Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Marine Staff Sgt. Brian D. Bland

26, of Weston, Wyoming.
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.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Marine Staff Sgt. Brian D. Bland.


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

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"Even after all these years, If feels like you should still be here and I should still be looking at your smiling face. You are always with me in my heart and I miss you terribly. Love you!!!!"
Beverly Johnson of Sheridan

"Ssgt Bland has had more of a impact on the world then we can ever imagine. I was a recruit in 2001 in one of his platoons he was stern as a drill instructor has to be but he always took care of me when I needed something. I got the chance to talk to him years later while I was attending Infantry Squad leaders course and he was in Small unit leaders course. I was shocked to read what happened in 2005.
He mentored, shaped, and had a effect on probably thousands of Marines who would go on to serve the nation forward. He molded men to be the best they can in life. His legacy will live on forever. Until we meet again Staff Sergeant Bland thank you for everything you did for all of us. With his leadership greatly helped myself go forward and survive in Iraq 5 times and later become a Staff Sergeant in a infantry platoon myself before I got out.
Simper Fi brother"
Ssgt Alexander Hebert of Cudahy, Ca

"Still missing you!"
Mom of Sheridan

Beverly (Mother) of Sheridan, Wyoming

"I did not know Sgt. Brian Bland, nor do I have a connection with the military, but I came across Brian's story in J. Kael Weston's book "The Mirror Test." When I started reading the passage about Brian, I couldn't help but burst into tears. I just want to thank Brian for his service to our country, and offer my deepest respect and admiration to his family, especially his mother. I'm reminded of what Shakespeare once said: "When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night."

Let's bring our troops home and usher in an era of peace. You will not be forgotten, Brian."
Jack of Seattle

"Memorial day ... the day people get together and BBQ and drink and whatever else. For me all i do is think about those that I served with that are no longer in the fight. And as always I think of SSGt Brian Bland. A hero on and off the battlefield. I hope you keep dropping mortars from heaven making it rain hot steel on those bastards. Thank you for the lessons learned, and for your sacrifice Semper Fidelis Kill Kill Kill em all"
Cpl Adam Criswell of New Mexico

"Happy Birthday Brian!"
Dean and Tammy of Newcastle, wy.

"12 years ago today. I miss you brother."
MSgt Jim Hall of Midlothian, Tx.

"With the Holiday season upon us I miss you more than ever! My son your presence is here spiritually and you will never be forgotten. Love you, Merry Christmas in Heaven!"
Beverly of Sheridan, Wy

"To the family of Brian, as I sat in a bookstore I happened to pick up a book and read of Brian and many others who made the ultimate sacrifice. I weeped inside but felt proud of being a former Marine because of men like Brian. I just want you to know that though the years have passed Brian has not been forgotten. God Bless.."
Mario of Coral Springs, FL

"Happy Birthday Brian, We all miss you!!! Dean and Tammy"
Dean and Tammy of Newcastle

"To a fellow Marine, Brian, I met your Mom today, great lady.We know a lot of the same people in Newcastle. I wish I could have met you , I know I would have liked you, I had 2 sons serve in the USMC in Iraq. Thank you for your service and ultimate sacrifice, Semper Fi"
Butch Bergstrom of Sheridan, Wy. USA

"Another year has passed since you were taken from those who loved you so very much. I miss you every day yet find solace in the fact that you are here in my heart! You will never be forgotten! I love you Son!"
Mom of Sheridan, Wyoming USA

"Honoring and remembering you today and all the service men and women who have served and are still serving today! I love you and miss you always my brave Son!"
Mom of Sheridan, Wyoming USA

"I was just presented with an "Honor and Remember" Flag for Brian's service and a coin that represents the same. It is so nice to know that people will never forget! Thanks to all who were involved. Missing Brian every day!"
Mom of Sheridan, Wyoming USA

"I wish I could talk to you one more time.
Suzanne of usa

"Brian, Love and miss you always, our Hero forever! Uncle Dean"
Dean Johnson of Newcastle, wy.

"Miss you brother. Hardly a day goes by that I don't think about you and the impact you had on everyone you met."
MSgt Jim Hall USMC (Ret) of Midlothian, Tx.

