Fallen Heroes of Operation Enduring Freedom

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

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Howard A. Walters

33, of Port Huron, Michigan.
Walters died in an MH-53M helicopter accident in Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 20th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida. Died on November 23, 2003.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Air Force Tech. Sgt. Howard A. Walters.


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"To the family of Howie Walters, my deepest condolences to you. I am so sorry for your loss, and so proud to have served with Howie at Castle AFB. Though this happened in 2003, I am just finding out now, and my heart is heavy. He was a great guy. I'll never forget calling some number out of the phone book one night after a night partying with the boys and calling his wife of all people. He never let me live that down, lol. Kalie, his love for you was amazing and so visible, even when you were just a baby and we were all just young men, proud to be serving our country. He was so proud of you even then. God Bless you Howie, and thank you for paying the ultimate sacrifice."
Brian McIntosh of Shrewsbury, MA


I has been ten years now since receiving the horrible news...How time flies. Although you are missed, you are never forgotten. Your memory lives on in our memories of the great times we shared. Your laugh, your crooked smile, those are the things I will miss most...until the day I take steering to one and see you again..."
Fellow PaveLow Gunner of Colorado

I am looking for a family member and location to where I can send a quilt in memory of T.Sgt. Howard Arlen Walters. I am the MI. coordinator for Home of the Brave Quilt Project. Please contact me if you would like a quilt in memory of your husband.
Thank You
Pauline Keiser
Pauline Keiser of kalamazoo, MI

"Rest in peace Howie. I just recently found this site, so I'm a bit late with responding, my heart goes out to Howie's wife and children. I met a guy last week who was stationed with Howie in the 20th, and he told me how the crash happened. My feelings for Howie came flooding back as if I just heard about the crash, I was devistated, I still am. I met Howie at Castle AFB when he was new to the Air Force, he was an intelligent, good natured young man who was well liked by those who knew him. I had a chance to get to know him in a way not many knew him. While we were deployed during Desert Storm, he needed someone to confide in, and he chose me. Howie was without a doubt one of the good guys. This world will be a lesser place without him in it. God bless you Howie and your family for your ultimate sacrafice."
Paul Dunn, MSgt USAF Retired of Tucson, Az.

""To the family of Howard A. Walters ,I am so sorry for the loss of your love one.He died a hero.May you know the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Hopefully we will all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need someone to pray with you or talk to please call or write my pastor at Gateway Community Church,Rev John B Pearrell 11677 Brown Bridge Rd. Covington Ga. 30016 phone 770-787-1015""

"22 September 2009 - I am a long time friend of Howard's to way back in grade school...though we did not keep in touch over the years. My boyfriend in high school was best friend's with him and we double dated to our high school prom. I was very upset when I found out last summer at our 20 year high school reunion that he was gone....I was really hoping to see him and to catch up. He was a great guy in school and I believe would have probably made a great father and husband...reading these comments I see I was right. I was searching for something about Howard on the suggestion of a co-worker. Earlier this week I had a dream where Howard had come to talk to me and in the dream I knew he was gone and was suprised to see him. He wanted me to check on his wife and daughters, but didn't say why. I hadn't thought about Howard in a while, so thought it weird that I would have a dream like this out of the blue...so thought I would reach out any way I could. I just wanted to let you know that there are still those of us out here that keep Howard and his family in our hearts and miss him. Hope you are all doing well....I miss you Howard!!"
Stacie (Short) Brozo of Casco, MI sbrozo3@comcast.net

"I am the mother of Army Sgt. Diane Gilliam, who survived the crash of November 23. 2003. If anyone would like to discuss the crash I am open to talking to you.

Anita Coyoli-Cullen
714 846 9017 home
714 290 6176 cell"
Anita Coyoli-Cullen of Huntington Beach, Ca, USA

"To the family of TSgt Walters: My name is Stephanie Purser, wife of SSG John Purser, who was also on board the aircraft with TSgt Walters. I posted a message on here a few years ago and received kind messages from some of the family members of the fallen. It's hard to believe that almost 6 years have gone by since the crash and that event is still surrounded by so much mystery for me. In late August 2008, I finally managed to visit their grave markers at Arlington National Cemetery to pay my respects. I realize that these lists of fallen heroes have not been updated since 2 November 2006 but I decided to post a more recent message to let the family members know that I still think about those 5 men every single day."
Stephanie Purser, purserstephanie@yahoo.com of East Central Alabama

