Fallen Heroes of Operation Enduring Freedom

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

Army 1st Sgt. Tobias C. Meister

30, of Jenks, Oklahoma.
Meister died south of Asadabad, Afghanistan, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during combat patrol operations. He was assigned to the Army Reserve's 321st Civil Affairs Brigade, San Antonio, Texas. Died on December 28, 2005.

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"12:45 AM 27 May 2024 and I have been trying since 24 May 2024 to leave you a message. This portal was down for an issue. I was starting to get kind of freaked out that I would not be able to let out the emotions I carry quietly in the periods between when I can get on here to post with you. It was late and I thought I would give it one more go, and it worked. I have so many names I have to write to here, from Iraq, and Afghanistan. Not to mention those who have passed away since. You’re always my last stop. I have the clippings in my graduation from Basic and AIT back in 1987 of you being awarded for your prowess as a Drill Sergeant. I have talked here about people I have met since you left us, and I have discussed the times we had, short that they were. In all of that, I am so very sad that you were taken from us. I just need to let you know that you are dearly missed and loved by many. And as these final words fall into the page, I am finally exhausted from relief at being able to say to you these things. It is 12:52 AM and I am honored to have you as a friend, colleague, and Brother."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX

"My apologies for missing Veteran's Day 2024. I will do better next time. My wife asked me to show here where my list of friends lost is so she can pick up the slack if I am unable to.


Merry Christmas Brother. (Bob, lol)"
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Memorial Day 29 May 2023. Swinging in to say hey, do a little reflecting on our time together, and say I wish you were here with us.

Much respect and love Brother."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Christmas 2022. Smells coming from the kitchen that remind you of the many past holidays from our youth to present. I always feel awkward when the holidays come around and I am not in that festive spirit that seems to take hold of so many. When that moment of silence comes as our plates sit full, that moment after the prayers and thanks given. Where we reflect on the year past, I sit wishing you guys, all of you guys from Just Cause, Desert Storm, Gothic Serpent, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. As well as those lost in our Nations' past endeavors, could have just that moment that I reflect to sit and gaze upon those they love one last time. Merry Christmas Brother. Wish you were here."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Veterans Day 2022 was yesterday. I sat quietly trying to figure out if it was accomplishing anything coming to these pages to write to you guys. I made my way out to the cemetery and visited the graves and couple of buddies.

If you spend too much time trying to make sense of it all it can make you crazy. But then you find out there are other places where people go to leave messages of remembrance and of course we all reflect in our own ways.

Whatever you do, leave the politics out of all it and just focus on the "God, Honor and Country" aspect of it all. Once you retire and disconnect from the Army you no longer get to meet the people who may have crossed paths with people you had years before or would later in your career.

I don't know if you would have ever fully broke free of the green machine, because I am pretty sure your blood ran in camouflaged colors.

I had done the Army-thing from 1986 to 2016. It was in my blood as well. We trained to fight the "Bear" and ended up chasing a Lion across this Middle East.

I lost guys in Panama, Mogadishu, Iraq and Afghanistan. In the "Ms" of Operation Enduring Freedom I have 2 of you. Coming here is heartbreaking and tears the life from you as your fingers hit each key.

I want to quit; I tell myself that I do enough by thinking about you guys all the time. Telling tales about you and sharing the great times we had and the character of the men you were.

But... The same dedication I had to my Nation drags me here every time with a conviction perhaps greater than anything I have ever had before to say how much you impacted my life and effected change in my performance.

So, thanks for waling the path you chose. Doing what you were best at. Being my friend. A little bit of a mentor (Don't let that go to your head, I will deny I ever wrote it.) and thanks for being the best.

Miss you Brother."
William L Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Memorial Day 2022 will hit tomorrow. As I hit the National Cemetery here at Bliss you'll be in my thoughts, as you often are. Just wanted you to know you're thought of Brother."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Day after Christmas, Nation still in a pandemic because you know... People. Thought about you guys yesterday but didn't want to bring down the mood of others by hiding in my spot and writing to all of you. Know you're being thought of those."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Veteran's Day 2021. Dropping by to say Hey."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Roughly 10 days prior you escorted us to the LZ and bid us farewell as our tour came to an end. We were attacked by rockets that night and I feared I would never make it home. Our Chinook went nearly vertical as we sped away to avoid incoming fire. We made it. I think of you often. You are never forgotten brother."
Michael Adkins of Adkins, Texas

"Well you called it. Heather and I were eating lunch and she is excited about getting a new Weimaraner puppy in a few weeks and has been bouncing names off me forever. I told her the two I thought were good that she had picked out. And as the food was almost to my lips she is reading the list off her phone and spouts out “Toby.”

