Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Marine Pfc. Ryan R. Cox

19, of Derby, Kansas.
Died as a result of wounds received from a non-combat weapon discharge near An Najaf, Iraq. Cox was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California. Died on June 15, 2003.

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

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"I saw a post on Facebook about a young marine who left us to soon and it made me think of you. In high school we weren't necessarily "Freinds " as you were a few grades ahead of me but we had a weight training class together. In that class I was a young over weight kid who got picked on alot except by one genuinely kind person. That person was you my dear friend, I'll never forget the day you stood up for me and stopped all those guys from picking on me. Years later when I found out about your passing I cried because I never got to tell you how much that day you stood up for me changed my life. I was a senior on the varsity football team when you were honored at our homecoming game and I got a chance to tell your mother how much you meant to me... rip Ryan I'll never forget you dear friend"
michael m of yaphank, NY

"I saw a post on Facebook about a young marine who left us to soon and it made me think of you. In high school we weren't necessarily "Freinds " as you were a few grades ahead of me but we had a weight training class together. In that class I was a young over weight kid who got picked on alot except by one genuinely kind person. That person was you my dear friend, I'll never forget the day you stood up for me and stopped all those guys from picking on me. Years later when I found out about your passing I cried because I never got to tell you how much that day you stood up for me changed my life. I was a senior on the varsity football team when you were honored at our homecoming game and I got a chance to tell your mother how much you meant to me... rip Ryan I'll never forget you dear friend"
michael m of yaphank, NY

"I watched you grow along side my daughter, year after year in school. I watched both you and my daughter try to outrun, outride, throw, do homework, play and grow up together. Ryan you were her best friend for so long and I watched and felt the horror of when my girl found out you had passed away, I too, hurt so much at your loss. I seen how wonderful a man you grew up to be and was fortunate enough to have seen you in wellington the night before you shipped out. I hugged you so hard, and received that hug in return, you smiled at me with those big brown eyes and grinned when I told you to "Be safe". I know you chose to be a Marine, and you got to see beautiful places and war torn places. Ryan, you will be remembered not just by your family,but by all the friends you made and their family members. You were so LOVED!! I carry in my heart the dearest of memories of watching you grow. Be Safe"
J.A.T. of Arizona

"Went to visit Ryan yesterday. Was outraged when I found the Flag on his grave was tattered and frayed. Had to drive back to Wichita to find a new one. Our Veterans Deserve better."
Mick of Wichita KS

On today, the 10th anniversary of your death I would just 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. After reading all the messages left for you all I can say is that I wish that I had had the honor of serving with you when I was in the USMC.

Semper Fi Devil Dog!"

"Today I went to visit the grave of PFC Ryan R Cox, United States Marine Corps in Belle Plaine KS. PFC Cox was killed near An Najaf, Iraq June 15 2003. You would expect that I knew this young man or his family since they are from a couple miles down the road in Derby Kansas and I am in Wichita. But that is not the case. My connection to this young man is a testament to how small the world really is and how us Veterans are all connected to one another. Sadly I didn't know PFC Cox or anyone in his family. I didn't even realize my connection until early Saturday morning while talking to a dear friend.

My connection to him is through oddly enough, My home state of Maine and Camp Doha Kuwait. In 2003 I was working as an ALSE Tech at Camp Doha Kuwait as a contractor. The Med Evac unit that covered Kuwait and southern Iraq at the time was the 112th from the Maine Army National Guard. I had the honor of directly supporting these fine Soldiers and in turn, they accepted me as one of their own.

On Saturday, I could tell that my friend had something on his mind by the pictures he was posting here on Facebook. My friend was a career Army Pilot, mostly in Med Evac. His post was as follows:

For Memorial Day: RIP Marine PFC Ryan R. Cox, 19, of Derby, Kansas, June 15, 2003. From my diary "We shut down the aircraft, went back to the tent to get cleaning supplies, and cleaned up the blood in the cabin, in the dark of night. Brian (our flight medic) walked back to the field hospital and returned to announce that the Marine had died."