"10 years ago today you left us. Although you are gone from us physically, you will always live on the the hearts of those who love and respect you Son. I miss your face and that beautiful smile!!!!"
Beverly Johnson of Sheridan, Wy

"Hey brother, I'm sure you know that you are always in our thoughts, but it's been awhile since I've said it. Every time I see a pic from IULC, partying it up or in the zone, I smile, usually laugh, and am thankful to have been one of your boys! Still remember being your DD and having to pull over on Basilone road to let you purge excess alcoholic beverages, and falling the f*%k down the shoulder of the road! Good memories man! Miss the hell out of you but will see you again. Until then, let the rest of the boys up there know that you are ALL on our minds, doesn't matter what day it is or what hour, but they all need to hear it too. Cheers to you all Brother!"
Crazy Joe of Camp Pendleton

"Love and miss you. Always you are in my heart and in my daily thoughts."
Beverly Johnson of Sheridan, Wy

"I just came across some old photos of Brian while cleaning out my garage. Send a message to teamtalon@yahoo.com if you would like me to email them to you."
MSgt Jim Hall USMC (Ret.) of Midlothian, Tx.

"It has taken way too long for me to write this message, but I have struggled to find the words to say about SDI SSGT Bland. I was a member of India Co. Platoon 3127 at MCRD San Diego. We graduated in December of 2002. SSGT Bland was our Senior Drill Instructor and was alway the complete embodiment of what a Marine should be. He was nothing but the perfect example for myself and all of my platoon mates for what was expected of us as United States Marines. I know that as the years have gone on I think of him and the things that he taught us often.

SDI SSGT Bland is what it means to be a United States Marine"
Matt Whinrey of Indianapolis, Indiana

"I received my memorial bracelet in the mail the other day and it has since not left my right wrist. I have been out of the Corps for some time now but I find great comfort in the fact that SSgt Bland continues to motivate. I am training for the New York City Fire Department right now and every time I feel like giving up on a workout, I think of SSgt Bland and I find the strength to push through the pain. I love you and miss you brother and I will ensure that the legacy of service and honor that you instilled does not go to waste."
David Martin of Brooklyn, NY

"Miss your beautiful smile every day!!!
I think of the wonderful man you were and the one you could be today! You are in my heart always!!!!"
Mom of Sheridan, Wy

"Always thinking of you Brian and miss you every day!"
Dean Johnson of newcastle, wy.

"God bless all the servicemen throughout the decades who have served this great country!!!!"
Dean Johnson of newcastle, Wy.

"I miss you so much!!!! There are days like I have had lately that I could use a phone call from you!!! I am so proud of you."
Mom of Sheridan, wy

"August 26, 2012: Hopefully your family is doing well and just wanted to pass on my prayers to your mother. You're sorely missed Brian and I know everyone that knew you feels the same way brother. Rest in peace Marine."
Thomas Rollison of Clarkston, Michigan

"SSGT. Bland was a great friend and Marine. I knew Brian we he was a young Marine. We served together with 3/7 Lima in 29 Palms Ca. I think about him often when I talk about our crazy stories from the Corps.

To Brians mother, you raised a fine man. Right from the get go Brian was a great Marine. He excelled in everything he did. Best of all he was a good friend and was always there for you. He touched alot of lives mom.....Thank for raising a fine Marine. Semper Fi Mom!"
Sgt. Jimmt Mata of Los Angeles, Ca

"You are always in my heart , never forgotten!!!! A special memory !!! Time has gone by so fast .....so many years since I last seen your face, the twinkle in your eyes , I miss you !"
Amy of Nc

""Happy Birthday" Today you would be 34 years old and I miss you very much!!!
Love you!"
Beverly Johnson (Mom) of Sheridan, Wy

"I have been thinking about you quite a bit this week. Hard to believe it has been 7 years. I miss you brother. My thoughts and prayers are with your family."
Dave Hannon, SgtMaj (ret) of Quartz Hill, CA

"Missing you today Brian."
Hidie of Sheridan, WY

"Brian. Bro I visited the 31st MEU's memorial the other day here in Oki. Saw your name and I still does not seem real. You were a great friend to me and my family. My wife still has the picture of you holding my baby girl at the post party at your bachelor pad in Bonita. Save me a spot at the bar brother."
Rob of Okinawa, Japan

