Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Marine Lance Cpl. Aaron C. Austin

21, of Sunray, Texas.
Austin died due to hostile fire in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, California. Died on April 26, 2004.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Marine Lance Cpl. Aaron C. Austin.


Marine dies in Iraq
Contributions to the Families of the Fallen


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

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"Mermorial day will always be one of remeberance for my best buddy in the USMC. I served with Austin through bootcamp, SOI and into 2/1. He was an exeptional person and servicman. My thought and prayers go out to all his family and friends. There was never a greater man than the one I served with. It's hard to believe it's been this long. There are days I still look through old pictures and see him there. Semper Fi Brother."
Zach Farrell of Bixby Oklahoma

"September 11, 2022
21 years... we will never forget...
This day was a catalyst for thousands of American men and women, young and old, to stand and fight for our Country. For those fallen or standing we thank you and honor you still.
For Aaron and everyone in the 2/1 Semper Fi, love and prayers always... the tears still flow..."
Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas, USA

"September 21, 2022
21 years... we will never forget...
This day was a catalyst for thousands of American men and women, young and old, to stand and fight for our Country. For those fallen or standing we thank you and honor you still.
For Aaron and everyone in the 2/1 Semper Fi, love and prayers always... the tears still flow..."
Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas, USA

"Aaron this day.. Memorial Day in remembrance for our fallen military is always a tough day STILL!! WE LOVED YOU so much!!! We will always be thankful for our time with you however short it was. You will always be in our thoughts for what you did and died for😭 You are forever 21 Aaron Austin.. Cindy and Rick Frank YOUR Tiffany's parents we are still 💔! but we know we will see you again.."
Cindy and Rick Frank of Scottsdale Arizona USA

"I’ll never forget Aaron Cole. I’ll never forget anything about you. Love and miss you always."
Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas USA

"Salute to Marine Lance Cpl. Aaron C. Austin. Thank you for your service. Your family surely proud of you. crazy games free"
Lucille F. Parham of Los Angeles

"Listen to my tribute to Lance Corporal Aaron Austin on YouTube It won't allow me to post websites on here. God bless our troops we honor you!

Search for

"Lance Corporal Austin" by: Billy Dawson

www . billydawsonmusic . com"
Billy Dawson of Nashville, TN

"We miss you brother! Love you man! We will never forget! God bless our troops

"Lance Corporal Austin"
Performed by: Billy Dawson
Written by: Wood Newton and Billy Dawson"
Billy Dawson of Nashville, TN

"My brother, today is never easy and just like it was 12 years ago I still feel helpless.... I thought I was ready to write more but I was wrong. Maybe another time my friend, I love and miss you.

"Aaron thinking of you this Christmas.You don't know me but I know your mom and Greg. You are so missed! I know you thru them. A true hero and I know you have good company looking over us. Thank you for protecting us with your blood and soul and bringing your mom and I together.RIP hero"
Geri of Kenai AK


I read yesterday. I love you. Happy Thanksgiving. We all owe you so much, Rett. I'm thankful and prayerful for you always. You know he'd want you to be happy...never-ever less than that. You mean so much to us. First Aaron, then me, then Karen, now Lisa. You are ours."
De'on of Lovington NM

"Always missing you brother.... Life is always a challenge and I try to make the best of it because I know that's what you would do and want... Tonight I just can't stop thinking about your last few words to me or the chaos that surrounded us. Sometimes I feel like the war never stopped an that I'm in it every day repeating it like a groundhogs day that won't ever stop. The late nights become that day in my head and it just won't stop. I love you Marine, I know your bravery helped save so many to include myself.


Hey there little Brother, I am missing you so much these days. Derek and Jacob took me shooting last weekend and I couldn't help but think of you and how much Jacob reminds me of you. You know he has a little boy and his name is Brody Cole(after you). I know you have looked down on him from time to time. Just keep watching over us all. You are still my Hero! Love you honey!"
Pam of Las Vegas, NV USA


Holly, what a precious note! We had to miss the game because we were able to go to Amarillo on 9/11 and be at his grave. It was a good trip. I love those school stories, I love all the stories. I know he looks down in love and smiles at you still. God bless you and yours!"
Aaron's Mom

"Aaron and family, Thinking of you today as I have many times before. I want you and your family to know that I speak of you often and with great pride that I had the opportunity to know you as a young man in high school. I tell my boys about you and your service to our country. We laugh when I talk about you coming into my office having a rough day and that I would let you go home with a sick note...knowing full well you just wanted a break from school. I was good with that, you were a good kid. My oldest son and I were talking about you this summer and remembering how fast you were as a runner. We were in the airport as some military servicemen were catching a flight. We began a conversation about you and we were both in tears. Today especially, but everyday, I want you and your family to know you are remembered and appreciated and you are still bringing a smile to our faces to this day. Your sacrifice will never be forgotten as I teach my younger children about who you were and what you stood for. I just read your bio to my 13 year old son and told him a few stories about you, as I have done in the past. I wanted your memory to be in the forefront of our thoughts as we go to military night tonight at the football game and show appreciation to you and other military service men and women and your families and thank you for your service, to us personally and our country."
Holly of Lovington NM

"I didn't get a chance to meet Aaron in person but have met his wonderful and beautiful mom and Greg. I feel I know Aaron thru them and know what an amazing Marine he was. Had the honor to meet a lot of marines last year that served with Aaron and my son. Our sons joined a family of heros!! Semper Fi Aaron and thank you for joining our families."
Geri of Kenai AK

"The sheep dog never sleeps sometimes he just blends in with the flock and waits.... I'm still standing my post my friend its just happens to a different view. I will never forget would you gave to give me (us) what we have.



Our dearest Rett...I knew there was a reason I needed to come here. It's been a very long time for me too.

We take Aaron's grave blanket to Amarillo tomorrow...my 21st wedding anniversary is today.

I'm trying to start a new chapter too. To realize that there is more to who De'on is, to find a part of myself to hold on to, to quit chasing rainbows and Marines, to JUST remember instead of trying to FIX.

If my lifespan and health prove to be about the same as my parents and my habits, then I feel I have about 10 years, good years anyway, left, God willing.

I don't really know what to do with it because I've chased Marines for longer than that.

Yet, finding you here, I know we will never forget and we will continue to push forward, and to pray over our leaders and future leaders, because every day I'm thankful that my time here grows shorter. It's not a negative thing because I do so love those I live with and around, but it is so hard to watch all that is happening be called good. It is not good. It is politics and it's growing more treasonous by the day it seems.

America has enemies. We fight those enemies or we lose all that others have bled for. Is it really that hard to understand? We don't sell out those in harm's way by trading prisoners and building a case for the enemy who would most gladly torture any one of us.

Well, maybe you can tell I haven't blah-blahed in a while, Rett. haha.

I love you. Take care of all that's blonde in your world and Father God, I ask you to watch over the rest.

Semper Fi and my love always!"

"My dear friend,
It's been a long time since I have visited what I consider to place to vent, a place to talk openly, a place to remember and a to be open and honest. Days go by and its no longer the gunshots I hear or your face of the fallen that I see. It's the faces of those who escaped my sights. I try these days to live in peace and put the gun fighting behind me. It has nothing to do with painful memories or the fear of reliving the past. It is because I want to start a new chapter in which I can tell our stories of valor and be proud of what we did.... HOWEVER it becomes harder every day, we talk about a brotherhood, patriotism and selfless sacrifice but yet I see just the opposite these days. The combat mindset doesn't come from saying if this were combat I would do this or that, it comes from pushing the limits every day. Its getting rid of the "IF" and thinking about "when" it happens will I have done enough to do what I must. My brother our VALOR was not forged from a single moment in time it was embedded in us by muscle memory and understanding that above all else the mission has priority and I will do whatever it takes to protect those around me and also accomplishing the mission. This is something that I feel our leaders these days lack. Fear and death is not something that we dodge or duck but it is something we face and have a true understanding that we will do whatever it takes to keep the game going "NO MATTER THE PRICE OF THE GAME". I could not even explain why I'm on here right now writing this at 0333 in the AM. I just hope that when people read this they want to pick there pack back up and continue the good fight. I miss you my friend and I wish I cold do more.

SSgt (Ret)"

"Hey love just wanted to let you know not a day goes bye that you are not in my mind and heart i think always.

Loving you Always and Forever Charlotte"
Charlotte Chamberlain of levelland tx

"Aaron, SGT Rett, Deon, 2/1 brothers, family and friends. The news has me furious these days and I think of all of you all the time, I wanted to let you all know I pray for all of you and think of you often. I will never forget any of you or what you have done and lost. Forever grateful."
Diane of San Antonio, Texas

"So sorry, I put the wrong dates under the remarks made by Skiles and the Battalion Commander. Like Major Zembiec, they made these quotes May 25, 2004."
Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas, USA

"November 11, 2013
For Aaron, Rett, Major Zembiec, 1st Sgt. Skiles, Cruz, Gomez, Koci, Doc Duty...everyone in the 2/1...
Remembering April 26, 2013
53 Marines from 2/1 Echo Company earned Purple Hearts since the unit's return to Iraq in February 2004.
28 Purple Hearts were presented to Marines of the 2/1 on May 25, 2004.
All of the top medal nominations arose from a single day's action on April 26, 2004.

"Don't kid yourselves-you put yourselves in the history books, but let's stay vigilant-we're not even halfway through this. OK. Stay hard and get back to work."
Major Zembiec (Captain Zembiec at the time)
May 25, 2004

"Tell the stories of your Warriors. Tell your Grandfathers, your brothers, your whole family about Echo 2/1. Tell them of the Valor."
1st Sgt. Skiles
May 25, 2013

"That spirit of brethren Marines that animates this Company is evident all the time. It was extremely evident during real hard fights when brothers of this Company came to the aid of brothers, sometimes at the cost of their own lives."
Lt. Col. Gregg Olson
Battalion Commander
May 25,2013

"Wounded in body, but never our spirit, our will or our resolve."
The Men of Echo 2/1

I love and honor you all on this Veteran's Day, I will never forget...
Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas/US

"God Bless you Aaron and all of your fallen Brothers. I will always remember you and all of the 2/1 Marines. Rett, I still pray for you. Much love to you Deon."
Diane of Texas

"I still think of you, your Family, and all your 2/1 Brothers. God Bless you and your Family. I will always remember all of you."
Diane of Texas

As a reminder, this piece was dedicated for Aaron and everyone in the 2/1 in the book "No True Glory"...
Supposing you and I,
escaping this battle,
would be able to live on forever, ageless, immortal,
so neither would I myself go on fighting in the foremost,
nor would I urge you into the fighting where men win glory.
But now, seeing that the spirits of death stand close about us in their thousands,
no man can turn aside nor escape them,
let us to and win glory for ourselves, or yield it to others.
Homer "The Iliad"

Aaron Cole, we will never forget and it seems you are loved and missed even more as the years pass. I know that you are proud of your brothers in the 2/1 that have gone on, they will never forget you, that is proven over and over.
Thank you again for everything you gave and for just being the fine young man you were and are. I can't wait to see that dazzling smile again one day. Until then, I will and do think of you and love you more everyday.

No pain,
no palm;
no thorns,
no throne;
no gall,
no glory;
no cross,
no crown.
William Penn

God bless you all that still post here, this is how we keep a hero alive.
Our Warrior Lion, I love and miss you forever.
Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas/US

"I still think of you though I never knew you. I was there in your final moments. It was then I realized I was in the presence of a hero. You will never be forgotten, Devil Dog. It saddens me that the link for the news report has been taken down."
RP1 Garrett of MCAS Miramar

"Someday I hope they won't need gunslingers anymore... Until then I'll keep one in the chamber. Guns Up


"12/27/12 Hey Devil Dog Barnes, I love you and hope you had a wonderful Christmas! You take care and so glad to see you are E-5!"

"Momma! It's Joe I have no Facebook. Sitting here with your son and my friends. I love you"
Barnes Sgt. Usmc of Three forks montana

"De'on, Aaron, Rett, and all our Military past and present... Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service. I will always remember all of you especially 2/1 and the sacrifices you give on a daily basis. You ALL are my hereoes!"
Diane Adame of Texas

"Happy Birthday Marines!!!
God Bless You and your families."
Diane of Texas

I wore your shirt today, Aaron, as I went to vote. Thank you for everything you were and are in my life and thank you for everything you gave.
I miss and love you forever."
Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas/USA

"Aaron, De'on, Rett, and all of 2/1. Thank you so much for my freedom, I will always remember all of you and keep you in my prayers. Everytime I hear the saying "You can put lipstick on a pig, but its still a pig" I think of your Grandma and laugh. Rett, stay safe, you will always be my Hero in more than one way! God bless all of you, you are all so loved."
Diane of San Antonio

"My dear Aaron....Boy you have been heavy on my mind lately. There are lots of changes in my life and I can honetly say I am so happy where I am. I still only dream about what are life would have been together. God had other plans for us and they are still unfolding in front of my eyes. His mercy is awesome and he has helped me this far. I looked at the scrap book the other night and read some of your letters. I miss you terribly that it physicslly hurts at times. I have become a stronger woman and mother because of all of this. I will forever carry you in my heart, Aaron. I can honstly say that I was loved by a hero...I am so thankful to God that I had that chance even though it never turned out the way we wanted. I love you and please continue to watch over me and my precious Kaylie, Ry and Madi.

My Love, My Friend, My Marine.....

Tiffany Frank-Bradshaw of Phoenix, AZ

Dear Aaron,
I was blessed to spend some time this weekend with your precious mother, your sweet Anti, Kayla and Zaiden. As I was holding and cuddling Zaiden, your Anti reminded me of the times I got to spend with you and Zach when you were growing up. I remember and honor you and everyone in the 2/1 today and what you did and continue to do for us, and the losses that these great Marines have endured these past years, but what I chose to remember the most today were those memories of another time....You and Zach when you were little. I remember holding and cuddling you both, I remember hide and seek, teaching you to back dive in the pool, silly string, family cook-outs at Granny's, water skiing with Jerrod, your visits to Grandpa's in Oklahoma, your visits to me and Gary here in Brownfield, so many cherished memories of you two growing up. Those were some of the best times in my life and I am blessed to have had those times....
I love and miss you forever"
Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas/USA

"Aaron, Rett, Deon, and all Military past and present, Thank you so much for your service and my freedom. Rett, I'm praying for you and your company. I will never forget what you Marines have done and continue to do for our Country. Rett, I'm in awe of you! Karen explained it so well. God bless you all and never forget there are so many that think of all of you all the time and will never forget what all of you gave."
Diane of San Antonio


Rett, Karen, Ethan. There are those days where you think your heart cannot contain all the love that is poured out without it finally spilling over into your eyes and down your face. The words that I've just read here have done that for me. They are precious tears, not for the loss, though I never mind crying for that, but for the gain!

MY GOD! How I love these you have left me with, dear Lord!

Thank you!"


"Can't thank you enough. I had my students learn about the great Aaron Austin today in my American History Class. They had to write a paper about your actions and how it has impacted their lives as Americans. As long as I teach in public schools they will learn about you and what you did for us."
Ethan Place of Joplin MO

"I remember"


Semper Fi - Forever Faithfull

These words cannot be thrown out there for just anyone. Once you become a Marine, you take this creed as a way of life. These words not only make you a Warrior, they make you honorable, they make you noble. Aaron, you lived by these words even before you became a Marine, especially with us, your family. When I try to imagine what you faced this day, eight years ago, I know that you truly believed these words not only in your actions, but you believed your brothers would be faithfull to you and not give up the fight. Rett, when I hear these words, you are one of the first to come to my mind. You are a faithfull Warrior, your are honorable, you are noble and you are so so faithfull. You have not given up the fight and all these years later, you are still out there in harms way. If you were my leader, I would not be afraid to follow you anywhere. I pray blessings to you, your family and your Marine brothers.
My Deely, you know I hold you close in my heart today. April is such a hard, hard month for us, but you continue to give so much of yourself. You love and you give no matter the hurt and you are so Semper Fi. I love you so much.
Aaron, I love and miss you forever..."
Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas/USA

It's hard for me to believe how long it has really been... I spoke to a few of my Marines today telling them about our days in Fallujah. As our current actions seem to be taking us closer to a battle of that magnitude. I spoke of the hereos that faced danger and continued to push in the hardest of times. I even told my favorite story about a young lance corpral who saved the lives of so many Marines on a roof top. Not only have you become immortal in gods heavenly kingdom but also with your legacy in the Marine Corps. Semper Fi brother I miss you.


"As I walk I feel you with me, the thought of your actions give me strength and inspire me to push on. Every step of the way you help me lead keeping calm, cool and collective amongst the chaos. I think of our last few minutes together and when replayed it seems like hours. I never walk into battle with fear on my mind because I understand that in the most dangerous of times Marines just like you will always answer the call. I love and miss you my brother, please help me watch over them in order to bring them all home.


"Hi De'on, Aaron, Rett, and all the 2/1 Marines. Just wanted to let you know I was thinking of all of you today. I will never forget or stop telling about the Marine's and Mom, I got to know. Forever PROUD!"
Diane of San Antonio


Hey Warrior. I thought of you and your brothers today, as I often do. You guys are with me always."
Navy Nurse



Rest in His arms, my friend. I'll see you soon."

Dearest Aaron,
Another Christmas and New Year have past and I was just thinking of you, Granny and Grandpa this morning. I miss you all so much and the Christmases change each year that we don't have you with us. It makes me cherish Christmas even more than ever, believing I will be with you all one day. I was so blessed to have spent some Christmas time with your wonderful mother, your sweet Anti, Kayla and Zaiden. It was short, but meant so much to me and made my Christmas wonderful. I am so blessed to have my family!
New Years blessings to Rett, everyone from the 2/1 wherever you are, I pray you all stay safe and that life brings you blessings in this New Year.
Aaron, I love and miss you and Granny and Grandpa forever...
Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas/USA

"I love you so much."

"They're still fighting, Aaron.


Watch over them."

"God bless you SGT Rett for the most awesome display of love and loyalty to our Fallen, with the second erecting of the Cross at Horno. God bless to SGT Magana, Chaplain Radetski, Elana, Karen and your precious children, you are ALL in our hearts as HEROES. Thank you all for the time you took, the blood, sweat and tears it took to make this happen. The family of Aaron Austin are forever indebted to you all for your honorable act of love. Our thoughts, prayers and love are always with you all.
My sweet Aaron, you will never be forgotten, you will always be wished for and missed and loved by so many.
To everyone in the 2/1, thank you again, I love and honor you forever."
Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas/USA

"I miss you my friend.


Happy 236th birthday to United States Marines, the world over, and certainly to those in Heaven! I love you all. Aaron, I never quit missing you, and I stand tall that you are forever my Precious Perfect Son!"

"Oh we never know where life will take us
I know it's just a ride on the wheel
And we never know when death will shake us
And we wonder how it will feel

So goodbye my friend
I know I'll never see you again
But the time together through all the years
Will take away these tears
It's okay now
Goodbye my friend

I've seen a lot things that make me crazy
And I guess I held on to you
We could've run away and left well maybe
But it wasn't time and we both knew

So goodbye my friend
I know I'll never see you again
But the love you gave me through all the years
Will take away these tears
I'm okay now
Goodbye my friend

Life's so fragile and love's so pure
We can't hold on but we try
We watch how quickly it disappears
And we never know why

But I'm okay now
Goodbye my friend
You can go now
Goodbye my friend"

"My friend
I have found that as of late the hardest part of my job is having to preform all duties that are required. It always pains me to see bad things happen to good Marines


I will never, ever forget!"

"Aug 10, 2011

No way did you let anyone down R/S. I know who you are and I am here to tell you that you’ve never let my son down, you’ve never let me down.

I’m sure it is normal practice when death confronts us that we are all forced to examine ourselves and wonder what we could have done different in that person’s life or death. As Aaron’s mother, don’t you think I wonder those same things?

And then I think of all the many deaths that have been and the many that are yet to be and I know I have no real control at all in that huge realm. Since I’m not perfect, no doubt, in Aaron’s life I could have been better in many ways. But then, I am De’on. Fallible mother, fallible wife, fallible friend, fallible Christian, fallible.

I could go on forever (and you know that is true). But in the end, there are still many we have left to bury yet. Our frames are not meant to hold up to all that. Our minds are not, our hearts will grow too weary even just contemplating burying our parents, our spouses, more friends, etc.

Because of how Aaron died, I can hold my head high. I have more than one friend who has lost their sons or their daughters in much more tragic ways. They don’t have a lot of places to leave messages or seek comfort. I know they have God and for that I am glad, so glad, because in the end, that’s where we all must find comfort, in someone who is not fallible and in someone who promised life, death, and if we choose, eternity.

Aaron is eternal. I can hold my head high for his death. Had he died any other way, I’d still miss him and love him just as much. Do you even begin to understand how not only his life but also his death has blessed me?

Every one of you there that day and every one of you in all parts of our world, training or in the fray right now can hold your head high. You can know that because of you, class reunions and remember whens can continue. Because of you, because of those like you.

This weekend, Aaron’s 10-year class reunion will take place. This week, Navy Seals bodies have been brought home. This week, especially, I find myself sandwiched between two worlds that my son played a part in. I tell you in all sincerity, Aaron left this world the way he wanted. No one has ever wanted heroism more than my son did, and for some reason or many reasons, Aaron was allowed to leave us as a hero.

How many of us will get to leave this world the way we want?

It could have been different, so different, yes, but one thing is certain, some day his life would’ve been required and I know that there is no other way he would have wanted to leave this Earth and meet his God than to go out from here by saving the lives of his brothers. You know that is true. You know that you’d have done the very same.

You know what you were and are to Aaron. What you are to me and to that precious wife and mother of yours. You know what you are to those you train and those who follow you and those who lead you.

We still need you and Aaron is safe.

God bless you and keep you all the days of your life, precious Marine!"
De'on of Lovington NM USA

"No way did you ever let anyone down Marine. If you knew how much everyone looked up to you. How much we all still do. You be proud. Cause we are way proud of you. If I can be half the man you are, I'd know I've done good."
DL/San Diego

"Every day I walk into class and my brain feels like it is going to go into full melt down and I think about you and how important it is for me to be able to train and lead more Marines into harms way... I never want to fail another Marine... I miss you brother...


"Happy 4th of July to my precious son and all our Nation's warriors who've joined Heaven before and since. My love and respect will never change! Semper Fi, precious Aaron. I love you with all my heart!"

"Thinking of you today along with your Mother, and fellow Marines. God bless you all and I will never forget any of you."
Diane Adame of San Antonio, Texas

"Aaron I am thinking of and remembering you this Memorial Day weekend and want to say thank you once again for your service to our Country and for your unselfish and ultimate sacrifice!! You are remembered today and every day!! You are forever loved and missed!!!"
Sheree Anderson of Hobbs, NM

"On this Armed Forces Day
May 21, 2011

For Aaron, Rett, Lt Rich, everyone in our Military, Law enforcement and Firefighters...

"Down these mean sreets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid...He is the Hero, he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world."
Raymond Chandler

Thank you to all of you who have served and those that are serving us still. I love you all forever."
Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas/USA

"I think of you when I watch this video.



Usama bin Laden is dead. Navy Seals killed him on the same day your Granny died. Sadie must be put-down today. Tomorrow marks seven years for your burial. We love you and miss you and Granny. Would love to talk to you both!"

"Hey bro. I'm thinking about that night when we were hanging out and you kept playing that song Lone Star State of Mind. You had me rolling on the floor and I thought we were invincible. Thought nothing could touch us. I usually won't let myself think about those times cause the pain just about does me in. Yesterday was tough bro. Honest it was. You were an awesome brother and an awesome Marine. I guess tonight I'm in a Lone Star State of Mind too. I just wish it didn't hurt so much. Seven years and it's like yesterday. I'll see you one day. If you would, help me out until then."

"Only now, the tears can flow. God, how I miss you and your Granny. You both drove me crazy. And I just hurt so freaking bad. That's just how it is right now, as if I'm nearly fighting hell itself. But I also know, I win! That is just the bottom line. I win, just as you and Granny have. God bless all of you here. You all ARE such a blesing. We'll be okay. We will. I'm asking God through the name of HIS Son, and believing, we will be okay."

"I remember"

"I remember your war cry at dark thirty in the morning... the call coming over the radio... the fighting and running through the city streets... it seemed like forever to get to that house...the dust, smoke, the sound of the pops and hisses... I remember us talking, the calmness in your voice, telling me to continue to fight and that you were alright...I remember carrying you that day but what I didn't know is that you would help carry me every day after that. I truly miss and love you Marine. The thought of you has helped me through many more battles since that day and I still continue to tell the story of how a young Marine made such a huge sacrifice inorder to save the lives of so many more. R.I.P. Marine

To your mother and father I have told them so many times and I know they believe me that we did all we could but there will never be a day that I don't wish I could have done more...


"To Precious Deon' We are so very sorry to hear today of the passing of your beloved mother. She is with her precious Grandson Aaron this day - God bless her sole. God works in mysterious ways huh? They are celebrating in Heaven today. We are thinking of you and wanted you to know. With love and best wishes to you on this..another ..somber April 26th.."
cindy and rick frank of california

"Aaron, We still miss you to this day more than you could ever imagine...We have gone on with our lives as usual of course..but for some unknown reason you are never far from our minds...APRIL 26,2004 changed us forever..We still so vividly remember you carrying out that big tv on your shoulder from Pam and Brians house that day you were helping your sweetheart Tiffany move out..It was the first time Rick had met you ..it was a crack up..that t.v was big AND HEAVY ..you were trying to impress us huh? Didn't take much ...we loved you from the first time we met you..and we were impressed! Tiffany still misses you more than we will ever imagine Aaron! She just called me WHILE i was sending this message to you, AND.. 2 white doves flew past her while we were talking about you!! Thank you it made her smile..(& made the hair on my arms stand up!) I just heard that you are with your beloved Grandma today..I'm very happy for the two of you to be reunited..God Bless her.. You have touched ALL of our lives forever..and thats ok Aaron because we will be forever grateful for what you did for all of us..Thank the Lord for the memories that we do have of you (Deon's perfect son) because we want to think..YOU Aaron Austin would have been the perfect son-in-law for us..BUT for some unknown reason (and only God knows) we will never know..This day April 26th will always be a dark day for us and sooooo many more that still truly love and miss you dearly ..We will see you again ..until then Aaron ..thank you for giving us so many good memories of you to cherish..God bless all of our military families..AND as Tiffany's Arizona FREEDOM plate says..8NTFREE..Aaron, please watch over her..still continue to be her guiding angel..We love you..forever"
Cindy and Rick Frank of Corona Del Mar ,California

"You are missed dearly. There are so many days these last 7 years that I wished so badly you were here. God had other plans for you and I. I guess I'm still trying to figure mine out. I thank him everyday for ever giving me the chance to be loved by such a wonderful man. It was cut short but if I had missed the pain I would have missed the dance. You are my hero!

Please continue to watch over me and my kids. I know you are having a wonderful reunion with your granny...

Until we meet again...Love you and miss you always!!"
Tiffany Frank of Phx, AZ

And the livin is easy
Fish are jumpin
And the cotton is high

Oh, your daddy's rich
And your mamma's good lookin'
So hush little baby
Don't you cry

One of these mornings
You're going to rise up singing
Then you'll spread your wings
and you'll take to the sky

But until that morning
There's a nothing can harm you
With your daddy and mammy standing by

And the livin is easy
Fish are jumpin
And the cotton is high

Oh, your daddy's rich
And your mamma's good lookin'
So hush little baby
Don't you cry
George Gershwin

My dearest Virgie,
I remember, years ago, on one of my many visits to your house, we were talking about our favorite songs and I told you I loved "Summertime". You sang this song to me and it was the most beautiful rendition I have ever heard. I always loved to hear you sing. You were my mother and best friend for over 30 years and I still cannot hardly grasp that you are gone from this world. I want to thank you for the gift of your son, my wonderful husband, for all of the things you taught me through the years, Bible study, the gift of scripture and what it teaches us, reading, cooking, everything I needed to know to have a house and home for my husband. This song has been in my mind the past few days and what it means to me. It's all about life and the gift of our parents and the safety and sanctuary of home. I know you are truly home now, in that beautiful Shekinah, the vision we shared of the glory of God. I also know that Aaron, Shane, Zane and all of your loved ones were there to greet you, but selfish me, I still was not ready to let you go. I will miss you more than you'll ever know, and I will love you forever, my mother and friend.
Aaron, my comfort is that I know your Granny is there with you, in the loving arms of our Jesus. She missed you terribly and you all are having the best reunion that could ever be. I know you will keep watch over us and the comfort of our Lord will get us through the next few days and the days to come. My nephew, I love you forever.

April 26, the day of your homecoming...
Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas/USA

"You watched over us that day. I know you've been watching over us ever since. I love you bro."
of California

"April 25, 2011

Forever missing and loving you. I know you and Shane are thrilled to see your Granny. I can't wait to see all of you again. Until then, I'll keep on keeping on. Thank you, Aaron. I love you with all my heart!"

"One more day
One more time
One more sunset, maybe I'd be satisfied
But then again
I know what it would do
Leave me wishing still,
for one more day with you"
Your Bro of San Diego

"Aaron Austin, I will always remember you for your courage!! I will never forget how great you truely are and how you make everyone around you smile! You always knew how to make life all worth while with your personality and I miss you dearly! I may have only been your step sister but you treated me like a sister and you only wanted the best for me. I named my youngest son after you and I hope he has a personality like yours!!! I love you Aaron Cole!! You always were there to give me advise and help look over me. You changed my life!
Love Amanda"
Amanda Van Overmeren of Belgium

"March 27, 2011

My precious sister, what a blessing to read this! I must share it on FB, of course! I've just friended Anita and Josh, plus waiting on friending our favorite shoe cousin (and I must tell you now, I have some of those shoes, long story, but I have photos and the story on FB, which I will shortly copy and send to you!)

Aaron and Karen: It was a time I'll never forget. I've done nothing but talk about it and it has blessed me in ways that I'm only able to list a little at a time. It exceeded every expectation that I had in every way and blessed me in so many more ways than I'd expected, number one of those being the opportunity to fall in love with so many members in your family, Karen.

I love you both so much. Even before this, I was filled with a joy that cannot be described as anything less than a beautiful gift from our Lord. This trip was the icing on a beautiful wedding cake and every day since only blesses me more.

I am so in love. With everything and everyone.

Karen, how is our precious Loretta?

Greg and I are grandparents via that Kaika. His name is Aaron Lloyd Miller and he's beautiful!

My love for my son, my family, and for the God of them all has never been more!"
Mom and De'on

"March 26, 2011

My dear Aaron,
Your mother and I just returned from our much anticipated trip to Hawaii. It was so beautiful and we were honored to have stayed at the Hale Koa Hotel, a hotel for our Military and their families. The name means "Home of the Warrior" and I wouldn't have wanted to stay at any other hotel. During out stay, we got to meet older Vets that have served us to young Military and their children and families, all enjoying this beautiful island in the safe protection of this Military hotel. Not a day went by that we didn't think of you and all of your Brothers. De'on got to share your heroic story with so many others that have fought for us and that had a fallen loved one too. We felt right at home surrounded by these awesome people, so many that we share a close bond with, through you and your awesome brothers.
LT Rich's wedding was perfect and he was so honored to have your precious mother there, as was I. You are never far from his thoughts, no matter what.
The trip out to Pearl Harbor and getting to see the USS Arizona Memorial was especially touching. Thinking of the over 1100 of our men entombed there and knowing that you are forever joined to these heroes is overwhelming, our hearts are filled with pride for you and all of our Military.
We went to a Luau the night before the wedding, and at the end they honored every branch of our Military, and the very end, our fallen. Rich and I proudly stood up and held a candle for you while the band played "I'm proud to be an American, God Bless the USA" with tears streaming. De'on pulled one of your tricks and was in the head when this was going on (I had to grin and laugh), but she could hear the music and MC, and knew we would take care of that honor.
My Deely, this trip was such a special time for us to be together and share. I couldn't think of anyone else I would have wanted there with me. I will never forget our time together and I thank you for honoring my family by being there. I love you my sister!
Luvs to Aaron, Rett, everyone who serves us still, God Bless you all."
Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas/USA

"And I miss you .... like the deserts miss the rain. Seven years ago. I graduate from college in a couple of months, bro. I love you, my brother."

"Thinking along those same lines. Valentine's Day, 2004: the last day I hugged him close, his body warm on that cold day in Amarillo, Texas.

Yes, he's still a bridge.

Still our heart!"
His mom

"One time in the thick of things you told me you're my bridge over troubled water. I can't believe it's been so many years since then. You're still my bridge over troubled water bro. Missing you."

"...And there's nothing I'd like better than to someday sit down to a story written about those twenty minutes! On paper, yes, on paper and those twenty minutes alone could quite possibly be one of the most vivid stories ever written. There was something before, and so much after. I'd say those twenty minutes could even cause an entire book. God bless you, Marine. There's never a day that goes by that I don't think of you out there, still fighting for us in the sand, yet taking the time to come here and bless us with your thoughts. Godspeed!"
Aaron's Mom

"Never does a day go by that I don't think about those 20 minutes Marine.


"God's finger touched him, and he slept. -- Tennyson"

"Karen, I so love you! Merry Christmas sister and friend! I love you forever! I'm so glad you said "Yes" so many years ago and you've blessed this Grigsby family every day since! Sometime I will have to show you Rett's pictures on FB!"

"Merry Christmas, dear Aaron. You are still so loved and missed, always wished for.
Christmas blessings to Rett, your family and Marine brothers, everyone in the 2/1 where ever you are. I know you are all far from home this Christmas, but we must remember in the midst of all of the food, shopping, festivities, the real reason for this season...His name will be Immanuel, God with us. He was one that was rich that became poor for us. He came to live among us as human and knew our joys as well as our heartbreaks. He knowingly gave his life to save us all. That is what we celebrate today, most of all.
Thank you all, brave Warriors of all of our Military and God bless you all.
Keep watch over us, Aaron, I know you do. I love and miss you forever."
Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas/USA

"Your always on my mind...Semper Fi

"When you go home tell them of us and say for your tomorrow we gave our today.""
Anonymous of San Diego, CA

"Our SSTG Rett,
Brave Marine, De'on gave us the news 2 days ago and we have all been heavy in prayer for you, your Marine brothers and family. I have no doubt that you will fight through this and get back to where you want to be.
You said once that you would like to write your story sometime, through your eyes. Maybe you could start that while you are recouping, I for one, would love to read it. You are such a natural writer, every message I have ever read from you on this board, no matter how short, is so eloquent, so moving, so heart touching, you make me feel what you are feeling and not everyone has that talent. Please don't ever lose that part of yourself.
You are our's, just as much as Aaron, and we pray daily for your health, your safety and your precious and strong warrior spirit.
God's blessings to you and your's and thank you for always remembering Aaron, as we always think of you.
Love and prayers to you always."
Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas/USA

"And R/S, you are always on our minds. We love you so! Godspeed, Marine!"

"I felt your hand rest upon my shoulder and it calmed me. The shaking stopped and with the next pull I hit my mark. Thank you for always being with me and know that your always on my mind.


"Pam, so good to hear from you! Give those boys a hug for me. I so enjoyed seeing Jake again this past Memorial Day. He is precious! God bless you all and Happy Thanksgiving!"

"Hey Little Brother, you have really been on my mind lately. I keep seeing your smiling face when I look deeply at Jacob. On Veteran's Day I was at dinner with my Mom and there was a Vietnam vet and his wife having dinner. I bought them there dinner in your honor, I told him about you and we shared a few tears. I love you honey and me and my boys deeply miss you. You wll always be in my heart, love you!!"
Pam Lowe(Austin) of Las Vegas, NV/USA

"I wore your T-shirt and was able to tell your heroic story to more people, my sweet nephew, you will never be forgotten. Your precious mother was here Wednesday. De'on, you are so awesome and thank you and Greg for your service for you are beloved veterans also, and I know you are such a blessing to all of Aaron's brothers in arms. Thank you SSTG Rett, Lt Rich, everyone in the 2/1 wherever you are and to all of our Military. My brother, Coach Windham, used Aaron, Major Zembiec and everyone in the 2/1's story to encourage his winning high school football team in their play-offs. I can't think of a more inspiring story to use to help these young kids to always be a brotherhood and to never quit fighting.
Aaron, I love and miss you forever. Your smile will always light up the world.
Thank you again to all of our Military and God bless you all."
Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas/USA

"Happy Birthday to all Marines and Happy Veteran's Day to all who have served. Aaron, I love you, always!"

"Garrett, what a beautiful message and so many thanks and blessings wished to you, yours and the Chaplain for your prayers. I know my son is safe and that means so much to me.

I'll always miss him until I'm with him, just as I'll always be proud of him and all of you.

Eternity is forever; and some day I will begin mine with Aaron. Until that time, I will always try to honor his memory and love what remains in my life as far as family, friends and kitties and puppies, good books, funny stories, skies, trees, and sharing memories with all of you guys!

God bless"

"May you rest in peace, LCPL Austin. Just so you know, myself and the Chaplain were there praying for you while the Doc worked on you. Blessings."
RP1 Garrett, Edmond P of USS NEW YORK

"Gunny Sgt. Nunez! How wonderful to read your post. So happy about the visit. There are a lot of 2/1 Marines on FB that I know would love hearing from you. So good to be in touch with them and now hear from you! So glad you got to visit with Doug and his family. I know it meant a lot to them!

Semper Fi"
De'on Miller

"Guns Up! Seldom the day passes that I don't think of that day or you good ole Austin. A Warrior beyond means! I spent a few moments with your Father, Aunt, Grandmother, and his wife. It was a pleasure sharing some funny times. I miss you brother!"
GySgt Nuñez of 2/1 Camp Pendleton

"Hey Warrior...thinking of you today..."

"July 4, 2010

I miss you, Aaron, but will forever remain so proud of you and thankful for your service and sacrifice to our country.

And Rett, oh I love you and pray for you right now. God, how I love you. Come home safe, my son of another mother!

Semper Fi"

"Ah my friend it was almost as if you were there with me yesterday. I will never forget what you did for us brother and what you did for me. You calmed me down and let me fire true. You are always missed.

"June 30, 2010

April, May, June and July: these months are just full of you. You were a summer birth, a spring death, an everyday delight. Six years ago today, Charley Pappas, Dorris Yarbro, Ginger Granath, and a host of others met on a courthouse corner. There, we dedicated another stone in your honor. At noon, two Marines met a handful of us to return those few things that remained. June 30, 2004: the day your dog wept. August through March: your mother never forgets."

"It was a beautiful and touching ceremony, Randy. We were all truly blessed by it and will always be grateful to you, your wife, and the many who continue to support our troops and fallen. God bless you all for your labors and donations!

Semper Fi"
The family of Aaron

"This Memorial Day 2010 will forever be etched in my heart and soul. I have completed the "Fallen Soldier Monument" and this was not accomplished without the help and donations from everyone. To Doug and Deon, I hope and pray it gives honor to your brave son and the "ultimate sacrifice" he made to protect his Marine comrades and to give this country the freedoms we take so for granted. I hope that we stay in touch after this Memorial Day. I can't wait to see you tommorrow. May God Bless You!

In "Their Honor"
Randy J. Quirk of Amarillo, TX USA

"May 2, 2010
We will never forget, our Warrior Lion, and we will never forget your faithful brothers. God bless you, Aaron, and Godspeed to SSGT Rett and all of our beloved Military. Thank you all."
Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas/USA


We felt you with us on that day, Rett. You've always been and I know that will never change for any of us. Stay focused and we'll hold down FB for everyone in the land of the free. I love you so much!"

"Ah my brother I so miss you. I regret that I was out and about and unable to write this message when it was due however I know you understand as there are days I feel you with me.

SSgt Rett"

"Thank you for what you did for us, your brothers."

"I remember."

"Hey Warrior...
I'm thinking of you today as I often do. 6 years it's been, yet it seems impossible this much time has passed. Please know that no matter how many years go by, the sacrifices made by you and your family will never be forgotten. I will carry you with me always. Semper Fi, Marine."
of Fallujah, Iraq, April 2004

"April 26, 2010

Six years. I'll never forget, I'll always miss you, and I'll remain forever proud!"

"That should be June 30, 2004. One day before your birthday.

I love you, Aaron. Always. More."


Six years ago today. We'll never forget Shuder and Zurheide.

And I'll never forget talking to you on the phone. You were so down. And you got your pillow that day. I've slept with it ever since I got it back on June 1, 2004.

I love you and miss you and sometimes I just want to talk with you so bad."


Happy Easter, son, to you, to Shane and Grandpa, to so very many of you. We miss you all so very much."


Dear Randy,

Thank you for your message. I will pass this message on to those I have on my email list and post it on the Echo 2/1 Facebook page.

Several of Aaron's Marine brothers are currently in Afghanistan or deployed for various schools and training, but I know they will all appreciate being invited just the same.

My husband and I plan to attend and possibly a couple of other family members as well.

Thank you for honoring our men and women in uniform in this way.

Aaron's Mom"
De'on Miller of Lovington NM

"To the Family, friends and fellow Marines and Service men and women in memory of Lance Coporal Aaron Cole Austin.

I want to let everyone know that the "Fallen Soldier Memorial and Monument" will be dedicated on Memorial Day 2010 (Monday) at 11:00 a.m. This has been such a moving emotional experience for me, words cannot express the honor I have of being able to bring this monument in memory of all those serving and giving "Their All" for our country and freedom. I am sending this open invitation to all our brave service men and women uniform and to those who are serving and served to attend this event. We will dedicate the "Fallen Soldier Monument" and then will have a memorial service for the four families in the Texas Panhandle that have lost a "Hero" in the service to our country this past year. If any of the brave men and women who served with Aaron Cole Austin would email me I would be truly honored to have you in attendance. My email is: rcquirk56@sbcglobal.net. Please attend if possible. Again, we are such a blessed nation with such brave men and women who serve in our military and protect our freedoms. Let's show our support and attend this event. The "Fallen Soldier Monument" was inspired and is a tribute to Lance Corporal Aaron Cole Austin of Sunray and the other "Fallen Heroes" of the 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle that it will respresent. I hope and pray that it will continue to reflect the true meaning of what our freedoms cost us each day. I am honored to have done this project for these servicemen and women. I want to "Thank" everyone who contributed in making it possible. Through the "Fallen Soldier Monument" may it truly show the "duty, honor and courage" that these brave men and women have shown us in their service to our country. I have not forgotten about you Doug and your family. I will be in touch soon! God Bless.
Randy J. Quirk of Amarillo, Texas, USA

"March 19, 2010

7 year anniversary for OIF. God bless you all!"

"March 18, 2010

Ahh, SSGT Rett, he surely must be in the mix, only his parameters are different from yours while he guards the streets of Heaven. Heb. 12-1 says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Like our prayers are with you, like God watches over you even now, I think that in a mysterious and wonderful way, your Marines in Heaven are with you now.

Let me hear from you and send me your address. I love you always! Thank you for continually serving."

"Ah my brother I'm in the mix again and wish you were here by my side. I miss you Marine.
SSGT Rett"

"And you are a precious girl, Charlotte. No, he will never be forgotten.

Thank you for your beautiful message!"
Aaron's Mom of Lovington NM

"Aaron I hope you know you are the best man I ever met in my life, I miss you so much you will never be forgotten"
Charlotte of Hobbs NM


Thank you, Randy. I will talk to Doug sometime next week and make him aware of your message. We'll be in touch with you soon.

My husband, Greg, and I are both vets, and of course, we are so touched by the lives of all these men and women. Aaron will be forever missed. That I can guarantee you. But we are so proud of him and thank God for the 21 years with him.

One day, we'll see him again!

Semper Fi"
Aaron's Mom: De'on Miller of Lovington NM

"To the Family of Aaron C. Austin,
I am Randy Quirk originally from Sunray now living in Amarillo, Texas. I am involved in a project to honor the "Fallen Soldier". This "Fallen Soldier Memorial" and granite monument will be erected at the Texas Panhandle War Memorial Park located on Georgia and I-27. I am doing this to make everyone in the Texas Panhandle realize the great sacrifice that our men and women in the military do each day. This project is to honor LCPL Aaron C. Austin and the many others that have fallen before, present and future wars. I have never been moved so much in a project. The families I have meet that have suffered with such loss leaves me speechless, but truly glad I am an "American". I am a veteran and these brave men and women are my "comrades", I feel the loss too. I have never told the family of LCPL Aaron C. Austin - "Thank You" for blessing us with the time we knew Aaron. He will never be forgotten! Doug and family I would be so honored to visit with you about this project. I also want to invite all of you to Memorial Day Ceremony in Amarillo. We will be dedicating the "Fallen Soldier Memorial" and granite monument. This year four families from the Texas Panhandle have lost a "Hero" for our freedom. They will be placing wreathes at this memorial. I hope an pray that as people drive by and see the "Fallen Soldier Memorial and Monument" that they will take time to reflect on what the true cost of our freedoms are. "Freedom is not Free". God bless and comfort you, may He hold his healing hand over your family,Doug. Thank You....Thank You....Thank You......
Randy J. Quirk of Amarillo, Texas


Amen, Sgt. Amen. And I thank God for each and every one of them, and most certainly I pray for their families.

God keep you!"
Aaron's Mom

"To the family of this honorable soldier I am so grateful for the gift your son gave our country by laying his life down for us out of love for us. I pay him respect and honor and gratitude. It hurts deeply to Never Forget our loss."
Sgt. Armand Frickey's big brother of Houma, LA / USA

"December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas, precious son, precious Marines, precious military, beautiful family.

May God keep us all."
Aaron's Momma

"December 25, 2009
Merry Christmas, Aaron.
Our Christmases will never be the same without you. You are still so loved and missed. We go on, but you will never be forgotten, wished for.
Your precious mother, Greg and Kayla laid a beautiful Christmas blanket for you, made mostly by Jerry. I know you watched from Heaven that day and I believe you know how much a part of our Christmases you will always be.

For SGT Rett and all of our loved ones serving us still,

Put On The Armor Of God

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breast-plate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spririt, which is the word of God."
Chapter 6
Verses 10-17

Thank you Aaron, Rett and all of our Military this Christmas for what you have done for us and what you continue to do for our freedom. Rett, we love you always and wish for you great blessings and peacefullness in your heart and for you and your family this Christmas.
Aaron, I love you and miss you forever."
Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas USA

"My condolences."
Sgt. Guillen of La Verne, Ca

"I have thought a lot about what you said De'on and I have started to write things down. I hope some day to tell our story (2/1) from my eyes.
Ssgt Rett"

"hi aaron i miss you brotha man i wish i could've seen you this thanksgiving i'm doing pretty good man i'm in college for game and simulation programming now following my dreams. i hope you're doing good up there buddy just save a place for me ok? i gotta go its work time for me i'll drop by soon i love you aaron always will. bye for now"
kaika of Morganton, North Carolina


Happy Thanksgiving, Sgt. Rett. And Diane too! Good to hear from you. I'm afraid the blogging days are over. Too many psychos out there for me.

Rett, I do love you, so very much. I think of all of you all the time. You're never far from my mind. It sounds like you're up to a lot, and that's good. Email me sometime and tell me more. I miss all of you, but as I said, I think the Internet is a little scary for me anymore as far as keeping contact. I removed myself from Facebook, but my email, phone and regular mail are the same.

I'm not working full time anymore since about a month ago. Things are still pretty busy though. Back to painting some as well as writing.

Do you have any idea where Doc Duty is at these days? I haven't heard from him in a long time.

I'm always here. If you hear anything from Clifford, let me know. I think of him so much and pray for God's very best for all of you.

My love, always,"

"It's been a long time since my last visit. I have yet to master a PFT with a gas mask and sledge hammer but I'm working towards it. SgtMjr P has been my inspiration. I feel that with the closing of this chapter in my career and my life I'm ready to return to the line. I wake up in the mornings and when I think about taking the morning off I REMEMBER the the enemy is getting stronger an I have made a promise to you my brother. My hope is to take over a weapons platoon I would love to have the heavy guns for a cycle. Besides I remember a Gunny once who told me that its time for you to get out of the Corps when you have to hit the snooze. I'm glad I don't use an alarm. Thanks to all of you who have been there to support me through all of this. There are days I feel like I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders and other days when I understand I can't. 2/5 here I come Semper Fi and God bless America and God Bless my 2nd Mom.
Ssgt Rett"

"I just had to come back and post...SGT. Rett, you are such an inspiration! I'm going to make 2010 my year to finally come back to life after 23 years of depression, after losing my Husband and my only Daughter...My goals are too...STOP smoking, run a successful business online, get back in shape, and enjoy my life (that you provide me safely). When ever I feel like giving up, I will indeed think of you. My Hero...fighting wars, recruiting the best of America, then re-training to go to war. Giving it all, your 110%, MY Marine amoung Marines, traning to fight for me...You honestly make my dreams and goals look like little ant hills. Sgt. Rett, you amaze me, son. One day, one day...I wanna hug your neck, I wanna erase your pain...I love you, Rett!