I messaged him to see if he was ok and wanted to talk. He confided in me that, this one mission above hundreds of others was the most traumatic for him for reasons only he knows. I promised him I would go visit the young Marines final resting place and place a flag at his grave.

I purposely started out later in the day to avoid many people at the cemetery. I arrived at the Belle Plaine Cemetery and it was empty except for one car. Hundreds of freshly planted flags and flowers blowing in the wind. When I found the grave the other car left the cemetery.Nothing but the sound of the wind, PFC Cox and myself. I approached the grave of the young Marine and saluted him, and placed a second flag next to his head stone. I sat there for a half an hour , listening to the wind and talking with PFC Cox. I stood up rendered another salute and drove home.

I am sorry for your loss, and I am honored to have spent time with you on Memorial Day. Semper Fi"
Charles Rolling of Wichita Kansas

"It has been 13 years and I still remember the horrifying sound of that day, the grief in his families eyes. When we returned from that deployment and his family was standing there, I didn't even know what to say. Now 13 years later, I'm so sorry for your loss. Ryan was a true Marine, a brother not just in arms but like family. The platoon was not the same with out him around."
Thomas A Alicea of Fairbanks, Alaska

"To Ryan's Family:
I am very sorry for your loss.

I came across this memorial because I purchased a Hero bracelet today with his name on it. And wanted to know a little bit more about him.

He will always be remembered!"
Lori of Derby, KS USA

"I was a good friend of Ryan's and I miss him every day even 8 years later. It's good to see this web site and people who care."
Natalie of Derby, Ks

"I was a friend of Ryan's when we were in bootcamp and SOI together. He helped me get through some tough times I had then, he was always someone there to help. I just wish I could have returned the favor, but somehow I know he is still helping me from heaven."
Sgt. Privitar K.L. of Oahu, HI

"I was a squad leader with Ryan in boot camp, he was what a Marine is supposed to be. Thank you. I will never forget."
Erik of State College, PA

"I knew PFC Cox in School of Infantry. I just found out about his passing. He was a good Marine and friend and I am sorry for your loss."
Kacey Cox of Jones Creek, TX

"I never had the chance to know Pfc. Cox, but I was the helicopter pilot who flew him back to Kuwait after he died, the first leg of his journey back to his family. I am honored to have been able to help get him home. I think of him often and wish I could have known him. God Bless Ryan and all of the Cox family. Semper Fi."
Capt. Chris Dalton, USMC of Washington, DC

"To the family of:Ryan R. Cox 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"

"i only met PFC Cox a couple times from when he first joined Charley , but he was a good kid . you will be remembered always"
SGT "Junkyard" Jason Grace

"Five years later I still dream about you. He was always a friend. I seen him every day for 8 years in school. Our lockers were right next to eachother for 3 years. We knew eachothers combo and left eachother notes almost everyday. We had half our classes together and always sat by eachother. We got back in touch just 1 month before he was deployed. We shared our childhood memories and made new ones. You will Never be forgotten. I miss you but find comfort in knowing we will meet again."
E.S.C. of Wellington, KS

"February 2, 2008
To the family of Pfc. Ryan R. Cox:
Ryan 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

"Dear Family of Ryan Cox:
To honor the kansas soldiers who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families, the professional portrait artists of the "Grateful Hearts Project" are offering to paint a portrait of the individual soldier for his family.

These 16"x20" original portraits are being offered completely free of charge in recognition of the sacrificies made by these brave soldier and in condolence for their families loss.
Please email us at gratefulheartsproj@sbcglobal.net for more information.
The artists of Grateful Hearts"
J.Gragg of lee's summit, mo.

"Rest in peace Ryan.
Semper Fi.
From a USMC brat, born in Twentynine Palms."
Dana Davis, RN of Louisville, KY

I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifiice for our Country. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy. After reading the reflections left here for you, all I can I say is that I wish that I had had the privilege of serving with you when I was in.

