Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army 1st Lt. David R. Bernstein

24, of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.
Bernstein was killed in action in Taza, Iraq, when enemy forces ambushed his patrol using rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire. He was assigned to 1st Battalion (Airborne), 508th Infantry Regiment, 173rd Infantry Brigade, Camp Ederle, Italy. Died on October 18, 2003.

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"Thank you, Lt. Bernstein, for your services and for the many life lessons you gave to my brother. He is with us because of you. The day you and the rest of the convoy were ambushed you told my brother to stay and finish his work instead of driving you (as he always did). My brother has never forgotten that phrase, “stay and finish.” He has followed his dreams to create music and stand up for what is right. I didn’t meet you, personally, but I came to know of you the day you were ambushed because I spoke to my brother that day and I knew something was not okay with him. He continues to speak of you with such honor as your character and spirit will always be alive and never forgotten."
Daisy Reyes of United States

"David was the first member of our class to sacrifice his life in war. He was also among the most brilliant, talented, and principled young men in that illustrious class. Whenever Memorial Day approaches, my mind wanders first to Dave, his heroism under fire, and his sacrifice. He remains forever a source of inspiration."
Douglas Graham of JBLM, WA

"All the Way Sir! Thank you for your service and sacrifice for this nation and your brothers at arms. While I did not have the honor of knowing you, I do have a bracelet with your name that I wear in your honor. I was also in the 1/508 in Panama during Operation Just Cause."
Michael L. Greenwell of Oakley, ID

"March 19, 2017 Had a thought about you today Lieutenant, gone but never forgotten."
Gregorio Chavez of Houston, TX

"Lt. Bernstein,
Sir, on today, the 13th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you to you and your fellow Soldier who was also killed in that' attack for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Sky Soldiers-Airborne All The Way!"

"I just read your name in a book I read about Iraq and counterinsurgency. Thank you for your service and sacrifice. You have truly inspired an old and broken man.Prayers for your family."
Jack Goldhardt Jr of Galloway,Ohio 43119

"Miss you My Lt. I remember first day that you took me as your local interpreter in TAZA. You are really a hero by helping the Iraqi people and I'm proud that I worked for you some day"
Kusay Nassir ((Q)) of Modesto CA

"I was reflecting on my time at USMA, and couldn't help remembering David. He was my squad leader at CFT. I have a lot of respect for David and feel that we all lost a lot when we lost him."
Timothy Davis of San Jose, CA

"It is October 31, 2013, the anniversary of the day you were buried. Tonight, we will say Kaddish for you. May your memory be for a blessing."
Rabbi R. Jacob of Warrenton, VA

"Hello to all,
I replay that day all the time in my head. I alway see and feel that it is my fault every time. I feel that what I did at that time cause for those death. I hate myself for that day and feel guilty. I feel the same way I did for nearly ten years.I pray for them daily. Although, I may not have known you guy for long I love you and miss you wish I could have done more."
SPC Womack of Lafayette,LA USA


We miss you brother. Its been long years and they aren't the same without you to catch up with. We missed you at the reunion but enjoyed our memories of all the fun times. You'd crack up to see how out of shape we got. My love to your family."
Ben Hansen of Boston

"To your family,
I don't know what to say. I think of that night everyday like it was yesterday. I would like with your permission to contact you and if willing to come and meet you in person?
Troy Womack of Lafayette, La/USA

"David's family and mine were next-door neighbors when we were kids. He, his brother, and I were great friends. His intellect, determination, bravery, and kindness of spirit were apparent even back then. I didn't know him as a man, but it's clear that even at such a young age, he died a truly great one. Love to David, the entire Bernstein family, and all those touched by his life."
Stephen of Austin, TX

"I miss you buddy."
"Jimmy" of Washington D.C.