"Seven years today. I miss you man."
MSgt Jim Hall of Vaihingen Germany

"Hello, My Boy!!! I know you are in a good place but I miss you more and more everyday. You are with me and always will be, but I miss seeing your smile :)
Here's to remembering all of those who have served their country for no other reason than that of making the world a better place!!!"
Mom of Sheridan, Wy USA

"God bless all our veterans today and every day, and most of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that the rest of us could live the life we live today!!!! Again God bless each and everyone of you!"
Dean Johnson of newcastle, wy.

"You are on my mind so much right now. I wish you were here to see how happy Americans are today. They got the big target, Bin Laden this week. It's taken them almost ten years Brian, but no one has forgotten all the sacrifices that have been made in the last years from the 9/11 victims & the soldiers and their families. It's a great victory Brian but so much loss and tragedy to have in between. We miss you dearly Brian! Madison and Gabe were so excited and talking about you all night when they heard the news that the USA got the #1 target. Still so proud of you Brian. God Bless!!"
Hidie of Sheridan, WY

"Hey i dont know what i can say, if you really this brain dean who i know then i am so sad that you gone. I miss you so much and think every day in you. I really wished to see you once again. Ruhe in Frieden. love ya. Kiss"
Jennifer H of Saarland

"Hey baby boy! Happy 33rd birthday.
I miss you and love you very much!"
Mom of Sheridan, Wy

"Brian we still think about you every day. You are in my thoughts. We have picked up the ball where you left off and are taking it to the enemy."
MSgt Jim Hall of Vaihingen, Germany

"Remembering you today Brian......"
Hidie of Sheridan, Wy

"Son, its been 6 years and not a day goes by that I don't remember that smile and the wonderful man you became. From the day you were born that smile grew with you everyday but it always stayed the same no matter what you had to go through. No mom could be more proud!! I love you and miss you always."
Beverly Johnson of Sheridan, Wy

"Brian, I think about you every day. You will always be remembered for ever. It still seems like you will knock on the door when I am home for lunch and walk in. I think of you often this time of year with deer season and remember the time you and Scott shot a buck and brought it up to the yard and hadn't field dressed it yet, that might have been one of your first deer. God bless all our veterans!!"
uncle Dean of newcastle, wy.

"Today is the day we remember all that you and your brothers sacrificed for this great country!!! Thank you!"
Beverly Johnson of Sheridan, Wy

"I learn so much about Brian on this website. How many lives he touched in his too short life. He was a wonderful boy and man. I think of him everyday and remember the little boy with a big smile who grew into the handsome man with that same smile. Thank you all for keeping his memory alive. He is just as close to me today as he was then and in my heart always. He is missed dearly by me (his mom) and the rest of his family."
Beverly Johnson of Sheridan, Wy

"August 15th, 2010 : This reminder is for the Mother of SSgt Brian Bland. I think about him often and tell numberous stories of your son's past as a superior drill instructor. It pains me to think of what type of senior enlisted Marine young Brian would have turned into. Without a doubt, a great one in my opinion! My initial message was difficult to write and I'll post additional entries to remediate to his closest loved ones that Brian will always be in my prayers and memories.
We will never forget how many lives you effected over the years Staff Sergeant Bland. We all miss you Brian...."
Thomas Rollison of Clarkston, Michigan

"Ssgt Bland was my DI he helped push me and encouraged me to be the man I have become today. I was 20 and almost 10 years later I remember you always my friend."
SGT Kneller of Ca

"Hey Brian! It has been 5 years since we had to say good-bye, but you will never be forgotten! I can still see the smile on your face when I placed your nephew in your arms for the first time. I miss you always."
Kelly Alexander of Hill City, SD

"Remembering today like it was yesterday Brian... we miss you!!"
Hidie Bland of Sheridan, Wy

"There they are again. Thank you for making sure Brian and all his brothers are remembered. I love this web site!!!
Brian we are missing you this year and always."
Mom of Sheridan, Wy

