Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Pfc. Jesse R. Buryj

21, of Canton, Ohio.
Buryj died in Karbala, Iraq, when his military vehicle was struck by a dump truck whose driver had been shot while trying to run through a control point. He was assigned to the 66th Military Police Company, Fort Lewis, Washington. Died on May 5, 2004.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Army Pfc. Jesse R. Buryj.


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"It's coming up on 20 years (5 May 2004), but it still feels like yesterday.
I can remember everything like it just happend. I'll never forget our time together as friends and as squadmates. I carry your name and the date of your selfless sacrifice on this engraved bracelet as a constant reminder of your williness to protect us. In face of danger, you didn't flinch. You were ready to throw down your life for us without hesitation.

I am also reminded of our Lt. and his part in this tragedy. I often think about how that night unfolded. How if they had moved the ASV to your spot,(like they started to do when we first heard about the dump trucks), but didn't, or if the Lt. was just standing somewhere else and didnt shoot your direction....

We were all just kids..

I miss you, bud.

SFC Mitchell, I was really glad to see your name on here and read the message you left. You were a great mentor and leader. You are and will always be a Hero to me.

5 April 2024."
Spc Chris Howard 66th MP CO, Karbala Iraq, 2004 of Houston, Texas

"It has been 12 long years since Jesse has passed and I can still remember that day so vividly. Maybe because I was a mom with a son over there with Jesse. Maybe because our boys knew each other and were friends, maybe because Peggy and I bonded over our boys being together in that awful place and war. Regardless Jesse death touched my very soul and still does today and every day. Rest In Peace Jesse and know you are loved and thought about every day."
Mim Ackerman of Malvern,Oh,. USA

"Although 12 years have past, I have not forgotten what you gave. See you someday on the other side."
Mike Mitchell

"God speed brother."
Sgt Terrazas of 66th MP Co 93-95

"U.S. PFC Jesse R. Buryj even though I never met you or even deployed with you..I but now I know your name and your story.. and you are a hero... and to his family I am deeply sorry for your loss my I send my condolences... hooah PFC. Buryj. R.I.P. SINCERELY U.s. Marine Lcpl. Anthony Whitfield"

"To the family of:Jesse R. Buryj
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"1-21-11"

"Thank you, you are a HERO"

"Today is 6 years that have passed since God took an Angel. You are always remembered by all of those who loved you. Although you are not here with us in body, your spirit will always live on.....and noone can ever forget you as long as they still play DMB.....love you and miss you Jesse......to his friends and family, God bless you all. I hope you can find solice today in knowing that Jesse is still protecting all of us in Heaven."
Matt Beaudoin of Cranston, RI

"Another McKinley Massillon game without you. I love you and miss you. Go Bulldogs! We need your help Jess! Love you Brat, Mom"
Mom of Canton, Ohio

"I never want to forget the sacrifices of so many young men and women. I am so proud it makes me cry. I understand in theory only that war is a part of human nature but so is love and caring. I wish I could take the families pain away but I can't. I am committed to loving ALL people, myself and our environment. I am committed to working on my happiness everyday because so many have died for my freedom to live my life. Thank you is not enough but it is all I have. All my love and respect. ogersteiner@yahoo.com"
Scott Steiner of Gahanna, OH

"I served with Jesse. He was a fine young man. I think of him often. I wear a black bracelet with his service information. We all miss you Jesse. You stood your post and held your ground. You were a fine soldier and a good friend. Airborne!"
Joshua Wilson of San Diego, CA

"SPC Buryj we will never forget.

Joe Shelley"
CSM Ranger Joe Shelley of Naples Italy

"jesse was one of my best friends for years growing up. I want to remember him. I want to contribute to his honerable name. Call me and let me know how to Peggy."
shawn mckinstry of canton

"my dad fought in ww1
my brother was a korean era vet
i served in the 66th MP co 1962-3
i am sorry for your loss of a hero"
wm m mccaffrey of lawrence kansas

"Obviously Jesse was an amazing person. I know it's hard... but be strong for him, Peggy--he wants that I'm sure as he watches over you everyday.