Semper Fi Devil Dog!"

of Oklahoma

"Dear Cox Family, Your sacrifice has been great, may God comfort you with his healing. I am thankful for Marines who continue to serve our diverse country despite the difficulties they or their familes may encounter. His character gives me hope & his service helps me stand tall. My service was 12 years and I am thankful for our great brotherhood. We love you. Semper Fi Devil Dog!"
Lt. Gary Fayard, USMC,USN of Waynesboro, MS

"Although i did not know Ryan, I wanted to offer my thanks and appreciation for all that he did for me and for this country. Reading the things that people have posted about him makes me wish I could have known him because it sounds like he was such a wonderful person. I thank him for being so brave. He will forever be a hero in my eyes."
Amberly Cox of Waco, Tx

"Semper Fi
Get Some
LCpl Hammer, Texas Marine"
Hammer of Texas

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't feel personally responsible for what happened. All I can think of is what if I did this or that. I feel like I let you and your family down. You were an awesome Marine and I wish I could have done things differently."
SSgt Jessee Harris of Sedalia, Missouri

"you came to our company and i didnt know you for long but you were a goood man and marine"
james shotwell usmc retired of phoenix az

"Ryan, there's not a day goes by that the thought of you doesn't cross my mind..I remember being a freshman in high school.. scared out of my mind.. you came over, sat down next to me and just started talking to me as if we had known each other all along..and ever since that day, you said if I ever needed anything.. you'd be there watching out for me, no matter what..that meant soo much to me, you have no idea and I only wish I told you.. but now I extend the same offer to your family..though I'm miles away.. my heart is still in Kansas.. Throughout the past few years, you have become my inspiration & motivation, for me to continue the countless hours of studying/training to become an Army helicopter pilot..And it's strange to think I'm already half way done!! I wish I could take you on a flight and show you how far your ability to listen & pep talks has gotten me since you've left, but everytime I fly I know I'm that much closer to you and your watching out for me....even 'til this day.. I MISS YOU!!"
Kayleigh Karasko of North Dakota, USA

"PFC Cox you are always remembered, I tell Marines of you every chance I get. Every weapon I find not properly on safe gets a very stern verbal couseling from the Gunny and a story about PFC Ryan Cox. Guard them gates well PFC Cox, we will see you soon. "Suicide Charley" 1st Plt Sgt 2003-2005"
GySgt Larry Long of Corpus Christi, TX

"rest in peace brother i never knew u but i feel u like the brother u are to me once a marine always a marine"
cpl knox of tenn colony, tx

"Rest In Peace you are now in a new home up abouve in heaven ."
Ryan cox of Republic Of South Africa

"To Ryan's parents, while I never knew your son, I am extremely proud to have him as one of my Marine Brethren. I am truly sorry for your loss. You obviously raised a good boy into a great man. A man that was willing to do whatever it takes to protect the freedom of others, even though he didn't know them personally. This is what we are taught as Marines. Your son is a prime example of what a Marine is and is willing to do. God bless you and your family. Semper Fidelis"
Lcpl Strader III of San Diego, CA

"Brother, I remember when I seen you at a party at my friend Justins house. You came up to me and showed me the EGA tatooed on your forearm. You will always be remembered. Rest in Peace brother"
Cpl. Petty, Justin of Wichita KS

"I had the pleasure to meet your son before he first left to iraq with my husabnd, i am sorry to hear about your loss. i am deeply sorry for your loss. his memory will always remain in our thoughts and family. Thank you Ryan for the sacrfice you gave."
The Alicea Family of Twentnynine Palms, CA

