Fallen Heroes of Operation Enduring Freedom

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

Navy Interior Communications Electrician First Class Petty Officer Thomas E. Retzer

30, of San Diego, California.
Retzer died of wounds received in action in Afghanistan. Died on June 25, 2003.

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"Uncle Tommy, you are missed by so many. Thank you for being the brave man that you always will be. To this day I make it a point to tell everyone about you and your courage. I'll see you one day. We all love you.!"
Ashley Riddle of Lancaster Ca.

"To the family of IC1 Tom Retzer,

I am truly sorry for your loss. I just learned of Tom's passing last night as I watched the credits of Act of Valor. I only spent a short time with Tom at IC "A" school in San Diego. The thing I remember most was his determination in his running. Congratulation on making it so far in the Seals. Thank you for your service and your ultimate sacrifice. My thoughts go to his family and close friends. And he will be remembered by others that had only spent a brief time with him."
James Maguire IC2 of Ft Lauderdale, Fl.

"I knew Tommy when we were kids. I am just now finding out about his passing. We were in san diego together and he was the most wonderful person I knew. When my dad was transferred I left without saying good-by because the thought of never seeing his smile again hurt to much. He found me once and wrote me a letter and ended up having one last conversation over the phone. I am not suprised that Tommy served his country so honorably. Tommy always put a hundred percent into everything he did. I looked up to him because he was always so smart, dedicated and responsible. Tommy always had his priorities right and after reading all the wonderful things the people he encountered in his life have said I realize that I am not alone,everyone Tommy touched never forgot him and loved him dearly. I am so proud to have known you Tommy and will still forever miss you. My prayers are with your wife and children and my hope is that your children will forever know what hero their dad is not only for them but for each and every American. Thank you Tommy for your sacrifice, for your family, for your country, for each of us everyday who enjoys the freedom we live each day. All of us owe you more than we could ever give."
Kristin Smith of Russellville AR

"”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 2,000 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 some wonderful sponsors who help with the costs, and only want you know that we 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

"Tommy was my cousin and friend. Whenever I heard about his progress and success in all phases of his SEAL training and beyond, I was never surprised that he was doing so well and going so far so fast. He was a model of dedication and commitment. I wish we could have spent more time together, but whenever we were together, we had great times. He was one of the most decent people I have ever known. Whenever I hear or read about SEALs, among other times, I think of Tommy and am proud to have known him and honored that one of these great men was, and is, a member of the family. Thank you, Tommy, for all you gave to this country. You are missed but will always be remembered."
Michael Leach of Roseville, CA

"Big brother it has been 5 years now since you were taken from us, their is not one day that goes by that i don't think of you and miss you. You are my role model and i look up to you. You were the one that pushed me to do things cause you believed in me and knew i could do it and i am forever greatful to have & call you my older brother. We all Love you and Miss you with all our heart. Tommy(Gun) you have me hooked on Guinness"
Michael Retzer ( Little Brother ) of Tacoma, Washington

"Even though we never met, Aunt Debbie told me. My first thoughts were Oh my God, what about his wife and babies? And Auntie (Tom's Mom)?? My heart went out to all of you. I e mailed Chuck, (He was deployed).All our hearts, thoughts and prayers went out to you. I have so much respect for you. You have no idea how much you have helped me. Bless you and yours. The best Sailors are watching over us."
Patti P of Alief, TX USA

"I met Tom in boot camp and we were roommates in IC "A" School. After getting to know Tom he motivated me and inspired me and I am a better person because of him. Here are some memories I have of Tom- I remember He would run from A school to Coronado so he could go hang out at the base where he wanted to train to become a SEAL. When he wasn’t running to Coronado he was running to Mission Beach, Point Loma or SDSU. He always talked about how much fun SDSU was. He made me run the steeple chase track with him. He took a bunch of guys to the apple festival and that was great. He loved Jane's Addiction and Buffet at the time. He set the IC "A" school track record for the 1.5 mile run. He introduced me to Lidia’s in Chula Vista. He introduced me to Independence Blvd and how to haggle for blankets from the vendors in TJ. JL's dip. We drank beers together in Great Lakes when it was so cold they closed down the base. In GL he said a friend turned him on to a new recipe for “sugar cookies”. Tom always talked about his family and how much he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and how proud he was of his brother. Tom is the most dedicated person I have ever met and I consider Tom a brother. He lived the life I wanted but never could- a Navy SEAL. I learned about Tom's death only last year. Tom is a hero and I will never forget him. He loved life, his country and most of all- his family. 15March2008 Rod C
Boot Camp sister Company, "A" school classmate"
Rod C of Massachusetts

"Tom, I can't wait to see you again. My cancer is getting worse but the one good thing is that I'll get to hang out with my big brother again. Have a cold one waiting for me. I love you dearly and miss you everyday. Looking forward to seeing you....."
Sister of Kenosha

