Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army 2nd Lt. Benjamin J. Colgan

30, of Kent, Washington.
Colgan was responding to a RPG attack when he was struck with an improvised explosive device. Colgan was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Giessen, Germany. Died on November 1, 2003.

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I will always remember the days of our friendship while we were stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, chasing our dreams in SF. Those are treasured memories for me and an honor to have met a beautiful soul like you. Thank you for letting me take care of your Mazda sports car for a whole month, while you were off visiting family in the summer of '95. I couldn't believe it when I read that you had passed on to the next great adventure....Love to you and your family, brother!!!!"
Edwardo "Dido" Brown of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

"I remember that day like it was yesterday. Riding down a road we always traveled but on that day their was a bomb on the road. I remember being so mad that it happened that I started shooting in the air. I'll never forget how shocked I was the next morning when they held a formation and said he died. He seemed invincible. The first patrol we had he hopped out of the Humvee in the middle of a crowd of an hundred Iraqis with no fear for his life. He always led from the front. Every mission we did he wanted to be in the front. To top it all off Lt Colgan saved my life. He made us put up sandbags in Iraq one day to reinforce our front window which was just thin glass. That SAME day two rpg's hit the window. Their was no possible way to survive that attack without those sandbags. I try to live my life now in a way that would make him proud to have saved my life. Life is crazy. You will never be missed. Everytime I watch "We were soldiers" Mel Gibson reminds me of you"
Lequine Arnold of Colorado Springs, Colorado

"Well brother it was 10 years ago today as we laughed and joked behind our house, then night came and the RPGS came I was on the roof when you got hit I saw the truck limp in and we ran over to help i saw your helmet on the ground and it struck me you were hurt I thought " not Ben, not Ben " we rushed in to render aid and the last thing you said to us was are my guys ok, that is Ben always worried about someone beside himself. I took my son out tonight for Halloween his name is Ben. I miss you bud rest easy"
JP of Fort Campbell KY

"Almost 10 years ago, I recalled getting briefed by my NCOs that our platoon just got tasked for a mission. I did not feel too comfortable about it because I felt that I wasn't prepared for it. But then, LT Colgan showed up and started introducing himself. He assured us that he would train us on how to do the mission the proficient way. After our first training with LT Colgan, I felt empowered and motivated to go out in sector 18 and knocked some doors down.
Thank you so much 1LT Benjamin J. Colgan. You will always be in my heart. I thought of you every single day and every soldier that I ran into, I told them about you. I told them how good of a person you were, how you cared a lot about your soldiers and our missions, how responsible and fearless you were. I don't even have any negative things to say about you Sir. All I experienced from you were nothing but positive things. To this day, I strongly believe that I made it out of Iraq because of you. You taught us a lot Sir. Rest in Peace. You were my best Officer and You will always be!"
Bernard Talimeliyor of FOB Warrior, Afghanistan

"FYI: Apologies if this has already been noted - the December 2003 Time magazine featuring LT Colgan and his platoon has an on-line version at http://www.time.com/time/magazine/0,9263,7601031229,00.html ."
Eric of NYC, NY

"Lt. Colgan was like a dad to me. He gave me a chance to be the medic for the Tomb Raiders and for that I am grateful. I was there on the night he passed away trying to do everything in my power to save his life. If you want to hear what happened that night I will tell you what I remember. Just know that I did everything I could to try and save his life. grimesbm@yahoo.com. I can't stop thinking about that night and what he meant to me. You will always be with me LT. and Battle. 26 OCT 2012."
SSG Grimes, Billie (His Medic) of Honolulu, HI

"Thinking of you and the old days for no particular reason; rest easy my friend..."
Hef of Fayetteville, NC