"I just had to come back and post...SGT. Rett, you are such an inspiration! I'm going to make 2010 my year to finally come back to life after 23 years of depression, after losing my Husband and my only Daughter...My goals are too...STOP smoking, run a successful business online, get back in shape, and enjoy my life (that you provide me safely). When ever I feel like giving up, I will indeed think of you. My Hero...fighting wars, recruiting the best of America, then re-training to go to war. Giving it all, your 110%, MY Marine amoung Marines, traning to fight for me...You honestly make my dreams and goals look like little ant hills. God, you amaze me, son. One day, one day...I wanna hug your neck, I wanna erase your pain...I love you, Rett!



"Hi Aaron, Deon, and Sgt Rett,

I just wanted to stop by and tell you, I DIDN'T forget you. I think of y'all and love you very much. I'm still prouder than ever. Sgt. Rett, if you go back to war...will you please if you can, email me @ Dianescottage@aol.com. I would be honored and so want to send care packages. You Marines and other military peeps are the only thing left good about America these days. I am for the first time in my life ashamed of America. I would love Guns up (blog) to be still up and running. I miss Deos's Mom and all the great American chat that went on in that blog. The story of Deon's coin when the Lion of fallaja (spelling)laid down his life...It is just as if, I was there when all this happened. The way Deon write so beautifully...it really as if I'm there. I SO miss you guys. Deon, I still have the box I packed up...hmmm, three years ago??? I'm mailing it to you this weekend. It's been packed all this time. It has Christmas stuff. I hope you all know that even if I don't come here that often anymore, I'm still here. All of you are always on my mind. Happy Thanksgiving and God bless you all.

With so much love,
of san antonio

"Nov 11, 2009

For Aaron, Rett, Cruz, Koci, Doc Duty, Harrell, Gomez, Liotta, Skyles, SgtMaj Ploskonka, Lt Rich, Joshua, Jamie, Shay and everyone in the 2/1 and your families, Thank You! Wherever you are on this Veteran's Day, my thoughts and prayers are with all of you. You are what makes me continue to have hope and faith for our Nation, you make us what we are. Thank you for protecting our freedom.
I love you and will never forget, Aaron, but I believe that you already know that.
God Bless you all."
Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas, USA

"Nov. 10, 2009

Happy 234th Birthday, Marines! I love you!"
Aaron's Mom

"November 5, 2009

What a horrible day for our military at Ft. Hood. God bless our troops and their families!!"
Aaron's Mom

"Thank you, Jason. And thank Cpl. Hampton for me. Let him know I'm a great admirer of him, the Marines, and yes, Texas.

Take care, and thank you for your message!"
Aaron's Mom

"I met Cpl. Lee Howard Hampton a few weeks ago. He is a great person and we are good friends now, he says that he and Austin were great friends. I hope to meet Austin someday too, wherever he is, and tell him thanks. Cpl. Lee moved to Austin TX so he could hear Austin's name everyday.

Please know that there are many people out there who greatly appreciate what you Marines do for us.

Jason Rose of Austin, TX/USA


We'll Never Forget. Talked to Toya today. She misses you.

Me too.



Hi Tiff,

Greg, Lisa, Kayla, Weston and I were in Amarillo at Aaron's grave this past weekend. It was as peaceful and beautiful there as ever. Even some of the older trees that had started to die off had new green growth on them.

I got to spend about an hour and a half at his grave alone this time. I miss him so, and I always will until I'm with him. Nothing will ever change that and nothing will ever change that we love you. Time changes many things, but not that. Aaron is changed now, and someday we will be changed too. Nothing can change that if we know Jesus as our Savior. I know you do, so believe that you will see him again.

I love you,"

"Aaron, I am sure as you know you have been on my mind so heavy lately. There has NEVER been a day that goes by that I don't think of you or try to imagine the sound of your voice in my head. I know that all the memories we shared are always in my heart. I miss you dearly and pray that you continue to be around me in spirit. I love you so much Aaron! You are my Love, My friend and my marine and I will never forget you or the sacrifice you made for us Americans....Xoxo"
Tiffany Frank Bradshaw of Phoenix,Az U.S.A

"I love you, Rett. Honey, you've not one time let my son down. He's in Heaven, a hero, and you are one of our many heroes. That will never change. No, never.

I love you and your poetic prose. It's good to read again.

Now get some sleep, and that's an order!

Love and Semper Fi"
Mom De'on

"Well brother with orders cut back to the fleet I try to train as hard as I can. With 3 years behind a desk I still think I have what it takes to get into the fight for at least 2 more deployments. When the hill seems to steep, the wall to high to climb, or that last hundred yards seems to far I think of you. God those city blocks seemed like they never ended. The burning in my legs and my hands felt like they had a quart of oil on them. I'm going to turn it up a notch. I wont let them down. I won’t let you down again."

"Hey Aaron, Well its been awhile since i have been on here, so much going on.
Jerrod has grown into a wonderful man,but has went through so much lately.
he deserves so much in this life. I wish you were here Aaron to help him through the tough times he goes through. I am proud of him and he has become a wonderful daddy to Hailey, she loves him so much and he loves her to.Watch over him Aaron. He has a strong and loving heart,But he needs to know your there.love always,Mom( your second one)"
Donna of Lovington,NM


Your dad received your Silver Star, four years ago today.

I miss you."

Happy Birthday, sweet son. For over twenty-seven years, I've loved you."

"Hello to my pillar of strengths. Isn't it just amazing how people you never met in person mean so much to you? All of you, De'on, Aaron, Sgt Rett, and all you 2/1 Marines and their leaders mean so much to me. Sometimes that is the only way I make it through the day. I think of all the things you have been through and yet get up everyday with honor and serve our country...and it makes me get up and do life. I hope all of you know how much you mean to us average folks. YOU ARE THE ONLY THING LEFT GOOD ABOUT AMERICA! I love you guys with all my heart. Thank you for caring about me, my family and America. It seems in my life bad luck just follows, but when I think of all of you. I stand up, dust myself off and go forward. Thank you for that. De'on tell your Mom I want to know how she is, and I'd give anything to read what she thinks of out social leader. With lots of love,


"Memorial Day 2009

Never miss a beat thinking about you, kid. I never will. We honored you and the Major and others today.

Many thanks and blessings to those of you who lay it all down for us. God bless you and your families.

Mom of Lovington, NM

"Aaron, I thought of you, your fellow Marines and Mother on April 26th. I did not forget and never will. I also am thinking of all of you today. I caught the tail end of your story about three months ago on the military chanel. It was a new one and as luck would have it, I seen it when it was last played. I only caught the last 20 minutes of it, so I will be looking for it to play again. I'm so proud that so many are getting to see what you Marines did for us that day. You guys will always be my heroes. It seems these days, you guys are the only thing that makes America great! I'm so glad we have you wonderful souls to be thankful for. I love each and everyone of you!

Love always,


"Lance Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, I thought about and remembered you on April 26th. But today, I truely have you on my heart and mind and I HONOR you for your service and sacrifice. I only met you once or twice when I worked with your Mom at Toyota, but I feel that I have known you a lifetime thru your Mom, stories, pictures, videos and more. I feel blessed because of that. You are not and never will be forgotten! My Son was an HM3 at Camp Lejuene Naval Hospital and I would go there and visit him, I used to say I wish you were stationed at a Naval base so that I could get some cool Navy stuff. But I have learned in life that everything happens for a reason. After April 26, 2004 I could get your Mom some cool Marine stuff and she deserved it far more than I did. I got your Mom this red T-Shirt when I was there once and on the front it says GOT FREEDOM? and on the back it says THANK A U.S. MARINE!,and she wears it all the time! It makes me happy and sad at the same time to see her wear it, because it reminds me of your, her and so many others sacrifice. So Aaron, this Memorial Day I THANK YOU and LOVE and MISS YOU! GOD BLESS YOU!!!"
Sheree Anderson of Hobbs, NM

"I didn't forget Aaron.
Love and miss you !!"
Mom of Lovington,NM

"Aaron, it seems like just yesterday you were standing in our living room with Jerrod. You were wearing a blonde wig and pretending to play a guitar. You were always the one to make people laugh. I wish you knew how much of an impact you made in our lives. Thoughts of you are always with me. You will never be forgotten. You were always a good friend to my daughter."
Angie Rhoads of Hobbs, New Mexico

"Aaron, it seems like just yesterday you were standing in our living room with Jared. You were wearing a blonde wig and pretending to play a guitar. You were always the one to make people laugh. I wish you knew how much of an impact you made in our lives. Thoughts of you are always with me. You will never be forgotten. You were always a good friend to my daughter."
Angie Rhoads of Hobbs, New Mexico


And you and so many are true heroes. I love you all with all I've got--and today, I know I have much. Even with all that's happened, I wouldn't trade one day of having had Aaron in my life--and not one day of now having had all of you in my life.

God bless and keep us. I love you Sgt. Rett!"

"I will never forget, I awoke early this morning and sat thinking about how long it has been and the events that happened.....today the air had a better smell the food a better taste, today put life in perspective I miss and love you MARINE.
Sgt. Rett
love hugs and prayers to the family of my heroe

""When a warrior fights not for himself, but for his brothers, when his most passionately sought goal is neither glory nor his own life's preservation, but to spend his substance for them, his comrades, not to abandon them, not to prove unworthy of them, then his heart truly has achieved contempt for death, and with that he transcends himself and his actions touch the sublime. That is why the true warrior cannot speak of battle save to his brothers who have been there with him. The truth is too holy, too sacred, for words." 4-26-2009"


"I remember."


Happy Easter, Aaron and Shane,Dad, MeMa, MaMa, PaPa, Zane.... Happy Easter there where there are so many of you. And thank you, Jesus, that there is an Easter.

I love you family and Marine family. I am so blessed by each one of you.

Shane, your anniversary is 36 years passed. Aaron, your 5th is right around the corner. I love you both so much.

But tonight is the night before Easter, and Jesus, I do love you most. Thank you. Thank you so much.

Marines and troops. Thank you.

God bless us."
Shane and Aaron's Mom

"Semper Fi, brother, Semper Fi. We will never let this Country forget our fallens brothers, just make sure you let us through Heavans Gate when we get there !! Oorah Marine !!

To the family- hold your heads high with pride. You will see your son again, you will. May the Lord comfort you..."
ReconMarine414 of Central, NJ/USA

"Aaron Austin I love you and miss you bro! REACH FOR THE ROPE KID! LOL! Fun times. Stayin the night at your house watching Children of the Corn!"
Nathan of Lovington at Heart! Deerfield Beach Florida


Have been missing you so, sweet Aaron. I love you so very much and someday will be with you again. May God keep us all until His time brings each of us home, never again to be heartsick and weary.

It's nearly 5 years and things have changed, but my love for you will never change and I'll always be thankful that God blessed me with a child like you. May God help me to bring a smile to some heart like the one you always brought to us.

I love your Brothers and I pray for them every day. May they each rest with the peace that we aren't God, that we are faulty, that we love because our Father has planted that love within us and may we grow in Spirit every bit as much as possible here. And may He bless us each and everyone until the day that it is all finished.

Aaron, family, friends: I love you."

"After p.t. tonight you were heavy on my mind brother. I wish,....anyways your always with me.
Semper Fi

"Hey Aaron, WOW, You would not believe how big Hailey is getting,she is 6 months old now,She is the princess and has my heart,she pretty much has this grandma wrapped around her little finger.
Your Mom is looking so good, she misses Yoga alot,but i am sure she is busy doing something. Anyway we are all missing you everyday,Jerrod is good and finally got a good promotion and is good at what he does. He is loosing his stepmom to Cancer,she doesn;t have long. But i am sure you will welcome her.We really never got along to good, but my heart goes out to Jerrod;s daddy and her family also.Take care of everyone Aaron and watch over us down here. I feel so blessed to have the life i have now.I am finally where i want to be and very Happy.
I love u and will always miss you so much. Give my baby Chris a hug for me and tell him I love him so much and he is forever in my heart.I am sure you two are getting along so well."
Donna of Lovington,NM


I read your message yesterday, Kristin. It's the first time I've cried about this boy in a few weeks, and it felt right. How I do miss him. Superbowl, super days, sad days, holidays.... None of them are the same without him.

Your words meant a lot to me yesterday. Today, just had to let you know. Just had to.

And I look forward to seeing those boys, I just can hardly wait. So now, I stay so very busy. One day, I'll be through too and I just can't wait to talk to this one, I'll tell you. I just can't wait to talk to this one!"

"We miss you Aaron. I still have all the pictures we took the summer of 1998 at my house. You always knew how to make everyone around you smile and laugh. We always did such dumb things but they are the ones to remember. Your mom misses you too every day, she is truly a wonderful person. She will see you again someday as will I. Thank you Aaron for keeping us free, you are a hero to all. God bless those still fighting to keep us free."
Kristin of Lovington New Mexico


Aaron Cole:

Your new beautiful redhead cousin, Preslee Cole, joined us in this world today. I know you are grinning from ear to ear up there with Jesus!

I love you, son.... More....

Diane: get better, sweetheart. There is much to live and push forward for!"

"WOW! I'm missing so much! I'm so sorry I haven't been around, I truly am. First, let me say...Merry Christmas and Happy new year! I see everyone's been here but me. I have been so tired but had to come on here to say... YIPPIE I O,LOLOLOL, and HEE HEE HEE, I just seen on Fox news that Richardson resigned...LOLOL That CROOK! I'm so GLAD he is finally caught! I still think of all of you everyday, I just don't get online. I tried two more depression meds and nothing has worked. I guess when spring comes I will do as De'on does and GET OUT OF THE house and watch the birds! I love you all so very much. I wish I could promise to come back soon but I don't want to break my promise to none of you. So, I will be back when I'm back to myself which I hope to be soon. Love to all."


Impossible to understand, but everything seems that it is just as it should be. I was created for a time such as this. Aaron, you were created for your time and for so many special reasons. You were created for a special person I think, someone who'd be brought into the Kingdom because of who you were. I wish I knew who, but it doesn't matter. It just matters that your life counted... oh, so very much.

Christmas will never be the same without you. But when I think about it, eventually, they were all different, finally, anyway. Three of them spent in Panama by me, two by you. A couple of Christmases, me visiting you when you were just a little boy. You lived with your dad, grandma and grandpa then, in California.

It's those Christmases that you were in high school and in the Marines I loved best. Such excitement in the air. You always made fun of everything I got you. Then you and Zach would smoke a cigar out on the porch and later, we'd dance the night away.

I quit drinking 2 1/2 years ago, but I haven't quit dancing. We didn't dance tonight, but the other night, at Heart's Christmas Party, we had "Elvis" there and I danced to "Little Sister" with him. Actually, I put him to shame. Weston told Greg, 'Look, Nomi is with another man...' But Greg told him, 'Don't worry, Weston, he'll bring her back!'

Weston reminds me in personality of you, Aaron. He's so full of love and all about loyalty and family. I pick him up from school once a week, on pickle and popcorn day it seems. He always has that smelly dill pickle. He talks about you all the time. Asks questions. I took him Christmas shopping this year. He picked his dad out the most hideous of all gifts, though he was quite proud of it. Maybe you saw and maybe you laughed. Five years ago tonight, you and I kept him while everyone else went to Keisha and Ryan's wedding. That picture with the big popsicle sucker, you holding it out to him.... so many good memories. Thank you, son.

I have been blessed."


Beautiful thoughts from beautiful people. My love to all.

Aaron, we put lights on your tree outside this year. Today I put candy canes up on it while Hennessy laid near it. It's the sunniest spot in our front yard, and your dog loves being there. He looks so regal in that way. I know we must both think of you during those times. I always think of you.

I miss you so much Babe, yet my heart is filled with a joy I can't describe. You are so far, yet near. I know you are and I can't wait to be with you. And I thank God for the peace that finally allows me the joy to work and keep on keeping on until that day that the veil is finally drawn.





Jesus Christ: Thank you most of all. I love you and thank the Father that you gave your blood for my sins and my life. And that you called others to follow in your path of sacrificial love.

God bless each person who stops by here during this precious season. It is the time of year my son loved best!"

""I was that which others did not want to be. I went where others feared to go, and did what others failed to do. I asked nothing from those who gave nothing, and reluctantly accepted the thought of eternal loneliness...should I fail. I have seen the face of terror; felt the stinging cold of fear; and enjoyed the sweet taste of a moment's love. I have cried, pained, and hoped...but most of all, I have lived times others would say were best forgotten. At least someday I will be able to say that I was a United States Marine"-unknown
Happy Holidays to my 2nd an 3rd mom and to my marines i love you Aaron Semper Fi

"Merry Christmas Aaron !!
I will going to see Jerrod,Nicky and Hailey and Michael for Christmas. Hailey is 4 months old now and so pretty. She would of loved you Aaron.
Jerrod finally got his promotion that he so deserved. He is a wonderful daddy and his little girl loves him so much.
Deon i wish you a very Merry Christmas and i hope your doing well. Tell Chris that his little niece loves him so much and i know he is looking down and saying good job Jerrod. I will always miss you Aaron.Love you always and forever,Your second Mom."
Donna of Lovington,NM


I know what you're talking about Rett. With all my heart, I know. It's okay, it's good to talk, to write. I cover you with prayer every day, each of those who were with my son--God hears my cry for each of you and He will one day make the crooked paths straight.

Be blessed this Christmas. I want it for you. I've stayed real busy this season, working myself into nearly a nub, and it's helped. I haven't sent out any Christmas cards and have only bought a couple of gifts so far, but I've worked and worked and prayed and those times I've sat still, I've cried, and so one day, I just took-off from all the work, just to cry. Fortunate that at times I can do that, I guess.

Find a positive outlet. Writing is good. Helping others, loving that faithful woman and those faithful Brothers and family members is nearly everything. But not quite--give up those tears to God. He hears, honey, I know He does, and maybe Aaron too. But this I know, Aaron is okay now. God willing, someday our pain will be erased, but not here honey. Not entirely. But it is not in vain. It's only in our pain that we can reach out to others. We can't even begin to think about it until we've swallowed a throat-load of pain first.

Keep me (and Greg) in your prayers, honey. In January, we will each head-up a 12-Step C.O.O.L. (Christ Over Our Life) Addiction Recovery and Relapse Prevention Treatment Program in the Lea County Detention Center here in Lovington. It's what I've been working on. It's used in many prisons througout Texas and a few other states. Its leader was a heroine addict for 15 years, in and out of prison for 12 years and he's been clean for as many. He's out of Houston with a string of certificates and degrees behind his name now. Also a wife, another addict, in and out of prison until this last decade.

If we let Him, God will use all that bad for His Good. He will, Rett. I know for sure. But He won't ever let it get so easy that we don't have to turn to Him. Someday, someday, Babe, we'll be thankful for that. Right now is a tough time for troops all over everywhere and I just wish each tear of mine could be a blanket of warmth over each precious heart.

I love you. With all my heart. I know God and Aaron love you even more. But I'm still the one to write to you. And I always will.

Today, I watched as Navajo Refining Company handed out 150 bicycles to kids (through Heart's Desire and Head Start) who probably wouldn't get one for Christmas otherwise. I cried about that, then I cried when I heard our curriculum was "nearly there" (with a little fine-tuning). I think I feel a little better if I can drop a few tears pretty regularly!! ;)

The Life Recovery Bible (a 12-Step Bible that addresses addiction issues into its pages) is going to be allowed to stay within the Detention Center's walls and used by the inmates. Some may steal it, some may use it for rolling papers, (according to my liason) but who knows, someone may actually get something out of it--if not now, someday.

Plant some more of those good seeds that you've planted with me. You do this mother's heart good, so I can only imagine what you mean to those who get to be around you all the time.

Merry Christmas, Rett. Merry Christmas to all.

God keep us,"
Aaron's Mom

"The winter cold has set in here in Iowa. It's so cold here that the wind blowing against your body numbs the skin. It made me think about how I felt after after my return from Iraq. Numb is the only thing that comes to mind and like my skin after warming up after getting inside a car or house my mind warmed up too. There are times when I wish I could go back to that numb state. Bad days is what my wife calls them, when I feel in down slump and think to much about things I can't change. Today the wind hit me hard and that cold numb feeling came to mind and next thing you know memories came rushing back. There isn't a day that goes by brother that don't think about you but there are days that I think more then others. The air was cold and hit my lungs like a truck making it hard to breath like I felt that hot April day when my lungs burned from the chain smoking day after day.I'm not even sure I know what I'm talking about anymore. I miss and love you Marine. I will never forget.

"December 1, 2008

Thank you for your time and for your service, Charles. I know he must've been a very fine Marine--loyalty was a code he lived by.

And I know you are a wonderful Marine. After all, you took some time to seek out the family of one of your Brothers. We thank you for it, we thank you for your service to our nation and for the many nations we serve in.

God bless you and thank you so much for visiting here. I hope your Thanksgiving was a very blessed one for you, for your family and for your Brothers.

Semper Fi,"
De'on Miller, a proud Marine Mom

"I had the honor of serving with Austin. He was a true friend and well liked among the platoon. I am very sorry for the loss of such a damn outstanding marine. God be with your family, and thank you for your time. SEMPER FI"
Charles Throckmorton of Lex. Ky

"Blessings to all this Thanksgiving. We all are blessed in so many ways. Love to each and everyone of you and your precious families!"

"Happy Thanksgiving, Aaron, De'on, and the rest of you awesome echo Marines! You make me so PROUD! I'm blessed because of each and everyone of you. I will always be thankful to all of you.
Sgt. Rett, An extra hug to you!


"Happy Thanksgiving Aaron !
So much on my mind these days. I miss you and Chris so much. Deon i love you and i hope there will be happiness when i get to Phoenix, I pray that everything will be okay, that's all i can do. God Bless our wonderful Marines and all the troops."
Donna of Lovington, NM


Dearest Cruz, Dearest Marine,

What a beautiful message. It comes very close to touching the beautiful Thanksgiving arrangement on my buffet table. The flowers came today, Cruz, and the three beautiful purple candles placed in their midst make me think of the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. Together, with your words on a card, they touch me in a way that I haven't been touched in so very long. They have "Mom" all over them and cause me to be all the more thankful for all that God blesses me with, for your loving spirit which is so very much like all Aaron's Marine Brothers. There are no better men in this world. I love you, love each of you so very, very much.

And like you, with the boxes, the memories come flooding back with each fold. And I would not trade these memories for anything. They are a big part of my life.

I was so very excited when you all left that first time. I was. I wouldn't trade that excitement either. That may sound bad to so many, but it was true. And even though the second trip turned out with a loss for us, I know that it really was a win that is hard to wrap our brains around, impossible to express, but as hard as it is to understand, like the first trip, the truth of it, the victory, the Warrior Spirit, it still lives.

I pray for each of you every day. I do. Your safety and the blessedness of your lives to me and to all those who love you is so important to me. You all are so important to so many.

And with each passing day, my heart of thanksgiving for the country I live in grows. We have always lived with so much, but better yet, our nation is truly a giving nation, and I'm in prayer for it, thankful for it and pray that God does not remove His spirit from all the work of willing hearts, of giving hearts.

This message is jumbled. I'm still so in awe of your gift of flowers and of words, Cruz....

Just know this, I love you. And I love your Brothers. I will forever. You all are the Best of the Best.

May God bless you each with his richest gifts of mercy and peace."
Mom De'on

"Dear Brother,
I first must apologize for not visiting this site often. But you know better than anyone that communication between us still stands strong as we speak almost every night. Your spirit lives within me and with my passing of knowledge to the younger marines it also lives in them. You are the very definition of a warrior, a machinegunner, a hero. It still hurts to think of that day but i know that you would not have liked to go any other way. It still troubles me at night sometimes when memories on that rooftop come crashing in like waves on my uneasy thoughts. Your last breath while i hold you in my arms seems to transfer over to me as i lay there restless in my bed and my breath becomes short and shallow. I know there are some things that i need to do that i promised you,(you know what they are) that i will do when i get back from iraq. My last time here was my first without you bro and it wasnt easy. This is my second time out here without you and it doesnt get any easier. I did see Sgt Maj. Ploskonka out here though, next time i see him ill ask him if he's got your cake. I know that we will meet in the future and we will once again be the best gun team ever put together. Just wait until you see all the new things i have learned, we will be unbeatable. Well bro, you are always and will always be in my heart, thoughts and prayers. I shall try to make it on here more often but if you dont hear from me here, youll hear from me when i pray. Keep a seat open for me when i get there, i have a bunch of new stories to tell you...Semper Fi!

Mom, thank you for the packages that you have sent me. They mean a lot to me and everytime i open them memories rush into my head. Thank you for being there as well and you are also in my prayers. God Bless you and the rest of the family.You are one strong Lady and i can see where Aaron got his charisma and strength. I love you very much!

To all my brothers out there, I miss all of you crazy mofo's. Our paths have taken us in different directions but our experiences will forever bond us together. You are all my family and i have never been in a tighter group of marines then when we were in our secction, our platoon, our company. You are all heroes in my eyes and in the eyes of others. Never forget that we were in it together and if you ever need anything, dont hesitate in reaching out to one of us. You can reach me at josecruz0331@gmail.com. I would love to hear from all of you. Semper Fi and GUNZ UP BABY!"
Sgt. Jose A Cruz of Habanyah, iraq

"Dear Writer from Fallujah, Iraq 2004--

Your words ring true and bring tears to my eyes, and if you've dressed the wounds of others, of your brothers and sisters, of Aaron's brothers, then you are not only a hero, you are an angel of mercy.

And I do believe I know what I'm talking about. And a hero also fights to push on through to the other side. We must all push, little or much. We cannot stand still and grow. During our stillness, we can reflect and then we must let our reflections cause us to move forward--because there are still so many wounds to dress in so many ways. And though our scars will always be there, they can be a reminder of those scars in the lives of others. We all have them, though yours are surely braided heavier than ours because your scars are from the injuries received by and through another. You are a hero of the greatest sort. You have laid down your life many times for another and your sacrifice is not in vain. Not now, not ever. Heaven sees it. I feel it. And I lift up a prayer for you, your past work, your future work.

God go before you and make the crooked places straight.

I love you. I do."
Aaron's Mom

"Hey Warrior...
It's strange how four and a half years can seem like yesterday or a lifetime ago, depending on the moment. I think of you and your brothers often. I think of your families often. Know that we who came back carry with us the scars from the wounds of those we couldn't bring home. "Hero" is a word often thrown about by those who have had little occasion to witness heroism. I am by no means a hero, but I have held the hands and dressed the wounds of men so courageous and selfless that "Hero" barely scratches the surface of their greatness. You are one of these men. Semper Fidelis, Semper Fortis, Marine."
of Fallujah, Iraq, April 2004



"P.S. President Bush has helped all this financial setback along with his pen and decisions. I know that. I'm not blind on that and I hate that he helped do this to us for sure!

Okay, I promise not to turn this site political. Let's get back to our troops!!

Much Love!"

"Nov. 12, 2008
5:16 PM MST

Have you paid your taxes on that jar???? I busted out laughing when I read your post! You are precious and I don't have any money either, so there you go! Of course, you have two boys who want your change jar and Aaron thought mine and Greg's was family community property! ha! Like our lawnmower gas--just there for every and anyone's use!

Everyone please keep me in your prayers! I quit smoking about 23 hours ago! And like with my wine, I didn't know it was my last. I'm biting on the nicorette and the cuff of heaven!!

I love you and I love to laugh with you, Donna. I won't change if you won't. Tell Dan hello!"

"I love President Bush and appreciate all he has done. I am not a hater and that's what i love about you Deon, you stand for so much, don;t ever change.
Half the time i don;t know what is going on in this world,But now Dan has me watching the news every morning and now it depresses me. All i know is i have NO money for them to get, so there out of luck here. All my money is in a big jar at my house.haha
I love you Deon and i am and will always be the blonde that just wants every one to be happy in this world.
I hope i didn;t upset you.Take Care,"
Donna of Lovington,NM

"Happy Veteran's Day to all!

I certainly don't hate our President. I do fear for socialism and a turn toward acceptance of what God calls evil. I won't apologize to anyone for that as He is the One I will stand before one day.

I pray for the Leader of our country and even when all have turned on President Bush, I know he caved on so much but I fear he has faced nearly as much as Lincoln.

You are right, there is too much hate, but too, there is deception and I will be most careful in not being deceived and I do not care one iota for the United Nations--I don't trust them for anything, much less a war.

I have no doubt that things will improve, but even before the Tribulation, the first 3-1/2 years will be a time of peace and prosperity like we've never seen. We will pretend to support Israel, and then the treaty will be broken, and the last 3-1/2 years (The Great Trib) will be hell on earth. Satan does not come in a way that is easily recognized, he's no fool. I do not say this is that time, no one can be certain of that, but many things are lined up already and line up as we speak. I believe with all my heart, the United Nations will help form the One World Order--already we see the financial world moving in that direction with Prime Minister Brown's proposals. So be careful, be on watch Donna--this isn't a football game and we have enemies that despise us. If we could all sit down and sing cumbbayah or however you spell it, that would be nice, but that's basically what we were doing on 9/11. We let many things go including the USS Cole, and look what happened.

Well, enough on that.

Diane, I haven't heard from you for months and after many emails, I had to take your part out of the book that I mailed off a month ago. But I am glad to see you post again and I'm happy for your new place.

We are well here. It's been a tough week for sure, not just the drain of the election but kid problems with my stepson too, but hopefully this week will be better.

Gotta get to the post office! Love to all.

Donna--keep singing. Love covers a great deal. I do love. I've loved many who've deceived me. I'll be more careful in the future and I've heard about all I need to on Obama. He is our President--I pray for Him. I pray for all of us, but I've spent much time in the Word for over twenty years, and certainly for the last four.

Our nation has made a change, but no, I will resist the change, not just for spiritual reasons but also for national reasons.

A democracy's life span is 200 years until the people figure out they can start voting themselves entitlements. That's where I see the U.S. headed. Where I see Obama headed is into a socialist economy--that's never been the U.S.

I've always been a giver, but even with the rich, I've never looked at their money as my money and yes, they've ripped us off, but so have our many government programs. I want less government in my life, not more, and if someone can work, I want them to. That is how the American Dream has formed.

These bailouts began with the Clinton years. The thought of everyone deserved to own a home. Well, duh, not everyone can own a home and certainly it's not the be all and end all on everything. Talk to the elderly who end up leaving their home because of the upkeep. Even with Greg, we can't stay on top of it all and like we are trying to teach Kaika, if you don't work, don't look for handouts, but that is just what has happened. We do our children a misfortune to even begin to teach them about laziness. Horrible misfortune is one thing, the crumbs of another is wrong.

Even in third World countries, we need to help, but a handout is not near as beneficial as teaching self efficiency! That proves itself over and over.

Well, got me started again! And no, I'm not planning on a political career! he he!

Donna, you live in one of the prime Welfare states of the U.S. and have always worked. So my lecture is not really for you. You are a blonde cheerleader no matter what color your hair is, and truthfully, I wouldn't change a thing about you.

Great love for all visitors. Please don't anyone bomb this site over my staunch conservative views! he he!"

Deon, i love you and i hope you are doing well on this day, you looked great the other day when i saw you at the shower.Diane,i love reading your post,you are a wonderful person and i hope you will get a new flag soon.
Today they will honor Dan's dad at a memorial at the VFW at 1 o'clock, i know Dan's family will be proud. I will be there also standing proud with Dan the love of my life that has gave me so much in my life and the confidence to do anything out there that i want. To so many out there,be proud to be in this land we call america. I miss the ones that aren't here anymore,but they are in my heart and all the hatered we are feeling for our new president,we need to push that aside and stand beside him and hope with all our hearts he will do this world better and get it back in good shape.there is so much hate in this world already,we don't need anymore.Lets all pray together for this man and his family."
Donna of Lovington, NM

"Happy Birthday Marine and Happy Vets Day!! I miss you guys terribly! I have been so busy, I've moved and have been working so much, but I promise to make time this weekend to catch up and write my fav Gold Star Mom. I only have a minute but I want to tell you something I've been wanting to get on here and say but haven't had the time. I moved to the country....10 acres! I'm a blonde haired blueyed eyed city girl to the core. That has changed! I'm surrounded by beauty, I've never seen before. It was hard to find my own house when we moved in as my house sits right smack in the middle of the property. My better half put up my Marine Corp flag as a marker. One day I was coming home and was taken in by such beauty, I forgot where I was. I started to panic and then I looked up and there it was....The UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS FLAG! I cried and felt so proud, I thought of Ret, then Aaron, Deon, Graduation Day when my son Graduated, and all of echo 2/1. I cannot describe how proud I was when I seen that flag. The bad news is it gets so darn windy here it ripped my flag...I will get a new bigger and better one! God bless you all and I miss you. There still hasn't been a day I have not prayed for all of you. De'on, I promise to get with you this weekend as I want to know about the book. I see my fav hoot and a hollar has written as well. I didn't have time to read any post but will this weekend. God bless you all!

Diane of St. Hedwig



YOUR SACRIFICE WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN AND I PRAY FOR THE VICTORY YOU ALL SO RICHLY DESERVE!! --De'on Miller--Proud Gold Star Mother of a Marine and Mom De'on to a few!!

Commandant of the Marine Corps: 233rd Birthday Message

During the summer of 1982, in the wake of a presidential directive, Marines
went ashore at Beirut, Lebanon. Fifteen months later, on 23 October 1983,
extremists struck the first major blow against American forces - starting
this long war on terrorism. On that Sunday morning, a suicide bomber drove
an explosive-laden truck into the headquarters of Battalion Landing Team
1/8, destroying the building and killing 241 Marines and corpsmen..

Extremists have attacked our Nation, at home and abroad, numerous times
since that fateful day in Beirut. Their aim has always been the same - to
kill as many innocent Americans as possible. The attacks of 11 September
2001 changed our Nation forever, and our president has resolved that this
Nation will not stand idle while murderous terrorists plan their next
strike. Marines will continue to take the fight to the enemy - hitting them
on their own turf, crushing them when they show themselves, and finding them
where they hide.

Only a few Americans choose the dangerous, but necessary, work of fighting
our Nation's enemies. When our chapter of history is written, it will be a
saga of a selfless generation of Marines who were willing to stand up and
fight for our Nation; to defend those who could not defend themselves; to
thrive on the hardship and sacrifice expected of an elite warrior class; to
march to the sound of the guns; and to ably shoulder the legacy of those
Marines who have gone before.

On our 233rd birthday, first remember those who have served and those
'angels' who have fallen - our reputation was built on their sacrifices.
Remember our families; they are the unsung heroes whose support and
dedication allow us to answer our Nation's call. Finally, to all Marines and
Sailors, know that I am proud of you and what you do. Your successes on the
battlefield have only added to our illustrious history. Lieutenant General
Victor H. 'Brute' Krulak said it best when he wrote, ' ... the United States
does not need a Marine Corps ... the United States wants a Marine Corps.'
Your actions, in Iraq and Afghanistan and across the globe, are at the core
of why America loves her Marines.

Happy Birthday, Marines!

Semper Fidelis,

James T. Conway
General, U.S. Marine Corps"

"November 5, 2008

Dearest Aaron,

Your granny takes the political high road. And your mother will be okay. But as much as I love my country, it is not my God.

I love you and what you stood for. I love those who were there for you and I will always be thankful to them. I thank God for their lives and for my freedom today. For as many days as I may have it. I won’t be in a snit. I won’t remain heartbroken. This election won’t keep me down. Not even losing you has kept me down.

But no, I do not bow to the majority. There is but One I will bow to, and I know that is nothing more than a figure of speech for your Granny. But as much as I love my country, I do not support where it stands.

I will never quit supporting those who stand in harm’s way to do its bidding. God bless you all.

Here is the note from your Granny:

Well the election is over, the baton passes, and no one fought it more than I did. I used my one vote to help the party of my choice but the majority of the American public chose differently than I did. Like my mother, I will stand behind their choice 100% and today I am fully behind my fellow countrymen and women in supporting their choice for Barack Obama. I prayed for my country last night and prayed that he would lead with wisdom behind every choice he makes in the next four years. I for one do not intend to be in a snit for the next four years.

I read with tears in my eyes De'on's post to her son and my grandson. I hope that everyone else feels as relieved as I do that this part of history is behind us. This country stands in shambles as far as the economy goes. Regardless of what else happens in the world, I do know there is a just God in charge of it all. I do know he knows when a sparrow falls and that I am just like you. He values us much more than the sparrow. I have had one thing more than anything against the new president, and that has been his voting record with “Present” being the vote cast. He is truly an unknown factor because of this. I heard his first speech at the democratic convention as I lay in bed and Jerry was just finishing brushing his teeth years ago... I remarked then that one day that man would be president. In January, he will take the oath of office and will become the leader of the country I am so in love with. As for abortion, I will remind you that there have always been abortions. It is just now more open and receives more publicity. What we tolerate in our generation, the next generation will embrace. I do know that there will be wars and rumors of wars until the end comes for us all. That is in the Bible. We are not to let ourselves be troubled nor are we to be afraid as we have been told that these things must come to pass and that we are to look up and rejoice for our redemption draweth nigh.

Today the leaves are falling in droves into my back yard. The pecans are hitting the metal roof and Jerry has pork chops going in the slow cooker. My cats have been fed and watered and Emily comes tomorrow. In other words, life goes on here at 902 .Ave. K. As my 73rd birthday approaches, I face the end of this life more quickly than some do. I have been under all parties that have ever run in this country and we as Americans have survived everything that was ever thrown at us.

The one thing that I am pleased about is that California has voted against making marriage between two of the same sex legal. This despite the fact that Steven Spielberg, Brad Pitt, and Ellen DeGeneres gave $100,000.00 each to try to make it the law of that state.

Michael Creighton, one of the world greatest writers passed away. I think there is still a book or two of his that I haven't read so I look forward to doing that. In truth my world exist more in reading than in any other way. I am grateful to God for that. It doesn't take a lot of money to travel the world over throughout history. I get to know many cultures and meet many people. I absorb news from the local, to the country, and through the world. With the way my health turned out in my golden years, I am grateful to God that he gave me the love of reading. I am able to do my own thinking and make my own choices on everything because I can read what is the greatest story ever told and can rest assured that He exists and paid the price of my sins.

You know what I guess it all boils down to is this. I am proud to be an American. I bow to the choice of the majority and with my whole heart, I will stand behind it."

"November 4, 2008

My Dearest Warrior:

Thirty-seven years ago today, I chased a container of castor oil with a glass of orange juice, walked a mile, heaved my guts out and still waited three more days to have your brother.

This day, I feel as if I’ve gone into the greatest of all labors and have brought forth a stillborn child. But I pray for perseverance. I will not let go of my faith, though I’ve had to concede much tonight.

You used to say, “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”

With the last of your stateside breaths, you fought hard against abortion and for at least a time, maybe you won. I’ll never know for certain. Not here.

You were perhaps one of the strongest Conservatives I’ve ever known and loved. You died for your beliefs and you died for those you loved. I have no idea how those who fought nearest you even feel. All I know is, tonight, America has overwhelmingly voted against everything you believed in. Everything this home on 11th and Tyler still stands for.

I was taught by my grandmother and by the Word of God to pray for our leaders, and I will certainly pray for our leaders, perhaps more now than ever.

I’d most certainly be glad to be a part of the country that elected their first black President. I have always applauded the minority and hated bigotry, but tonight it is not about that. Tonight I cannot stand proud of the country you died for. Tonight we voted against God. We voted for our economy. We voted against Victory. And God has told us that if we’d get our priorities right, the rest would follow.

Tomorrow, my flags will still fly. My husband will leave for a long day of work, a few more will die from overdoses of drugs and life will go on in someway.

And I will always be proud of you, and maybe someday I will be proud of America again. And if not, I will just wait to see you and I will pray for the strength to stay in the fight.

I’ve heard so much tonight. But I still don’t understand it. Right now, I understand very little, except that the minority I’ve supported—that now, that minority is me, a Bible-thumping Gold Star Mother. I will listen as people be-moan the 4000 deaths in Iraq and tomorrow, 4000 babies will be aborted.

I don’t understand.

But I will fan the fire until my warrior day finds its peace.

I love you—I do."

Donna of Lovington,NM

"Exciting game. TEXAS at its nearly best in all things Texas. Didn't see Donna or Tonya on TV, but we all took it well around here. Sort of hard to lose on some things!"


Hello my Precious Perfect Son:

Busy days! Today on my volunteer at the Lea County Museum job I killed 2 wasps and gave out a million pieces of candy. I took them a cake I baked that they will share tomorrow during a talk on the Guadalupe Mountains. Imagine. A baked cake from your Mom. It seems I do a lot to stay busy lately, which is really so unlike me, but I'm doing well.

It will be loud around here tomorrow. Your Texas Longhorns play Texas Tech, so I will root for your team while Greg roots for our team. Donna will be there and at a tailgating party. Hasn't she always just had the dullest life? ;)

Your brother would be 37 on this coming November 7th, which as it turns out is Billy Graham's 90th birthday, so I have to leave Billy Graham a note after this. Since Shane doesn't have a message board, just let him know I love him and miss you both.

Aaron, in a short few months I will place some of your things in the Lea County Museum. This seems right to me now, though it's wierd.... It didn't enter my mind until about 3 weeks ago. I had always believed I'd never part with any of it, but nearly a year ago, when I thought I might join you soon, I sat down to divide everything up, and it felt too wierd to do it that way. This way, Weston, Preslee Cole, and all young children and vets and citizens will be able to look at some of your stuff. I will also put some of mine and Greg's things from Panama. I like my job there. You'd find it horribly boring as everything is so old and quiet and ancient. I love it and have loved things like this since I was a young girl.

I miss you. Your dog is getting old and I know he misses you too. I compensate and ruin him as I tried to ruin you sometimes. I share popcorn balls with him and we sit out by your tree. He likes it there in the sun. He doesn't try to get out of the yard and though that's a good thing, I'll never forget how he seemed to have an invisible tool belt tied around his waist a few years ago and trying to break out and run for a half-hour or so before returning to our front door panting and grinning. He'd done that very thing the day the Marines came to my door.

Life changes so much. Kayla is driving now. How wild is that? It seems only like yesterday I had you out in an empty pasture with that 5-speed Mazda that we bought in Guymon for $750.00. I tried to teach you to shift and drive on the same exact day. It didn't take long until I asked you to let me drive me home and you practice by yourself. We both made each other so nervous.

The election is near and the tension in this country great.

Well, better go to the Preacher's message board. I've waited until the last minute. I'm getting good at that.

With all my heart and soul, I love you."

"Dear Amber,

Sgt. Rett reads all the time and so I'm sure he'll read your message. Cruz (Jose) is out of country just now and Clifford, I'm not sure, though you are welcome to leave a message here for him. I'm not quite sure who the ohter guy is, but I hope you're able to make contact with those you're looking for. I email Cruz, so I'll give him your name!

Thank you for such a nice message! Aaron was perfect, of course! ;)

Take care!"

"De'on, I was in search of four marines who I believe your son knew. I took the time and read about your son and feel very blessed to be an American, thank you for raising such a fine man! I am trying to get ahold of S.Justin Rettenberger,C. Brent Clifford, C. Moises Visoso, or S. Oscar Cruz. Is there anyway you could get me in touch with any one of these gentlemen?"
Amber of Lancaster, Ca USA

"Congrats SGT Rett on your award, I am sure Aaron will be proud, Stay safe.
God Bless you on your journey,"
Donna (Aaron's second mom) of Lovington, NM

"God bless you SGT RETT. Not only do we need more Lcpl Austins in our Military, we need more SGT Retts! You are everything our Marines stand for. May God bless you and your's, we love you forever."
Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas, USA

"Dearest Sgt. Rett,

I'm not surprised that you are Recruiter of the Year. I am so proud of you and I know Aaron is too.

So you're returning to the line? Please let me know more about this.

I will send off the manuscript Tuesday, the 7th anniversary of the War on Terror.

God bless and keep you, my precious Sgt. Rett.

The void will always be. But that's okay.

I love you all so very much and am so proud of each and every one of you.

Stand Tall, Marine. Your words are so true!"

"Hey brother,
It's been awhile, days seem to be brighter and the night seems a little more peaceful, yet there is still that void. I feel much better these days and the more time that passes I continue to deal with the pain in a more positive way. I have focused and used it to fuel the fire and drive that it takes to be successful out here on the streets of recruiting. Before we hit the streets we had to write 3 goals down. One of those goals was never to sell myself short and not to forget that even in this job of recruiting when it can seem like it becomes a numbers game that the future of our corps and the lives of our marines on the ground count on the quality of people that I recruit because in the big picture of things we need more Lcpl Austin's in the Marine Corps. My recruiter of the year award is dedicated to you Aaron, De'on, Doug, and my wife. 13 months until I return to the line, I miss you marine yet even in your passing you still are helping me to survive out here.

"Thank you for such a kind message, Polly. We are always up for prayer! God is good and I am assured He's answered our prayers. Maybe not in the way we'd hoped, but I know he's answered them in the greatest way for the Kingdom. I trust Him with my life. Just as I trusted Him for Aaron's. I know our Father knows best. I know Aaron is with Him. And someday I'll be with them there.

We are much better. Thank you so much. But yes, we can always, always use prayer. No one ever knows what is right around the next corner.

God bless you and God bless our precious men and women in uniform. And God bless the country they wear their proud uniform for.

Really, thank you."

"To the family of:Aaron C. Austin 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"

"Thank you Deon !!!!!!!
I know Hailey will cherish her Bible always and her book.
You were really busy on this day, No we will never forget. It;s been a day of remembering,Love always,Donna"


WE'LL NEVER FORGET!! I've worked this day into a nub! What a day 7 years ago! And Tiff, I think of that calendar where Aaron wrote in that 9/11 square of his calendar: "We'll Never Forget"--and I am so glad that so many of us have not!

A tat! Well, Allen is a good man, and sometimes I know it must be hard to be him, so give him a hug for me. And I'm glad you got to see a photo of Hailey. I love your photos of the kids. Big babies! Except Kaylie, she's so tiny to be such a big girl. They are beautiful and you're doing a superb job little tatooed mommy! You go girl!

I mailed Hailey's Bible today. The date is duly mentioned. It's pink leather with silver edging and her full name in silver caps. It's a youth Bible with lots of photos. Different scenes and words like "present day Iraq"--I also sent her a hardbound copy of Robinson Crusoe's adventures. I know we want her to be a girly-girl, but it's from my book club, really nice. I thought of Romeo and Juliet, but didn't want her to be that much of a girly-girl.

SgtMaj Ploskonka's 3 small boxes in the mail... letters...

Washed and cleaned the 4-Runner. Knew it would rain, but oh well.

Walked a mile. That makes 3 miles this year.

So, another year of freedom! Thank you, Lord, and thank you Warriors.

Much love to all. I do love you guys so much.

DE'ON of "FREE" in Lovington NM

"Thanks Tiffany for putting that on here, i know its hard for you also, we all miss him everyday........
Yes i know he would be so protective of his little girl also, I know he would of loved her just as much as he did her daddy,I am sure she will hear many stories about Aaron as she gets older. Deon, thank you for her bible, i know as she gets older she will cherish it also and put some important dates in it also. I love you all so very much.Keep watching over all of us Aaron,We need it everyday. love,Donna"
Donna of Lovington,NM

"My dear Aaron, I saw pictures of Hailey today and what a BEAUTIFUL little girl she is!!! When I looked at them I thought of how proud and protective you would have been of her!! It is so hard to this very day for me to except you being gone!! I am trying everyday!! I FINALLY got my Tattoo on my arm in rememberance of you and what you mean to me! I am SO proud to have it!! Allen thinks it is so beautiful too!!

Keep watching over me Aaron!! I need it!! I'm missin'you FOREVER!!"
Tiffany "Frank" Bradshaw of Phoenix,AZ


The security of Al Anbar was handed over to the Sunni tribes this Labor Day, September 1, 2008.

Thanks and love to our Marines, to all of our troops!

Aaron, I love you. Will forever be proud of you and yours!"

"YOU GO GIRL!!! Don't ever let anyone rob you of that!"

"Deon,sorry about the hot water !!!!!!
i never new how much my little graddaughter would effect me,But she has really gotten into my heart and i love her so much,she has already got me wrapped around her little finger.
God has really blessed me in so many ways Aaron,for having 3 great sons and now a really cute graddaughter, i only hope i can be the best grandma for her and be there when she needs me.I have always wanted alittle girl that i could love and spoil,now i have her.........
I guess i can say i did something right in my life,cause my boys love me know matter what.They are my big accomplishment, i think i did a great job,pat pat. noone can ever no take that away from a parent,the love we have for our children,even though you and chris aren't here to share in our joy with Hailey, i know your watching from up above. Yes that's where my son is in HEAVEN.God Bless all our troops,i pray for each one of you that give so much to us everyday.Donna"
Donna of Lovington,NM

"Your message brings tears to my eyes, Donna. I'm sorry I couldn't hang ... I'm very proud of Hailey and her parents. She's beautiful like them and I will always love your son.

There are so many times I wish they were teenagers again. Now, does that explain what a silly old woman I am??? No mother in her right mind would wish that.

And there's another little girl on the horizon. Zach is in a bit of a panic. No doubt, she'll teach her dad the true meaning of "Princess"--Kayla tried, but this one will succeed!

