Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Marine Lance Cpl. Nicholas William B. Bloem

20, of Belgrade, Montana.
Bloem died when his amphibious Assault Vehicle was attacked by an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations south of Haditha, Iraq. He was assigned to Marine Force Reserve’s 4th Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Billings, Montana. Died on August 3, 2005.

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May we honor the lives of those who have fought for our freedom with the way we choose to live our own, I was chosen because of a very close friend who served with the 48 Marines and Corpsmen who sacrificed it all; to read each story, to get to know a small piece of their lives through families and friends. I chose to honor each of them with a bible verse:

Nicholas William B. Bloem 8/3/05
"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers." - Psalm 1:1-3 (Knowing Yourself)"
Haleigh Kilgore of West Virginia

"To the family of:Nicholas William B. Bloem
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""

"Hey Brother, Thinking of you this week and always. We never had that beer for your 21st Birthday. But I'll see you on the other side where are Steins will never be empty."
Paul Downs of PDX

"Remembering Nick today on his birthday. We want you to know that we still think of him and his sacrifice."
Laurie Duran of San Marcos, tx

"I miss you brother.... I miss you and speak of you often. My wife feels like she knows you and ya'll haven't even met. She has even brought your name up a couple times just cause she knows the things that make me think of you. I wrote you awhile back, but i guess you know that. Just know how proud I am to have had you in my life. I'll see ya when I'm done on this side"
Brian Rutherford of Fentress, Texas

"Jan 08, 2009

Wow its been that long already, i can still remember when we played lazer tag. Was a hard blow, just want you guys to know that we always think of him. And he will never be forgotten"
Christopher Bloem of Curacao

"Thank you so much for still remembering our son. You can not know what that means to us. Thank you."
Debbie Bloem of Belgrade, Montana

"I wear a memorial bracelet with Nicholas' name on it. I didn't have the honor of knowing this fine young man - I chose his name after reading the story of his life. I am proud to wear his name and will tell his story to anyone who asks me. I am a military mother and understand some of the pain and pride that Nicholas' family and friends have experienced, though not the ultimate sacrifice...I will be praying for you all. Nicholas will not be forgotten - even by those who never knew him."
Kresten Mansen of Elk Grove, CA

"June 23, 2008
Dear Bloem family,
Still think about Nick at least once a day, especially when I hear "Light of the World" on the radio. Makes me remember how your family was able to worship in the face of such sorrow. That is an inspiration to me. I still pray for the Lord's peace and joy for your family."
Laurie Duran of San Marcos, Tx

"April 23, 2008
To the family of Lance Cpl. Nicholas William B. Bloem:
Nicholas 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

"Alberto -

Greetings from Seattle, old friend! I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know that I think of you and your family every time I read news from Iraq. Of course, I don't see much news on the war, now that things are going so well over there (great job, mainstream media!). Even though I never got the chance to meet him, I'm terribly proud of his service, and his sacrifice. Keep up the fight on the homefront, old friend!"
Eric Trepanier of Seattle, WA


"I still miss you brother."
Brian Rutherford of New Braunfels, Texas

"Hello Bloem Family!
I don't know how long it has been since somebody wrote a message on this, so I am writing one. I just wanted to say hello! I can't really find any words to speak about Nick, so all I can say is that you guys are so lucky to have had him for twenty years. I'd give anything to have had more time with him. You're an amazing family and I can see that from just the small interaction I've had with some of you. You'll be in my family's prayers always. God bless yall so much!"
Sonia Duran of San Marcos, TX

"Thank you, Marine! It breaks my heart whenever a young Marine has to pay the ultimate sacrifice. Semper Fi!"
James Carter of California

"Nick was a great guy. He stayed with me the whole summer before he was sent to Iraq with. Brian and Abe Rutherford and myself loved having him around and he always seemed to able to relate to what you were talking about. I miss him and it has been hard for me to understand and come to terms with the fact that he died doing what he loved....being a marine."
Adam Shipley of New Braunfels ,Texas

