Fallen Heroes of Operation Enduring Freedom

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

Army Sgt. Jay A. Blessing

23, of Tacoma, Washington.
Blessing died of injuries sustained from an improvised explosive device in Asadabad, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Lewis, Washington. Died on November 14, 2003.

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"I still miss you more than words can ever say my heart hurts knowing that I can't see you, hug you, or even kiss you. I am forever grateful for the footprints you left on my heart and throughout my life I thank you for your sacrifice you will never be forgotten I love you I love you I will always love you never forgotten
Krendra of JBLM

"I never had the honor of meeting Sgt. Blessing. My husband, (Navy, Desert Storm) contracted to train police in Iraq & Afghanistan and his first posting in Afghanistan was at Camp Blessing. Named for Sgt. Blessing. I've worn his memorial bracelet since 2004. God bless you Sgt. Blessing..never forgotten."
Sue Prince of Aztec, New Mexico

"Jay Bless,
Happy birthday my sweetest friend, all these years later, I miss you like crazy!! You touched my life in so many ways my friend, and I'm grateful that we had the time together. I love you!!! Never never forgotten."
Krendra of JBLM

"And no matter what anybody says about grief and about time healing all wounds, the truth is, there are certain sorrows that never fade away until the heart stops beating and the last breath is taken.
12 years gone. The ramifications of you being gone are still being reviled to us. You can not know what it is to watch my children accomplish great heights and how proud I am, only to know that I can't share their victories with you. I miss you... So much I ache. I love you JayBless."
Jennifer Blessing of WA

"Never Forgotten. Hope your family is as well as can be. Miss you. You'd Better have some copenhagen when I see you up there one day! hahaha. "Oh, hey man, can I bum a dip? I quit dipping.( 50th time he "quit", haha). Yeah yeah, you quit buying I'd laugh and say! He'd laugh too. Miss hearing you and Mr. Fuller heckling each other."
Alex Saenz

"Wanted to say Thank You for your service and sacrifice. Blessings have served bravely and honorably in all branches of the military, and in every major conflict this country has had since the revolutionary war. It is an honor to share the same last name as an American Hero such as Jay. Though we didnt live far apart, we never met, but our thoughts and prayers are with this family."
Chris Blessing and family of Cougar, Wa

"I was there the day he died. I was driving the first vehicle that passed over the bomb before it took him in the third. I had chow and smoked with him hours before. My eyes literally witnessed his sacrifice and I will always be greatful. There is nothing greater than a man who gives his life for friends. I remember sitting with him in the op order days before and we both looked at eachother when we were told we would drive point. I said I'm going to get blown up, he replied, "no I'm going too because I have the ammo." I say this not out of disrespect but to honor the resolve that he had even knowing the risk. I knew him as a smoking buddy and had quite a few conversations with him. His blood is ever on the alter of freedom. He truly was and is a blessing to me."

"Thinking about you."

"WE MISS YOU BROTHER! God Bless you and yours."

"Today is a hard day I miss you! More than words! Love you for always"

"Today is a hard day I miss you! More than words! Love you for always"

"Jay was a great dude that I worked with in A co. 2/75. I never once saw him upset, he was always positive and in a good mood. I always enjoyed his company and will always remember this Ranger brother. Jay, you are missed and I thank you for your ultimate sacrifice! Our country can never repay you or your family for what you selflessly volunteered to do. You'll be remembered always. RLTW."
James of the Blacksheep

"I have been back there 3 more times. Not much has changed, but that sad stretch of road is paved now. I will will always remember your sacrifice. May God bless your family!"
R. Montoya of Eureka, MT USA

"All days are nights to see till I see thee, And nights bright days when dreams do show thee to me. ~William Shakespeare, "Sonnet XLIII""

"I am a Ranger. We walk in the dark places no others will enter. We stand on the bridge and no one may pass. We live for the One, we die for the One."

"Jay bless,
After all these years I still love you and miss you!
I think of you often, and realize my soulmate is gone. I love you my Ranger Angel forever always"
KJ of Wa

"Still missing you daily! To be honest some are worse than others.... Today is a bad day a day that I long for a hug or even a half smile to tell me how dumb I am to feel so lost and alone! This was the first year I didn't go to the base on the 14th big brother I am so sorry I convinced myself that for the sake of progress I shouldn't go! "F" progress I am so sorry I haven't forgot you I just forgot myself for a minute all my love is still with you always!"
you know! of tacoma wa

"Jay, you were a great friend and soldier. As a fellow armorer for a while you helped me out more times than I can count. I have a lot of good memories of you up in the HHC and ACO barracks as well as overseas. You are sorely missed, brother. Until we meet again....