"I miss, and Love him too..Always"

Where do I start...it's seems like only yesterday, but it's been almost seven years. It was an honor to be your RTO. I get so much joy from the stories I have of you. I'll be honest, I haven't really thought about you in a while, I think our minds do that to protect us. But you've been on my mind alot lately because someone else from the platoon is gone. Eddy Loredo was killed in Afghanistan last week. I find myself standing around deep in thought quite a bit. Thinking about him and you......it was honor to serve with you. RLTW"
SSG Byron Travis of Raeford NC

"There are countless days when Dave is my motivation, giving me strength and faith in the hardest of times. Love and miss you, Dave."
Alison Semanoff of Bagram/Afghanistan

"To the fam of my old Company XO,
i still remenber that day to this day when we got the call that something that happend to you and PFC Heart"

"Stopping by to let you and your family be reassured that you are thought about and remembered.
Rest in peace David.3/16/10"

"Dave - You were my hero when you left us six years ago, and you still are today. Your USMA brothers miss you very much and think of you always. We will never forget you. Rest in peace, my friend."
Chad Mihalek of Texas / USA

"Dearest Dave,

Hard to believe it has been 6 yrs since you have been gone but not a day goes by that we do not think of you and your family.

Dave you are a huge inspiration and a source of strength for me every day. When things get tough I close my eyes and just picture that big bright awesome smile......it gets me through whatever stress or awful task I need to face.

We miss you so very much.

Oct 2009"
Grace Knowles And Family of Colorado Springs, CO

"To the family of David,
Dave was a strong individual and a treasured friend. He will never be forgotten."
Angela of Iraq

"I knew david at west point...we were in the jewish choir together. a great man. i'm very sorry for his family's loss."
jon of dallas, texas

"I did not know your son yet I see him in every soldier whom I meet. Pride, strength, and the willingness to serve our country in spite of all the mixed messages, and awful acts of politicians. Thank you for his sacrifice, thank you for raising someone who cared enough to be where he was. My son is deploying to Iraq soon and I am filled with trepdidation and anxiety. I will say that prayers may help us all. May the Lord our Father watch over the souls of our sons and daughters, may your will be done, may our prayers be heard for peace unto us all. Amen."
Edward Cox of Sanatoga, PA , USA

"April 23, 2008
To the family of 1st Lt. David R. Bernstein:
David 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

"To David's Mom, Gail,
I never knew your son in person, but I felt as if I knew him by the stories you always told us when sending him things at West Point. I did know you and all the wonderful things you did for the cadets at West Point. Everyone at The UPS Store in Phoenixville knew you entered the store just by the wonderful aroma of all the home-made goodies you sent weekly to David and the cadets at West Point.

We were all so proud of David. It seems as if it was yesterday that he was still with us. When I heard about his death, I was devastated for David as well as his family. It has been a long time since his death, but we continue to hold him dear to our hearts.

My husband, John and I were in Washington DC last week and walked through parts of Arlington Natinonal Cemetery and our thougts were constantly about David. He died our hero and our prayers continue to be with you and your family.

May God bless you.

Debbie DeRito, The UPS Store, Phoenixville"
Debbie DeRito of Phoenixville PA

"I was in Iraq with LT Bernstein when he died. I still remember the next morning. The emotion and feeling on the airbase was the same as I had seen on the news on September 11th. There is not one person that served in the 508th at the time, that was not poitively influenced by him. Either through his advice or doing as he did, no matter what you needed to know, you merely had to look at Bravo 2-6. He was never too busy/important to talk with privates nor too good to recieve suggestions/advice from anyone, privates to generals. I served in his platoon for a stint, before we both changed companies and knew even then my life was being impacted by a man born and raised with the sole mission of making the world a better place. He had such a profound impact on me (as a soldier and a man) that within a month of being stateside I had a tribute, to him, tattooed on my arm.

I am now out of the Army and writing poetry about the war, and LT Bernstein is still the prime driving force for my poems. I have written 3 poems (thus far) that serve solely as a tribute to him."
Gavin Campbell (war_stories@live.com) of The land of the free, because of the brave men like LT Bernstein.

"To the family of:David R. Bernstein 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"

"To the Family of David R. Bernstein,
While I do not know what it's like to lose a son to the futility of war, I do know what it's like to bury a son. My heart goes out to you all and my prayers are with you. May happy memories of David comfort you now and in the years to come and may none of us forget the sacrifice he made for his country."
Linda L. Miller of Williamsport, PA

"You are never forgotten. Rest in peace."