"Dear Parents of Nicholas W. Bloem, it is with great honor and the utmost respect that I give unto your son. He gave the ultimate sacrifice and deserved more than this life could ever offer. To have such wonderful parents could only be a blessing from above. I was deployed with Mortuary Affairs and participated on the search and recovery of all 14 Marines on that day. We recieved incoming fire while taking care of the mission: Bringing our fallen home, I personally along with my brothers participated in the search and recovery of the incident with which your son and others gave the ultimate sacrifice.....words can not express my sorrow...I ask that the Lord be with you and your family and that your sons memory live forever not only in my heart but all who crossed his path in this life. I have a flag that I flew while I was in Iraq from Feb-Sept 2005. With your permission I would like to honor your son and all of the military members who passed while I was in country by having their names sewn on it and fly it at my house for all to see.....If this is okay by your family please e-mail me at Mistycodyalexis@aol.com May God bless you all "Semper Fi" Mortuary Affairs "No tougher job, No greater HONOR""
SSgt Thomas, Jeremiah T. of Woodstock Ga

"I met Nick back in Infantry school in the winter of 2004, to hear he was killed really makes me upset to hear someone i knew had passed away. He was a really nice guy and i enjoyed talking to him whenever i could. RIP Nick. And may god be with you and your family.

Lcpl. Patsos, D. Co. 4th LAR, USMC"
Brandon Patsos of Fredericksburg, VA

"Nicholas Bloem,
You have made the ultimate sacrifice and did so willingly and without hesitation.
Good bye for now. When it comes my time to meet the Big General upstairs, I'm sure you'll be there waiting when I report for duty.

Bloem Family,
Words cannot convey my sorrow.
My deepest condolences to the family and all loved ones of Nicholas Bloem.
You will remain in my thoughts and prayers. I pray that the deep hurt you feel can be in some part eased by the feeling of great pride for Nicholas’ valor and deep sense of patriotism. Nicholas was in RMAT with me and we had some good times together.
It has been my district pleasure to know and serve with Nicholas Bloem.
4th Recon
“No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy”
Semper Fidelis
Johnathan Wojtewicz
of Austin, Texas

"I remember when we were in Texas togehter, he started wearing tighter jeans and a cowboy hat. And I use to tease him saying "So are you a real cowboy yet" and then he'd tackle me and we'd wrestle for a while. He'd always wrestle with anybody for whatever reason. He loved being a Marine more than most others and never gave up on the goal even when his body told him no. He is a Hero and he did his part willingly and with Honor. For the price he has paid so others wouldn't have to, I'll never forget. And I give my deepest condolences to his family and loved ones."
Mark Evans of Fairbanks, AK

"Dear Bloem Family:

My name is Lisa and I was Nick's penpal through Adopt-a-Platoon organization. I wrote Nick letters and e-mailed him. We exchanged several emails. I was only his penpal for months, but I came to know a very funny and positive young man. He wrote to me of his family and life out "west". I know he missed both.

I am honored to have known him. I was deeply saddened to hear of his passing. I will always mourn that I never had the opportunity to meet the young man behind the e-mails.

With saddest of hearts and prayers for your family,"
Lisa Barfield of Austin, Texas

"Dear Bloem family,
I want you to know that I pray for you every day. You have an incredible family, so no wonder Nick was just like you. Like I said, he is the only guy who has come to church with me, and he was so so happy to be there. It was very obvious to me that he loved God so much.
I miss him dearly; after all, he is close to being the best friend that I have ever had. He was really supportive of me, he protected me, he influenced me to walk a better walk with Christ, he encouraged me, he listened to me, talked to me, and prayed for me. He was an extraordinary person and I will continue to thank God for him all the time and to pray for your family above my own prayers.
It was really great to be able to meet yall. You are very nice people and you have great hearts. I've only heard good things about you. You will be blessed very much. Many of us in Texas have you in our prayers daily. God bless you :)"
Sonia Duran of San Marcos, TX


Dear Al & Debbie,
I heard of Nikki's passing on the news only this morning. Our kids played together in the culdesac of our Bellevue home on 163rd Place S.E. here in Belleuve.

Your daughter Sara and my son Jimmy were born on the same day in June 1998 at Overlake Hospital.

My heart breaks for your loss. I only wish I had known sooner so I could have attended your sons memorial. My oldest daughter, Helen, served in the Army for 4 years, and her husband Ryan is still serving. He also spent a year in Iraq.

In my mind's eye I am still seeing Nikki riding his bike and playing outside with all of the other children. It's so hard to comprehend our children have grown up, and the turns that life takes.

You are in our thoughts and in our prayers and our sympathies go out to all of you.

It is but a small comfort for me to believe that Nikki is now in God's hands beginning a new eternal journey with Him.

With Love and Compassion,
The Garber Family, Katie Jim, Helen, Emily, Hannah and Jimmy.
Bellevue, WA

Katie Garber of Bellevue, WA

"To the family and friends of Lance Corporal Nicholas William B. Bloem,

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."