Chris Hellums of Gladstone, MO

"ďYou can shed tears that he is gone,
or you can smile because he has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that he'll come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all he's left.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see him,
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember him only that he is gone,
or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back.
Or you can do what he'd want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.Ē"

"I love you JayBless. Seven year and counting since I hugged you last.

"I love you JayBless."

"To the family of:Jay A. Blessing
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""

"◦I know for certain that we never lose the people we love, even to death. They continue to participate in every act, thought and decision we make. Their love leaves an indelible imprint in our memories. We find comfort in knowing that our lives have been enriched by having shared their love."

"I remember talking to you right before you left us, we stoped at Abad and you guys moved on, what seem like minutes passed and there I was, trying to clean your RBA and still waiting for you to show up but you never did. The thing that I hate the most in the Army is roll call, I hate it because it was on your memorial that I heard it for the 1st time and I didn't understand why they kept calling your name, that's when it hit me that you were not comming back. You are the "Airborne Ranger in the sky" to me and my family, I will tell my children of your sacrifice and what you mean to me and 2/75. Rest in peace and I'll see you someday."
Nestor Molina of FOB Normandy, Iraq

"i was in a coma for 6 mos following my accident and i just have to say my boy jay is the real hero"
ricky greene of bennington vt usa

"You'd have turn 30 today. I can only imagine the party we would have had for you. I love that Maggie and you share the same birthday, but I can not help but think about Where you would be in your life had you not been taken from us. There are things that we donít want to happen... but have to accept, things we donít want to know ....but have to learn, and people we canít live without ....but have to let go. I miss you baby brother."

"To the memory of SGT Jay Blessing and to his family. I met SGT Jay Blessing while stationed at Fort Lewis, WA. He was a very squared away Ranger. I met him a few times when he worked alongside Mr. Ray Fuller in the weapons repair room. 1st Group was standing up a weapon repair shop and we were trying to learn as much as possible from 2/75's way of doing things. I was also in the Afghanistan when he was killed and was on Disney drive as they drove his casket to the flight line. Rest in Peace, SGT Blessing."
Ken Odegard of Fayetteville

"I just want you to know that even after all this time I still miss you everyday. I often wonder if there is a time frame for these sort of things? Like everyone says time heals all wounds but I feel as if mine are just continuing to get bigger...There are times when your voice and smile fade from my memory. That hurts I am so scared to lose the only thing I have left of you....memories. I am still so very angry that all of the things that I wanted NEEDED you to be a part of were just ripped away! My heart has a huge gap that no one can or ever will fill. I sometimes just wait for you to come home. I guess you are home you told me before that god wouldn't take you until he was ready I know he was ready but Jay Bless I wasn't ready!!! I love you and as long as I am here on this earth you will not be forgotten! I love you little big brother!"
little sissy of Tacoma Wa

"One day we will meet again.... I am going to just hold your hand."

"We just had a family campout together and I couldn't help but feel like someone was missing. I miss you and think of you often. I only wish we could have spent more time together. I love you!"

"Everyone says that Time heals all wounds and that You'll go back to beinging yourself. It's such a crock of *!! These are thing that people say cause they have no idea what true loss is. I still cry everyday. Almost 6 years and I hurt as much as the day I first herd those 2 sets of boots coming up my stairs. Your number is still in my phone...I want to call and tell whoever how inportant their number is. Nothing is the same since you went away. I feel like I am walking around with a gaping hole in my chest. It never ends baby brother, you got to go heaven and I can't make all the pieces my poor heart go back togeter. I saw this bald guy the other day and hand to god I thought it was you, I almost dropped to my knees but I just started crying and kept putting the kids in the car. You are so much a part of who I am. There is very little I wouldn't give to be able to "sneak attack you" and try and shove you over. I often think about that all nighter we pulled the night before I got married. I was wrong when I told you that I could listen I was being selfish I should have listened. It's the only regret that I have. I was scarred to hear about where you'd been and what you'd seen. I am so sorry that I am a chicken. so I guess what I really wanted to say is I am still here and I still love you!"

