Fallen Heroes of Operation Enduring Freedom

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

Army Sgt. Maj. Barbaralien Banks

41, of Harvey, Louisiana.
Banks died in Ghazni, Afghanistan, when the CH-47 helicopter she was on crashed. She was assigned to the Division Artillery, 25th Infantry Division (Light), Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Died on April 6, 2005.

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"SGM Banks, Oh my how small is this world. As I sit here on Staff Duty I look up at the screen of Fallen Heroes and I see your picture. Way Way back in the day I would call you Drill Sergeant Banks. You did two things that I would never forget. One is you put the fear of GOD in me. (boy could you scream) The other is you set the example that I wanted to follow. I told myself I want to be squred away like my DS. Many years have passed and I have tried to live up to what you impressed on me and I hope I made you proud. RIP DS Banks"

"I went through basic at Ft. Sill OK in 2000 and SFC Banks was my reception barracks commander. She made a permanent impression on me the few encounters i had with her, gave me a newfound respect for female nco's. Woken up in the middle of the night for new recruits late arriving, I was commanded by a suprised Banks to do 20 push-ups because i was mistakenly wearing just boxers, first night and all. Always remember you!"
Alex Nelson of North Platte, Ne/Usa

"I met then MSG Banks when I was a young private at Scholfield Barracks, Hi in the DIVARTY DFAC, Junkie J. I worked in the DFAC w/ her and she was, and always will be an awesome mentor and role model. I was shocked to see that she was a fellow 92G, a MSG, former Drill Sergeant, and yet was still cool enough to talk w/ my battle buddies and I and share stories w/ us. I was there when the news came of your passing and was floored along w/ all of my battle buddies she shared story time w/. You will and still are deeply missed."
of Ponca City, Ok

"My deepest condolences …like many other, I had wondered what happen and decided to do an online search for any info. I met Sgt Major Banks at Fort Irwin California; she was the DFAC NCOIC, as a buck private I still had a lot of street in me. She would ride me all day; I use to hate this lady. She use to say ‘’ Chisum I am going to make you a soldier even if it kills you‘’. Eventually I saw what she was talking about and started to act right. In my short lived military career she was the best NCO I ever had. The last time I saw Sgt Banks was 1998 or 1999, I think she had just return from Drill Sergeant School. I was a specialist in charge of a work detail in the motor pool and she walked up and said soldier what are you doing. Her voice send shock waves throughout my body, when I turned around and saw it was her, I was delighted. We had a brief conversation and she told me that she was proud of me, that I had soldier-up. I miss you Sgt Banks and I love you, you were the best motivator in my life; I will pass on those teaching to my children.
May the angels in haven sing you a sweet melody to sleep at night.."
Marlon Chisholm of Bronx, NY

I miss you. I was just visiting the site for you and another Soldier I had that was killed in Iraq in 2003. I enjoy reading the great comments that so many leave for you. They hit the nail on the head when they describe you. You were a great Soldier and a wonderful role model. I remember going through Drill Sergeant School with you and getting stationed together at Fort Sill. You touched so many lives then and you do to this day. God bless you and your family."
MSG(ret) Berry C. Miller of Pine Bluff, AR USA

"SGM Banks,
I dont know how i ended up here on this site but when i saw your picture while i was on the internet...... i screamed" Senior Drill SGT".
yup, you were my Senior and i have to tell you that you tought me alot. Most people forget people, faces and dates, but when you impact someone they way you impacted my life as a soldier....You will never forget.....Thank you...RIP
SSG Simmons b1/40 forever"
Monique Simmons Castille of El Paso Tx

"You were a fellow female Soldier, mother and neighboor when I met you through my husband and your husband working together. You went up the ranks fast, I found out you made SGM and it didn't surprise me. You were in school half the time while at Fort Irwin. I had respect for you because you had everything together and were bettering yourself for your son and husband. I'm sure the pain they felt yesterday, today and years from now will never go away. I don't want to say thank you for serving, because I know you did what you did because you loved it, I'm sorry for the loss your family is feeling and your legacy will live on through your son. You were a caring leader, mother, wife. I will never forget when I heard you had passed.....it was a shock, anytime a Soldier dies it is sad. we say you are all off to a better place and I really have to keep believing that.May you have traveled safely to heaven and look down and know your passing away was not in vain. We will miss you and never forget you...."
The Crumley's of Fort Benning, GA

"May SGT MAJ Banks Soul RIP
As I get ready to start Phase 1 of First SGT Course, I will use the memory of her to guide me through this, and beyond my Army Career.
To her Family, and Dear Friends:
Hold on to her smiles, love, and caring as you go through the healing process."
SFC Roger Campbell of Jersey City, NJ, USA

"November 10, 2007
To the family of Sgt. Maj. Barbaralien Banks:
Barbaralien 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

"God bless this family and give them peace as they still mourn their loss.