"we can never truly express in words how indebted we are to someone like David, all we can say is thank you and we love you"

"To David's Family
My husband served alongside David and considered him a friend. Since then, I written a novel, Vino in Vo, and specifically dedicated it to David. I have no way of finding you to tell you of this dedication. If you're part of his family, or know how I can reach them, please email me: info@starsinamerica.com. God Bless."
Chrisy Krueger of Ft. Bragg

"We have found a KIA bracelet with David's name on it at the Lewis and Clark Public Library and would love to be able to return it to its owner. Please contact Diana @dlzimmer@mtlib.org"
Diana Zimmerman of Helena, MT/USA

"Angel on my shoulder, i feel so blessed to have crossed paths with you,many years ago, and i hope dave someday in time theyll cross again,love you now, and always, rest well my sweet prince. always, your sandy"
sandy of chicago, Ill

"There are very few people of your calibur in the world. Proud to have had the opportunity of knowing you...a true brush with greatness."
S. Wilfong of Phoenixville Class of 97

"To David's family
It is more than 3 years since he was taken. I hope you can find some comfort in his memory. It is such a tragedy that his life ended so short. Missed and not forgotten.10/24/2006"

""To the Bernstein Family,
Your son was a good man he motivated me everyday we were in Iraq he was my company XO. One of the most best soldier I have ever met. The morning of the day he was killed......he was walking from the showers. I noticed he had a worried look on his face.....and I said "Sir be happy; life can't be that bad we are in Iraq" He looked over at me and smiled then he kept on walking back to his tent.......ever since that moment I wish I had said something esle to him; it has been eating away at my heart.... I will see you again one day. SIR!!!!"
carl, turner 1st 508th of Vicenza, Italy

"To the Bernstein Family,

David is still in our hearts. He was an excellent officer and soldier. You are in our prayers."
Kilbride Family of New York (kilbridefamily@aol.com)

"My father served with this hero during the war. I did not have the opportunity to meet him but I know he was a hero. His sacrifice for his country will not be forgotten. To his family, thank you for raising a hero to serve our great nation. My condlences go out to you and the rest of Mr. Bernstein's family. May god be with you in all that you do in the future."
Kristin Chandler of Vicenza, Italy

"I am from Malvern, Pennsylvania, and went to Great Valley High School, adjacent to Phoenixville where 1LT Bernstein is from. Currently, I am serving in OIF. 1LT Bernstein's sacrifice is a reminder of the dangers of war and the sacrifices made by such a small percentage of Americans and their families during this war. I pray for the rest and repose of 1LT Bernstein's soul, and for the comfort of his family."
U.S. servicemember of Malvern, PA, currently in Iraq

"Lt. Bernstein was a great soldier, but many don't know that he was an even greater man. His leadership will follow in many forever."
Former Legionaire of Canoga Park, CA

"To the memory of the man and soldier that you were, and to the example you left for us who remain, I salute you, Sir.

Spc. Patrick J. Horton
40th ID
A-640th DASB"
SPC. Patrick J. Horton of Los Angeles, CA

"I read all the entries for your son on this website. He must have been an amazing person to touch so many lives. I know that the sacrifice of your son will make this world a better place for my son.

Thank you."
Keith R. of New Orleans, LA

"Dave was a high school friend of mine who I got the opportunity to get to know through our youth group. He was an amazing person, so well-liked by everybody. I think about him often and feel lucky to have had a chance to know him."
Yuval Raizen of Houston, TX

"Dave and I were best friends during my high school years when we spent time together in our Jewish youth group. I think about him nearly everyday and what an amazing person we was. I feel lucky to have spent some fun times with him. He is dearly missed."
Mike Harnisch of Chicago, IL

"On this two year anniversary of your death Sir, You will NEVER be forgotten!!!!!"

"Lt. Bernstein was one of the kindest platoon leaders I've ever met. I have nothing but good memories of him in Vicenza, Italy and Iraq. I will never forget how you lead 2nd platoon fallen angels. And to his family, thank you for giving us a good leader and good friend. Thank you Bravo 26 for all the memories."
Sgt. Stodomingo formerly of B co 1/508 Legion of Fontana California

"It has been almost 3 years since that fateful night that the Red Devils lost possibly THE best officer, or soldier for that matter, they had in their ranks. He was not the first to go but it was the first time I saw the ENTIRE batallion hit by the loss of one. I respected, liked and idolized LT Bernstein so much that, after returning to the states, I got a tattoo in honor of him. More will follow 'Legion 2-6' down the path to being a hero but few will be missed as much as he is.

