Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Marine Lance Cpl. Michael W. Hanks

22, of Gregory, Michigan.
Hanks died as result of enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. Died on November 17, 2004.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Marine Lance Cpl. Michael W. Hanks.


Contributions to the Families of the Fallen


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

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"oorah brother brother"
brinton of Montpellier, idaho

"Mike- Wow- You are an example to all. You always were kind to me in school. You are the definition of A brave, selfless, loving, and loyal human being and Marine. My heart aches for your family. We can never thank you enough for what you have done. You have touched the lives of thousands in your young life. You are the type of man wife's and mothers want for their daughters. I pray you and your family have peace and I know you will reunite in the Glory of heaven again.
My Deepest Gratitude,
Autumn Kearney (Wolf) Classmate"
Autumn Kearney of Livonia, MI

"Jesus is with us everywhere we go even was with us on the battle field .. May Jesus fill your hearts with love n compassion to others as you continue to heal. Jesus loves you and may you find peace and contentment during these upcoming holidays."
Matthew of CORONA,CA

"Miss you brother. Miss all the times we would get drunk and * around. I remember the time we were getting ready for float and you and sleds come back with the MP's for getting into trouble in the Navy base. Semper Fi Brother.
For any other 3/1 Lima Co. Marines look up Victory gym VHC. It's a Support gym for Military and Vets.
Miss and love you brother. Your in my heart.
LCPL Bates USMC Retired 0311/8531"
Tim Bates of Woodhaven, Mi

"You would trip me out with that tooth of yours. You always made us laugh, no matter how bad things got. Loyal, caring and kind. I would worry about you on Libo in Singapore & Hon Kong. Some how you managed to always make it back, dragging your libo buddy. Thank you for always being there for us all.
Semper Fi Marine, Never forgotten."
MSgt Fortune of Tampa, Fl.

"I miss u so much and think of you daily .i will never forget serving with you it was humour 24\7 i love you brother"
of pueblo co

"My name is Craig Bone. I am an artist and I will soon be doing a large painting of the Marines in action in Fallujah. I would like your permission to use Michael's image in the painting. Adel Abudayeh can vouch for my honorable intentions. mrcraigbone@gmail.com"
Craig Bone of Cameron NC

"Can't believe in a few short days it will be 10 years since you left us. We miss you so much, you had one of the best smiles I have ever seen. I am so proud that you are a part of this Family. Till we meet again, Love you Aunt Sue"
Sue Sieger Nelson of Hempstead, Texas

"Mike was a great guy and will be sorely missed. To his family my condolences. I am proud to have known you, and humbled by your heroism and valor."
Mike leech of howell mi

"Mike, I think of you often. Thinking of you especially today, Memorial Day, 2014. I only knew you briefly, as your 7th grade math teacher, but your legacy is an inspiration to many, including me."
Sue Harper of Fowlerville, MI

"Mike, I remember with great sadness the day that you died. You were an outstanding squad leader, and an outstanding Marine. R.I.P. Devil Dog, and Semper Fi."
Dave Hanson of Camp Pendleton, Ca.

"Years ago my wife was awarded a U.S. flag with a yellow ribbon tied to the top of it. Printed on that ribbon is the following: "In grateful memory of U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Michael Wayne Hanks, 22 from Gregory Michigan US who died on 11/17/2004 in Fallujah Iraq defending liberty for you and me. "
To this day we fly this flag with ribbon on all federal holidays to honor L/CPL Hanks and all the servicemen who have fought for and continue to protect our freedoms. Semper Fi, Mike."
Daryl & Patricia Quarles of Germantown, Tennesse/ United States of America

"I just want to say thank you to all who sacrificed their lives for our freedom Thank you from cadet cpl Martevius Hill"
Martevius Hill of Memphis Tennessee

"I just want to say thank you to all who sacrificed their lives for our freedom Thank you from cadet cpl Martevius Hill"
Martevius Hill of Memphis Tennessee

"Rest in peace mike!"
Zac of Jefferson City, Mo

"To a fallen brother: I was serving with 3/5 weapons co. I met Lcpl. Hanks while we were in Abu Gharib. He was a seriously squared away Marine, and really took good care of the Marines in his fire team. I remember hearing on the comm set about him getting hit, and I couldn't believe it.
The Corps is not the same without him.... Semper Fi..."
Dave Hanson of San Luis Obispo, Ca