"Tom, you were my friend. You called me "Tex", and I called you "rojo". I can't count the times we listened to the Steve Miller band cd. To this day every time I hear a Steve Miller song you always come to mind. We were stationed in Great Lakes together awaiting our orders to BUDS. Chief Mefferd was our chief and as a whole we all were close. I remember your energy, the first time we all went skydiving in Wisconsin, that ugly station wagon you and Sather bought "dagoose2". We helped each other out in BUDS. Although you made it and I did not, I wish I could have been by your side in that firefight. Fair winds my fallen friend, you will always be in my mind. If I find the video of our skydive I will try and get it to your boys. You will be missed! To his parents, wife and son's. Tom was an insipation to me. During training I would always look and see how well Tom was holding up and that kept me going. I just learned of his death, it is now 5 years since. My night here at work just went to the pits because Tom was my friend. May you rest in peace my friend!"
Brandon W. Wolfford of Baytown, Tx U,S.A.

"December 8, 2007
To the family of First Class Petty Officer Thomas E. Retzer:
Thomas 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

"Teammate you are missed! I was in class 198 with you. You were one of the oringinals of the class with me, a roommate during training and a freind. I will get the photos I have of you during training to your two boys. Fair winds and claim sea my brother. You are missed, may God bless your family."
Bucky of Atlanta, GA

"Rest in Peace Tom. Its been 4 years since your passing and about 14 since we first met. For a time, Tom and I were buddies, 'A' school, Great Lakes, off to BUDS. I remember graduating 'A' School while everyone else is getting there orders to a ship, someone overlooked ours, so we had to run around all day chasing paperwork down until we got it straightened out. Brings a smile to my face, as well as all the memeories in that short period of time. You were one of a kind Tom. You really were. Wish I could have stood beside you that day, as I was working in Iraq, only a studder step away, but thats how it usually was. Your memory will live on. My heartfelt condolences to the Retzer family."
JL of New England

"I was there the day he passed. I didnt know him, but knew he was a special person. He was joking and smiling up until the mission. I've never met a more professional group of men. To the family of Thomas, just know that he has served well and is sitting at his maker's side."
Ed of NC

"I will never forget Tommy, so smart and a super sweetheart. I'll see you cousin on the other side. Thank You for giving your all."
Yvonne Fox of Tacoma,WA/USA

"Tom... our family misses you so much. Your boys are looking more and more like you everyday.

Your memory is still very much alive"
sister of VA

"I loved my brother Thomas Retzer and i looked up to him not just as an older brother but as a father figure and wanted to be like him always and still try to till this day.i also honor his memory at http://www.freewebs.com/jkretz/"
juston retzer of bemidji, mn usa

"I only saw Tommy several times when he was a youngster at our family reunions.Hia mother & I are 1st cousins. We would meet in Visalia at Mooney's Grove & have a wonderful day seeing family members that we had not seen in years. His Mother & I were very close as kids & then drifted apart as we got older. My prayers go out to his wife & children & his parents & siblings. God Bless all the men & women in our armed forces for their sacrifices they make each & everyday to keep this a free nation."
Arlene Beeman of Mentone,Ca. USA

"My cousin Tommy has been gone for almost 3 years now. I think of him and still cry for him everyday. All the years, growing up, he knew he wanted to be a Navy Seal. My heart fills with pride when I think of him, how much he loved his job and how good he was at it. I remember Tommy when we were kids and that is the part that still stings. I feel lucky to have those memories and even more so to have known and loved him. As I read the other messages, it's obvious, he was loved by many. I'll never forget him or stop loving and missing him."
Jennifer Duvall of Phoenix, AZ

"Nothing but the utmost respect for the man and the family behind the man. Thank you for your sacrifice."
A grateful BUD/s student of San Diego CA

"I would like to take this moment to honor the men and women of our military who died while serving for our nation. The sacrifices Petty Officer Retzer made and the deeds he performed shall remain alive in our memories for generations to come. The VFW expresses sincerely our pride and gratitude for the tasks they fulfilled.

Raymond Wong
Interior Communications Chief
US Navy, Retired
Vietnam War Veteran
Commander, VFW District 15, Department of California"
Raymond Wong of San Francisco

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

"I did not know Tom, but I was an IC myself. I was doing research as I heard they were doing away with this rating, and came across this site.
I just want you and your family to know there are many out here that believe in what men such as Tom (and woman as well) are doing. We understand the cause is just as what many out here take for granted, is in jepeordy. It will be heros such as Tom answering this call without question as they know what is at stake for them, us and most of all, their families that save this great experiment we call Amercia.