To his family,
You raised a good soldier and an even better man. He had the respect of EVERYONE in the BN, peers, seniors and subordinates. Of the guys that where there when pre-deployment all started in Nov02, there was not one of us who had a dry eye when word came over the radio. It was a privillage to not only know your son but have the oppurtunity to work with him."
Gavin Campbell of Workhorse 6 Romeo

"To David's Family,
I am sorry for your terrible loss. There are no words that I can write to make anything better for you. Just know that even though I never knew David, he is in my thoughts.

To David,
Thank You For Your Life And Service To Our Country. The Cause of Freedom Drives On In Your Memory."
2LT Richardson of FOB Bernstein, Iraq


"Seems like yesterday that i heard the report that you were killed. Still hasn't sunk in to be honest. I wear the black band as a reminder of your sacrifice and why I do what it is I do. I'll wear it to my grave. Good knowing you. Rest easy brother."
SSG Brandon Bewley of Ft. Polk, LA

"Hillel would be proud."
Mike Smith of Marietta, GA.

"I went to high school with Dave and swam with him on the PAY swim team. He was intelligent, organized and kind. He would encourage those of use who were not as athletically inclined to keep going when we felt like giving up. I'm sure he brought all of these traits to the army with him and I know we all lost a great man the day he died. My condolences to his family and all who knew him. He is missed."
Lindsay Vaughan of York, PA, USA

"To the family of David Bernstein,
Our hearts go out to you on the loss of your dear son and we want to wish you a long life. We found David's name today on doing an internet search of the name David Bernstein. We want to let you know that our son, David Bernstein, was born just a few days after the passing of your son. Although we never knew your son, we shall always remember your David through our little David. He looked like a great man."
Rene' Bernstein of Vancouver, Canada

"To David and his family, You will never be forgotten for within our hearts and souls your spirit lives on. We'll miss you always."
Col. and Mrs. Dwight Webster of West Point, New York

"We honor your soul and give blessing to you for your ultimate sacrifice. You have not been summoned to eternity in vain. Duty, honor country, you will not be forgotten."
Howard Freedman of Bellmore, NY

"Our dearest Dave...it has been a little over a year now since we have lost you. But every day we feel your strong presence and see that million dollar smile that lights up a room. You will forever live in our hearts. We miss you."
MSG & Mrs. William R. Knowles of 10th SFG Fort Carson, CO

"To the family of David Bernstein: May you be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. May G-d take care of David and those he left behind, forever. You are in our prayers."
Susan of New York, NY

"i want to say that he died bravely and defending his country. i will keep you as well your family in my prayers"
PFC Wood Joyce of FT. Richardson, Alaska USA

"Thank you sir,
for your courage, you will never be forgotton. thank you so much!

spc/ aaron klopp
1-508th inf
Aaron Klopp

"My heart bleeds for every person, American or no, that has lost there life in this time of war. my prayers go out for all the families who greive for the ones they love. Know that your son died with courage emblazoned in his heart. I would much appreciate it if you feel so inclined to send me more information about this tradgedy. I am a senior in highschool and such an abundance of my peers do not respect what your son and people like him are doing. If you find the time to write, my email is amanae_maitresse@hotmail.com May your son rest in peace, and please know that he made a difference in the lives of many."
Jadie of Cortez, Colorado

"We are so sorry for your loss. We lost Army Spc.Joshua Justice Henry on 9-20-04. This was the hardest day of our lives. We honor these guys as our Heroes and hope no one else has to go through with what we are all dealing with. Rest in peace David, and thank you for serving your country to the fullest"
Henry family of Vandergrift , PA

"I was a sophomore in David's company when he was a plebe in 1997. I had not heard, and was astonished when I found out less than ten minutes ago, that David had died in Iraq. I remember him to be an extremely intelligent and friendly person. It is truly a tragedy what happened to him and my thoughts are with his family."
Benjamin Burris of Ft. Bliss, TX

"A true hero. Nothing can be said to bring back or fix the loss of a loved one. Thank you for your protection. It brought the war home for everyone in the area."
Cimino family of pottstown

You amazed me early in your career as my roommate's plebe in H-3, and it came as no surprise that you excelled in everything you did at the academy. The army has lost much in your passing.

