Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Spc. Dakotah L. Gooding

21, of Des Moines, Iowa.
Gooding died in Balad, Iraq, when the vehicle he was riding in overturned. He was assigned to the Army's 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry, 3d Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia. Died on February 13, 2005.

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"Dakotah my name is Electa. I had the privilege of knowing your Wife Angela Gooding for years now since I moved to Georgia in 2012. It saddens me to tell you and all of you that she passed away yesterday 06-27-2022. Angela took her last breath at 7:41pm and the amazing person she was donated 3 of her organs to save 3 recipients lives. She was an amazing mother and best friend and not a day went by she didn’t think of you. You have always been on her mind. Even though she left behind 2 little girls that were her entire world. Trista age 14 & Hope age 9 she made sure they knew you and how strong & brave you were and who loved her very much. Her little ones have a huge impressive army behind her to help take care of them for Angela. She was very very much loved by so many. Angela was such and amazing person inside and out. She cared deeply for everyone she grew to know. She was funny, smart, beautiful, sarcastic, sassy with such a big heart. But I am sure you already knew that. I am sad and heartbroken 💔 on how this all came to. But what I can say she has hopefully been reunited with you whom she cares for so deeply no matter how much time has passed. You were her person from the day you met to the day she took her last breath. I’m sorry I never got to meet you but I grew to know you through Angela’s memories and story’s about you. You both Fly high together now. May you both Rest In Peace now that you are together now and forever. I love you Angela Gooding I will never forget you. And I will forever miss you. Till we meet again"
Electa Curry of Rincon Georgia

"Judy. I am so so sorry of your loss. My names Jake Stephens. I served with Dakota in the 7th Cavalry during this deployment. I just wanted 2 let you know that more than 10 years have passed and I still think about your son constantly. It wasn't till after he passed away that I had realized that we were both from Des Moines. I promise to tell my children about the hero and the man that allowed me 2 come home and raise a family. I can't say I'm sorry enough. Feal free 2 text me anytime. 515-402-3179."
CPL Jake Stephens of Des Moines Iowa

"your birthday is 4 days from now i think about all the times you made me laugh all the times you made sure i was ok and most of all for being my bestfriend and people told me that as time passed the pain of loosing you would get better but after ten years it is not any better i will allways miss you love MA"
his mom judy of DES MOINES IA

"i miss you and i love you i will never forget you <3


"Gooding,it is close to 10 years since I last spoke to you. I always remember you were one of the first soldiers I met when I arrived at 1/3 ADA in Fort Stewart. From the first day I met you I knew you were the kind of friend who will cheer everyone up no matter how bad it was. You always had jokes and made everyone laugh. Gooding, you were the hardest working soldier in the Company, no matter how much we joked around you were always ready to work and lend a helping hand. We were room mates for a long time and everytime you came into the room you made me laugh. I remember the good times we had just hanging out around town. I can remember many events with you like they happened yesterday. I will always miss you brother. It is still hard to comprehend that you are not here anymore. My thoughts and prayers go to Gooding's family. Rest in peace my friend. "ALL GAVE SOME AND SOME GAVE ALL" Rock of the Marne!!! RIP SSgt Ray, SGT Knox and SGT Lake."
Pedro Valle of Tampa, FL

"Koty was the first soldier I met when I was a brand new soldier in Korea in 2002. He showed the ropes and taught me how to be a good soldier. He always knew how to make someone laugh. He has left an everlasting impression on me and will never be forgotten. Till this day (10/12/2012) I think about those days in Korea. He will always be remembered. Miss you bro."
William Cooper of Las Vegas, NV

"I served with SPC Dakotah Gooding for 1 year in B/5-5 ADA Camp Hovey korea. There was no finer soldier, I served with than Spc Gooding. He would go out of his way to help anyone. SPC Gooding is a credit to what all soldiers should aspire to be. He left a lasting impression for all who knew him ."
SFC Ralph Morton of FT Bliss TX

"To the family of Dakotah..today marks 7 years and just want you to know Ray and Dakotah have not been forgotten."
Rachel Rodriguez of San AntonioTX,

"To the family of:Dakotah L.Gooding
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""

"Didnt know you but you and my nephew Ray lost your lives 6 years ago today.Just want your family to know that they are in my prayers and understand even though its been 6 years
its still a very painful day.May God keep them in his loving arms."
Rachel Rodriguez of San Antonio,Tx

"Thanks to all those who sacrificed their lives to serve their country. Blessings to those who continue to serve and who served in the past.
Love you cousin Koty."
Angie Miles

"You have not been forgotten Dakota. R.I.P."