"Battle Brother and Fraternal Brother
THEY ARE AND NOT ONE-DAY DO THEY NOT THINK OF YOU, the Audio and Video tapes and photos they are keep sake areas and played when the momentous times are at hand. WE LOVE YOU , so much to say , but u know my wit and my character NO FEAR and it iz what it iz. PS, still keeping an eye on each one from the wayside ,, and they are doing well each one ,,, and to further ado ,,, Florida Lake of Grafenwoehr ,, told u so , how funny that dayz ,,, and the Army Navy clip ,, of the four and that darn goat ,, Get down Goat Get Down ,, we all laughed and we sure all cried and we all pained ,, and we are of who we say we are and demonstrate countlessly where otherz shriek, we are that Soldier and the highest of all is F.F.F. Family First Forever!!! NO FEAR"
WILDCAT of Global Realmz

"Beatty, if you check back here please send me an email. I have been trying to find you and talk about that night. I miss you brother. gibsonguy2010@gmail.com"
Tim of Pewaukee, WI

"LT, Thinking of you today. It does not seem like it has been 8 years. I named my son after you, he was born on the 3rd of October, Colgan John. RIP LT"
Tim of Pewaukee, WI

"Though long gone, we will always remember you"
Iheanacho .C. of Owerri, Imo state, Nigeria

"Hi Sir its me SSG Rodriguez i served with you until the week prior to your death, a day doesnt go by that i dont feel quilty that i wasnt there to watch your back.You were a great LEADER you are forever in my thoughts and prayr's god bless you and your family, it was more than an honor to serve with you,you made our platoon great and i never felt safer following you into battle. but finishing on a good note is SIR we got those responsible for your death so rest easy sir,and god bless you."
SSG Rodriguez, juan of fayetteville, NC u.s

"I miss you ben, i didnt really know you that much, but you are my cousin and i miss you soooo much! <3 with love -Faith"
Faith Minnick of Kent, WA

there is not a day that goes by I don't think of that night. Your can do spirt moved me,it moved us. It has been a true blessing to serve with you. See you on the high ground; brother.
undertaker 1"
SFC Beatty, Robert of Germany

""To the family of Benjamin J. Colgan ,I am so sorry for the loss of your love one.He died a hero.May you know the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Hopefully we will all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need someone to pray with you or talk to please call or write my pastor at Gateway Community Church,Rev John B Pearrell 11677 Brown Bridge Rd. Covington Ga. 30016 phone 770-787-1015""

"Ben was a good friend, we attended Officer Candidate School and Chemical Officer Basic Course together, being two of the older guys in our OBC class we quickly bonded. Ben set the example for others to follow and led from the front. Ben often spoke of his wife and child at the time, I have often thought of Ben since his passing. Ben you were a great person and you will always be remembered. Each veterans day you are the first person that comes to my mind. To your family, God Bless."
CPT Glenn Young of Camp Julien, Afghanistan

"Lt. Colgan from what I heard was an amazing individual. I got to serve with the guys that were last with him. I never got tired of listening about Lt. Colgan. He was loved by many if not all. Forgive me for saying this, but I got the truck he was killed in when it got back to Germany. I did many field rotations in that truck. I really think that his spirit was in that truck at all times. It just had a special presence to it. I'm sorry for your loss."
k.f. of Seattle, Wa

"May God Bless you all. I am so sorry for your loss."
Leila Shipman of Texas

"Thank you LT. Ben Colgan. You are a true American hero."
Eddie of Whitefish, Montana

"November 1, 2008
To the family of 2nd Lt. Benjamin J. Colgan:
Benjamin 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

"My boyfriend went to Iraq with Ben and was next to him the whole time. Since I met my boyfriend, he can't stop talking about Ben and how great he is. "Ben was always in good spirit. He was such a funny guy. He was my role model." I wish I got a chance to know you. Thank you Ben, for serving, for being a friend , for everything. . .

We're planning on naming our first son after you, Ben. We only hope that he would grow up to be half of the man that you are."
Yvonne of Orange County, CA

"I learned alot from lt.colgan and all what i want to say is you will always be remembered and ill never forget your help to me when i got shot and when i was in the hospital."
Omar Alcaptain (cliff) Interpreter of tuscaloosa,alabama,USA

"I have Ben Colgan's picture taped up next to me as I write this. His last days as the leader of soldiers is the riveting story at the heart of the December 2003 Time magazine Person of the Year issue which features his platoon. I knew enough good men in the Army to piece together the soldier and the man behind the magazine article. Lieutenant Colgan exemplifies what a soldier can be, and the kind of man I wish I was.