"SGT Jay Blessing worked with me in 3rd Platoon(Earthpigs) back in the day. I remember his enthusiasm and love of the job. He would gripe about the bs just like the rest of us, but he took it in stride. My deepest regards and respect go out to his family. In the Ranger community there is a commraderie that some cannot explain, and I will always cherish that just by knowing him. RLTW! To all you former Earthpigs, I challenge you to all stay in touch and to always remember where you came from."
SFC(P) Richard Chad Wiley of FOB Tillman Afghanistan

"Never shall I forget the days in which I spent with you...Continue to be my friend as you will ALWAYS find me yours."

""Jay A First Sergeant!" It used to crack me up how he said that at Manifest. Jay was the most laid back guy I knew, nothing fazed him. I served with him in Aco 3rd Platoon Wpns Squad (Maggots) and I want to tell a true story of Jay and how he was. I had an EIB station that Jay was one of my graders, and I'll never forget Jay coming up to me one morning and saying: "Uh Lane hey uh I can't grade today, uh I need to go to the hospital" Naturally I ask what's wrong: "Uh my lung just collapsed so they say I need to go now" Turns out Jay had some condition where his lungs could collapse out of nowhere. I remember it happened to him twice and both times it was no big deal to him. Hell he walked to the EIB site to tell me he couldn't be there so I didn't think he bailed on me. THAT'S THE KIND OF GUY JAY WAS. Nothing fazed him, he was a hard worker, a great Maggot, a great armorer and a great friend, and he will always be missed by me and everyone else that knew him. I see a lot of names of guys I know that have posted before me and to them I say: It was great serving with you all. Bryan Lane Aco 2/75 Maggots + 2/75 HHC Snipers"
Bryan Lane (SFC) of Las Vegas, NV

"I remember seeing Jay the day before he was taken from us. I will never forget that day. He was truly an inspiration to everyone around him. He was a good friend who took me under his wing when I showed up to HHC 2/75. I will always remember you and what you did for America. You are the best Ranger Buddy a guy could ask for! I make the hooahs do one for the "Airborne Ranger " in the sky. I know you look down on us and keep us safe!"
James Mabry HHC 2/75, HHC 1/75 of Savannah, Georgia

"To my Hero-
5 years after the day that our lives changed, the day they were shattered. You know people say time heals all wounds but I don't agree it helps, after awhile time makes it a bit more bearable but does it heal? No. After all this time I am still sad,outraged,devastated and uttery lost. I miss you everyday. Your smile, your laugh, the way you would randomly stop by beacuse you knew I would be home! Jay I miss the sound of your voice (it's getting harder and harder to hear) I miss staying up late... all of us the way we were! Things have changed since have left you were our rock, our glue... the one person that with out a shaddow of a doubt would be there. I wish you were here! I often wonder what things would be like you know, What you would be doing right now. You would have made such a wonderful husband and father had you gotten the chance. This site gives me joy. I knew you were a great man but I love that others did too and that they can share it! You will always be in my heart there is a huge piece that belongs to you and has since the first time you ever told me "It don't matter to Jesus." I'm pretty sure that was like the 2nd time I met you. I love you and I can't wait until I get to see you again!"
Kim (your little sissy)

"You don't know me and I don't know you but recently I joined the United States Army as a Cavalry Scout and on my wrist, I carry your name. So no matter where I go, you are never forgotten...always remembered. We refuse to let even one Soldier to be forgotten. I love ya brother and see you soon!

Here is a picture of the band I wear:
Samuel Murray of Bridgeport, West Virginia

"I remember when you came to my squad the Maggots 3rd plt. A co. 2/75. You were always laid back, just a great guy. We always had a great time hanging out. I still have a drawing you did for me hanging up in my room. I think about you all the time. Ill never forget you!!!!(then Cpl. Perry)"
Anthony Perry of Vallejo Ca.

