Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Marine Sgt. James R. Graham III

25, of Coweta, Oklahoma.
Graham died as a result of a vehicle-born improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations near Hit, Iraq. He was assigned to Marine Reserve’s 4th Tank Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Graham’s unit was attached to Regimental Combat Team 2, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward). Died on August 1, 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:

James R. Graham III 8/1/05
"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given to you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you." - 1 Timothy 4:12-14 (Leadership)"
Haleigh Kilgore of West Virginia

"he will never forgotten this day i saw a picture of him on internet, it happend by ecendent, today, the 1 of august, the dayhe died, 8 years ago it happend to be,he will have a special plase olso in my haert."
Ria de Jager of Holland

"The family of Sgt James R Graham III. I'm William Clark, a medically retired Marine Staff Sergeant released from active duty after a tour in Iraq in 2005. I was not with your son on 1 Aug, but was in the same sand box not far away. I was one of the active duty Marines on I&I Staff Broken Arrow and had the honor and privilege of training Sgt Graham from my tour starting 11 Sept 2001 until 2003. My tour of duty on I&I staff got cut short when I picked up the rocker and was ordered to career progression school (2800). Though years have passed, there's not a day I don't think about him and the others from Broken Arrow that were lost and I trained during my tour. If anyone can contact me (will41tennessee@live.com), I'm trying to find out who the "COMM" guy/radio man was with his section. I was one of the Marines on the staff that tried to volunteer to go as a communications/radio man for the unit, but was ordered to stand down. Little did I know that we'd both be in the sand box at the same time 2 years after my rotation off station. I was deployed with the 2d MAW when I found out what happened to Sgt Graham. My condolences and please know that he will never be forgotten. Semper Fi."
William Clark of Phoenix, AZ

"Semper Fi brother. You are missed, but we know, you are standing post in Heaven. Carry on, we will all be together again."
Sgt Treece of Tulsa, OK

"Semper Fidelis Jay.... You are an amazing, friend, father, son and Marine.. you will NEVER be forgotten- Thank you for blessing our lives- we will never be the same because of who you are to all of us~ Shine on Angel, We Love you always"
Jennifer Smith ( Kelley) of Vancouver, Washington

"Semper Fi young one, Keep your Post in Heaven!"
Cpl. Lawson of Tulsa, Ok

"oh J.R.'s message hurts my heart, if I could help him bring him back I certainly would."
Kristi Allen of Sapulpa,Ok

"thank you all i miss him so much i wish i could see him again i new him he was my dad i really wish there was someway i could bring him back"
J.R. of oologah ,oklahoma

"James is remembered at www.eaglescoutbadge.com"
DFM of Modesto CA

""J" Sgt. Graham To the best friend, VC, fellow Marine I have ever met. I miss you buddy! You will never be forgotten! Still fighting the good fight for you "J"."
Sgt. Ballard, Karl of Tahlequah, OK

"July 1, 2008
To the family of Sgt. James R. Graham, III:
James 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

"Thinking of you. . ."
JB of Tulsa

"Semper Fi. He was, is, a good Marine. Honor. Courage. Commitment. This was Him. He will be Missed. A man is not Dead until He is forgotten. NEVER FORGET!!
D of GA

"I wanted to let you know even though I did know James, after reading his story about his family and kids I made a tribute box of him last year. Once I told my teacher that I wanted to do this box in James's memory, I wanted to send it to the family ever since.Rest in peace James."
Sasha of Longmont, Colorado (USA)

"Sgt Graham, or "Long-cut", was many things. He was purposeful, yet laid back. He knew when to be "on" and when to be "off". He knew his job well and did it well. He was a strong leader and one of those people you couldn't help but get along with. I wish I'd have known him better.
To the family of Sgt Graham, I have to awkwardly thank you and apologize to you all at once. I thank you for all that I've said about him above. Thank you for raising a truly good man. A family man, a patriot, and a friend and brother. We who served with him are forever indebted to those who made him the man that he was. I thank you. Now I must also apologize, or atleast attempt to sympathize, with you. I am deeply, deeply sorry for your loss. I dont have words to express my own regret, my own remorse, my own grief. And yet I know that my emotional toll is nothing compared to that which you've paid. Please know that I pray for you often. I pray for your peace of mind, your happiness, your spiritual well being. I pray that you dont think that he was lost in vain. His sacrifice, your sacrifice, will never be forgotten. We speak of him often and think of him even more. Semper Fi, and God Bless."
Sgt. Gary Spengler of Buffalo NY

"I just wanted to let you know that I remembered J's birthday last Sunday. I just want you to know that I think of him almost daily. I hope it doesn't bother you that I send you notes through this website in honor of J. I just have such wonderful memories of all of you and want to tell you how proud we are of J and the legacy he left behind."
Janet Teehee of Claremore, Oklahoma