Best wishes."
of Nashville, TN, US

"May 11, 2008
To the family of Pfc. Jesse R. Buryj:
Jesse 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

"Matt.... Please get in touch with me. Peggy (Jesse's Mom)"
Peggy Buryj of Canton, Ohio

"It is now four years since you have passed, and every day the memories grow stronger. I could never thank you enough for showing me what a real hero is. I can not wait to see you again."
Matt Beaudoin of Cranston, RI

"Jesse you have kept your promise to your brothers in the 66th MP Co. and watched over them and helped to keep them safe. They all came back from Afghanistan safe and alive thanks to God and you their special Guardian Angel. They will never forget you and the memories of the good times you had together.
Rest well Dear Angel in God's loving arms, your mission is done for now and you kept them safe.
Thank you for all you did and all you gave.
Peg and Steve you were blessed with such a remarkable son. God bless you both.
Love n hugs"
Mim Ackerman of East Canton, Ohio


"Peg and steve, we all still grieve for jesse, he was such a sweetheart. he in in our prayers each day. god bless him and your family, love dee(rogies cousin)"
dee thoma of columbus ohio

"Jesse was always a positive inspiring person. To this day he , IN MY BELIEF, is still watching over us in the 66. He is a guardian angel in the Lords army watching over us each day as we fight in this war on terror here in Afghanistan. Peggy I send my love."
SPC Robert L Ackerman III of 66 MP Co, Afghanistan

Today marks three years since God has taken you. You will always be a hero, especially to me. You fought with courage and honor. I am proud to call you my friend, and a fellow soldier. You are in my prayers every day and I can not wait to see you again."
Matt of Cranston, RI

I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy. I read about your family in the Marine Corps Times and all the stuff they had to go through to learn the truth about what happened to you in Iraq and that wasn't right how the Army treated them."
Mike Casey of El Paso, Texas

"To the family of PFC Buryj,
I send my condolences to you for the lost of your loved one. I had the distinct honor of knowing PFC Buryj while stationed at Ft Leonard-wood as one of his many drill Sergeants. I was deeply saddened to learn of his passing. As a drill Sergeant you expect privates to look up to you as their hero. Today I say that role is reversed and I look to you as my hero. You served your country with honor. Well done young soldier. You will be missed for your name lives on in the memories of the drill sergeants of B Co 787th MP BN."
SFC (Ret) Robert David of Chester Virginia

"To Peggy and family we are so sorry for your loss of Jesse, he was a hero and by his service our country remains free, Freedom comes at a great cost that many of us has paid. I was very interested in your story, many of us have similiar and very intersted about the independent council. our grandson LCpl Juston Thacker 21, USMC was KIA 6/24/04 in Afghanistan. We still hurt and he was our daughters only child. Maybe you could contact us. We may be reached at justontthacker@sunlitsurf.com or tesisk@sunlitsurf.com Proud Grandparent of Juston."
Tom & Dixie Sisk of Princeton, WV

"This is Jesse's wife Amber. I actually just now came across this site, but I want to thank all of you for your lovely comments. I would also like to just tell you all Jesse was an absolutely amazing man, of which no one could ever compare. A wonderful husband, son, brother, soldier,and friend to so many! I love you forever and always Jesse."
Amber Buryj of Canton, OH

"A man who gave all and stood ground in face of the enemy without fear, Although your death was in some called in vain, you will always be a HERO in my eyes and as I recount the moments of that night you WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN by your fellow soldiers of the HEADHUNTER Platoon. To the family that I never got to say sorry for your loss, I am sorry that this happened but he as a man, a son and a husband he has touch the lives of a lot of people and thank you for allowing him to serve this country and for what a man you had made of him."
SFC Michael Mitchell, Jesse's Platoon Sergeant

"I did not know SPC Jesse Buryj, but i did know the Soldiers he served with, I was assigned to 66th mp co after tragic day. Everyone talked about Jesse and said outstanding things about him. My heart goes out to his family and the child he left behind. He made the ultimate sacrafice that i wish no soldier would have to do. I wish that the other forces we work with here in iraq would follow the standards we follow, if they did we would still have Jesse."
SGT. Frank Miranda of camp Asharaf, Iraq