I will enjoy watching Hailey grow, though I know it will mostly be by photos, etc.

You are a trooper, Ms. Donna and I'm glad God has blessed you with this baby girl.

I have my fuzzy babies and sure wanted to make that 2 year old Pit one of them! Isaiah reminds me so much of Hen at that age.

My cousin, Jamie, left for Iraq today. SgtMaj Ploskonka is there. Please keep them in your prayers.

Cruz, wherever you are son, I know you're keeping the wolves at bay. Fight on, Marine! We need you in the hotspots and appreciate each of those who serve to the very depths of our soul.

Sgt. Rett, we need the good ones you bring and we need the precious hearts and bravery of our Docs.

We need the warrior. I thank God my son was one of them and lived out his life for that purpose. As much as anything, I'm thankful for those of you who visit here to love and encourage.

I know Aaron fights in a different way now. With fully spiritual eyes he understands the many wars we face on many fronts. I know he wants us there with him someday, and that is my life's mission now. To give as much of myself as humanly possible to fight the evil in this world and to encourage those who think they don't deserve the mercy of God who so wants to generously pour it out on all who suffer. Who fight bitterness, addictions, depression, those who fight hopelessness ... to all who hurt and maybe don't even understand why.

I know I don't understand everything. I don't have to. I just have to stay in the fight until God calls me home, and dear Donna, that is what you do every day.

I like you best as a Princess. Though you are a good housekeeper, you make me a little nervous with it all, and by the way, you took the remainder of the hot water there when I was taking a shower to wash those clothes at the wrong peak hours!! ;)"

"I thought of you when Hailey was born and how proud you would of been of Jerrod, We missed you there Aaron.She's beautiful, I couldn;t be prouder of my son right now.Thank you Deon for making the trip with me,Jerrod wouldn;t of had it any other way.I know it must of been really hard for you,I am glad you were there to share that moment with Jerrod.You have done alot of good in this world, just your smile and your presence lights up the whole room when your in it. God Bless you and we all love you,Donna"
Donna of Lovington NM


There is a new beautiful baby girl in Arizona with Jerrod's fingers and toes. I just left her yesterday and she's a treat with lots of company!

I missed you there, Aaron,(almost desperately--very little has been as hard as that, perhaps the Silver Star ceremony was the last) but as turns out to be the norm, I feel you here at home more than any place. I can't hurt like that much anymore. There's nothing to be done about it except try to do some good where and how I can.

I gave her your Bible that you'd written in the back: 'Important Dates' underlined as if a slew of them would be there, but you'd recorded only one: '10/25/99--Jerrod Sneed got saved.'--I added another to the list; the birthdate of little Hailey Nicole.

God bless everyone!"

"It's been awhile since I have last left a message but I still come here daily it helps keep me in touch with the real world. As recruting life seems like you live on repeat. Your always on my mind brother.
Semper Fi


I’ve just read an article in our newspaper titled “Suicide Hot Line Got Calls From 22,000 Veterans.” It is an AP writer y the name of Katharine Euphrat who wrote it. The figures are startling and come from the VA and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline evidently.

I just want to take this time to echo a thought and a message I left on Aaron’s message board on May 29, 2006 copied below.

I have to go to Heart’s Desire right now, but this afternoon I’m going to try and get in touch with the VA or the suicide hotline to see if there’s any way I can help from where I sometimes feel stranded. I would be honored to volunteer in this capacity.

If someone knows a connection off-hand that I could speak to, I’d appreciate the info. I called the VA and the nearest regional office near me is in Albuquerque, 5 hours away. But I will check further.



Much love,
Aaron’s Mom

--the old message follows—it is still true today!

May 29, 2006

Thank you for your sacrifice, son. Everyone in our country, as well as other countries, owes you and those like you such an enormous amount of gratitude. Some don't realize it at all, and others of us can only speculate, but spending five days in our nation's capital, admiring the portraits and statues of those before you who stood for freedom as well-- and not once was the cost small. Korea-54,000 names (imagine the number of families this sorrow reached out and devastated in the clutches of sorrow). Vietnam-50,000. The white crosses of soldiers and infants killed in the Civil War. Presidents, Lincoln and Kennedy, slain in their prime. Other bodies, unknown, unidentified. Blood, tears, blood, tears, over and over.

The haunting portraits of the Holocaust. The young Jewish boys in the museum with their heads covered by the fabric of their faith. America, at first hesitant to get involved, did involve themselves in Hitler's country and affairs. Thank God we went to save the few, fight for their inch of freedom and discover the atrocities of somebody else’s business. Nosed into a terrorist business and put those on trial for their horrible crimes against the persecuted.

So many cultures filled D.C. to visit the memorials of all that has been given to stroll in the land of the free. Koreans, Pakistani, Panamanians, nearly every race in our free world walked those avenues, snapped digital photos of the cost, and enjoyed the benefit of it all, hopefully a tiny bit more at those solemn moments, perhaps stood still a moment and reflected on something about this country that they were thankful for. That they, with me, were not able to find a precious moment in our history to stop and say, There, there. This is where we should have stopped fighting for our freedom as well as the freedom of those we do not even know. Here is the point where we should have stopped caring for humanity and shouted at Washington, no more...we've had enough. No, there was no point in the tours that I thought to myself: I don't care what all you did before, for us, I just care about me. Damn the future generations.

No, I thought none of these things. In awe, I was thankful and I wanted every tourist there, every free South Korean, every free Panamanian and Pakistani, and especially every American there in D.C. and Virginia to know that, My son has joined those who stood for something.

Thank you, Aaron. From the bottom of my heart, on this third Memorial Day without your laughter to fill our homes, I find it in the wind chimes and birds, and I find it on the streets before my home as young men race in their cars down the street, play their music loud and free, and I look at those kids and I think, you don't know how fortunate you are that so many people cared enough about you to die for you. And then I think that in a way, that too, is a great thing. That so many of us have always lived in freedom.

I will never quit missing you. And I will always be proud of you. Semper Fi, Marine,"Mom" (De'on Miller, Mother of Aaron C. Austin KIA, April, 2004)"
Aaron's Mom


To Koci:

Doug just called. He asked me to tell you that he was supposed to go on a fishing trip to Alaska for Marines and their dads. As it turned out, he wasn't able to make it, but he'd like to put your name in to go. It'd be a while before he could find out for sure, but I think December is the time frame. He said the only thing you'd have to pay for is your drinks.

Leave a message here if you need his number.

We love you and always will love you.

P.S. Take nose mittens if you go. I went to Alaska in October once and my nose hairs froze then. Of course, that was Fairbanks. Not sure where this is at."


"Hi Aaron, De'on, Sgt. Rett and all you echo Marines. I just wanted to say a quick , hello... You all are always in my thoughts and prayers.


"Aye Aye Ma'am,
I will let you know when we get there!
Semper Fidelis

"Aaron..It has been so long since I have been on here and I am sorry for that..but there is never a day that goes by that you are not thought of. I miss you dearly and I know now that you are "my shining star". I miss you so much..

Happy 4th of July!!! I stand so proud of you and honored to have been loved by such a courageous Marine like you!!!

All my love,
Tiffany of Phoenix, AZ

"You are all so gracious, beautiful, and red, white and blue through and through. I love you each with a heart that is so sappy I'm sure I make all of you sick! And I certainly love Diane's new Marine! He is ours too!

Koci--man, I wish I could just hug you.

And the SgtMaj too! Please let me know when you're back in the sand! I say this with purpose and you should NEVER deny the Gold Star of a Silver Star!!! Huhh?!

Much love, and yes, the babies won't come out for love or money. I'm betting not even food, though we'll see on that one!

Semper Fi!"

"Happy 4th of July Aaron!"
Rick Koci of Utah

"FREEDOM, FREEDOM, FREEDOM! Thank you so much, Aaron, De'on, Sgt. Rett, Doc Duty, Polanski, Zembiec and all you Echo MARINES for my freedom! I will always honor and treasure it. I know the price you all paid for my freedom. While I was on my vacation, I met a Marine. His name is PFC Jed Carlson. It was such an honor meeting him and his beautiful new bride. He did two tours and is 100% disabled. He told me his story. He and his best friend took turns carrying each other back to safety. He was Motor T attached to a recon unit. His unit was hit by IED's. All 5 trucks were bombed. Jed had pneumonia so he was only at 50%. His best freind was carrying him to safety and was shot in the leg. Jed told his friend to just leave him and run for safety... As you know Marines never leave Marines. They took turns carrying each other to safety. Jed was kept back and his friend went back out. His friend was KIA. Jed relives this every night. My heart just broke for this Brave Marine. I must have hugged him and his wife 100 times! It was such a pleasure to meet and spend time with these two beautiful souls. I was able to buy him a whisky and coke! I've been wanting to do that for Sgt. Rett so bad! It was so nice to be able to hug and talk to one of you guys! I hope you all can celebrate and have peace this wonderful weekend! I love all of you so much!

God Bless You,

Diane Adame"

"Well Aaron,
Once again it has been quite a while since I last left a message on here. Independence Day finds me at Mojave Viper and getting ready to go over again to finish up the great work that Echo started all those years ago. This time I will be with 9th Engineer Support Battalion from the Marine Logistics Group side of the house. The unit builds COP's and does route repair and such. Another pretty impressive group of Marines and Sailors that I again have the great priviledge of serving. It is about 113 degrees today and a good day for a BBQ. Actually we will do ours this evening as, we have lots of Marines down range training. In any event it will be another family gathering of Marines doing what Marines do best....cuss,tell war stories, complain and all the while having a ton of fun while defending the great freedoms that you and many other Marines of your caliber created for us and we are honored to maintain. So it will be a great Marine Corps time as usual. Other than this being a meritorious day since I last wrote we have done a very large turnover of personnel in prep for our departure soon. A bit green...but, very eager to go and do their part just as every Marine before them. Things have calmed down tremendously over there these days and I feel all of our efforts have prevailed to show yet another nation that America is the model for freedom and success. It is an incredible honor to be from this nation and to be able to put on this "fabric" of America every day beside these incredible Warriors of the next greatest generation! I guess that I should stop babbling once again and let people reading this get back to other duties and responsibilities. We all still miss you lots you old War Dog!

As a side note...if any Marine from Echo wants to get in touch with myself they may do so by contacting me at john.ploskonka@USMC.mil It is always awesome to hear from you and know that you are still doing the same incredible things that you did back in the day. It was an incredible honor to be your Company Gunny!!!

So I hope everyone out there has a great Independence Day this year and I thank all of you Warriors for making freedom count.

Semper Fidelis
SgtMaj John Ploskonka
9th ESB Okinawa Japan"


Happy 4th of July to all our troops and veterans. And also to Aaron's family and friends near and far.

Hello Las Vegas family. A big hug to Jacob. He was so handsome the last time I saw him (at Aaron's funeral) so I can only imagine how gorgeous he is now.

I will always treasure that week he spent with me in Lubbock while Aaron was home on leave. He even called me "Grandma" by the end. We loved having him and I'd love to see him again.

Derek: You are precious for signing the blog photos. I will always hold you accountable for making fun of Aaron and causing him to throw his blanket away! ;)

But you made up for it when you came with Eric and picked Greg up at the airport so he could drive the "fixed" truck home that Aaron wrecked in Vegas.

Memories! Of course, the first years of Aaron's life he was scared to death of the noise of fireworks, so I'd have to sit in the truck with him while he sucked his blanket.

Good to hear from you all and Diane, I hope you're on the mend. I know this is a tough time for you (as it's a little tough for me too) but I know God will see us all through the hard times and the good times.

My love to you all. And my many, many thanks to our troops and veterans.

All my thanks to Jesus Christ who gives us all freedoms. Many in our country are trying to take those freedoms away and trying to remove God from America. That is not what my son died for. But too, God's Word tells us these things will come.

And that they won't be easy. So hold on all and keep your faith. It can't be about what many Americans are saying and doing to and against the morals and God we fought freedom for. Religious freedom was bought and brought for Christianity and in "our fairness" I watch it dwindle.

There is more to fight for now than ever. So keep fighting for all that we still hold. And God willing, to get back some of what we've lost.

And if that doesn't happen--get your heart and mind right, cover yourself in the blood of Jesus and then, look up.

Aaron, Shane, Dad, Uncle Mickey, all my family and friends there in heaven, I love you. I thank God for you, and I will keep working, praying and fighting in my own way until that precious day I hold and see you all again.

Let Freedom Ring!"
Mom (De'on)

"Hey Uncle Aaron just wanted to say i love you and miss you everyday oh yea i saw you on tv the other day too well happy birthday love you and thank you"
Derek Lowe of Las Vegas NV

"Happy Birthday, Aaron! I have so much to tell everyone but have been so sick. I will return when I feel better. These antibiotics(spelling) should kick in by Thursday. I love all you guys!


"Aaron,my little brother, my Hero, I just wanted to say Happy Birthday. I miss you so much. Jacob reminds me of you every day. A smile, a laugh or even a movement, I will just hug him and tell him how he acts like you, his idle. Happy Day Little Bro, I Love You"
Pam of Las Vegas, NV USA


God gave me one of the biggest blessings in this world, twenty-six years ago tonight. I love you and I know that April 26, 2004 turned out to be your very real birthday.

I will miss you until I'm with you.

My love always,"

"Oh wow... Diane, you've said it all... here, and Jimmie, I think I have the same photo of the one you left on Gunz Up--and what you wrote--well, like Diane, you said a bunch. Thank you so much and I hope you will visit again.

I love you all so much and can only echo what Diane wrote. You all do so much for us, and if I can ever give back just a part of the love and honor you each share and shower on me, if I can share and do share part of the pain, then I will know my life has not been in vain.

God has blessed me in so many ways. You ALL are a huge part of that, and I will never forget it!"

"PS. My Daddy ordered the military channel to see the documentary. He knows about all you Marines. I talk about all of you all the time. My Dad was a Marine."

"June 11, 2008

Hello My sweet Aaron, De'on, Sgt. Rett and the rest of echo 2/1. I'm so sorry it took me so long to respond after the documentary. I had to take time to soak all that in. I am so proud your platoon was honored and Aaron was the honoree. I have the same feelings as De'on...It was 60 minutes and I wish all of your stories were told. I really feel SPECIAL that I know the whole story, from the book "No, true Glory" and from this site. This site has given me the whole story. That is why I come so much, all of you are my Heroes! I know how Zembiec ran from house to house checking on his Marines while being fired at. I know how Doc Duty brought Aaron back to life more that the human person would think possible. I know how Sgt Rett carried Aaron across a long stretch of land while being fired at, I know how all you echo Marines ran out in the open to get your injured Marines into hummers to get them to medics. You all fought like Lions...I really do get prouder by the day. You MEN move me in ways I cannot explain. I pray for you daily as I do De'on. I talk to Aaron everyday... It truly is the highlight of my day. I have never seen that big azz grin in person, but I see it when I talk to him. Sgt. Rett, I love you so much and will forever be praying for you. I hope you are doing well. I know the documentary had to throw you through the ringer again. Please remember you are in our hearts and daily prayers. I am your personal little cheerleader.... Remember when you look in that mirror every morning, you're a Marine among Marines, A man of honor, a man who gives his life to keep people free, a man who never gives up, A man that has so many people whom he has never met that love and pray for him, A hero to me! De'on, I love you so much... I am so sorry I haven't written or kept up with my emails. I am still fighting that depression. I'm going on a cruise this Sat and will return on the 24th. I promise to email you and respond to your emails before I leave. I truly am sorry I wasn't there after the special, It just threw me back to that dark whole. I had no words, I knew there were no words...But again I know there were words I could have typed. I could have just typed (((((((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))))))))))). All of you mean the world to me. Aaron, I will talk to you daily on my vacation. De'on I will email you when I get back and will be praying for you every morning and through out the day. Sgt. Rett, You too will be in my daily prayers as you always are.. You don't know it, but in my heart, I have adopted you. I am SO VERY PROUD and HONORED to know of you. You're truly my HERO. Love and peace to all you echo Marines, De'on, Aaron and his family and friends. I will forever remember....


"i served with austin from the time he came into the fleet up until i left for another duty after iraq, aaron was always a gung ho marine, he was an outstanding marine and will always live on forever in the hearts of his friends, semper fidelis"
Jimmie J. Sparks of Richmond, KY


We love your prayers, Shelly. And we always love our time with you. God is good to give us those like you in our lives.

I love you so much!"

"Just wanted to say I love you sweetheart and I am thinking of you, but then again not a day goes by that I don't think of you. The documentary was so powerful and moving. Thank you De'on and Greg for letting me watch it with you. I pray that you are blessed as much as you are a blessing."
Shelly of Lovington

"I love you more ;)"



Thank you both for such beautiful messages. This board means so much to me and I know to others.

To come here and read the words of those people I know, and those I'll never meet, means the world to me.

I'm sure Aaron is using the talents in Heaven that God equipped him for here on Earth. I bet he is with so many like him. I know they pray for us all even more there than they did here, and I'm so thankful for him, for all of you, and most certainly for the God of Heaven and Earth.

I look forward to being with them all someday, but at last, my heart has been made glad to be here on Earth until I'm through with my work and talents here. I pray that the time I have remaining here will be used to continue in my love and support of our awesome troops and to give our Father in Heaven the whole heart He has so graciously given back to me.

I love you all, and thank God for those you've shared with us in the service of this country. It is the nation I love, the nation I sometimes fear for, and it is still the nation in which we can grow and prosper in Freedom.

May God draw us all back to His ways and His will, so that He can look down in favor upon us for yet a while longer. We have much to fight for!

Even in the darkest hours of hurt and anguish, I remained proud of my precious son, and I know so many parents are proud of theirs.

Even when children don't die in honor, I know it still hurts just as much, if not more.

But I do believe a broken heart is something that can draw us to our Father, and one day we will see in full what we only see in partial now.

God bless you for visiting!"
De'on Miller--Aaron's Mom

"To the family Aaron..I was going through the men who have fallen and came across Aaron's name "Austin." I am an Austin and my Daddy just passed away a year ago, from cancer however, but he too was and is a Marine. It just makes me wonder..did they meet in Heaven yet? My Daddy used to tell me, "The Gates of Heaven are guarded by a Marine in his dress blues!" Anyway, I just want to say I'm so sorry for your loss and I'm sure we will all meet again someday...God Bless you and your family."
Lisa Austin of Cocolamus, Pennsylvania

"I recently learned of your loss and Aaron’s great sacrifice when I met Richard Windham while he was out in CA teaching at the Seabee Base in Port Hueneme last month. It was with pride that he talked of Aaron but also sorrow at your loss. He told me about your website and of course, I just had to logon. It sounds like you raised a wonderful young man. :) May your memories of him carry you through.

My loved ones returned - my brother was deployed three times and a cousin returned two months ago from his second deployment – so I have no way of knowing what you have gone through. But there is One who understands – One who can comfort like no other – May you always feel the loving arms of our Savior around you. We mourn, but not as those who have no hope. May His love draw you close and may you find peace in the knowledge that your son is safely and lovingly held in the arms of God."
M of California

"Aaron,I watched the documentary,WOW,
DONNA of Lovington,NM


It was a beautiful Memorial Day. Such an honor to our veterans and our fallen where Aaron's precious body is buried.

You all are precious to us and I can't thank you enough for your messages of love and dedication.

Koci, I called Doug. He was moved to tears and he does love you so much.

We all do and pray for God's healing for each of you.

The documentary was so good and as they promised, 60 minutes cannot possibly tell but a part. So many of you out there with so much to tell. And I hope someday each story can be told. But no matter what, I thank God for each of you in the battles you've fought and those we each still find ourselves in.

Don't give up the good fight.

Marilyn, your post was so powerful. Thank you.

God bless each of you and keep you safe in the journey you each travel.


"I remember...I was waiting until after the special about 2/1 to write today. I just finished watching the show. I need to gather my thoughts before I write. I love you, Marines! Thank You. I wish I could hug all of you and De'on.


"Happy memorial day brother!

My sis got on here and left a message for me, its been very hard for me to communicate with anyone that we knew from our company. I figured it would get easier as the years went by but it hasnt.

To your father,

I'll never forget the time i got to meet you. And you pulled me aside and asked me to protect your son and bring him home safe. Meeting you was a special experience only because i knew how close you two were and still are. He would call you from time to time and i would over hear the conversation thinking it was aaron talking to a hometown buddy. And he was, his father.

I will call you Doug. Trust me.

Cpl. Richard D Koci"
rick of slc, utah

"Today in church we sang "O Beautiful for Spacious Skies" and when we sang the 3rd verse I thought of Aaron. The words go...."O Beautiful for heroes proved, in liberating strife. Who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life." Aaron...you are not forgotten! Your memory lives on!
I have posted a Memorial Day Tribute to Aaron on my blog at: http://marilyn-nogreaterjoy.blogspot.com/2008/05/blog-post-memorial-day-tribute.html

May we all remember the heroes who have loved mercy more than life as we celebrate Memorial Day this year!

God bless you...."
Marilyn Harrell of Mississippi


Duh, yes, make the date below this 5/25/08!! Bedtime! I said "happy" not smarter!"


I love you, Aaron Cole! Thank you! I know you're happy and I am too!!!"

"For Aaron and all of our Fallen Heroes,

"Soldier, rest! Thy warfare o'er,
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,
Dream of battled fields no more.
Days of danger, nights of waking."
Sir Walter Scott"
Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas, USA

"May 14, 2008

I will be happy to receive and distribute anything about this brave soldier you'd like to share, Diane.

And silly girl, the three pages you have of a book that will be about 350-400 pages are yours! Though I did tell you the structure and how the parts are set-up. Cool, huh?

You are one fantastic lady and you've been places of your own. We all have a story to share, huh? Guess God made us that way and I'm thinking He doesn't want us to tuck it away in ourselves so much. We might go around thinking too little of ourselves or too highly of others.

It is God who gives the tests and they are for a testimony. He's the One who gets us through and the military is a great place to witness God in action in so many ways. I've never watched prayer over a meal in a restaurant much, but in the 'ole Chow Hall, yes. Maybe that food needed more prayer! LOL!

But I've never been on a battlefield like these guys and I bet if they'd never prayed before, they did then.

We love them and we love you.

You are truly Semper Fi, Diane. And you are the Mom of a Marine yourself.

Much love and nighty night. Better get this up so I don't have to change the date.

Did you know if this was printed out, it exceeds 140 pages?!?"

"Dear Aaron, De'on, and Sgt Rett,

Today I recieved a copy of a little bit of your Mother's book. It has stirred up so many emotions. Things I have never dealt with nor wanted to. I just want to Thank you three and the other's who post here for being here and just sharing. We are all in a healing process and it is just so awesome to have all of you. Donna, thank you for responding and praying for Chris, it means a lot. I will not post much more about him here but will send his progress and hopefully some pictures of him and my Family to De'on and she will share them with all who wants info. (if, she doesn't mind) Aaron, I see why so many people are drawn to you, it is because of your Mother and I hear your Daddy's pretty awesome as well. It's so weird speaking to you here when I speak to you everyday just in normal conversation. Bonni, Please let your brother know there are so many people who read the book "no true Glory" and think of him and his brothers everyday. That's how I learned of Aaron, it is because of that book and Aaron's site that I come here and pray for all of them and their families. They are all my heroes and I will forever remember and pray for these strong brave men for the rest of my life.

Love to All


"Give him a hug for me to Diane,I hope his family will get in touch with him even though they are not close,this is a time to heal all wounds and be here for him,God Bless him,He is in my prayers,Love Donna"
Donna of Lovington,NM

"Mother's Day 2008

It has been a very special day. I'm a blessed Mom.

Diane, how good of you to care for this soldier. I will pray for you and for him.

There will be so many in heaven who will care for him and all his pain and loss will be replaced with a joy we can never fully appreciate here. I believe that so very much.

Give him a hug from me!"

"Dear De'on,

The emotion's you pull out of my soul with your writing, just blows my mind away. The gift you have touches so many souls and captures hearts all over. You're truly an inspiration! I love you too. Happy Mother's Day!

To everyone who reads this memorial for Aaron, I ask that you pray for an Army Hero named Chris. I received his name from the Military Moms. He wasn't injured in combat but has cancer and isn't expected to have much more time here on earth. He is in great pain and all alone. He is to arrive here in San Antonio at BAMC around the 14th. I will soon get to know this young man and be with him while he goes through his surgeries
and hopefully be able to maybe bring him into my home on the weekends. Apparently his Family isn't close to him and his girlfriend broke up with him. He said he feels very alone and is very sad, and does not want to leave the Army. So, I ask all of you who read this to please keep this young man in your prayers. I will keep
you updated so you know exactly what to pray for as he goes through the phases of cancer.

Thank You,


Sweet Diane, Marine Mom with a heart the size of the state you live in and the state Aaron loved:

The beautiful floral bouquet arrived today. They touched me nearly as deep as the card. I wept. Not out of sadness but out of the love of your heart and the love I know Aaron STILL holds in his precious heart for me.

Thank you and have a beautiful Mother's Day.

I do love you so and I treasure the friendship of a woman I've never met in person but continually meet here and through the mail.

Paints, flowers, scrapbooks. My goodness woman, I hardly even know what to say. (A rare moment in history!)

May God pour out his richest and most merciful blessings on you, sweet Mother of Loss and certainly of GREAT GAIN!

Always, Always,"

"Hello sweet Aaron,

They will arrive today as the company does not deliver on Sunday.


"Deon,Happy Mother's Day,Love Donna"
Donna of Lovington NM


Hello all,

I read most every day even though I don't always post right back. It warms me through and through to be able to read here and then just think for a while on all that is said.

Donna: You sweet girl. I know you think of Chris and Aaron every day, just as I do. They know how much they are loved and it's good for us to tell them here too.

Shelly: Well, we have known each other for years and still spell each others names wrong! Well, I got yours right this time!

Aaron loved the times you were in high school teaching all those little warts and I know he drove most of them crazy but for some special reason, you kept your sanity along with your love for him.

You gave me a cross to put into his casket when you could not make it to his funeral. The cross lies underneath the pillow of that sweet head that I cradled so many times.

You gave the benediction at the Silver Star Ceremony held for him in Amarillo. I know he smiled as his short teacher and buddy prayed and gave thanks for that day there.

You were one of those he always had to look up when he was home on leave and for all these things I will always be thankful for you.

But mostly I'm thankful for you in that you've remained a true friend during the easy times and the hard times. Your smile and your words never fail to bless us little Miss "Blessed". When anyone asks how you are, this is always your answer. You are a woman after God's heart and a treat for all of us. And you got Tony Dungy's autograph for my husband, so that shot you way up on my short list for a future wife for my husband that I guess he won't be needing now!! ;) Oh well, there's still those handsome firemen from Arizona that helped us out on May 3rd when we were painting on the future home of Heart's Desire!

I love you, "Blessed"!!

Aaron loved you so very much and he enjoyed picking up your little short self and twirling you around or holding you up in the air--just as he did me. He used to pick me up and hold me over his head and say, "Well, what are you going to do now? Huh?"

I'd point my finger down at his face which was about even with my shoulders and say, "You're grounded!" Of course, that was always harder on me than even on him, so it never lasted long, but most of it was for fun when I'd say that while I was being held up in the air. True "groundments" as he called them, were given across the room as he was trying to make his way out!

Bonnie: I'm so glad you found us here and your words were a true blessing to me. I do try to encourage on this site as I know this is the place many precious Marines have found themselves. One of the most important things I have left to do here on this earth is to be here for them and for family. You are part of that family now and I hope you visit often.

I have photos of the guys and when things slow down some, maybe I can get some sent to you. There are also quite a few on the following sites:



Give Koci our love. Aaron loved him so much and I regret that I didn't get to meet him, but I'm glad Doug and Robbie, and Juanita (Aaron's grandmother in California) got to. They enjoyed his visits and all of us appreciated him so much when he drove Aaron to them when Chuck (Aaron's grandpa) was taken to the hospital right before he passed away after a heart attack.

Your brother is a very handsome young man and SgtMaj Ploskonka loved Aaron and Koci. More than one of his powerful messages is on this board and I enjoyed so much the one time I got to meet him in D.C. He is in Japan now and I know loves all his Marines but I think 2/1 holds a special place in his heart.

Take care of yourself and my email is deonmiller7@hotmail.com if you or Koci should ever need it for any reason. My phone number is 505-704-8451. No matter what, we are here for you all in spirit and prayer. We certainly understand if we don't hear from the guys as we want their lives to become so full of good and busy things. Every person reflects and works it out in their own way. At first we wanted to hurry it all along and reach out and be reached out to so quickly, but I believe peace has settled in on both Aaron's parents and the main thing we want now is for everyone to know that we care and we want them to live without regret. Though that must surely be a part of it for the guys who've seen what we (the families) have not (in the fire fights and in Iraq itself)--I hope and pray that as each day here passes that it will not be the biggest part. The fact that each one of them served to the best of the ability God put in each precious heart is important. Today is important and the future is important. They will always be loved and prayed for and we do not want them burdened beyond what is healthy. But in the end, it is only God Who can and will heal and for each person that may be in a different way. While we will always miss Aaron here, we are filled with pride and love not only for our precious Marine but for each of the Marines, Docs and all the troops and their families who serve us all in ways we cannot even imagine. But we can show our appreciation and share in sorrow and joy here when and if we can.

I will always be thankful for this message board and I hope it's here as long as the earth is, but should it ever fail, our love and appreciation for all of you will not.

God bless, (and yes, I'm Mom)"
De'on of Lovington NM

"Aaron,I love and miss you,Tell Chris i love him and miss him everyday of my life,Donna"
Donna of Lovington NM

"This will be the first time I have left a message here for you Aaron sweetheart, but I promise you not one single day has gone by that I do not think of you. I am so proud of you and I loved you like my own, more than words could ever express. You have always and will always hold a special place in my heart, just as you D'on and the rest of your family. I talked to a group of soldiers at the Dallas airport in March and my heart swelled with love and respect for each of them and for all of you who serve in our Military (not that is wasn't already because of my love for you, Aaron, but these men took the time to talk to me and with tears in their eyes assured me that your death sweet Aaron would not be in vain). May God our Father bless each of you(them) abundantly and exceedingly more than you(they) ever thought possible. Jarred may God bless you and your precious little family too! Aaron if you can please tell Brooke she too is loved and yall have fun worshipping the Father together. In God's time I will see you both.Karen I Love you and Gary, please know you are both in my prayers, God is sosoosoo good. Love Always, In His Grip (thank you Lord) Shelly"
Shelly of Lovington, NM - Lea

"Dear Doug & De'on...& Karen,
Thank you for your kind & uplifting words-it means so much to me-words cannot adequately describe how I'm feeling (but I'll try). I will be sure to pass the message on to Ricky (KOCI)-I know he'll be happy to hear what you have to say & I hope he responds-not through me this time. I told him about the page & he was happy for me to post something for him...I'm sure he'll do it himself soon.
Thank you for the spiritual uplift as well-you don't know how much you've touched me, and inspired me tonight. God truly is mysterious (like you said), and certainly does have a plan for all of us. The goal is the same, reaching heaven, but the paths are different-our challenges, strengths, weaknesses-all give us advantages & moments of strengthening & overcoming disadvantages.
I am so inspired by the way you've taken this experience, this challenge & risen above it-kept your faith & let it strengthen you-let it make you a better person. You are reaching out and blessing others, and in doing so you are allowing God's atoning sacrifice work in you-God's pure love, his charity for us all-you're embracing it & then sharing it with others... everyone who posts on this blog is doing that. Sharing with each other, uplifting one another-that is Godlike behavior. Thank you. Thank you for sharing your light with me... thank you for helping me heal & helping motivate me in making this world a better place. God bless all of you.
PS. God bless that young hispanic man who is putting his life back together (and you too "mom" is that you De'on?) -that takes real courage & faith to face your weaknesses head on. I applaud him. I pray God gives him the strength to endure through the tough times ahead & gives him the encouragement to press forward. I pray that he gives all of us that same motivating peace."
Bonnie Koci of SLC, UT

"May 3, 2008

My precious Marine son,

Four years ago today your precious body was committed to the earth. Should God delay His coming for long enough, someday your dad will be buried next to you. I never thought the day would come where I could laugh and be merry on such an anniversary as this one. But today was just such a day. I spent half the day at “Heart’s Desire” or rather at our new building that we’ll be moved into by the first of August.

I know you know all this already as I do know you’re there beside our Father, beside the God of Heaven and Earth Who came in the physical form to live among us and be tempted as we are, and then even doubted upon the cross. For that time that God turned from His Son, from Himself as it were, because God the Spirit cannot look upon sin, and it was the first time, the only time, the Son was separated from the Father and Jesus cried out and asked His Father, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” and then Jesus died on the cross so that your mother can live with you and Shane and your Grandpa in Eternity. I’m so anxious to live with all of you there and meet others of my family I’ve never met before. And as you know, as short as two months ago I was more than ready to join you. But God had other plans for me and rather than just heal my body, He healed your Mother’s heart first. And you know my Warrior son; He healed me by showing me how strong the fight is still on this earth.

Like you Aaron, I’ve always HAD to have something to fight for. You told me once that your switch only had an ON and an OFF. Nothing in between and no volume control. I guess I’m a lot like that and I see the fight in our tiny community here for FREEDOM. While your Warrior Brothers fight for our freedom I volunteer here for freedom from addiction.

Heart’s Desire is a medium-sized thrift store with a huge vision of someday providing a Safe House for those fighting to recover from addiction. Meth is a huge problem here and I thank God you’re not here to be tempted by it. You come from a family that has fought addiction problems for as long as I’ve lived among them and though it’d be nice to believe that you’d not ever be involved in that, I have no way of knowing for sure. Your heart was always so full and maybe your pain might have pushed you further into this dark world that is ruled by that arrogant devil who already knows he’s defeated. He fights a bitter fight right now for the lives of our children and for the lives of future soldiers. This war affects us all, just as the War on Terror does. Like the War on Terror, we must stand up and call it what it is. It is Light against Dark and the fight is fierce.

I’m just a little clerk four hours a week at this store. On Monday nights they hold a program and it is a Christian Recovery Group. I don’t attend these meetings and I’ve never joined Alcoholics Anonymous. Your life and death bestowed so many Honors on our family and everyone always said how well I was doing. Many just saw me in the daytime before Happy Hour began. And even then, those who saw me at night either looked away or forgave me or who knows what.

There are times I wished I hadn’t abused such a thing as wine that the Father gave just as He gave us food, but I did and without His intervention and the hope and prayers of the beautiful family He gave me, I don’t know how it may have finally turned out. Thank God, I don’t have to know that today. Thank God for July 8, 2006—the night of my last glass of wine thus far.

I know wine is not Meth or Crack, but addiction is addiction. Though I might not have stolen outright from someone else’s home, I stole from my own family for over two years. I stole their peace and many times I broke their hearts with my words and actions.

One day Aaron, on a day that I worked at Heart’s Desire, we got a call from Adult Protective Services. They were sending someone to us who’d called and begged for someone to help him stop. To stop the drug that was destroying his life and the lives of his children. You can’t imagine my surprise when in walked the most beautiful Hispanic boy, well, not a boy really, and certainly not as handsome as Cruz, but a beautiful young man that went to school with you. He’s one I’d seen baptized in Dr. Bob’s swimming pool and one I’d watched full of the Spirit in church. His three kids waited out in his vehicle while he spent an hour in the office with our Director. He told Debi that the drug he’d experimented with years ago was now cut in such a way that the user is immediately drawn into the dark side. When they went with him to his home, the home of his children was covered with KISS posters and the air was thick with the dark this group of ‘Knights in Satan’s Service’ pays homage to. For that long hour he’d cried out for help and then we’ve never seen again.

It broke my heart. Absolutely. And it took me two weeks to figure out what happened that awful day that turned out to be the start of the day that God’s manifestation of the healing he’d been doing all along brought me to. For just a short hour or so, he lifted the veil and showed me how absolutely fierce was the work left here on this earth. The fight against the Dark.

I’m not in Iraq or Afghanistan. I’m the only Gold Star Mom in all of Lea County (thank you, Lord!) and so most of the organizations and functions are held hours from my home. But the fight, like the freedom, comes in many forms, and at last, my time, God’s time came for me on a day that is not even recorded. It happened so gradually I didn’t even realize it was happening, but by the time I got the diagnosis that confirmed I wouldn’t be joining you quite as quick as I’d hoped, I was happy enough for it. I don’t want us to lose one life to Evil if I can help in some way, even if it means being away from you for a little while longer.

So today, son, while I painted on a big old building, I did think some of that 21-gun salute four years ago. But this year the tears didn’t stream. I just lived and loved and laughed and watched the teenagers drive down the road. I thought of you all day long just as I have every day since God gave you to me, but I mourned for nothing. I didn’t even mourn for the teenagers that drove past me or wonder if they were free or slave. I just thanked God for your safety and His Miracle of Life.

Thank you, Aaron and the many like you who continue in the fight before us all. And may the God of Heaven and Earth strive with us yet a while longer so that all those we love can be filled with His Mercy and His Grace.

I love you, more…"

"May 2, 2008

Man! I love you all. God is so good. So faithful. He made the Marines and the Docs and the Seabees and the families and I'm just overwhelmed with His tender and powerful mercies.

He watches. Like you all, but even better. God watches.

I love you Karen and Diane. The 24th MEUs are in my prayers.

Thank you to all!"

"For Aaron,Rett,Cruz,Liotta,Koci,Doc Duty,Gomez,Harrell,Skyles...everyone in the 2/1

II Timothy
Chapter 2
Verses 1-4
Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

This is late, but never are any of you forgotten. Thank you all for "keeping the wolves at bay" for all of us. I love, think of, honor and pray for everyone of you and that will never stop. Thank you again, my beloved nephew. The words "thank you" can never be enough.
Love you always"
Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas, USA

"Hi Aaron!

I know your watching over the Marines who are fighting the good fight against the taliban. I wanted to come pray for the 24th MEU parents, wives, and families. May God give them the strength to make it through this deployment. I pray they get a call soon.


De'on and Sgt. Rett, you two sound like your having some good days! I am so HAPPY to see that! I just LOVE, LOVE you two!"

"April 29, 2008


You know how happy I am for Jerrod, Nicky and the baby daughter that will bless all our lives late August. Thank you always for your friendship and your words of encouragement. I know they come from your heart and too, I know that you have suffered much loss in your life and so I accept your love and friendship as not only the 2nd mother of Aaron, but too, as a sister in sorrow. However, my sorrow has turned to joy and I’m grateful for not only the life of my son that will be with me throughout all eternity, but I’m grateful for the lives he saved and for the problems he has missed on this earth. My mother once told me that her mother told her that there comes a day in which we wouldn’t call our loved ones back, even if we could. That day came a couple of months ago for me. I won’t expand here, though I will in the book I seem to hit and miss on but will still keep cranking out.

And to Bonnie:

Thank you so much for such a beautiful message. I hope you come here often and too, with all my heart, I hope Koci does too. I feel that in secret he must. But if I’m wrong, then please relay this message to him. We love him and wish only his heart be healed. I know that’s much to ask, but if it can happen for Aaron’s Momma, I tell you this, it can happen for anyone. We are so proud of all those Aaron fought, partied and suffered alongside. There are few that capture our attention and prayers as much as they.

I called Doug, Aaron’s dad. I knew he’d want to hear your message as Doug loves Koci like no other. He wanted me to relay this message to your brother:

Doug said: ‘Tell him I’m proud of him. I was proud of him before and I’m proud of him now. I hope I get to see him again someday and I’ll always be glad for the time he was with Aaron. He was there beside him and in front of him and I’ll always be grateful for that. Tell him too, my work number is 806-948-4555 and my home number is 806-948-1724. He is welcome to call anytime, but if he doesn’t, that doesn’t change how I feel for him.’

So Bonnie, we love your brother and those like him.

God’s ways are mysterious, but they are perfect. That’s just all there is to that. And not Aaron, Koci, Cruz, Rett, Liotta, no one … Not one of us can escape what God has in store for us. Even the bad He turns to good. Aaron believed that. I believe that, and even our unbelief makes it no less true.

To all. Stay strong. We’re all in this together and we all have much to hold on for and to fight for. Let us help and encourage one another when we can. When we can’t, may the God of Heaven and Earth rest our weary souls and bodies and bring another to intercede in our behalf.

Our love and respect always,
Aaron’s mom De’on
and Aaron’s dad, Doug"
De'on Miller of Lovington NM

"Aaron,I didn't forget you,I will always remember you with such love and admiration,You were a tough young man,and you were always taking care of Jerrod,For that i thank you,I love and miss you dearly.Me and Dan had a drink and toasted our BRAVE MARINE.Deon you are always in my prayers,,,,,,,,You will never forget,But at least you can go on,He;s in a great place and surrounded by such great people,Love Donna"
Dpnna of Lovington NM

"Dear Aaron,
I stumbled on your page today...I'm Ricky's little sister...I just wanted to thank you for being there with him. I know he loved you, he considered you his best friend. He would tell me some of the crazy and funny things you guys would do together-I even have a picture of you guys on the first MEU. I'm sure you know all of this already, but maybe I'm writing this more for your mom...you're lucky to have such an amazing woman for a mother! She loves you so much, it's so obvious in reading her posts. I hope she knows how much you were loved by your squad, and your squad leader-my brother. If this were him writing he'd tell her that he loves her very much and thinks about you and your family all of the time. I know he'll contact her in the future, when he feels ready. God Bless you, and thank you so much for your valiant service-for sacrificing your life to protect my brother, your squad, and your country. You will never be forgotten. We love you.
Bonnie Koci
CPL Richard D. Koci's little sister-Aaron's squad leader and best friend"
Bonnie Koci of Salt Lake City, UT


Precious Sgt. Rett: Your words continue to take my breath away. I don't know that I've ever known anyone who writes with such expression and emotion (and that comes from a writer who happens to know a few pretty good ones!)

Marine, Marine. You are that through and through. I love you so.

You sound better and for that I am thankful. Aaron's death was not in vain and I know he wouldn't want us suffering forever. What's the point in that? He died so that others can live and for those he loved he would certainly expect a little down time, but after a while, he'd want us up and at it to finish the race each of us has to complete.

It is many times a weary world, but it is God's world and until He comes to take it back and evil is finally destroyed in full, then we must all become a warrior in some way, fight our battles and yes, help fight the battles of our brothers and sisters, our sons and our daughters and we must continue to fight for those weaker than ourselves.

And too, we have to rest and to encourage each other. I pray we always do that here at this wonderful message board.

To all of Aaron's brothers: I love you. Thank you.

Diane, I knew you'd be here. You little elfy upstart--you never fail to make me smile!

To my family: My goodness how I love each of you. Thank you for refusing to give up on me.

And Father God: Thank you for Your mercy and Your healing! And most especially for the blood of Your Own!

Semper Fi,
Aaron's very proud Mom"

"April 26th we shall never forget
it was an early morning four years ago the air was as sticky as the back of a yellow post it note. I still think about looking down for the rooftop and seeing all of 2nd platoon all formed up and taking off that early morning in fallujah. It was so calm that morning. How quickly things changed and in an instant as a former CO of mine said "we fought like lions" Aaron you are a true example of that statement. Still to this day I still think about that day and I used to try to figure out what I could have done different but now instead I just think about you and how brave you were. Your sacrifice saved the lives of many of our brothers. There can never be enough thanks said for your actions and I will continue to tell your story to inspire the youth and let them know that in this world during troubled times there are real heros like you brother, who will always be there to keep the wolf at bay. SEMPER FI BROTHER I LOVE AND MISS YOU.
Sgt. Rettenberger
P.S. i will never stop shooting"

"Dear Aaron, Another year has passed that I've been blessed to know you, your Mother, Sgt Rett, and some of your Marine Brothers... It is because of all of you that I live each day with a purpose. I will always remember all of your sacrifices. I truley feel blessed to know of all of you and your heroric efforts to bring freedom to those who do not have what "we" have in America. There are no words to describe how much you all mean to me. God Bless you all.



"we shall never forget""

"April 26th I remember."

"4 years ago to the hour we set out on patrol. All i can say is i remember and thank you. I will see you in time."

"April 22, 2008

My precious son. Wow. Nearly 4 years. As you may well know, your Momma is much better. I will miss you all the days of my life, but I thank God you are in a safe and rather conservative place.

I love you more and more and I will always be so proud of you!"

"thank you Deon,Her name will Haley Nicole,Jerrod,Michael & Nicky are moving in together in a new house they have found,I am excited,Me and the little mother have been sending messages to each other and she has told me Jerrod has gone to every doctors appointment,I am so proud of him,He is so excited,They are having 2 baby showers for her,One in Phoenix and the other in ElPaso where her dad lives.
It's hard to believe i am finally going to be a grandma,but i am and darn proud of it,,,,,,,,she will be spoiled,i will make sure of that,I will share her with you,just like you shared your baby with me.........Take Care Deon"


I love you too, Donna. I was more than happy to share Aaron with you and I will be Nomi to your granddaughter.

Thirty-five years ago on April 2nd is when we lost Shane. We never forget our babies, and too, we are very thankful for the new ones in our lives.

I had the greatest pleasure to meet Major Zembiec's parents last night. They are wonderful people with hearts full of admiration for our Marines. I saw pictures of their granddaughter, Fallyn Justice, who has her daddy's eyes and from what I hear, his independent spirit. It was a joy to meet them and they are strong people.

Much love to all."

"I love you to Deon,Your something special to me and i have to admire you for all you have done since Aaron has been gone,Aaron will never be forgotten has long has you have a breath in you,He touched so many lifes while he was on this earth,i will remember him with love and all my memories that i have of him and Jerrod,It;s hard to believe that my baby will be a daddy.
He has grown to be a remarkable young man.Aaron is watching over his best friend and i know that he is smiling up in heaven,wishing Jerrod the best.Sgt Rett,thank you from the bottom of my heart for carrying Aaron and staying with him,You are a reamarkable man,God Bless you,Please be safe,Aaron's second Mom that loved him like her own,he was one of mine to,Deon thank you for sharing him with me."
Donna of Lovington,NM


Oh, I love you all so much. God keeps my heart and eyes filled with so much from so many.

I will post the date and time when I know, Diane.

Donna and Fonzie and Diane, I adore you all.

Sgt. Rett, I can't even begin to tell you how much I love you, honey. God does heal. I know that. But we don't want you so healed as to lose that heart you share with us. Broken hearts are for something. I love you and will always be grateful to you dear Marine!"

"Hi Aaron, De'on, and Sgt. Rett, I am listening to my "pink" MP3 player (I'm a girlie girl with a marine mouth) I guess I get that from My Marine Dad and Son. Any who when I listen to it (it's all Christian songs.) I always think of all of you. It's is so odd that people you never met are so close to your heart. All of you have changed my life in so many ways I couldn't even begin to type. I wish I could write like De'on, and convey my thought so eloquently with such passion as she does. Sgt. Rett, You're an awesome young man, A real life Hero. I wish the world would take the time to get to know you awesome Marines and other Military members. Sgt. Rett, I pray everyday that one day you will wake up and the pain you live with you slow down and soon you will know you did EVERYTHING and more in combat. You're a true warrior, a Hero among Heroes, A Marine among Marines. My wish for you is that from this day forward every morning you will look in the mirror and see what I, De'on and the rest of your Marines see and that's a Hero, a man who has given his all. A man who devotes his life to his country and his brothers. I want you to know everyday you walk out that door to do your job you have angels surrounding you and people praying for your strength everyday. We love you, Sgt. Rett and always will. I promise you, I will always wonder how your doing and be praying for you. I want you to have some peace. You did your job, son. You carried your brother to safety and when you got him there God had a plan for him. God needed Aaron with him. I can just hear Aaron yelling ORAHHH when God calls you home and he meets you at the gates. I know Aaron wants you to live your life to the fullest so let go and let God. You earned it, son! You will forever be my HERO.


PS. DE'on, let me know when that special about 2/1 is going to air on the military channel."

"Hi Aaron,I haven't been here in so long,Just wanted you to know Jerrod will be a daddy Aug 29th,Yes we are having alittle girl,I am so excited to be a grandma,Watch over him Aaron has he makes this new journey in his life,She is going to change his life,We miss you alot,We are so very proud of you and always will hold a special place in our hearts for you and Deon,Love Donna"
Donna of Lovington,NM

"hey aaron, just wanted to stop and say i miss you bro. i think of all the crazy things you got me to do when we were younger.lol... only you could take me into things i never did. now your partner in crime seems to do that now. jerrod is something else.lol.. well love you bro and please watch over me and my family..."
Fonzie of Phoenix, Az

"Thank you so much Peggy. We need support from people like you and I do appreciate it so much.

Sgt. Rett, I love you and call me if you ever want to. No matter the time, sweetie, no matter the time.

Semper Fi"

"March 28, 2008
To the family of Lance Cpl. Aaron C. Austin:
Aaron 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

"just couldn't sleep tonight but it always helps to come on here and read all the posts. Semper Fi brother


p.s. its always helps to know that people shall never forget...."

"PS. Good to see you Sgt. Rett!"

