙏🏽😞"
Niyana Hartley of Biloxi , Ms

"I never got the chnace to meet you. Yet your family keeps your spirirt flying high. Thank you for your heart, soul and scarfice for our country. I salute you in heaven."
Niyana hartley of Biloxi,ms

"i love you danny and miss you very much"
Mckaela Lynn Varnado of Mississippi

"To the family of:Daniel Ryan Varnado
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""

"You've been on my mind a lot lately. Hard to believe it's been almost 6 years since that awful day we got the news. Still miss you and still think about you all the time. Can't wait to "see you on the other side"!"
Ronnie Compton of Saucier, MS

"I'am a soldier that was on a mission that day 23may2005 I remember Ssgt. Sanders calling in the 9 line medvac that day like it was yesterday. Not long after that the bird was called off, which means our men where gone. I pray every day to the lord that the men I served with be taken care of in heaven the way they took care of me. I as a human being have troubles couping with the loss people tell me, you'll get over it! And I'll tell they were not there. I know this may not make much sence to alot of people but to the family's of our men I know they understand the pain I go through everyday and night, I morn for the loss and I will never be the same and I would not want any other way for I'am proud to say I fought next to these great men!!!!!"
Thomas W. Miller of Biloxi, Mississippi

"I am running my first marathon tomorrow, the 2009 Marine Corps Marathon. I will run mile 24 in honor of Sgt Danny Varnado and his service and sacrifice."
Alice Huffman of Gulfport, MS

"May 31, 2009
To the family of Sgt. Daniel Ryan Varnado:
Daniel 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

"May 23, 2009 another year is gone and everyday we miss you, this will be a hard day for me from any other, this day falls on a day this year that i'll be on a ballfield and i know everytime a turn to the outfield im gonna picture him there, i know if he was still here he would be right there with me on that field. WE MISS YOU D!"
Poochie of Saucier, Ms. USA

"Ms. Joanie and family,
Danny is not only missed, but his sacrifice and your own are deeply appreciated.
"The characteristic of genuine heroism is its persistency. The heroic cannot be common, nor the common heroic."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson"
Nikki Ray of Saucier, MS

"May 23, 2008 -- We'll never forget you Danny. We miss you but we know we'll see you again some day. Until then."
Tink & Ronnie of Saucier, MS

"I had a chance to walk side by side with all of these men that were taken from us on may 23, 2005. I sat with Danny the evening before and had a very nice dinner while we talked about our families and how much we missed being home. He was a great friend of mine, and I think of him every day. We shared the same company, Tents, worries, fears, happiness, and I know more than anything that these men were true heros. I will never forget the times that we had to share together. I miss you Danny, and I can only hope to be as great of a man as you.
Combs of Meridian, Ms.

"Everyday I am reminded that you fell. You were my brother. Until the day we meet again, I will hurt because of your absence. I will never forget and I won't let anyone else forget you."
Joshua Cole of Gulfport, MS

"I want Danny's family to know how often I think of Danny and of them. Memorial Day really drives these thoughts home. I am grateful for Danny's sacrifice and to all who serve."
Leslie Schaffer of Ocean Spring, MS USA

"My name is Rhonda I'm the mother of Bryan Barron's eldest daughter. I just wanted to tell you all that my thoughts & prayers go out to your family and friends. God Bless you Daniel and may you stand strong at the head table that God has places you all at. Thank you for our freedom."
Rhonda Breaux of Long Beach, MS

"January 23, 2006

It has been 8 long months since our wonderful husbands went to be with Jesus! And most of the days I look back and wonder how I made it thru most of those days! And I know if I did not have Jesus that I would not be here today! It's because of his Grace I can stand here proud of what our husbands did and know that one day soon we will get to see them again! Even though we know we are going to see them again, it doesn't make it any easier! There are days when I get down, and I will go to McKaLyne and hug her. It feels as if I am hugging Daron! He left me a wonderful part of him! I will always cherish her!

I always thought of it as Daron is missing out on McKaLyne's life. NO, I am wrong. He only missed out on her life from the March 25,the day he left for Iraq, till May 23,the day God called him home! Because from May 23rd on, he has not and will not miss one second of her life! He is seeing everything she does, even when she sleeps at night! Not only is Daron seeing her, but our husbands are watching over us too!

We see people that have an Angel that says "I'm your guardian Angel" in there cars. We can proudly say we personally know our Guardian Angels! What an Honor! They are in Heaven, a place we spend our whole life trying to do what's right so that one day we can go! On May 23, 2005, they heard the final words, "Welcome thou good and faithful servant, Enter In". They don't have to suffer anymore. They have no problems! You could actually say they have to best of both worlds... They are in Heaven but they can watch over us!

I know it's not easy at night to go to bed alone. I know it's hard when our children do something new or wonderful, we just want to pick up the phone and let them know. Because I have caught myself attempting to do that even after it's been several months. Everything we go thru is for a reason. We may never know, but God does. And he has it all worked out! Even before we were born her knew!