"I am wondering what happened to all of the beautiful messages. I come here often to read all of the wonderful things people have to say about Brian now they are all gone. What happened? I really hope they are not gone for good. I guess maybe I will have to just start things over. I miss you Brian, more than anyone can imagine. Merry Christmas, My Angel, My Hero, My Son!!!"
Beverly Johnson of Sheridan, Wyoming

"Well Brian... we are approaching year five of you being gone! So much has changed in all of our lives since the day you left us, but the one thing that remains the same is you are still in our thoughts everyday! Your niece and nephew are growing up so fast and I know that between your brother, your mom, and me that we have made you so much a part of their everyday lives and they will grow up knowing you as if you never left us. We are all very proud of you Brian and I love to read how much you touch people's lives where ever you have gone!! You still and for always will remain our hero. There is always going to be a place in my heart for all of your comrades that continue on the fight were you have left off!!"
Hidie Bland of Sheridan, Wyoming

"05-25-09 - As a friend that grew up with SSGT Brian Bland; when I found out he had became a Marine I was not surprised. He always had the highest level of Honor and Integrity even before he became a soldier. There are not many days that go by that I don't think about him, as he was a great friend. Having read the posts on this page, he continued to be an amazing human being, and impacted many people's lives. I have nothing but great memories of him, and thank him for his service. God bless his family, friends, and fellow comrades"
Jay M. Keith of Fayetteville, AR

"Heh Brian...I just got off the phone with Bender...We're triying to make plans to come out and see you. There isn't a day that goes by that we don't think about you. Me and Rob are talking about paying a visit in June or Sept. Rob might be going to OKI in June. We talked about possible dates that wouldn't conflict with Rob's * deploying. All I know is we are both set on wanting to see your final resting place.......We love you brother..Semper Fi!!!"
Nick of VA

"I had the Hornor of knowing SSgt Bland when he was my D.I back in 2002 for Platoon 3095 and was one my Drill Instructors that instilled in me strength of body and mind, also help build honor & confindence in myself. My recruit company all had much Respect for him.

Thank You SSgt Bland for your selfless service for your God, Country, and Corps. Also Thank You Very much for showing and training me to be a Marine. Hope to see you after I report in to where you are.
Thank You & we will miss you

Semper Fi Marine!"
Anderson, Dennis D of Conroe,Texas

"Staff Sergeant Bland was an exceptional United States Marine"

Honor, Courage and Commitment speak volumes of this man's character, professional demeanor and sacrifice to the organization he dedicated himself to.

My introduction to Drill Instructor Duty "101" was a trecherous and challenging lesson to say the least, and observing then, Sergeant Brian Bland, Sergeant Todd Boydston and Sergeant Nick Gombocz made the journey that much more rewarding.

Staff Sergeant Bland was the most discreet, professional and most productive drill instructor within our India Company family. Quiet intelligence, solid leader and the "go to guy" on the drill field exemplify how I looked at him.


As we approach the anniversary of Staff Sergeant Bland's death, let us never forget how many live's he has effected from his successful and determined past.

This message will be my only entry and I'll end with reminding everyone that Brian was the true definition of "always faithful" to the Marine Corps. I think about him and his family frequently and you will never be forgotten warrior."
Thomas W. Rollison of Clarkston, Michigan

"As it nears yet another year passed, I'm reminded of Brian, a good friend and true warrior. He would give you the shirt off his back, and he made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. I know now that time is not going to heal this wound. I still get the feeling he's going to show up at my doorstep with a bag of steaks whenever I have a barbeque. He was a great cook, and I always breathed a sigh of relief when he showed up to take over the grill! It's a much different Iraq and much safer world now, and Brian helped make that possible. I often bump into a mutual friend of Brian's and we share fond memories of him. Speaking for my fellow Marines, myself, and my family, we miss you Brian and we will never forget you."
GySgt Jim Hall of Fallujah, Iraq

"Brian Bland was the 1st Marine I met when I checked in 3BN 7TH Marines Lima Co. He was a leader of Marines. May you rest in piece and God Bless You"
SSGT Brian Cassidy of Okinawa JP