"Hi Aaron,

Just wanted to stop by and sit with you again. I always get goose bumps when I think of you and your fellow Marines. I would have never thought I could be any PROUDER of you and your Marines than I was the day I read about your story. It's amazing how big I smile when I think of all you echo Marines. I get PROUDER and PROUDER by the day! Thank you again for every thing you do for me and My Family.



Happy Easter my precious perfect son. It's been a beautiful day but we'll always miss you in line at the luncheon buffet.

I love you."

"I'd love to dream of you. It's only happened once, but it was the best dream in the world.

You were in your long blue shorts, barefoot, bare-chested.... I could see your feet and above all, I could see you were laughing and running around. You weren't running away, nor were you in a race. You were playing. It was on a Easter Sunday that I dreamed. It seems forever ago, but I loved the dream. It reassured me, and perhaps any dream after that would not touch what that one meant to me on that day and the many to follow.

I love you, Aaron, and I miss you so much. My heart longs to be there with you and I become so impatient with the process of living here without you, but I know I must until I'm through here. Sometimes I think, maybe if I hurry....

But it's not in my hands and not up to me. And as much as is heavenly possible, I must seek the joy of life here on this earth. It's hard and it doesn't happen until we step out of ourselves and into the needs and lives of others.

We all miss you desperately, Aaron.

And Sgt. Rett, we never quit loving and thinking and praying for you and the others. You are all so very, very important to us. Thank you for sharing here with us and Aaron. It means so much.

Semper Fi"
Aaron's Mom



"Hello all. Im writing to let all of my Marines of my ne email address. It is gabrielmoral@aol.com. I am looking foward to hearing from all of you. Semper Fi and God bless you all!"
Big Mo of detroit


Love you, Sgt. Rett!"

"hey brother
i miss you man, please watch over us as we deal with our day to day battles


"Kaika!! Email us at deonmiller7@hotmail.com. We have emailed you but never heard back. We love you so much!!"

"hey aaron i just thought i'd stop by and let you know i'm doing good i finally got into massage school i'm getting pretty good. i miss you so much. i remember you used too yell at me too get out of your room when we were kids, i miss those days i'm praying for you and dad and de'on too i hope you two are ok i'll check back in bye for now"
kaika of Olympia, WA

"Thank you so much and please keep us updated. You and yours will be in our prayers and we need good Marines!


Much love and Semper Fi from Aaron's Mom"

"hey brother, i still think about you and your love for life and i think about your family. i am sorry i haven't written you or your family in almost a year and a half, but i will never forget you and your sacrifice. i miss the marine corps and i haven't had anything stable or of worth as far as a job so i am coming back in to the marine corps. right now i am working construction just hoping it will hold me until my package gets signed off to get back in. i hope to go back to everything same platoon and the whole nine yards. i also hope to run into some of our old comrades while back in. that is what i am praying for. i will treat the marine corps like gold this time. i just want to be a good husband and father to my baby zadrian and a good marine for those that i may influence. take care brother. former corporal burkhead 0331 guns up. love everyone."
beau burkhead of beaumont texas

"Merry Christmas!

WOW! What a present I received yesterday, Sgt Rett's was here, so I know
he's doing good and an Email from your Mom last night with which might turn
out to be the best news EVER! GOD IS GOOD! I know you have been working
over time up there and boy does it show! Another mission complete!

God Bless You"

"I love you, Sgt. Rett and Diane, I am doing well, very well. I hope both of you, all of you are the same.

Gunz Up has an important link up for you guys from 2/1. It is narrated by Rick Loomis.

You must please know Sgt. Rett how thankful we will always be to you. We love you with all our hearts and wish the very best for all of you. We know you love Aaron and always will think of him. You tried to save him. You'll never forget and neither will we.

Please have a safe and wonderful holiday.


Aaron Cole: I love you and will dance with you again some future Christmas Eve. And I dance with you always Precious and Perfect Son, United States Marine. I love you with every cell in me and I always will."

"I'm not sure were to start.... so many thoughts. There are many men who will sit around a Christmas tree this and be thankful for the greatest gift of all something that you never wrapped and no amount of money could ever equal its value. Thank you for giving me the gift of life, not only from me but from everyone that was on that rooftop and in that house that day. Semper fi brother and Merry Christmas and we shall never forget you. And to De'on I wish there was something I could do or say to tell you how much your son and my brother will always mean to me. I hope you and your family have a safe and happy holiday. God Bless.
Sgt. Rett
Always a 2/1 Echo marine at heart
P.S. And thank you to all of you who keep me in your prayers and worry about me I truly don’t have the words to express how much it means to me."

"Hello My Handsome Marine!

It's almost Christmas and you are on my mind more than usual, I know you know why.
With tears streaming down my face, I wish I could fix the hole in your Mothers heart.
Your loving Family holds her so close to their heart and I know that's how she makes
through each day. I came to pray with you to give her and your Family strength through
this time and that she would have some peace. I also wanted to wish you and all your
fellow Marines a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! It is because of all you strong
men that I get to enjoy this Holiday season with My Family and for that...I will always be
Thankful. You all are my Hero's and I will never forget what you gave for me, my family,
and my Country. I love you, Aaron.

PS. Sgt. Rett, I hope you are well, you are always in my prayers."

aunt karen, I think the puppy is Dad's spiritual Bonray. Bonray stayed with Dad and Dad was relaying to you that it was just fine because his skin wouldn't be damaged.

I love you so much, Karen. Thank you for sharing that with me. It means so much. I know they're okay and I'll see them soon."

"December 7, 2007
For Aaron and Grandpa

Harvey, I dreamed of you two weeks ago for the first time since you left us. In my dream, you, Gary and I were sitting on a big wooden patio. We were just relaxing and visiting like we had done so many times before. You were leaned back on a bench, wearing your blue jogging suit. I was amazed and so happy because you had no scars, no shingles, you were healthy and laughing, you looked so content. Snuggled up next to you was a small puppy, so little and cute. I asked, "Harvey, where did you get that puppy?" You looked at me and said, "Aww, he just took up with me." At this point, the puppy, excited, started to jump up on you. I reached for him and said, "Oh, Harvey, don't let him scratch you," You picked him up, held him in your lap and said, "He's just fine."
And then I awoke. What a wonderful and comforting way to see you again.
Aaron, when I think about this dream, I wonder if the puppy represented you. So young, cute, excited, full of life and spirit, full of love, snuggling in next to Grandpa like you knew you belonged there. I know that you and Grandpa are together now and I wish I had a small glimpse of what it must be like for you two in Heaven, with our Saviour and other loved ones. I hope it's like a party, a huge patio, for I know both of you loved that.
I love and miss you both so. It's hard to get used to life without you here physically, but I thank my dear Lord for memories, dreams, our family and our faith. I know you are both close to us, just on the other side of the veil. Keep watching over us until it is our time to join you.

I love you both forever."
Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas, USA

"I love you."

"I am thankful for all the Military members past and present and their Families. All of you have changed my life and the way I view it. Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless You."


I am thankful to each and everyone of you who visit here. Even if you never leave a message, I want this for you always.

Aaron, I miss you. That is nothing new. We all do and we always will, just as we will always count you as a true hero warrior.

For Aaron's friends and family: God bless and keep us all."

"Sweet Diane...

It always touches me to see your name here! Thank you!"

"Hi Aaron,

I went to go pay tribute to Zembiec. He doesn't have a fallen Heroes Site. When I googled him to try and find it, I found this. I'm not sure of it's proper to put a link here or not but I think you and your Mom would approve. It's a tribute I found on youtube honoring Capt. Doug Zembiec. It is about all of you Echo Marines.


"Hi Aaron! I came to pay tribute to you and your fellow vets. I'm still in awe of all of you, I always will be. Sgt. Rett, Thank you, thank you, Marine. America stands proud because of you, Aaron and your Brothers. God Bless you All.

PS. De'on, I love ya!"

"November 10, 2007

Happy birthday to the best people in the world! Thank you, USMC!"

"Yes, I have the photos... and a beautiful hand drawn portrait is made out of one of them by Michael G. Reagan. I just recently had it framed. It's beautiful.

Hope you are well. I love you and hug that son of yours for me!"

"Hello to Deon, and to all of my Marines of 2/1. It's been a while since i have been on the computer. I wanted to know if you recieved the pictures of Aaron that i sent about a year ago. My son Aaron Austin Morales is going to be three this December. I can't believe it's been that long. I read the book No True Glory and i somewhat got a grasp. Rettenburger...... if you read this I commend you for your efforts. I am trying to get in contact with the Marines that I had the honor of serving with. I can be contacted at (313) 457-3176. I am looking foward to hearing from each and everyone of you. GOD BLESS and SEMPER FI to all."
Big MO E 2/1 3rd June 2000- Nov 2003 of Detroit, Mi


Of course I remember you. Yes, my phone number is different now. I think of you and Joey often and I pray for both of you just now.

All of our hearts will always be full with so much loss, but too, I will always be proud of and thankful for all of those who have served our nation before and since the huge loss of 9/11.

I'm sorry for the delay in replying. I haven't been on the computer much at all for a couple of months.

My love and thankfulness for all of you never changes.

Semper Fi,"

"Dearest De'on,
I have been trying to track down the phone numbers you gave me to reach you a year or so ago. The only number left on my cell phone has a message that "it" is no longer connected. My son is Joseph D. Vaux Joey served with your son Aaron. In fact, he considered Aaron one of his very best friends. I am not sure if Aaron and Joseph were in Boot camp together or not. I DO know that they were together from the "Float to Kuwait in Task Force Tarawa". I am sorry for the loss of your father De'on... but grateful that you shared many precious moments together before he went home to be with The Lord. You are in my prayers each and every morning and evening De'on. I am Blessed as are many others you may not ever 'meet' by the Grace in which you carry your sorrow for the ultimate sacrifice Aaron, your wonderful baby boy, gave for our country. I am gratified by the fact that you keep the lines of communication open with everyone whose lives were touched by Aaron in ways great and small. I am hopeful that there may be some kind of reunion one day for all of Weapons Company 2/1. As for me...The biggest reason I moved back here to Ohio was to be closer to my parents; especially my mother whose health has not been it's best for several years. Mother had open heart surgery in June of 2002. I was glad to be here to aid in her recovery. Both of my sons served in the military. My oldest, Jared, will be 30 yrs old in October was in the Air Force. Both of them were in the service when the Towers were hit in New York; Their main concern was that their little sister would grow up far away from Grandpa and Grandma hardly knowing them at all; so plans were made to relocate here within the year. I think of you often De'on and have picked up a couple of treasures that I pray will further comfort you and Aaron's Dad. I also humbly ask that any men and women that knew my son Joey ("Vaux") PLEASE let me know. He is currently in a VA Hospital White City, OR. I would gratefully give "you" an address and or phone number to communicate with him. He is still struggling with PTSD and nightmares from his life's experiences in Iraq. Any light you could put on those experiences for this proud mother of a US Marine could only serve to benefit his continued recovery. I send him any and everything to further instill his pride of being a Marine and proudly serving his country for all of us. It is no small thing to attach the words "Courage, Honor, Commitment" in the same breath as "Marine". I "Thank" all of you Brave Men and Women for your deedicated service for the safety and security of our great county.
I remain... Honor Carter, proud mother of TWO United States Servicemen. GOD BLESS AMERICA... HOME OF THE FREE BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE! hcarter2001@go.com"
Honor Carter of Columbus, OH / USA

"Another Brother of yours Aaron, Platoon 3026, India Co. I will never forget you."
2nd Lt Nekvinda, K L of Brandon SD


"There is absolutely nothing to forgive precious Marine! You carried my son in your arms and you loved him as he loved you. I don't doubt for one moment that if the situation had been reversed that day that you would have done the very same thing for Aaron and the other Marines. You are precious to me, and that will never ever change. You might as well ask me to forgive God and life... it would be just unthinkable for me to ever have anything less than the highest regard for you and the others who have lost a part of yourselves along the way. I owe so much to all of you and I realize that more with each setting of the sun. Because of you, I have the freedom to work in my yard, care for Aaron's grandparents, watch his cousins grow and smell the sweet fur of kittens and feel the bristles of an American Pit who was never fought, but was loved by the best, and without all of you, without our all knowing and blessed Father, I would not be able to experience this.

I consider myself honored and blessed among women. I know where my sons are and I thank God for them. And for the sons of others who would lay down their lives for me without hesitation. God bless you, hold you, comfort you and prosper you, Rett. I will always, always, love you and yours."

"A marine asked me the other day what was the hardeist thing you have ever done.Right away he went to, was it having to pull the trigger face to face with the enemy and i told him this, no it was telling a fellow brothers parents i did everything i could do but it wasn't enough. I failed them and a fellow marine but yet they found it in there heart to forgive me. It was the first time in the marine corps i ever failed. god forgive me for i did everytrhing i knew how to do yet it wasn't enough. i know you live and watch over my shoulder and i thank the lord for your wisdom every day. peace be with you brother


I love you, son. As you may have noticed, I'm outside thinking about you these days
I love it when your wind chime plays.

And to your buddy, Diane; I love her too.


"Hi Aaron,

I just needed to come and sit with you for a while today. All of you 2/1 warriors are on my mind. I may not know you guys personally but I love you guys as if you were my own sons. There truly isn't a day that goes by that I do not think of y'all or Aaron's Mother. Sgt. Rett, if you read this, I hope you are doing well. If you lived closer, I'd come bug you at the recruiters office and buy your lunch and a beer as often as you would let me : ) You Marines represent everything that's good about America. God bless you brave Marines."

"Hi Aaron,
Happy 4th of July! Thank you so much for my freedom. Thank you to your Family, Friends and Marine Brothers. I so appriciate everything you guys do so I may live in the land of the free. God Bless you all."


Happy 4th of July son! Happy 4th to everyone who visits here. Thank you for our freedom, dear precious troops!"

"Happy Birthday Aaron! You're in our hearts all the time.

PS. Sgt. Rett, good to see you! You are always in my heart and prayers as well. I will forever remember what you and your Marines have done and given for this great Nation. You have given and done so much in such a short time in your life. Please remember to love yourself for you are so loved and appreciated by so many people you don't even know. Be well sweet Hero. (hugs)"


Happy birthday, my Precious Perfect Son. I love you with everything."


Precious Rett:

You always say it perfectly. I love you, son. We're always here for you.

Semper Fi"

"Dear Arron,
Ah what do I say?Aaron you were a protector here on earth for marines and for me even after you left us here though I haven’t written in a long time I still check the site all the time. My dreams haunt me yet again. Forgive me brother for not being able to do more. Today didn’t make it much better I had a mother tell me today that she wasn’t going to let her son sign his life away to go die in Iraq. However afterwards her son came to me as I left the house and said to “I don’t want to be a marine to be a hero or anything I just want to make a difference can I make a difference in the marine corps” I smiled and thought of you and told that young man “a difference you can impact the lives of others for an eternity “ that young man told me he would see me in a week when he turned 18.. My brother I just want you to know that there are still a few and proud willing to step up to the challenge. You my friend have made an impact on so many lives and through that you shall live forever. I just miss you so much I’m not sure what to say. Until we meet again.



I love you. Both you, David, and Aaron. And don't you worry about me. I am a tough old bird!"

"It seems like forever ago that I heard that extremely LOUD voice for the first time. It was a simple but loud and at the time annoying shout "MACHINE GUNS!!!" I have to give him three exclamations because one just doesn't justify his voice. All I remeber thinking was "Holy cow, whats this guy's problem?" I soon found out what it was, for lack of a better word or term it was shear MOTIVATION! That was the spring of 2003, about a week later we actually get to talk to each other and thats where time stops in my head. Simply becuase I want it to last forever. We find out that we both had Pit's, and from there on out, a friendship was struck. We wasn't all that close up until Kuwait on our first deployment but I could always count on him to have smokes in the field, beer in the fridge, and a smile on his face. He had the most contagious smiles of anyone that I know. He could make a man that has just lost everything and more smile and have at least a chance of hope. I miss you brother! It's as simple as that. From that tragic day to now, to the future, Your always going to be in my mind, and I just want to thank you. Because of you always being there, you help me keep me in line with my goals. Mainly becuase when I get discouraged I think "What would Aaron say?" and then it comes to me, LOL, and you know what I'm talking about. I still enjoy our longs talks, even though now there in my head instead of out in the field on opp's. Don't really know what I wanted to accomplish with this, but you do! Well brother your mom is doing a great job with all that she's got going on! Now I see where you get your determination and drive from! Till next time brother............."
Cpl Bryant, David W. "Dave-O" of escondido, california

"Marilyn, you are always so faithful. Much love to you and the family. And thank you."

"De'on, Greg, Doug, and all of Aaron's extended family:
You have all been in our thoughts and prayers during the Memorial Day weekend. We can never know what your family has gone through. Please know that we care about you and appreciate the sacrifice that Aaron made for his country and for his brother Marines. Last night our family met together for a meal and as our son John asked God's blessing on our food he also thanked Him for all the men who had given their lives in the line of duty in the years past. I know he was especially thinking of Aaron....his best Marine buddy. He will always be a part of John I know. We will never forget Aaron C. Austin and the Hero he was...and IS.
May God bless all of you!"
Marilyn Harrell of Falkner, MS

"Thank you. All. You've each given me so much."

"Dear Mrs. Miller,

I am sorry for your loss. Please accept my gratitude for your son's service, and your perseverance. As a former Marine, I follow as many Marine stories as I can. I am sorry that you are in the political environment that you are, but please know that my family and I are praying for you and for Aaron.

Semper Fi,

Rob Lobello of Lafayette, LA


For Aaron


You are our star,
joined forever to a pride
of others, shining on,
before and after you.
Borne into a wide, vast milkyway
of selfless heroes
high above us,
lighting our skies
with the warm, twinkling
glow of freedom.
Thank you, our star among stars."
aunt karen of Brownfield, Texas USA

"Dear Aaron & De'on,

I want to Thank you both for your sacrifice. There isn't a day that goes by that I do not think about you two or the other 2/1 Marines. You all are Heroes. I also want to thank you all for making me a better person. I live my life with more purpose because of all of you. IF just half the world took the time to know any of you, this world would be perfect. Aaron, I have the honor of doing Maj. Doug Zembiec's condolence book. I promise to put as much heart and soul into it as you 2/1 Marines did in Iraq. De'on, you are the most insperational person who has walked on this earth. Just as the 2/1 Marines prevailed. so will you. For you have the truth, honor, and courage on your side. God Bless and keep you both.

With Love,

"My heartfelt sympathies for you and your family. Evey soldier remains in our prayers, as do you all. Please know that his sacrifice and yours is not unappreciated, or in vain. My God Bless you all."
Lt. J G Goebel - CCFD of Vinings, GA., USA


I can't thank all of you enough. You have all done so much in the way of spirit lifting today!

And Sweetness and Light; I loved the post and comments at your site! Thank you.

Have a safe and blessed Memorial Day."

"Thank you, Aaron for your bravery, and for looking out for me and my family. We appreciate your strength and heroism.

Mrs. Miller, I am so sorry that you lost your son. I hold you in my heart today."

"He bravely fought the good fight, and died a hero. I regret that I never was privileged to meet him.

Rest in peace, LCPL Aaron C. Austin."
Ken of New York


Mrs. Miller...I posted about you and your son at Sweetness & Light. S & L is a very pro-military blog. The link is posted above. I would be honored if you read it."
MCPO, USN, Retired of Bellingham, WA

"May 28, 2007

Thank you all so much for your messages. It means so much, so very much. Especially with all the craziness of this week.

None of what Bill Richardson says is true and I have laid out the truth in a post "WHY AM I ON TRIAL?" and in the comments area too on http://gunzup.blogspot.com

I hate that it has all come to this and I hate that our politicians lie and then have the voice to cover themselves, but I am proud of Aaron and of those who have the empathy and sensibilities to know and understand that a mother who has lost a child would never do what Richardson claims I have done. He put no thought into this at all.

The standard amt. is 12,000. How hard is that to look up?

Sorry, this thing has had me upset all week and couldn't have come at a worse time.

Semper Fi to all supporters of our great nation and military."
De'on Miller

"Thank your family for this heroic man.
He has fought for us all, like many before him, a better man would never walk on this earth
words fail me
God bless him and the family members"
Darren of Mesa, AZ

"May God bless you and keep you in Heaven for all eternity. May the Lord keep and protect your family and friends on this planet earth until you meet again."

"Many thanks for the ultimate sacrifice your son and your family have given to our nation's citizens. Words would never be enough."
Lori Craig of Columbia, SC

"I too have come to this site from Michelle Malkin's Memorial Day Tribute.

To LCPL Austin's family, please accept my heart felt gratitude for your sacrifice. May God Bless you and continue Bless our Great Nation."
Joseph Bshero of New Castle, Pennsylvania, USA

"May God bless the Family of Aaron Austin"
Jim Noble of Taylorsville, Ga

JIM SNELL III of Cherry Hill, NJ

"To the Family of LCPL Austin....

I have just learned of your wonderful Warrior Hero by reading Michelle Malkin's site this morning.

On this Memorial Day, when our Warriors are still in harms way, fighting the right war without the support of many in our country, I just wanted to say that there are many of us who do remember Heroes like Aaron, and think of you, their families left behind. Reading of your son's service brought tears to this old Master Chief's eyes. And like Maj. Doug Zembiec, another Fallen Hero, I am unashamed.

May this Memorial Day find you and your family with peace in your hearts.

Semper Fi"
MCPO, USN, Retired of Bellingham, WA

"Today being Memorial Day, I am struck by the simple selflessness of Marines like Lcpl. Austin. I will hang my flag today with a prayer on my lips for him, his loved ones and his brothers in arms. God Bless."
Jeffrey W. Farley of Dover, De

"Today I honor Lance Cpl Aaron Austin and his loved ones for their treasured gift of hope that his life brings to the world. His indomitable American spirit flows though our hearts illuminating the light on the shining hill reminding us all that freedom is not free but given in sacrifice by America's finest sons and daughters. God Bless you."
Susan of New York, NY

"What a wonderful message for you to leave, Nick. Thank you for it, for loving Aaron and for serving. We need awesome Marines, so re-enlist!! It happens all the time! I just know that if Aaron came to it, he would've gotten out, but gone back in. See Sgt. Rett!! Just kidding on that. He's in Iowa, but really, how good of you to leave a message. We've just returned from Amarillo tonight, from his grave. It has been really hard this time.

Please visit http://gunzup.blogspot.com where there are a great many pictures down at the very bottom, in the slide show from OIF 1. And I am about to start posting his scrapbook I made him for OIF 1.

Semper Fi"

"It has been a long time since I have thought about my time in the Marine Corps. I served alongside Aaron during OIF 1. I was a Sgt in his platoon. I am not sure what sparked my memory but sitting in my cube at work, I started looking for information on the members of Echo I had known who were taken too soon in Iraq. I had been discharged before Echo's second deployment to Iraq but hearing of the loss of Aaron hit me hard. Every day from now until I am no longer on the earth I question my decision to leave the Marine Corps and Marines like Aaron are the reason why. His infectious spirit and attitude were one of a kind and something I will always remember. I am sure you have heard this from countless others but I will reiterate, Aaron was the picture of what a Marine is supposed to be. Selfless, spirited and a true Warrior. Although I did not have the honor of serving alongside him in Fallujah, I will never forget the affect he had on me. Gone but NEVER Forgotten. Semper Fi."
Nick Jenkins of Cary, NC

"May 17, 2007


You could go on forever as far I'm concerned.

Train them hard. They can't train enough right now. And then love them as you loved my son.

Semper Fi"

"Well Aaron,
It's been a long while once again since I have written. This time I write after hearing the painful news that Maj Zembiec has left us and joined you. It really bites that I am in Okinawa and cannot make it back there to his funeral but, I know that the Marines of Echo will represent well, as they always have. I will be there in spirit. As I write from here in Oki it is about 0600 back in Md. where they will be starting from. Our Country and Corps have lost yet another true warrior. I remember the first time I met him was on the parade deck back at Horno after I had left the company for 3rd LAAD Bn. You warriors were in a formation receiving your Combat Action Ribbons for OIF and the pride was blowing me over as I watched the greatest men I have ever known get what they deserved. Then Capt Zembiec walked up to me and not knowing who I was said "You have got to be GySgt Ploskonka. Thank you for giving me such a great company of Marines." That told me right from the start that he was the right man for the job. That he cared more about you then himself. And of course it was and is true. So that briings me to the last time I saw him. That was when your mom and him came to a parade at the barracks last year. He autographed my copy of Bing West's book because I told him I only wanted real warriors and there families to sign it. I find myself speaking of all of you often when trying to get Marines to give just a bit more. You are the yardstick that I judge Marines by all the time. You guys set the bar higher than I could ever have imagined and it hurts allot everytime I hear something happens to any of you. Well I better stop babbling as usual and let people get to other things in their lives. As always I wish everyone the very best that life has to offer and thank all of you for being great Americans!!!
Semper Fidelis

SgtMaj John Ploskonka
3D MLG, 9th ESB, Okinawa, Japan

"Oh, Diane... It is all so much. He is there with Aaron. His funeral will be where he married his beautiful wife less than 3 years ago.

I so wonder what he and Aaron are doing.

Thank you. As always, you are one supportive lady."

"Dearest De'on and Aaron, I just recieved the news about Maj. Douglas A. Zembiec. I knew the name but wasn't sure. I googled his name and yes, it was Aaron's leader. My heart and prayers are with you both and all of the 2/1 Marines, the new Marines he was with, and his Family. My heart aches for you.

God Bless"


Precious Perfect Son:

You still have a way of making me the proudest and happiest Mom in the world. I will always be thankful that God blessed me with you. I love you with everything in me.

Soon, son ... soon...."


Your words and the poetry from your soul has brought many tears. They are tears of love, honor and a true humbleness within.

I pray God blesses each of you in a mighty way for taking the time to lend comfort to those who visit here.

Thank you for loving Aaron. And his mom.

Much love,"

"To Aaron and his loving family:
I cannot begin to put into words how much the American soldier means to me.
Aaron has helped to preserve the world for us and our children and protected the ideals of freedom for all the generations to come. It is because of brave men like Aaron that we can live in the fervent hope that our grandchildren and THEIR grandchildren will be able to live in democracy.
We will NEVER forget his valor, his courage , his honor is service, and his ultimate sacrifice defending the freedoms that the United States of America stands for. America is proud to call Aaron one of her "own". We keep you in our hearts and lift you and your entire family up in our prayers that the loving memories you have left them provide comfort. From the bottom of my heart and the reaches of my soul, I will ALWAYS be grateful for your service and hope that you can rest in peace FOREVER in the loving arms of God."
Debra Cappel of McCook NE

"For Aaron


The spring winds blow through the sunlit days,
reminding me of you.
The anniversaries come that before your passing were unwanted...
now grasped onto as a way to hold on,
to just hold on to you.
Time does heal wounds, pain,
but it never takes away the scar that is left behind.
Everything will be threes now...
a way of measuring the time until we see you again.
You are missed three times as much,
thought of and loved by three hundred more.
Thank you once more, brave Marine,
beloved nephew."
aunt karen of Brownfield,Texas,USA

"My prayers and thoughts are with you all at this time and always. God Bless and Thank you"
Teresa of Port Arthur, texas 77640


"Well Aaron..Baby..it has been 3 painful years and there are many more to follow but I am so proud of you and I always will stand by your name and what you did for all of us here! I miss you so much that the words could never explain how much. I know that you look upon me and my family and I know you are around me in spirit. I drive past where are wedding would have taken place and our reception and I get overwhelmed with sadness,unanswered questions and I imagine what that day would have felt like. I know you had a part in Allen my husband now and He is so good to me Aaron and is understanding too. I never thought I would ever find True love again. Things had happened so fast with us and I am just so glad that I had you in my life at all!! I have memories of you that will take me to the end of time and thats all I have to hang on to. I love you always and forever. Rest in peace "my crazy Marine" XOXO

I love you De'on and soon I will come visit and spend some quality time with you and the Family..I miss you guys alot!!"
Tiffany Bradshaw of Phx,AZ U.S.A.


You guys are the greatest! Diane! You are an amazing, vibrant and fun fun person. I know Aaron must adore you.

The Marine Moms you've come to know and have blessed me by today touches me so very much. Thank you. God bless each of you as you enjoy the beauty of the day He has sent. I love you."

"Hi Aaron,

It's been three years to date since you laid down your life for your Brothers in arms, your Family, me, my Family, the Iraqi people and all of America. I'm here to sit with you and give thanks to you and your family. I brought Cake batter (your Mom said you liked the batter the best), an energy supplement drink and some cigarettes. I'm going to cook the cake after we talk a bit and share it with my family and neighbors in your honor. I feel very honored to know your story, it is because of men like you that I am free and for that, I will forever be grateful. Your Mom put a letter on her blog that Tiffany wrote on her my space page. It was wonderful to put a face with her name. You are so loved and missed by so many. Your Moms doing an awesome job with her blog "Gunz Up" Your Grandma is a HOOT and a Hollar! I could spend hours reading what all they write. I'm so happy I had this time with you, You truly are an American Hero. I will always remember you and your Family. God bless you, son.


"ANYTHING WORTH STARTING, IS WORTH GIVING IT YOUR ALL, DOING YOUR BEST AND FINISHING, your goal is to MAKE YOURSELF PROUD IN ALL THAT YOU DO...DONALD DOOLEY NAVAL HERO ON THE PACIFIC WWII 1926-2001 I think all military people live by those words every day of their lives, so did Aaron. God bless"
marine mom donna of hampton, virginia USA


My love and prayers are with each of those who fought alongside my son or have reason to remember him with love or with laughter.

May God bless each of us, and Aaron, thank you. But I miss you terribly."

"Hi Aaron,

I just wanted to come and say a little prayer with you. You and Rett have been on my mind. I'll be back in two weeks...with CAKE!



Much love to all of those who visit this site out of love for my son and his family.

I hope your Easter weekend is blessed and is spent with those you love.

For those who've lost someone they love, I hope the day warms you and brings you some comfort as you reflect on the sacrifice first made for us and for our salvation and hope.

And to my son, I love you as much as ever.

No, more.

I miss you and I'll never quit missing you until I'm with you again. And I'm thankful for that hope. That we will be with you again, Aaron.

Semper Fi"


Precious Marine: Yes, it's so wonderful to hear from you. It's very good of you to leave a message. I check every day.

I smiled reading about the swim qual thing. I'll never forget it ... he had me praying for him. I have it recorded in my Bible or perhaps a God Calling book I've since given away.

It's true. Aaron wanted nothing more than to be an infantry Marine. When I had tried to talk to him about other MOS's (I was in the Army), he absolutely would not hear of it. He was Gung Ho.

We also honor Aaron and other military at http://gunzup.blogspot.com

I spoke with your Senior Drill from Boot Camp as it neared time for the Silver Star presentation. He called me (I had met his dad at an event in Albuquerque who is a retired Marine) and when I let him know that Aaron was receiving this, he contacted his son. His son called me and we must have talked for a half-hour or so. By this time, he was a Gunny Sgt.

Did you know about Staff Sgt. Bland? He was one of your drills. Bland died when the CH-53E helicopter he was in crashed near Ar Rutbah, Iraq. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Died on January 26, 2005.

Aaron was an 0331, a very good one. A team leader. He is missed sorely everyday, but I want you to know that this Mom is so full of love and prayers for each of you. I support both you and your mission and I will always be grateful for your service ... and for your sacrifice. You each give it in some large way. God bless you and keep you and all the brothers you serve with.

Semper Fi,"
De'on, Aaron's Mom

"I met Aaron in boot camp. He stuck out because he intentionally loved to piss of the D.I.s, and spend more time on the quarterdeck then anyone else in the platoon.
I remember during training week 5, swim week, he was especially concerned because he couldn't get past Swim Qual 3, and the recruiter had told him he had to have swim qual 2 to be an infantryman.
That was his biggest worry in all of bootcamp.... would he get to be an infantryman.
Well he made it, and I saw him again in School of Infantry, Infantry training Battalion. Because we were in sepperate platoons throughout the first half we rarely talked, and even less once MoS's were given (however now I can't remember if he was an 11 or 31, I think 31).

The next time I got to think about him was in fallujah, 2005. A debrief for early returns due to EAS. They showed a video that terrorists had made of the clearing of Fallujah. In it they showed a shot up HMMV and the gear of several Marines..... when I saw the name "Austin" on a flak jacket my mind went blank.... I lost the rest of the entire debrief and after it was over went to the memorial wall there to find him. I was standing with JR Colby, another boot camp brother, when we found his picture.
That was the end of my third combat tour, and the first two had no KIA's my 2/8, who I was with. So I guess the truth of losing someone I personally knew to the war never sank in until I saw that Aaron had died, because it stacked on top of a fresh wound of a friend from home dieing 30 miles from me (Lcpl Chad Maynard).
So from your brothers of 3026, you will be missed."
Lcpl Hight, Kymball L. of Grand Junction, CO

"Hi Aaron,

Just wanted to let you know I'm thinking of you and I promise to watch out for your Mom a lot closer these days."

"Happy Valentine's Babe and all."

"Aaron,It;s been awhile since i have posted anything here,I still miss you everyday and wish you were here calling me mom.Jerrod is doing good,i don't really think he knows what he wants in this world,But he;s got a good head on his shoulders and i am sure he will find his way.Michael is okay to,They lost there baby,But i am sure God had a reason.I try not to question the reason for him taking you and Chris and my grandbaby away,But i know he had other plans for ya,I know you watch over us daily Aaron.We are so proud of you and will always miss you so much.Your always in my thoughts and prayers.Donna"
Donna of Lovington NM

"February 8, 2007

Congratulations are in order for our SgtMaj Ploskonka. He was promoted today.

Semper Fi"

"Congrats 1stSgt Ploskonka (soon to be SgtMaj) and OOOH RAHHHH!!!"

"Oh, how good to hear from you and about your promotion. It is always good to hear from you and I like it when you talk on and on as if he were there with you; I believe that he is.

If you can get any photos of your frocking, can I have one? Can we post it on our blog?

You and your writing will always remain so very important to me, so please don't forget us when you make Sgt. Major!

We love you and thank you and your Marines. And they are the greatest people in the world.

Semper, Semper Fi!"

"Aaron and of course everyone else,
Here we are finding ourselves in a new year and ready to face it's great challenges. It has been a long long time since my last writings so I will have to babble on and on again. I have been moved from Company B at 8th and I and am now at Naval Support Facility Thurmont, Md. since Aug of 2006. It has been so long that now I am leaving here as well. Due to getting promoted, I must leave yet another company of great Marines behind as I head to Okinawa, Japan to work with 9th Engineer Support Battalion (ESB) at Camp Hansen, as their SgtMaj. Of course the Marines of 2/1 are there right now deployed with the 31st MEU. So I will be able to see the old unit when I check in on March 15th. I am very happy to become a SgtMaj but, it is getting tougher and tougher to leave good Marines behind every couple years. Lots of tears these days. It must be the old age or, as I say, "It's tough being Polish" I am sure that I will fit in over there just fine though. That is because there will be a common denominator there as well. They are called Marines! The greatest people on the planet. This family gets stronger and stronger every year that I am in it and, I am not looking forward to departing these ranks at the end of my career. So Aaron I am sorry for not writing in so long. I was greatly missing your smile the other day when I was planning my "Post and Relief" with this unit. But, as luck would have it, I have a couple Marines here with great smiles and a sense of humor like yours as well. So they lifted my spirits. We are having a "Mess Night", actually 2 of them, one this Tuesday the 6th of February and one on the 13th in Gettysburg, Pa. (I cannot think of a greater place in our nations history to have it) at an establishment called The Dobbin House Tavern. It was built in 1776. Not quite 1775 or Tun Tavern but, a tavern just the same. No better place to have a mess night I think. So I was going over the toast to "Our Fallen Comrades" and of course I help but to think of you very much during this. I will try not to cry during the actual reciting of the traditions behind our Fallen Comrades Table. I will of course shead a tear for you and the many other Marines that are represented by it. Last year we had it on the USS Constellation in the Baltimore Harbor. That was a tough one too. We have tasked our NCO's to put these ones together and you know what? they have done an outstanding job just like NCO's do when you tell them what to do, not how to do it! I was also thinking of what I am going to do as a SgtMaj at my next command. You know, I have never been one of those before. So I better not screw this one up because I only get one chance to make it right. I will be there for 2 years and will not deploy it looks like until Aug of 2008. That is because they are in Iraq right now doing what all Marines do best. Defend this great nation of ours! So wish me luck when I get there, as I try to do the right things for those Marines. I am going to get promoted this Thurday the 9th of Feb. Actually I am getting Frocked. And, am going to do 2 ceremonies because I want to do one at the Marine Barracks, as that was the place that I received my first promotion to PFC in 1985 and I would like it to be the place for my last pomotion as well. We are still part of the barracks up here at this unit, so I am glad for that. Then I will do it all again in the afternoon for the Marines of my current unit because they will not be able to make it to that one. I wish we could have more than 2 people pin this rank on. Since we only have 2 collars I have decided to pass the SgtMaj chevrons through the ranks before getting them pinned on by my current Platoon Sergeants; who are actually Sgt's not SSgt's. That way it will feel as though they all pinned it on. What an honor for me!!! Well I shall get going and let those reading this get off to doing better things at this point. I miss you very much Aaron as does everyone that knows you. You continue to help me get through some tough days warrior. And I thank you for that!
Semper Fidelis
1stSgt John Ploskonka (soon to be SgtMaj)
NSF Thurmont Md (soon to be in Oki)
email jpndc04@yahoo.com"
1stSgt Ploskonka of Cascade Maryland

"That's a great idea, Diane. The messages are great. Really great.

And you are the one who works so hard!"

"Hi De'on,
Yes, please share. I told Sgt. Rett if the book helps him to please let me know and I will get all the Moms in different States to make one up and take to their local recruiters office.

PS. The new site is awesome, I had a chance to read some today.

Keep up the great work that you do for our Military!"

"No, Diane, it was an earlier email, I think to a different email address than the one I got last time from you. But I was inquiring because I had orignially asked to post some of these letters as to why the mother's sons wanted to be Marines. Semper Fi Mom wants to as well on Lubbock Marines Parents, so if it's okay with you, then that will be some posts for the near future.

Thanks, Diane

PS I copied the entire poem you sent me and Blogger let me down after I had completed it, so will try again, maybe tomorrow.

It is a beautiful poem and I greatly appreciate the thought. I bet others will too.

Semper Fi,"

"Hi De'on,

The last email I recieved was the address, Is that the email you are referring to? Tell the Lubbock group that would be awesome. I will visit the new site today when I get back home. I hope you have a wonderful day!


"Will do Diane. Did you get the email I sent you?

Ref: "Why My Son ..."
Lubbock Marine Parents would like to post some on their blog too.

The new site won't be completely up for a bit yet, but yes, it's going to be awesome.

Love you, and take care!"

"Hi Aaron,

I have been working on a very special project for one of your extraordinary brothers in arms. The whole time I've been working on it, I can see that smile everyone talks about. I hope to finish tomorrow and get it in the mail tomorrow as well or the following day. I'll be back to check on you soon.


PS. De'on, I seen the new site! It looks awesome! I have not had the time to go in and check it all out yet, but I will this weekend. I really want to read the article you were telling Sgt. Rett about. OH and I have some pictures from Pearl Harbor someone sent me. I'll get those to you too. Take care of you!"

"Precious Sgt Rett,

There is an essay by Karen up on the blog. The title is: THEY SUSTAIN

Please read it. The post date is Jan. 23, 2007.

Maybe Aaron was wanting to tell you how very much you mean to us. If you ever get the chance, please come visit us. Maybe you could come when Doc does and bring your beautiful wife.

We'll always be here in this house. My memories are here and I think you'd feel Aaron here too. We all do.

I love you,"

"late last night i had a dream. we were on the cat walk in horno. I was walking aimlessly around the third deck until i ran into you. i will never forget your smile. you looked like you wanted to tell me something before i woke. what was it?"

"Sgt. Rett,

Hey, can you email me your mailing address? deonmiller7@hotmail.com

I love you!"

"I saw your message, Diane, and I hope you visit often. Soon, we'll have a new site up, www.gunzup.com

Thank you so much for your support of our Sgt Rett. He has a world of people who love him and he'll get the bullets of scared parents figured out, and if their sons or daughters are prone to do it, they will.

It's a call that comes from within. The recruiter will simply do the paperwork to get the born Warrior in.

I hunted and tracked my recruiter down! Of course, a 33 yr. old woman was not at the top of the list, but I made them let me in anyway!

Semper Fi

and Sgt Rett, I LOVE YOU!!"


I went to gunz up because this site wasn't coming up earlier, I am so glad I did. I read the article Steve Ramos (I hope I spelled his name right) wrote about Sgt. Rett, all I have to say is.... Beautiful, Simply beautiful! Sgt. Rett, If your half the Marine you were in Iraq, you will by far be the best recruiter the Marines have ever had.

Semper Fi,



"I just wanted Diane and Rett to know how much I love them.

I will respond later, as I am crying too hard to right now.

The parents are frantic. Mostly. Some are just selfish, Rett.

It is a hard, hard job that you have and I've never talked to a recruiter yet that really likes it.

I love you, Rett, and Diane, and I will be back with a better response.

God help us all. And we shall remain,

Semper Fi,"

"Dear Sgt Rett,

I know your letter was for Aaron and De'on, but I couldn't help but reply to you. I'm a Marine Mom and I have never in my life been this proud. I am in awe of the Marines especially you and Aaron's brothers. I come here often to pray for you, De'on, Aaron and all the Marines. I watched the best special I have ever seen the other day on CNN with Anderson Cooper, it was about four Marines. It was so well written. I know one of the Father's whose son was kia from my Marine Parent support group. One of the Mother's whose son was KIA in Iraq said one of the most beautiful things. She said something like this. I hope that one day an Iraqi comes up to me in 40 years and thanks me for their freedom and for my sacrifice. She then said I would tell them I do not regret it one bit. I'm so sorry you are having such a hard time. Please know there are so many parents who applaud you and know how much you have given for this great nation. I've read your posts on here and I always pray for you. I will ask my support group to lift you up in prayer and help you to do your job. We need men like you to protect us and keep us safe. There is a book you can tell the Fathers to go buy and read. It's called "Keeping Faith" It is a Father's view about his son joining the marines, he was not happy at first, but grew to love the Marines and everything they stand for. I have the book if you would like me to send to you I will. The father and son were on Good Morning America about three years ago, I believe they have a new book out. I know you can do this! Keep your chin up, stay motivated and you will prevail! God bless you, son.

Diane Adame"

"hello de'on
im sorry its taken so long to write back happy holidays and new year. I have been recruiting for the last month and as far as i can i see ill be here for about 34 more months. I thought recruiting was supposed to be an easy job but i have come to find out id rather spend 34 months stright in iraq then sit behind this desk. It saddens me to talk to parents and how they look down on the corps and curse us. I dont understand how its ok for my friends to put there lives on the line and for my fallen brothers like aaron who gave thier lives to defend this land of ours.yet they curse my calls to ask for the next man or woman to step up and defend this great land of ours. a father a few days cursed me for calling and told me that he had one son in iraq and asked what i knew of ther fear of losing a son to a war. I answered with only this, sir i held my brother in my arms as he passed. He was a brave man and i want you to know he died defending your right to curse me. GOD AARON I MISS YOU SO MUCH PLEASE HELP ME SHOW THESE PEOPLE THE LIGHT!!!! De'on i send all of my love
Sgt Rett"


Thank goodness. I have been so worried about you.

Thanks for checking in! :) And have a great 2007!

Love and Semper Fi,"

"Hi De'on! I have been in Dallas visiting my parents. I couldn't wait to get back home to come here and share my feelings with you. I was in Dallas when the news broke about Saddam. I instantly thought about you, Aaron, his Marine brothers, all the other gold star parents and the military in whole. I think about all the women and children who will have a better life because of the Aaron Austin's who are willing to give their lives for people they don't even know. I'm in awe of everything they have accomplished. I'm going to go to your Gunz up site and see if you have posted your thoughts.

Take care of you!



May 2007 bless each one of you.

Semper Fi"


Dear Diane,

You've been on my mind. Are you okay?

Semper Fi"


Merry Christmas to all Aaron's friends and family.

Karen, your writing is beautiful and touches me deeply. The words are beautiful. I love you so much.


Yes, I got your email and I want to get back with you and honor what you guys are doing there. Thank you so much for sending it. I'll email you.

How was Christmas for you there? How's your family? Give them our love.

Please pass on to your troops how much we appreciate all that you sacrifice for all of us. We love you all."

"Dear De'on,
I e-mailed you a note and some pictures to your hotmail account if you still want them. Merry Christmas to you and yours. Take care."
Doc Duty of Camp Phoenix, Afghanistan

"For Aaron,

The image of your smile doesn't pale or fade,
The echo of your timbre doesn't diminish.
The light in your eyes doesn't ever darken,
The shadow of your stature doesn't ever grow thin.
The wholeness of your laugh doesn't ever go faint,
The warmth of your spirit is a constant burning ember.

Merry Christmas my beloved nephew."
Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas USA

"Dear Doc,

We're all doing great! Really. The blog has been great for me. I love our readers and we've got to talk to troops in Iraq. I'm enjoying writing again and Steve is like a son to me, even though he's 48. Though he's nothing like Aaron, except that he loses things all the time (!), and I could never even try to replace My Precious Perfect Son, nor would I want to, the company and excitement of being involved with the troops again has been balm for my wounds, truly. And when I'm balmed, I guess everybody else just naturally is!

We would love to do posts and pictures about what you're doing out there. Really. The site is to honor and support all of our fantastic troops, so let me know if you can email me anything.

We love you, Doc and thank God for men like you.

Love you, sweetie!"

"Dear De'on, thank you for your well wishes and a Merry Christmas to you and yours. My job here is to train the ANA (Afghan National Army) Medics to hopefully be as good as us Navy Corpsmen. I read up on the Gunz Up Blog and I saved it into my favorites, so I'll be checking it every day. How is the rest of your family doing? Take care."
Doc Duty of Camp Phoenix, Afghanistan

"Hi Doc!

Afghanistan, wow!

No, honey, I don't need that assistance anymore. Steve found the place in Fallujah where Aaron was, and although Steve was shot at that same place, he managed to hang on to my sand and rubble from the site. Go to http://ramosmiller.blogspot.com for a lot of catching up!

I will always love and appreciate you. Please be careful. You're in our prayers, you and your junior troops.

I hope your Christmas is a peaceful day, and I appreciate you being away from your family for us right now.

Take care of yourself and check in anytime.

God keep you precious man!"

"Dear Deon,
I apoloize for just recently receiving the message from 01 OCT, but i have been deployed to Afghanistan since Aug. Do you still need assisstance with that freind of yours? I finally (like 6 months later) received the bracelet i ordered with aaron's info on it and wear it proudly every day. Your son is still an inspriation to me and my junior troops every day. Take care"
Doc Duty of Camp Phoenix, Afghanistan



CAN YOU PLEASE CONTACT ME? deonmiller7@hotmail.com

Merry Christmas and love you,"

"Good to hear from you, Diane. Thanks for everything from you this year. Have a wonderful Christmas!"

"Hi De'on,

I just wanted to check in and let you know your in my thoughts and prayers more than normal during the Holidays. Aaron, you and the Marines are in my thoughts as well. I look forward to Christmas Day to come here again and pray with you. It was last Christmas that I asked for the book "No true glory" from my parents, So it's been a year that I have been extra blessed knowing you. God Bless and I will be back soon."

"Looking forward to it. Drive easy...you're out of Cali now.

Love you,"

"ahh it was so good to hear from you de'on. i'll have a chance this weekend to write more but i have a lot of driving to do in the morninng so we will catch up soon i promise
Sgt Rett"

"Good, I've certainly missed you Sgt. Rett!

Recruiting is important more now than ever. We need good men, and if they don't recognize something in you that THEY want, then we probably wouldn't want them, so you and your job are in my prayers and I love you very much!"

well my internet is back up and im now a marine corps recruiter.id give anything to be back in the grunts. well now that im back online you should hear from me mopre often.
Sgt Rett"


Sgt. Rett...to Iowa! Oh, wow! What is your job there? Well, I'm glad to hear from you anywhere!

When you get settled in, we'll have to catch up some.

We love you Sgt Rett and think of you constantly. You are a great inspiration to all of us.

And Diane, we all are thankful for the families such as yours that take the time to share words of encouragment and thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving to all,

And to my precious sons, I will always love you and am most thankful for the love and even the pain you've brought into your mother's life.

I am a better person because of my two perfect sons.

Father in Heaven, bless all who bless our troops and bring healing to all of us and to our land.

Help us to not weaken in the face of evil, but to recognize it for what it truly is. Help us not be deceived and strengthen us when our energies are zapped.

Forgive us when we fail and comfort those new to sorrow; grant them your Spirit in ways of Heaven's Mercies and fill us with love and service toward those who defend us day and night.

