Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Pfc. Richard W. Hafer

21, of Cross Lanes, West Virginia.
Hafer died when two 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters crashed in Mosul, Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Died on November 15, 2003.

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"28 May 2016. NEVER FORGET Rick Hafer gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country, family, friends, and strangers...."
Eric Luther of New Florence Pa

I can't begin to explain how much I miss you, how much I want you to be here right now. You're my greatest inspiration in life. I strive to be as brave and as caring as you were. I love you so much. You'll always be remembered and missed, Ricky. I love and miss you."
Breanna Hafer of Harrisville, WV

""To the family of Richard Hafer ,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""

"”Honor and Remember” - “Project Compassion” We love our Soldiers! We love our country and we cannot express enough love and compassion to the families of our fallen heroes. War does not discriminate – It breaks our hearts to see the faces of the fallen. We want to give this gift to the hero’s Mother, Father and/or spouse. We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization! Over 1,850 portraits have been completed and shipped to the parents and or spouse - at no cost as this is a gift from one American to another!
This is a gift! We have some wonderful sponsors who help with the costs, and only want you know that we care.
Contact us directly at Projectcompassion@manti.com or go to www.heropaintings.com . If you have already had a portrait completed, we pray that you are enjoying the portrait and God Bless You.
Sincerely and Respectfully,
Project Compassion - Kenna of Manti, Utah USA

"Rick, I still can hear your voice the last time I spoke to you. When you told me "dont worry I'll call you when I get back" before you got on that helicopter.
It will be 6 years soon that you left me. You helped me in so many ways, you opened my eyes to so much. I accomplished my goals because of you and your faith in me. You were with me at my college graduation, I took you with me on stage in honor of my fallen hero. I still have the one letter that should have gotten there before you left that day. I regret that the letter letting you know I loved you more than you would have ever know never reached you. It was returned to me a month after your death. Now I search high and low for your family, I need closure and I need them to know that not only did they love you but I loved you and that letter belongs with you. During my search I found this website and I find myself pouring my heart out through my tears and my words. I will miss you and always love you forever. You will never be forgotten. Until we meet again..."
Marleen Dinis of Richmond, Virginia

"I am a Hafer I never got the honor to meet Rick,but I know you was liked,loved and you my friend are a true hero. Thanks for everything...God bless"
Dave Hafer of Clarksburg,Pa


"It has been just a little over 5 years since I have lost you. I not only lost my brother, but my hero and my friend. I still find it hard to sometimes to think that you are not going to be here for Christmas dinner and that you will never be able to play with your nieces/nephews. I can remember watching you walk out the door to go with the recruiter and knowing how proud I was of you. I have never lost that pride. I have never respected and looked up to anyone as much as I do with you. I love you and miss you terribly! I wish I could just talk to you one last time! There is so much I want to tell you that I never took the time to. Love you Ricky! You will never be forgotten!"
Holly of West Virginia

"In 3 days, it will have been 5 years since I last seen or talked to you. I hope that I make you guys proud of what I do everyday not only by you, but what I try and do for other wounded Soldiers. I still fight with my guilt daily. I know that you are in a better place, but it still hurts. My love to you, and your family. "Comanche Pride""
SSG Josh Forbess of Fort Campbell, KY

"November 12, 2008
To the family of Pfc. Richard W. Hafer:
Richard 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

"ricky, i cant believe your gone you were such a good freind. part of my crew. no matter what always there for me. i always will love you and my memories of you will keep you with me always."
Sheena of Monroeville

"I will never forget that night. Every November 15th at 7:10pm I go off by myself where I remember and pray for those 19 of my brothers that I saw touch the face of God that night. Me and my medics were the first to arrive on the scene and that was the first and last time I met that I met Hafer. It wasnt till we got back to Fort Campbell that I found out that he was a fellow mountaineer. To this day I still wear a braclet with Hafer's name on it to remember that his sacrifice will never be forgotten by those of us that were there."
CPT Bruce Brown of Fort Gordon, Ga

"You are a true hero. THANK YOU!"
Heather Thompson of Rock, W.Va.

"Ricky.........You are truly a hero and will never be forgotten. There isnt a time that goes by that I dont think of you and Miss you dearly. I have a pin of you hanging in my car...you in your football gear. You are my angel and I will always miss you and shed a tear for you. You are deeply loved. We will meet again one day and util then, we will all know that you are looking down upon us smiling that smile of beauty."
Mandy Hartman (Mandy Thomas) of Johnstown Pennsylvania.

