Fallen Heroes of Operation Enduring Freedom

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

Army Staff Sgt. Gene Arden Vance, Jr.

38, of Morgantown, West Virginia.
Vance was killed when his unit came under attack from hostile forces in Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 19th Special Forces Group, West Virginia National Guard. Died on May 19, 2002.

Vance was posthumously promoted to Staff Sergeant.

Staff Sgt. Vance's surviving family includes his wife, Lisa Selmon Vance, his mother, June C. Steele, his brother, David Vance, his sister, Jamie Vance-Minc, his grandmother, Virginia Steele, a daughter, Amber Vance, a grandson Hunter Arden Vance, as well as numerous aunts and cousins.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Army Staff Sgt. Gene Arden Vance, Jr..


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Leave a message in memory of this servicemember, and/or to the loved ones left behind.

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"SSG. Vance, it has been more than 20 years since I tended to you in Afghanistan. You cross my mind often. I hope you are at peace."
SSG. Stephen Trala of Jefffersonille, VT USA

"I actually watched the show "Profiles From the Front Lines" on the internet today. The episode that I watched was the one that featured Gene. I was struck by the fact that tomorrow is the 13th anniversary of his passing and I can only imagine the grief that still lays heavy on the hearts of his family. May God bless all of you. He did not die in vain and he is not forgotten."
Rob of Lenoir City, TN

"I knew Gene quite well when he was on compassionate reassignment when his father fell ill and passed away. He was generous, funny, and so giving. God truly gained an angel when Gene was taken!"
Judy Boothe of Burbank OH


"butterfliefl@aol.com...daughter Amber Vance"
Amber of Lakeland,fl

"The company that made the Memorial Bracelet for Sgt. Gene Vance found the owner and we'll be able to get it back to him. Thanks to everyone that help make this happen."
Rodney Barnes of Whittier, NC

"Someone I know on FB found a bracelet with Mr. Arden's name on it. If anyone knows how to get a hold of someone please send RODNEY BARNES a private message on facebook..."
Jennifer of Laporte, IN USA

"that last post is a web address with a photo of the bracelet"
glenn humphries of pennsylvania

"There was another memorial bracelet found in southern Oklahoma near ft.sill if anyone would like to claim it contact me csorrell08@aol.com.if the family would like it just email me"
Cortney of lawton ok

"FOUND MEMORIAL BRACELET! I got the following message from a friend of a friend on Facebook with a picture of a MEMORIAL BRACELET: "Found this memorial bracelet last week while on vacation at Myrtle Beach SC. Could you help me find the owner? I know it must mean alot to them, It would to me. My e-mail addrss is rodwbarnes@yahoo.com. Thanks so much.""
Tammi Moore of Maryland

"My name is Shelia Trent, Gene Vance was my 1st cousin, we were among 8 other grandkids and we grew up very close, no one even his wife at that time of only 3 months will ever know how this effected his family. the army and his wife lisa knew him as gene, we the family knew and those close knew him as buddy boy, and alot of people probably did't know that. me and buddyboy were just like brother and sister and i still miss him dearly and i took his death very bad. i was the one who had to go tell his mother june, that he was gone, and it was one of the hardest thing i have ever done. it is still hard to even talk about and it has been 10 years this memorial weekend that we lost him, buddy, you are and will always be our Friendly Giant, love you, my brother"
shelia trent of iaeger, w.va.

"To my popo Sgt. Gene A Vance Jr.
Today is my 2nd birthday, I celebrate with my two brothers whom you also never met. I know you would have enjoyed me as much as I would have enjoyed you.
God called you away, on that awful tragic day. I know my momma misses you
as she says so everyday. I wish I could of met you Im sure you'd love to play.
I thank you for protecting me when we were in harms way. Just wished you could of stayed and met me I'm your little Jadeorade."
Jade of Florida

"”Honor and Remember” - “Project Compassion” We love our Soldiers! We love our country and we cannot express enough love and compassion to the families of our fallen heroes. War does not discriminate – It breaks our hearts to see the faces of the fallen. We want to give this gift to the hero’s Mother, Father and/or spouse. We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization! Almost 2,100 portraits have been completed and shipped to the parents and or spouse - at no cost as this is a gift from one American to another!
This is a gift! We have wonderful sponsors who help with the costs, and want you know that everyone here at Project Compassion does and will always CARE.
Contact us directly at Projectcompassion@manti.com or go to www.heropaintings.com . If you have already had a portrait completed, we pray that you are enjoying the portrait and God Bless You.
Sincerely and Respectfully,
Project Compassion - Kenna of Manti, Utah USA

"God bless the Vance family. My son is in the 2nd Btn., 19th Special Forces Group and was with the unit when Sgt. Vance lost his life. Everyone thought he was one of the best in the unit and he is missed and remembered. Here it is six years later and my son is preparing for his third deployment--back to Afghanistan this time. Not a year goes by that I don't remember Gene on Memorial day most especially.