For it's in Jesus' precious and true name, Amen."
Mom De'on

"Hello to all my friends family
I'm sorry its been so long but the move from cali to iowa was a killer and i have just reconnectetd my internet. Happy Thanksgiving i send my love to all of you Semper Fi and De'on i wish i could give you a big hug. I'm sorry this is so short but i promise to catch up really soon
Sgt Rett"

"Dear Aaron,

I want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. I know you will be busy watching your brothers in far away places. I wanted to come here and let you know when my Family sits down at the table tomorrow and we say what we're most thankful for, you will be what I am most thankful for. I am a better person because of you and your Marine brothers who come here and talk to you. I've said this before but I am going to say it again, You (Marines) are the reason I get what America stands for, and for that I am truly Thankful. God Bless you, Aaron.



Precious Sister,

I know that my son looked down at you in pure love today, and I know too, that he understood your tears and prayed for you.

You have nothing to fear for The Lord Thy God is with you and all that is yours.

I love you,"

"I cried for you today. This season always makes me miss you. It is fall and the leaves are falling, the holidays are coming ,and your earthly body is not here. You were the jolly in these holidays. Your family misses you so. We love you. I'm thankful tho, because your at peace and oh we are so not. I'm glad you have your battle over. But I miss you. Outside around my house is so peaceful that on this blessed day I can hear the leaves falling on the ground. I know that where there is peace God is near. So I pray today that eternity is the most awesome thing that has ever come to you. You are so deserving. In His Hands, Anti (misspelled because you misspelled it.)ha"
Lisa of Lovington N.M.


You needn't worry about me, Diane, I rec'vd many from Blue Star Mothers. I don't think there were any from Marine Moms...I'd just joined a bit before he was KIA.

You're wonderful..."

"Thank you De'on! You're wonderful! I have a question for you. Did you ever get a condolence book for Aaron? I don't remember these being made in 2004. I will be back to visit on Thanksgiving."

"Diane...our Texas Marines' tribute is up.

Thank you for serving them.

Semper Fi"

"Don't go!

I hope you'll be here...with us.

Thank you for your service to us...I know you will continue to serve.

I'm sorry about the delay on the other. I hate to say, "hurry"...it's a tribute to Aaron and the Marine blogger loved your sign...he wants to use it as the banner to the tribute.

The Machine Gunner building and sign...for Aaron, there'd be no better tribute!

Gunz Up and Semper Fi"

"Hey Young Gunner.....Man, this Birthday was a rough go. It was my last one on active duty. I got caught up and just sat and thought about all of my friends and those most wonderful students who have done me so proud here and there. That's the REAL Marine Corps, who we are and what we do. In the essence of a Machine Gun Squad done right' you find that perfect brotherhood. It gets no better than that. Happy Birthday and Veteran's Day to you the Families and my brothers who visit here. Semper Fidelis and Never Stop Fighting."
Sgt. Bill Knipper of 1st Marine Division


Thank you both. Happy Veteran's Day to all of our fighting forces.

Sacrifice should and will be recognized for those who serve.

God keep you all."

"Hi Aaron, I just thought i would stop by on this Veterans day, I was thinking about you and the other 2/1 guys and thought I would just stop by. I wish your family well. Semper Fi"
Jae of West Covina, CA

"Dear De'on,

We have two Marines in San Antonio that have gave their all. Lcpl. Luke B. Holler & Cpl. Jose A. Galvan, I will be delivering both books to their parents. I am making Luke's book another Mother is making Jose's. I will send your memorial letter to the Mom doing Jose's. I will also be looking on your site for your memorial to these boys and print those as well for the books. As always, You and Aaron are always in my thoughts, prayers and heart. I see why Aaron has so many visitors to his site. That contagous spirit he carried with him, came from you.

God Bless You,


"November 10, 2006


A gift from me to you is on http://ramosmiller.blogspot.com

Semper Fi"

"Nov 10, 2006

Semper Fi, Diane. So sorry. If you can leave me the name, I'll do a memorial for him on the blog.

You feel free to use anything on here you should ever need.

Please pass on my love and gratitude."

"Dear De'on,

I am doing a condolence book for a fallen Marine in San Antonio, I would like to put your memorial day letter to Aaron in the book. It truley is the most beautiful thing ever written.

Thank you,

PS. I will be here when it gets closer to the Holidays as you know you will be in my heart."


Sgt. Knipper,

I will have a surprise for you in a few days. I will leave the message here. Is your email the same?

Everybody keeps changing theirs.

It may be a few hours, but I'm giving tribute to another Marine this evening on the blog.

Semper Fi,"


If anyone has tried to leave a comment on Gunz Up lately, please try again.

I accidentally had the setting changed to members only...sorry.

Sgt. Rett?"

"Five years, Baby....you became Recruit Austin October 21, 2001.

Take care of your fallen brothers. I miss you; but I feel you. We are praying for all of them, Baby.

We're Rocking On."

"Thank you. We have 3 families to pray for & their brothers.

You are one good lady!

God Bless"

"Dear De'on,

I will be praying 11:09 central time."

"Please join us in a unity of prayer beginning Oct 21, 2006. The time is 11:09. We will be praying for God's protection over our troops, their families, the civilian labor force in the Middle East, our Leaders and the Iraqi people who fight for their freedom.

Son: Happy Anniversary. You became a recruit Oct 21, 2001. I love you, Aaron."

"And you've been in mine...we will be starting a country/world (who knows) prayer time for our troops. I'll get back here to post the time when I know for sure. I will also post it on http://ramosmiller.blogspot.com

Howell, a Marine that visits the blog, just requested prayer today.

Thank you, Diane...these are hard times."

"It's been a bad couple of months for our Military. I needed to come here say some prayers and get some strength from you wonderful people. De'on you have been in my heart and prayers more than ever lately.
God Bless You,

"Hey sgt. Rett,

If you'll visit Gunz Up at ramosmiller.blogspot.com you'll be able to figure out pretty quick what's going on. I wanted to ask you some things about the Jolan District. You could go to our blogspot, or do you still have my email address?

I hope you are well. I think about you all the time.

Semper Fi"

sorry its taken me so long to get back to you but i have been busy moving and i have been away from the computer for such a long time. if there is still anything i can do just leave me a note and ill do whatever i can

Sgt Rettenberger."

"To The Family of Aaron Austin
I too lost my son LCPL Christopher Ramos on April 5, 2004. I know the pain and how proud we are of our sons. I want to thank Aaron for our freedom, and I want you to know I have you in my thoughts and prayers. I know we will see our sons again, but right now it is very hard to be without them. Only a mother who has lost a son or daughter in Iraq knows what we feel, if you ever want to contact me my email address is vramos.mdn@tuhsd.k12.az.us. Thank you Aaron for giving us Freedom, and to your family God Bless You All!"
VIOLA RAMOS of Mesa, Arizona


To Aaron's family, friends and brothers-in-arms:

I will never have the words to tell you how very much you all have meant to me. Please don't ever quit visiting me here! It's a big part of my day and you each bless my heart in so many ways.

I love you all.

How are the gunners of Echo 2/1 progressing? I know you'll bring it out of them. All of them and you, Sgt.Knipper, are in my prayers.

Diane, you bring me your heart over and over. From one mom to another, it's always a blessing to me.

Blessings for this beautiful day.

Thank you,"

Gosh, Aaron. When I was reporting about your memorial in Sunray, I had no idea that you would become an important figure in my life. I had never met you, but since that night, you've been a companion. As you know, in four days I leave for Iraq to report on the war. Oh, and your mom and Lisa want some sand from over there! It's one more thing that will bring you closer to them. I've told your mom that your fellow Marines always felt safer when you were around. Well, I know you'll be with me while I'm in Iraq, and if you were a great protector when you were alive, I know that you're an even better one now. I couldn't have a better bodyguard than you.

So many people feel a connection to you here. I do, too. I'm glad I was the reporter who covered your memorial. It was no coincidence. I see God's plan unfolding, and your mother does, too. We're pretty excited about it, as you know. Be with us, buddy. I know you're proud of your mother. Her writing is powerful, and people are moved by her contributions to "Operation Homecoming." We know we're doing the right thing by me going to Iraq. We're confident in the decision, and we know you approve, too. We created a blog titled "Gunz Up" where we will chronicle the next two months, a prelude to other work we plan to do together. We feel your presence more than ever, and we really feel your peace. So, help me out over there, Aaron. I'm counting on it, buddy."
Steve Ramos

"Aaron, Deon, and Aaron's Marine Brother's, You were all in my thoughts
today. God Bless You All."
Diane of San Antonio, Texas

"Dear Sgt. Rett& Doc Duty:

Can one of you please contact me? I have a friend going to Iraq this next week as a freelance writer. There are a few details I want him to capture for me over there and you both could probably help me out more than anyone. I tried to email both of you, but the emails came back.

I know someone else that happened to a lot.

My love always,"

"Aaron, last night I had a dream about you...the first in a while you must have known that is exactly what i needed. I miss you everyday and i love you with all my heart. thank you for all you did.

De'on I hope you are well and things in lovington are going well."
danielle vail of new mexico

"Hey young gunner..........I told you I'd check back in soon and here I am. Unfortunately I only have heart-ache to report. I don't know what it is but 2/1 and 1st Marines as a whole is going through some growing pains right now. Their gunners are not where they need to be. I raised all kinds of hell and insisted that all of the Company and Weapons Plt. Commanders of Echo, Fox, and Golf be brought into the after-actions debrief. Hopefully I can get the lads where they need to be....well, maybe in my heart it's where they used to be....2/1 has been my students on three occasions now. They were the first crew I ever taught when you were still there. One of the truly shining stars among this last class came to me after I told a few Fallujah stories and he told me he was brought up by Sergeant Beltran. I got a bit of chuckle. The first time Beltran crossed my path he was just a Lance Corporal with a mountain of potential...much like yourself. I guess it just made me feel old is all! I've been playin' "Yoda" to the Machine Gunners for a long time. When a brought my 2/1 crew down, post-Fallujah tour my life got easier but I guess it's finally come full circle when my first students are now successful civilians...anyhow....my guts have been turning at night while I sleep over where the 2/1 gunners have gotten, I'm going to do what I can to put them on the right path and I know in my heart you'll be there to help the hard-hittin' boys of Echo to regain their focus. I'll talk to you again soon my friend."
Sgt. Bill Knipper of 1st Marine Division

"Well it has been awhile since I have visited this website, for me it is still so painful to read! I got the new book last night "Operation Homecoming", it has such a wonderful story of you and your memory. You know you were the one that God gave me but for some unknown reason you were taken from me before we even got to say "I Do", it's a shame but your memory and smile in all of my pictures will live on in my heart forever!! I miss you so much it hurts but everyday god eases my pain a little more, they say "Time heals but the scar remains", and that I must say is so very true to me! I will love you forever Aaron!!

Hello De'on!! It was so nice speaking with you last night. You are always in my thoughts and prayers. I really enjoyed the book, it hurt like hell to read it but I must say it was VERY impressive! I love you always!!

Love Tiffany "Precious Perfect Dughter""
Tiffany of Phx, AZ U.S.A.

"Sgt. Rettenberger,
I know there is nothing that anyone can say that can ease your pain over Aaron's death. I recently told his mother, De'on, that Aaron's physical absence in the world of his friends and family is as significant as the absence of the twin towers in New York City's skyline. Looking at the city's skyline now, I get a feeling that the remaining buildings mourn the loss of those two majestic structures. If you were familiar with the skyline before the terrorists' attack and you look at the space in the air into which they once soared, you get the feeling that a hand reached into your heart and tried to rip it out. So it is with the loss of Aaron.

Your postings, and the postings of his other friends, tell us how his personality soared into the air like the twin towers. The world is different now that he's gone. But please know, Sgt., that there are many of us who hold all of you in our prayers and thoughts. Men like you make us proud to be Americans. Men like you allow us to continue to be Americans. For that you have our gratitude and our love. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May your pain be eased by the knowledge that Aaron's presence is still here: when our nation's flag stretches our majestically in the breeze; when the wind chimes on his mother's porch tinkle softly as a reminder to her of his love; and when heroic men like you defend our blessed nation. Aaron's sacrifice will never be forgotten, but neither will you be forgotten. God Bless."
Steve Ramos



I know you already know and have probably met up with him already, but I'd ask others to keep Mario Morales' family in their prayers. Mario was killed on a motorcycle last night in Hobbs, NM. He'd not been home long as a civilian--after serving two tours with the Army in Iraq.

His brother, Patrick, still serves.

Blessings to all,"

"hey bud was on my way down to MCRD today for school and heard a song on the radio and for some reason you can to mind. Then tears started to flow from my eyes. God how I wish you were still here. I love you brother.
Sgt Rettenberger"

I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. I was reading about you in the August 2006 edition of Leatherneck Magazine. L/Cpl Carlos Gomez-Perez was awarded a Silver Star for trying to help save you that day. He was wounded twice while trying to help pull you back behind cover and providing cover fire while another Marine tried to give you CPR. He was medically retired from the USMC. After receiving his Silver Star, he stated he didn't feel like a hero because he was unable to save you. After reading this, I looked on the Internet and found this site and read all the reflections about you-you seemed like one hell of a Marine and human being. I would like to end this by extending my deepest sympathy to your family, loved ones and your fellow Marines from 2/1.

Semper Fi Devil Dog and Guns Up!"

"Well Lad.....2/1 came back to my doorstep today. I actually have one Marine in the class who has managed to be here for all three times that I have instructed the Machine Gunners of 2/1 over the past three years. He's the only one left from that Fallujah trip who made it to this time through the school house. My old graying haired self couldn't help but feel old today. I guess it was inevitable, people move on. When I was giving my "Welcome Aboard" bit, I told them that I would never lower the standards, despite 80% of the class being new. They can call me harsh if they want. I also informed them that it was Marines from Echo and Fox 2/1 who showed me just how efficient Machine Gunners in Combat could be and anything else is simply unacceptable. I think they're going to able to hang, I just have to drag it out of them. I'll keep you posted. 'til then Brother!
Sgt. Bill Knipper of 1st MarDiv

"Thank you, Barbara. There really are a lot of good people in the world."

"my parents are buried near aaron austins grave. I visit him everytime I visit my parents. I always Thank him for his sacrifice for our Country and pray for his family."
barbara crim of amarillo texas

"my parents are buried near aaron austins grave. I visit him everytime I visit my parents. I always Thank him for his sacrifice for our Country and pray for his family."
barbara crim of amarillo texas

No I was not at Washington DC. My brother (Louie)and I have been good friends of Chuck and Juanita for many years. Both of them always spoke so fondly of Arron and I could see the pride in them when they spoke of his service in the Marine Corps and the worry when he was overseas.I don't fully understand this war but I do fully understand that Marines like Arron and what they do allow me to sleep a lot better at night."
Edmond (GPAWED@MSN.COM) of Westminster,Ca


Dear Edmond,

How good of you to send this message. I think I may know of you. Did you email Aaron his 2nd trip? Were you and your wife the ones to go to D.C.? I was going to school in Lubbock when Chuck passed. I'll never forget Aaron calling me and crying so hard. He called me to get in touch with the Red Cross for him. As it turned out, since it wasn't considered "immediate family" the emergency leave status couldn't be considered. Aaron told his command he would go no matter what. They gave him a week of personal leave. Aaron loved so completely. I think that's why people were attracted to him...all that love, personality...color. Lord help me, I miss it all so--but like you, I'm so thankful for men and women like him, who consider the cost, and pay it, for all of us in the end. Whether we appreciate it or don't, the cost continues to be paid, and I am grateful for those of you who say "Thank you." I think the thank you's mean the most to me. Even more than all the sympathy in the world. Because no one can really imagine how "this is." Not even I or Doug can imagine it all at once. It is just far too much loss for us, but believe me when I say: I know the gain for his brothers, and for God's Kingdom. Like that scripture that says that unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, so that it can give life, that it can't complete what it is meant for until it dies, I have--HAVE to believe that about Aaron. And I believe that that is more important than even the loss that Doug and I will live with here. Doug and I joined the long list of sacrifice that has gone into our flag. That's what I want people to see when they look at our flag...the sacrifice, even more that the freedom. There are thousands of reasons to place your hand over your heart when you see it, thousands of reasons to pledge allegiance. A lot of people don't see that, but for those of you that do: Thank You.

And all in uniform who continue like Doug and I with the sacrifice, with the loss, with the experience that threw adulthood and harsh reality on you before you knew it, thank you. I know the sacrifice in your heart and mind will be forever. Don't feel bad or worry when it's hard. The word sacrifice really means something. You all can never be thanked or given enough.

Well, I didn't mean to get off on a tangent. It's been a particularly reflective morning with the beautiful rain we've received here in Lovington.

God Bless the USA"
Aaron's Mom

"To the Mother of Aaron.

I have never met you but I had the Honor of meeting Aaron a few days before the funeral of his Grand Father (Chuck). I had dinner with him and Juanita and it was not only interesting but an honor to talk to him.I will never forget how he looked when he talked at the funeral in his Marine uniform. You have every reason to be proud of your son. To Aaron I say "Thank you and all your Marine friends for being who you are and what you do for this country. People like you are why this country is so great and why we are free". You are in my thoughts every day."
Edmond Diot of Westminster,Ca

"Best to you and your baby, Jamie. I appreciate you touching base when you're able. Take care."

"Hi De'on hope your doing well its been awhile once again ,but just got around a computer once again so here I am trying my best to keep in touch with you and Aaron both. Wanting you all to know your all in my prayers and thoughts everyday. Well I'm having a baby boy in less then 2mo. Oct. 6 is the due date. I'm scared but confident that I'll do well, I guess as long as I do my best thats all God really wants huh. Well til the next time I've got a computer nearby, I'll be thinking of you all and loving you all with all my heart and soul. LOVE,"
Jamie L. Mason of Enid,OK/USA

"Hey Aaron its Jamie and I was just wanting you to know I'm always thinking of you and our memories we have as we were growing up. seems just like yesterday, boy time sure does fly huh. Well Aaron Austin I'm so proud of you so are so many others. And I'm so proud of your brothers who fought along side of you, so many are proud of all of you. Just know I'm always thinking of you Aaron and the days we had together never will I forget! LOVING YOU ALWAYS N FOREVER,"
Jamie L. Mason of Enid,OK / USA

"Dearest De'on,

I truly consider this an honor. I will share Aaron's story with the same compassion and grace you share with all of us on this site. After I share his story, I will share your memorial letter to Aaron. God Bless You, De'on."

"Dearest Diane,

I'd be honored for you to do that very thing. Thank you!

Semper Fi,"

"Dear De'on,
I have a question. May I share your memorial letter with my Marine Parent support group? You may Email me at DAdame2214@aol.com or put the answer here, as I come here often and pray.
Thank You,

"Dear De'on,
Thank you for your post. On this beautiful Sunday, I wish for you a peaceful day with birds chirping louder than usual. God Bless You.

Diane Adame

Ps. Sgt Rett, Congrats on the wedding!"

"Aaron, I never met you. I've been reading a book with a picture in it of a simple eulogy your comrades left for you. I can't stop my eyes from tearing up. You must have been a great guy.

You died very young but you lived well, I can tell. Someday I will die and maybe the people left after I go will feel something like what your friends felt for you.

Until we meet....again."
Jeff of San Diego, Ca.

"Aaron,Haven't been on here in awhile,Aaron,not a day goes by that i don;t think about you,I miss you alot,Jerrod is doing good,he misses you alot,He had a dream about you.I miss those days with you and him,But least i have them tucked away in my heart.I just miss everything about you Aaron,The last Christmas you spent at my house,those funny pictures,I found a picture of you ,Michael and Jerrod on that day,Ya are 3 handsome guys.Well Aaron i love ya Baby,take care of Chris and Jackie for me,Donna"
Donna of Lovington,NM


PROUD MARINE MOM: I read everyday unless I can't get to a computer. I love you all so much and you can't even imagine what it means to me to read a new post. It makes me proud that Aaron continues to stir hearts so...so even though I don't post as much, I still read as often. I've had a hard time writing at all...in any form, which is hard since that's what I do, but as I mentioned, the yard, digging and feeling and smelling life, death, then life again. Feeding the scores of birds, and occasionally throwing a dead one in the dumpster, or standing by helpless as one separates himself from the rest, and goes off to a place in my yard to die alone without any fanfare whatsoever. It amazes me how fiercely protective the birds are of their eggs and their young, but are still busy working and singing as one of their own lies near--near their family, near death. It hurts for a moment, but leaves me not long after I busy myself with a flower or plant that is living (though I'm still confused as to if I'm not watering enough (I water all day) and then I think I am probably killing them myself with overwatering...I do everything "OVERMUCH" and in a way, kill everything around me early...too much food and freedom for my pets...those kinds of things. Aaron loved that about me...I "OVERDID" when it came to him for sure. I think your son will be fine...just love him. A sweet lady gave me a stone that says: Prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child". That's really the most you can do-- is train and pray. And those both are a lot of work and frustration sometimes. But I better get to my baby grass!

Sgt. Rett, I love you and I can't believe you didn't tell me you were getting married! Congratulations and give her my best. Also the Sgt. Major and Doc.

A lot is going on. We need you guys more than ever! Stay strong!

Semper Fi"

"Dear De'on,
It's good to see you post! I have been meaning to write to you about the letter you posted to Aaron on May 29, this past Memorial Day. De'on, that was the most beautiful letter I have ever read. I cannot describe the feelings I felt or still feel when reading that letter. I wish every American could read that letter. I know Aaron is just as proud of you as you are him. You make me PROUD! You have truly made me strong, I will use your words and strength to get me through my sons deployment. You, Aaron, and Aarons Marine Brothers will forever be in my heart and prayers.
God Bless You,"
Diane of San Antonio, Texas

"De'on I just wanted to send my love and let you know that you and Aaron are always in my heart. I'm meeting with Sgtmjr in the morning and I just saw Doc Duty at my Wedding last Saturday.
Sgt. Rett"

"To All Who Serve...and to all who continue to remember my son, thank you. It's all still very hard. I've been working in my yard a lot. I've never done that before, and it helps. I don't even like to be inside. Outside, everything seems to make a little more sense.

I pray for you all."
De'on of Lovington, NM

"LCpl Austin,
Well i am back working in the same room i was in when i heard about what happened. The following day running into Covington and GomezPerez ant Bravo Surgical and actually hearing it was true. I hope all is going well for your family and the fellow Marines i had the pleasure of serving beside when we came here the first time. You still owe me a rematch game of spades. I have had the pleasure of stepping foot inside the LCpl Aaron C. Austin Machine Gun Classroom back in october when i was attending a class at Division schools. It was a good feeling to know that a superb warrior like you will be known about by Marines present and future. Take care."
Sgt Saurer, Phillip A of Fallujah, Iraq (AGAIN)



"Austin and All Concerned,...
Well man, I watched my old Sergeant Major retire and he was a tough old SOB who always did right by his men. While I was reading his bio I noticed he was a Machine Gunner once upon a time....his first 03 MOS when he was a Lance Corporal and I thought....That stands to reason. Because of who we are....Whether or not a person got the MOS in School or not is inconsequential. Being a Machine Gunner is what you feel in your soul. If you believe in it, it makes you tougher than anyone else in that gun-fight. Harrell used to tell me how you Echo boys used to go find the tough ones and it didn't matter what your MOS was. IF you had the gumption, you'd be slingin' an M240G. You, my friend, are the personification of what we are. It doesn't matter if it is 1900....1940....or 2010. We are called upon to bring the same noise that Mitchell Paige and John Basilone brought to Guadalcanal, AL McLaughlin brought to Korea, and Johnnie Clark brought to Vietnam. We are not simply service-members, we are not merely Infantrymen, We Are Marine Machine Gunners. We Are Avenging Angels. We Seek Position and Destroy Evil. We DO Not Suffer From the Fog of War, but Create It. Just as our new motto says, I saw a picture that went around on a prayer chain that had the picture of your Memorial, which you wouldn't have recognized unless you saw the belt of 7.62 in front of that piece of, what I'm guessing is MRE cardboard. Man I saw that chain message and it said some message other than what was driven home for me. Forget all of those people of the Strategic level. They rarely bleed or hurt with the rest of us. We are the ones who protect our brothers. Everyday of my life is spent trying to come up with new ways to teach that better. Most of it can be tied back to you. Not for the city, that doesn't matter. Mostly your conviction, a bit of the fact that you were one of the first students I'd ever had, something in there drives me. Harrell and I still talk about the secret of your section. 'Make'm hard, and everything else will come.' And that's the truth. With all of the six months I have left influencing 1st Marine Division Machine Gunners we will continue to live and teach by that rule. Good Journey Brother.
Sgt. Bill Knipper of New Jersey

"Dear Sgt. Rett,

My name is Diane Adame, It is important
to me, that you know, I think of you, Aaron, De'on and all of the military on a daily basis. I've come to learn about Aaron, you, and the rest of Echo 2/1 from the book "No true Glory" I've learned more about you, De'on and the rest of 2/1 from this memorial for Aaron. My heart aches for all of you but at the same time I am so PROUD that I have got to know of you through this site. Your sacrafices are noticed and I pray for you all the time. I come here often, I don't write a lot.....but I do come here to read and pray. It is because of men like you, Aaron, DaGunny, Morales, Doc duty and the others that I GET what the flag stands for! I walk with my head up high because I know there are men like you who are fighting for me and my family. I never take anything for granted anymore. If I start to slip, I think of you'll and I stop complaining. You are the reason America is Beautiful. I sometimes laugh when I think of Aaron and his "got cake" story. I love the stories you all tell and I cry at a lot as well. Please know when some of us say "We will never forget" We don't. When times are rough for you, I know you have seen a lot, Please know there are people who you have never met who are praying for you and are so proud of you. When my son comes home from War, I will go visit the building dedicated to Aaron. I also want you to know and the other Marines to know, I'm so proud my son is a Marine...He has been trained by the best. God Bless You, Marine.
Diane Adame

PS. De'on you're still in my heart and prayers."
Diane Adame of San Antonio, Texas

"July 3, 2006

Bless you, dear Harrell family. I will always be thankful for you all."

"July 3, 2006
We think of your family often....especially last night when we attended a special Fourth of July program at the church our sons attend. To me the highlight of the night was when our older son John (whom you know as "Harrell") stood in the spotlight with microphone in hand and told the audience what a Hero his best friend Aaron Austin was. How he met him the first day of Boot Camp and
how they left American soil together twice to go to Iraq. He read to them the Silver Star citation Aaron posthumously received and reminded the audience that there ARE still heroes today and that Aaron IS one !! Aaron (and "Harrell") received a standing ovation. Immediately after that our younger son David sang a song called "I Will Remember You". And we do! And we will.
God bless,"
Marilyn Harrell of Mississippi


Happy Birthday, son. I love you."

"For Aaron,

The shadows of his fellows ring him round
In the high night, the summer breathes for them
It's fragrance, a heavy somnolence, and for him,
For the soldier of time, it breathes a summer sleep,
In which his wound is good because life was.
No part of him was ever part of death.
Surely the virtues embodied by these heroes are timeless.

by Wallace Stevens"
Your Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas USA

"aaron, i feel some of the same feelings your mom feels right now. zarqawi is dead. is it right or wrong to celebrate his death? i have to live with myself so i say celebrate. as a mom of one of your brothers, i feel torn between my christian belief and the feeling that he got what he desearved. i`m just going with he got what he desearved. and shame on the american press for trying to make our military sound like bad guys. they are lucky a mom wasn`t there when his body was pulled from the rubble. treating that animal with dignity would have been the last thing on my mind!!!"
marinemom of savanna,il

"June 8, 2006

Today is a good day, son. Zarqawi is dead. I'll never know who shot you, but I do believe this evil man was behind it all. It doesn't bring you back, but it does save lives for a while anyway.

I love you,"


"with everything going on these days i hope people can for one day remeber the great things that we have all done for this country, I hope today means more to people then just another day off, because for all those people who forget and walk around with a smile ear to ear i walk with a heavy heart today. I love and miss you brother.
Sgt. Rett
P.S. I send my love De'on to you and the rest of Aarons family....Semper Fi"

"To the Family of Aaron Austin,
I've never had the right words to post on Aarons page, but today of all days I thought that I should. I don't know any of his family, but I do know Aaron. I worked in the same camp, and My father worked with him (Ssgt Whitfield). I just wanted to let you know that the Whitfield family is always thinking of Aaron. My Dad always talks of Aaron, and was so glad to see that a building was being named after him in Division schools. He still has his picture on his desk. I wish the best to your family on Memorial day,
Semper Fi"
Jennessee and Whitfield Family of Rowland Heights, CA, USA

""May 29, 2006

Thank you for your sacrifice, son. Everyone in our country, as well as other countries, owes you and those like you such an enormous amount of gratitude. Some don't realize it at all, and others of us can only speculate, but spending five days in our nation's capital, admiring the portraits and statues of those before you who stood for freedom as well-- and not once was the cost small. Korea-54,000 names (imagine the number of families this sorrow reached out and devastated in the clutches of sorrow). Vietnam-50,000. The white crosses of soldiers and infants killed in the Civil War. Presidents, Lincoln and Kennedy, slain in their prime. Other bodies, unknown, unidentified. Blood, tears, blood, tears, over and over.

The haunting portraits of the Holocaust. The young Jewish boys in the museum with their heads covered by the fabric of their faith. America, at first hesitant to get involved, did involve themselves in Hitler's country and affairs. Thank God we went to save the few, fight for their inch of freedom and discover the atrocities of ‘somebody else’s business.’ Nosed into a terrorist’ business and put those on trial for their horrible crimes against the persecuted.

So many cultures filled D.C. to visit the memorials of all that has been given to stroll in the land of the free. Koreans, Pakistani, Panamanians, nearly every race in our free world walked those avenues, snapped digital photos of the cost, and enjoyed the benefit of it all, hopefully a tiny bit more at those solemn moments, perhaps stood still a moment and reflected on something about this country that they were thankful for. That they, with me, were not able to find a precious moment in our history to stop and say, ‘There, there. This is where we should have stopped fighting for our freedom as well as the freedom of those we do not even know. Here is the point where we should have stopped caring for humanity and shouted at Washington, no more...we've had enough.’ No, there was no point in the tours that I thought to myself: I don't care what all you did before, for us, I just care about me. Damn the future generations.

No, I thought none of these things. In awe, I was thankful and I wanted every tourist there, every free South Korean, every free Panamanian and Pakistani, and especially every American there in D.C. and Virginia to know that, ‘My son has joined those who stood for something.’

Thank you, Aaron. From the bottom of my heart, on this third Memorial Day without your laughter to fill our homes, I find it in the wind chimes and birds, and I find it on the streets before my home as young men race in their cars down the street, play their music loud and free, and I look at those kids and I think, you don't know how fortunate you are that so many people cared enough about you to die for you. And then I think that in a way, that too, is a great thing. That so many of us have always lived in freedom.

I will never quit missing you. And I will always be proud of you.

Semper Fi, Marine,"

"Sgt. Knipper,

It never ceases to amaze me how that all of you continue to give and give. God watch over your Gunners and you. Thank you. Thank you for everything."

"Austin & De'on,....So another class of Machine Gunners left me and the guys today. I finally have the school streamlined beautifully. The class that Harrell wrote and I teach about the lessons bought with Echo's blood is really driven home. There will never be a class in my purview that isn't intimately familiar with the hard-hitting exploits of Echo 2/1 in the Jolan. You all personified the vicious, avenging angels that Machine Gunners MUST be. These lads I've taught for the last 14 days straight believe in what they need to do now and they will do you proud. I'll never forget the kid who never got tired of Gun Drills and allowed his brothers to drink deep of his motivation. We train Machine Gunners like no other school in the Marine Corps because we are built on the backs of legends past and present brother. You open their eyes!!
Sgt. Bill Knipper of Div Schools - 1MARDIV


Aaron & Shane:

Who is the elder brother there? I suppose it's Shane, though I knew you much longer, Aaron.

I love you both and will always feel blessed by the boys God gave me."

"Lance Cpl Aaron C. Austin gave the ultimate sacrafice for his fellow Marines and his country on April 26, 2004.

In order to honor Lance Cpl Aaron C. Austin's bravery and heroism a memorial scholarship fund was established immediately after April 26, 2004.

This scholarship fund was created to benefit a high school graduate each and every year from Aaron's hometown of Sunray, Texas where he grew up with his father. This schoolarhip will help the chosen graduate with their first year college tuition. As mentioned above this scholarhip fund has been in place since May of 2004 and has been awarded to a student for the last two years.

If anyone is interested in making a contribution to this scholarship you may send it to:

The LCPL Aaron C. Austin Memorial Scholarship Fund
P.O. Box 190
Sunray, TX 79086

On Behalf of Lance Cpl. Aaron C. Austin and his family we thank you for your contributions and continued support."

"Hey Aaron,It's been 2 years since you left this world,But not a day goes by that i don't miss you.Talk to Jerrod yesterday,him and Michael bought a Puppy from some people at the Mall,of course it ended up having Parvo and they are trying to save it,She is only 7 weeks old.Jerrod says she's getting better.Boy you two both had such loving hearts.There's nothing ya wouldn't of done for anyone.You have left such a impact on evryone and i look forward to the day when i can be with you and Chris.Tell Chris I love him and miss him so much.Keep a watch over all of us Aaron.I love you,Donna"
Donna of Lvongton NM


Although we buried you two years ago today, I know that you live in eternity. I will never quit missing you or mourning you. I will never quit being proud of you. Kids are a heartbreaker. Thanks for being mine.

I love you, Aaron Cole."


Hey Jamie...good to hear from you. I hope you're well. Time gets away from us, doesn't it? Take care of yourself. You know Aaron would want you to!"

"De'on Hi beatiful, its Jamie just wanted to say that I've read and left a letter of my own 1 for Aaron and 1 for you. Just happend to get around a computer or I'd be here more often. I love and miss you all. And not a day goes by I don't think of each and everyone of you!

"Aaron its been awhile, but Karen told me there is a place for all us that know, love, and miss you so much can go to say everything great about you that people should know. Like how much fun you were to be around ( there was NEVER a dull moment thats for sure! ) You have such a sense of humor, that came with such a HUGE HEART. Remebering family cook-outs, to parties we'd went to, to playing lazer tag with Jared and Bryon. You'll always be with me heart, soul, and dreams. I Love & Miss You so much Aaron. Not to mention how proud I am and a lot of other people are of you.You've done a brave job and we'll never forget you ever!
Your CUZ"
Jamie L. Mason of Guymon,Ok of USA

It's 1stSgt Ploskonka again. I spent the day of the 25th giving a PME to the Marines of my company about Echo Company. From OIF to OIF II. I even read them the chapter in Mr West's book and tried my best to explain the emptiness in my heart for the Marines of Echo that always gave so much and asked me for so little. As I passed some pictures around that I have of you all and a cruise book as well they began to connect with their fellow brothers as well. The Marines in my company except for a couple are straight out of SOI and come to the barracks to do ceremonies around DC for 2 years before heading back to the fleet for their MOS's. about 50 of them will be going out to the fleet this year and I wanted them to know the incredible Marines that they will have amongst the ranks there as well. Alot of them feel guilty do to not getting out there yet to do their part. I am very proud of them for feeling that way because it shows me they have the very same traits as the Marines of Echo back a few years ago before we went to do our job in Iraq. This Friday we are doing out parade for friends and family. I wish that the Marines of Echo were here to be a guest of mine. I am proud to call them all friends and comrades!!! Your mom will be coming out this way in May and I have invited them to a parade and will be very honored to meet the lady that helped mold you into the great Marine and human being that you became. I hope that she enjoys the parade. Well I will stop babbling on and on as usual and get ready for work.
I miss you lots along with all the Jarheads of Echo!
Semper Fidelis Warrior
1stSgt Ploskonka jpndc04@yahoo.com"
1stSgt Ploskonka of Marine Barracks Washignton DC

"De'on just thought youd like to see these messages left on my messsage board:
Today is the memorial of my fallen brother
Aaron C Austin KIA April 26, 2004
Austin was posthumously awarded the Sliver Star the nations third highest award for bravery in combat. I had a friend call me he remembered todays date like many other of my brothers in arms. He was feeling the same emotions I was. I consider my self an alpha male but today was just a reminder of the sacrifices paid for our freedom and I am not ashamed or shy to say that I shed tears for them today. Aaron we miss you. Id also like to ask my civilian freinds to also take the time to thank and give gratitude to some other living heroes of mine they are also Silver Star recepients and they are on my friendslist Carlos and Tommy.
Their bravery and selflessness on that tragic day are a reason many other Marines are still alive today.
Semper Fidelis-Sgt hernandez

Today marks two years since i was in one of the worst firefights for my life. WHen a platoon ran into trouble they sent me and eight of my best warriors out to help them. Lcpl Austin ran to the roof top of a building to help fend off isurgents until more help could arrive. While fending off several insurgents Aaron was shot. When i arrived to help him his only concern was the safety of the marines around him. In his last words to me he said "Don't worry about me keep shooting stay in the fight" Aaron saved many lives two years ago I only wish I could have saved his. You may be gone brother but you will never be forgotten. Be sure to tell your heros that you love them-Sgt. Rettenberger

In everything that i have been doing today some things didnt down on me till i had a minute to relax. working in a fake iraqi town with real iraqis training marines for war, i look back to this day two years ago when the world lost a warrior and we lost a brother. this day two years ago in the city of falluja Aron C. Austin laid his life down. so his brothers might return home to the loved one. in a fight were platoons became squads, he gave everything he had to allow them to get to safty. his only regret was he couldnt give more.
on this day i ask thoughs who were their to raise a glass to Aron and to tell him we love him. For thoughs who were not their i ask you to give a moment of prayer to him and all thoughs who do this every day so that we might live free.

we love you Austin, rest in peace-Sgt.Whitley

This morning after my first class I went into the Marine lounge at school and saw the Marine Corps Times open on the conference table. As I looked down at it, I saw that it was open to a picture of Carlos getting his silver star. I picked it up to read, excited at first that another one of my brothers from Echo had gotten a silver star, but as I read the article, an overwhelming wave of emotion hit me as the memories from that day came back to me. I put the paper down, not half way finished with the article. I looked again, down at the open newspaper, and saw the Texas flag in Carlos' lapel, a symbol for a brave warrior lost.
I was ashamed that I had forgotten that two years ago today, the Marines of Echo Co. fought for their lives against overwhelming odds in the Jolan district of Fallujah. But with out regard for themselves, they fought for each other. Those of you who were there remember the intesity of the battle, and witnessed firsthand act after selfless act of heroism all over the battlefield. Aaron Austin gave his life to save the lives of his brothers that day, and we will never forget his sacrifice.
As I walked across campus this morning, I thought about Aaron, and about that day, and about the sacrifices that so many of us made for each other that morning. I have no shame in admitting that I cried today. As a matter of fact, my day pretty much went to *.
I took the time today to go to church and pray for our fallen brothers and their families, and I would like to ask that all of you do the same.
God Bless you Aaron, Brad, Rob, and Dean. You will never be forgotten.-Sgt. Scaljon

"It's been two years since I have even gone to this site. Our son, Scott Q. Larson, Jr. gave his life for our country on April 5, 2004. Today as I was reading the messages left about our son I came across the one left by Aaron's mom. Mrs. Austin, only you can understand the pain I have felt and the emotions I go through each day as I too long for that hug, that smile, that voice that says "mom, I love you". The day is still vivid in my mind when the soldiers came to my office to tell me of my son. Only you know that sinking feeling I felt on that day. But we are not without hope! As our daughter, Sarah was quoted "you can be sad for me and definately be sad for my folks, but don't be sad for my brother Scott, because he is more alive today than he ever was! I know that is true for Aaron. I long for the day that I can hold my son again and shake the hand of Marine Lance Cpl Aaron C. Austin. Please know that on this day, I am holding you up in prayer and that I will forever remember April 26."
Mary Larson of Houston, Texas

Today marks the second year that we have been through without you. I figured today would be hard and although it is I know that you are watcing over all of us! So many things are going on that I wish you were here for and there is never a day that I do not miss or think about you. You would be so proud of us all! I wanted to say I Love You and I miss you so much. But all I really know to say is "rock on"!"
Danielle of Hobbs, NM


Yes, train hard. Today, I feel better than I have in the past few weeks. The birds are really singing and it's a beautiful day here.

Aaron, I love you so much. I know you know how much. You knew it before...I'm sure you know it now. So very, very much."

"Posted 12:09 AM Central 26th April 2006
I've been to this site many times but haven't wrote in awhile in a few minutes it will be the 26th and two years since the last time i remember talking to you aaron. I know I've said this more times then i can count and i know you know we did everything we could. Sometimes i think that i could have done more but then i think about your last words to me aaron " Don't worry about me just keep shooting" and still to this day i'm still in the fight. i miss you brother. I thought i'd be sad when this day came around but i know you wouldn't want that so we'll just train harder today. With all my love man Semper Fi
Sgt. Rett"

"Thank you so much...for everything. We will always be grateful to all of you. Aaron was so fond of the snipers he was with. We miss him so much and it means so much to us for you guys to leave messages. I know that Aaron was surrounded by the best. I hope that life brings you all something really blessed--for everything you've all been through and for everything you've given to all of us.

De'on of Lovington NM USA

"My name is Ethan Place I was a sniper that was with your son in aprill of 04. not a day goes by that I do not think of those men. Your son is still with us all very much. I am forever greatfull."
Ethan Place of St. Louis MO


Risen Life April 9

Arise, shine: for thy light is come, and the Glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
__Isa. 60: 1

THE CALL comes on this My Day for all who love Me, to arise from earth-bands, from sin, and sloth and depression, distrust, fear, all that hinders the Risen Life. To arise to Beauty, to Holiness, to Joy, to Peace, to work inspired by Love and Joy, to rise from death to Life.

Remember that death was the last enemy I destroyed. So with death My Victory was complete. You have nothing then to fear. Sin, too, is conquered and forgiven, as you live and move and work with Me. All that depresses you, all that you fear, are powerless to harm you. They are but phantoms. The real forces I conquered in the wilderness, the Garden of Gethsemane, on the Cross, in the Tomb.

Let nothing hinder your Risen Life. “Risen with Christ,” said my servant Paul. Seek to know more and more of that Risen Life. That is the life of Conquest. Of that Risen Life was it truly said: “I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in Me.” Fear and despair and tears come as you stand by the empty Tomb. “They have taken away my Lord and I know not where they have laid Him.”

Rise from your fears and go out into the sunlight to meet Me, your Risen Lord. Each day will have much in it that you will meet either in the spirit of the tomb, or in the spirit of Resurrection. Deliberately choose one and reject the other.

God Calling

Please join me on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 as we encourage one another toward this challenge and take a few hours to celebrate not only the life of my son,
but also, the lives and times we share together as
Friends and Family.

Finger foods will be served. Please bring whatever you’d like to drink or music you’d like to enjoy
1102 West Tyler
Lovington, NM
6:30—10:30 PM

With much love and thanks to all of you,

"This message is for the Marines that i served along side during OIF 2003. This is PFC Morales. It was great reading a message from "Da Gunny" on this website. Aaron was a special person who happened to bring all those around him closer. And boy was he a firecracker that was a little hard to handle at times. I remember many nights on our deployment when Aaron and I would share everything in conversation. He's not here with us now, but he is still bringing us together. Sgt. Rett , Gunny, Doc Duty , and any other great service member that i have served with can contact me at jibarorico@yahoo.com. I have pictures of our first tour in Iraq including Gunny's purple heart ceremony that we had in Iraq. I Love All of you for you are my brothers. I cant wait to hear from each and everyone of you.
Semper Fi
Echo Company "WarCloud"
2/1 The Professionals
Tip of the Spear"
PFC Morales G.O of Detroit, M.I

Thank you for your reply. I think the message was more for me than for anyone. Sounds a bit selfish (which Marines are not supposed to be) but, I have only been able to talk to a few of the Marines since leaving Echo 2/1 after OIF. Most of them were injured in some way or another. So sorry that this has been a bit of therapy for me. I actually spoke with a bunch of people today about Aaron and many others while I was volunteering at DC Habitat for Humanities ( something I do every Saturday ) and it felt good to share with them some of the ways Marines defend there freedoms. They were very thankful and pleased to hear something more than the media fabricates to sell a story. Most of them are with AmeriCorps so they understand giving of oneself for others. Well I should stop babbling on and on. I am sure if you talk to any of the old crew in Echo they remember me going on and on. Thanks again for the reply! Take care
1st Sgt Ploskonka of Marine Barracks 8th & I, Washington DC


Bless you, 1st Sgt. Thank you for sharing so much. Yes, we so miss that smile and that loud, loud voice. There's just not another life that can touch all that he was to us. And I have to say that so much of the credit goes to his dad. We each had and still have an incredible relationship with him. No, it's not the same. So much different, so much quieter, not a lot of excitement anymore. I wonder what heaven is like for this guy who sings as loud as he talks, but quite a bit more off-key.

Again, thank you so much for sharing the stories. We love to hear them!

And we sent him cigs and dip, so you're okay there. Everything was always ASAP. I got his protein powders and vitamins back that he had ordered ASAP--I jumped through myself and he spent $250.00! It sets in his room with so much else.

This time two years ago is when things started changing. No more work-outs. The last day I worked in his scrapbook was April 13, 2004. I couldn't leave from the news--I couldn't put the little stickers and kick butt things any longer. It was hard. Very hard. And many times, it still is. But Aaron comes from a double-dose of strength and perseverance. We will all make it until we are there with him. God sees us through.

We all will be forever grateful to the Marines.

You are all in our prayers and we can't thank you enough for loving our Aaron."
Aaron's Mom

"To everyone especially Aaron,
This is the first time I have been on this site. I am very glad to have found it after a long reading session and alot of tears. Don't dare tell anyone! I will deny it. Just kidding. I have shed many tears for you Aaron. So now I get to babble as usual. I was remembering a young PFC Austin back in 2002 checking into Echo Company. As I recall a loud mouth and no bearing.....just the observation of an old Gunny. I soon learned that behind that was a Marine with an infectious spirit and appetite for honor, courage and committment. Oh, and the infectious smile made me lose my bearing a couple times to! Of course you still "owe me for that to Austin". Aaron will know what that means. I also recall many of my walks up and down the catwalks of the barracks that Sgt Rettenberger spoke of on the second floor after liberty call to check on the Marines. Of course Austin and Koci would be drinking there "Power Shakes" before heading to the gym to get there lift on. The motivation and enthusiasm that exuded from that one room (this will blow your mind....I remember it well as room 211) inspired even myself to give more. Thanks very much to both of you!!! SNCO's do not hang out with junior Marines and we probably do not let them know enough how great they truly are but, Echo Company has ranked very high in my best company I was in stories. That is because of Marines like Aaron. So on those walks I would stop and chat and learn more from them than they would learn from me. Even though it is supposed to be the other way around. I also remember during many gun drills and field evolutions that Aaron never slacked off. It did not matter the temperature, day of week, number of times or the attitude of the Marines around him he always smiled and gave an oorah and went about doing it the Marine way. At this point I will mention I miss you very much Aaron. So during OIF I knew that we were in good hands. I remember trooping the line during a rain storm (mom close your ears) passing out cigarettes to the young Marines that ran out of them due to lack of inbound mail. Aaron smiled and said something about doing some pushups for more smokes. Let me say he did many pushups. Many of them. Then as I walked away he yelled out "got cake". This was in reference to cake that I also passed out during my trooping the line. This soon became the communication between myself and him. It went on so much that it became a mutual challenge and password between us. I then remember getting a wound in our defensive position up north and when I returned to the Company from medical Austin had the gun position to our north and looked back at the Company CP saw me and yelled "Oorah Gunny" "got cake". What a big mouth. We were in the defense at sunset. I told him to shut up and put his helmet on. He replied with that smile, turned around and put his helmet on. As this deployment came to a close I was transfered due to a promotion to another unit. I would stop by every now and then to check on these hoodlems that I left behind and could never miss Aarons smile from across the parade deck at Horno and his yelling out "got cake". Did I mention that I miss you Aaron. So then it was time to go to OIF II. My unit left just before 2/1 but, I did get the chance to see Echo in Kuwait do to my units convoy being delayed for a day. I remember being outside the tents of the camp and walking up to the Company that was outside. All the smiles and handshakes reminded me of awesome times with incredible Marines and even better human beings! I started feeling the butterflies in the stomach as I chatted with them and vividly remember wishing that I was going with them. Not because my current unit was bad but because I knew these guys longer and better. I knew what they were capable of achieving. I am very very happy that I had the chance to see them before heading north. The Company had to go to a class in the tent and I had to get back to my unit in the convoy staging area. So why am I going on and on about this? Well as I walked away while the company went into the tent I looked at the ground with a very heavy heart listening to the crunch of sand and pebbles under my feet. Then I heard Austin yell "First Sergeant" I turned around and saw his smile from ear to ear and he yelled "got cake". I said I wish I did and told him to be safe. Of course the rest is in all the messages below. I have been back to Camp Pendleton a few times and one of the last times I got to see Harrell at Camp Margerita where I took a photo of the building dedicated to Aaron. I have that photo on the wall beside my desk to remind me of an incredible man and Marine. I am very glad to have known Aaron and all of the Marines of Echo Company. I think of you all often and especially Aaron. Mom.....you raised a wonderful human being and should be very proud of the man that he became. I am a better person for having known him!
Best of luck to all and
"Cheese and Rice"
1stSgt John P. Ploskonka, AKA "DA GUNNY" of Bravo Co. Mar Bks Wash DC

"Hey Aaron,
I first want to start this with "I miss you". There is never a day that goes by that I DON'T think of you and that will forever be a part of my life!! I know that U know that I will forever carry you in my heart until the day we see each other again. It has not been a easy road for me the past 2 years but I get through it each step at a time. I know you are there watching over me and praying for me too!! I do the same Aaron!! Jerrod and I are real close as ever and he is doing real well, still crazy though haha! I saw your mom this past week w/ Kayla and they both look so good. It was so nice to see her because when I am around her I always see you and that makes me happy!! We all had a good time visiting and man Is Kayla so pretty and she is becoming so grown-up!! She loves to shop and it was funny that they spent hours at the mall getting makeovers and all!! It was cute!! Your mom and I will forever have a bond that won't be broken and I will always love her! Well I just wanted to share what was on my mind as I visited this site and remember Aaron, I will never forget you or what we had together. Your love and memories live on in my heart. I love you. Hello De'on, I love you Too!!"
Tiffany Renee of Phoenix, AZ USA

"This is the first time I have read from this site in a few months, I just love the way that Karen put one of her last memories of Aaron because it is one of mine as well, I remember setting in the chair and Aaron playing over and over There Goes My Life and honestly thinking this is the best Christmas that I can ever remember having. I will always remember watching that last dance and how happy everyone was. We still miss you the same Aaron and Weston still talks about you all the time and, he got some new sandals yesterday and I am sure he would be very proud to tell you just like he has told anyone else he has run into today. We miss you so much and think about you and cherish the memories we do have they are so precious!!!"
Jess of Lovington, N.M.