"Howie, Although we didn't see each other, but a handfull of times I will never forget you. Dad talks of you often, your smile, your walk, how you thought of others before yourself. I only wish I could have seen you more. This year for Christmas Melissa sent us a picture of your girls. Their beautiful girls,Howie. You should be very proud. I have thought of you often over the years.And will continue to do so. Until we meet again, your sister. I love you bro!"
LeeAnn Walters of Manton, Mi 49663

"November 26, 2007
To the family of Tech. Sgt. Howard A. Walters:
Howard 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

"I just came from the University of Michigan's Tri-Service Military Ball. At the ball, the military members were given KIA bracelets with service members names on them. I was given your name. I wanted to find out more about you so I searched your name on the web. This was the first website that came up. I wanted you to know that service members like you will never be forgotten. You died defending our nation. Your memory will live on."
Trevor Hunter, C/4c, AFROTC of AFROTC Det. 390 Ann Arbor, MI

"Your memory still lives on,,in the hearts of your friends and family.J.Navaria"
John Navaria of Lawrence,Ma

"Hey Howie, it's your friend all the way back from Ruth n Bacon Elementary. Thanks for putting my picture in our senior yearbook on page 76. Here's what you signed in my book. "Eric, Hey man we'll have to party over the summer. Me and Gary will stop over and go fishing again. Take Yer easy. Good luck Howard Walters 88. Air Force #1." I sure wish we could have went fishing one more time. You'll never be forgotten here my friend. I hope you family has found peace for your service to our country. I'm sure the're proud of you I am."
Eric of Warren, MI

"Tomorrow is Veteran's Day. And as the day gets closer, I keep thinking about Kalie and Melissa, Bre, Sammi, and little Gracie. I think about how these beautiful, young girls are going to grow up without a father. But if you ever get to meet any of these girls, you will soon discover that they will probably look at life with more love and happiness in their hearts than anyone else. Melissa is doing a great job raising these 4 girls. Kalie is one of my best friends and she has brought so many smiles to my face. I'm sorry for their loss. I wish I could have met Mr. Walters, because if he is anything like his family, he would definitely be worth meeting.

Thank you Mr. Walters for serving this country, keeping me and my family free, and raising gorgeous, smart girls.
Forever Love,
Rachael Eileen Cain of FWB, FL

"I am a friend of MR. Walters daughter kalie and this made me sooooo said I send my condelences to Mrs. Walters and to Kalie and her sisters"
Ricky Jones of Fort Walton Beach, Florida

"Melissa and Girls,
I just wanted you to know that you are all still in my prayers...and when I see a pav low flying trough the air on base I always think of Howie and the great sacrifice he made for our country and for what he believed in.
He is not forgotten...may God bless and keep you all.
Suzanne Day
Suzanne Day of Hurlburt Feild AFB Florida


Me and a few of the guys from the 31st were just talking about you today.. You are not forgotten my friend. Cant believe its been over 2 years.. hope you are drinking a beer with Kurt, Tom, Plummer and Scooter as you read this.
Seth Meashey of 6th SOS

I would like to say thank you to you and the other men who died in that '53 crash 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

"To the families of those who perished in and to those who survived this crash. My daughter, Sgt. Diane Gilliam, survived this crash, and yet the survivors of the crash are not receiving fair treatment by the army. You assistance is needed in making sure that all of the survivors receive fair treatment. Also, if there is a witness to Spc Gary Craig's saving of Jonathan Purser we need for you to come forward so that Gary can receive his proper accommodation for his actions

Anita Coyoli-Cullen

Proud Army Mom of Diane Gilliam
Survivor of Helicopter Crash in Afghanistan
Anita Coyoli-Cullen of Huntington Beach,Ca, USA

"People who give it their all, like Howard A. Walters brighten even the darkest of times.
My concolences to the family and friends of Mr. Walters, he will be remembered."
of Virginia Beach, Virginia/USA

"To the loved ones of Tech Sergeant Walters-My name is Stephanie Purser, wife of Army Ranger SSG Johnathan Purser. John was also on board the same helicopter. He barely survived and was cut free from his harness at the last minute by a Specialist also from 10th Mountain. He received 3rd degree burns on his face and upper body and does not remember most of the crash. I did not know Tech Sergeant Walters but I wanted you to know that not a day goes by that I don't pause to reflect on his life and the lives of the four other service members who died that day."
Stephanie Purser of FT Benning, GA purserstephanie@yahoo.com


"Hi Melissa and girls... before Christmas I sent a picture to you and I was wondering if you ever recieved it? Please I would really appreciate hearing from you.. Thank you so much. You have my e mail address. God Bless"
Sandra of Shelby Twp

"Dearest Melissa, Kalie, Sammy, Brie and Gracie,

Thinking and praying for you always. Love and thanks, Jo xxx"
Jo of Destin, Florida.