"I miss you today, KOTY! I know as cousins we only knew each other when we were little but every year on this day, I miss you! My prayers and thoughts are with your wife, Angela, and your children. GOD be with all our soldiers and protect them."
Angie Miles, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, USAFR of Parker, CO

"January 29, 2009
To the family of Spc. Dakotah L. Gooding:
Dakotah 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

"i know how you all feel this time of the year my son SSG. Ray Rangel was one the men trying to help your son and my son gave his life in the process. They say time heals but it only seems more painful only God has helped us hope he has done the same for you all"
proud dad of RAY RANGEL of san antonio texas

"I was saddened to hear of this young man's death, I received many phone calls asking if he were part of my family and in a sense he was. My heart goes out to his family."
SFC Gooding of Dallas, TX

"I was in charge of the fire departments Rescue Air Mobility Squad that assisted in the attempted rescue of Dakotah and his two comrades. My team of three Air Force Firefighters were in the canal trying to save their Army brothers on that cold Febuary morning. SSgt Ray Rangel from San Antonio Texas lost his life along with Dakotah that day. I will never forget Ray and the sacrafice he made and I wanted you all to know that my men tried their best to save Dakotah and his buddies in that HUMVEE. I'm from Iowa originally myself and thought I would sign this guestbook to let Dakotah's family know that we pray for his family as much as we do for Ray Rangels family. Yesterday was the 3rd Anniversary of their passing and I think about it at least once everyday."
(MSgt Retired) Tom Schipper of Gilbert, Arizona

"Gooding may you rest in peace brother"
Edwards of GA

"you were one of the funiest people i have ever meet always had a smile and a joke i dont know how we ended up on all the same guard shifts but i feel lucky for it you will be missed"
SGT. Little clinton Red2G/red sniper of Denison,TX

"Koty was my cousin. Our parents, LeRoy and Judy, are siblings. I lost contact with Koty while we were growing up. We had a similar desire, to serve our country. Koty gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country, his life. He is the true American soldier and hero. As I progress in my military career, I will strive to be like my cousin. I am proud of you, Koty. God Bless all American soldiers."

"Hey Gooding,

Just wanted to let you know that I am thinking about you and miss you bro. I wish thing didn't go down the way they did. I wish I could have done more to save you guys. I know you are in a better place right now. Hold it down until I see you in the sky.

To the family of Dakotah(BLUE 2G) my thoughts a prays are with you. I know how it feels to lose someone, because Dakotah was my brother and I feel the loss everyday. I still see his face when I try to sleep at night.

Miss ya BRO,


SSG Hagood, Patrick (BLUE 5) of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington DC

"Dakotah was my team cheif in Korea he taught me a lot and I'll never forget him. My blessings go out to his family"
Sgt richards,Ben of Victoria,Tx

"i wish the best of luck to all of dakota's family. he was a great guy with an awesome sense of humor. he could brighten anybody's day. he was very special. god bless u dakota!"
shirley of waterloo, IA USA

"You are missed and thought of daily. You were an amazing young soldier that made a difference in the world, and to many people you met and worked with. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and yours daily. You will never be forgotten. May god bless Angela and your whole family, through this trying time and may god give them strength."
CPT. and Mrs. Phillip Poteet of Texas

"Feb. 13th 2006 On this sad day we remember your passing. May you find peace wherever you are. Thank you Dakota."
John Willis of Virginia

"I raised Dakotah for a short time. I have never known a finer, more honorable young man! I salute you Koty, you have my love and respect until the end of time! Uncle John"
John Gooding of Oklahoma City, OK

"To the loved one left behind.
I just want to express my heartfelt condolences and prayers, for you and for my dear friend Dakotah. He was an exceptional person, and at one time one of my best friends in the world. I will never forget him, or the goodness that he had in his heart. I'm so sorry for your loss, and I know that no words will ever do justice to the wonderful person that he was. I am immensly proud of the ultimate sacrifice Dakotah made. God Bless."
Jesse Henoch of San Diego CA, Keokuk IA

I met you briefly on Memorial Day at the Veteran's Park in Springfield. I would like to offer you the 30 May 05 "Air Force Times" newspaper. It has a special 11 page memorial honoring the fallen. Please let me know if I can mail or drop it off to you. My number is 754-5514 (W).

Major Danny L. Burgstiner (Ret)
of Springfield, GA

"Not only was Dakota a good soldier, he was a great friend! Always willing to help out if he could. Even tho he was not to talk to me or be my friend he still kept in touch. He was such a good friend. I miss him so much just like everyone else, but on the same note, I know he is in a better place. I am just sorry that I did not get to pay my last respects to a man that should have had so much more. I will never forget you Dakota! Your always in my heart."
??? of Fort Stewart, Ga

"To the family of Dakotah L. Gooding:

The Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation will be honoring your loved one at the non-denominational Memorial Day Sunday worship service at 11:00 a.m. on 29 May. We will remember the casualties of the Global War on Terrorism from Minnesota … and the neighboring states of Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Outside of the historic Fort Snelling Veterans Memorial Chapel will be a “Memorial Garden” filled with white crosses bearing the names of the war dead … including your loved one.