"I had the opportunity to frame Michaels memorial picture. When his picture came across my work station I thought about the price he paid for me and all americans freedom. Although I didn't know him until now, I am touched and moved to say "THANK YOU!" You will never be forgotten!"
scott of RENO NV

"I, like Melissa google your name when I'm missing you the most! I guess a lot of people have read about you from the book, We Were One, but that was only a little piece of you. You were the little boy who use to tip toe in my room and turn off my light when you thought I was sleeping. You and your sister and brother use to pick me my favorite flowers (dandylions) and give them to me by the hand full! The times you were a shithead! I miss you! My love for you is never ending! Rest In Peace my Son! Until we meet again."
MOM of Howell, MI

"Is it weird that when I miss you the most I google your name. As if this is all a dream and you will post on this wall. I love you little brother, but you know that."
Melissa Hanks of Waterford, MI

"mikey ill never forget when you hit the guy cus he was picking on me that was so fun, i wish you were here to see all the fun im having working now thank you ill never forget you man thanks"

"On this Memorial Day May 30, 2011 we are thinking of you. A lot of time has passed but the memories are still with us. You Mikey Hanks will always be remembered. Nicole and I miss you so much. I wish that half the people in this world had the courage that you did.
Semper Fi"
Tom Hyland of Sacramento, CA

"as many people who have written on here i did not know you just of your valiant actions in iraq from the book "We were one" i just want your family to know that it is an honor to carry the same last name as a fallen hero someone who made the greatest sacrifice a man can make for not only the people he loves but for the country of people who dont even know he exists you are one of the few heroes of tomorrow brother and i know you are up there guarding the streets with a smile on your face. And to the family of lcpl hanks it is an honor to serve with the same last name as this warrior."
cody t. hanks of helmand province,afg

"thank you for your bravery in the midst of battle."
malcolm Coderre of MA.

"thank you mike for all the good things you did for me. i never did tell you how much you meant to me so i guess ill say it now you were the best man and marine i ever did know thank you."
matt of mich.

"Just wanted to tell you and your family that I still think of you from time to time and have never been as proud of you as I am now when I read all the great things you have done and the people you have touched...but I still remember you as the silly of the wall funny, smart and witty boy who lived down the street from me! and playing at the sod farm behind your house!!"
lore' krueger-kemp of hartland.michigan

"Umm I really Dont know much to say im fighting back the tears as I write this like many of the people here I know of you through the book "We Were One" But just from that book i can tell you were the type of person that would never let any one down be it Marine or civi. I got the book from a friend one day when we were talking about how my mom was giving me a hard time about joining the DEP he told me to read it and almost instantly you became my mentor I want to be the Type of marine you were. People always used to tell me lay a strong foundation for your Character to build on and the way you were is now my foundation its men like you and those you served with that make me proud to be an american you never went against your word even in death you held strong to what you said by getting your Friends home I just Pray that I have some one as strong as you to look after me on my first deployment ill never forget the things you taught me through that book. thank you"
Justin Bell of Jacksonville FL

"Hey there little bro, I am laughing at the messages that say people knew you through the book We Were One. That book didn't capture much of you. You were one of a kind, I have so many great memories. Not a day goes by that I don't miss you, or wonder what could have been. I love you just as much today, as I did ever. So much to say, so many memories. I LOVE YOU, the real you, the jack *, jerk, guy who broke my nose. The tough brother who tried to protect me from miles away. The uncle who brought home a giant stuffed bear on his lap on an airplace for his niece. The best friend I ever had."
M. Hanks of Michigan

"Mike you will never be forgotten it was awesome serving with you. We has alot of good times."
scott conn of lancaster ohio

"Hanks, if you can read this up in the Land of the Lord, then you're my hero. I never had the honor to know you personally, but I know you enough through We Were One by Patrick O'Donnell, you are a true hero and a true Marine. Never gave up, even to the very end. I can only hope to have your courage and strength."
Zachary Rice of Herndon, VA

"mike we here in lima company in 3/1 talk about you all the time we even held a vigil for you I am in the same squad plt and company as you were I hang a picture of you above my rack"
john jackson