I owe you an apology. I told her about our first two days at Camp Joseph T. Robinson in Arkansas and how I called you “B.O.B.” because you refused to lighten up and be human with a first name. And how you confided in me why you didn’t want to, and sure enough she went there. I knooooow?

Now I know I have covered this with her before because she made Pico de Gallo for your unit when they were at McGregor range in New Mexico and we spent days talking about you, how “Awesome” you were as a guy and human being. That has to get old right? So the story had to have come up?

So I put my foot down and decided the dog’s name would be Sig because she likes this Captain from the Deadliest Catch. Some fishing show I have never watched it. So she says fine “Sigmund.” I said no “Sig” period, no “Sigmund” No “Tobias” just “Sig.”

We go back to eating and she taps something into her phone, (It is a thing I don’t know if they had if before you went to Afghanistan?) “His name will be Sigmund Tobias when I am mad at him.” She huffs and puts her phone down to eat.

Can you believe that? Anyway Roomie, wanted you to know that the week before Memorial Day 2021 you are definitely being thought of and talked about. Much Love Brother. Miss you immensely."
William Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Hey Brother, Just swinging in to drop a simple thinking of you message. My wife wants to hang pictures of my time in the Army where all I want to do is hide the stuff and move on. I look at our class in Arkansas and my God were we a bunch of really pale white men? Lol anyway… I might let her put that up in the garage. I thought about searching the rest of classes’ names here but… I don’t think I could take the heartbreak anymore.
So… Thinking of you Brother."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Veteran's Day 2020 and you should be in Oklahoma celebrating Brother. Just swinging by to say hey and let you know you're thought of. Peace."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Swinging by to let you know you're being thought of. Wish you were here."
William L. Peterson of William L. Peterson

"Well Memorial Day has arrived again, this time in the year 2018. Can you believe it? So it has been on my mind for a while now and as the Air Defenders like to say, “On my radar.” I decided I would start writing this a day in advance to maybe try and keep the somberness of it all done to a dull murmur.
I can’t imagine what it is like for the families, as the day approaches and a lot of people get what it is about wrong, television shows cover how to make your Memorial Day Barbeque a success. Others get it while others are happy have a day off or are grumpy because they have to work.
It gets a little more overwhelming every year as my memory fades and my wife reminds me of things and helps me stay on track. None of you guys know her she is the model that replaced the broken one but of course you can see that from your vantage point. At least I hope you can?
Between Afghanistan and Iraq there are 10 of you guys scattered among the pages. I can only hope the transition from what happened to get you to where you are from where you were went without a hitch? I know it is odd to think about but I just want there to be some peace after all you committed to in the end.
Couple more went after returning home by mystery diseases and then of course those who decided on the ultimate and sadly final solution.
But to happier places.
I want you guys to know you’re always in our thoughts here in El Paso. It is good for my wife’s allergies, (I know don’t ask me?) and I get to wander the base and catch glimpses of some of us from past memories obtained there on Fort Bliss. Andy and I sure have a lot of them and Sergeant Blankenbecler I finished my ANCOC in a room created as a Memorial to you before the school moved to Fort Sill.
So not only were we neighbors for a short period you impacted my life through the NCOs you taught and in preparing me to finish out my career. I could literally talk about you guys for hours, from Fort Hood, to Iraq, North Little Rock and the National Guard base and their interpretation of what out BNCOC should look like to the party afterwards.
Then SGM McLochlin always sits staring back at me from my Basic Training and AIT graduation book from over 35+ years ago. I connect recently with one of the guys from the class we graduated with and he tried to connect me with DS Blackshire but I decided to leave that medium and just be me. Anyway, like I said I could go on forever. Just know that I wish things had turned out different for everyone, and I will do my best to swing in here all the time when I can. I am glad to have known you and served with most of you in one capacity or another.
Cheers fellas."
William L Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Merry Christmas Brother."
William L Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Just swinging by to let you know you’re not forgotten this Memorial Day weekend 2017. It is hard to imagine after all these years that our world has changed so much and we didn’t have one another to bounce our opinions off of. The odd thing about those we lost in combat and in other tragic events and we trek through our careers or time in the armed services is how much more we stay in contact with the dead than we do the living.
Yes we say we’ll stay in touch or we’ll get together down here on Mother Earth but often as time goes by we just lose contact and let those friendships made slip away. I guess in a good many ways the time we did have was so wonderful that the memories are forever imprinted in our conscious and subconscious to the point we see things in the world around us that remind us of you or others. Or once in a blue moon a dream is shared where we can wake up and say thanks Brother.
Anyway I have gone long which as we know is the norm for me. I apologize but I guess is because I wish for the time it took to type this out and think of you I wish you could have been here to rib me one more time or just be that friend we were all that time ago. God Bless, and thank you…"
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX. USA