We are sending the best of our generation to confront the enemy and build a better world, and our people are dying. It's not fair that people like me are safe at home while fellow Americans like Lieutenant Colgan, a husband and father as well as a soldier, are giving their lives for us. I've never met Benjamin Colgan. Nonetheless, he sets a standard as a man I hope I can meet half way, someday.

Find a copy of the December 2003 Time magazine, the one with Lieutenant Colgan's soldiers on the cover. Read about a true American hero and pay your respects."
Eric Chen of New York, NY

"I served with Lieutenant Colgan in Iraq. I was allowed to retire and left the unit in August of 2003. I think about him often because my civilian duties have kept me in touch with Soldiers. Lt Colgan was one of the most respected officers in our command. He always seemed to have a great attitude and I really enjoyed when our conversations went towards family. He was so proud of his wife and daughters. He will always be in my thoughts and prayers. God bless Soldiers like Ben Colgan!"
SFC (retired) Scott Andersen of Sparta, WI, USA

"Aunt Pat and Uncle Joe, I am inspired every day by the incredible person you created in Ben. And grateful, too, for the unconditional support you have shown me as I seek out my unique path in life. You are amazing parents and I credit you, Janet and Carl for the rich environment in which we grew up. The most important lesson I've learned during my 33 years of wanderlust is how very, very lucky I am to have been surrounded by unwavering loyalty, kindness and loving care.

I feel closer to Ben now than I have since we were 7 or 8 years old. Why? Because I've come to understand how very similar we turned out to be. I understand Ben as a peacemaker, a helper and a leader who points toward what's right and just.

Ben is my role model. I feel him with me daily, speaking our shared values, guiding my work and challenging me to cherish family, friends, fun, integrity, and above all, to elevate others by showing kindness and respect whenever and wherever possible.

We shared a lot as kids, but we share more now. He lives as part of me and watches out for me... just as I'm sure he does for you."
Maria Jett of Portland, Oregon

"Hey Ben I enoyed the times we spent talking about guns and the missions that our team went on with your platoon, you are one of the best officers I ever had the pleasure of working with side by side..."
Marty...23 of FTCKY

"Ben was a hero in all of our eyes. We were in the Chemical OBC class together. I will never forget how incredible he was personally and professionally. A model officer. I was shocked to hear of his death while I was in Iraq. During my second tour I ensured that I dedicated all of my efforts for him and my other fellow fallen comrades. Thank you for being an inspiration."
CPT Rachael L. O'Connell of US Army

"I just watched "Gunner Palace" and was saddened to learn of the sacrifice that Lt Ben Colgan and his family had made. Thank you Ben for trying to help make Iraq a better place. 6 Feb 2007"
Grahame of Sydney, Australia

"I have had strong feelings lately about Ben. We were never best friends, but we were ALWAYS friends...we hung out with the same group of people and graduated from high school together in 1991. I just want Pat and Joe to know that random people still think about Ben and how fun he was and how his smile and laughter could really light up a room. Being a mother, I could not even begin to imagine the pain that losing a child would bring. Just wanted to let you know that I was thinking of him today and lots of other days.....even now on 11/09/06..."
Rhonda of Normandy Park, WA

"Ben was my roomate in Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, GA. My first roomate quit the first day and Ben asked if he could move into the room with me. He is one of the most genuine individuals that I have ever met in my lifetime. We would laugh till we cried. God rest your soul, brother."
Jamie Bryant of Fort Lee, VA

"Thank you for serving our beloved nation. You did not die in vain and may God bless your soul. Rest in peace!"
Mel Soemarsono of Corona, CA

"May Jesus Christ look after you and your family. Your leadership has inspired me. I will never forget your sacrifice."
Joseph of Australia

"Rest in peace..."
Mike Hames of Washington

"I remember Benji. He was a good kid. He went to Mt Rainier HS with my little sister and he was our paperboy for several years. I was very sad to hear that he was gone and had left a wife and children behind. I just came accross this web site and felt I would like to tell Benji's family that he is remembered by many people that they don't even know."
Karen (Blackwell) of San Diego, CA.