"I always try to be like mikey I try my hardest but Ill never be half as much"
matthew mcclaughry

"hanks your the reason I joined the marines on you 4th anniversary of your death"
matthew mcclaughry

"hanks your the reason I joined the marines on you 4th anniversary of your death"
matthew mcclaughry

As I write this I know that you are next to me. Nicole tells me that you watch over her and my kids at night. Thank you MICHAEL HANKS! My sister in-law would love to marry you. We all love you Mickey!!!!
Always Faithful
Tom Hyland"
Cpl Hyland of sacramento, CA

"Mike Its been 5 years since we lost you and we all still feel the pain of your loss, we miss you. I will see you again when the father calls me home, till then we take the fight to them with your memory in our heart. Semper Fi Marine."
Sgt Thompson

"I am so saddened to hear of the loss of michael, He was a wonderful person and had a beautiful heart, he was a good friend to my brother and I. I am just proud to even known him! His family will be in my constant prayers, Gods Peace"
Lacey Rajala Turner of Anderson, Sc

"Well yesterday was your birthday and I made it through the day. I can't even begin to tell you how hard that day is for me. Not a minute goes by that I don't miss you."
Mom of Howell, MI

"To the Hanks family: I recently completed O'Donnell's book "We Were One" and I have got to say the accounts in the book involving Mike are heroic. EVERYTIME I stand and face the American flag for the Star Spangled Banner, I will think of Michael W. Hanks. To me, just like the flag, he is the true symbol of our country."
E. DeVito of Fairmont, WV

"I have never personally met Michael, or any of his family, but I have heard about his sacrifice. His story had driven me to write this post, for you are a true American hero. Never forget Michael Hanks, for I never will.

My deepest sympathies go to his family and friends who miss him very much. I only hope to have the strength and honor that Michael had.
Semper Fidelis."
Zachary Rice of Herndon, VA

"I only was with Lima for a few months but it seems like yesterday that as a boot I called you "Hanks" without a Lance Corporal in front and man did you put me in my place. I just learned about this sight and I wanted to say Semper Fi and ask what its like up there pulling guard duty for Heaven. Talk to you soon Lima Warrior."
Joe Thomas of Lancaster CA

"we all loved you i miss you"
***** ****** of whitecloud,michigan

"we all loved you i miss you"
***** ****** of whitecloud,michigan

"Karen and family,
I keep Mike's picture on my fridge and so often think of him and you and your sacrifice. Brian and I met another young soldier on his flight home for some much needed R&R. I was saddened to hear ANY American would ignore, not thank or worse say hateful things to any of our soldiers. The sacrifice these young men and their families make goes beyond words. I feel your pain and from the bottom of my heart thank you for the sacrifice, I'm blessed to live in this country.

We love you,
Bri & Ev Acton, Fenton MI."
Ev Acton of Fenton , MI USA

""Greater love has no man than this, that he lay his life down for his friends" John 15:13
Thank You Michael for your sacrifice. God Bless your family and heal their aching hearts."
Peggy of Mountain View, Arkansas

"Hey Michael, I was just thinking about you today and thought I would visit your site to read the wonderful things about you. Even though you were a part of my life for a short while, you'll remain a part of my life for the rest of it."
Kami M. of Oklahoma City, OK

"November 12, 2008
To the family of Lance Cpl. Michael W. Hanks:
Michael 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

"Although I never had the privilidge of knowing Cpl Hanks, I saw his story on the History Channel today, Veteran's Day, 2008, and I felt moved to find out more about this man that symbolized everything honorable and couragous about our military. To you Michael,I pray you know that you and your sacrifice will not be forgotten, rest in peace. For your family, I cant even imagine the loss you must feel, but I hope that you find strength in the memory of your loved one and the knowledge that he is a hero and a role model to so many. God bless you all!"
Dave of Hazel Park, MI

"Thank you and God Bless you and your family for the service to your country. I have never met you or your family. I saw your story on the History Channel and your sacrifice touched my heart in a way I cannot explain. Please know that your service did not and could not go unnoticed. Your love of country and corps is forever etched in my mind. Thank you."
K. Barnett of Compton, CA