I know of one good thing that become of our husbands death. When the bomb went off, they guys saw four men running. They took off after them. And caotured them and from those 4 guys, there were lead to a warehouse full of weapons and bombs. And also found 13-15 men getting ready to be suicide bombers. They were able to capture those guys and get all the amo. And I was told the weapons and bombs they got saved over 1,000 mens lives!!!! Our husbands were ready to met God, maybe the men that it could of beem might not of been ready, might not of know who Jesus is! We have to be thankful that they were ready and we will see them again! We will be able to pick up where we left off!

Always know you ladies are in my prayers! And if there is anything you need, please contact me!

I Love you and I am praying for you!

Wife & Daughter of the Late
Sgt. Audrey Daron Lunsford
KIA May 23, 2005"
Vangi & McKaLyne Lunsford of Batesville, MS


The soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.

"Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"

The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.

I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell.""
Sgt. Ross of Mississippi

"I went to Camp Shelby for a few days... I visited with some of the guys that served with our husbands... It was a joyful time to get to hear some of the funny things they did while there... But also a sad day... We heard siren's and did not know what they were... But I turned around and saw 4 buses... Guys standing up all over it!!! And I saw the group of people that were standing there to greet there husbands... I just knew that our husbands would get off and surprise us... That the last 7 months had been a dream... But everyone met there families... and started to head in there own directions.... the buses left... and no one was still standing there... then it hit me... the last seven month were real... no matter how much I wanted to act like that they were coming home... it hit me... but as the guys said it... there battle is over.... and they have won... the guys still here are gonna keep going on and finish the batte that Varnado & Lunsford had started...

Our husbands did not give there life in vain!!! We as Americans should never forget them because they are why we have our freedom!!!! They gave the ultimate sacrifice!!! And to them we owe our life! There is not a day that goes by that I don't Thank God for those guys. And I Thank you for allowing him to serve and give the ultimate sacrifice!!!

Just make sure, if ya'll have any children that they know what a hero is... It is not some kind of movie star on T.V. but "Sgt. Daniel Ryan Varnado" & "Sgt. Audrey Daron Lunsford" are the true meaning of HERO's!!!!!

Thanks for all you gave!!! If you ever need anything, please fell free to contact me... Also, where the guys come into at Camp Shelby and meet there families... The C Company, 1st Battalion, 155 Infantry list there names on a banner... I would like to send you a copy... Please just notify me by e-mail... vangid@panola.com

You are in our thoughts and prayers!!! We Love you!!!"
Vangi & McKaLyne Lunsford,wife & daughter of the late Sgt. Daron Lunsford of Batesville, MS

"Merry Christmas From Heaven

I still hear the songs
I still see the lights
I still feel your love
on cold wintery nights

I still share your hopes
and all of your cares
I'll even remind you
to please say your prayers

I just want to tell you
you still make me proud
You stand head and shoulders
above all the crowd

Keep trying each moment
to stay in His grace
I came here before you
to help set your place

You don't have to be
perfect all of the time
He forgives you the slip
If you continue the climb

To my family and friends
please be thankful today
I'm still close beside you
In a new special way

I love you all dearly
now don't shed a tear
Cause I'm spending my
Christmas with Jesus this year"
Vangi & McKaLyne Lunsford, wife & daughter of the late Sgt. Audrey Daron Lunsford of Batesville, MS

"Danny was like a part of our family. We miss him so much, but we find comfort in knowing we will be with him again some day in paradise. We will never forget Danny or his sacrifice."
Tink and Ronnie Compton and Family of Saucier, MS

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

"I don't know which Varnado family Daniel is from but we lived in Saucier for 10 years while our kids were in school at lizana Elementary and Harrison central High. We probably knew the family. Just the same we are so sorry for your loss, we do understand."
Joe and Judy Childers (T. S. Childers KIA 3/21/03) of Powell, Wyoming

"6/3/05 To the family of Daniel R. Varnado,
We know your profound sorrow and wish that we could offer you some solace in these difficult times. Freedom is not free - your soldier is truly a hero and has given his life for all of us - many who take their freedom for granted so much of the time. Daniel's bravery and willingness to serve will never be forgotten. Please know that there are so many of us now who share a kinship - those who have lost sons and daughters in war - and you are in our prayers every day. May God give you strength and blessings.
John 15:13 Greater love than this no one has, that one lay down his life for his friends."
Webster and Ruth Reed (Father and stepmom of Jonathan Ray Reed who died in Iraq on January 28, 2005) of Krotz Springs, Louisiana

"We are deeply sorry for your loss. America will forever honor your Hero.
The Courage, Honor, and Valor that your Hero showed will always be remembered.
We are grateful for the sacrifice that was made and we will NEVER FORGET.
God Bless your family and please know that you are not alone.
All of our prayers are with you."
Jennifer and SSGT Larry Mays of Massillon, Ohio

Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Daniel will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you ALWAYS. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"Thank you Daniel Varnado, 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. Daniel Varnado:
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 Daniel 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. Daniel Varnado:
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 Daniel, 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