"To the Family of a Hero: God Is With You! I am a daddy of 2 young boys (one named Benjamin) and my heart cries for your loss. America will always be indebted to you for his awesome commitment. Thank you! May you be strong. "God works everything together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes". "No greater love has one than to lay down His life for another". Thank You, Benjamin J. Colgan! We are eternally sorry and eternally grateful!"
Scott Stanfield of Del Aire, CA.

"Lt. Colgan,
Sir, I just watched "Gunner Palace" and I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

A grateful citizen"

"About two years ago, when I was a Senior in high school I came across this picture of 2nd Lieutenant Benjamin Colgan and my friend and I who also had a soldier's name from this website we were looking at put their names on a dog tag in loving memory of them and we would pray for them and for their famlies for that year. Well I haven't worn it since and now im in college and i hang it on my bookcase to sort of remind me of our soldiers. Today Dec. 7, 05 made me think all over again about the war and I put in his name into google to see if there was any information on him and i saw a picture of him and his wife and two kids! I started to cry. I had always hoped he didnt have a family that he left, I , my heart goes out to yous. Just to let you know, i don't know if you may think it is weird but I'm praying for you and I'm so sorry. I know how those girls will feel when they're growing up missing their faither, i lost my father when I was young as well. If you read this always tell them that their Dad is watching. With love from a girl you don't know but who feels connected to you....."
Cristina of Boston Massachusetts

"I will not forget what Ben did for me, my family and America.

Semper Fi!"
John Wilcox of Oceanside CA

"Ben...when I heard the news I was in absolute schock! We got the 8th grade "class clowns" award together. I made them change it to "most humorous" but you were fine with being a "clown" :). That is what I remember most...your smile, laugh, hugs,jokes,and most of all, friendship. I only hope you went without pain and did not suffer. It haunts me to think that you were hurting and suffered. You and your family did not deserve this!!! You were one of the funniest persons I have ever known in all my 31 years. There will NEVER be a BEN COLGAN again.
I hope you are resting in peace my friend...till we meet again..."
Jennifer Linehan Smith of Federal Way, Washington

"I am very saddened by the news of Ben. We have been friends since we were kids playing soccer together. Ben is a good man, friend, and father. He will surely be missed.

My thoughts and prayers have been with his family since the devastating news. It breaks my heart knowing such a great and wonderful person is gone from this world. I miss you, Ben.

Rest in Peace, my friend."
Bryan Stevens of Spokane,Wa/USA

"FYI, Ben Colgan and his Tombraiders appear in the new documentary film, Gunner Palace.

My tribute to Ben Colgan on my weblog:
Eric of New York City, NY

"To the family Benjamin left behind: I am the WA State coordinator for the Home of the Brave Quilt Project. It is our group's goal to make a memorial quilt for each fallen soldier listing WA state as their home state. We give these quilts to their families as a way of letting them know we remember the sacrifice their son/daughter made for the rest of us. Please contact me at barbnlamont@comcast.net"
Barb Shillinger of Aberdeen, WA

"I attended Mt. Rainier High School in Des Moines, WA, with Ben. We graduated together in 1991. He chose to enlist after school, in the wake of Operation Desert Storm. I will always remember his smiling face. He had a great sense of humor.

Like Ben, I am also a family man. I was so sad to hear of his passing. I had not kept in touch with him since high school. This life is much too short.