"Hey guys,

I hope this finds you doing well. Right now the emotions are running pretty high and I know what you are going through. I know you are strong like your dad and husband and will make it through it. This Tue. I will be lifting a toast to the guys and they as you will be in my prayers. They will always be with us and you can rest easy knowing they won't be forgotten. Now it is our job to make them proud, which I am sure they are. Take care.

Love Ken"
Ken Kerwood of Chesterfield, Mo.

"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"

"During Desert Storm, Howie was on my "load crew". One night we were preparing to load some B52's. Something wasn't wired correctly - the look on his face was priceless... I do know that he was a real fast runner! :)

Howie holds a part in my life as one of my original Air Force friends (Castle AFB). I will always think about him and remember his laugh. Nice guy! God Bless You..."
Greg Ruhl of Seymour Johnson AFB, NC

"Howie, how times change throughout your career. I remember when you and Randy first got to Castle AFB and you used to be leery of the live weapons we used to load. You used to get so mad that you would go sit in the truck because I would goof around with lives. I remember the night MSgt Garcia told me to check on you and Randy during an exercise because you had fallen asleep in the car with the engine running. The best memories though are how we used to party till the sun came up. I'm sorry it took me so long to find this site but it is worth it. Vaya Con Dios, Howie. You are the true definition of HERO. To Howies Family, Never hold your heads down in his memory. You have every right to hold them high when you honor his memory."
TSgt Israel (Izzy) Menchaca of Nellis AFB, Nevada

"To the family of Howard A. Walters
I am so sorry for your loss, we are a group of people online that are makeing a framed embroidery for each fallen sholdier as something to keep for the family, well I chose Howard as my soldier.. What I need is for someone to e mail me so that I might have an address as to where to send the framed embroidery.. Please contact me sancraft1@aol.com again I am so very very sorry for your loss.. I have three brothers that once served in Viet Nam.."
Sandra Binert of Shelby Township Mi.

"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

Howie was a best friend to me, at one time just a smoke and joke friend to a serious day to day and heart felt friend. We attended SIU for a year together day in and day out we worked together both school and flying for several years. He got used to my jeep breaking down back and forth from school everyday and even became quite good at jumping out and grabbing the parts that were falling off when we drove down the road. We blasted Kid Rock songs about our hometowns and the state of Michigan. For a short little guy Howie became someone I looked up to all the time. How could someone always be so happy and smiling I wondered. The funny part is every time I would wonder that I always ended up with a smile on my face as well and seemed to share in Howies joy for life. It still happens when I think about him even today, I smile.
Mel I pray for you and your family and wish you the best of luck. I will always be there for you and my family will always be there for you!
A lot of us Pave guys use movies and quotes to express how we feel. Growing up in Paves over the last decade there are alot of words that mean a lot to me. If I had to sum it up, I’d pick one of my favorites Pals we all have pals, my pals are anyone that flies Pave, flew Pave before me or will fly Pave after me. Those who support Paves, Those are my Pals.
SCARS yes I have scars, too many scars, our scars…. Kurt Upton, Brooks Gruber, Plummer, Scooter, Walkup and Howie

I Miss you guys, My PAVE brothers, God Bless

Fritz of 50ft 130knots

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


I have thought about you and your family since we saw each other last. I know that you come to this site often to hear things about your dad. I know for me it is part of the healing process. I read about all of the guys that were together that day. It lets me get closer to them. I enjoyed your letter to your dad and I am sure he enjoyed it as well. It's funny how close you can get to people you don't even know. I know it probably seems like the baseball games and other things don't have the same meaning that they use to. But I bet if you listen real hard you can still hear him cheering you on. That is something that will never go away. As is the smell of bacon early in the morning. You will alway treasure the times you had together. Hopefully everything is going good for you and the family. I don't know if you ever go to this site but it is great as well. The site is http://www.mh-53pavelow.com/ It has some good photos of your dad. Until next time have a great day."
Ken Kerwood of Chesterfield, Mo.