"Brian, I have tried to leave messages here before but just couldn't do it. Finally I am able to. I will never forget all the great times we had in IULC and our snowballs chance in hell of meeting in Al Asad that fateful day. From our times at the Stampede in Temecula, getting you and everyone else home from there every weekend, and the tequila injected chocolates (shots) we had before we parted ways for the last time. You are greatly missed my brother. Fate has a hell of a way sometimes. That flight of 53's were supposed to have flown my platoon out to the Syrian border that day but bad weather canceled those plans. It's not fair that you and the rest of your Marines left us way too soon, and I think about how things would have turned out if we had taken that flight. You're in my thoughts every day buddy. I know that your family, friends, Kerry, and your Marines miss you and think of you often too. It was a real pleasure to have known you and I am privledged to have been your friend. I hope that I can earn a place up there with you one day. Until then, keep a cold one for me bro. Semper Fi"
SSgt Soltis,Drill Instructor, of MCRD San Diego

"April 23, 2008
To the family of Staff Sgt. Brian D. Bland:
Brian gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"Thank you Brian for serving so courageously fighting for our freedom! May God Bless and Keep Your Family."
Monica of LA

"I knew SSGT Bland as Drill Instructor Sgt Bland, PLT. 3095. SSGT Bland was one hell of a DI. I earned my Eagle Globe and Anchor on the crucible with him. He made us give everything we had at all times. Sometimes even a little bit that we didn't know we had, but he could see it and never gave up. Thank you SSGT you helped make me the man that I am today. Semper Fidelis."
Cpl Adam. Criswell of Las Cruces NM

"Me and Brian were in the same platoon in Boot Camp. Plt. 2118 Hotel Company. MCRD San Diego. He was my squad leader and the most outstanding leader in the platoon. I remember he had the deference and respect of all the other recruits even though he was so young. That quiet, no nonsense military bearing that Marine leaders have.Bland was supposed to be our platoon honor man. Our D.I.'s tried to make him our honor man and all the recruits agreed, but it was too late in 3rd phase for the D.I.'s to change it. Brian Bland, You will always be the guide of Plt. 2118. We all knew it. Semper Fi....."
Jason Eckels (aka Bert) of Anchorage Alaska

"SSGT Bland was my drill instructor, PLT 3026, India Co. This man, Marine, was my introduction into the Marine Corps, and has left a lasting impression and been influential on my short career. SSGT Bland, I will never forget you."
2nd Lt Nekvinda K. L of Brandon, SD

"Ssgt Bland was one of my D.I.s for plt 3026, India company, I had heard a rumor of his death in my last tour, Fallujah, Iraq, 2005 with Bravo Co, 1/6. I wish I could have known the man as more then just a D.I. as I've heard nothing but good about him.

As I left my last class today I noticed a whole quad full of tiny white crosses, on each was the rank, name, age, unit, and death of each military member to die in Iraq. I couldn't wade through them all long enough to find Ssgt Bland, especially after running into two of my brothers who died.
Gone but not forgotten."
Lcpl Hight, Kymball L. of Grand Junction, CO

"I'm sorry it has taken so long to write these words but it wasnt until today that I learned of this site. I first meet Brian while going threw D.I. school. Brian , Hall and I were smokers there so we hung out behind the school house to smoke. if it wasnt for Brian Gysgt Hall would have dropped out when 1st sgt j.l. Vines gave him the chance. That was Brian when you were tired or ready to quit he was there for you. I was paralyzed while on the depot and he Did more for me with inspiration than most could even try to do.It took most of my time on the depot to get back on my feet but I taught with him at AIP. He pushed me to work out harder and to get back out there. I listened to him and was soon back out there Thanks to a good friend and greater Brother. I went back to the fleet and saw Brian in Iraq there he was to motivate again. I have been medically retired for back injuries but I'm doing alright. Brother you will be missed for sure. I have tattooed Brians name along with several other fallen brothers names on my arm so when asked who's names were there I can tell the story of hero. Miss you Brother. Thanks to your parents for lending us there hero we thank them"
GySgt Kulak S. David of Grass Valley Ca.