"It's your 26th birthday today, and I find myself crying, and reading these messages to comfort me. I will always wake up everyday missing you and the best times of my life."
your blood. C.J. Hanks of winter park/ Florida/America

"Mike, I miss seeing you around, You were a good man, and a great friend"
John Hartman of Fowlerville MI

"Hanks what can I say? I remember partying with Bryan and Hanks at margarita rocks. LOL great time. oorah
Sgt S Mcknight "ricky recon""
Mcknight of Phx, Az

"Semper Fi Hanks"
SSgt Williams

"Mike i will never forget you, you were a great friend."
james butler of mass

"I recently read We Were One. I was very moved by what i read. i just want to thank you for dedication and courage. you are truly a hero. i have a friend serving right now in iraq. he is also a marine. i pray everyday for them and for the fallen. thank you again for what you have done"
ashleigh of richmond, va

"Corporal Michael Hanks, I simply cannot thank you enough for your courage and bravery in giving the ultimate sacrifice. You truly are a hero, and your story I will remember until the day I die, thanks to the book, 'We Were One'. Tears filled my eyes as I read on about your death. I don't even want to finish the book because of what happened. But I will. I look forward to the day in just one year when I join the Corps and have the honor of calling you my fallen brother. Semper Fi Marine. Godbless, and thank you."
Keith of Rio Grande, NJ

"Hey Mike just found this site and it makes me feel proud to of known you and served with you brother. Thank you for all you did to make us, "the boots" ready for anything. Keep a watch out for us down here man. See you again soon brother!"
Michael Lopez, Warrior 3/2 of Rancho Cucamonga Ca, USA (Present Al Anbar Province Habbaniyah Iraq)

"i wish i could have met the brother of my fiance i have heard great things about mike. god bless"
randi of howell

"I learned of a Marine named Michael Hanks upon reading a book called "We Were One." It never ceases to amaze me how the bond of Brotherhood prevails over all adversity in the face of combat. Many eyewitness recalled that never before had they seen such dedication. They must have not been Marines...Period
Thank God Cpl Hanks trained his Marines to complete the mission just as Chesty Puller instructed.
SSG Cook US Army of Baltimore

"I served with Hanks in OIF 1, and then I transferred to 2/1 and went to Fallujah with them and I regret not going with 3/1, I lost a lot of friends when 3/1 went into Fallujah after I left Iraq. Wish I could have been there with all my friends to have atleast seen them one last time, Hanks was a funny guy, and loved the Marine Corps even if he never said it. More importantly we all loved each other and we all would have died for one another in a blink of an eye and not thought twice about it. Semper Fidelis and tell Chesty Puller I said, "Ooh-rah!""
William Gwin of Norfolk, Virginia

"I was inspired after watching an episode of "Shootout" that documented the battle at Falluja. It really moved me to the point of tears. Thank you Mike for your service to our country and may god rest your soul."
Steve W. of Northern VA

"I just read We Were One and I am in awe of the bravery and dedication of men like Michael Hanks. From a fellow countryman God Bless you and may you Rest in Peace."
Mike (NYPD) of NYC

"Soy de Chile y conocí la historia de Michael W. Hanks a través de The History Channel. Sus familiares y sus camaradas de armas deben estar muy orgullosos de Michael, creo que él es una inspiración para todos los hombres y mujeres que sirven actualmente en Iraq y que arriesgan sus vidas por su país, su bandera y sus compañeros.
Eres grande Michael."
Pedro Herrera of Iquique, Chile


"i was a corporal in hanks platoon who was responsible for training these young marines. hanks served with me in OIF I. he was always the light of the party and i dont want to sound cliche but i honestly mean that. not only did he put smiles on our faces but he always was there as a marine corps brother. semper fi hanks. where ever you are hanks always know you will always have a place in my heart. take care and god bless.