"Howie, I will forever remember you with a smile. I will always remember your constant professionalism. As a husband and father I will never forget what you sacrificed. God Bless you and your family."
MSgt Eddie Pena of 20th SOS


Thanks for all the laughs throughout the years.. Your sense of humor made even bad times bearable. You are dearly missed brother."
SSgt Seth Meashey of 20th SOS

"Dear Dad,
To everyone who reads this.
I just want everyone to know how special he is to me. He woke up way early on Sunday mornings to make the family breakfast. It was like eating a buffet at a resturant. It was so good. We all loved waking up to smell of bacon, pancakes sausage, toast,everything you can name for breakfast. It was the best. He would go to all of our baseball games. It made me so much better to hear him cheer in the stands.He sat and watch me bowl every weekend during bowling league. He was my date for the Father Daughter dance for girl scouts. He made me laugh everyday. When he wore his green work suit and the blue hat you have to wear in the Air Force,it made me so proud to be his daughter.I don't know why,But i always told him that. I love him and I am PROUD TO BE HIS DAUGHTER. Before he had to go over seas they threw me a little surprise party for my birthday. I was so happy. I still got my last Birthday card he gave me. I will tresure that card forever. He put $20.00 dollors in it. I loved it. The next day we had to drop him off at the air port. I didn't want him to leave, but I knew it was his job. It was my birthday too, so I guess I was little mad at him leaving on my 13th birthday. I helped him unload his things out of the van. He had tons of stuff. He had like 2 carts full of luggage, and I mean full. I couldn't see where I was going. I made it to the check-in counter. That was it for me. I gave him a big hug and a kiss on his cheek. We wrote on the computer and he sent post cards while he was gone. It was nice. I miss him so much. He is my HERO, MY SHINING STAR, MY EVERYTHING. HE IS MY DAD. I LOVE YOU DAD.
Kalie Walters of Hurlburt Fleid, Flordia, USA


"Howie, My best friend. You are the man. We've known each other all of our careers and I will never meet a braver hero. I couldn't be more proud of you as a husband, father, soldier and a friend. This is my message to you; If I were on that chopper that day I would have brought you back home or we would have both died together. I regret I wasn't there to watch your back. Keep a Red Dog cool for me. Later Bud. We will meet again"
TSgt Randy R. Neeley of USA

"Dear Walters Family: I am so very sorry for your loss. Howard made the ultimate sacrafice for his family,friends, and America. He will always be remembered as an American Hero. God Bless."
Jessica of Rio Vista.CA


For me you will always be the friend I looked to when I needed to talk. You will always be sorely missed. Even now I am still in shock that I will never be able to walk into the Squadron and see you there again. Your memeory will forever be etched in my mind and you will NEVER be forgotten. Thank you for never giving up, always smiling in the face of danger, and for the ultimate sacrifice you made in the name of freedom."
Fellow PaveLow Gunner

"Howie from the bottom of my heart i loved you for the man that you were not only to your family but to morals you stood for by the long talks we had from my experiences in Vietnam and yours from being deployed overseas and having to leave your familt and friends behind, you told me on numerous occasions how much you loved your job in the Air Force and thanked me for my sacrifices in Nam and now Howie my dear and good friend i will always and will never forget you for the man that you were and would have been if things hadn't happened as they did, the Lord had a reason for taking you Howie i believe that from the bottom of my heart for he didn't take me i wonder to this day Why Not Me, if i could Howie i would trade places with you right now, Howie no matter what i have got your 4 girls to remind me of the good times we had when i visited you and Missy and the girls they are and will be treasured moments of my life, Howie always remember i love you and will miss you to the end of my days until we are joined together in heaven. Missy,Kalie,Breann,Sammy, and Gracie from Uncle Charles i will always Love and Miss Howie until the end and remember I Love You All."
Uncle Charles of Marietta, NC USA

"Howard I miss you so much! I am very proud of you. I hope everyone never forgets what you have done for our country.I pray every day for our troups and their familys hoping too they don't have to go through this themselves. Melissa and granddaughters I LOVE YOU and GOD BLESS Howard I will always remember your great smile and the good person you were and the good times we had when you were growing up. One day I will see you!!"
Patricia Riedel-Howards MOM of Port Huron, MI 48060