"It has been two years since we lost Brian. It gives me great pride in reading words from his comrades. He was as great a soldier as he was a person. He has brought a tremendous amount of strength to this family as all of us look upon him as our hero!!!Thank you all for sharing your memories of Brian!!!!"
Dean Johnson(uncle Dean) of Newcastle, Wy.

"I come to this web site often to read about my son. It warms my heart to hear all of you speak so highly about him. I want to thank you all. I have a favor to ask of those of you who were close to him. It will be 2 years on this Friday since we lost Brian. He has a drill instructors sword out there somewhere and we would really like to find it if anyone may know where it is.
Brian's brother and I would appreciate any help we can get, it was a very big part of who he was and we want to keep those things, to keep his memory alive for the young ones in our family.
Beverly Arntson, Mom
Beverly Arntson of Rapid City, SD

"I knew SSGT bland as Drill instructer Sgt Bland from plt 3095 india company. He was everything that it ment to be a Marine. Everyone in our platoon looked up to him and wanted to be the best for him. He was a great leader and taught me what it is to be a Marine and a man. Much of what i know now about life is in one way or another effected by what he taught me. You will not soon be forgotten. My heart goes out to the family of one great man and Marine. Semper Fi brother. Rest in Peace."
Cpl. Justin R. Roberts 3FSSG 3TSB of Springfield MO.

"When I met SSgt Bland, he was Sgt Bland as I was a recruit Plt. 3095 India Company. Out of the five Drill Instructors who trained us, I looked up to SSgt Bland the most. SSgt Bland pushed me harder than any of the other DI's did and I am better for that.I found out of his death while at a bar(I was trained correctly) celebrating my unit's safe return from Iraq. I think that night was the first night in a very long time that I can remember crying. It is my personal belief that he was and will always be, the greatest Marine to ever walk the face of the earth. I got out of the Marine Corps in June of this year, although that chapter of my life is over, I will always be forever in debt to SSgt Bland, he turned me into a man."
Cpl David W. Martin E Co 2/8 Wpns Plt of Great Bend, PA

"It's been almost two years since you moved on to bigger and better things without us. That's OK, we'll meet up with you soon and when I get there you better have BEERS waiting! Brian, thanks for being you. Working with you as a Drill Instructor was one of the greatest times of my life. You definitely brought, and still bring, a smile to my face. Semper Fi Marine!"
GySgt Bret Baker of Camp Pendleton

"I knew SSGT Bland as SGT Bland, Drill Insturctor of Plt 3095, India Compnay. He was one of my DIs and he was an excellent example of what I should strive for to be a Marine. I was also part of 1st Platoon, A Company, 3rd LAR, that secured the crash site that horrible night. I walked through the crash looking for suvivors. I found out later that one of my Drill Instructors had been in that helo that crashed. SEMPER FI!"
Cpl Kyle Martin of West Lafayette, IN

"""As a veteren of K Co 3/3 and a very short stint (2 Months with G Co)(1986-1990)MCAS K-Bay it saddens me to hear of the loss of my brother Marine but I know he left us bravley fighting to keep my family safe from the evils of the world keeping with the highest traditions of the Corps. I'm now to old to reenlist but if I could I would."""
Lcpl. Robert Blaylock of Lakeside CA, USA

"To the family of:Brian D.Bland 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

"Sgt. Instructor Staff Sgt. Bland was an unbelievable Marine. He was Superman. He made all of us of Echo 4th better men and leaders of Marines. My prayers are with his family. Semper Fi."
Lt. Steven Bost of Murphysboro, IL

"The Salute"

To those who have died,
And to those who have cried.
We Salute You.

To those who have lost,
Paid the ultimate cost.
We Salute You.

And to those who still serve,
The Red White and Blue.
Our grateful Nation,
Proudly Salutes You"
Tom Balstad of West Warwick RI

"I knew SSGT. Bland as "DRILL INSTRUCTOR SGT. BLAND SIR". I was at a loss of words when I found out about his sacrifice, from a fellow MARINE who just returned from Iraq, and was in the same platoon as I 3057 INDIA CO. SSGT. Bland the very pride of MARINE CORPS, he was my teacher, my instructor, my mentor. Along with SSGT. Sonsini..these two MARINES had such an impact on me that words can't even describe.
The sparkle in his eyes, when he taught us how to drill, the motivation he gave us going up the reaper, always pushing us to the max. I can go on and on, one night during fire watch right before a platoon inspection up north, he was up late night inspecting weapons such was his committment.....My condolences to the Bland family. Nothing can over come this loss."