"It was 2 years ago today that Peg and Steve loss Jesse. It is a day that will forever be burned in my mind and in my heart. Although I never had the honor or the privilege to meet Jesse I know his Mom and Dad. How I met Peggy was honestly just by chance. The Canton Repository (local paper) put Jesse' name and pic in our Military section and I just happen to see that Jesse was a part of the 66th MP Co. along with my grandson Poke. So a phone call was made to Peggy and we talked and promised each other we would keep each other informed when we heard from the boys. That was the beginning of our friendship. Each letter, phone call, and email was shared. It was our way of keeping each other informed our boys were ok. We had no FRG (Family Readiness Support Group) in our area, so Peggy and I were there to support each other. Over the months before Jesse' death I got to know Jesse through Peggy and phone calls from my grandson who was also in Iraq. I learned they were so much alike as little boys, as teenagers and had the same goals as adults.
Peggy called me the day Jesse was killed and it was a shock. It was almost like my own grandson had been the one to have died.
Forget Jesse Buryj NO WAY! NEVER! He was a fine young man and a wonderful son to Peggy and Steve and a loyal friend to many. He touched many lives some he knew and some he never met. I know he touched my life and I thank him for all he was, all he did, and all he gave.
Thank you Jesse with all my heart. You went through the door and found the green pastures.
God Bless you always."
Mim Ackerman (Hornet's Mom ) of Malvern, Ohio USA

"dear steve,peg and angie, scott and i were so sad to hear about jesse, but so proud of him for keeping us safe. he was such a sweet boy and we will miss him so much. they had a story on him down here in columbus, and i called to tell them how to pronounce his last name. love you guys. dee and scott thoma"
dee thoma of columbus ohio

"I didn't personaly know you Jesse but Terrii did. No words could describe how I feel. We love you and your family forever, and you will always be remembered. Your in our hearts and dreams. With Much Love."
Jason of Canton, Ohio

"He was in years just a boy, but in all else a man...a soldier."
E of England, 16

"You and your story will never be forgotten."
The Delaney's of Oceanview, NJ

"Jesse, I never knew you but Thank You for your bravery. I am a Veteran of the 66th MP Company Phu Tai Vietnam 1970 - 1971. You are truly a HERO."
Larry McBroom of Rochester,MN USA

"Hey Jesse , you and my cousin are really good friends. Carla did a really nice page of u on her webpage thank you for protecting us!"
Jamie of canton ohio

"I am Peggy Buryj, the mother of Jesse. My son was promoted to Specialist the day he died. My son died as the result of friendly fire. I LOVE AND MISS YOU JESSE!!! A COWARD DIES A THOUSAND DEATHS, A HERO DIES BUT ONCE!!"
Peggy Buryj of Canton, Ohio

"Its been a year since you were taken from our brotherhood. I will never forget you my friend. I hope that you will watch over all of us and keep us safe. I never got to thank you for all the tips you gave me before I went to school. We all miss you. AIRBORNE."
SGT Michael D'Saachs 66th MP Co of Ft. Lewis, WA

"Jesse, today marks one year to the day that God took you away from your friends and family. You were the best friend anyone could ask for. I still can not believe you are gone. Thank you for listening to me when I had problems, nobody will ever replace you as my battle buddy, or best friend. I love you and can not wait to see you again."
Matt of Cranston, ri

"I'm really so sorry for the loss of such a brave young man. I'm in thoughts with you."
Peter Bertschinger of Kallern, Switzerland

"Jesse Buryj, my battle buddy throughout basic training...we grew to be close friends in a short period of time, and I was lucky to have a great person to train with. You're definately a hero, just doing his job. I miss you greatly."
PFC Matt Floria of Flint, MI

"Jesse was my cousin. I still have pictures of us playing together on his front porch when were little. I regret that I never was able to spend more time with him when we got older. I am so proud to say I am related to such a heroic human being. I will never forget you, Jesse. You will always remain in our hearts. God Bless."
Stephanie Thoma of Columbus,Ohio