"I'll see you soon, brother..."
P. of Derby, Class of 2002

"always ryan will be in my heart and soul as a wonderful person all i can say is good as i first moved to Derby 2001 i meet Ryan and he was one of the few friends that i found there he always did what he could to help any one in need when Ryan graduated i never heard from him i never knew where he had gone and the day i seen the news witch i dont really watch very often i seen that he had served and it had taken his life i felt as if i could not move Ryan was always nice and helpful why? was my question but now as i have read this i under stand he died doing what he wanted to do and there again it goes to show that Ryan would do any thing he could to help ANYONE in need! thank you Ryan for so many good times and for being such a great friend and person in general!! we will always miss you!all my thoughts go out to your family witch i never had the chance to meet YET but would love to some day"
Amber Regier and family of Walton kansas

Thank you brave Marine! We appreciate what you did for all of us. You are our hero and we will not forget you. Semper Fi."
Jim & Margie Shaw of Pasadena, Maryland

"Robin, time will never be able to heal your loss. God alone can offer comfort, but I offer my apologies for all that has transpired and ask that the Grace of God and His Peace be enough to carry you through till you once again shall see Ryan. I'm so sorry!"
Larrry of Wentzville, MO

"semper fi to all of you, and my god be with u and not with them. david vincente you will be missed and not forgoten here. i rember when you guys first got to the unit and now you are out doing what you were trained to do . keep up the good woke and come home safe . till then god be with you

cpl. cessna 2/7 echo"
joe cessna of state college pa

"I am a stranger to this Marine but I want to offer honor to his memory and sacrafice. I pray that his family and friends have found the strength to go on with life and bear the unbearable."
Pete Daniels of Independence, KS

"I was there the night PFC Cox died, to this day I recall it vividly. While I did not know him personally, after meeting his family and hearing of his character and talking to his friends, this Marine was a tribute to his country, his family, and the United States Marine Corps. I cannot express to his mother and his father my anguish. He will always be in my thoughts and hope to see him again someday. I too will always remember..."
Cpl. Cross of Lawrence, KS

"I remember what happened... i remember hearing about it. i remember the green walls in the BAS. i remember the sound of the helo for the medivac. I remember... Take care brother...

Semper Fi"
1/7 Prepare to march

"Thank God for people like Ryan."
another Ryan Cox of Lexington, KY

"RIP Marine"
Petty Officer Cawthon of RTC Great Lakes, IL

"RIP Marine"
Petty Officer Cawthon of RTC Great Lakes, IL

"To the family of Ryan:

I have nothing but good things to say about those that died while serving our country. They are a very SPECIAL group of people. I am sure Ryan will be missed by many, and there are more people than you can count that are very grateful for everything he and his fallen comrades have done for us. He is truly a fallen hero and I hope to see him one day in heaven."
Darlene Reese of Wichita Falls, Tx. USA

"I'm a graduate of Derby, KS. So naturally I feel like he is my soldier too. I'm sorry for all those who have lost loved ones. I have a little boy who will be 5 and a little girl 3. They are my gifts from God as I know Ryan was to you and your family. To all of you that have lost loved ones May God bless you and be with you always. They have given the greatest gift. I'm glad to be an American and take pride in my forefathers and those protecting us today and sadly those who have lost their lives. God Bless our Men and Women in the service forever! God Bless America. Everytime I hear about a Soldier who has been hurt or lost their lives sadness feels my heart and I say a prayer for the family/friends. They all deserve the same recongnition as Pat Tillman. May God Bless him and his family as well."
Delores of Haysville, KS

"My heart truly goes out to the family of Ryan Cox. From everything I have read about this great American hero, his dying was a huge loss. His life was a true testament and symbol of all that is good about America. Thank God for good men like Ryan Cox."
Rick and Myra Simons of Old Hickory, TN

"Pfc Ryan Cox, or as I knew him, Cousin Ryan. Wow, what a great kid, man, and soldier! I remember how he sacrificed part of his short summer break, between high school and his leaving for the Marines, to be with my mom at the hospital in Nashville, TN. He was truly an amazing person.