"SSgt Brian Bland was a brother to me, he and I worked together at S.Diego, at the end of his tour while he was an instructor at AIP. I believed in his character, his professionlism and his ability to be a great Marine and lead by example. I pray that his family and friends. Please keep him in your thoughts and memories. God Bless him and his family. My brother in arms."
GySgt Green, Rongalett of Stuttgart, Germany


Gunny Sgt Joe Caputo just informed me of your loss. I am so very sorry for your family and I am also very grateful for the sacrifice he made. He was a DI during my son's Boot Camp training. I know from the Marine that I lost that you can be very proud of your son. We appreciate all of them so very much and you all are in our prayers. God Bless and keep you."
De'on Miller, Proud Mom of L.Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, USMC, KIA April 26, 2004 Fallujah, Iraq of Lovington, NM, USA

"SSgt Bland was my senior DI at San Diego when I was a recruit in December of 2002. I was the guide and the only reason I could ever have accomplished that is because of him and the other Drill Instructors that he led. I hope that one day that I can be half the Marine that he was."
Cpl Reginald D Williams II of Silverdale, Washington

"The world is a better place because of Men such as Brian Bland.He gave the ultimate sacrifice, and truly was a symbol of perfection for all Marines to follow. Semper Fi, My brother!
Sgt Charles Price Lima 3/7 97-98"
Charles Price of Chino,California

"Let me start by offering my condolences to Brian's family and friends. I too served with Brian on the Drill Field. I also was stationed in Hawaii with him. I had the oportunity to visit with him a couple of times while he was here. I don't believe I'll ever forget the last time I saw him. He stopped by the house adorned in his motorcycle attire. He was in his normal high spirited moods, and instantly brought a smile to my face. We talked for a while and as he left we said we would have a bar-b-que and some beer the next time. That time never came. I know that one day I'll see my BROTHER again, and we'll have that bar-b-que. Until then, I'll never forget HIS sacrifice for God, his family, my family, our country, and the people he barely knew over there. God Bless YOU Brian."
SSgt Parrott of Marine Corps Base Hawaii

"I am so sorry for your loss for I am feeling it also. I am the father of Lcpl Brian Hopper who was on the helicopter with your Brian. May our memories never fade."
Rob Hopper, rob.hopper@pbsgc.com of Wynne, AR

"I remember SSgt.Bland when he was a Sgt Drill Instructor, because he was my drill instructor. He was always looked upon his recruits as a Super MARINE! He taught me what it was to be a Marine and I can credit him for making me what I am. I have served two combat tours in Iraq and now work as a private escort for VIP's in Iraq. I always share all my stories about him with everyone. I only saw him smile once when a fellow recruit did something really stupid and I was amazed that the machine actually had a smile. And then he showed our platoon the most respect when he was actually in the rain room with us after our final motto run. He pushed me on my back and I quickly turned around and saw him to my surprise and I did not know wether to stand at attention on start pushing. He just smiled and said "as you where MARINE" He was actually the first person to call me Marine! God Speed SSGT.Bland!!!!! Semper FI!!! PLTN-3057"
Cpl. Castellano of Baghdad,Iraq

"My thoughts and prayers go out with Brian's family. As a Drill Instructor, I was another product of Brian "Green Belt Champion" Bland. I had the pleasure and honor of working with him when I was still pretty much a new DI. I learned alot from Brian in those short 3 months, not just about being a DI or even as a Marine, but as a person as well. I can probably honestly say that after having worked with him one time, there is a little bit of Brian in every Marine I have trained since. Brian was a fine Marine, a good man, and a GREAT friend. He will always be missed but his legacy will live on."
SSgt. Jeramy Staton of San Diego, Ca.