"I never got to say I was sorry. He and I were friends for a while, but stopped speaking because of something so stupid. I'll never forget his sacrifice and how he saved us, all of us."
Terrii of Canton, Oh. USA

"Thank you Jesse for making us safer here in Ohio. We salute your bravery."
Mrs. Arthur's 4th grade class of Nelsonville, Ohio

"Jesse was a great friend, an honest person and someone you could count on. I feel your pain, your sadness and your loss. I will miss him very deeply. R.I.P. I will always remember you."
Jennifer Bruning of Canton Ohio USA

"Private Buryj, goodbye soldier and thank you. You are my hero."
Bill of Houstonk, Texas

"Our prayers and thoughts our with you at this time of sorrow, We lost our grandson the same day over there.May God help you through each day."
Blanche Kitchen of Irvona Pa.

"To Jesse's family, I am so sorry for your tragic loss. Please know that many appreciate his service to and sacrifice for his country."
F. Smith of Pennsylvania

"Please know that today, and everyday, we will remember your son, brother and friend. These young men and woman who have given so freely, for our securiy epitimizes all that is great in our nation.

Your family will forever be in our prayers. Thank you and God Bless."
Steve Cripple of Akron, OH

"Dear Family and Friends of Jessie R. Buryj,
I am so sorry about the loss of your hero. I just wanted to let you all know that I share in your grief. You are not alone! I lost my husband of only 3 years on May 9, 2004 in a vehichle accident near Baghdad. The pain is terrible at times and there are times that I feel like he is still coming home with the unit. But I just wanted to let you know that if there is anything that I can do for you just email me at amurray@email.pittcc.edu and I will be glad to help out. We are all in this together. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Take care and God Bless!"
Amanda L. Murray (Widow of Sgt. Rodney A. Murray 12/05/75-05/09/04) of Ayden, North Carolina

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

"BuryJ we met in basic and you were a very positive person. You will be missed by everyone. Thank you for giving all you had. All of us gave some but you gave all. I'm proud of you! Renegades!!"
PFC Laquawna Baker of 511th MP Co Ft. Drum, N.Y.

"Jesse is the first fallen soldier from war in Iraq that I personally know people who knew him. I know his Aunt Annie and cousin Trina. I heard Trina was very close to Jesse and taking his loss very hard. I just read all about Jesse on the internet and he sounds like he was a fine young man and much too young to die with all the ambition he had. My sympathy goes out to all his loved ones and those who knew him. I hope and pray that this soon stops over in Iraq. We are losing too many of our young Americans."
Jennifer Davis of Fort Myers, Florida

"I'm so sorry for your lost."
Oleg V. Buryj of Syktyvkar, Russia

"My brother is was and will forever be a great man. I'm sorry for any family that as lost someone in this war. It's not fair. He died doing what he wanted to do and I'm so proud of him and everything he as ever done. He is a special person and anybody that ever meet him know's that.Thank you for everybody's suport and love, Angela (Buryj) Sokol"
Angela Sokol of Canton OH

"To Jesse'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"

"To Jesse'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

"Dear Jesse,
Thank you for giving your life to America and for fighting for freedom. What you did was a great act of courage that is commenadable on the highest levels. One thing we all must know is that the fight never ends; we will be fighting evil for many more years, perhaps forever. It is because of people like you that evil feels fear and begins to doubt itself. Thank you for being so courageous."
mark reif of winchester, VA

"To the family of Pfc. Jesse Buryj, We are so sorry for your lost as no one knows the feeling of loosing a child and love one. Well we also know the pain we lost our son April 9th. in Iraq. There are no words and the pain is forever,but just know you are not alone in your grief as we well found out. Not only did we loose a child but America lost a hero.I am a police officer and it sounds like Jesse would have made a fine Officer as we aleardy know he was a great soldier. Remember you are not alone.My son's name is Spec. A.J. Vandayburg."
Allen W. Vandaburg of Mansfield,Ohio

"Thank you Jesse Buryj, 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 Pfc. Jesse Buryj:
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 Jesse 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 Pfc. Jesse Buryj:
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 Jesse, 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