"Jay will be missed by me. I remember the day he came to 3rd platoon(Earthpigs) Aco 2/75th Ranger. He was also an awsome Armorer..i could always count on getting my 240's fixed by him in a moments notice for my weapons squad during OEF 2. He was an outstanding Ranger."
Michael Conner of Ft Bragg, NC

"RIP Jay, I was out-processing 2/75 when Jay was killed. He was a great man and Ranger. I don't think any other Ranger could out beat him in cards or drinking beer. I remember trying to beat him on several deployments and he always got the best of me (especially in Germany). It was an honor to serve with him. God Bless him and his family."
"Doc" Swain of Concord, NH

"I found out about blessings death watching democracy now. I was saddened to hear of this. I served briefly as his ranger buddy during his first attempt through ranger school. I had come through special forces and Blessing actualy kept me on the ranger hooah program as he called himself a "piller of false motivation" this was his tounge in cheek way of enduring the tough training. Later I saw him at 2nd Bn at Ft lewis. He squared me away with a van to get my gear and team around when we arrived to train his unit in Civil Military operations. I must add that Ive trained with the complete ranger regiment. I found at that time 2nd Bn to be the most switched on and willing to apply lessons learned. God bless Jays Family for rasing a fine man. I cherish the memory of running the hand to hand pit with Jay chanting 90s Hip Hop lyrics to help stay awake."
James Finiello of Fayetteville nc

"Jaybless I saw it yesterday that disc that I have been aviding all these years It is so hard not to hate those people and that country I really try hard not to. Looking at those pictures made my heart ache those images will stay with me for a long time. I miss your friendship and your love and I hate that you had to leave I am not the same anymore and I really hate that too. The babies are great we talk about you all the time I am sure that they would know you by sight as much as we look at photos. Eillie starts kindergarden in the fall it seems like so long ago that you held her. Brother Jay is doing soccer and Maggie Anne will be one on your bithday... it helps. We sold your truck my heart broke when they drove it down the street it's just a truck but it felt that I lost you all over again. I often wonder if my heart will ever heal. even now something funny will happen and I think that I can't wait to tell you... You are, were, and always will be one of a kind and I am so greatful that for a time we got to share this life. I miss you every day little Brother...everyday."

"I worked and lived with Jay for a few years when I was in the Army. For a brief time we both shared a room in the Headquarters building of 2nd Ranger Battalion. He was an amazing Ranger, leader and friend. I would not advise playing cribbage for money against him; you will lose. For those of you who did not have the pleasure of knowing Jay Blessing, you have certainly missed out. I would not be the person I am today had it not been for his guidance and friendship. Thanks for everything Jay; Iíll see you on the other side brother."
Jack McKenna, Former Army Ranger of Lacey, Wa

"November 26, 2007
To the family of Sgt. Jay A. Blessing:
Jay 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

"SGT Blessing, I recently worked in the building on Ft Lewis that is fittingly named after you. You have no idea the impact you left on your comrades. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for our freedoms. God Bless you and your loved ones."
CW3 (retired) Lupton of Ohio

"SGT Blessing, you never met me but you have changed my life forever. My husband was there the day you were killed in action, he was right behind you. What you don't know is, my husband and I were newly weds and I was pregnant with our first child. Through your death our son was able to know his daddy. Not a day goes by that your not in my thoughts. I pray for your family every night. My son knows your name and will always know that you were an amazing soldier. We always take time out to remember you. Your memory will live on for generations to come in our family. Thank you for the sacrafices you've made, not only to protect our country but to ensure that we have the freedom to enjoy our lives."
Mindy of Ft. Bragg, NC, USA

"Jay I know that you are sitting some where with a cribage board... Deal me in brother, I will be there some day. You are missed."
Gabriel Huft of Bco 2/75 Ranger BN

"I Knew (Better Yet)/I Know Jay From High School (Lincoln) In Tacoma, Washington. When I First Met Him He Was Totally Different From What He Showed On The Outside. I Can Honestly Say He Was One Of The Realest Persons I Have Met. If You Couldn't Get Along With Jay Then Something Was Going On With You, Because He Was That Type Of Person To Adapt To People From All Walks Of Life. Jay You Will Always Be Missed And Never Forgotten."
Jasmin Williams of Colorado Springs, CO By Way Of Tacoma, WA

"To the family of Jay blessing, not a day gose by that Jay's friends don't think of him and smile. Jay is still alive in hearts of his brothers from 2/75."
Joe Kent of Ft campbell KY

"I remember standing behind Jay in formation for PT every morning. He was layed back, even melancholy but a high speed and dependable soldier. My fondest memories are skanking and moshing with him to a home brew punk band in A co's rec room. And even better was the time we elected him HHC team captin for ranger push ball and we smeared B co. or was it C co?"
Ranger Kyle Edwards of Pa.