"I had the opportunity to work with SSgt Bland when he first arrived in San Diego to start his duties as a Drill Instructor. He has always been an inspiration to all his fellow Marines and friends. I wish his Family the best and Brian will be truly missed."
1st Sgt Edwards, D.C. of San Diego, California

"What can I say about Brian? He was a Marine. When you think of Marine you should think of Brian. I sit hear and I can't think of any word to describe him other than MARINE. "To you my brother in arms, thank you for letting me be one of the fortunate ones to have served with you and to have been able to call you a friend. Thank you for the good times we had and I'll never forget you." Semper Fi Brian. "Fair Winds and Following Seas.""
GySgt Nick Gombocz of San Jacinto Ca U.S.A.

"My son Sgt. Michael Finke, Jr. was on the helicopter with Brian. My condolences to the family, as I share in the pain of loss. We are forever united in the sacrifices these young men made. Thank you and God Bless"
Sally Rapp of Westlake, Ohio

"My son, Cpl. Richard A. Gilbert, Jr., went down on the helicopter with SSgt. Bland. They will always be brothers in arms. My thoughts and prayers are with your family."
Helen Gilbert of Dayton, Ohio

"Brain always knew how to make us laugh, and gave great advice to help us through the hard times. He was an awesome friend and an outstanding Marine. I am a better person for knowing him. Brain, i love you brother. You will never be forgotten."
Trista Beavers of Oxford, Ms.

"I served with SSGT Brian Bland on the Drill Field, I will miss him very much.He was hand's down one of the greatest Marines and Drill Instructor's to ever walk the face of this EARTH!!! We worked together as Drill Instuctors with two seperate platoons, and I learned so much from Bland. He taught me almost everything I know about training recruits. I will never forget all the good times, bad times, late nights, early mornings, and all of the recruits we transformed into Marines. Brian ended up becoming one of my best friends. We shared many beers together, and would talk about what we wanted to do with our lives. I will forever remember Brian as one of my fellow Marines, but even more so than that, as my Brother. Semper Fi "SUPER BLAND"!! I love you and will never forget you."

"Sergeant Instructor Staff Sergeant Bland was my sergeant instructor at OCS in July 2003. He tought me how to be a good marine. No one coud have done it better. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family and friends. Thank you."
Lt Grabowsky, USMC of Quantico, Va/USA

"My condolences to the family of Brian D. Bland. I feel your pain, as my nephew Jonn Edmunds, an Army Ranger was KIA on October 19, 2001. He was from Cheyenne, Wy. My heart and prayers go out to the Bland family. Thank you Brian, for without men and women like you, we wouldn't enjoy the freedoms we hold dear. God Bless you Brian for your sacrifice. Semper Fi."
Rita, Faith, and Ryley Teasley of Cheyenne, WY

"Brian and I served together at India Company, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego. He was great friend and a damn fine Marine. I am a better Marine for having known him. He performed his duties as a Drill Instructor with apparent ease and inspired his peers daily, sometimes without even saying a word. I will wear this bracelet in his honor for the rest of my days and never forget the impact he had on me, his friends, his family, his fellow Marines, his Marine Corps, and his Country. I'm proud to have known you Brian."
GySgt Jim Hall USMC of San Antonio, Tx.

"My thoughts and prayers are with all of Brians family. We share your grief as we lost a grandson 1/13/05 and has his funeral on his 20th birthday 1/22/05. I hope you can find comfort in the great memories you have. We thank you and Brian for all you have done to further freedom."
Dianna of Woonsocket SD


JOHN 15:13

19 YRS OLD, OCT 30,2004.(KIA)

Randy/Sherri Busch of Northglenn,co

"I knew Brian at DI School, we had many times and beers to discuss things and we had alot of similar interests. I will always remember the things that Brian would do, at India, ITC and long after he left. From all of the DI's who you served with, Semper Fidelis- we will miss you brother."
SSgt SM Strum of Okinawa

"To the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Brian D. Bland,

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 use our link and register so we can send you our "Love Stitched Together.""
Sandra Moudy of Placentia, Ca USA

"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, Brian, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you ALWAYS. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"Semper Fi, Brother."
Lt. Jake Allen, K/3/7, 1997-98

"Thank you Brian Bland, 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 Staff Sgt. Brian Bland:
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 Brian 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 Staff Sgt. Brian Bland:
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 Brian, 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