"Still remembering you, dear J. I will always remember you with cherished memories of baseball and school. Melissa, Trina, Randy: I know life goes on. . .it must! If I could take away one moment of your anguish, I would gladly do it. Stay strong and be gentle with one another. As always - Janet"
Janet of Claremore, Oklahoma

"To the Graham family: I send my condolences as does the rest of Mobile Assault Platoon 9. Sgt. Graham was our asst. patrol leader in Hit, Iraq. He was a quiet man, very professional, and well respected. He was moved into MAP 9 during the second half of our deployment which is how many of us first met Sgt. Graham. Our MAP was a mix of Marines from New York, Ohio, and Oklahoma. We all grew together day by day as brothers, so it was tough to deal with the loss that came on August 1, 2005. Sgt. Graham is not forgotten, as many of us still talk about him from time to time when we get together. One of the hardest things for most of us in MAP 9 to deal with was contacting his family when we got back home. It has taken me over a year to put into words the sorrow I feel for the entire Graham family. You all have my sincerest apologies for your loss, and the respect that you all deserve for staying strong through such a trying time. I know much of what I write here will not come close to diminishing your pain but I hope these words help you through those tough days in even the slightest bit. Sgt. Graham was a good man and a damn good Marine. I can assure you that his life lost was not in vain my any means, and his presence in our Mobile Assault Platoon only made us stronger. I leave you with our condolences again from MAP 9 as well as our gratitude and respect that belongs to you as well as SGT. James R. Graham III.
-"I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the Alter of Freedom."
-A. Lincoln

CPL. Thomas A. Maniccia Jr. of India Co. 3/25 Buffalo, NY

"To the family of:James R. Graham 111 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"

"It's Tuesday, May 30, 2006. The pain of your sacrifice has not lessened. I think of you daily. You will always be remembered. Always. Semper Fi, J!"
Janet Teehee of Claremore, Oklahoma


"You will always be remembered. To the family of Sgt. Graham, please accept my condolences."
Cpl. Carrado Grant of New York

"I think of you often. We miss you J. Bobby looked up to you so much, you were his idol, and my hero. God Bless you.
To Melissa, boys, Katrina and Randy, I have never seen a family so strong. You have taught us all what it means to support your Marine unconditionally. God Bless you, and thank you for what you have given. J will never be forgotten."
Dena Crooks of OKC, OK

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
You gave your all for us and our country."
Rick Graham of Poplarville, Mississippi

"To the family of James R. Graham111, I just saw your message on my son's blog, Corpsman James R. Alunni, who was in the humvee with your son, my prayers have been with you everyday, your son is a true hero, something not everyone can say, I'm sure he has a special place in heaven, I will continue to pray for him and your family. If you would like to reach me at mal1421697@aol.com."
Madelon & Jerry Alunni of Northfield Center, Oh

"J, I remenber when you moved into the neighborhood, just a small child, You carried in my groceries any time you saw me unloading the car. I watched you play, I saw you become an Egale Scout, I saw you say good-by to your brother, I saw you graduate, I held J R and Thomas Ray when they was born, I watched you marry Melissa, I bought you a drink on your 21st Birthday. I watched you grow up to become a man and a Marine. Your acomplishments were so hugh for the short time you were with us! I was so proud of the person you had become. Please know how much you are loved. We will never forget! And we will always be here for each other. You are my HERO!"
Terry Hodges of Tulsa Ok.

"To the family of SGT James T Graham111.
I want to thank you for all you haven for your country and freedom. I truly know the empty feeling you have from time to most of the time. But remember the good times. I know it does help.
from the parents of SGT David J Coullard"
Anita Coullard Dziedzic of East Hartford,ct

"J., you were, and will always be a true American hero in all of our eyes. It was your sacrifice that gives people like me the opportunity to stay home and raise my family. For that I am forever indebted to you. I am honored to have had the privilege to get to know you. You will not be forgotten.
Do me a favor and hold my daughter and give her a kiss from her daddy.
God Bless you, Melissa and the boys.

You guys are and will continue to be in our prayers.