"Man i still cant believe it...Its seems like it was just yesterday you were standing there in my living room full of pride telling us how you signed up for the 101st. Your were going to be a screaming eagle! Man we miss you and still think about you all the time. But even now as i write this with tears in my eyes i know that you are in that special part of heaven reserved just for soldiers. You are a true hero man we love you. "blessed be the peacekeepers""
Spc Mark Fisher 863rd MP CO of Cross Lanes WV

"Thank you, Ricky"

"I will never forget you cornbread."
SGT Sky Perry of Ft. Campbell, KY B Btry 1/320th FAR

"To the Richard Hafer family, we extend our heartfelt thanks for his service and extend to you our condolences. We wanted to tell you we placed a white cross in the Bluefield City park in June through 4th with his name and a WV flag. All of WV Fallen Heroes were honored with a white cross and their name. He was also honored in Charleston at a Memorial service held by the Marine Corp League. This was held in May. We know the pain of losing our fallen hero. L Cpl Juston Thacker, 21 was KIA in Afghanistan on 6/24/04 The pain is still with us. We may be contacted at justontthacker@sunlitsurf.com Proud grandparents of LCpl Juston Thacker, 3/6 2d USMC

Tom & Dixie Sisk of Princeton, WV

"To the hafer family from the Wahl family. healing is a slow process. Be supportive and understabding toward one another. You all loved Richard in your own way. He knew you all loved him dearly. As you all understood the love he had for each of you. Reflect on the many many fond and precious memories each of you shared together with Richard. He is very much in your HEARTS! I will remember all our fallen, never ever to allow them to be forgotten. 4th of July in Gatlinburg_Tennessee is the annual Midnight parade and Fireworks. i along with other fallen families will be attending. To enter a FLOAT to HONOUR OUR FALLEN & SUPPORT OU TROOPS Hope that you can make the trip. Please pass on this information to others and any other fallen soldiers families."
leonard_wahl@hotmail.com of Spring Texas

""Attention on Deck
Richard W. Hafer got the call
He will be missed by all
Remember his face
Now he is shadowed by God's Grace
The question is Why?
It was his time to Fly
Every breeze that blows
Richard W. Hafer Glows
To the family that is saddend with sorrow
Thanks to you letting this country borrow
A True American Soldier""


"I would like to say thank you to the many soldiers who have sacrificed their life for our freedom and the freedom of others. We knew Rick personally. He was our neighbor in Seward and a friend of our son. I will never forget the sound of a basketball bouncing down the street on his way over to pick up Tim to go "shoot hoops". The memory of Rick playing football for our local high school is sweet. He would decorate his blazer with our schoold colors of red and black and have all the players names and numbers on it. He had a smile that could brighten up any day. I will always remember him for his helpfullness. Whenever he would see me at the clothesline or just coming home from the grocery store, he would carry in whatever needed to be brought in. He even spent a full day helping me paint our dining room in 90 degree weather. His kindness had no boundaries. He treated everyone equally. We will always remember Rick. God bless his family and dear fellow soldiers. This isnt goodbye forever. We will see each other again one day in heaven."
David and Jeanne Slick of Seward,Pa.

"God bless you Richard. You truly are an American Hero. Your service and sacrifice will not be forgetten. It was an honor to do a Memorial Run in memory of you and the other soldiers who died that day. God bless you and god bless your family."
Amy Hancock of Fort Hood, Texas, USA

"To the family of Richard Hafer: I joined a group of people who are stitching memorial plaques for the families of the fallen soldiers. I was honored to stitch one in memory of Richard. However, when I mailed it to the next of kin address that I had, it was returned moved, undeliverable. I am hoping that either his father or mother will contact me so I can get this small memorial to them. Please contact me at daords@frontiernet.net"
Tammy Ord of Bruceton Mills, WV

"Ricky is not just my cousin, he is my hero and so much more. There are things everyday that are a constant reminder and a sign that he is still with us in spirit. I miss him terribly and can't believe that he is gone. I thank God everyday that we have people like Ricky who protect us from the bad. So please, when u say your prayers at night, Dont forget PFC Richard Hafer, as we all will NEVER forget the sacrifice he made to protect everyone, and especially his mother Sherry and sisters Holly and Heather, who still live in Nitro today!"
Suzy Hollobaugh of Armagh, Pennsylvania/USA

"Ricky your sacrifice won't be forgotten, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers, you were a warrior on the football field and in the army, and your my hero now,Gone but never forgotten.
rest in peace bro....."
Tom Solich of columbus oh

"I was honored to receive and now wear a Heroes Bracelet with Richard Hafer's name. I pray for his family and I continue to support those still engaged in the war effort. He is not forgotten as I, as well as others, see his name every day and are reminded of the great sacrifice he made for his country."
Kathleen Ward of Middleburg, Florida

"To the family and friends of Pfc. Hafer,
My 13 year old son recently ordered a bracelet from Hero Bracelets as an example to his classmates. He suggested I do the same as an example to my fellow colleagues at work. I am truly honored to now bear the name of Pfc. Richard W. Hafer on my bracelet as a lasting tribute to the courage, honor and devotion to duty by him and all his fellow soldiers. They are truely the best of their generation. My best wishes and God's Blessings to you all."
Frank Hidalgo of Fayettville, Georgia, USA

"To the Family of PFC Richard W Hafer:
I have a family friend, a young man who is like a nephew to me in Mosul Iraq. God willing he will be coming home in 15 days. I sent him a gold medal of St. Christopher to wear to keep him safe. His job is to protect the supply trucks on their routes. He is in allot of fire fights doing this job. He was not able
to wear the necklace,but could put the medal on his dog tags. I have prayed for him every night since he has been fighting for us. I always include "all those protecting us" in my prayers. I just received my bracelet,and the name on it is your son Richard. I call him
"my soldier", Richard is now remembered each day in my prayers by name. I just wanted you to know that I will wear "my soldier" proudly and he will be always be remembered every day."
Patty Lee of Green Bay,WI