"Merry Christmas Brother."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Toby… Man what to say? So after all this time I am retiring, no more extensions no more silly Army rules and sadly no more of the type of camaraderie we all shared so long ago. I’m doing this the day before as it is so draining emotionally to go through 16 names, visit one grave and try to live through the good times, the notifications of loss of life and the aftermath as you try to make sense of it all. So I am going through and destroying all my green books with serial numbers, SSNs and what have you and there is the page with all our nicknames and call signs like “King Moussa, Schnoz and Guns”. It sits you back on your heels and takes you to place wow 16 years ago. Miss you Brother."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Hey Bob! Lol, yeah that just happened. Man that was a 100 years ago down there at Camp Joseph T Robinson, Arkansas. I will never forget meeting you, working with you and yes singing! So it is Christmas and while I sat celebrating you and the others were in my thoughts and I had to take a moment to swing by these terrible blue pages and say Merry Christmas and let you know you are forever missed. So today when everyone else is with theirs’ I sincerely wish you were with yours. Love you Brother and miss you."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX

It will be 10 years this December. It's hard to believe that much time has passed. I think of you every Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, December 28th, and every time I have deployed since. RIP.

To your family, especially your wife and son,
I'm sorry he's no longer here, and I'm so sorry for your loss."

There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about you. I am proud to say that I had the privilege of serving with you in afghanistan. You were a man who lead from the front, a great leader. This December will be 10 years since you have past, but it still feels like it was yesterday. I pray that your family has found peace, I often think of your son Will while I'm watching my children play, and hope that he especially is doing well. The cost of freedom is paid by hero's like yourself Toby, and the families of those hero's. I will forever be greatfull of those sacrifices.

I was with Toby when he died. I was the gunner of his humvee. I replay that day over and over in my head and wish I could have changed what happened. During his last moments he was making sure the rest of our guys in the convoy were ok. His last words were "good to go""
Cpl. Gary Epperson USMC Ret. of Muskogee, Oklahoma

"Tomorrow is Memorial Day 2015 and there isn’t one day from the time we met to now that I wish couldn’t be different in the way things played out with the Operations our Nation finds herself engaged in. The pain of so many names and memories leaves me wishing every single day that all of you were still here on this earth with us. I guess being our nature though we would have still found a way to mess it up and mess it up to be a part of this thing so others sons and daughters wouldn’t have to be. I sit sometimes just thinking of your guys and wondering how it would have or could have been different and I know in reality we probably never would have seen each other again. However the short time we did have together in Arkansas made a definite impact on my life and leadership style. God Bless you and keep an eye on that family of yours."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX 79924

"Just stopping by to say hello. Did a MP operation this fall with a SFC that was in your unit with you. We talked about you for days and not one discouraging word and a whole lot of smiles. Just wanted you to know you're remembered Brother."
William L. Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Saw an Oklahoma unit down here at Bliss recently and all I could do is smile as they moved through the food court. I asked if they were Oklahoma and they told me they were and my buddy shrugged and wanted to know what was “up”. I smiled and just reflected how it reminded me of you. I think that is how it went it was a while ago and my short term memory is not as good as it once was. I do tell people about our first meeting and how I had to call you “Bob” for about 2 hours. Miss you Brother."
William Peterson of El Paso, TX