I would like to extend to your family an invitation to honor us with your presence at worship as we pay tribute to the sacrifice made by your service member and family. Our pastor, U.S. Army Chaplain, LTC Kenneth L. Beale, Jr. will preach a message entitled “Remembering Our Freedom.” A former Soldier and country music songwriter and performer “Rockie” will pay a special musical tribute. At the conclusion of the worship hour, all of the congregation will be invited to silently pay their respects at the garden and place poppies at each of the crosses. An honor guard squad will be on hand to fire vollies as the US flag is lowered to half-staff and Taps is played.

As this Christian worship service has traditionally been well attended, we would be happy to reserve seating for you and yours. To do so, kindly call (612/970-7866) and leave a voice message indicating your veterans’ name and the number of persons attending. If you are not able to attend, we pray that you would find comfort in knowing that our prayers are with you and all of the fallen heroes.

Leila Campbell
Administrative Assistant
Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation
web site:www.fortsnellingmcf.org"

"Dakotah was the best son a mother could ask for I loved him very much and he was a wonderful son. His 21 years were short but he touched the lives of everyone he met.I thank God for allwoing me to have Dakotah for the time he was here on this earth. He was my hero. MOM"
Judy Gooding of Urbandale IA

"To My sister,
Im so sorry for your loss .It was so tragic.Im the long lost aunt. I never got to know Dakotah . I had just found my sister his mother Judy 1 and half years ago.I wrote him a couple of times when he was in korea.I feel agreat loss of never meeting him, no photos nothing to ever know him by.Angela Im sorry for your loss as well.He served his country . Thank you!"
Suzzi Gooding of Portland,Oregon

"I am saddened by the loss of Dakotah. He will be missed by me my husn=band and all of his fellow soldiers. I will be praying for Dakotahs wife and family."
Kari and Joe Scully of Fort Stewart GA

"Dakotah will be missed. He was a wonderful husband that knew he had a job to be done. We were married 2 and a half years but those are years I will never forget. There's no words to express the pain I feel. I am very proud of my baby. He is my hero. Thanks to everyone that shows they care. It is very much appreciated. Koty will never be forgotten. He gave his life for this country at a very young age of 21. He will be missed. I love him so much!!!"
Angela Gooding of Rincon, GA

"I never got the pleasure of meeting Dakotah, I wish I did. In 2004 my family and I started a project called Troops Tribute Across Iowa. We got the honor of honoring our fallen heros in our own way. If anyone has information on Dakotah or his family please contact me at: queenie_20035@yahoo.com. Thank you and God bless you Dakotah and his family!!"
Ashley Farrier (TCB Demo) of Washington, Iowa

"To the Family of Dakota Gooding - Our prayers, thoughts and love are with your family. Dakota will never be forgotten."
Pam Gooding Garner of Ursa, IL

"To the family of Dakotah Gooding,
I saw Dakotah's photo on the news tonight. I live in Arizona. His face really touched my heart and I was so sad to know he is gone. I want to let you know I am so proud of this young man and his ultimate sacrifice for our country. I will be praying for you. Please know God is near to those who hurt and I know He is longing to comfort you now."
Jill Sommitz of Tucson, AZ

"Spc. Dakotah Gooding. U are an American Hero. I will always rememeber ur name bc i got the same name. U made the scariface of your own life to help free up iraq and do you job. I got so much repect for people in any armed forces."
Dakota Uriah Dishong of Forest, Ohio, USA

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

"To the family of Dahotah Gooding
My thoughts and prayers are with you because I know the pain that you are feeling. I just pray that the healing process can begin for your family. Know that our memories can never be taken from us, so don't be afraid to laugh in between the tears. Please know that you can turn to our family for support, as we are just a few hours away from Des Moines. I lost my brother, Marine CPL Nathan Schubert, in the helicopter accident on 1/26/05. God Bless Dakotah!"
Elizabeth Householder of Whittemore, IA

"My thoughts and prayers are with the Gooding family. I lost my son in Iraq on 1/26/05. All those that have lost their lives in service to their country will always be heroes. May God bless you and ease your pain."
Helen Gilbert of Dayton, Ohio

"To the Goodling family from the Wahl family. Our heart and prays are with dakotah and your family. We fully understand your lost. We lost our son back in May of 2004. Dakotah, was more then a soldier. He was a real AMERICAN HERO! One that knew his job and willing to risk his life. To protect us all and built a better free world. Dakotah has touched many many lives. From friends, to neighbor's, his military family and personal family. He will always be in my heart! Never to be forgotten! God Bless!"
leonard wahl of Valley Stream NY

"Thank you Dakotah Gooding, 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 Spc. Dakotah Gooding:
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 Dakotah 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 Spc. Dakotah Gooding:
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 Dakotah, 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