Until we meet again,
Scott, April, Hailey and Brady Stanton"
Scott Stanton of Tulsa, OK

"I will always miss New Years the Parties and Birthdays, And seeing you at Quick Trip working hard. You was a good friend and karaoke partner at times with me and spencer. And may we never forget your 21st Birthday. I will cherish the times that we had. And every time that I have a Beer I will drink one in you Honor. Your my Hero And a Nations Sacrifice, And I Hope one day I could be half the man you were.
In Loving Memory"
Ben Stanton of Tulsa, OK

"First of all I am sorry for your loss. My boyfriend Cpl. Luke Riddle served with Graham in Iraq this past year. I have heard so much of him, and I know that Luke looked up to him so much as a fellow Marine and friend. I just want you to know that he is not forgotten and WILL NOT be forgotten...Luke speaks of him often. I know he put a smile on my Marine's face whenever they were together and that I regret that I was not lucky enough to meet him. But I would like to thank him and his family for giving the ultimate sacrifice. Because of good hearted people like him, we remain to stay safe here. My condolences go out to his wife and his children and the rest of his family. We are here for you."
Jessica Lewandoski of Akron, Ohio USA

"As Jennifer and I were driving east on 31st Street between Sheridan and Memorial Saturday, a young man in a pickup truck came alongside of us and flagged us down. He said he saw J's sticker on the back windshield of my car and wanted so badly to talk with anyone who had known J. His name is Lance Corporal Goalesberry. (I hope I spelled his last name right.) He asked if I would pass along to you, Randy and Melissa that he is so proud to have known J and that J was an incredible leader. He said that J was so patient and taught all his men how to be a good Marine. He said he is so very sorry for your loss but to let you know that J was one of the special ones. I promised I would pass this message along to you. I wanted to tell him that it really wasn't necessary to tell any of us how special J was; we'd known it all along.
It was such a special moment for me to talk with this young Marine. It was a little unsettling to be flagged down by the vehicle next to me, but the minute the word "Marine" came out of his mouth, he had me hooked. He had that Marine look, too. Never once was I afraid. I put J's memory sticker on my car with love and pride. Thank you for offering them to everyone who was at his funeral. You're in our thoughts and prayers, as always."
Janet Teehee of Tulsa, Oklahoma

"It was a privilege to have taught Jay in the fifth grade. It was also an honor to have him call me to ask if he could use my name as a reference when he became an Eagle Scout. I am so proud to have been associated with this young man who fought for our country and to help bring freedom to another. I didn't realize that this brave soldier was Jay, as I knew him in class, until I ran into someone who explained who this soldier was. My heart goes out to his family and close friends. He served his country well."
Mrs. Tammy (Miss Lilly) Applegate of Tulsa, OK

"To the family and friends of Marine Sgt. James R. Graham III... I am so thankful for the service he gave to his country and so sad for those of you who love him and will miss him so much. I will take the time to personally thank him in my prayers and also pray for his fellow Marines to come home safe."
Sue Huelsing of St. Louis, MO

"To the family and friends of Sgt. James R. Graham III,

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

"My heart is broken for you. Trina, Robin and I were by your side when you said "Until we meet on the other side" to Colin. Never did I think you would have to bear this pain again. I feel sorry for people who never got to know J. He was a great kid, a great man. He loved Melissa with all his heart. He loved his boys with all his being. He loved you and Randy with an abiding love. You raised him up so he could soar with eagles and he did! He will always be stealing home in my memories. Richard,Rick and Andy are so proud to have known J and are grief-stricken for you all. Richard will be at the funeral tomorrow. I can't come, Trina. I can't bear up and you don't need that. Please know that I have cried until I'm sick. I know he's your son, but we all feel a kinship with all of you. We remember JR as a baby! Please know we love you. Please know we prayed for J every day he was in Iraq. Please hold to your heart that J will always be in our hearts and memories. Thank you for allowing us to know him, be with him and remember him.From one Marine Mom to another (Dad,Melissa and boys, too) Semper Fi!"
Janet Teehee of Tulsa, Oklahoma

"melissa, j.r.,thomas, and grandma & grandpa graham, the sadness we feel is overwhelming, we are so thankful we got to know such a great guy. not having J in the dugout keeping the boys straight will be tough to handle. we want to express our deepest sympathy and let you know you are in our prayers. thank you graham family for your sacrifices. he was asked at one of the baseball games about being sent to iraq he replyed "it's my job" well it's our "job" to not forget the ultimate gift he gave my family and every other family in this great nation. with love and respect."
the Pearson's, jeff, janice, josie and j.j. of coweta,ok/usa

"To the Family of Sgt Graham,
I trained with James briefly in Japan (July 2004). I remember him as a 'quiet professional', he was a 'go to' kind of guy. After we climbed Mt. Fuji, I remember him expressing to me that he was motivated about getting a chance to deploy to Iraq. I thank God everyday that we have men like James in our ranks. My thoughts and prayers are with your family...we will never forget!
SSgt Mike Dumelle, Weapons Company, 2nd Battalion, 25th Marines"
of Garden City, New York