Proud Marine Mom and Proud Member of Marine Comfort Quilts "
Sandra Moudy of Placentia, Ca USA

"Another MONTANA hero.
We honor you!"

"Dear Al, Debbie and family, Our hearts are aching for all of you. We are so grieved by the loss of your precious son, Nicholas. May his sacrifice not be in vain. May the Lord bless you and keep you during this terrible time. You are being uplifted daily in our prayers. May you feel His presence even more dearer and precious each day."
The Martinell Family of Everett & Sultan, WA

"Marine Lance Cpl.Nicholas William B. Bloem,"thank you" isn't enough for the ultimate sacrifice you gave to each of us. Our prayers and thoughts are with your family during this difficult time."
Jerry & Toni Longville of Akron, Ohio

"Marine Lance Cpl Bloem - You are an American Hero whose ultimate sacrifice will not be forgotten by a grateful nation. Rest in peace Marine. You will be remembered for always being faithful to God, Country, Family and the Corps.
My deepest condolences to the family and friends of Nicholas William B. Bloem and may memories comfort you during this most difficult time and always. I am so very sorry."

"To the family of Nicholas Bloem:
We lost our son, Lt. Therrel Childers on March 21, 2003, as the war started. The Billings Montana unit was our Casualty unit. I don't know if I had met your son, and to be honest I don't remember many of the guys names but I do remember how wonderfully kind and compassionate they all were. I am so, so sorry for your loss, and so very sorry that the 4th Recon has to suffer with another family. They are a great group of guys and I know you are in good hands with them. Time does ease the pain, only because with time you will learn to live with it and accept it. You will always miss your son and it will never seem real having lost him. Treasure your memories and take one hour at a time, before long you will be able to take one day at a time and then a week, a month and then you will know you will survive this nightmare, we have been thrown into. I may or may not have known your son but I do know he and everyone else who have been willing to give all they could for their country, believed in their country and a way of life we should all hold dearly, but often don't. For those men and women there is not enough praise and gratitude, for they are truely the ultimate hero's. We are so lucky that since the beginning of our great country, there has been men willing to give their lives, so that the rest of us can call ourselves "American". Bless them all."
Judy Childers of Powell, Wyoming

"Dear Family of Nicholas Bloem: I lost my son, LCpl Chad Maynard, on June 15, 2005 in Ramadi. When I heard the news on the radio about your son, it was like I was reliving that day all over again. It's hard for me to type this even now. I'm so sorry for your loss. On the temporary head stone on my son's grave is the saying, "Not In Vain". That is truly what my son believed and what we, as his family, have to believe every day. Please know that I feel your pain and loss, and I cry with you. They say time eases the pain, and I guess they may be right, but with every new report, I feel the ache of missing my son so much. Always remember, you are not alone. There are others who love you and care about you and know exactly what you are going through. Thank you for your son and his service to us all."
Cindy Maynard, mother of LCpl Chad Maynard and Cpl Jacob Maynard of Kennewick, WA

"Rest In Peace Tuefelhunden.
J and T USMC NC"

"To the Family of Nicholas Bloem:

Thank you for the ultimate sacrifice of your son and your family. Nicholas will always be our hero and will never be forgotten. The people of this country owe you and your family all our precious freedoms. We too, have lost a son in Iraq. Our beloved son, SSGT Jamie Gray gave his life, as did your son, for this country and it will never to forgotten. God be with you through the next difficult days, weeks and months and know that you are not alone, that there is love and support from all the families of our fallen heros with you. Sincerely,"
Stephen and Marion Gray, parents of SSGT Jamie Gray, of East Calais, Vt

"To the Bloem Family, I am so sorry for your loss and our country's loss of your fine young Marine. What a fine young man you raised, always be proud of him. He is truly an American Hero. Nicholas will always be honored and remembered. We are praying for you all. God Bless you all and God Bless Nicholas."
Mary Ghaney of Brooklyn, New York

"Thank you Nicholas Bloem, for your service to our country - and your bravery - no matter where sent. We will always be thankful to your memory."
Montana family

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

"My heart and prayers go out to the family, friends and comrades of Nicholas. May God be with you all and give you comfort."
Marine Mom 3/25/4th of western NY

"Thank you Nicholas Bloem, 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. Nicholas Bloem:
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 Nicholas 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. Nicholas Bloem:
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 Nicholas, 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