Fallen Heroes of Operation Enduring Freedom

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

Marine Capt. Matthew W. Bancroft

29, of Shasta, California.
Bancroft died as a result of the crash of a KC-130/R aircraft in Pakistan. He was assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 (VMGR-352), the "Raiders," Combined Task Force 58, Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar, California. Died on January 9, 2002.

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"I knew Matt as fellow Captain on board MCAS Miramar. He was the legal officer for MAG-11 when I was a prosecutor. Matt was always ready with a smile and positive attitude even when one of the cases involved the theft of his own wallet! All Marines in 3d MAW and the base were stunned and saddened when his plane went down. We remember you and your crew Matt and always will. Semper Fi - Flip"
Col F. Paez USMCR of Potomac, Md

"To Matt and his family. I think of you all often.

As “Raiders,” we worked together in Ops and often flew together. Having grown up in Norcal we had a lot in common. A stand up guy, professional, Matt was always easy to work and fly with. Rest in peace brother."
LtCol Sean Baber, USMC ret. of Chico, CA

"To those who can’t help but remember…
Jan 9 2002 will never leave me.
There’s a good possibility that someone will die for your freedom today and everyday.

Please take comfort and understanding as I have in this poem as it has helped me to process those we have said farewell to. #thefinalhailandfarewell

The Final Hail and Farewell
MSgt (Ret) William “Bill” Cordes

Attention to orders
I thought I heard someone say

To welcome this veteran
Who has joined us today

Row upon row
of stones stand tall

Marking earlier members
Who had answered the call

On farms and in cities
They grew up fit

They had a job to do
And they did it

The silence was broken
As the procession went by

Stopping in place
Where the hero will lie

The flag was folded
And I felt a great pride

Believing those here
Welcomed another to their side

Unknowns will thank you
And I pray you were blessed

Now join fellow warriors
Who gave us their best

And oh the stories
They will tell

There at your final
Hail and Farewell"
USAF MSgt (Ret) William “Bill” Cordes of Hahira Ga

"Your Father stood tall and exemplified our Marine Corps tradition. I met him and personally served him night before he left"
Melody Schultze of Salem, Oregon

"I’m sorry and I’m praying for you morning noon and night
I served in MAG-11 during 911 till nov 2002 your father is and forever will be honored... the past month has made me angry sad and I can’t offer you much wish I could give you all the money in the world, but that wouldn’t touch the hole in your heart... I am praying and will continue praying for your family"
Melody Schultze of Salem, Oregon

"I'm not sure if anyone still comes across this page, but I sometimes check it and love learning the things other people knew my dad as. I miss you <3"
maddie of san diego,ca

"I think of ' Mattie' everyday. I wear a silver bracelet to honor your Marine and it stays with me constantly. I never new him but he somehow is part of me daily. My son is also a Marine and stationed at Miramar. Now deployed, I have prayed and asked 'Mattie' to keep an eye out for my Marine. God bless you, Mike"
Mike Sacks of Eagle Idaho

"Matt and I sat next to each other the day we received our Wings of Gold. We had a great time in flight school, but this was the happiest day of our lives. Matt, you are not forgotten. Your skills on the basketball court and your ability to find something funny and smile in any situation is something about you that I'll never forget. This weekend is always another reason to toast to you my friend."
LCDR Troy Booker of TW-1 Air Reserves, NAS Meridian, MS

"Capt. Bancroft,
I was one of the Marines that laid you to rest at Monterey. It was what I consider the most important thing I ever did in the Corps. I still pray for your family and will always remember your sacrifice."
Sgt. Matt Christopher of Shady Side, Md

"Dear Matt, I visited the cemetery in Monterey, CA today, Memorial Day and saw your grave. Thinking of your family and the families of our fallen. My gratitude to you and your family who shared you with this world. Wishing you peace."
Donna Teresa of Salinas, CA

"To the family of:Matthew W. Bancroft
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" 1-3-11"

"It was an honor to have served with Capt. Bancroft. I will never forget the ultimate sacrifice that was given for our squadron and our country."
Kristofer W. Brack SSgt. of Farmington, NM

"”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 the hero’s Mother, Father and/or spouse. We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization! Almost 2,100 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 a gift! We have wonderful sponsors who help with the costs, and want you know that everyone here at Project Compassion does and will always CARE.
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 God Bless You.
Sincerely and Respectfully,
Project Compassion - Kenna of Manti, Utah USA

"I went to Elementray school in Burney, CA, with Matt, and even then he was a good guy. RIP Matt, until we meet again."
Tim Bryan of Portland, ME

"I knew Captain Bancroft when I was stationed at Mag-11 HQ. He was a great guy - inspiring even, and I will never forget him."
Stephen of Austin, TX

"Christian, I am so gald to see your posting here. I think of you, your brother, sister and mom every time I think of Matt, which is often and it is good to hear you are doing well. I will always think of your family and keep you in the highest regard."
2nd cousin, Wendy of Stanwood, WA

"Matt I wanted to let ya know i miss you very much and that I really wish you were here. As your stepson i wanted you to know you were my father and that will never change. Maddie and Sean are doing well, so is mom we all dearly miss you. With much love Christian"
Christian Johnson of Clovis, Ca

"Dear Friend... The memories of many summer camp outs in Burney with Ed and the gang are still vivid in my mind. Your spirit still lives in our heart."
Ron of Nashville TN via Burney CA

"Cousin Matt, Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, it will be the first time our family will be together since Thanksgiving of 2001. That was the last time we all saw you. I wanted to Thank God for that day, it gave us a chance to say we love you and are proud of you.
There is not a day I dont think of you, I miss you very much but know that you will be with us tomorrow in spirit.
Juli Lozano ~ Lodi, Ca."