When he came and stayed with us at our old home, just outside of Chicago, his actions and mannerisms were a conversation piece after he left. It isn't often that you meet someone that is so polite, caring, responsible, and proper. Usually things you don't like are what you notice, but Ryan was one that you couldn't help but notice and talk about how good that he was. He was so good to his little sister, taking time with her, illustrating a genuine love and care. We could learn so much from him.

Ryan is truly missed...and loved. It was evident by the turnout of so many people at the funeral just how good of a person he was.

I could go on and on, but I won't. I just want to say thank you to Ryan and the many others for their service to our country, paying the ultimate price for us."
Kerry McCreary of Chattanooga, TN / USA

"In Loving Memory..Its been a year..

At the rising of the sun and at its going down, We remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of Winter, We remember them.
At the opening of buds and in the rebirth of Spring, We remember them.
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of Summer, We remember them.
At the rustling of leaves and the beauty of Autumn, We remember them.
At the beginning of the year and when it ends, We remember them.
As long as we live, they too will live;
for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.
Rest in Peace Dear Marine!! Semper Fi! We will NEVER FORGET!""
The Grogan Family of Lakeland, TN

"In rememberance of Memorial Day, may God bless you and your family. You have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and liberty. My family will remember you for this as you are at peace."
Frank Marchesini and Family of Loudonville, NY

"I never had the pleasure of knowing Ryan, but he will always be a HERO in my heart.I just lost my Fiance and feel the pain that you have but please know my thoughts and prayers are with you. May God Bless you and give you the strength you need to get through this."
*Proud Finace of Cpl. David Vicente, 29 Palms, 2/7 Echo. KIA Iraq 3/19/04"
Alexandria of Methuen, MA

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

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

"I went to school with Ryan, I had a number of classes with him and we were reasonably good friends. He was a good man, decent and respectable. I'm sure he made an excellent marine. I hold him in high regards as a man and as a protector of my country."
Scott. SPC USAR of Derby, KS

"We recently had a "Arlington West" memorial on the Univ. of Michigan campus. I was given Ryan's name to place on one of the crosses. I can't express how moved I was by this experience and how very sorry I am for your loss. I pray that your family will find some solice in knowing that there are many, many people who grieve with you and acknowledge the ultimate sacrifice that Ryan made in service to his country. God bless and protect you and yours."
Mary Heffelfinger

"Ryan, we all miss you so much! Everyday we saw you, you put a smile on our faces. We try not to think of what we lost, but more of what we gained by knowing you. We love you!!"
Sandra and Stacia of Derby, Kansas

"I am very sorry for your loss."
Michelle of Barker NY

"Ryan was an amazing individual, and a great Marine and I am honored to have gotten a chance to know him and his family. I recently was in 29 palms where he was stationed and was truly amazed at the pictures and memories of PFC Cox that were at the Movie theater, Post exchange and numerous other places around the base. He is truly missed and was highly looked up to by his fellow Marines. I do not hesitate to tell Marines about how great of a Marine Ryan was as we should all strive to be. My thoughts go out to his family and the Derby/Wellington community on a daily basis for their loss. Semper Fidelis"
SSgt Vick J.M. of 1st Marine Regiment, Camp Pendleton, CA

"Thank you Ryan Cox, 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

"Thank you Ryan, you will not be forgotten for your sacrifice, much love to your memory and family. Daisy."
Daisy of Ok.USA


"I will always remember Ryan for the wonderful person he was, not just for the sacrifices he made for all of us. May God bless his family in their time of immense tragedy."
Fellow DHS 2002 graduate of Derby,KS

"To the Family of Ryan Cox,

May god be with you. You are all in my prayers. I went to school with ryan i was a grad of 2001 Derby High School, and a fellow Marine as well. My prayers are with you."
LncCpl. Aaron K. Julius of Derby KS

"To the family and friends of Pfc. Ryan Cox:
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 Ryan 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. Ryan Cox:
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 Ryan, 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