"This message is to the "precious perfect mom" of Aaron Cole Austin. Sweet Deon' it was so great to see you last week and that adorable cousin of Aaron's, Kayla. He just thought the world of her i know. You looked so good and it was such an honor to be there with Tiffany to pick the two of you up at the airport. I hope you had a fun stay just being with the people that loved your adorable son so so much! He did have so much fun when he was in Arizona. They all have such wonderful memories of the times they had. Rick and I will never ever be able to fully understand why that young man of yours touched our lives the way he did. We will never forget the phone calls he made to us, the conversations we had with him, the wonderful letters he wrote to us or the fact that he would have made us very proud to have called him our son-in-law. We loved him very much. We know he is up in Heaven looking down on all of us and he stands proud of all of this. We will never know why things happen in our lives the way they do but we go on. All Rick and I can say is that we are very happy that your Aaron came into our Tiffany's life and in turn he came into our life. We will always wish you and your family the best that this life has to give you until you get to that wonderful life you will have when you get to be with Aaron. Again, Deon' it was such a pleasure to get to give you a hug and see you last week. I will cherish it always. Thank you from the very bottom of our hearts for keeping Tiffany a part of your life. She loves you so. GOD BLESS YOU ALWAYS!"

"This message is for you De'on. I finally got my computer up and running thank God! Now I can keep my word and send you those pictures I promised so long ago. My Email address is jibarorico@yahoo.com. I cannot wait to hear from you."
Gabriel Morales of Detroit, MI U.S.A

"It was a pleasure to see you were recognized for your heroism... I enjoyed the time we served together, even if you did cheat when we played spades on ship. Take care bud."
Sgt Phillip A. Saurer of Oceanside, Ca

"De'on, I want you to know that daily I keep you in my prayers. Hubby is deployed but given who he is with and what he does I'm not allowed to say to which operation. My hope is that he will return home safely and soon. It has been a long road getting here, and we're 2 deployments in. Feels crazy to say that when we only started this journey less than 2 years ago. And so much of that time has been dedicated to training. But I know that our soldiers are carrying on the good fight, and doing the right things. And they believe in what they are doing. Military life is not easy, even as a wife. Our unit suffered 2 casualties this weekend and I can feel the saddness in the air. There is a long road ahead, for us all. I hope and pray that the light at the end of this tunnel shows itsself soon. My prayers and love are with you."
April of Ft Lewis

"Dancing with Aaron
Christmas 2003

Gliding, swaying, twirling...

Sounds of the family gathering for Christmas. Laughter, chatter, and as always, music. "Aaron, can you two-step?" Flashing that wonderful, fetching grin, "Yeah, Aunt Karen." "Show me."

Gliding, swaying, twirling...

"There goes my life" over and over, one of your many favorites. Giggles and smiles drifting over from Jess and Kayla watching. Your love of music, something I always delighted in sharing with you.

Gliding, swaying, twirling...

Glimpses of Roy, Gary, Zach...peering in through the window from the deck. Pieces of conversation, faint rattles of food readying waft by from the kitchen where Lisa, De'on and others are milling.

Gliding, swaying, twirling...

I glance up at a stong countenance...Slight smile, singing along softly. Those thick, wonderful eyebrows knitted, concentrating on not missing a step. Arms of a Marine now, lightly guiding, steering, leading.

Gliding, swaying, twirling...

I look down at those large Austin feet, steady in cadence, careful not to step on mine. Remembering when those feet were only nine months old, only imagining then how they would grow and what path they would take.

Gliding, swaying, twirling...

It was my last dance with you, Aaron Cole, but it is one of my constant, favorite memories of you. It's almost two years, but you are not any less loved, missed, thought of.
Thank you for this dance..."
Your Aunt Karen of Brownfield, Texas USA

"Dear April,

How good to hear from you and from Ft. Lewis, too! Someone has probably told me you were there, but I'd forgotten. Is your husband there too, or is he deployed?

I'm not an amazing woman, really. I sometimes read the messages and leave from my laptop before coming back to reply. I will always do my best to publicly hold my head high, but believe me honey, there are times that I'm probably the lowest woman around. That may always be true and may always be part of the sacrifice, but I will never believe that his death was in vain, because I know who gave him to me and ultimately, who took him from me. And I will eternally be grateful for the gift of Aaron.

Thank you, April. Take care of yourself and your family. It's not always easy to be a military wife, but the good ones are so very aprreciated. The woman at home has EVERYTHING to do with the well being of the man on the battlefield. God bless you and yours."
De'on of Lovington, NM USA

"Dion my prayers are still with you every day. You are such a strong and amazing woman and Aaron's death was not in vain. I live every moment carrying the sacrafice he gave in my heart. Our love is with you always."
April (Evans) of Ft Lewis WA

"Dear De'on,
You're truly an amazing woman. Aaron was so blessed, you both have left a huge mark on this world. I hope you can feel my arms wrapped around you and the love America has for you, Arron, his family, and his Marine Brothers.
Peace be with you.

With Love,
Diane Adame"

"Thank you, Diane. I will pray for your son and your son's leaders. I trust Aaron had the very best...but then, I've not met a Marine since that I've not had the highest regard for. They are all so young and do for all of us what we either can't or won't do for ourselves. That is the bottom line. And I thank you for your son's part in this.

Sgt. Rett is outstanding. I love him. He carried my son...earned his own Purple Heart from carrying and protecting a brother. Sgt. Magana held Aaron's hand as he lay in the humvee, breathing his last breaths. And then Doc Duty revived him again (Aaron actually died 3 times--he was a warrior in every way). He and the Sgt. Major were with him last. These men will always be very special to me. And if Aaron HAD to die, then I am very proud that it was for men like these.

God be with you on this beautiful weekend...with you and your family.

Don't worry about not being able to get him out of your mind. We can't either. Of course, we're family, but still, Aaron's life and death have touched quite a few lives. It is not in vain that he died. I will never, ever accept that. And I'm thankful that your life was one of them.

He was beautiful and I can only imagine the beauty of him now. And he was the "funnest" person ever. I bet he's still that, too. After all, that light is his soul."
De'on--Proud Mother of Lovington, NM

"PS. Yes, TEXAS does stand PROUD!
Thank you Aaron."

"Dear De'on,

Thank you for your reply. I came back because I cannot get your son out of my mind. I wish I could have met him. I know he is very special, he touched my heart in such a special way. I think of him daily, I talk about him to my Family and Friends. He was so brave, so strong, and loved by so many. I will always remember him and his brothers. To Sgt. Rettenberger, you are a Hero and a wonderful man. I hope my son has someone as special as you as his sgt when he goes to Iraq in September. All of you will always be in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you. I am so happy 2/1 is on American Soil. God Bless them all.

With Love,
Diane Adame"
Diane of San Antonio, Texas

"Hey Babe--

Well,it won't be Feb 29 for a couple of years, but today is the last day of Feb. As you wrote in 2004: "last day in U.S."

Aaron, we all miss you so much. But I do feel your presence. Just a moment ago I listened to a daily devotional. Duke Duvall used this passage from Hebrews 12:1. Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

Gary Kirksey used that same passage at Uncle Doug's funeral a few weeks ago. Gary said that when he was a less mature pastor that he didn't really believe so much that those who'd gone to heaven were with us here as far as walking next to us, but now he did believe that and had for a while. He told how his son, Jamie, felt you on one side and his grandfather, a WWII vet, on his other side during a tough mission in Iraq a few months ago.

I feel you with me right now. And as much as I can, I do not want to disappoint that great cloud of witnesses. You all mean so much to me and I'm so thankful that God gives us that.

I love you. And I love so many others there with you now. And I thank God for His promise that I will be there with you when I am through here.

You are blessed. Your name means Exalted. And you are.

Thank you, son, for loving us so much before and for loving and praying for us now.

Thank you, Father God, for rescuing my son and taking him home with you. I know You know best. And I trust You and Your will for our lives down here. Be with each of us. Be with our troops. Be with our leaders. Strengthen our tired and weak bodies and minds so that like Aaron, we too are fit to fulfill Your heavenly purpose for each of us. It's in Jesus' name that I pray for each family member and each friend, each Marine that mourns this loss for us, this gain for eternity. AMEN"


"they have returned aaron. 2/1 stands on American soil again. Please look after our fallen Aaron.
Semper Fi
Sgt. Rettenberger"

"Dear Diane,

Thank you for your message and for your Marine's service. There's nothing in this world quite like them, is there?

God keep you and yours.
Texas Stands Proud! (Aaron's words!)

Semper Fi"
De'on Miller of Lovington NM

"I read the book "no true glory" and had to come and thank this fine Marine for all he has given for his Country. You make me proud to be an American. To his family... I will never forget Arron and I will always keep you all in my prayers. God Bless You

Diane A
Proud Marine mom"
Diane A of San Antonio, Texas


Two years ago today, Aaron. The last time I saw you. What a journey.

My love always,"


Happy Valentine's Babe. You'll ALWAYS be mine. I love you."

Hello to everyone...it's been awhile since I have been on here. Aaron not a day has passed that I haven't told a story about you or even just taken a minute to think about you. Yesterday I escorted the colors to the flag pole. On the way to post the colors we passed by the 2/1 C.P. the marines were raking leaves and sweeping but as the flag passed all the marines stopped to salute the flag. After we raised the flag I stopped by the C.P. just to talk to the marines outside. I rounded up 3 of them. All three so young maybe 19 at the oldest. I asked if the had ever heard of you and they said "yeah he was some marine from 2/1" I told them your heroic story. Those marines will never have the pleasure of meeting you but I'm sure they will never forget what you did. Semper Fi marine.
Sgt. Rettenberger"

"Sgt. Justin Rettenberger,

Hey, this is Aaron's aunt Robbie. My husband, mom, daughter and I met you at Aaron's award ceremony and spent time later that evening together.

I am guessing you are still in California? If so, we live in Anaheim Hills about 40 minutes from Camp Pendleton and we would love for you to come visit with us, stay with us, whatever! We would love to hear from you and see you!"
Robbie Ferneau (Aaron's aunt) of Anaheim Hills, CA


Although it has been awhile since I have posted a note on Aaron's website; I do visit this website each and every day.

As I read your latest note to Aaron; Aaron's dad (Doug) and myself felt that it was important to tell you that your son bears the name of two very brave and honorable men; Aaron Austin and Morales.

Mere words cannot express how honored our family is for you to have honored Aaron's memory by giving your son his name. I know that Aaron is proud!!!

Our love and respect to you and your family,"
Robbie (Aaron's Aunt) & Doug Austin (Aaron's dad) of California & Texas

"i am sorry to hear i lost my marine friend in kuwait the other day i had my dad in iraq 2 yrs hope u r in a better place and and at peace and wish your family the best"
melissa francis of ohio

"Hi Gabriel,

So good to hear from you again and congratulations on your son! And thank you for honoring and remembering Aaron. I love hearing from the Marines!

God bless you and your family!"
De'on of Lovington NM USA


"Aaron,Well i am fixing to go to the proud state of Texas,for our Convention,It's in Arlington.Been thinking about you alot,I was looking at those goofy pictures ya took on Christmas,the last one with you.Ya were all laughing and having a good time.I wished i could have those all back,they were the good times and that Christmas will forever be etched in my heart.Christmas was great with Jerrod and Michael last year,But there is always that piece of the ones that aren't there missing and it really is just not the same.I am proud of you Aaron for the things you keep doing and the happiness you have spread with so many in this world,so many look up to you and cherish your memory,We will never forget Aaron your sacrifice for us and our country.I love you and thanks for being apart of my life and making me laugh and for always bringing happines in it.Love always,your second Mom Donna"
Donna of Lovongton,NM

"Dear Beau,

I love you. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for loving Aaron. Thank you for serving."
De'on of Lovington, NM USA

"hey aaron,
its me again. i am back at work again. sometimes this is the only time that i actually have time to get on a computer to do any type of work, because between going to school full- time and working full-time and dealing with a pregnant wife and trying to help out with my father-in-law who is ill, and trying to resolve family conflict with my side of the family, it is hard to find any time to do anything else. the only reason that i can get on the computer at work is because i am a security guard at a plant and sometimes there are no trucks for me to weigh and no incidents so i am allotted that time for computer use. i just want you to know bro. that i am always thinking about you and you know what else??? my beautiful wife jessica that i showed you pictures of and told you about ever since i met her is now in her eighth month of pregnancy and we are going to have a little girl. we are going to name her Zadrianne Nichole Burkhead. she will definitely know who you are and so will her friends when she gets older. your legacy will continuously be shared in southeast texas as long as i am alive. you've done a honorable thing man. well, i have to go now. i'll write you soon. semper fi!!! guns up!!!"
Beau B. Burkhead "pigeon hawk" of Port Neches, Texas/USA

"Dear Charlotte,

Thank you so much for the cross and the message. You are a very sweet girl to do such a thing. And it's good you were happy on your birthday, honey. That's part of the reason they die--so little girls can have happy birthdays without fear. Aaron loved life and loved the men he was with. He loved his machine gun. He loved our Lord. He's safe.

May all your birthdays be happy and peaceful ones.

I have a 12 year-old niece that Aaron was crazy about. I'm sure he still is!

Thanks again."
De'on Miller--Very Proud Mom of Aaron of Lovington, NM

"I was on Santa Monica beach with my Mum on 15th Jan 06. We saw that Aaron had died on my 10th birthday. It was sad to think that on a happy day for us young men were dying, so we chose one of the crosses and named it for him and wrote a message."
Charlotte (11 years) of Hertfordshire England

"I appreciate all your messages so very much. You all are a wonderful bunch of people and I'm so thankful that you've reached out to us...God bless you all."
Aaron's Mom of Lovington, NM USA

"hey aaron,
bro. i just want you to know that you are a legend that i have told many of my loved ones about as well as so many other people about your courage and self sacrifice. i am attending college right now to be a process operator tech. and since i have attended i have worn the shirt with your picture on it that your dear mother sent to the whole of echo company and i do this in honor of you. it still weighs heavy on my heart, the trajedy of that day and even though that i have not met any of your family, i still pray and think about them as much as i do you. i know that you are still here with us in spirit as well as in heaven and i will always remember you and tell of your legacy. i will try to write you as soon as possible. take care. i love you and miss you a whole lot bro.

beau burkhead
usmc 0331
guns up!!!"
beau burkhead of port neches, texas

"Hi de'on
just wanted to say thanking you i got my shirt a few days ago.
Sgt. Rettenberger"

"I want to say thank you for defending this country.. You will never be forgotten.."
nicole warren of Ft. Worth, Tx

"I want to say thank you for defending this country.. You will never be forgotten.."
nicole warren of Ft. Worth, Tx

"Hi Doc,

I'm glad you got the shirt okay and I'm especially glad to hear from you! I just emailed you.

We love you and think about you everyday. In fact, the picture of you, Sgt. Rett, (and the Sgt. Major's legs) while we were at Aaron's graveside is framed and sits on the mantle in our den. It was a gift from Sheree. The frame says "Commitment" on it.

Thanks so much for your message. Never fear to contact me in any way."
De'on of Lovington, NM

"This is the first i have heard of this site, i was searching the internet to find contact info for de'on to let her know that I got the shirt and this sprung up. it took me about half an hour to read all of the postings and they weigh heavy on my heart. de'on, i got my shirt today and I'll wear it to work tomorrow, in fact, when i take my corpsmen students out for PT tomorrow, I'll wear the shirt instead of my regular "STAFF" shirt, let them try and tell me different. i've probably thought about Aaron and your family every day since we met in Amarillo, but this is the first i could face you again (part of my new years resolution) e-mail me at jasonduty@hotmail.com to see my newest tattoo dedicated to Aaron and the rest of the fallen ECHO Marines. Take care and Happy new Year to you and all of yours. With my love....."
Doc Duty of Waukegan, IL


Thank you for the kind message. He is greatly missed and too, we are very proud of him.

Sgt. Rett, Doc Duty, SGM Skiles and A.:

I put the T-shirts in today's mail. I'm sure the SGM has moved, but hopefully they will forward it.

Love to all,"
De'on of Lovington, NM

"To Aaron's friends, family and fellow Marines,
I am reading a book where your son, as well as his fellow Marines are mentioned. I am so sorry for your loss of such a beloved person. I hope you are all doing well, injuries and broken hearts healing. You have no idea how appreciative I am for your fight and how honored I am to be an American."
Maggie mags_530@yahoo.com of Normal, IL

"aaron, just wanted to say hi and that i missed you.


"I'm not sure if hello or hallelujah is in order in heaven, but anyways hi babe. This last year has been so bitter-sweet. That day you displayed your awesome courage sure gave us a bitter pill to swallow. But oh the sweet things you have laid us out. One medal after another. One memorial after another. I'm glad you can still keep us busy. I miss you so. Little by little we are coming together again. It is small pieces of thread, and on somedays they start to unravel a bit, but all of God's sign keep the path wide open. Another step forward working in your direction. I cannot wait till I can see that beautiful smile again. Aaron you would have fits if you seen Kayla right now, you are in the perfect place send her and us any great thing you can from heaven. Tell God we see his beautiful creation everday: the sun, the birds, all the animals (even cows), the sunsets, the moon and the stars. If you have ran into Berry Hobbs tell him I said hi and I miss his visits so much, (he probably hasn't left his wife's side yet), such a faithful man. Aaron we're keeping strong as a family, were keeping on through tears, laughter just what the day has in store, we're plugging. I love you and Happy New Year. Your anti."
Lisa Kay Jewell of Lovington, N.M.


Happy New Year's Eve, son. When we awaken tomorrow, the calendar will show the number of years since your death as being "2." But because of your extraordinary life, your wonderful zest for life, our hearts still refuse to believe. You are with us everyday...in many ways, more so than ever. I love you."

"To the family of:Aaron C. Austin I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. He died a hero defending freedom. May you have the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Prayerfully, we will 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, Gateway Community Church, 11677 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015. Your friend in Jesus Christ,"
Polly Ballew of Covington, Ga

"Yikes Please forgive me I gave the wrong address! I'm still in the process of moving. De'on please email me at Lovelyrowen@yahoo.com I'll give you the correct address."
A. Johnson of Stanton, Ca

"Happy Holidays,
Even though I haven't left messages I still check up on the site and read the ones others have left behind. I am and always will be grateful for what Aaron did for us. He is forever in our hearts and prayers along with the others of 2/1.
De'on here is my address for the shirt. Thank you so very much. I know my sweetheart has been waiting ever so patiently. Well...to the best of his ability.
7842 Joel Ave.
Stanton Ca, 90680"
A. Johnson of Stanton, Ca


Merry Christmas, Aaron. I've felt you with me. I love you."


Merry Christmas Eve my Precious Perfect Son. Will you dance with me tonight? I know you will. I love you."

"Dearest Sweet Sgt. Rett,

Replay it if you must honey, and I know you must. But believe me when I say that you are not in control of life and death. Only God is. So much good has come from this, and as bad as I'd like to have him here with me this Christmas...to have that Christmas Eve dance with the most handsome man in this world, I believe the Sgt. Major when he said, "If Aaron had it to do all over again, he'd do it the same." Like you would trade places with my son, he would want you to be happy and go in peace. The peace within.

I love you.

The shirts are supposed to be ready Saturday. We'll see. If so, I'll need your address!

Love your mom and family. Merry Christmas to all of you out there. Especially the Marines!

Semper Fidelis,"
De'on of Lovington, NM USA

"aaron...........today i sat at work and that firefight just played over and over and over again. for some reason it just wouldn't stop.i broke it down from every different way. slow motion as it played through my head. why didnt i go into that house next door? would it have helped to get you out of there quicker? aaron it hurts so bad to think that you wont be home for another christmas. know that if there was away i'd have traded places with you. i guess it is true only the dead see the end of war. i only hope you know how much good has come from all of this. when we got the word to pull out i was so pissed because at the time i thought that are losses were in vain but come to find out i was wrong. so many good things have come from are blood, sweat, and tears. i love and miss you man.
my heart and love goes out to all your family this holiday season.
Sgt. Justin Rettenberger"

"may your friends and family have a blessed holiday season as you watch over us aaron. you will live forever in our hearts as a hero. thank you aaron, and aaron`s family. you`re in our thoughts and prayers."
marinemom of illinios

"Christmas with Jesus"

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below, with tiny lights, like heaven's stars, reflecting in the snow. The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away that tear, for I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear, but the sound of music can't compare with the Christmas choir up here.

I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices bring, for it is beyond description, to hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me. I see the pain inside your heart, but I am not so far away. We really aren't apart. So be happy for me dear ones. You know I hold you dear. And be glad I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I send you each a special gift, from my heavenly home above. I send you each a memory of my undying love. After all "Love" is the gift, more precious than pure gold. It was always most important in the stories Jesus told.

Please love and keep each other, as my Father said to do, for I can't count the blessings or love He has for each of you. So, have a Merry Christmas and wipe away that tear. Remeber, I'm spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year."


I've missed you, Sgt. Rett. Hope you are well. Did you know any of the ten Marines in Fallujah?

Do you know about Barnes & others from Echo Co?

Still waiting on those shirts.

I think of you every day. Yours & the Doc's picture sits on my mantle in the den.

We will always love you all. We pray for you and remain most grateful.

God bless,"
De'on of Lovington, NM USA

its late and you were on my mind so i just wanted to post a hello. you will never be forgotten. Please look after the souls of those marines who have recently passed.Forever the marines of Echo company......2/1
Sgt. Rettenberger"

"Hey Aaron, I first want to say that there is not a day that goes by that you are not in my memory,heart and prayers. You know that "THE" day is coming up and it will forever be marked in my life as a day that should have been the happiest day in my life but now that is all a memory but a good one because when I think of it I can only smile and shed a tear because we were both so excited. Well that excitment was taken from me but I have great memories..ya the funny ones too like when we had our little car accident in San Clemente and when Joe took off in my car and I was so mad...well we can laugh at that and trust me whenever I think of it, it makes me smile now!! Your memories make me smile and the sacrifice YOU made for everyone can only make me so proud to say that I was in love w/ the most caring and strong willed man and BRAVE. You are now in such a great place that we will all be in one special day and we will all be together again..until then I love you and Miss ya like crazy!! Also De'on if you read this... I LOVE YOU!!!! And also Srgt.Rettenburg,I read some of your postings and would like to send my hello to you as well,you sound like such a great man!! All my love Aaron and De'on!!!"
Tiffany R. Frank of Phoenix, AZ..U.S.A


Happy Thanksgiving, Aaron. And happy Thanksgiving to all who loved him."
Mom of Lovington, nm USA

"Hey buddy,
I have no doubt that Veteran's Day is celebrated in Heaven with more fanfare than here, but you know that we haven't forgotten you. I covered for the newspaper a tribute to veterans put on by fifth graders, and after the program was over, the veterans swarmed the stage to hug and thank those kids. The auditorium was full of men and women who served, but the absence of those who aren't with us wasn't taken lightly. I thought of you through the program. The kids did an incredible enactment of the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima, and I ran the picture on the front page of the paper. Two students, both fifth-graders, read their essays on Veteran's Day. I'm including one of them here. You will never be forgotten, Aaron. Your time here was short, but I'm thinking that there are some people who are simply on loan from Heaven, and you are one of them. Your charisma and your passion for life were fueled by a Heavenly power that leaves us in awe. I never even met you, but you changed my life. What effect must you have had on those who were honored to be in your cirlce of loved ones. I'm just a hanger-on, content to bask in the warmth that is your memory. You are a hero. And now you're back in Heaven. Forgive us for wanting you back here with us.

Aaron, this is one of the essays written by the fifth graders.

"I have never known the true meaning of Veteran's Day until today as I look into these brave men's and women's eyes and see heroes that have served – not to be remembered, but to protect us.

They left their families to stand up for our country and others, striving to safeguard our ideals, that all men are created equal, that we all nejoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They took a phrase, "United we stand, divided we fall" and lived it, aiding other countries like England and France.

War may seem like a glorious place, but from what I"ve seen and heard, it's not. War is an awful, dark and gloomy place. These men and women and countless others put themselves right in the middle of it. They asked not what their country could do for them, but what they could do for their country.

God smiles down upon them each and every day and watches over those who did not make it back. Loved ones still sob of those lost.

It does not matter whether you were a captain, a doctor or the one who peeled the potatoes. You are a hero to McAnally Intermediate School, a hero to Texas, a hero to America.

Thank you sor much for your sacrifices."
Steve Ramos of Texas

"November 11, 2005

Happy Veteran's Day, Babe. We think of you every moment. Greg and I were in the Veteran's Day Parade today in Hobbs. We were with the

Aaron C. Austin Post
Lea County Marine Corps League Detachment 1185.

There are some awesome Marines at this detachment. They've been very good to us.

We just hung our Marine Corps Flag. We have on our T-shirts they gave us with the Post's name, we're planning a family BBQ...we have everything except your physical presence. I miss that so. But I know you are safe and happy...and we strive toward that. You come from strong and loving people.

I love you. Thank you, Aaron"
Mom of Lovington NM USA




Happy 230th Birthday, Marine,

I love you, Aaron. I miss you so much. Today we will attend a ceremony in which the Lea County Marine Detachment will change their name to your name. So much honor has been bestowed upon you. I'm very proud of you. Thank you for everything you did for us.

Thanks to all service members who serve honorably. Especially the USMC."
Mom of Lovington NM USA

"Sgt. Rett,

Thank you so much for your beautiful words...your thoughts. Honey, all of you are making a difference. You may not see it or feel it at times, but it is so true! You all had such an impact on us there in Amarillo. We got to understand a little bit more what those of you must live with at such a young age. We will be forever grateful, and all of you, much like Aaron will always live in our hearts.

I am still waiting on the T-shirts. This is how it goes since they are the only shop of their kind around. They get bogged down with "hot"orders or the machine breaks down, etc. But they will get them done. They've been so good to us; I hate to rush them.

I love you, Sgt. Rett. Really. The picture of you and Doc at Aaron's grave is above my fireplace. Sheree framed it in a "Commitment" frame and gave to us.

Forever grateful,"
De'on of Lovington NM USA

"To De'on
This weekend I went to L.A. to speak to some of the intercity kids. The L.A.P.D asked me to come talk to them and tell them how lucky they are to have what they have even though they are from the intercity. And to keeping true to you and Aaron I told them all the story Lcpl Aaron Austin united states marine corps. I told those young men and women of tomorrow the ultimate sacrifice that he made. How he gave his life to defend the freedom we have here in the U.S and the freedom that we are trying to give to the people of iraq. And how it made me sick that I had to come to talk to them because they did not understand how great they had it here in the U.S. When I left that room i could feel the impact that it had on them. Aaron you are a great man and until my dying day i will tell your story you are forever my hero. such a great person that even in the after life you are still making a differnce. De'on your boy to this day is still making a difference in the world today.
Sgt. Rettenberger
forever the fallen marinres of 2/1"


Hey Baby,

I've written about you all day long. Of course, I don't have to write about you to be thinking of you. You're always there. Always!

Today is Hennessy's birthday. He's depressed, of course.

Aaron, kid, I love you. And I miss you so very much.

You make me so proud...and so sad. But no matter what, I know how very blessed I am to have had such a kid!

Thank you. I love you with everything in me. I always will!"
Mom of Lovington, NM USA

"Hi De'on,
Please send me a note at smrtexas@yahoo.com. I have a couple of publishers who are interested in a piece about Aaron's life and the men he served with. It's the only way I have of honoring his heroic sacrifice."
Steve Ramos of Texas

"To all the men and women who have given their lives for us...you will always be in my prayers. God bless you all!!"
L of Ma.

"Hey Aaron
I was just doing my daily look at the site, and I can see thet your impact on others was as strong as it is on me. I can tell you that having a friend like you do in sgt rettenberger is proof to what a great man you are. God Bless and hold you."
Rick Frank of Portland Or

to all those i met on my trip to texas. i had a dream of aaron last nite we all were sitting around out in the field telling stories to one another. the type that you would never want your mother to hear. Some how i drifted off to a time when i was on duty and i ran into aaron smoking on the catwalk and just to give him a hard time i told him he couldn't smoke on the second deck he needed to go to the bottom deck. That was the same night he told me that he thought he was going to be a dad. Thats when i drifted back to the other part of the dream where we were out in the field. Someone told a joke and in my dream i heard aaron laugh. i awoke to find myself at home in my bed. As much as i hated the cold nights in the field i really miss them. I miss you aaron.
Sgt. Justin Rettenberger"


The book is called "No True Glory." It was written by Bing West. I haven't read it yet, but I may after a while.

If you need further info concerning my son, then please leave a message and we can try to make contact in some way. I too, enjoy writing and have written several pieces since Aaron joined the Marines. The book "God Answers Prayers-Military Edition" published one of my stories called "The Walk." Both books can be purchased through Amazon.com.

Good luck, God bless and I appreciate your interest in my son. He was always a very colorful young man and what he ended up doing that day really comes as no surprise to those who knew him best. It's how he always loved--with his everything."
De'on Miller of Lovington NM USA

"Hi De'on,
I've read some of the postings about a book. What is it? Being a journalist, I've thought about doing something about Aaron, his life and the men he served with."
Steve Ramos of Texas


Dear Steve,
Thank you for sharing with us in this way; it is a blessing for us."
De'on Miller--Proud Mom of Aaron Cole of Lovington NM USA

"Dear Aaron,
I know, I beieve, you can see what I write. Buddy, I was the reporter who covered your memorial. You know how much it moved me. I've never recovered

from it. You have changed my life, and I live each day grateful for what you have shown me. You are
one awesome guy. I don't complain anymore about the little things that don't matter. You know how we gripe about our jobs and traffic and all those things that don't matter when I think of what you did for us.

When I think of the things that are annoying me, I think of your bravery and your sacrifice. I'm telling you, Aaron, it shuts me up. No way could what I have to put up compare to what you did. As I said, you've changed my life, even though I never met you. Some day, I hope to meet you in Heaven. I hope you're there at the gate to meet me, Aaron. Do you know that I'm a better person because of you?"
Steve Ramos of Texas

"Aaron,Just a note to say I've never stop thinking about you and how much you meant to me.You brought me alot of joy to.Your always in my heart,Always
In My Heart,Donna"
Donna of Lovington,NM

"today is the 27th of sept. and the the book is out. im glad that it wasnt to hollywood and it was close to what happened that day. i would have been pretty hurt if it would have been all jazzed up. your still in my heart and soul and mind aaron.
Sgt J. Rettenberger"


16 months. I never quit missing you. But too, I'm always grateful for 21 years of the best time of my life. Thank you, Aaron"
Mom of Lovington, NM USA


Happy Autumn to all of Aaron's family & friends.

I went by and checked on the status of the shirts I have ordered. Their machine has broken down, but they hope to have it back up soon as they have just spent 1,100. to get it fixed last week. So please bear with us and our one T-shirt shop around here. Everybody uses them for shirts like these, team sports, etc.

I hope everyone is well. My love to all."
De'on of Lovington NM USA

"Thank you very much. My sweetheart and I appreciate it. Let me know when you need all of my information and I'll glady give it."
A. of Stanton, Ca

"Yes, I'll call them. Sometimes it takes them a while, but I will order it. Thank you for wanting one. They're really special."
De'on of Lovington NM USA

"Dear De'on i was wondering if you could order one more shirt for me? In a large. My sweetheart heard of them and Asked if I could maybe get one for him. I'll be happy to send you my email address and such. Thank you"
A. of Stanton, Ca

"we miss you aaron,We Love you very much,Donna,Michael & Jerrod"
donna of lovington

"we miss you aaron,We Love you very much,Donna,Michael& Jerrod"
donna of lovington


You know how much I love you, son. That can never change."
Mom of Lovington, NM USA


The Marine stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.

"Step forward now, Marine,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"

The Marine squared his shoulders and said,
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.

I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the Marine waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, Marine,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell."

Sgt Rettenberger
p.s i hope that is how it is Aaron"


Sgt. Rett, Sgt Major Skiles, Doc Duty:

I ordered the T-shirts yesterday. These will be a little different. The back will look the same, but the front picture will be of Aaron in the helo giving the "Rock On" sign. I like that picture better. I will leave a message when they're ready.

I hope you all are well. I think of you all every day and offer up prayers of protection and healing.

I appreciate all that you do for all of us."
De'on Miller, Proud Mom of L.Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC, KIA April 26, 2004 Fallujah, Iraq of Lovington, NM

more days have gone by and the release of bing wests no true glory comes closer. i hope that the book does us all justice. I just want it to be close to what really happened not all hyped up like some hollywood movie. met a marine a few days ago in a bar who told me all about the attack of fallujah and how everything happened and how he was surrounded by gun fire. then i told him i was there and thats when a friend of mine came up to me and let me know i was talking to a cook from his unit. Come to find out this guy never left the FOB. i dont understand austin. as my anger grew i thought about you and told this kid look bud you wanna tell a story about a real HEROES i told him of all the valor from the 26th. i hope that kid never disrespects a fallen heroe again. Well bud im sure you know but they named a building after you at the divion machine gunners school congrats aaron. it takes a great man to be able to make such huge changes in life but your still making changes after you have left this world. i ll talk at you again soon brother.
sgt rett"

"Aug. 19, 2005

Dear Sgt. Rett,

I talked to Doug yesterday and he wanted me to tell you and Doc Duty that he thinks of you a lot. He choked up talking about you, so I didn't push it, but I know that the two of you and the Sgt. Major's visit meant more to him than anything in a long while has.

Also, I found the cards with the sizes of the other shirts, so I'll get all of those ordered next week.

We love you!"
De'on Miller, Proud Mom of L.Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC, KIA April 26, 2004 Fallujah, Iraq of Lovington, NM, USA

"Sgt Rett,
Yes, please email me your address. I'll order those shirts. I'm not sure how long it will take, maybe a while as this place stays so busy. I forgot what size the Sgt. Major asked for and what about Doc Duty?

Yes, Brandt emailed me about Aaron and sent a picture! So many of you are so good. You are all so special and I pray for your broken hearts each day.

The poem is beautiful and heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing it with me.

And I can just picture the radio frenzy! We sent Aaron a ton of batteries...I don't know if he got them. They didn't come back to me, so I pray he did. His music was so important to him. I know that it must have been to all of you.

I'll look forward to hearing from you!"
De'on Miller, Proud Mom of L.Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC, KIA April 26, 2004 Fallujah, Iraq of Lovington, NM, USA

"DE'ON i forgot to ask about if there was anyway that i could get 2 shirts of aaron one in a XL and 1 in a med. i still have your email so ill send you my address through that if thats ok. i ran into bryant clifford the other day and he had his posted on his wall. I also wasnt sure if you knew that he named his son aaron after aaron. well i think im off to bed now.

"All the days are gone
And fallujah is home

The screams of brave men
That died alone

Who gave their lives
But lost their souls

But not for country
Just to protect our own

We are not heroes with armor of gold
We are only men whose hearts are cold

Who lived to fast
And died to young

Some were fathers
Some were sons

Our dreams where shattered amongst broken bones
Never to realize that we would never be home

I wrote this a long time ago for all my fallen brother"s
Sgt Hernandez"
David Hernandez of San Clemente

"i was going through all the postings and one really caught my eye. i alomost gried it was so funny. when we were gettting ready to leave kuwait there was a marines who had a radio and i told him that i would buy it off him.not nkowing that the batteries were aarons. as we were about to leave i went to turn it on and it didnt work and aaron who was in a humvee next to me started to laughing. when he told me that he took his batteries out of the radio i was so pissed. and as we started to leave he threw to damn things out making me think were on earth would i find batteries on the way to iraq wasnt like we were going to stop at a gas station along the way. when we stopped along the way somewhere between kuwait and fallujah i ran into a truck driver who had extra batteries. so i turned it on and went to show aaron he was so pissed he wouldnt talk to me but then about a hour later the radio died from all the dust, dirt, and the beatting that it took from before. so i tossed it along the road somewhere but when i did aaron saw me do it. there was to much noise and distance to talk but we shared a look. i cant describe it but after a second we both started laughing.

"Thank you for your message. Yes, he could always make all of us laugh, and still, he can make me smile.

Sharing this with me means a lot. God bless you and your family."
De'on Miller, Proud Mom of L.Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC, KIA April 26, 2004 Fallujah, Iraq of Lovington, NM, USA

"My wife, daugher and I were fortunate to have met "Austin". Austin and "Harrell" returned from their first deployment to Iraq along with our son. We had dinner together and had a great time. What a fantastic young man, he had my wife laughing throughout the meal. Many times we spoke of Austin and Harrell and the others who joined us. Heroes every one.
Ma'am, I am proud to have known your son and honored that he is an American. When we heard the news, we grieved with you. Please accept our sympathy,gratitude and prayers for God's blessings upon you.

Harrell: thank you for your sacrifice. Our prayers are with you also."
Karl Twichell of El Paso, Texas

"Sgt. Rett,
I was reading one of your messages on here. I had to respond even if the letter wasn't addressed for all.
I have probably met you on one or two occasions shortly before my boyfriend transferred out of 2/1. I know about the sleepless nights. Wondering who remembers what you men "our men" have sacrificed. De'on was right some people are not meant to remember. But the ones that do....your marines, the family memebers like me who wait for news everytime the news says something bad. We remember. We pray and our heros are never far from our hearts or minds. Although I do get impatient with people and I have to tell some smartass exactly where his freedom comes from and that safety he feels when he falls asleep or walks down a street is due to the few who are strong enough to make that sacrifice!
I know that my two youngs sons look up to you men as their heros. That those little boys never forget to bless you in their prayers at night. As a young mother I can't think of better "earthly" role models. God bless you Sgt. Rett and keep you."
A. of Stanton, Ca

"Sgt. Rett,

You did the right thing. Your footsteps are ordered. Don't doubt that. And yes, you earned the "V" that stands so proudly on your chest. Please, please...don't ever doubt that. While it would stretch the imagination to say that everybody is "okay," we do know that Aaron was the last out of that unit on that mission to sacrifice his life. With all my heart, I don't believe he'd have it any other way.

Go in peace, as much as is possible. Your life, those of your Marines'--those lives were sacrificed for a reason. Search for that reason and reach out to others who hurt. I promise, they are all around.

I love you, sweet Marine. I always will."
De'on Miller, Proud Mom of L.Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC, KIA April 26, 2004 Fallujah, Iraq of Lovington, NM, USA

"Dear Steve,

His life has touched all of us. Even though so many of us are older, he's still touched us. I'm glad that he's touched you, too. I think after all, that's what it is all about. Touching even one life is so very important.

Thank you so much for writing. And it was your birthday?! In the most important way...it was his, too. Well, I guess, really, April 26, 2004 was his.

Don't woryy about what others cover and don't cover. God touches those hearts that are His. Many others are about so many other things. While it hurts and irritates, God has His eye on those, too.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for sharing with me. It means so very, very much."
De'on Miller, Proud Mom of L.Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC, KIA April 26, 2004 Fallujah, Iraq of Lovington, NM, USA

"late night in cali and thoughts of fallujah are in my head.as the night is about to end thoughts about my own life cross my mind.what if i had gone into that house next door? im not sure what would have happend. did i do the right thing not going in there and just securing the house aaron was in. would any of my marines have made it out? would i have made it out? i don't know but i wish i would have went in there and took out as many as i could. the what ifs sit in my head and im not sure if they ll ever leave. would it have changed anything? then i ask do i rate that "V" on chest? Aaron i want you to know i did what i thought was right and i did everything i could. watch over us all and know ill never forget are last words together.

to my hero lcpl aaron c austin"

"Dear Mrs. Miller,
I forgot to mention that Aaron was buried on my birthday."
Steve Ramos of Dumas, Texas

"Dear Mrs. Miller,
My name is Steve Ramos, and I was working for the Moore County News Press in Dumas, Texas, when Aaron was killed. I was in Sunray getting information for another story when someone told me about it. Throughout my years as a journalist, I've covered many tragic events, but nothing ripped my heart out like Aaron's death.

I never met Aaron, but I know I would like to have known him. I attended the memorial in Sunray, and it took all my composure not to break down. The loss of this incredible young man overwhelmed me, and I was shocked by what I was feeling.

I wrote about the memorial for the Amarillo Globe News and the Moore County News Press. I read that story frequently because Aaron changed my life. I want to live a better life because of him. I want to have more purpose because of him. I can only imagine the effect he had on people who were fortunate to know such a dynamo. We hear of people who light up the room when they walk in. Aaron must have lit up the whole house when he was in it.

I got to know a little about Aaron through the Sunray people I interviewed for the story. They were devastated by his death, and I kept thinking, "This was one incredible guy."

I think of Aaron daily, and I'm not exaggerating. The Sunray pastor sent me pictures of Aaron for the newspaper, and I've kept copies on my computer. For a good while, the picture of the little Iraqi girl kissing Aaron was my screensaver.

I no longer work for the Moore County News. If I did, I would have written a great story about Aaron's Silver Star. I'm saddened that his hometown paper neglected that significant event. If I had the money, I'd have a statue of Aaron placed in Sunray as a reminder of the hero who lived with us for a short time.

Your son, like so many other heroes throughout history, lived too short a life, but he accomplished more than some people do in 80 years. He has inspired me to be the best I can be.

I hope I can meet you someday. I spoke to Aaron's father briefly when I wrote the story about his death. I would like to meet some of the people he loved because he has impacted my life so much.

Aaron is prodding us all, nudging and encouraging us to go the extra mile. He's our inspiration to take on a little bit more and not complain about it. He's our example of brotherhood. No doubt he was welcomed in Heaven by a long line of heroes, men and women whose love of country pushed them toward great deeds.

I could write so much about what your son has done for me. Basically, he's made me want to be a better person. For that I am grateful.

I hope it's possible to meet you someday. I'd like to hear stories about your heroic son. Know that you and your family are in my prayers. Thank you for giving us, for a brief moment, such a man to honor."
Steve Ramos of Dumas, Texas

"Aug 3, 2005

Will be out of town until late Friday night. Love to all."
De'on Miller, Proud Mom of L.Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC, KIA April 26, 2004 Fallujah, Iraq of Lovington, NM, USA

"Thank you. And your daughter too, has been such a blessing to me. Although I'll never entirely understand why things worked out the way they did; I know that sometimes we just have to trust. But Tiffany will always be loved by me and everyone here in Lovington that came to know her. Aaron left this earth knowing that one woman loved him for better or for worse. That gave him something that a mother never could. Even the Sgt. Major remarked how he'd show everyone her cards and pictures that he received daily. He'd put them up, pass them around. It will always do my heart good to know that. And then when she ran to be here without make-up or hair do's, she came with her heart. Like Aaron, she threw her heart out there. She always kept me tickled over the phone...still so young and naive...I needed that then. I miss it today--from both of them--those daily talks filled with hope and laughter and silly.

We'll both get all right. Though none of us will ever be the same, we'll get okay, and we'll always be here for each other. That's what families do. Though there is one less in my family, it has grown because of Aaron. He just keeps on working for us and I am so thankful to have been blessed by a son such as this.

Thank you for your prayers and continued interest of all our men and women in uniform!

God bless,"
De'on Miller, Proud Mom of L.Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC, KIA April 26, 2004 Fallujah, Iraq of Lovington, NM, USA

I cannot tell you how proud We are to have known Aaron. I wish we could have been there for his Silver Star award. I go to this site every day and read all of the post. Cindy and I talk about Aaron everyday. He was a remarkable young man and a Hero. I read the post from Sgt Rett today and I was compelled to say something here. I want him to Know we will never forget the sacrifice all of them have made and I want him to know I try to follow all the men of e-company, I would always tell Aaron when he would call us from Iraq to be careful, and he always told me his guys had his back. Your son was an inspiration to me and I will carry his memory with me for all my time on earth. God bless you and god bless all of our troops."
rick and Cindy Frank of Portland Oregon

"Dearest Sgt. Rett,

It is not meant for them to remember, honey. I don't know why, and it hurts me too, but for some reason their purpose is not the same as ours. When God takes you into the Fellowship of His Suffering, it is because He trusts you there. It is not meant for everyone. But He holds all wisdom and knowledge and EVERYTHING will end up serving some purpose for the furtherance of His Kingdom. There will be those who don't care, who live a gay life always and have no need of reaching further. He made their hearts too, and only He knows why. If you suffer much, perhaps it is because He needs you there, to dig deeper and to take it all to the only ONE who can really help, and that is HIM.

We will never forget and you will never forget. Yes, others will. It's another price paid by all of us for Freedom. If we've always lived in it, we take it for granted.

I can't speak of you without tears filling my eyes. I will never forget you. Perhaps you will never forget all the pain. Maybe you're not supposed to. But I do know you have to continue to move forward. God promises that He will make the crooked places straight and that He will perfect that which concerneth us. He will. But along the way, there are others who suffer from a multiple of hurts. Because you suffer, you will recognize them. And you will be able to minister to them...like you ministered to us.

I will always pray for you and all those who suffer and mourn.

I am always here for you. Aaron has been freed from it. One day, we will be too, but not until our purpose is met. It is all for His Kingdom. If it were not, Jesus would have been spared suffering.

Watch these two movies: "The Passion" and "Hotel Rwanda." Pray much. Get away from noise for some part of each day and just listen to nature. It will bring some peace to you. Be still and KNOW that He is God.

And please, always feel free to contact me. Always.

I love you,"
De'on Miller, Proud Mom of L.Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC, KIA April 26, 2004 Fallujah, Iraq of Lovington, NM, USA

"days have gone by since my trip to texas and for the first few nights i slept better. i thought my sort selpt night were over but i was wrong. I guess i dont complain just because it doesnt bother me that i think about you guys so much to tell you the truth i went to bed last night around midnight and then i was up at 230 untill 530 when my girl came and brought me back to bed. i know everyone deals with things in there own way but today things hit me a little harder because i guess it bothers me that there are those people who forget about all that we have given and the price that all of you have paid. R.I.P. brothers and until we meet again know that i will stand my post until the end.
SGT Justin Rettenberger"

"Aaron,You finally got the Silver Star you so much deserved,i wish you could be here to see how proud everyone is of you.I don't know what me and Deon would have done without each other this past year,i feel i can finally grieve over Chris and not be afraid of what everyone else thinks,she has helped me alot in dealing with my loss of Chris.I hope i have in some way helped her to.You were a awesome kid and i will always remember you with love and respect.I know i will see you again,take care of everyone for us and tell Chris i love and miss him lots.Always Donna"
donna of lovington

"Dear Precious Christine,

What an honor to be contacted by you! Your son, his heart, oh what a beautiful job you have done. Those tender eyes of his stayed filled with tears...they spoke volumes to me. With all my heart, I believe that this visit brought a great deal of mending to our hearts and I pray that it does for him what it did for us. I will always be thankful for the opportunity to spend some time with your son--and I will always be grateful for the V on his chest and in his heart. Thank you so much and God bless you for raising a son such as this!"
De'on Miller, Proud Mom of L.Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC, KIA April 26, 2004 Fallujah, Iraq of Lovington, NM, USA

"dear de`on, i am the proud mother of sgt. rett. we talked before he left for texas and he told me about being able to meet you and aaron`s family and friends and what he would be doing while he was there. so i looked aaron up on the computer to find out as much as i could about one of my son`s heros. as a fellow marine mom i felt an instant bond to you. you have all my thoughts and prayers for your loss. you have such a beautiful memorial going for him that i feel like i could have known aaron. i just wanted to reach out to you and let you know that you have touched my family. prayers always, christine jensen, proud mother of sgt. justin m. rettenberger"
Christine Jensen of Savanna, IL

"Hey Sgt. Rett,

Well, yes we have some blondes in our family that leave the same msg. 6 X's!!, but they are asleeep now. Honey, when you can, come. We love you, and I don't want to put a lot on you, but, yes, you are ours. You, Doc, the Sgt. Major, Cruz, Koci,...I don't know who all, but you are ours and yes, you are welcome here anytime. If we never see or hear from you again, then that's okay. Now, we deal with it as it comes; but you are ours, nonetheless.