"September 1, 2007
Oh Matt, my dear high school chum, that's how I remember you, with braces, skinny, smart as hell, quiet yet sly, basketball player and everybody's friend - including mine. The last time I saw you must have been in 1988, the year I graduated from high school. What a sweet, sweet friend you were to me. "Inspector Gadget" - ha! That'll always and forever be a silly memory I'll cherish. How shocked and saddened I was to learn of your passing. Even today, years later, you come to mind and my heart saddens for the loss of your family and this great nation of ours.

Thank you for your spirit, your dedication to this great country, and for the treasured memories.

Much love, Matt. Rest in peace dear friend."
Trina (Tuschen) Starke of Orange County, CA

"May 4, 2007
To the family of Matthew W. Bancroft. Matthew 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."
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"I never new Matthew but I will never forget his sacrifice for all of us. I proudly wear a bracelet remembering Capt. Bancroft and his service during Operation Enduring Freedom.

I am a single parent of a wonderful 11 year old boy. Because of Heroes like Matthew we can enjoy the freedoms we have.

On Sept 11, 2001 my son and I were terrified. We lived 1/2 mile from the Pentagon. That night as the smoke from the fires came through our house my son was frightened by the sounds of the fighters flying around Washington. I held him close and told him that those planes were Angel watching over us.

I hope you don't mind if we call Matthew our Angel.

I will never forget his sacrifice and will proudly tell his story when people ask what the bracelet I an wearing is for.

God Bless you"
Michael Sacks of Oakton, Virginia USA

"Matt was the pride and joy of his mother and father and was destined to be a devil dog long before he graduated Annapolis. As a cousin, I remember when I saw him there was a lot of 'airplane talk' and that was perhaps at 7 years old. He is so missed by the family but I know he and Chesty are keeping it lively 'up there.' God bless his memory."
Wendy & Sgt. Kevin Krause, USMC of Stanwood, WA

"Semper Fi Capt B. Was an honor to fly with you."
Joe VMGR-352 of Miramar

"We have a son who is also a Captain in the Marine Corps. He flies the H-46. I have a great pride in him. I imagine you feel the same. Matthew and your family will be in my prayers. God bless you."
Judith of Birmingham, AL

"To the Family and friends of “Marine 7”, Your Marine will be forever in my memory. Our unit set up the base/tents/fuel system in late Sep. 2001. The Sep 11 attacks were still fresh on our minds. The day your Marines deployed to our forward location. I was asked to help set up the grounding wires for their aircraft on the parking ramp. As an Air Force member I was amused and impressed by the rock “sidewalks” around the Marine tents. On Jan 9th I had flags flown on a KC-135 for my Family and friends. The next day I found out a Marine plane had been lost. I sat down on a fuel bladder, saddened by the news. I wondered if I knew any of them or if they had come to listen to country music cd’s we played down by the beach. I can’t say I knew them, but they were ours for a short time. Everyone mourned their death. A “Soldiers cross” memorial service was held at the theater. Later when I presented my flags to Family and friends, I told them of the sacrifice your loved ones made and how they should always remember our “Freedom isn’t Free”. Thomas Jefferson 1787 "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

Our Military isn’t for everyone, but some do more than just volunteer and show up. They go to the tip of the spear, where the fight is. God Bless you for raising a Marine that did more.

MSgt William “Bill” Cordes (USAF Retired)
Moody AFB Ga.

"Capt B. You were my boss and my basketball coach and this was the worst news i could hear, Its sad cause i remember your face like it was yesterday!! That could have been any of us at the aquadron... I will think about you everyday and my prayers go out to you and your family

Cpl Jones USMC 352 RAIDERS"

"Thank you so much.. I will never forget this day, as my husband is an engineer on C-130's.. I remember just waiting to hear what sqaudron it was from.. Thank you for the sacrifice you and your family have made.. You will never be forgotten"
Nicole Warren of Ft. Worth, Tx

"Capt. Bancroft,
I would like to say thank you to you and the other Marines on that KC-130 with you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Semper Fi Devil Dog!"

"Thanks for stepping forward when America needed you. To the family - Thank you for your contribution to our liberty and freedom. I'm sorry for your tremendous loss."
Ronald Carlson of Montrose, MN

"Thank You Capt. Matthew W. Bancroft for risking your life for me. I really appreciate it.
Love and Respect from
Amanda Cruz, age 13"
Amanda Cruz of Long Beach, CA United States

"Our condolences to you the beloved family. We too are expierencing the grieve, the loss, of our beloved son LCPL Elias Torrez 111 USMC KIA 04/09/04
Elias and Martha Ramirez Torres of Veribest, Texas

"Semper Fi and RIP Skipper/brother!"
Mike (USMC) of Indianapolis Indiana

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

"Thank you Captain for giving it all to protect our our families. I am so very much in your debt for what you have done for us. Thank you sir."
The Estes Family of Phoenix, AZ

"Capt. Bancroft will truly be missed he was a plesure to work with. I truly feel honored to have known him. To his family he was a man of integrity and an outstanding leader. I am so sorry for you loss."
Sgt. Hirtler Former Raider of St Joseph Mo

"Thank you Matthew Bancroft, 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 Capt. Matthew Bancroft:
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 Matthew 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 Capt. Matthew Bancroft:
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 Matthew, 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