You were the best! You stood out among everyone else not because you were arrogant or proud but because that is the kind of person you are a true leader and true Hero among men! Now you are in Gods Army and with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! I hate we lost the best Soldier I have ever been around but I know your life counted for something and it still does. God bless your wife and your child and may he grow to know what a special dad he has."
Jerome Austin of Ashburn, Va

"Hey Battle, just wanted to stop by and let you know you're in my thoughts often and I sure wish things had been differently. You're missed and I am so happy I had a chance to meet you."
William L Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Today we celebrate the Armed Services on Veteran’s Day honoring ALL American veterans, both living and dead on a day dedicated largely to thank LIVING veterans for dedicated and loyal service to their country. November 11 of each year is the day that we ensure veterans understood that we deeply appreciate the sacrifices they have made in the lives to keep our country free. This is not just for their service in time of war but for the dedicated service of the Nation’s veterans during peace time as an effective deterrent to those who may wish to do us harm.
There really is no way to express with any certainty what our Republic’s veterans carry with them but it should be fully understood that a simple thank often carries significantly more weight than any medal and that knowing the hardships were for not. Today at this moment where I reflect on the many years of dedicated service to God, country, our brothers and sisters I find myself humbled by the steadfast devotion to an ideal many see as slipping away. You are forever endeared and embedded in my every thought and emotion and I wish you the happiness you have earned. God Bless and Salute.

Take Care Roomie, you're still in my thoughts Brother."
William of Peterson

"So today is Memorial Day, a day in which many again will fire up the Barbeques and fish or simply relax in their homes and amongst friends. Yes a couple of years ago I started a correspondence just like this and no I won’t go on a rant about how I feel the people of our nation don’t fully understand what our Republic stands for or used to. I will only release a sigh of a good many emotions for your sacrifice.
Would I rather have you all back in our lives and hoping to hear from you once again, certainly but I understand what your sacrifice meant and hope for those for whom you gave it will carry the brilliant torch of an idea forward into that uncertain night. I am truly respectful of that sacrifice and am honored to have you as friends and colleagues and thank you for all you have given.
In the words of Abraham Lincoln or John Hays (White House Secretary)
“I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.
I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”
God Bless."
William Peterson of El Paso, TX

"Its Memorial Day, didn't think this is how I would be spending it. I figured I'd be with mine and you'd be with yours. Anyway; thinking about you and all the others. God Bless."
William Peterson of Ft Bliss, TX

"Hey there Brother, had a few moments as I sit and reflect on this career of mine. Allot of people sure have come and gone and we always did the "we'll stay in touch" knowing it would be difficult. I am mumbling here but I hope you understand sort of where I am going. You took good care of a whole lot of people and I don't doubt for a moment that in some way you are continuing on with that. This is my attempt at staying in touch, wish you were still here and sorry you left so soon. You're a friend I will never forget."
William Peterson of FT Bliss, TX

"Toby, Just stopping by to say Hello and that you are always in my thoughts. Miss you more than words can say. YOU WERE THE BEST AMONG US!"
Dr. Dennis Black of Murphy, Texas

"Merry Christmas Roomie."
Pete of Ft Bliss, TX

"To the family of:Tobias C. Meister
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""

"Another Veterans day, and another reminder that you are no longer with us. You were and still are an inspiration, I miss you brutha!"
Jeffrey Rice of Phoenix, Arizona

"I learned about the death of SFC Meister shortly after it happened, but I just came across this site. He wasn't a friend and I only knew him about a year. But, aside from my basic training Drill Sergeant, he was the single greatest NCO I've ever come into contact with. He was my instructor at Drill Sergeant School and no one will ever be better."
Nickens of Kansas City, MO

"Another year gone by but you are not forgotten brother! Always missed, Never forgotten!"
SFC(P) Jeffrey Rice of 492D CA BN

"Thank God for Toby Meister.

Pat & Kathy"

"Toby, you were my friend, and always will be. Not a month goes by that I dont think about you, and miss you. I push myself, and never give up because I feel I owe that to you. Thank you for all the professional encouragement you gave us at the 486th B co. we will never forget you."
Love, your brothers in Arms of 486th, B co, Sand springs OK.