"To the Graham Family,
I trained with James in Japan and Virgina in 2004. I want to extend my heart to you and let you know that I will keep him in my thoughts and prayers. God Bless & Semper Fidelis."
Cpl. Nelson Almanzar of 2nd Bn/25 Marines, Garden City, NY

"Thank you all for your love and support to our family. He died doing what we wanted, as he lived."
Randy & Katrina Graham of Tulsa, OK USA

"To Mel and the entire family of Jay Graham,
Words cannot express the sadness and sorrow that we feel for your loss. Since the moment we became friends while working with Mel at Old Navy, we realized what a special man Jay was. We will always remember the great and wonderful times we had together. Jay was a good man who loved Mel and Jr and Thomas, and who loved his country. Jenny and I, although we moved, we always remember our friendship as very special. We pray that God's Peace and Comfort be with you during this time."
David and Jenny Benitez of Tucson, Arizona USA

"Dear Family of James Graham: 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

"j thanks for protecting your country and family you were a wonderful father, son, husband and marine my prayers are with your family now.
good job devil dog"
misty of tulsa,ok

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

"The Salute

To those who have died,
And to those who have cried.
We Salute You.

To those who have lost,
Paid the ultimate cost.
We Salute You.

And to those who still serve,
The Red White and Blue.
Our grateful Nation,
Proudly Salutes You."
Tom Balstad of West Warwick RI

"We only met J a few short times. We,were there briefly at his going away party at Kristi & Spencer Allen's home the pride that I saw beaming on his Mother's face spoke volumes of the commitment within their family. I as a Parent can not imagine the loss. J was a pleasure to be in the company of. The Allen's,Graham's & Bratton's will forever always be in our prayers. God Bless."
Robyn & Bob Watson of Sapulpa,Ok. USA

"Words can not express the loss that we all feel. J was more then a American Hero with his picture displayed on TV he was a Best Friend,A Son,A Husband & A Daddy. The memories reel through my mind and he will never be forgotten. We,will always honor his memory. We truly loved you all before but now the love that we feel for you our extended family is more then my words can express. This wasn't suppost to happen but it did & we will get through it together. God Bless."
Kristi & Spencer Allen of Sapulpa,Ok. USA

"My heart goes out to you and your family for your son James. i as a marine mom,can feel your pain..."
BonnieSponable of Parish,NY

"I have had the privilege of spending a large amount of time with Jay, both in Scouting and in his personal life. He was an extraordinary young man and will always be remembered for being a leader and role model. This courageous Eagle Scout and Marine Sergeant was a positive example to everyone near him. He has touched so many lives and continues to encourage all left behind by making the ultimate sacrifice for his country.

Jay will always be a hero to us, and we are braver, better people for knowing him. On behalf of my entire family, our deepest sympathies go out to his wife, two young children, and to his family. He will always be with us, in our hearts.

Never forget."
Robert Allen and Family of OK/USA

"Jay was a fine youg man. He was a pleasure to be in his company. He will be sorely missed by those who knew him. It's hard for me to imagine the saddness of Melissa and the boys. Of course that same sentiment is shared by Randy and Katrina, as well as the rest of the family and friends.
Jay liked being a marine, he was full of honor, valor and espirit de corps, rightfully so. HE WAS PROUD TO BE A MARINE! We are all thankfull to of shared a moment his life.

It is certainly heart warming to read the sentiment of those that never even knew Jay. They just KNOW Him because he was an American, A Marine, A Father, A Husband, A Son, and A Friend. I'm proud of Spencer for bringing Jay to our acquaintance. Jays, family and friends sacrifice will for-ever be in my thoughts."
Ed & Linda Langston of Sand Springs, Ok. USA

"Rest in Peace Devil Dog"

"We are deeply sorry for your loss. America will forever honor your Hero.
The Courage, Honor, and Valor that your Hero showed will always be remembered.
We are grateful for the sacrifice that was made and we will NEVER FORGET.
God Bless your family and please know that you are not alone.
All of our prayers are with you."
Jennifer and SSGT Larry Mays of Massillon, Ohio


There are no words to express how much you have given to keep our country free. Saying Thank you seems so inadequate for the sacrifice you have made. Please know you will be remembered and will always remain an American Hero. To your family, my prayers and thoughts go with you. Know that we are here for you and our heart is broken for you. May God bless and keep you all in his care."
Ron and Judy Ward of Broken Arrow/OK/USA

"To the Graham Family, I wish to offer to you my deepest condolences on the loss of your fine young Marine. James is a true American Hero who will always be remembered and honored. We are praying for all of you. May God Bless you all and God Bless James."
Mary Ghaney of Brooklyn, New York

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

"Thank you James Graham III, 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 Sgt. James Graham III:
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 James 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 Sgt. James Graham III:
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 James, 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