To the Bernstein family,

Your son was an inspiration to us all. I cannot say enough how amazed I was with his honor, strength, and tenacity. David could have done anything he chose to. He chose to serve his country. For that we should all be grateful. His loss saddens us all. Sincerely,"
CPT Nate Crain of Ft Leonard Wood, MO

"My heart goes out to your family. They made the journey ahead of our soldiers that are there now. My son is at FOB Bernstein now (since May of 04). We pray for all the soldiers that are there. We are so proud of them for their courage and thank them for their accomplishments and immeasurable sacrifices they have made over there. I can't ever explain the sense of honor and pride I feel for our soldiers. We will forever be grateful and we just need to rely on GOD."
Diane P of MN/USA

"Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God bless your family and your brave son."
Marilyn Laney of Austin, Texas

"And when our work is done
Our course on Earth is done
May it be said 'Well done'
Be thou at peace
'Ere may that line of Gray
Increase from day to day
Live, serve and die we pray
West Point for thee...

Til Duty is Done..."
Class of 2001 of Fort Campbell, KY

"I am in 8th grade and we were learing about how many people were dying in Iraq. He is included in our prayers. If there is a family member I would appreciate it if you could email me back at RockNRollGrlAA90@aol.com""
RockNRollGrlAA90 of NY

"To the family and friends of David R. Bernstein.
He will never be forgotten. you were serving the nation and died doing the right thing."
7th grade student of Barker Middle school

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

"To David's famliy: Your sacrifice will not be forgotten. I read your David's name at a rememberance vigil in Denver...you are in my prayers."
Oren Briese of Castle Rock, Colorado

Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, David will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"To 1st Lt Bernstein's Family:
Though we are strangers, we want you to know how sorry we are your David was taken from you. There is no doubt his thoughts were of you as he served with the Army in Iraq. We will never forget. You are in our hearts."
Carol & Larry Miller of Tampa, Florida

"Thank you David Bernstein, 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

"My brother served with your son and thought alot of him. He considered him a friend, even though your son was above him in rank. It takes a lot for him to say he admires someone but in the days after, he told my parents he had lost a good friend and he was very upset. He was able to attend the memorial for him in Kirkuk. Thank you for your sons dedication to his country and his sacrifice and know that his friends will never forget him and will fight on hard in his memory."
Proud sister of a 173rd paratrooper

"It scares me to see a man clade in your uniform die. I too go to a military college and am seeking a commission. Your picture is a reminder that I could easily end up KIA too. I'm not going to stain you with rhetoric that you died for your country. Nobody need say that, the uniform you wore exemplified that ideal. Though your a West Point Grad, from one cadet to another god bless."
Norwich Cadet

"My heartfelt sympathy is being sent to the family and friends or Lt. David Bernstein. My son, Specialist Daniel Monk is currently serving with the Army in Iraq. I received a letter from him today and he told me of the death of Lt. Bernstein. He knew and liked Lt Bernstein and was very saddened. God bless you and keep you at this time and always.
Thank you Lt. David Bernstein for giving your life for your country's freedom."
Deborah D. Monk of Duluth, Ga 30096

"My heartfelt sympathy is being sent to the family and friends or Lt. David Bernstein. My son, Specialist Daniel Monk is currently serving with the Army in Iraq. I received a letter from him today and he told me of the death of Lt. Bernstein. He knew and liked Lt Bernstein and was very saddened. God bless you and keep you at this time and always.
Thank you Lt. David Bernstein for giving your life for your country's freedom."
Deborah D. Monk of Duluth, Ga 30096

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Lt. Bernstein. Our son who is also serving in Iraq knew Lt. Bernstein and is very saddened by his death. May God Bless You and Keep You Strong as you grieve this loss."
John and Jane Monk of Duluth, GA, USA

"My thoughts & prayers go out to all the Military men and women who are at war and especially those who have lost their lives. May God bless you forever. Thank you for everything, you are my hero! Rest in peace."
Amanda K Casas of San Diego, Tx

"I am so very sorry for the loss of your loved one. My prayers are with you."
Beverly Arnold of Cynthiana,KY USA

"To the family and friends of 1st Lt. David Bernstein:
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 David for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of 1st Lt. David Bernstein:
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 David, 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