Thank you for your sacrifice for our freedom!"
The Cltohiers of Wahiawa, Hawaii

"If you are able, save them a place inside of you and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go. Be not ashamed to say you loved them, though you may or may not have always. Take what they have left and what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own. And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind.( "Major Michael Davis O'Donnell 1 January 1970 Dak To, Vietnam.") America has been built on the blood of Heros and Brave Men of Honor who answered the call. A fellow veteran wants to thank this hero for his service, and my cherised freedoms. May you rest well in Gods loving embrace brave hero, and may God bring comfort to your loved ones for their sacrifice. You shall never be forgotten by a grateful nation.""
William Darby Taylor Jr. of Bonita Springs Florida

Lashuwnta Kelly of Camden, AL.

"mama i love mother's day is almost here i don't know what to do ma, i can't think right with you gone. i love you so much love always HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY"
Lashuwnta Kelly of Camden, AL.

"To the family of SGM Banks, I send my deepest condolences. I was just thinking about her and decided to do a online search for any info on her and ran into this website. I didn't know this site existed but I am glad I found it. There are a lot of untold stories about SGM Banks. A lot!!! This woman set a lot of standards..........A LOT!!! She broke a lot of barriers.........A LOT!!! Where do I begin. I was a Drill Sergeant at Fort Sill Oklahoma with SGM Banks. I am glad to see someone else who was also a Drill with us posted also. We all were the first FEMALE DRILL SERGEANTS SELECTED TO DO BASIC TRAINING AT A FIELD ARTILLERY POST AT FORT SILL. People don't realize how huge of an honor that was but we made history. We set the standard. However. SGM Banks broke barriers which lot of us didn't. That's the difference. You see, She was the First Female Senior Drill Sergeant we had in that environment. I will confess, I didn't reach for that title because I thought it was unachievable. But word got around real quick "Hey did yall hear 1/40th got a female Senior Drill Sergeant". I was like "You kidding". At that point I was motivated to accomplish more than I set out to. Then I heard she made te E-8 list.......... I was like WOW!!! She showed us we can make E-8 pulling this duty for real. Im going to go out on a limb and say she was the first one of us to make E-8 because I knew all the female drills and she was one of 2 that made it first. My best memory of SGM Banks was one sunny day me her and another friend was outside talking and she was telling us how the army household transportation system (not purposely)busted up some of her household goods during a move she had and they owed her over $3500 for the damage. I remember this because she was so calm and had a "Oh well, that's not important attitude". She was not a materialistic person by far. I was standing there in awe of how she handled that. This woman was on her way to be our first Female Sergeant Major of the Army. I know I am wrong for this but I ask GOD "Out of all the people in the world, how did she end up on that flight". I will never get that answer. It hurts me more that she is gone because we both were also Quartermaster soldiers and she would have been the first Quartermaster Sergeant Major I personally knew. The Quartermaster Corps has suffered a huge and I mean huge lost with this one gone. She will definatley be missed."
Carolyn Allen of Washington, D.C

"Sgt. Maj. Banks,
I would like to say thank you to you and the other service personnel who were on that Chinook with you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy."
Mike Casey of El Paso, TX

"To the family of:Barbaralien Banks 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. She 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"

"To the Family of SGM Banks,
I did not have the pleasure of meeting SGM Banks, but as a fellow 92G I am apart of her military family. May God give you strengh (and he will and will continue forever) and courage to go on."Joy will come in the morning". I recently served in Iraq and know of the scarfices all military members make for this great country. God bless you and your family. SGM Banks will not be forgotten!"
CSM (Ret) V. Harris of Texas

"My dear an sweet mother mima i love you so very much one day we will meet again. kent an i are watching out for each other an the kid's are still kid's mima me myself i'm missing you like crazy i don't know what to do but pray to god. you are now one of his angel's an your touch is a blessing to everyone mima i love you"
Lashuwnta kelly black of camden al

"As a mom of five young children, I am so grateful for the sacrifice of this brave solder Barbaralien Banks. You are loved by many. Words can not express the emotion. He payed the ultimate price for our freedom. May God be with his family in this time of sorrow and may you find comfort in the fact that we think about Barbaaralien's sacrifice for the love of his country. May we NEVER forget! Thank you!"
Jill Hughes of Houston TX"

"To the family of Barbaralien Banks
My prayers will always be with you. I will never forget Barbaralien Banks. She was a SSG and I was a private she She took me under her wing and off I went. When I became an NCO and a problem or issue would arise I would always think : What would SSG Banks do? She was always a mentor to me even though she was not right beside me. She will always be with me in my heart. She was without a doubt one of the finest soldiers this country has ever had!"
Becky Nesfeder-Mitchell of Fort Polk, La