I recall thinking that year (2002) as Memorial Day was approaching how it was so good that no soldier in the unit had lost his life in the deployment. Then I was stuned when I heard that we had lost one. I'll never forget how my heart stopped...wondering who it was and thinking of my own son and being so worried for all the unit.

There is a weight/exercise room at the unit in Huntington, WV that bears Gene's name. In this way he continues to be part of the unit. I have read so much about Gene and will continue to honor his memory. God bless his family and all the members of the 2-19."
Debbie Mecca, Blue Star Mom of Ashland, KY, USA

"I am the widow of SSG Gene Vance and would greatly appreciate any contact from those who served with Gene. I have moved away from WV and am availabe at hot4salsa@gmail.com (Gene proposed to me with a pair of Salsa skewers for the bike he built for me thus the user name). Please email and I'll give you further contact information. I have never had a chance to speak to anyone in detail who was actually with Gene during his last moments and would greatly appreciate any contact."
Lisa S. Vance of Orlando, FL

"I knew Gene when we were both young and probably going out into the larger world for the first time. We were nineteen year-olds in basic training at Ft. Bliss, TX. We noticed each other because we were the tallest ones in our company. I remember him as a man of conviction; quiet but sure about what was right. I was saddened to learn about his death, but also assured that people like him were standing up for our country in those dark days following 9-11. I wish the very best for his family. May they remember the best of him and move forward in the America he was willing to defend."
Ken Kaufman of Somerville, NJ (formerly of the Philly area)

"To the Vance family:

I do not know your family, but I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. And to Gene, thank you sir for serving our country and keeping us safe. you have made the ultimate sacrifice so that others may live. I thank you, and even though my three kids are too young to understand, I know that one day they will thank you too."
Swartz of Akron Ohio

"May 18, 2007
To the family of Gene Arden Vance, Jr. Gene 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

""Thank You Gene for service and sacrifice you were a hero to me in Afghanistan.As I watched and attended to you during the last moments of your life, I realized just what a true hero you really were. It was a honor pleasure to serve with you during such a difficult time, your passing left an empty space for all of us on the team. " God bless you and your family"."
MSG Mark LaJoye 20th SFG of Columbus,GA USA

"I knew Gene Back at Ft. Bragg. He went through the Morse Code portion of my SF class, and then went on to his intel stuff. Everyone liked Gene. He was quiet, but funny. Later, I deployed with him to Afghanistan. I now do intel work. I was at Ft. Meade recently, his name is on a wall at NSA. Seeing his name surprised me. I'm proud to have known him. I think of him pretty often."

"You gave your life to better the lives of others. You will never be forgotten!
God Bless your family."
Jennifer of Cocoa, Fl

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.

"Green Berets All The Way!"

"Vance family, I was there with Gene. I have finally been able to write something for all the friends we lost over there. We love you and we miss you bro"
matt of NC

"Gene was a good friend to me many years ago and I'm better to have known him, and so sad for his loved ones lose."
Jennifer Conlin of DC

"To the family of Gene Arden Vance Jr. Thank you for raising a son that picked a path that so few today travel. I too severed in the 19th Group intell unit that your son was in. I relocated to South Carolina approx a year before he joined the 19th. My wife brought me the daily paper and I was deeply sadden to see a fallen brother featured on the front page. I went to work that day and it wasn't the same. I cried that night, the first time I can remember in a long time. May your days now be filled with the good times you had with Gene. As an ex 19th soldier I salute Gene, and pray for the others still serving. God Bless you all."
James D. McDaniel of Aiken, South Carolina

"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

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

"I have his bracelet and wear it every day with honor never taking it off unless the situation dictates otherwise. If the family of SSG Vance wishes to have I would be more than willing to return it however it would have to be soon because I'm on my way to my first tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. To contact me e-mail me at lance.mendoza@us.army.mil
With love to all that have fallen
SPC Mendoza"
SPC Lance Mendoza of Seattle, WA U.S.A.

"I have just read Sgt. Gene Arden Vance Jr.'s letters that he wrote home from Afghanistan that were reprinted in today's New York Times. His first letter was dated April 23, 2002-- the day my baby girl was born. It touched my heart to think that while I was having a baby, a man that I have never met was already fighting to protect her, half a world away. To Gene Arden Vance, Jr., I say: Thank you, Sir. I am saving your letter from the paper so that when my daughter can read, she will realize what you did to protect our lives and freedom, and know that you were not just a soldier, but a father and a husband, too. To the family of Sgt. Vance, I am so sorry for your loss. You will be in our thoughts and prayers."
Jessica of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

"I believe that your husbond and all the other men and women who have passed are all hero's in my eyes. My husbond is currently on tour in Afghanistain. Your story touched my heart. My heart goes out to you."
Samantha Curry of Scholfield BKS, Hawaii

"I am so very grateful for this brave soldier. He made my family and my nation by his noble service.

Everything we have is due to brave men like he. God bless his family."
The Estes Family of Phoenix, AZ

"Thank you Gene Vance, Jr., 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. Gene Vance, Jr.:
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 Gene 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. Gene Vance, Jr.:
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 Gene, 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