Rest in peace, brother. And may God bless your family."
Jason Hamilton of Seattle, WA/ United States of America

"I was moved last year when Time magazine reported in an article the death of Lt. Colgan. His story hit home for me as I'm sure it did for so many others. I am not a military man, but I identify with Lt. Colgan in his love for family and country. I was particularly moved by the way he met his wife, his love for his beautiful daughters, and the love and respect his troops openly expressed for him. Today, one year after his departure, I feel his loss and ask that his family can muster the courage to go on without him.

God bless you, Lt. Colgan, and thank you for your service."
Jose Umana of Miami, FL

"I left the Army in Apr01 to attend college on my MGIB. I too come from a liberal family, like Ben Colgan's. Families like that teach their children to value humanity and community, and dream of a better world.

In civilian life, I have only rarely come across the kind of very special people the military seems to attract, people like 1LT Ben Colgan. I read about his story in Newsweek, and it has stayed on my mind ever since. Even after 9/11, I had no serious plans to return to duty, but I can no longer accept acting like life is carefree while our best men like 1LT Colgan are giving their ultimate sacrifice to make the world better. There's just no excuse for a soldier, even one a few years out of uniform, not to help. Rest In Peace, sir."
Eric C. of New York City

"I want to thank the Family of Lt. Colgan for there participation in the Memorial Day ceremony 2004 at the Washington Memorial cemetery. I too came from a very liberal upbringing, and yet chose the path of homeland defense. I cannot express how grateful I am to my family for supporting my career. Sometimes the cloud of politics and bureaucracy overshadows the selflessness of our men and women in uniform. Thank you for supporting your son, and continuing to support our men and women in uniform. Your son is a true hero.

"To be born free is a miracle
To live free is a gift
To die free is a responibility
Josh 1Lt. of McChord WA

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

"Thank you for your sacrifice"

by Roger W Hancock

One flag over one land,
One flag, our ever-loving freedom.
One flag evangelize,
One flag to teach world peace.
One flag alone stands tall,
One flag in righteousness.
One flag when tattered shows,
One flag over struggling rights.
One flag of historyís pride,
One flag over any other.
One flag, remembrance,
One flag, freedomís sacrifice.
One flag alone stands tall,
One flag; the red, white, and blue.
One flag, one heart, one hand,
One flag over this great land.
One flag in protest fly,
One flag, responsible liberty.
One flag, my God allows,
One flag, my worship free.
One flag, Old Glory,
One flag, American banner.
One flag, one nationís flag;
I pledge to this one flag.

Copyright June 15, 2003"
Roger W Hancock of www.PoetPatriot.com - Auburn, Washington U. S. A.

"To 2nd Lt Colgan's Family:
Though we are strangers, we want you to know how sorry we are your Benjamin was taken from you. He is our hero. We will never forget. You are in our hearts."
Carol & Larry Miller of Tampa, Florida (2/24/04)

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

"My name is Cathie Longstreth and I was the grandmother to Duane E. Longstreth, killed in Baghdad on August 7, 2003. I am also a member of the "Bridge People" of Outpost 122. The members of the Bridge Team rally at Outpost 122 (the exit 122 off I 5) every Saturday in an effort to support the troops of Ft. Lewis, McCord AFB and Camp Murray (Washington State National Guard). We have the honor of greeting hundreds of military members and their families every week. The response from the troops is heart warming and welcomed .

I am writing this message to the other families in Washington State that have also lost a family member while serving our country, since September 11, 2001. My family would like to display a picture of the fallen hero, with the name and possibly the date of death, on the bridge while we are rallying. It is intended to honor them for the sacrifice they made but will not be used by us as a personal political statement. We hesitated to replicate the pictures we find on the many web sites without the express permission of the surviving family, as we have had our own experience with the media attempting to use our loss to support their political position.

If you do not object to us using your loved ones picture, please email me with your permission at one of the email addresses below. If you have a special picture that you like us to use please email that as well, otherwise we will be using one of the pictures already posted on the web.

Cathie Longstreth of Tacoma, Wa.

"Thank you Benjamin Colgan, 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 2nd Lt. Benjamin Colgan:
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 Benjamin 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 2nd Lt. Benjamin Colgan:
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 Benjamin, 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