"SGM Banks - I was very sad when I found out...through the internet a couple of weeks ago! I am blessed to have met you. You sat on a couple of my boards and I will never forget how strict you were BUT fair!! You ARE the epitome of the TRUE AMERICAN SOLDIER. The Army lost a GREAT LEADER, and to the world...we lost a HERO! Though you are not here...your memories and ways will live in all the lives of the soldiers you have touched! May the Lord bless and keep your soul ALWAYS."
SGT Ella Failautusi of Schofield Barracks, HI

"To the family and friends of SGM Banks
I also had the privilage of knowing her in Schofield Barracks Hawaii. She was not only one of the best Soldiers I've ever known, she was a true friend in deed. My heart goes out to her family and love ones. We actually stayed down the street from one another in which I enjoyed sharing knowledge with.
In memory of SGM Banks a true "HERO and friend."
MSG Christopher Howard of FT. Bliss TX.

"To the family, friends,and soldiers of SGM Barbaralien Banks:
All the 92Gs here at the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy (USASMA) send their condolences and want you all to know SGM Banks is our classmate of Class 56. We would love to pay tribute to her here at the academy. We will not forget her selfless service and we will not allow are comrades to forget.
May God Bless and keep her family, her friends, and her soldiers.

SGM Olivia Walker
Olivia Walker of Ft. Bliss, TX

"To the family of Barbaralien Banks my prayers are with you during this time of sorrow. I was blessed with the opportunity to get to know SGM Banks in Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. She was the epitome of a true soldier. She will be missed. God Bless."
CW2 Linda D. Elzie of Okinawa, Japan

"To the families and friends, I was just a private when i met MSG Banks at 1-40th FA. She had so much knowledge, she was a true mentor to me. I will never forget her or what she taught me to stand for as a female soldier."
SGT Katrina Crawford of 16th EN BN, Geissen, Germany

"6/8/05 Our deepest and heartfelt sympathy to the Banks family and friends. We understand your tremendous sadness, yet a great sense of pride. Sgt. Maj. Banks is a true heroin and will go down in history as a great woman who made the ultimate sacrifice for this great nation. May God give you strength to endure this most horrific painful loss.
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 Baghdad on 1/28/05) of Krotz Springs, Louisiana

"To the family and friends,

Our prayers are with you in this most difficult time and we thank you for your loved ones bravery and sacrifice. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. Your loved one is a hero. Greater love have no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13.

God bless you.

Home Front Ministries
Shepherd of the Hills Church
Porter Ranch, CA""

"My deepest condolences go out to the family members of SGM Barbaralien Banks. She was a wonderful soldier and woman. I will never forget going on Drill Sergeant status with her in B Battery 1/40th FA at Fort Sill in the Spring of 1999. She was a pleasure to work with and for. When she became my Senior Drill Sergeant she was an inspiration for me not only in a military aspect, but also as a person. I will never forget the confidence that she showed in me, when I was only a Staff Sergeant, by presenting me a set of Master Sergeant rank on 8 May, 2000. I would like her and her family to know that I was blessed to have been promoted 1 May, 2005 to Master Sergeant. I used the rank that she presented me to be promoted with. She will always be in my heart. God Bless her, her family, and all of the other soldiers and families that have sacrificed so much."
MSG Berry C. Miller of FT. McPherson, Atlanta, GA

"SGM Banks, I love you and will miss you. My thoughts are with your family and comrades. I will never forget my memories of you as my Senior Drill Sergeant with 1/40th FA."
SFC Harrison, Kristi L. of Cp Casey, Korea

LEONARD WAHL of valley stream ny usa

"I am so thankful to have known you...I truly see how many lives you affected and touched in some special way...You will never be forgotten but always remembered..."
Kenysha of Wahiawa, Hawaii, USA

"To the family of Sgt. Maj. Barbaralien Banks,
I can’t express in words how sorry I am to read about your mother, grandmother, family member and or friend. I can only feel in my heart what you may have gone or still is going throw. May God, bless you all and keep you stronger together as a family."
Capt. Jay, Bernard USMC of Arlington, VA

"I love you Barbara, I will miss you always, those 2 days were the best you spent with me and my family you are truly and dearly missed."
Deanetta Thompson of Ft. Lewis, WA

"My condolences to the family of Sergeant Major Banks. May she always be remembered for her fine and faithful service to America."
Rich of Indianapolis, In

"To Barbaralien'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 son returned safely from Afghanistan, only to lose his life in Iraq. Our prayers are with you in this most difficult time and we thank you for your soldier's bravery and sacrifice.


The Family of Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco-Caldas, 82nd Airborne
KIA Iraq 12/28/2003.
Gloria Caldas (The Big Ern's Mom) of San Antonio, TX

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

"Thank you Barbaralien Banks, 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. Maj. Barbaralien Banks:
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 Barbaralien for the sacrifice she 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. Maj. Barbaralien Banks:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. She 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 Barbaralien, 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