It's so very late. I'm listening to the Temptataions, Kaika's CD. How did he know this is what I listenend to as someone his very age?

I love you. I have an awesome picture of you and Doc, taken by Rick Loomis. Let me know, I'll send it to you.

I love you and so many!"
De'on Miller, Proud Mom of L.Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC, KIA April 26, 2004 Fallujah, Iraq of Lovington, NM, USA

""thnk u sgt rettenberger i had fun in amarillo i hope too see u again i feel for u.i wouldnt've been able too handle bein there when he passed i hope u r alright. i envy u b/c u were there when he passed. well i hope too see u again and thnk u for bein so nice to me. and i'll tell u i busted out in tears on our way home i couldn't take it and i saw u too u were fightin the tears bk u should never do that not when it comes too things like this best wishes.
kaika of Lovington, NM, USA

"thnk u sgt rettenberger i had fun in amarillo i hope too see u again i feel for u.i wouldnt've been able too handle bein there when he passed i hope u r alright. i envy u b/c u were there when he passed. well i hope too see u again and thnk u for bein so nice to me. and i'll tell u i busted out in years on our way home i couldn't take it and i saw u too u were fightin the tears bk u should never do that not when it comes too things like this best wishes.
kaika of Lovington, NM, USA

"sgt. rettenberger,i hope i spelled your name right,i was Aaron,s best friends Jerrods mom.which aaron called me his second mom,i really appreciate the many thoughtful things you have done to make this moment more special for Deon Just knowing you were there with aaron his last moments made all of us feel better,he was special to me and my son,he was the best friend and brother to Jerrod,i miss him alot,but was very proud of the man he became,and of course the best Marine.We are all at Deon's tonight,i couldn't be at the silver star presentation,so Deon was sharing all the pictures and articles with me,they all were so special to me,i called my son and read everything to him over the phone,alot of people just don,'t understand that my son lost a piece of his heart that day also.To Jerrod there will never be another Aaron,but alot of good came out of this,it's brought alot of people closer.To alot of people Aaron was truley a Hero,I lost my son Chris 5 years ago to suicide,so me and Deon cry alot over our boys,we miss them alot,but we can relate to the pain.Thanks Again for putting closure to alot of the things that alot of us wanted to know about Aaron's last moments.To us we'll never forget out Marine Aaron c Austin,and we'll never forget all the marines that loved him so much also,God Bless Each and Everyone of ya,Always Aaron's proud second Mom Donna from Lovington,NM"
Donna of Lovington, NM

"sgt. rettenberger,i hope i spelled your name right,i was Aaron,s best friends Jerrods mom.which aaron called me his second mom,i really appreciate the many thoughtful things you have done to make this moment more special for Deon Just knowing you were there with aaron his last moments made all of us feel better,he was special to me and my son,he was the best friend and brother to Jerrod,i miss him alot,but was very proud of the man he became,and of course the best Marine.We are all at Deon's tonight,i couldn't be at the silver star presentation,so Deon was sharing all the pictures and articles with me,they all were so special to me,i called my son and read everything to him over the phone,alot of people just don,'t understand that my son lost a piece of his heart that day also.To Jerrod there will never be another Aaron,but alot of good came out of this,it's brought alot of people closer.To alot of people Aaron was truley a Hero,I lost my son Chris 5 years ago to suicide,so me and Deon cry alot over our boys,we miss them alot,but we can relate to the pain.Thanks Again for putting closure to alot of the things that alot of us wanted to know about Aaron's last moments.To us we'll never forget out Marine Aaron c Austin,and we'll never forget all the marines that loved him so much also,God Bless Each and Everyone of ya,Always Aaron's proud second Mom Donna from Lovington,NM"
Donna of Lovington, NM

"sgt. rettenberger,i hope i spelled your name right,i was Aaron,s best friends Jerrods mom.which aaron called me his second mom,i really appreciate the many thoughtful things you have done to make this moment more special for Deon Just knowing you were there with aaron his last moments made all of us feel better,he was special to me and my son,he was the best friend and brother to Jerrod,i miss him alot,but was very proud of the man he became,and of course the best Marine.We are all at Deon's tonight,i couldn't be at the silver star presentation,so Deon was sharing all the pictures and articles with me,they all were so special to me,i called my son and read everything to him over the phone,alot of people just don,'t understand that my son lost a piece of his heart that day also.To Jerrod there will never be another Aaron,but alot of good came out of this,it's brought alot of people closer.To alot of people Aaron was truley a Hero,I lost my son Chris 5 years ago to suicide,so me and Deon cry alot over our boys,we miss them alot,but we can relate to the pain.Thanks Again for putting closure to alot of the things that alot of us wanted to know about Aaron's last moments.To us we'll never forget out Marine Aaron c Austin,and we'll never forget all the marines that loved him so much also,God Bless Each and Everyone of ya,Always Aaron's proud second Mom Donna from Lovington,NM"
Donna of Lovington, NM

"sgt. rettenberger,i hope i spelled your name right,i was Aaron,s best friends Jerrods mom.which aaron called me his second mom,i really appreciate the many thoughtful things you have done to make this moment more special for Deon Just knowing you were there with aaron his last moments made all of us feel better,he was special to me and my son,he was the best friend and brother to Jerrod,i miss him alot,but was very proud of the man he became,and of course the best Marine.We are all at Deon's tonight,i couldn't be at the silver star presentation,so Deon was sharing all the pictures and articles with me,they all were so special to me,i called my son and read everything to him over the phone,alot of people just don,'t understand that my son lost a piece of his heart that day also.To Jerrod there will never be another Aaron,but alot of good came out of this,it's brought alot of people closer.To alot of people Aaron was truley a Hero,I lost my son Chris 5 years ago to suicide,so me and Deon cry alot over our boys,we miss them alot,but we can relate to the pain.Thanks Again for putting closure to alot of the things that alot of us wanted to know about Aaron's last moments.To us we'll never forget out Marine Aaron c Austin,and we'll never forget all the marines that loved him so much also,God Bless Each and Everyone of ya,Always Aaron's proud second Mom Donna from Lovington,NM"
Donna of Lovington, NM

"sgt. rettenberger,i hope i spelled your name right,i was Aaron,s best friends Jerrods mom.which aaron called me his second mom,i really appreciate the many thoughtful things you have done to make this moment more special for Deon Just knowing you were there with aaron his last moments made all of us feel better,he was special to me and my son,he was the best friend and brother to Jerrod,i miss him alot,but was very proud of the man he became,and of course the best Marine.We are all at Deon's tonight,i couldn't be at the silver star presentation,so Deon was sharing all the pictures and articles with me,they all were so special to me,i called my son and read everything to him over the phone,alot of people just don,'t understand that my son lost a piece of his heart that day also.To Jerrod there will never be another Aaron,but alot of good came out of this,it's brought alot of people closer.To alot of people Aaron was truley a Hero,I lost my son Chris 5 years ago to suicide,so me and Deon cry alot over our boys,we miss them alot,but we can relate to the pain.Thanks Again for putting closure to alot of the things that alot of us wanted to know about Aaron's last moments.To us we'll never forget out Marine Aaron c Austin,and we'll never forget all the marines that loved him so much also,God Bless Each and Everyone of ya,Always Aaron's proud second Mom Donna from Lovington,NM"
Donna of Lovington, NM

"sgt. rettenberger,i hope i spelled your name right,i was Aaron,s best friends Jerrods mom.which aaron called me his second mom,i really appreciate the many thoughtful things you have done to make this moment more special for Deon Just knowing you were there with aaron his last moments made all of us feel better,he was special to me and my son,he was the best friend and brother to Jerrod,i miss him alot,but was very proud of the man he became,and of course the best Marine.We are all at Deon's tonight,i couldn't be at the silver star presentation,so Deon was sharing all the pictures and articles with me,they all were so special to me,i called my son and read everything to him over the phone,alot of people just don,'t understand that my son lost a piece of his heart that day also.To Jerrod there will never be another Aaron,but alot of good came out of this,it's brought alot of people closer.To alot of people Aaron was truley a Hero,I lost my son Chris 5 years ago to suicide,so me and Deon cry alot over our boys,we miss them alot,but we can relate to the pain.Thanks Again for putting closure to alot of the things that alot of us wanted to know about Aaron's last moments.To us we'll never forget out Marine Aaron c Austin,and we'll never forget all the marines that loved him so much also,God Bless Each and Everyone of ya,Always Aaron's proud second Mom Donna from Lovington,NM"
Donna of Lovington, NM

"Dear De'on
What a weekend i had. Thank you so very much for everything. I can say this much about my trip to texas has helped me out. i may never sleep easy for the rest of my life but i said what i needed to say in texas to all of aarons family and it feels like some weights have been lefted off my shoulders. i feel like i have found new members of my family. And as i met my new family i found pieces of aaron everywhere. i should close now. To my heroes mom De'on Miller i say goodnight.
Sgt. Justin Rettenberger

"Bless you, Lesa and your son. Best friends don't come easy...I'm glad your son had one of the finest. Thank you."
De'on Miller, Proud Mom of L.Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC, KIA April 26, 2004 Fallujah, Iraq of Lovington, NM, USA

"Thank you for your posting on Scott Larson's page. Scott was my son's best friend growing up so our family has felt his loss a great deal.

I am sorry for the loss of your son, both of these brave guys left us in the same month.
Thanks so much for your sacrifice and for your son's service to our nation. He is much appreciated.
Lesa of Houston, Texas

"July 23, 2005

Sgt. Hernandez, Sgt. Rett, Sgt. Major Skiles, Doc Duty, Sweet Sister:

Yes, I have just now allowed myself to read the citation. What a kid! He was honored for fighting. Before, he was always in trouble for fighting. Guess we all understand it a little better now, huh?

I had one of the most memorable experiences of my life in these past 2 days. For that, I will be eternally grateful. Thank you. Thank you all. You are beautiful and loyal people and I couldn't make it without you. God put you all in my life to help me more and more understand: this is not about me or us, this was His date and destiny with Aaron.

There's a date ready for us all. I hope we all meet it with the same courage. I think we will. Sgt. Rett, I love your V ribbon and the fact that you wouldn't expand on your Purple Heart Ribbon. When you're ready, I'm here...always."
De'on Miller, Proud Mom of L.Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC, KIA April 26, 2004 Fallujah, Iraq of Lovington, NM, USA

"Dear Mrs. Austin,
I talked to Sgt Rett and he told me how the ceremony was I wish I could have been there myself. It was long overdue and even without the Silver Star Aaron was always a hero to me god bless you and your family.
semper fi
Sgt David Hernandez"
David Hernandez of San Clemente

"You did it baby you are a hero." You are our hero, the Marines, America's hero. You always said you wanted to be a hero, well July 22nd, 2005 your Dad accepted your awards. We are all standing so proud. Your Mom looked beautiful. Your team that spent the last moments with you are so very awesome. We all miss you with everything we have in us. We love you and we will never, never forget you. Watch over us Aaron and I hope you can be as proud of us, as we are of you. God Bless Us All! Anti, (the way you spelled it.) Thank-you Aaron for all the memories."
Lisa Jewell of Lovington, N.M.

"Bless you and all of the Regiment. We look forward to meeting you and we appreciate so much the care with which this has been handled. But even more, we appreciate all that each of you do and sacrifice for all of us, each and every day.

It has been a pleasure talking with Sgt. Major Skiles and I'm so anxious to meet you, Sgt Rettenberger, and Doc Duty.

And thank you for visiting this site. It is a lifeline to so many of us, not only to share scraps of memories concerning Aaron, but to see how everyone else is doing as well.

Two years ago part of Aaron's family had the pleasure of meeting Jamie Vance, Brandt Clifford and Jose Cruz. Then last year at the Marine Ball we were able to meet so many more. It truly has blessed us in a way that can't be expressed.

I keep in contact with LCpl. David Bryant's wife,Sgt Magana, and Cpl. John Harrell's mom, so I'm able to stay in the loop some.

There will never be a day that we're not interested in the brothers of Aaron. Though you all may be ours by proxy now, I believe with all my heart that if Aaron is allowed to know even a little bit of the happenings here, that he is blessed by what he sees. And amazed, no doubt.

Again, thank you and God keep you all,"
De'on Miller, Proud Mom of L.Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC, KIA April 26, 2004 Fallujah, Iraq of Lovington, NM, USA

"Mrs. Miller,
On behalf of Colonel Shupp and all of the Marines of 1st Marine Regiment, I will be there for your son's Silver Star presentation ceremony on Friday. I read the citation and had the chance to speak to SgtMaj Skiles yesterday and Sgt Rettenberger this morning about your son and consider it an honor to represent the Regiment on that day. I look forward to meeting you and your family.

Semper Fidelis,
Major C. C. Thibodeaux
19 July 2005"
Major Christopher C. Thibodeaux of Oceanside, CA

"Honey, the pleasure will be ours. I'm so glad. So very, very glad. How long will you be there?"
De'on Miller, Proud Mom of L.Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC, KIA April 26, 2004 Fallujah, Iraq of Lovington, NM, USA

"dear aarons mom,
I found out last tuesday that i would be going down but i didnt want to say anything until i was for sure. I cant wait to meet the parents of one of my heroes. I cant express in words how much this means to me. it will truely be my plesure to meet you.
Sgt.Justin Rettenberger"

"July 16, 2005

Sgt. Rettenberger,

I heard the good news today from the Sergeant Major that you will be attending the ceremony! As I said, I can't wait to meet you. I really am so very glad. He said you were with Aaron on both floats. How long will you be in Amarillo? He also said that Doc Duty would be there.

And God be with the rest of Echo 2/1 that deployed today.

Have a wonderful day and thank you for coming to bless us."
De'on Miller, Proud Mom of L.Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC, KIA April 26, 2004 Fallujah, Iraq of Lovington, NM, USA

"July 15, 2005

Ephesians 3: 14-21...answered so wonderfully. Thank you, Lord. I can't wait to see that smile. I will continue to pray it every day. The Father does love us so very much. It's going to be okay.

I had to record this b/c I haven't felt this full of joy/hope since Aaron passed. And yes, passed. PIA. Passed in Action. I talked with Doug. I think it helped. It's okay. Really."
De'on Miller, Proud Mom of L.Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC, KIA April 26, 2004 Fallujah, Iraq of Lovington, NM


"The Silver Star Ceremony to honor Aaron will be at 11:00 at the Panhandle Memorial (Texas Veterans War Memorial) in Amarillo, Texas on July 22, 2005. I know your thoughts and prayers will be with all of us there. God bless you all."
De'on Miller, Proud Mom of L.Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC, KIA April 26, 2004 Fallujah, Iraq of Lovington, NM, USA

"Dear "A",

Precious Mother, I join thousands and I'm sure that many, many times, we each feel so alone, but in reality, we are not alone. Thousands upon thousands have paid this high price and while the cost seems so very high; it is a cost that only the heart recognizes before it's over. My son died doing what he loved, and as time goes on, as proud of him as I am, as I will always be, it finally becomes about that son, that loss. So many women each day lose a son; some to drugs, to car wrecks, to shootings, to war, to suicide, and to poverty or illness. I am certainly not alone here. My son died a hero and while I will eternally be grateful for the sacrifice he made, it can't replace the smile, the voice, the smell...every sense in me cries out for him.

But, I will tell you this. People like you, mothers who take the time to tuck their children in bed, to thank God and the young men and women who have given their all for the freedom to do this: they make the pain a little more bearable.

I am one in a large and great family that Aaron loved. I am so thankful to have been his mother. What a title! There is one who was mother and father to him for many years. That was his Dad. Until I lost Aaron, I thought I would always regret this, but now I see that our all knowing Father works things out for our best. And by the mere fact that his dad was mother and father for many years and then, his mother was always Mom, and then his Marines were his brothers, well, somehow, we all got a chance to love this vital young man whose life would be cut short and now, I am thankful for the good...and for what I thought was the bad, because if anyone on this earth should ever be loved by so many, then yes, to me, it was Aaron. But honey, I in no way deserve all the credit. All I've done is love. Sometimes it's the least we can do, but ultimately, it's the most we can do.

So, just continue to tuck those kids in bed and love that man that loves you and know that you live in the greatest country in the world and that there really are a few who will pay an ultimate price to love the man next to them to give up their life, to fight, and fight, and fight. Because if it's worth having, then really, it is worth fighting for.

Thank you so much for your words and your message. They truly, truly do comfort so many of us during this time of grief.

And yes...it is still grief. And though so much time has passed for others, for us, it is another day without him. But I hold on and believe it is also another day closer to him and I try a little harder to be like him and find something or someone that I can love like how he loved. And do something to make this world a little better for someone else.

One young girl, only 15, talked with Aaron the night before he left us here during the Christmas 2003 break. She said that Aaron told her, "To the world you may be only one person, but to one person, you may be the world." Well, I'm pretty sure he picked up this verbage from some other place, but my 16 year old stepson reflects on these words, and to a 16 year old who is just beginning to search for a meaning to his own life...these words mean something. They meant something to a 15 year old girl, and to a mom who sent packages and letters and love.

And what I've done, what I can do, seems so small as compared to what he did...and to what you can do by loving your own children. Because it is only by the love you pour into them that equips them to love back enough to give something to someone, to a brother or a country someday. So, sweet lady...thank you for loving your babies. And for loving mine.

God keep you and yours,"
De'on Miller, Proud Mom of L.Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC, KIA April 26, 2004 Fallujah, Iraq of Lovington, NM, USA

"For Aarons Mom,
I am not sure how to begin this message to you only i wish to say that your letters here and the ones from friends have deepened my heart to places I forgot existed.
I didn't know your son but I know of him. I have heard stories and heartfelt grief from friends that he's left behind. My boyfriend being the main one.(He was in his battalion and unit) Although many of them have told me about what a wonderful man Aaron was they have also told me about his love for you. How much he talked about his mom and loved her was something to be admired. I've heard about the care packages that you sent and how much those men appreciated every one. Knowing what Aaron said about you, the care packages,and the letters that you've written on this site it's easy to understand where such an astonishing man like Aaorn came from.
I didn't know about this site until last week. I was looking up portraits of Faces of the Fallen for my boyfriend and the first one he asked for to see was Aarons. I found this site as well as his portrait. I've read the messages and cried through them as I'm sure many people have. I have guilt that while I tuck my young sons safely into bed everynight, men like Aaron are losing their lives to protect that small gift. I had forgotton what a gift it was to do everyday things. It only deepens my appreciation more. My children and I are safe here at home and my heart cries that it comes at such a high price.
I hope that I can instill such a love in my sons as you have in yours. I will make sure that love and respect for their freedom and the people that have provided this for them will never leave their prayers.
I only hope that I can attend Aarons silver start ceremony and honor him and his family. I am deeply sorry for your loss and my prayers are always with you."
A. of Stanton, Ca

"July 10, 2005

Dearest Sgt. Rettenberger,

My prayers are that you will be selected: so we're just going to believe that you will be. I can't wait to meet you.

Today is the first day I could go back to Aaron's scrapbook since April 13, 2004. I feel his and our Father's Spirit urging me forward. I believe the daily prayer of Ephesians 3:14-21 is working such a healing in this stage of acceptance. I watched up until the final day as Berry Lee, 85 years old spent 6 days in a chair, facing this transition of earth to heaven. It inspired me and I know that Aaron's smile will be one of the first things I see when I make this transition. I hope to do it like them: head on and without fear!

I love you,"
De'on Miller, Proud Mom of L.Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC, KIA April 26, 2004 Fallujah, Iraq of Lovington, NM, USA

"To Aarons mom,
I was in a meeting on friday and they talked about Aaron sliver star 1st Marines is sending a few marines down for his awards presentation I put my name in so i hope i can attend. if not please let me know how everything goes.
SGT. Rettenberger

"Hey Aaron,

Well i have been talking to your mom. Just watch over here she has been going though some rough times. I know that you will comfort her soul. If you need help with it let me know like you have done the past few time. Rock on Aaron"
Ashley of Las vegas,NV

"July 6, 2005
Thank you to some sweet and understanding soul for posting the poem below. It says it all. Only my soul understands poetry. My head and hands write very long prose.

God bless you...whoever you are. I'm on this site every day, several times a day if at all possible. While we can't always be with someone in person, we can be here for each other. I appreciate all messages."
De'on Miller, Proud Mom of L.Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC, KIA April 26, 2004 Fallujah, Iraq of Lovington, NM, USA

""You're in a better place, I've heard a thousand times
And at least a thousand times I've rejoiced for you
But the reason why I'm broken, the reason why I cry
Is how long must I wait to be with you

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

Help me Lord cause I don't understand your ways
The reason why I wonder if I'll ever know
But, even if you showed me, the hurt would be the same
Cause I'm still here so far away from home

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

In Christ, there are no goodbye
And in Christ, there is no end
So I'll hold onto Jesus with all that I have

"July 5, 2005
Dear Sgt. Rett & Dave & to all who knew my son, who loved him and love him still, to his family and friends, his dad and aunts, his cousins, nieces and nephews, his grandmothers and grandfather, to me, his brothers, His Father who already knows my heart, where it travels, what it wonders, where it's going, and who answers my prayers so very often, as often as I seek His answers.

These past few days have been especially difficult. I don't think that it is really about his 23rd birthday on July 1, or about his circumcision and homecoming 23 years ago on July 4th. I don't think it's about the upcoming Silver Star presentation. I know that it is about the distance I feel at times, a ridiculous distance, a veil, a thing that separates me from the greatest love of my earthly life. During these days of acceptance, these thoughts are the most painful for me. These are the times I feel so very far from my son. And when I am strong, then I know that the distance is not really distance at all; that in fact with my very next breath I could be there with him and that is what I want so very much. And while I know that one day I will be where he is, where my other son is, and I so rarely think of Shane the way I do Aaron, and then I forgive myself for this too, because I know that Shane came into this world and lived 17 months of excruciating misery and Aaron was so about life and always lived it to the fullest, good or bad, but that's it...he was so FULL. And that is just something that is always going to be missed. It has to be missed.

But no, dear ones, there is nothing more that any of us could do. We are not God, not Aaron's Father. And His Father was good to keep it from us or we all would have not been the life that Aaron needed from each of us. We think more of ourselves than we should if we doubt this, but like all of you, I think these same thoughts and more.

As I was saying earlier, the times that he feels so far away are the hardest for me, and if I go with that, then little by little, Aaron does get out of reach, God seems far away and my prayers just get stuck in my heart and throat and no matter what joy the day may bring, I can't experience it to the fullest as God would have me to do because I have let doubt rob me of hope. And most of the time I don't even realize that it is happening. And then, God in His faithfulness brings me to where I need to be and He makes me REALIZE and He Keeps me in Hope.

This morning, as I began to do my devotional before I was to get ready to go sit a while with a man that is shortly about to leave this earth, I was given knowledge as to what has been wrong these last few days, and this is what it was, what it always is when I get like this. No, not crying. I still do everything I should do to get by for the day. But I go through the motions...without hope or joy. I feel like I'm in a vacuum and I can see and hear everything, but still, I am so far removed from it. And the problem is this: I think that eternity is not really REAL, but that I speak it and claw at it, I dig my fingernails into the dirt of hopelessness and I dig and try to fight my way to Aaron, and I want to go hold onto this man and feel the touch of heaven on him and I think that will make me closer to my son. See? My son. Not my sons, not any other that is there with him, and oh, God help me, not even my Father. But my son. And when it gets that bad, then I know where it all comes from and it comes from the Enemy. And it usually has to get this bad in a slow and undramatic way, it spends its time taking me through this vacuum. But then our Father is faithful to let it get this bad so that I will finally realize, and I do always finally realize what is happening to me. And God is victorious and his sheep will be as well. He knows our name. We know His name. And He called Aaron home. He will one day call us home. Maybe like this 82 year old man it will be a slow and painful process or like my son, it will be in the blink of an eye, without warning, without hesitation, but however it is, in Heaven, it is a done deal. And from us here, it is hidden. So that we can enjoy the day for itself, because we have no idea what tomorrow holds. It's so good that we don't. He equips us for the day only. If we choose to carry the burden of more than that, that is on us. He can't keep going back to the past with us and while He is there in the future, we can't really be. We worry and fret too much for this.

And today, when I finally realized where I'd been; and when I cried out my prayer to Him, for God to span the distance for me, give me some hole through the veil where I could clutch some hand to hold on to...where I would not feel so separated, this is what our Father gave me. And my eyes fill with tears as I type it because it is so just what I needed, will need again, and will be picked up again. I will try to pray it every day, and I know I will fail in this like I fail in so many things in this life and yet, He will come again and again and get me, get us, until He comes that last time to wipe away everything that separates. We have much to wait on. I pray we all wait together in hope and encouragement. Here is the prayer that God gave me. The Bible heading is called Prayer for Realization. It is found in Ephesians 3: 14-21.

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family of heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height-- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

And Amen. I love you all and I am well armored for the next battle. I will battle it for as many times as I need, until like Aaron, my purpose is met. And I will pray for you all to do the same and I will pray that we do it with joy, as unto the Lord. And then, when I forget, when the enemy begins to rob me again, God will lead me where He needs me to minister unto me, to wash my face and cool my brow, and with all my heart, I believe that each trip will only serve to strengthen my inner man. We are victorious. God keep you all and please know dear ones, dear faithful ones who visit this site over and over that I love you. I do love you."
De'on Miller, Proud Mom of L.Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC, KIA April 26, 2004 Fallujah, Iraq of Lovington, NM, USA

"Aaron, days go by and there isnt one that i dont think about you. i read the message your mom left me and dave. it was hard to read because i think about that day and wonder if there was anything i could have done better to change anything. happy 4th man and till we meet again. Sgt Rett and Cpl Drescher"

"Hey Aaron,Well I woke up this morning w/ such a strong presence in my heart for you!! This day is to appreciate America and what the Men and women do for our Freedom! I would give Anything to have you here w/ me! I miss you so much and evrydy thnk Of you and what we would have had and so importantly what we did have. You are in my prayers and so is your sweet mom! She now calls me her "Precious Perfect Daughter", I love her so much! Well Jerrod found happiness and I guess he will be settling down. Shes such a sweet heart and I am so happy for Jerrod. Well I hope you are praying for me too!! I need it and like George Strait says " I'll Meet you on the other side" I miss you and Love you W/ all I got Aaron!!! I cant wait for that day when we are all reunited!!"
Tiffany Frank of Phoenix, Az USA

"There's never a patriotic holiday goes by that we don't think especially of Aaron and his sacrifice! Yesterday during our church service as we sang "America" I was again overcome with emotion thinking about Aaron as we sang the third verse, "O Beautiful for heroes proved, In liberating strife...Who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life!" To Aaron's Mother and Dad.... our thoughts and prayers are with you now and always. Please let us know if the award ceremony for Aaron's Silver Star will be held in Camp Pendleton because I know that John will want to be there!
May God bless you!"
Marilyn Harrell, Proud Marine Mom of Cpl. John Harrell of Falkner, MS

"Thank you, Aaron, and all the many who have fought to give us reason to celebrate the 4th of July. I miss you, son and each day of celebration is just not the same without you. But then, I'm pretty sure it's not supposed to be. I love you."
Mom of Lovington, NM, USA

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY AARON! You might not have thought I was paying attention the night before you left for Iraq, but that long serious talk that you gave me really sunk in! I had a 4.0 all year long. Lately I have really been missing you and wishing that I had your help. I have been having some boy problems! They won't leave me alone!!! And I have a good feeling you could straighten them out for me. I went on a Chrysalis last weekend, and I would love to be able to sit and chat with you now that I am a completely changed young woman of God! I have learned so much from you while you were with us in the physical sence, and I am still learning more about how to be the kind of person you were to everyone around you. You know you were always my Hero, but I realize now that you touched the lives of everyone you came in contact with. I hope that some day I can be that sort of inspiration in others lives and encourage them to love God, and each other to the best of their ability, just like you did. I did a part of the service at our church on Memorial Day, and it was centered around you and other veterans. I told them that you always did everything to the best of your ability, good or bad, 100%! Your spirit still touches all of us in a mighty way. I can almost still hear you laughing, and see that beautiful smile, and sparkling eyes, and that passion you had for God, your family, and for everyone you loved! You were always so considerate of those in need, and could charm most of us out of anything, or into anything. At the church service, I started my talk about you by saying that in the beginning we met through our mothers, and I ended it saying that we will meet again someday through our Father! Aaron I can hardly wait to get up there and see you again! I just want you to know how very much I love you! I hope you have a wonderful Birthday up in HEAVEN with our Father!
Love, Morgan"
Morgan Bailey of Lovington, N.M.

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY AARON! You might not have thought I was paying attention the night before you left for Iraq, but that long serious talk that you gave me really sunk in! I had a 4.0 all year long. Lately I have really been missing you and wishing that I had your help. I have been having some boy problems! They won't leave me alone!!! And I have a good feeling you could straighten them out for me. I went on a Chrysalis last weekend, and I would love to be able to sit and chat with you now that I am a completely changed young woman of God! I have learned so much from you while you were with us in the physical sence, and I am still learning more about how to be the kind of person you were to everyone around you. You know you were always my Hero, but I realize now that you touched the lives of everyone you came in contact with. I hope that some day I can be that sort of inspiration in others lives and encourage them to love God, and each other to the best of their ability, just like you did. I did a part of the service at our church on Memorial Day, and it was centered around you and other veterans. I told them that you always did everything to the best of your ability, good or bad, 100%! Your spirit still touches all of us in a mighty way. I can almost still hear you laughing, and see that beautiful smile, and sparkling eyes, and that passion you had for God, your family, and for everyone you loved! You were always so considerate of those in need, and could charm most of us out of anything, or into anything. At the church service, I started my talk about you by saying that in the beginning we met through our mothers, and I ended it saying that we will meet again someday through our Father! Aaron I can hardly wait to get up there and see you again! I just want you to know how very much I love you! I hope you have a wonderful Birthday up in HEAVEN with our Father!
Love, Morgan"
Morgan Bailey of Lovington, N.M.

"Happy Birthday Aaron, I hope you are having fun on that boat!!! We love you and miss you so much!!!"
Jesika of Lovington New Mexico USA


I love you and I don't guess that I will ever get over missing you until I'm with you. Sometimes I feel joy; often I feel a great deal of joy and then I look at some picture or think some thought of you and I remember that I've experienced the greatest joy in my life by being with you and I know that no matter how good it ever gets, it can never be quite what it was. But somehow, Aaron, my beautiful and happy son, I believe you know all of this and that you stand beside our Father and that together you send tender mercies our way, rooting for us and wanting us to wait to feel the ultimate joy that I know you must feel now. And I can't wait for that. And sometimes, many times, my heart just breaks and leaks for missing you. No one can ever have that smile, that loud voice, that humor and comfort that filled all the rooms of my house, the expectancy in my heart. And everything is just so temporary, no matter how thankful I am from each blessing, each precious member of my family, each memory that starts in my heart and catches in my eyes. I love you so much. So very much. And I miss you and wish with all my heart that I could trade 10 years of my life for just 10 minutes with you, to talk to you, hold you, and just to look at you. I miss you, Aaron. I love you with all my heart and I wish you were here with me hounding me for some birthday present on July 1. But I know that you are in the very presence of the Greatest Gift of All. And I wait on that, failing each and every day, thus becoming more thankful for that gift of blood and when I think of His blood and His mother, then, I realize that by the grace of God, and only the grace of God, I can do this. Pray for me. For all of us. I know you must be, because I know how much you prayed for us here.

Weston keeps saying that you are in a boat and I remember how you always talked about the boats as being there to "give you a ride." You always made me smile and I guess I miss that more than anything. I keep your light on. I listen to the birds and to the wind and I sit here with your dog's head on my foot. I think I'll take him for a walk and listen to the mystery of our Father in the breeze and through the windchimes.

Aaron. I love you. So much. I'm so thankful that you were such a Believer. I'll see you son, one day. I pray for all your brothers. I know you did your job. Your Silver Star will be awarded to your Dad soon and I know you must be as proud as you can be for him, for the tangible things we hold so dear. And in the meantime, I think of all the things that have nothing to do with the tangible that you surely have earned here on this earth because of your heart, because of all the people you loved and I'm so thankful to have been one of those. My love always and more and more and more and the most, My Precious Perfect Son."
Mom of Lovington, NM, USA


Sgt. Rettenberger, Donna, David Hernandez, Lisa:

Bless you for your words and bless you for more information. If you can have even a small clue of what this spirited child (okay, man, but to his Mom, he will always be My Precious Perfect Son) meant to all of us then you would know that I can never hear or talk of him, think of him or look at his pictures and the things I have remaining, I can never get enough of it. For you all to write something to him or to us brings me strength. It is another tender mercy from our Father and I can't be anymore thankful. I wish blessings on your life as you go forward to complete your purpose here on this earth.

I guess the stage of acceptance is settling in on me and although it is supposed to be the last stage, I find it as hard as all the others. Even though I believe so much in a higher life, the spirit life, even though I don't think I would call him back if I could,only because I know his Father, the Man with that final call on all our lives, that He alone knows best. Still, I miss that physical nearness of my son so very much. His smell, his laughter, that oh so very loud voice, calling "Hey, Momma..." Even when the call came from Iraq. There was always an ASAP request from him. A story to share. Love covered those long distance lines. He always called me Momma when he was getting ready to hit me up for something. And I was always ready to be charmed. There's nothing I wouldn't do for him. Nothing I wouldn't give. For brief moments then, I would have some worry or regret that I gave too much, too easily, too soon. Now I know that I gave it as it should have been because My Lord knew that He would call him home shortly before his 22nd birthday (July 1). I believe that Aaron packed a lifetime in those 21 years, and I am so thankful that all of you and so many more were such a part of it. You all are a true blessing to me and you can never know what that means to me. I know everyone will always remember him, but to his Dad and I...well, there just aren't the words to explain. Though we don't have a death wish, we do look toward that day to be united with him once again, so this life does not hold for us all that it did. The things we hold onto are these words from you all, the comfort and love of our friends and family. And we will until we too, go Home.

We just heard yesterday that Aaron's Silver Star has been approved and we are currently in the process of setting up when/where. As far as I know, it will either be in San Diego or Camp Pendleton. When I know more, I will leave a message on this message board and any of you that can possibly attend, I would love to meet/re-meet you. When you look in my eyes, you will know how much I love you. Aaron's Dad will be there to accept the award and I know that he'd love to meet you as well. He has me print off these messages for him so that he can read all of your precious words. Like me, he hangs on to every little scrap of our memories and like me, he loves you all. You all will always be a part of us, just like Aaron is.

And Donna, honey, I'm a few short blocks away. Don't do the 5th anniversary alone. You have an entire family here for you.

And to my sister, Lisa, my earthly anchor, I love you sweet sister and your daily words are food for my soul.

God keep you and yours for all eternity."
De'on Miller, Proud Mom of L.Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC, KIA April 26, 2004 Fallujah, Iraq of Lovington, NM, USA

"From Sgt Justin Rettenberger:
i remember the morning when they set off for the patroll. i was on a rooftop as i watched them depart in was still dark and everyone was moving swiftly and then out came an"arrrrrrrrrrr" i just rolled my eyes and thought theres Austin being himself its not that they didnt know we were out there butt he wasnt scared to let them know he was coming. As day broke and i watched as they moved i thought i wish i was out there they might get some. Then it happened. Shoots rang out from everywhere and i got the call. Rett go get em i new it was bad i heard it all over the radio. We left together the 6 of us. when we got there it was hell. Aaron ws still on the rooftop. He WOULDNT leave the gun after we had him off the rooftop and out the door he was talking to me. As me and the D boy carried him we talked He told me "man it hurts but Im not ready to stop fighting". I remeber passing him off to provide cover he told me dont stop shooting. Aaron i wish i new that it was going to be the last time we spoke. Im not sure but think i wrote this as much for you as for me i will never forget you bro. As you used to say " Guns Up" dont worry they always will be. I miss you and watch over or boys as they go back.
Sgt Rett"
Justin Rettenberger of San Clemente Ca


"Dear Austin I know its been a while but I just want you to know that you are always in my thoughts how could I forget you that laugh that all the marines could recognize a mile away may you be at peace in heaven and to you Mrs Austin I just wanted to say reading your messages brings tears to my eyes seeing how strong of a person you are and I will never forget him or the time we served together"
david hernandez of San Clemente, CA

"Thank you Doc for you special memory that you shared. We, Aaron Austin's family share all the memories that we have had in his lifetime, it brings us such joy. We didn't have the honor to share with him what his Marines and those who's path he crossed while in his duty to his Country. His life ended just the way he had been so faithful to his family also. We knew he would do and be there for each and everyone of us. I miss that so, along with all of his other wonderful qualities that he had. I hate to say had because he is sharing them with Jesus and anyone else's loved one in the Kingdom of Heaven. I thank each and everyone who has taken something special from their heart and applied it to this Memorial. We understand that there are lots of hearts feeling the same as ours, either by missing Aaron or missing the loss of their loved one or both. We thank you and pray for you. Just as we know Aaron is doing the same. He is still in our hearts each and everyday, and I know he is up their rooting for each and everyone of us. And to Aaron thank you for the memories that we have. You left us with so many good ones. It is an honor to have been a part of your bloodline. Your Anti, just like you spelled it. I wouldn't change a thing. Love ya man."
Lisa Jewell of Lovington, N.M.

"To Doc, thank you. Your words to my son mean so much to me at this time. Thank you for loving him. Thank you for all you've done for all of them."
De'on Miller of Lovington, NM, USA

In the memory of Aaron Austin. Wow, I never thought I would have made peace. I still haven't because there will never be peace in the world. The day that you passed I would have given anything to switch spots with you. You were everything that I idolized and respected about the USMC. I learned that respect after I saw the way you treated your gun team in OIF I, when Cruz was in the turrent on the seven ton and you were motivating him to stay awake complimenting him on his skills. It could only grow tremendously after that. I felt safe, I felt assurance. You will always be remembered as being the rebel with a cause- loving his country and loving his gun team and loving his family and friends. But with the memories of what you have done I live on. I've left 2/1 E and it feels like I've lost many brothers, but you will always be the one when I hear the word marine will echo out in my mind. I love you brother, you have taught me so much and I will never forget you. This sailor will never forget GUNS UP!
-Semper Fi"
Doc Russo of Antioch,CA

"Aaron.Well Jerrod bought a house and i guess he'll be getting married in 9 months,so he said if there still together then, so i guess i'll be getting a daughter-in -law,he misses you alot Aaron,him and Michael are finally bonding as brothers,they are getting closer.Something i can thank you for,you sent Michael to Jerrod to take your place in Jerrod's life,you new they needed each other,we all miss you so much Aaron,you'll never know the depth of my love for you and how much you meant to me.I'll never forget you and i look forward to the day i'll see you again,Always my love,Donna"
donna of lovington nm

So many memories of you and all that you've given. Thank you, Aaron. I love you with everything in me."
Mom of Lovington, NM, USA


My Precious Perfect Son,
While we honor you every day, Tonya and I leave for Austin today to be at the capitol on Thursday to honor the Texas Fallen Heroes. I can't think of a better place to be to honor you than Austin, Texas. How you always loved Texas and how you always loved the Austin's. We try so many things to go on without you, and God is so faithful to get us through. But yet, I know your Dad and I yearn for the day that we will be united with you once again. Keep very close to us. We need you. I love you, Aaron."
Mom of Lovington, NM


Thank you for making me the proudest mother of all today. Perfect son, I love you."
Mom De'on of Lovington, NM, USA

"May 5, 2005

Today, I woke up, still in the grave. It’s where I’ve been since May 3, 2005, the year anniversary of the day we buried Aaron.

Many of you know, and some do not know, but now I wish they did know, how it is the song of the birds that began to minister to me over a year prior to Aaron being killed. It is through the song of the bird that I became assured of God’s presence and that my son was coming home from that first trip. The date was March 31, 2003.

We built quite a relationship the following year, that little bird and I. I listened for his song many times throughout the long days.

Looking back, I know that God began to build that bird relationship with me so that as I would stand watching a little bird baptize itself over and over in the many beautiful flowers on Aaron’s grave May 4, 2004, that the significance of that little bird there would remind me of Life.

Jesus defeated the grave. As God’s son lives, so my son lives.

Today, as I awakened, turned on the light in Aaron’s room, tears filled my eyes once again. I went to my chair, the one that my body has been nearly molded to for the last couple of days, and as the tears began to flow, I heard the birds sing. My husband feeds 50-75 pounds of bird food per week, so it’s not hard to catch 1-100 of their songs.

I began the sacrifice of thanksgiving to start my morning prayer. When I think of praising God for His creation, I always begin with the birds.

This morning, from Streams in the Desert, I began my daily devotional. The date of course, is May 5. Below, is what I have just read. And I can tell you today, that like everything else spiritual that seems so contrary to our physical senses, it indeed has done its work.

If you are reading this now, I pray that if there is a grave in your life today, I pray that Life comes to sit upon it and that you join it in song. That sacrifice of thanksgiving lifted me today. And the birds are singing outside my window now, eating their mountain of food. And even if you don’t feed them a mountain of food like my husband does, I bet that if you listen quietly, you can hear one. Because God cares for them. And He cares for us.

My love to all,

When they began to sing and praise, the set ambushments…and they were smitten (2 Chron. 20:22).

Oh, that we could reason less about our troubles, and sing and praise more! There are thousand of things that we wear as shackles which we might use as instruments with music in them, if we only knew how.

Those men that ponder, and meditate, and weigh the affairs of life, and study the mysterious developments of God’s providence, and wonder why they should be burdened and thwarted and hampered—how different and how much more joyful would be their lives, if, instead of forever indulging in self-revolving and inward thinking, they would take their experiences, day by day, and lift them up, and praise God for them.

We can sing our cares away easier than we can reason them away. Sing in the morning. The birds are the earliest to sing, and birds are more without care than anything else that I know of.

Sing at evening. Singing is the last thing that robins do. When they have done their daily work; when they have flown their last flight, and picked up their last morsel of food, then on a topmost twig, they sing one song of praise.

Oh, that we might sing morning and evening, and let song touch song all the way through. Selected

Don’t let the song go out of your life
Though it chance sometimes to flow
In a minor strain, it will blend again
With the major tone you know.

What though shadows rise to obscure life’s skies,
And hide for a time the sun,
The sooner they’ll lift and reveal the rift,
If you let the melody run.

Don’t let the song go out of your life;
Though the voice may have lost its trill,
Though the tremulous note may die in you throat,
Let it sing in your spirit still.

Don’t let the song go out of your life;
Let it ring in the soul while here;
And when you go hence, ‘twill follow you thence,
And live on in another sphere.


The birds and God, the sacrifice of Thanksgiving, they are all doing their job. Thank you."
Mom De'on of Lovington, NM, USA

"Some days are just so sad without you here. I miss you so very much."
Mom of Lovington, NM, USA

"Your Homecoming Party...

By that moment only one bag will remain. Not guilt. It was dropped at Calvary. Not the fear of death. It was left at the grave. The only lingering luggage will be the God-given longing for home. And when you see him, you'll just set it down. Just as a returning soilder drops his duffel when he sees his wife, you'll drop your longing when you see your Father. Those you love will shout. Those you know will applaud. But all the noise will cease when he cups your chin and says, "Welcome home." And with scarred hand he'll wipe every tear from your eye. And you will dwell in the house of the Lord - forever.

-Max Lucado"
Jesika of Lovington New Mexico USA

To all of Aaron's family and friends...you have all been in my thoughts and prayers these past days but especially today. On this, the first anniversary of Aaron's death, I vividly remember the shock of finding his name on the list of KIA last year. Since our son John was also in Fallujah in the Marine Corps (he and Aaron had been together since boot camp) I constantly read the latest on the casualties when we heard there had been some Marines killed. I remember the hot/cold feeling and the pounding of my heart when I read, and then re-read Austin's name on the list! I could not believe it. I ran and tearfully told my husband....."John's best friend Austin is one of the Marines killed !!" I was beside myself...not knowing what to do. My first instinct was to talk with Aaron's mother as quickly as possible to try to buffer some of the grief for her and to provide an outlet for some of my own as well I suppose.
De'on has become a good friend in this past year and was there for me when John was badly injured in Iraq last fall. The Lord has given her a special aura of love and acceptance of Aaron's death that continually amazes me.
To Aaron's mom....De'on, and to his Dad, Doug.....I want to say that your son is a Hero that will never be forgotten by the Harrell Family!
May God bless you!"
Marilyn Harrell of Mississippi

Dearest Son,
After today, we begin all of our 2nds without your precious body. I feel your spirit and our Father's Spirit very strong today. I'm sure we will all mourn you for the rest of our earthly lives. It is our cross to bear, but I believe we will not do it alone. While your life meant nearly everything to me, your physical death fills me in a way that cannot even be explained. I know you must pray for us there. Thank you. Thank you.

No one will come to our doors today with news of loss concerning you. For you, now, everything is gain. And one by one, we will begin to join you there, or better yet, perhaps we'll all come to you and our Lord Jesus together.

Your family, all of us, those by blood as well as those who were there with you when your blood was spilled, miss you, Aaron; we love you, Aaron. And son, we are proud of you, and very thankful that you were a part of us then, and thankful you will always be a part of us now.

You will never be forgotten. And due in large part to your physical death, we will never forget each other.

To all of my son's family and friends: I wish you all peace and comfort. I pray God pours out His Spirit on you all today. I believe He will."
Aaron's Mom of Lovington, NM, USA

"Hey Aaron,
I can't believe it's been a year already. Man, we didn't forget you and we won't. You'll always be with us in our hearts. I wanted to thank you. You made this world a safer place for us all, and for this, we'll always be thankful. You gave us the Freedom we dreamt of. Your life was cut short, and damn this saddens me, because you sure was such a nice guy. But one day we'll see you again. Until then, may you rest in Peace, buddy. You're in a much safer place. Your family has been so courageous. I'm sure you're looking down Aaron, and smiling when you look at them. Semper Fi Aaron. I'll see you again."

Friday there was an article in the newspaper about your mom and it got me to thinking how strong of a person she is and you were I sit here as tears fill my eyes Tuesday will be a year and I plan to visit you for the first time since your funeral and I regret I am not as strong as some. A month ago I attended a funeral the first since yours and I cried not because I was going to miss this person cause I barely knew them but because this little girl was sitting in the pew tears streaming down her face and I knew how hard it must be and I remember me at your funeral and I cried..It was unexplainable. School is almost out and I will be a senior. I think back to all your visits and remember all the advice you had given me and all the pep talks and I hope that I have made you proud. You said that without an education you cannot go very far and how important it is. Last week I was inducted to National Honor Society and smiled cause I knew you would be proud. Aaron please watch over us all we are going to have a hard time here in the next week and I just hope you know how much you are LOVED and MISSED.. Thank you for all you have given me and De'on thank you for your son and his wisdom cause I am sure it came from your teachings."

Friday there was an article in the newspaper about your mom and it got me to thinking how strong of a person she is and you were I sit here as tears fill my eyes Tuesday will be a year and I plan to visit you for the first time since your funeral and I regret I am not as strong as some. A month ago I attended a funeral the first since yours and I cried not because I was going to miss this person cause I barely knew them but because this little girl was sitting in the pew tears streaming down her face and I knew how hard it must be and I remember me at your funeral and I cried..It was unexplainable. School is almost out and I will be a senior. I think back to all your visits and remember all the advice you had given me and all the pep talks and I hope that I have made you proud. You said that without an education you cannot go very far and how important it is. Last week I was inducted to National Honor Society and smiled cause I knew you would be proud. Aaron please watch over us all we are going to have a hard time here in the next week and I just hope you know how much you are LOVED and MISSED.. Thank you for all you have given me and De'on thank you for your son and his wisdom cause I am sure it came from your teachings."

"Hey Aaron,
Man I can't believe it's been almost a year since you were taken from us. I hadn't realized it had been so long until I had a dream about you the other night and it got me to missing you. Then it dawned on me "April 26th". You were an awesome person to be around. And even though we lost touch after you left Sunray, I still held a special place in my heart for you. All the dumb movies we watched, the trouble we got into, and the things we said and did! Everyday you are in my thoughts and your family in my prayers! Miss you so much!"
Briana of Sunray, TX

"4/5/05: I love you so much. Jerrod has been here this week. I know you must know how happy Hennessy is to be sleeping in your bed with him. We all love to talk about you, and slowly but surely, our tears turn to smiles. We love you so much and will remain eternally proud of you, son."
Mom of Lovington, NM, USA

"Happy Easter Aaron."