"No greater sacrifice can be given than one's life for other's freedom. I received SGT. Blessing's KIA Bracelet and will wear it eternally as a reminder of the cost of Freedom. God Bless The Sacrifice made by his family so that we may live free."
Roy Parker of WPB,FL

"In Distant Fields the flowers grow. Between the crosses row on row. That mark our place in the sky, the larks still bravely singing fly. Above the gun that we did know, we are the dead short days ago. We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, loved and were loved and now we lie In Distant Fields. Take up our quarrel with freedoms foe, to you from falling hands we throw. The torch be yours to hold it high, if you break faith with us who died, we shall not sleep though flowers grow in distant fields. Rest in Peace you Ranger dead, the fight that you so bravely led, weve taken up and we will keep true faith with you who sleep. With each a cross to mark his bed where once your own life blood ran red. So let your sleep be sweet and dear In Distant Fields. Fear not that you have died for naught, the torch you threw to us is caught. Our Ranger hands will hold it high and freedoms light will never die, we learned what you taught, you of the dead, In Distant Fields.

Thank you for your service and sacrifice Jay. Rest in Peace, see you one day."
Waylon C34 2/75 RGR of Brea, CA

"I was there the day Sgt. Blessing was hit. My only memory of him was in the arms room. I remember him replacing the gas tube on my M4 and the feeder paws on my saw. Now that I'm out of the Army I have nothing but respect for the guys who stay in. It was a tragic day that Sgt. Blessing died and I hope to see him again some day."
Ken of Sacramento, CA

"To the family of Jay Blessing, I had the privlage and honor of serving with Jay at A co 2/75. Jay was alway there for his fellow Rangers and was respected by all the men in the company for his forditude and his contagious positave sprit. Jay will never be forgotten."
Joe Kent of Ft.Campbell KY

"To those and those like us, damm few of us. we few, we mary few, we mary band of brothers, for he, who has shed his blood for me, shall always be my brother. You will never be forgoten Blessing. (3rd Plt. EARTH PIGS) RANGERS LEAD THE WAY"
PORTER of Vancouver Wa.

"Jay: Every time I hear certain song on the radio my eyes well up with tears. I know you are looking down on all of us. I am sorry you never got to meet your little cousins. We love you and miss you terribly. I know we will be together again...until then keep us safe as you watch over us, you are truly an angel."
Joanie of Ellensburg WA/USA

"Jay... not one single day goes by that I don't wish you where here I hate that you are gone I hate that I am going to have explain very soon to your niece where heaven is and why she can't touch you. She knows you love her! I wish I could see you hold baby Jay the way you held Eillie He looks so much like you and he has your calm soul he is helping to ease the hole in my heart. Still working on the backbone I at least I can stand up for myself now though I'd go back to being a coward if it ment that I'd have you to protect me. I love you brother and until we meet again may God keep you safe for me ~Jen"

"I was at the dedication of Camp Blessing in Nangalam, Afghanistan. You are truely an American hero and my family and I appreciate your ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms."
Command Sergeant Major (ret) Ron Webb of Salt Lake City, Utah

"Hey Bless... Just wanted to let you know that we haven't, nor will we ever, forget you. A true patriot and friend, we miss you."
Cco 3rd Plt. 2/75 Rangers of Ft. Lewis, WA USA

I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

"Rangers Lead The Way!"

"I am honored to say that I served with Blessing in Aco 2/75. He was a fun guy to hang out with, and was talented in many things including art. He will be missed. I am positive his memory will be carried in the hearts and minds of his friends, family, and fellow Rangers. Best wishes to his family. "Rangers Lead The Way""
Clifford J. Schmidt "C.J." of Phoenix, AZ / U.S.A.