God bless Tom and his family."
Douglas Pinette of Weare, NH

"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

"Courtney, I was so sorry to hear about Tom. I think of you and the boys often and the sacrifices you have had to make. Tom was an awsome guy and I am so proud to have known him. The sacrifice he made for our country will not be ever be forgotten. Kelly gave me his memorial service bulletin and I keep it in my living room and use at a constant reminder of the sacrifice that he made for all of us. I thank him and I thank you for supporting him as well. You and the boys can be proud and know Tom was a brave, proud, selfless man, a good husband and loving father. He was a good man. My love to you and the boys. And my thanks to a fellow shipmate, you will not be forgotten Tommy boy. A true hero to the end. Thank You."
MA2 Dan Fleming of Savannah, GA

"To the family of Tom Retzer. I am a brand new SEAL and I just wanted to say that in searching for guideance within this job of ours it is to great men like your Tom that the men of the teams turn to when looking for the way they should do their job. I am deeply sorry for your loss and I will keep you in my prayers.

"To the family, my deepest sympathy. There is never enough words one could say. He was a hero. I have chosen this name to do a memorial for. This is something that will be sent to his family. So if you could, please contact me. It will help me get this to you. BumBicA1@aol.com"
Sonja of Santa Rosa, CA

"Petty Officer Retzer, goodbye sailor 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 comfort and peace to your family in their time of need and sorrow. May you forever rest in heavenly peace. You will not be forgotten."
a grateful citizen in arizona

"Today is the one year anniversary of my husband's memorial service...the day before his favorite holiday, The 4th of July. Every year he'd drag the kids and me to a park or the beach at the crack of dawn so we could get a good spot for the fireworks that night. He'd be absolutely giddy he was so excited. I miss him so much. Our sweet boys are a constant reminder of him. He left me a part of himself in each of them that I cling to. Thank you for all your kind words. It is such a comfort to know that both friends and strangers promise to remember his name and all that he did to protect us. I always told him I was his biggest fan. I am so proud of my husband and thankful to his very brave and steadfast teammates who continue the mission unseen. Tom was in good company."
wife of VA

"To The Retzer Family...Grieve no more for Tom is with God and forever know that he did not suffer. I have only known of his sacrifices second hand through one that was there in the last moments. For the protection of my family I must remain nameless. Tom was a dedicated SEAL and great man that loved his family more than words, never doubt this because these are words he had spoken many times. God Bless You All. Be at Peace, you are not alone. Many prayers are said for all of you."
Lk of USA

"Tom, it was an honor to serve beside you in the battle against terrorism. I will not forget your sacrafice."

"I knew Tom and had the honor of serving with him in San Diego @ ST3. Tom was a good man who loved his children and wife. The last time I saw Tom was in Utah in January 2003. He was there training. We took a day and went skiing together. Tom and I talked alot on that trip and I can tell you that he believed in his mission and missed his family. Tom was a great father, husband and operator. He will be missed. I am very sorry for your loss."
MIKE of San Diego,CA,USA


"Dear Retzer Family: I am so very sorry for the loss of your loved one. Thomas made the ultimate sacrafice, he gave his life for all Americans, just so we could sleep safely at night knowing people like Thomas are out there protecting us.I will NEVER FORGET. He is and always will be a TRUE AMERICAN HERO. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. God Bless. Thomas: THANK YOU. May you rest in peace."
Jessica of Rio Vista,CA

"I had the pleasure of knowing Tom and being his friend for 11 years. I met Tom when we were stationed in Great Lakes, IL together. He had a positive and lasting impact on my life from the moment we met. My children called him "Uncle Tom". I feel honored having had the privledge to be close with Tom and his wonderful family. Tom was a tremendous father and brave warrior!! He was second to no one. He will live on forever in the hearts of everyone who knew him. We miss and love you Tom."
Dean Hohman of Lumberton, NC USA

"My cousin Thomas, or shall I say,"TOMMY" was one of the most remarkable men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Even when we were growing up it waws obvious that Tom was destined for greatness. Never before in my 32 years of life have I known someone as confident and capable as he. Fighting for the freedom of all of us and in the end giving his life for that freedom sheds far more light on this wonderful man than my words ever could. Tom was diligent in his work with the United States Navy Seals, this has been shown by the many commendations he recieved in his shortened carreer. I guess the reason I am posting is because I miss him so bad. It has been nearly a year since Toms tragic death, and yet I find myself unable to let him go. The loss I feel is like none i've never felt. I miss him, he was just a wonderful person. His wife and children were always number one in his life. I only wish that by the time my life comes to an end, that I can be half the man Tommy was....Tom, you are forever in my heart. I promise you will never be forgotten..I love you.."
Chris Riddle of Palmdale, California

"Only because of the bravery of Americans like Thomas E. Retzer do the rest of us live in the safety and freedom that we do.

God bless this man and his family. And from my family, please know the respect we feel for him."
The Estes Family of Phoenix, AZ

"Thank you Thomas Retzer, 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 Interior Communications Electrician First Class Petty Officer Thomas Retzer:
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 Thomas 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 Interior Communications Electrician First Class Petty Officer Thomas Retzer:
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 Thomas, 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