"I don't believe people realize the affect that Howie had on all of our lives, but if you knew him you would understand why. Every day I look out into the world wondering why this had to happen to such a wonderful family, our pain will never end. I hope that everyone realizes what these men/women are actually doing when they go overseas and that there is a chance that they will not come back, it is rather scary when you think about it, but it is the truth. I have had plenty of friends who have gone over and I never gave much thought to what they were doing and the chance they were taking until I lost someone I loved, and then reality set in and the whole purpose and cause really dawned on me. My prayer to all the future recruits is that you realize what you are signing up for when you sign on the dotted line. It is not a free meal ticket or an easy way out, but a chance to live and die for our nation, and there is a possibility that it could happen. It is a chance to be unselfish, a chance to give the most precious part of you. Howie was a man tnat realized this plight and took great pride in it. He loved his job and couldn't wait to have his chance to fight the battle for freedom. He loved his family, his freedom, and his nation, and was never too proud to tell you otherwise. We love and miss you Howie and are all better people because of you and your family, and I am very proud and feel blessed to have known you."
Tabatha of Hurlburt ,Florida

"Howie, it was an honor to have served with you. Pave Low Leads!
bob sends"
Bob Strong of KAFB, NM

"I never had the pleasure of meeting Howard Walters. Although i heard alot about how wonderful he is from his family, especially his oldest daughter, Kalie. I did however got to meet his wife Melissa. Spending time around she and there kids made me relize what a wonderful bond they had together, and i know in spirit, will have for the rest of there lives to come.
I was once was told that, "loosing a loved one is a reminder of how precious life truely is, and how we must never take a moment of it for granted." With the news of Howards' passing, i have taken heed of that saying, and regret never being able to shake the hand of this great man that fought for our country. Howie, Thank you for your valiant efforts for everyone of us..."
Christina Hoover of Windsor, Mo

"I am so very thankful for this brave man's service. He did more to help his fellow American than most people will ever understand.

We live free and safe because of men like him. God bless him and his family."
The Estes Family of Phoenix, AZ

"Thank you Howie for the ultimate sacrafice.This country is what it is because of honorable men like you.May God watch over your family and friends.You will not be forgotten"

"Melissa and girls, I give you my deepest sympathy in the loss of Howie. You are in my thoughts and prayers daily. You will never know what your family means to me. I will be there for you anyway I can. May God give you the strength to endure this pain."
Selena Smith of KAFB New Mexico

"Thank you Howard Walters, 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 my family,I can't imagine ever losing someone so special in their lives.Your father and husband is a good man.He is someone I really wanted to get to know more.the time I did have I really felt fortunate to have a brother in law that had such a fun and outgoing personality as he did.Every time he came over to the house We would joke around about me having the balance of manpower in the house.What im trying to say is he had a personality that me and him together at bbq's could drive my wife nuts,and that was alot of fun for us. You were a good, fun person to be around,And a hero to all of us. You will be missed.We love you!"
David Bosse of Mary Esther,florida

"To my family,I can't imagine ever losing someone so special in their lives.Your father and husband is a good man.He is someone I really wanted to get to know more.the time I did have I really felt fortunate to have a brother in law the had the mentality that he had.Every time he came over to the house We would joke around about me having the balance of manpower in the house.What im trying to say is he had a personality that me and him together at bbq's could drive my wife nuts,and that was alot of fun for us.
You were a good, fun person to be around,And a hero to all of us. You will be missed.We love you!"
David Bosse of Mary Esther,florida

"Howie I am honored to have flown and fought with you. Thanks Walters family for sharing Howie with us."
Boggy of 58 TRS

"May God Bless you Howard and your loved ones left behind. You payed the ultimate price for the greatest country on earth, thanks to your sacrifice it will remain the greatest country on earth for generations to come."
Dan Mahony of Langley AFB, VA

"Howie, I always seem to smile when I look back at the times I had spent with you. I learned alot from you and will always honor your memory. The Hornets Nest won't be the same without you. We miss you buddy."
SSgt. Jason Smith of the 20th SOS

"To the family and friends of Tech. Sgt. Howard Walters:
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 Howard 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 Tech. Sgt. Howard Walters:
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 Howard, 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