"miss u..."
spc. scott, jonathon of Portland, OR

"To the family of Rick Hafer... Rick was one of my best friends! He made me laugh and cry and I will be greatful to have known such a wonderful guy! I will love him forever and will never let his image be forgotton!"
Tammy Mazingo of Mobile, Alabama/USA

"To the family of a fallen and fellow soldier,

I must sincerely say I cannot begin to understand the hardship of losing a young soldier and a son. I, like your son, served in the same country, very far away, very far from loved ones, in a very difficult and different place. My parents at home would constantly watch the casualty reports, praying my name was not on the list. I feel sincerely privileged knowing the fact that I, unlike so many young soldiers, attained the honor of seeing my family and friends again. I was shocked to learn of you son's death, and it especially hit home when i found out that he was from my home state, West Virginia. I am from Beckley, and I can remember countless hours of staring into the pale dusty sand wondering if I would ever see home's green mountains again. Although I cannot make the terrible memory of your son's death subside, i can give you the faith that his death was not in vain, and was not alone. Soldiers become brothers in hardship, willing to give the ultimate gift to one another, their lives. I respect gratefully the sacrifices of my fallen brothers, their sacrifice brought me home, their sacrifice makes us free. I can only leave you with these kind words of assurance to another's fallen mother.

"I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save."

"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 altar of freedom."

A. Lincoln

Yours, Very Sincerely and Respectfully,"
SGT Jason Maddy of Fort Sill, OK

"Ricky, Thank you so much for being there when you were needed the most. Thank you for just being a friend and someone to talk to when I was feeling low. I will never forget you or that million dollar smile of yours that always seemed to say that everything was going to be okay. I love you and will miss you even though I know that you are still there always looking out for me."
Ashleigh Taylor of Nitro, West Virginia/USA

"I just want to say thank you for all you done for me and for our country. you will always be a hero to me. you were one of a kind. i love u and miss u and think of u everyday!"
shel of pennsylvania

"Richard W. Hafer, Thank You so much for your bravery and dedication to our beloved country."
Constance A. Lyman of Charlottesville, Va

"Richard W. Hafer, Thank You so much for your bravery and dedication to our beloved country."
Constance A. Lyman of Charlottesville, Va

"PFC Hafer, you and the other 3rd Section members will be my heroes forever. I vow that I will remember you and speak praises about you everyday for the rest of my life. It was an honor being your Section Chief. May God bless, and I'll see you on the "High Ground". And to the family, not a day went by that he didn't bring a smile to my face with some kind of joke. This is how I will remember him. My deepest regrets..."
SGT Forbess

"Rick You will never be forgotten. You live on in our hearts forever!! I am glad i knew you..You were one of the greated guys i knew.. No one can ever replace you. To ricks family I am very sorry.. Rick was the best and the bravest!"
Samantha Allshouse of New Florence,PA, United States

"PFC Hafer, will never be forgotten....nor shall we forget his sacrifices for the American and Iraqi people. PFC Hafer, "Top Guns, Strike, Air Assault!""
SFC James Swearingen of 1-320th FAR, Fort Campbell, KY

"To the family of Richard Hafer: I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your loved one. He is a hero, whose bravery and sacrifice will never be forgotten. A salute to a fallen soldier- THANK YOU, Richard! May you rest peacefully in Heaven."
T. Rexroad of Moorefield, WV

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

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

""OUR special chosen words since day one of finding this site last year...have always been......REST IN PEACE BRAVE SOLDIERS/MARINES/WARRIORS We love you and MAY GOD BLESS you each. Your loved ones are in a beautiful place called Heaven now....When you look up to the sky at night and see the brightest star...it's your hero..shining down on you"
The Taylors USMC of NC

"The sacrafice made is of the upmost that mankind can ask. The strength and determination of spirit and self say so much about the young people of the USA who come forward to make the world a safer place for us all. Honor and glory are yours and peace everlasting."
Susie of Grafton, WV

"I am very saddened to hear of the loss of Richard. I am from WV and now living in FL. I miss the hometown feel of WV and I know how much they miss their own. May God comfort you and your family in your time of loss."
Lori Newman of Ocala, FL

"Thank you Richard Hafer, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"To the family and friends of Pfc. Richard Hafer: I am so sorry for your loss, my thoughts and prayers are with you. I got the chance to meet Richard before he left to go overseas. Richard was a very nice man, and everytime I seen him he always had that big old dip in his mouth. I pray that God will give you the strength to make it though this terrible time. May God always be with you and your family. Just remember that Richard will be watching over you forever, everytime the wind blows, hes there, everytime the sunshines, hes there, everytime the stars light up the sky, hes there. God Bless."
Elizabeth Whitener of Old Fort, NC

"To the family and friends of Pfc. Richard Hafer:
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 Richard 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. Richard Hafer:
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 Richard, 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