"Tour is wrapping up and coming to an end, you've been in my thoughts and had to swing by and just take a moment. Miss you roomie."
Peterson of FOB Paliwoda, Iraq

"I met 1SG Meister at his PRT in Afghanistan. I only met him once, he was one of those men that every man wants to be like. God bless his family."
Dan Melton of Ft. Lee Virginia


I miss you brother! I was there with you in Abad 3 years ago, and I still can't believe that you are gone. You used to yell at me when I called you 1SG, but I couldn't help it. I have so much respect for you and I miss you more than you will know, even though we didn't know each other that long. I pray that God is with you, your wife, and son. I miss you brother!"
Glen Gilbert of Conroe, TX

"Just thinking about you brutha! I miss hearing your laugh and seeing that trademark smile. There are very few men I respect in this world, and even fewer I try to emulate, and you were one of those men. You will always be missed and never forgotten!"
SFC Jeffrey Rice of Kirkush, Iraq

"Hey Toby. You may not remember me but I sent you the candy a few years ago. I'm glad you got the chance to enjoy it. I hope you are doing well in heaven. God bless you."
Daniel Takash of Brielle, New Jersey

"I was the NCOIC of the Embedded Training Team and served with Toby in Afghanistan. Though we were not assigned in Camp Wright we were there regularly. If I had any issues I knew I could turn to him and count on his assistance. This Man was a great Soldier! I am proud to have known and served with him. My Prayers are with his family. So Long My Friend Until We Meet Again!"
Albert Rodriguez MSG (ret) of Las Cruces, New Mexico

"Wanted you to know you're not forgotten Brother."
Peterson of Heading out to Iraq again

"Just stopping by to say hello friend."
Peterson of El Paso, TX

"September 30, 2007
To the family of 1st Sgt. Tobias C. Meister:
Tobias 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


"Toby was my friend. I remember a night in Arkansas at an Outback restaraunt when he refused to tell a group of other soldiers his first name. He said that it was a dog's name and whispered that it was Toby. My ex husband laughed and said that it was not a name for a dog and I had to remind him that we had just had a dog named Toby. Everyone laughed and the ice was broken. This man who was all army was finally just another guy. We had fun, we became a real close group that night and in the following week as he was in the same BNCOC class as my ex husband in June of 2001. I have thought of him often and have talked to him over email and telephone. He made a lasting impression on my life and I will never forget him. He has sacrificed more than anyone could ask and he did it without hesitation. He was a good man, a good person, and an amazing friend. I will miss him always."
Summer Peterson of Copperas Cove, TX

"I was looking at old friends lost and was shocked and stunned to see my roommate from BNCOC 201 class 007-00 here. I am so incredibly sorry for the loss of this man who I considered a wonderful friend and whom I had a great time with and learned from. No words can express my deep sorrow for what I have stumbled upon here tonight. Thank you for being who you were and for allowing me to be a part of your life for a short time. God bless."
William L Peterson of Ft Bliss, Texas

"To the family of Toby Meister, I am so sorry for your loss. I am grateful for the opportunity to have known your son, brother, husband, and father. He was an inspiration to me. I have never met any one person so disciplined in his goals or so motivated and driven. I loved him very much for a time in my life and the world will truley miss him."
Corrie Riland of Dallas, TX

"I met Tobey working at Chili's I also had the pleasure of meeting his Mom and Dad, I just found out about his death and would like his family to know that I will as well as my family will pray daily for your strength and comfort. I am so very sorry."
Amanda Leigh of San Antonio Tx.

"To Alicia and young Will,

I met Toby at the 2002 Drill Sergeant of the Year competition at Fort Monroe, VA. I only met you briefly in the downstairs foyer of the Chamberlin Hotel but I remember you very clearly along with your incredibly driven and professional husband. I just want you to know that I think of Toby frequently as I keep running across his e-mail address in my Yahoo account - I just can't bring myself to delete it. I am so sorry for your loss and want you to know that you and your family are always in my prayers. I'm still serving in the Army and I'm grateful for the time I spent serving (and competing) with Toby. God bless y'all!"
MSG Huston of Fort Monroe, VA

Please KNOW so many people share your sadness,
and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief.
Our nations HERO, Tobias will be remembered by name.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Pat & Sandi Breckenridge / Montana
May we always remember: FREEDOM ISN'T FREE!

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."
Mike Casey of El Paso, Texas

"Thank you Tobias Meister, 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 1st Sgt. Tobias Meister:
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 Tobias 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 1st Sgt. Tobias Meister:
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 Tobias, 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