My Precious Perfect Son! I finally dreamed about you...Today! On resurrection Sunday. And it was a wonderful dream. Just you conning and charming me the way you always did. You were in your big shorts and no shoes, and you know how I love your Austin feet and toes! It didn't make me sad...it made me so happy. And I'm reading a book called 'Heaven' by Randy Alcorn. Bless him for his 25 years of scriptural search. My son, I know you know how much we all love you. Miss you. Oohh so very much. You are perfect.
Thank you Heavenly Father, for this peaceful Easter Sunday. What I thought was illness must have surely been Your way of keeping me still, alone with your Spirit, and dreams of my son. Thank you. It couldn't have come at a better time."
Mom of Lovington, NM, USA

"Dear Ms. Miller, Proud Mom of Aaron, a true hero:

My name is Jo Giles, you left a message for my brother Pfc. Landon Giles recently on his place in this wonderful, yet heartbreaking site. I wanted to say thank you. Landon was only 19, although losing him at any age would've been horrible. I know that even a year later the pain is not gone. I think of Landon every day, I will always. I'm sure you think of Aaron daily too. Your son was a hero. I thank you and your family for your gift of Aaron and pray that all the support and love you receive will help you on your journey of healing. I know that heroes never really die, they will live on in the hearts and minds of their families their country and their brothers and sisters in arms. I hope that you can find peace in knowing that your son was what men are supposed to be. He was a good son and a good american, more importantly he made a difference in the world. Thank you so much for your kind words regarding Landon. We love him so much, but now we both have brave wonderful men looking out for our families. Please feel free to email me and I would love to stay in touch. Thank you again for your kind words and encouragement, and please accept my sincere condolcences for you and your family. I will keep you all my prayers. My email is celestialhoney2004@yahoo.com
God Bless You"
Jo Giles-Sister of fallen hero Pfc. Landon Giles, U.S. Army of Bakersfield, CA

"Aaron C. Austin
i thank you so much
you are my hero
Rest in peace
i know you are in a better place"
henrik of germany

"To Sgt. Magana:

Dear Angel, in the guise of Sgt. Magana: Thank you for being there, for holding his hand, for talking to him. I pray you felt some of heaven touch your own hand that day as some angel of mercy escorted our Precious Aaron Home. You will forever be in our thoughts, our prayers. Thank you for talking to me, for loving him. It's always good to talk to someone who knew the man we all knew and loved. I pray for your recovery. I thank God you made it back to your earthly home, to raise your daughter. Children need their parents. Aaron always needed, loved us. Perhaps we can bear this easier than Aaron could bear to be here on earth without us someday. I keep that thought in my mind, close to my heart. There is much heartache he's escaped, by going there before us, lending a hand, and probably some advice on how we'd like our own special room in that special place that we will at last, join him. See that smile again."
De'on Miller, Proud Mom of L.Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC, KIA April 26, 2004 Fallujah, Iraq of Lovington, NM, USA

"Lcpl Austin, wow, what a Marine. You could look fear straight in its face and laugh. You are a great person and a awesome Marine. I had a great time serving with you buddy, from the the long lasting fire fights to the playing of spades,(card game), through the desert nights. I always new when you were on watch, because I would always hear your gun blaring away at the enemy, know matter what time it was. In saying that, I am sure you will always watch over us like you did while in Fallujah. You are a great man, and it was an honor to serve with you. Take care Austin, and I will see you at the gates of heaven someday to releave you from post. Echo Co, 2/1 2nd Plt."
Sgt. Magana, Josue' of Oceanside, Ca/ U.S


Today is February 28, 2005. Although I have only posted two messages to you; once right after I found this website and the second message right after your birthday; believe it or not I visit this website each and every day and sometimes several times in just one day. I am not sure why I am drawn to this website more that any other website that is associated with you, maybe it's because when I am here I feel that you are here too. I guess you could call this website my touchstone to you.

Each day I am on this website I always have so very much to say but never quit no how to start and finish. But I made a promise to myself that on this day I would post this message to you. So get ready cause I have got a lot to say!

This date, February 28, 2005 marks the one year anniversary that your grandma, Tay, Randy and I said good-bye to you for the last time before you left for your last tour in Iraq. I replay this day in my heart and mind most every day. You were your typical self one year ago today. It was a Saturday and I had been asking you for days when we could come see you before you left but you would not give me a day or time. At the very last minute you called me and asked me if we could pick you up at the train station in Oceanside that evening. Of course I said yes. But as I hung up I was so darn irritated with you for being your typical last minute self and for a moment I said (to myself) forget it I am not doing it! But then I told Randy, I have to see him, because God forbid if something happened to him "I would never forgive myself for not saying goodbye to him!" So we met you at the train station, went to dinner and our last stop was your room in Camp Pendleton. It is funny what we remember when we think about our memories but what I remember about being in your room was that you gave Taylor her Christmas present (a Marine teddy bear of which she will always keep!) then you asked us to take some of your bags home with us and as well asked us to take a bag of your friend's home with us too. The bag said "BARNES" on it but that was all we knew of him at the time. I have recently had the honor of meeting him, any many of your fellow Marine friends, of which if am very thankful for. As we headed down stairs we saw Koci, as he was on duty that night, and we told him to take care of himself and Randy asked Koci to watch over you and then we headed to the car. As we were loading your bags into the car you yelled from above and said "hey Randy, catch!" They were a pair of your shoes that you had forgotten to pack (what a shocker, huh?) When you came down we all hugged you and said our goodbyes and went on our way.

I try very hard not to have many regrets in my life as one never knows how long were are destined to be here on this earth. And although your dad tells me all the time that I should never regret a moment in my life, because I am who I am, the one thing I regret the most is not hugging you just even a minute longer. Somehow my heart tells me that if I had taken one more minute to keep you there, that one extra minute could have given you the extra minute that you may have needed in Iraq and that minute could have changed your final destiny. Now this may not sound rational to you it doesn't even sound rational to me, but it will be my forever regret.

We are all trying to find peace with the fact that you are no longer here with us. It seems as though there is always a new milestone to get through...Mother's Day, Memorial Day, Father's Day, Your Birthday, Fourth of July, Labor Day, The Marine Ball, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, February 28th, and although I can hardly believe it very shortly it will be April 26th again. With each milestone that passes I tell myself that things will get easier. But losing a loved one will never get easier because whenever you think of that person each memory comes back and yes at times those memories make us laugh but it also just makes it all the more real again that you are gone.

As I mentioned above as we each try to find peace, we all have very different ways of trying to achieve that peace. Your mom has her faith to lean on and I believe that with this faith she will find the peace that she needs to go on. As for your dad, although he has faith in God as well, there is something more that he is in search of to find this peace. I believe that even if every question that your dad had was answered about the last two weeks of your life right up to the moment that you were so very brave and heroic he would still not get the peace he is searching for. I believe that for your dad, his ultimate peace will not be realized until it is his time to leave this earth and finally see you again. As for me, my faith in God is strong and I know that you are with him and one day I will see you again. But I believe that at this juncture in my life part of my peace is right here at your memorial website. My daughter, my husband, mom and all my family and friends also give me the sense of peace that I need to continue believing that our lives must go on and we must enjoy each and every moment that we can.

Aaron, you lived your life by the "seat of your pants". I believe that in the 21 years that you were alive you lived a "full lifetime" with no regrets. One day in 2003 (my dad, your grandpa) told Randy that he had lived a good life and he had done everything he had wanted to do and that he had no regrets. This from a man who was 75 years old. I say this because you may not have done everything you had wanted to do in your life but I do believe that you had one crazy, fun, rollercoaster ride of life for 21 years and there are not many 21 year old's that can say that today.

I also believe Aaron, that you not only lived your life with no regrets, you also gave the "ultimate" sacrifice with no regrets. I believe you would not have changed one thing about your life or how you left this earth. You gave your life as you were fighting; fighting for not only your life but your fellow Marines. And although your dad misses you so very, very much I can hear the words that he has mentioned when he talks about you and your fellow Marines which is "OUTSTANDING MARINE!" I tell your dad that you were most certainly an outstanding Marine but that you not only did what you did because you were an "OUTSTANDING MARINE" but you were brave and a hero because that is the way you were brought up to be!

Before I say goodbye, there is a song that I would like to share with you and explain why. The song is by Jackson Browne and the name of the song is "For a Dancer" it goes something like this:

"Keep a fire burning in your eye, pay attention to the open sky.. you'll never know what will be comin' down...

I don't remember losing track of you... your were always dancing in and out of view... I must of thought you'd always be round'... always keeping things real by playing the clown... now your no where to be found...

I don't know what happens when people die.. can't seem to grasp it as hard as I try. It's like a song I can hear playing right in my ear but I can't sing, I can't help listening. And I can't help feeling stupid standing around... crying is the easier down, cause I know that you'd rather we were dancing..dancing our sorrow away, right on dancing, there's nothing you can do about it anyway...

Just do the steps that you've been shown by everyone you've ever known. Until the dance becomes your very own, no matter how close we've grown...

In the end there is one dance you'll do alone.

Keep a fire for the human race, let your prayers go drifting into space... you'll never know what will be coming down.

Perhaps a better world is drawing near, just as easy we could all disappear, along with whatever meaning you might have found. Don't let the uncertainty turn you around.

Into a dancer you have grown from a seed somebody else has grown... go on ahead and grow some seeds of your own and somewhere between the time you arrive and the time you go may lie a reason you were alive that you'll never know.

Yes, this song has many metaphors in it but to me it says a lot about life in general, how you lived your life and how you would like for us to continue living. You did dance through life and I know that you want us to all “dance” through life as well.

There is one part of this song that says “in the end there is one dance you’ll do alone. I know metaphorically this means that in the end we experience death alone. But, recently I heard a story of a fellow marine that was with you holding your hand til’ the end. I do not even know his name but I am so very grateful for him and for the fact that you were not alone and I have faith to know that your descent to heaven may have been by yourself but it was not a sad or scary experience for you!

Well, I told you this would be long. I love you Aaron and I will always try to live my life in a way that will make you and dad (your grandpa) proud up there. You will never be forgotten, you memory, bravery and heroism will be remembered forever and I will make sure of that even after I am gone.

Give dad a big hug for me and tell him I miss him so very much and that I love him!

Aunt Robbie
February 28, 2005"
Robbie Ferneau of Anaheim Hills, CA

We may have spent school together, but I never was able to become a friend of yours. I am so proud to know that you fought for me and my daughter, Kayli. I sat here tonight thinking of all the hard times I am going through right now. For some reason God sent me here, I never knew this sight was here. He made me realize how lucky I am and how special you were and always will be. To Your Parents, Thank you for raising a young man who fought for what he felt was right. I pray peace to each and everyone who is suffering, and I pray that we all remember that Life is Not So Bad. May God Bless You and Keep you All safe. With all the love and respect I can offer...Thank you Aaron Carrie and Kayli Tollison"
Carrie Tollison-former classmate of Sunray, Texas/USA

"Lcpl Aaron Cole Austin, From the first day I met you I always looked up to you. The leadership you always showed was a great influence to me in trying to be a good marine. When I first got to the company and you told me you would look after me all the way up to your death you were a great friend and a great marine. I will always miss you and love you. Rest in peace my brother. Semper Fi"
LCpl Zach Colby of Central City , Iowa

"Well Aaron,I went through a Christmas without you there,i remember the last Christmas you were at my house,ya were all acting so goofy,i have the pictures to prove it,boy if i'd known that was my last Christmas or my last days with you,i'ld held onto you tighter and never let you go,Jerrod seems to be okay,but wanting to go in the Marines,i am scared for him,cause if i lost another son,it would kill me,i don;t want him to go Aaron and i am sure your the only one who would understand why.You really didn't want him to go either,but if that's what he wants i'll be very proud of him,i love my sons so much and i worry so much about them everyday,but i know God will protect them,I miss you lots and your laugh,it's almost been a year since we lost you and it's been a tough one.I will always miss you,i look forward to the day when i will see you again my love.Say alittle prayer for me Aaron and watch over my baby up there,Always Donna"
Donna of Lovington

"Happy Valentine's day Aaron!! I couldn't let this day go by without expressing how much we love & miss you. I can't wait until we see each other again. Love you always."

"To the Mom Of LCPL Austin. I was 21 years in 1968 when I was sent to MAG-16 Marble Mountain, South Vietnam.
I served with the Marines for 1 year.
I saw some of my bro's kia there.
I can tell you your son was brave to do
all the things he did. Not everyone can complete Marine Corps bootcamp.
Not everyone can endure the high discipline military way of life the corps demands. Not everyone can take arms and go into combat when told to do so. And when you are in the family of marines, you are in a brotherhood.
Don't worry he is still with other brave, heroric marines,,and he is in good hands. My sympathy."


We can't help thinking about you. One year ago from Valentine's Day was the last time that Greg, Lisa, Kayla and I saw you. Your Dad, Grandma, Eric and Tiff were there, too. It's the weekend I decided to get braces! So, so many good memories! Gosh Aaron, we all miss you so much. So, so much. Well, guess I just can't let a Valentine's Day go without sending you some little note. You know and you knew, how very loved you will always be."
Mom of Lovington, NM

"To the parents and family of Aaron Austin...
I would like to thank you for raising a son who would lay down his life for his country. I can never express my gratitude with mere words. As I sit here writing this, tears roll down my face... tears of pride... tears of loss. Your son is a hero to me. He is now in the angels arms... he has been promoted to Glory. My daughters will know of his sacrifice... your are in my prayers, my thoughts and my heart."
Johnny Mannion of Chula Vista, Ca, USA

"Hey Aaron, I'm just sitting here thinking about how much I miss everything about you, even though I hadn't seen or talked to you since we were in high school. Through all of the controversy we still had a great time together. After I graduated and started my life I still thought about how you were doing and what was going on with you. Man, I really miss being around you. I know that we will meet again. You were a great friend and you are a wonderful hero. You are forever in my heart. Thank you for everything. Love you always!"

"Hi Aaron i am just sitting here thinking about you as I do every day that passes. As you know I say prayers for You and Tiffany and your Mom and Dad
every day. Cindy and I sure tear up alot we were so much looking foreward to you being part of our Family,I still Hear your voice on the phone calls you made to us. We will remember you always and love you always. Tiffany made me a cd of your favorite songs and I listen to it all the time. God Bles and hold you.
Rick and Cindy"
Rick and Cindy Frank of Portland Or USA

"Hey Aaron Whats up man I am sitting here and I can't get you off my mind. I have been through my first christmas and new year without you and it is pretty empty. But God has and always will bless heroes such as yourself. For without you we as Americans wouldn't have all our luxuries we all enjoy. But may I say in the same breath those very same luxuries we all enjoy are not the same without you. I have had long enough to deal with this and has much as I would like to say everything is fine something is missing in everybody that had a chance to know and love you the proof is in the eyes. Hey death is bitter sweet depending on your religion but for us missing you death is that much sweeter becuase that day all of this confusion is gone and that is really the only comfort I find in the whole situation no words, sayings pictures, bring you back and what can I say I miss you nothing else. So my dieing day will be that bitter sweet moment. I love you and everything you stand for Aaron, damn boy you have set the bar high for this nation like the scripture says John 15:13 Greater love has know one than this. that he lay down his life for his friends. I love You and miss you and hold you in my heart forever. Thank You Aaron"
Zach of Lovington New Mexico

"To Aaron's mother,

This week I received the bracelet which I had ordered from the Hero Bracelets organization. I am writing to let you know that I received a bracelet in honor of your beloved son, Lance Cpl Aaron C Austin.

I want you to know that your son will not be forgotten, even by people who never met him, but are so very proud of his service and all that he represented as a Marine.

I wanted to learn about Aaron and came to this website. He must have been an extraordinary young man who was well-loved by so many. The messages convey so much about Aaron and the kind of person he was. His sacrifice will not be forgotten.

The bracelet bearing Aaron's name will be placed in a special place in our home as a constant reminder of this young hero, and a reminder to pray for you. May God bless you and keep you in His care.

Shirley Myers"
of Santa Cruz, California

"A marine's love is unlike any other
He leaves behing many friends and other loved ones including his mother
He is shipped out to foreign lands
And docked on unusual sands
He is afraid but never scared
Because he knows that his memory will be eternally shared
There is no greater loss than that of a Marine
But there is no better way to leave this world than as a Marine
There is no better person to call your "Brother"
Because a Marine's love is like no other.

We will all miss Aaron terribly but I know he will never be forgotten by those who loved him the most."
Danielle of Hobbs, NM US

"To Aarons mom, I never knew Aaron but i knew his brother Eric. When Eric left to go back to texas he left a bunch of stuff here with me and my b/f since we have moved so much after him leaving we have lost track of alot of things but i found a bag that had a lot of stuff in it i found some stuff that i think you might want they are some pictures of Aaron and little things that i think were giving to Eric from Aaron. If you would like these things. you can contact me at Lostdevil1929@aol.com.

Aaron though us here in las vegas never met you we have great thoughts of you and for some reason due to your brother when we are listening to the radio and let the bodies come on the radio we crack it up and think of you. Even though you are up there looking down on us keep rockin on and watch out for us."
Ashley of Las Vegas, NV

"When we landed in Kuwait and started to convoy up to Falluja, I remember right before we left Camp Udairi we had a radio with no batteries and Austin had batteries with no radio. I don't know why i remember this so vividly because it seems like such an insignificant thing but I just. I am a Corpsman that was with 2/1 for the deployment. We lost 4 brothers in Iraq and I miss them all. We did our best but sometimes it's not enough."

"The year I lost you has now passed. The Evergreen we decorated is just now planted. We begin this year with a new hope...a new prayer. Thank you so much for being the man you were, for loving us all just the way we were, for your smile, your voice, your laughter. I guess I thought I might be with you, now. I talked big while I thought, 'I surely will not be long on this earth without him.' But here I am, and our Father sustains me, us. I will never quit missing you. Given the choice...there's not a thing I would change. It was never you to quit fighting. I wouldn't change that now, son. I will always be so proud of you.

May 2005 bless all those you have loved in your precious lifetime."
Mom of Lovington, NM

"One More Day

Last night I had a crazy dream.
A wish was granted just for me, it could be for anything.
I didn't ask for money, or a mansion in Malibu.
I simply wished for one more day with you.

One more day.
One more time.
One more sunset maybe I'd be satisfied.
But then again,
I know what it would do.
Leave me wishing still for one more day with you.

The first thing I'd do, is pray for time to crawl.
I'd unplug the telephone, and keep the TV off.
I'd hold you every second.
And say a million "I Love You's"
It's what I'd do for one more day with you.

One more day.
One more time.
One more sunset maybe I'd be satisfied.
But then again,
I know what it would do.
Leave me wishing still for one more day with you.

By Diamond Rio"

"To De'On and Jerrod:
I can't tell you how proud and thankful I am to have known Aaron. I am so proud of him, his sacrifice, and the man he became. It is fitting that he would die in such a heroic, noble way since he was always so competitive. I'm not sure why he and I were able to get back into touch for five months after losing touch for five years, but I know God placed us in one another's lives for a reason. Those last conversations and last meeting we had will always be cherished in my heart. I know this holiday season was an especially hard one for you (for me as well. . . today marks the one year anniversary of the last time I saw Aaron alive and well). I will always remember our conversation that day, how nervous we both were because it was the first time we had seen each other in five years, and how he waved and smiled his precious smile as we drove away from one another. He was a beautiful person who left me with beautiful memories. Jerrod--I hope to visit with you and/or meet you one day. I would like to meet Aaron's best friend. You must be special because he loved you so much. Let me know if you ever need anything. De'On--I hope you are doing well and know that you are in my thoughts and prayers always. God bless you, all of Aaron's friends and family, all the men and women serving our country and their families. Semper Fi, Aaron. Keep your guns up, Red Raider. And yes, "Texas stands proud. . ." Very proud. We love you."
Sabra Crowe of Lubbock, Tx

"Merry Christmas Aaron. I am sure you are having the most wonderful Christmas anyone could imagine!! We still miss you here and always will. Last Christmas will always hold a special place in my heart, it was perfect. I remember sitting in the chair holding Weston while you played over and over "There Goes My Life" and two stepping with Karen and your mom. Now you are where we all want to be, spending Christmas with Jesus. We love you and miss you so much!!"
Jesika Jewell of Lovington New Mexico USA

"I'm most thankful that I had over 21 exciting years with you. Yours and your Father's spirit is with me very strong today. I love you both so much. Thank you for everything."
Mom of Lovington, NM

"Dear Mrs. Miller

I didn't know Aaron or any of your family. I am part of a group of Angels who search for fallen soldiers families. I can't tell you how much this has touched me in such a short time. I started out doing this to help our organization help others. Now I do it as a service to the fallen men and women. Wonderful things have been spoken all over the world of your son. He touched lives in many different places. Even of those he has never met. Please accept my many thanks for the sacrifice of your family and son who worked so hard to keep my family safe."
Angela Ray of Lake Worth, Tx

"It looks like the 1MEF is about to go in and finish up what your unit started, son. Echo Company bought the first inch, and I love you, Marine."
Mom of Lovington, NM

"Aaron, I love you and everyday it is harder and harder for me to understand why you were taken away. I want you to know that I greatly appreciate everything that you helped me go through and I can't wait until I see you again."

"To Lance Cpl. David Bryant: Although I don't personally know you at this time, I do know your name, I know and love your wife, I know you fought for the things I am not able to fight for. You have loved my son and my family and thanks to you and Chantal, we will be able to meet young men, fighting Marines like yourself, that served. That answered the call. That sacrificed. God Bless you, all that you hold dear, now, and for all eternity. We are so looking forward to meeting you, and are most thankful that you ALL are coming home. Godspeed."
Mom De'on

"To Cpl. John Harrell: We thank God that you are safe and sound. We thank Him for his angels of protection. We thank Him for you and for the family that raised up a Marine for our country, a brother to our son, and a man of faith for our Lord. We thank Him for all of creation, for the joys, as well as the sorrows. While we as a family understand sacrifice all too well, we are so thankful for the fact that those that Aaron fought next to, fought for, are at long last coming home. Your words to us, as well as your prayers for us will always be remembered. In fact, they are etched in stone. In your e-mail, where you wrote what Aaron wrote at your fighting position, with OIF 2, his radio handle, as well as the pride he felt for Texas, is now etched in several large stones that grace our homes and gardens. His words remain with us, and had it not been for your love for us, the time you took to share them with us, we'd have never known them. I am so thankful that you have survived your injury...and that you will remain a part of our lives. Thank you for serving. Thank you for loving my son."
Mom De'on of Lovington, NM

"To Aaron Cole;I miss you so much,I see the pain in everyone's eyes when they talk about you and what you meant to us,but then there's a smile also for the many crazy things you and Jerrod done,i have so many memories of you and there in my heart where they will always be.You meant so much to me Aaron and your death has hit me so hard,i wished i could have you and Chris back,but i know your in a better place,where noone has to hurt anymore.I am glad the others are coming home,you my son are already there waiting for us all,until then my sweet man,watch over us all.Love always and forever your second mom."

"I love you, Aaron Cole. And I miss you so much. Your Marines are coming home. I'm so happy about that, and I believe in my heart that you somehow know, and if you do, I know how joyful you are about that. There are some things that are about trust, not even faith as much as trust. And I trust that our Lord appointed this time for you to physically leave me, just as He appointed the hour of His great gift of your birth to me and your Dad, and in the very same hospital your mother was born in. How could I not receive and embrace the gift of a physical birth, a life that you brought to all of us, by rejecting what must be for all of us? You jumped the fence on me. You one-upped me this time, son. But, it's not over yet. I will persevere. You know I always planned on getting even with you on my own death-bed, (for your prior little one-uppings of me :) A time ahead of you. But, perhaps you could not have bore it. Your heart was always so full. One thing is for sure, you know everything now...everything I've always wanted to know. What I must still trust for, you've already received. You know. You know everything that we, left here still, and just like you with your life--for some purpose--something, evidently still to accomplish--we are still here. And by the grace of God, through nothing more or less than the blood of His own Son, I will join you someday, and maybe we can talk about this, really talk. And who knows, there, in the spiritual world where you now reside, unencumbered from the many trappings of a physical body, those things that really do nothing more than weigh one down in so many and various ways, and with so many creations of God there, where you are now, those you love, and I love, maybe then, it won't matter so much. Here, now, it does. And I will suffer grief, I will get through grief, and I will not accept defeat, here, and you've heard me say before, 'not now--not ever.' So, you see, son, in a way, you, with the grace of your Father, will just make me stronger. You had a way of living and loving each day, and so many people...I want to be more like that. Today, I want to begin to strive more toward that. Thank you, dear Father. Aaron, we will talk one day, no doubt. And I'm glad we had this little chat."
Mom of Lovington, NM

"To Mom Deon, Aunt Tonya, Allison, Tiffany, and Jerrod,
Aaron's death has left an emptyness in all of our herats. An emptyness that is filled with pain and sorrow and is accompanied with fear. The fear we all have of losing someone close and dear to our hearts. Someone who we love so much that giving up our lives for them would not be an issue. And trust me, it hurts me as much as it hurts all of you. Even though we didnt share the same blood we were brothers. We had a different kind of bond. One that was so close that not even death could break. I know that he is up in the heavens looking down at us and protecting us still. He is our guardian angel. I know that he has protected me because i have felt him with me. Some people call those feelings gut feelings, but I know that it was him telling me something. And I will forever cherish his attitude towards life, his contagious laughter, his unselfish love, his pride, but most of all I am going to cherish his memory. That is the only thing that we have on this earth other than pictures left of him. The wound in our hearts still bleeds for him, but as long as we always remember Aaron, it will mend in time, leaving scar tissue behind that will always remind us of a hero. But I am grateful he was in my life. Sometimes I have wished that I had never met him, that i had never gotten to love him like I did, that way it wouldn't hurt as much as it does, but The Lord blessed us by putting him in our lives. We should all be grateful we all had a chance to spend time with him and got to know him. I know we all wake up in the morning and remember him, and remember how much it hurt not to have him here with us physically, but he will always be with us in spirit. I hope that these words bring some comfort to your hearts. It helps me and I hope that it may help you all as well. Let's also not forget to thank God that we still have another day of life. Aaron, I am missing you more than ever brother...Semper Fi, and Gunz Up baby!"
Cpl. Jose A. Cruz of Falluja, Iraq

"I never met your son, and I have no idea who he was or how he lived, but I feel a bond with him none the less. Aaron was also 21, and he died on my birthday. While I was celebrating he was probably fighting for his life, and I would just like to thank him for his sacrifice and courage in fighting for our country. Thank you Aaron."
Charles Greenwood of Boulder, CO

"To The Parents of Aaron Austin:

I did not know your son. All I know is he was a soldier, who fought in a war that many have lost faith in. He fought for America, when many won't. He stood between "the man trying to break in" and my children. He protected my family to the best of his ability, from many miles away, so that at night, when I tuck my children into their beds, I won't have to worry about a terror attack. There is no way to ever repay your son, or you, for the piece of mind his being there gave me. We were blessed with an angel, in the guise of a man, and never knew it until it was too late to thank him. So, I thank you. For birthing an angel, for raising a man who would protect those who can not protect themselves. Each day, as my children grow safe, I will know that it is due to your son and your sacrifice. Thank you."
Danica Love of West Point, New York

"Hey Aaron,
It's me. I know you know who this is because I think about you constantly. I am always thinking about how much fun together we had and how our time together was much too short. Even though you are gone I still think I will get to see you again. I guess the reality of the situation just hasn't hit me yet. I have lost many loved ones in the past but losing you it really taking a toll on my mind and my heart. You were such a great friend and I am honored to have even gotten a chance to know you. My heart and best wishes go out to all of your family and friends. I love you."

"Aaron,we miss you so much,You would of loved my new TV.You and Jerrod would be fighting me over the remote,I love you babe,Donna"
donna of lovington nm

"To Aaron's Section Leader, SGT Nunez:
As I sit here today, hoping for NEWS/NO NEWS on the 7 Fallen Marines, I feel a sudden rush to tell you and all of your section how very much we love you. Thank you for all you do, for us, for each other. God watch over each of you and bring you home safely. SGT Nunez, thank you for keeping in such close contact with me. I look forward to your next e-mail. I KNOW it will arrive soon. God bless each Marine Family, today, and always. Semper Fi"
Mom De'on of Lovington, NM USA

"I love you. And miss you so much."
Mom of Lovington, NM USA


"This message is for the parents of a great Marine and Friend:

On our first trip to Iraq Aaron and i spent alot of time together.While i was acting as our companies police sgt. i made sure that his room was right next to mine just like he wanted.During our last deployment we took alot of pictures together.and i still have those pictures on my computer and i know in my heart that Aaron would love for you to have them.you can contact me at my email address at jibarorico@yahoo.com and i will happily send a disc with the pics on them.i hope to hear from you soon so that i can share some of the stories of our deployment.Aaron not a day goes by that i dont think of you.you were my brother in arms and my friend.i love you and i miss you bro."
PFC Gabriel O. Morales of under the security blanket you have provided brother

"Aaron,These past few months have been so hard on your best friend Jerrod, i wished there was some way you could send him a message,just to let him now you are okay,He loved you so much and i wished i could take his hurt away,but what can i say about the way you two meant to each other.He is so lost without your influence in his life and the week-ends ya spent together in Phoenix,There are no words to describe the hurt he is experiencing without you aaron.I know people say 'TIME HEALS ALL THE PAIN",But will it heal a broken heart.I miss you also and we will see each other again,Always my Baby and Jerrod's best friend."
donnna of Lovington

The months pass and yet the words still fail me. You will always and forever be my hero.
Wishing you eternal peace and homemade popcycles."
"Sabra's Mom" of Sunray, Tx

"To LCPL. Barnes:
Thank you so much for your phone call. It was such a good day. A phone call from you, a letter from Cruz, and a phone call from Jerrod--all in one day! Sharing the funny stories of Aaron, talking about his music, and the precious things you hold close did much to lift my spirits on that day. You all mean very much to me. Thank you for loving Aaron, for thinking: "What would Aaron do?" And for sharing all of this with his mother. I know he'd be proud of you. He loved you guys. You too, were his family. We pray for you all--and like you, we count down the days--waiting for you to return safely. God Bless You All...and thank you for warming my heart that day."
De'on Miller-Proud Mother of Lance Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC of Lovington, NM USA

Dearest Son, I received your magnificent prose today, and the beautiful letter. I don't know if you ever come to this site, and I will write in response to your letter, but,the mail takes so long. I didn't want one day to go by without trying to reach out to you somehow. I spoke with your mother on the phone tonight. I told her to tell you that I love you--that you've been so precious to me since the first trip to Iraq. I have the picture of the three of us at the airport when we came for the Marine Ball. Others too, but this one hangs in my livingroom. I'm beaming, and you and Aaron look so handsome in your Charleys. You both have such beautiful smiles...beautiful faces. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, Jose, for writing. For loving me through this. I will love you through it all. I'm here anytime that you need me. My prayers are with you, the Marines, all the troops and their leaders...Miguel. Your mom is so sweet. So good...like you. God be with you. Take care. Keep in touch. Blessings Always,"
Mom De'on of Lovington, NM USA


I just wanted your family to know that even months after your death, they are still in my thoughts and prayers! I was in Nepal for the 4th of July at the American Embassy and when I saw those Marines march out there with that American flag, I couldn't help but think about you! I know that you are a hero and that you did what you loved....I couldn't imagine you doing anything else! The time I knew you was great and I enjoyed being your classmate and friend! I think about you today and many to follow! "I love you man." Your family will remain in my heart forever!"
Brenna Cartrite...former classmate of Sunray, Texas


Well it has been a couple weeks since your birthday, July 1st! It has taken me this long to write you because, well I miss you and this just doesn't get any easier. We were at the river on your birthday. We purchased lots of flowers and on the afternoon of July 1st Randy made a toast to you (our hero) and we all tossed our flowers into the river (one person at a time), all the time thinking about how much we miss you. But I guess you know this as I am sure you were with us the whole time. I will never forget when you were younger and as your birthday approached you would say "aunt Robbie, do you know when my birthday is...and I would say "when" and you would say in your best Texan accent "Juuuly 1st!!!"

I love you and miss you terribly Aaron. But I make it through each day with the assurance that we will see each other again one day!"
Aunt Robbie of Anaheim Hills, CA USA

"Aaron, Thank you for what you did for us. While you were over there in Irag and when you were home. I knew you before I was apart of your family and then I never dreamed that you would be callling me your cousin. I am so glad that I am. I know that you probably thought that you drove me crazy but really you never did. Even when you let Weston have an unopened beer. That picture is something we will cherish forvever. I know my son will never get to know his Unlce Aaron but Zach and I will always let him know just how much you loved him. When he wears your memorial shirt I ask him where Aaron is and he points to your picture and gives you a kiss. I know you will be watching down on him and protecting him just like you would have done if you were here. That puts my mind at peace and always will. Thank you Aaron.
P.S. Your mom thinks Weston will be the next one kicking in doors so please protect him!!!
We love you
"bgvcvvvvgfv dks" this is from Weston 2years old, maybe you know what it says!"
Jesika Jewell of Lovington New Mexico

"Aaron, Thank you for what you did for us. While you were over there in Irag and when you were home. I knew you before I was apart of your family and then I never dreamed that you would be callling me your cousin. I am so glad that I am. I know that you probably thought that you drove me crazy but really you never did. Even when you let Weston have an unopened beer. That picture is something we will cherish forvever. I know my son will never get to know his Unlce Aaron but Zach and I will always let him know just how much you loved him. When he wears your memorial shirt I ask him where Aaron is and he points to your picture and gives you a kiss. I know you will be watching down on him and protecting him just like you would have done if you were here. That puts my mind at peace and always will. Thank you Aaron.
P.S. Your mom thinks Weston will be the next one kicking in doors so please protect him!!!
We love you
"bgvcvvvvgfv dks" this is from Weston 2years old, maybe you know what it says!"
Jesika Jewell of Lovington New Mexico

"To Aaron's Squad Leader: KOCI
Son, we thank God you are home safe and sound. Our family continues to pray for all of our troops, but there are several that will always hold a place in our heart. You are one of those primary men, Koci. Aaron thought so much of you, and you were always so very good to him. Although I never got to meet you personally, I have heard your name many, many times. And I know that you were the one that drove him to his Grandmother's house after his Grandfather's heart attack. You will always be important to all of Aaron's family. We pray God's blessings over you and all that you hold dear. Heal, son. It takes time, but you know and I know, that Aaron would not want his death to be the death of all of us left behind. Aaron was all about life, so take some time--then rock on. It's all going to be okay. Thank you for loving my son. Thank you for serving our proud nation. Like us, you understand sacrifice, and now, you understand freedom. It doesn't come easy. It never has. God Bless You, Koci...always."
De'on Miller-Proud Mother of Lance Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC of Lovington, NM USA

"Dear Aaron,
I really don't know what to say except that I miss you. I just found this website and read some of the other messages that friends and faminly have left for you. I wish you could see all the people that you have touched in your life. I believe that SGT. Nunez said it best when he said that you can't help but like you Aaron. It's really hard for me to talk to people because I love and miss you so much. I'll never forget when I met your dad at your grandma's house. He told me that you looked up to me and that he was very proud of both of us for what we do for our great country. You may no longer be with us Aaron but your spirit will never die. "I love you man.""
Rick Koci of S.L.C., UT


"To join the military knowing that you may, at some point in time, be asked to sacrifice your live and everything you live for is a brave thing to do. We in the military have all done it but some of us never think that we would be called upon such duty. To know that you, Aaron, chose to live your life that way makes me extremely proud to be apart of such an honorable organization and even more proud to know that I got a chance to have a relationship with such a noble person. You were such a wild child, you made everyone around you smile and I don't think that anyone that ever met you has forgotten about you. I think about you ever single day, when I put on my uniform to go to work, it puts everything in perspective. Even though we were just teenagers when we met, and our time together was so brief, you GREATLY influenced everything about me today. You helped me through hard times and I know first hand about what a true, caring person you were. I have much love for you and your family. I can only imagine how this effects them every single day as well. I wish all of you the best. Thank you Aaron for everything!"
Amber (Sunray, Native) of USAF, Cheyenne, Wyoming

"Today is the Fourth of July and we have thought of Aaron so very much. Although we never met him we had heard a lot about him through our son John who was a friend and brother Marine to Aaron. They had been together from Boot Camp until April 26. This morning as the congregation sang "America" in our church, my husband choked up and could not sing when we got to the words, "who more than selves, their country loved, and mercy more than life". He was thinking of Aaron's ultimate sacrifice.
He may be fallen, but he will NEVER be forgotten. Thank you Aaron for your sacrifice. May God bless America!"
Benny & Marilyn Harrell of Falkner, MS

"RIP Marine"
Petty Officer Cawthon of RTC Great Lakes, IL

"I am writing this message on behalf of Aaron's Dad, Doug Austin. He is wanting to find Corporal Rick Koci. He thinks one of the unsigned messages may have been from him. He wants very badly to speak to him. If you, read this sight Rick, or someone one who knows how I may reach him on Doug's behalf, Please contact me at stacielhancock@hotmail.com. Doug is one of my dearest friends and it is important to him to contact Aaron's fellow marines and friends. Since Doug does not have a computer I offered to search for him......PLEASE help me help Doug! Thank You!!"
Stacie Hancock of Sunray, Texas USA

"On this celebration of America's birthday, we join with our nation in thanking you for your sacrifice. May God bless you and your hero."
The Roberts Family of Noblesville, Indiana

"My Precious Perfect Son,
In heaven, are you twenty-two years old today? Here, you are. Happy Birthday, Baby. Captain Teague brought your stuff yesterday and in there, was your (mine first!) snuggle pillow that you always used when you were here, that I then sent to you. I thank God you got to snuggle with it for a couple of weeks. I snuggled with it last night. Too, there was another pair of dollar-store houseshoes that you'd redesigned! :) I miss you. We all miss you...so much. I talked to Jerrod and Tiffany last night...Jerrod is okay except that he said people just don't get it when he tells them that his best friend is gone...that they just look at him as if it's not a huge deal...they don't understand that his very own heart took a huge round of fire on April 26th, too. I'm praying for him right now...and for Tiffany...for all of us that were so blessed to be a part of you. We'll all be fine, but never the same. But, we will see you one day. We remain, prouder than ever of you. Thank you, again, for all you've ever done for all of us, your family, your friends, your Marines and your country. You are a hero. My Love and Gratitude Always"
Mom of Lovington, NM, USA

"My dearest Aaron, I hope you knew how much I loved you and how very proud I was of you. You had such a zest for life and it was impossible to be around you and not get caught up in your "zestiness"! You were fun, happy, kind, loving, brave, handsome, strong, loyal, protective...I could go on and on and on. You were everything to your family. I will miss you so much. I look so forward to the day when we are all together again. Have fun with your Uncle Mickey, he is alot like you.
Part of my heart is with you, Aaron, and I will always carry a part of you with me. You are a true American hero, and I thank you for your sacrifice for all of us. Until we meet again, Goodbye Marine.
I will do my part to take care of your Mom. We will Rock On!!"
Tonya Abbott of Lubbock, Texas

"Aaron I have never been able to express myself well, but I don't consider it to be too late. You are in my heart as much now as ever. I have never been so impressed with a person's spirit. You bring a smile to my face every time you cross my mind. I still have tears some are happy and some sad. I miss you so much. You have always been and will always be what I consider a brother. The world lost more than a Marine that day we lost a person who representd how life was meant to be lived, balls to the wall and with love for anybody who cared to join him. Life will not be the same without you in it Aaron, but I love you and dream of the day we will be reunited. To my hero and LOYAL cousin "Brother" and one hell of a Marine hold it down were coming!!!"
Zach Jewell of Lovington, New Mexico

"Although I never had the prevailage of meeting you dear cousin I am so very proud of you. One day when at last we meet in our heavenly home I will give you a great big hug and THANK YOU for you sacrafice for our country. My thoughts and prayers are with you always De'on on your loss dear cousin."
Your cousin Rhonda Parrish of Shepherdsville, KY USA

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

""Hi....I just felt the need to express my sincere condolences. My brother passed away on May 3rd and I completely understand the pain you are going thru. It is a very hard time but we can be so proud of them and what they stood for. Semper Fi!!
My email is
bwalady@yahoo.com if anyone would like to just talk or whatever.
"God Bless to everyone in your family."
Kelley_sister of Gunnery Sergeant Ronald E. Baum of Altoona Pa.

"Aaron you were such a handful for everybody. But it was never enough for
you. But in your over flowing cupped hands there was love, strength,and most of all eagerness. You had such a big heart and it was pretty easy to find out, still some one would have to at least stay a day with you to know how good of a person you were. Once I found a quoet on the computer; "A life with love may have some thorns but a life without love will have no roses" I know that you would always put roses in anyones' life that needed some.
It seems weird how the flag can bring tears from my eyes so quick. But some how it does make a lot of sense. You were my hero and always will be.
P.S Let me hear the thunder"
Kayla Jewell of Lovington N M

"" I love you man." That is what Aaron always said. I always played like I was the tough guy, and only seldom would I say "I love you too man." But I did, and he knew it. I think the friendship that Aaron and I had was unlike any I've ever had before. We were totally opposite in so many ways, but we were like brothers. I never lost anyone that hurt so much. I've never cried in front of another man until he died. I never loved a friend as much as I did Aaron. I know that the pain is great for Aarons family, I can never know that extent, but I do share your loss. Guns Up Aaron, you made us proud, you fought a good fight, you finished your course. Rest in peace."
John Harrell of Fallujah Iraq

"Aaron I know in my heart that you were sent from God to my little girl who loved you so much. I am so proud to have known you and was so looking forward to you being a part of our family. Cindy and I will never forget you and your family will be in our prayers forever. We will meet again in a better place. You are a hero!!
We love and miss you.
Rick and Cindy Frank"
Rick Frank of Portland Or USA

"Aaron, a brighter star has entered the heavens,myself and my family were so proud to know you.Thank you, is just not enough, but until we all meet again, that is what our hearts are saying. Your acts of bravery in the worst of conditions is beyond approach. God Bless you."
Dee Wyatt of Lubbock, Texas

"to deon,i want you to know i love you very much and will always be here for you every step of the way, i am only a phone call away. i miss aaron so much, but i was very proud of him for becoming the person he was, he was a great friend to Jerrod and a brother,he will always remain in my heart and i will always remember him calling me his second mom.you are in my prayers always, from mother to mother,our sons were always the perfect babies they were when they were first born. always my love donna"
donna of lovington nm

"Fair Dinkum Aaron. You will always stay in my memories forever because i would not want to forget a great and down to earth guy. Although we had our differences and i should know because you would debate everything i said you had an impact on my life and those who were around me at that time. It is sad to know that i will never see you again but believe me my memory of you will stay forever. My heart goes out to all family, friends and sweethearts of this boy."
Sarah of Cairns Queensland Australia

"The birds are singing, dear sweet son, and while they sound so beautiful, what I wouldn't give to hear your own, very powerful and happy voice, bellowing, "Hey, Mama,..." When you used the term Mama, rather than mom, I always knew I was going to get sucked into something, and I miss that. As the birds cry even louder this very moment, and while the tears stream down my face, I promise you that your death won't kill me. I'm so proud of everything you did, everything you always stood for. "Rock on," Aaron, and I will, too. I love you more than all the sand in the world."
Mom of Lovington, NM, Proud Mother, Proud Citizen of The USA

"I haven’t found the words that I would of like to use, however I feel that I need to at least tell you what a ripple you caused when you visited here in Cairns. I must admit I thought you were pretty darn crazy and as hypo-active as a tornado however you warmed to me quite comfortable and we started a friendship – we could sit down and talk about everything from barely nothing to things you wouldn’t normally tell someone until you really trusted them and that how you made me feel, like a trusted friend. I find it hard to believe that you are no longer here and I was dying to see you again this year, I really was. I will miss you like crazy. Rest in Pease. Debbie xox"
Debbie of Cairns, Australia

"Aaron:Mere words will never be enough to give you back to the family and friends that love you so. Words will never be enough to thank you for all that you gave to all of us and your country. My heart breaks for all of us that had the pleasure of sharing parts of your life. You are certainly still a big part of ours!! The memories you left our household will live forever.We missed you terribly when you were in Iraq, but miss you more now.I wish everyone had the priviledge of knowing you. I loved you when Derek first brought you home to our house. And I am proud to say that I knew you before you were a hero,that boy was great too!!! You were a blast to be around,even when you and Derek were driving me crazy! Derek had one thing to say to you.....SOLDIER!!! We love you sweetness!"
Stacie & Derek of Sunray, Texas USA

"Aaron, I will miss that Tom Cruise smile, that precious voice, I will miss you everyday. I love you like a son. Bravery has your name all over it, that has always been you. You have always looked out for the other guy, your friend's, brother's, mom and dad, cousin's, niece's and nephew's,and your fiancee,aunt's and uncle's and grandparent's. You were everything that anyone of us could ask for. May God bless you and give you everything that you have earned. My precious nephew,Aaron Cole Austin. Love,Anti"
Lisa Jewell of Lovington, New Mexico

"You will always be my "HERO"! Take care of grandpa for me. Until We Meet Again!"
Aunt Robbie of Anaheim Hills, CA USA

"For Aaron who lost his life so others can live.Thank you for the bravery you have shown.My condolences to your family and friends.God bless you"
Susan Kelly of Northern Ireland

"Aaron Baby you will forever live in my heart, and i will only dream of what our life together would have been like. I love you!! 'Till we meet again!"
Tiffany R. Frank of Phoenix, Az


"To Aaron's Family and Friends:

On behalf of the Blanco-Caldas family, we send our sincerest condolences. We share the same loss ... the same pain. Our prayers are with you in this most difficult time and we thank you for his bravery and sacrifice.


The Family of Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco-Caldas, 82nd Airborne, KIA Iraq 12/28/2003.

Gloria Caldas (his mom) of San Antonio, TX"

"Hey Aaron.. Thanks man for all you have done for our great counrty.. Still hard to believe that you are gone.. Even though you are gone you are still in my prayers.. You are truely a hero and a hero to all.. To be a hero takes alot and you have it all... To the family of Aaron he will be missed and I to know how hard it is, because my brother to is serving also.. Aaron you will be missed greatly and again thank you..."
Leigha Sowder Myers of College Station, Texas

"We do not know you, but we feel a fragment of the pain your going though. Thank you for raising such a brave son, may his memory and sacrifice live on forever."
Dessie Yates(Amarillo Native) of Andrews AFB, Maryland

"Aarron........you know who this is....as i am sitting at my computer looking at our pics from last deployment i cant hold back the tears.i cant even imagine the hurt that your family is enduring due to this great nations tragic loss of such a loving son,brother,uncle,and MARINE.YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN.......SEMPER FI

To Aarons parents:

during our last deployment Aaron and i spent alot of time together on our ship guard duties,liberty,and i had the privliledge to serve along side Aaron in combat.you have a wonderful son and i know that he is in heaven looking down on us.god bless your family......and god bless the U.S.A"
(Big Mo) PFC Morales of Detroit,MI U.S.A

"Aaron Austin was a true American, he fought for what he believed in and he did it without hesitation. We loved Aaron and will continue to keep him close to our hearts. We were fortunate to know him and his good heart. God be with his family during this sad time."
Mark and Angie Rhoads of Hobbs, NM/US

"Even though he is gone, he still lives with us in our freedom, his gift to us!"
Cori of Texas

"Rest in Peace Tufelhunden
The Taylors USMC NC"

"You made TEXAS proud! You are a true American hero. Thank you!"
Kim Mull of Amarillo, Texas

"In Memory of Lance Cpl Aaron Austin, a friend who will greatly be missed. My heart goes out to your family and those who were close to you. May God bless you and your loved ones. One day we will meet again."
Jennifer Lopez of Lovington, NM

"To the family and friends of Lance Corporal Aaron C. Austin,

Those we hold most dear, never truly leave us. May you find comfort in love's everlasting connection.

In the Support section of this web site you will find links to many groups that support you at this crucial time. The Marine Comfort Quilt group would be honored to send a quilt to the next of kin. There are many, loving and caring Americans from all over the United States that will never forget the sacrifice that your loved one has made for our Freedom. Please register so we can send you our "Love Stitched Together."

Proud Marine Mom and Proud Member of Marine Comfort Quilts"
Sandra Moudy of Placentia, California

"To the family and friends of Lance Corporal Aaron C. Austin,

Those we hold most dear, never truly leave us. May you find comfort in love's everlasting connection.

In the Support section of this web site you will find links to many groups that support you at this crucial time. The Marine Comfort Quilt group would be honored to send a quilt to the next of kin. There are many, loving and caring Americans from all over the United States that will never forget the sacrifice that your loved one has made for our Freedom. Please register so we can send you our "Love Stitched Together."

Proud Marine Mom and Proud Member of Marine Comfort Quilts"
Sandra Moudy of Placentia, California

"To Aaron's Family:
There are no words to express the sorrow we feel for your loss. May God bless you and help you through this time."
Dan and Meg Manninen of San Antonio, Texas

Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Aaron, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"Thank you Aaron Austin, 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 Lance Cpl. Aaron Austin:
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 Aaron 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 Lance Cpl. Aaron Austin:
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 Aaron, 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