"May God bless them for always.
To all the fallen heroes families: please,know that we are with you,and we do have so much pain for them too.
With Love
Adelina of Kosovo

"I am the WA State Coordinator for the Home of the Brave Quilt Project. Our goal is to make a memorial quilt for the family of each fallen hero listing a WA town as their hometown. We would like to make a quilt honoring Jay. Please contact me at barbnlamont@comcast.net"
Barb Shillinger of Aberdeen, WA

"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"

"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

"I was looking up my name on the Web to just see what I would find. I was blown away to find somone that I share a name with had been killed durring the war in Iraq. I am 34 years old with a beautiful family. My life is a good one and I live it my way. I know that the reason I have this opportunity is because of Jay. I whish his love ones the same opportunity. Jay fought for this gift. Do him the honor of living a great life remebering him when your together. I will never forget this young man even though we never met. I will live my life with dignity, respect, love and treasuring the freedom he has given me and my family."
Jay Blessing of Miami, Florida

"My first memories of Battalion are of Blessing. I will always remember him as the tabbed SPC who took me under his wing when I got to Battalion. He was a great soldier, and a great friend. There will always be a very special place in my heart for him. God Bless. RLTW!"
Matthew Hoover of Reno, NV

"i spend alot of time with jay in ranger bat. he was a great friend with a big heart, mine hurts when i think of him."

"Sergeant Blessing, 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 in their time of sorrow. May you forever rest in Heavenly peace. Neither you nor your sacrifice will be forgotten. For the family/friends: May time provide happy loving memories in place of present sorrows. Look to the sky for in the infinite meadows of Heaven the bright shining stars bloom....the forget-me-nots of angels. God bless you and thank you."
a grateful family in Phoenix, AZ

""To accomplish great things we must not only act but also dream,not only plan but also believe." Jay accompished a lot during his short life. He acted with bravery and gave his life for something he believed in. I am eternally grateful for evrything Jay did so we could all live in freedom. To his family and friends: I am so very sorry for your loss and know that all Americans are grieving with you.God Bless."
Jessica of Rio Vista.CA

"I was a friend of Jay's and am a friend of his family, I just wanted to thank everyone for their kind words and support. It really means alot to us. Thank you again and God Bless"
Darian McClain of Tacoma, WA

"I remeber when Jay Blessing fist showed up to 3rd Platoon (Earthpig). I was a Grenadier in 3rd Squad and he was attached to Weapons Squad. I remeber how nothing seemed to faze him and he had this take it as it comes way about him. Last night, 3 April 2004 was the first time I found out he had died in Afghanistan and I can't stop thinking about it. I hadn't talked to him in almost four years, as Army assignments have carried me from here to there. But I'll never forget him or the other young men who strived to be Rangers that I shared my youth with. God bless. Sua Sponte."
Eric Holmstrom of Fayetteville, NC

"My name is Cathie Longstreth and I was the grandmother to Duane E. Longstreth, killed in Baghdad on August 7, 2003. I am also a member of the "Bridge People" of Outpost 122. The members of the Bridge Team rally at Outpost 122 (the exit 122 off I 5) every Saturday in an effort to support the troops of Ft. Lewis, McCord AFB and Camp Murray (Washington State National Guard). We have the honor of greeting hundreds of military members and their families every week. The response from the troops is heart warming and welcomed .

I am writing this message to the other families in Washington State that have also lost a family member while serving our country, since September 11, 2001. My family would like to display a picture of the fallen hero, with the name and possibly the date of death, on the bridge while we are rallying. It is intended to honor them for the sacrifice they made but will not be used by us as a personal political statement. We hesitated to replicate the pictures we find on the many web sites without the express permission of the surviving family, as we have had our own experience with the media attempting to use our loss to support their political position.

If you do not object to us using your loved ones picture, please email me with your permission at one of the email addresses below. If you have a special picture that you like us to use please email that as well, otherwise we will be using one of the pictures already posted on the web.

Cathie Longstreth of Tacoma, Wa.

"My family is safer thanks to this brave soldier.

His service was noble and meant something. He did more in his young life towards helping others than most will ever do.

God bless this soldier's family."
The Estes Family of Phoenix, AZ

"Thank you, Jay, for serving our country. Your bravery has touched others lives and you will always be remembered."
A grateful citizen of La Grange, IL

"Fallen but never forgotten, Blessing worked as my A.G., In weapons squad(Maggots)Third Platoon(Earthpigs)Aco 2/75. Blessing was a Great soldier always giving 110% day in and day out. A person whom everyone knew. You are a great soldier Blessing. Rangers Lead the Way!"
SGT J. Arredondo Aco2/75 RGR of Tempe, AZ

"Thank you Jay Blessing, 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. Jay Blessing:
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 Jay 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. Jay Blessing:
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 Jay, 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