Cpl Garcia, Armando 1st Plt, 1st Sqd, 1st fire team. Lima Warrior AKA Lil Gunner"
armando j garcia of del rio tx

"Mike you are my hero. I didn't even know you, but after reading "we were one" and hearing your story and the stories told of you I started crying like had lost a brother of my own. each day i thnak god for what you lived, fought and died for. Here one day soon I will leave for the island and will have the oppurtunity to earn the title U.S Marine. Semper Fi, oorah and godbless"
Dylan B. of leitchfield, Kentucky

"I served with Mike in 3/1, I was with him on his first deployment aboard the USS Denver, he was a hell of a man and an outstanding Marine, I miss him everyday."
JLT of Grayling, Michigan

"I just read the book "We Were One' and it told the world how brave you were. You born to fight.
God Bless you Marine. Semper Fi."
Peter of New York

"Michael, you are my hero. I didn't know you personally, but i was in tears reading 'We Were One'. We won't forget the things you did.
Goodbye, and thank you."
Danielle O'Reilly of London, UK

"To Lance Corporal Michael Hanks and family: I dont know him personally but when i read the book '' WE WERE ONE '' and know his story tears flowing in my eyes at the end , god bless you michael and your family"
Jonathan C. Dimatulac of California

"i had the great pleasure of serving with mike during his first tour. i have never in my life met a finer man or marine. semper fi brother."
JDM of somewhere in OHIO


"LCPL Michael W. Hanks was 1 of 7 U.S.Marines of Lima Company, 1st Platoon, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment (3/1) KIA in the battle for Fallujah,Iraq in Nov 2004. The bravery & courage of these Marines is well documented in the book entitled "We Were One" written by Patrick K. O'Donnell. It's recommended this book be read by all Americans to get a true feeling of what these Marines encountered in this battle. Thank YOU, Michael, for YOUR service & sacrifice to our great country."
Anonymous Veteran of Melrose Park, Illinois

"God Bless the Hanks family,
I read the book "We Were One" about the 3/1 Lima Marines and felt as if I had known Michael for years. It is an Honor that my son...LCpl Gow...Is also with the present day Lima Co. of the "Thundering Third"

Semper Fi Michael"
Wallace Gow of Phoenix , Az.

"Thank you for teaching me what it meant to be a marine, and a leader. From my early days in 1st Plt, all the way to Fallujah, we looked up to you as an Iron Fist of Marine. Never Forgoten"
Brenden Wright of Lansing, MI

"mike was a good friend, i got to serve w/ him in 1st plt in falluja and all the way back to plt 1037 in bootcamp. he was a great person and a bad * marine. in love for all the blood, sweat, and tears."
Heath Kramer of mantua, OH

"To Michael's family,
Please know that as time goes on, you are still in my thoughts and prayers. Michael's serivce to our country brings tears to my eyes. Stories of his friendship I hear are absolutely beautiful. He will never be forgotten and always in my heart. Live your life with smiles and laughter so he can see you from above, and you'll make him proud!
A proud sister of a US Marine"
Michelle Smith of CT

Joel of Dallas, Ga.

Joel of Dallas, Ga.

"I knew your son well we were in the same platoon together for 3 years. He was a great Marine, good friend and all around good guy. Thinking of his death brings back alot of memories and alot of them not so good ones. But i will be forever indebted to him because he gave the ultimate sacrifice for me and all my fellow Marines."
William G

"It's been a year. I'm really thankful for what you have done for our beautiful country, Micheal. Thank you so much."

"Hello, I am Michael's mother and would love to hear from all the people that have meet him. Anybody that knew my son had a story and I would love to hear them could you please e-mail them to me at hanks_karen@yahoo.com It would be a wonderful gift for me thanks and I would like to hear from Cami if she is out there please thanks
My home address is below. Bless you all
No matter how small or how large or silly or stupid I would love to hear them Thank You"
Karen Hanks of 213 Georgetown Pk wy Fenton, MI 48430 USA

"Cpl. Hanks,
I am a 62 year old extremely grateful citizen of this great nation. From the depths of my heart I thank you and honor you for your extreme sacrifice. You bravely and heroiclly put yourself in harms way so that millions like me can live in peace and safety. I pray that God has you in his loving arms and is providing well deserved peace and comfort."
Len G. Smith of Cape Coral Florida

I will never forget you and all the fun we had at lunch when you came to howell. You were a friend to me when no one else was. You are a hero and i will never forget you and the good times we had buddy."
Adam Noon of Howell, Michigan

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

"May you now know the peace you so deserve, in God's home. Thank You Michael. My heart aches with your family."
Melissa Macchi, cousin of PFC Mark Barbret, killed 10/14/04 of Roseville, MI

"To the family of Lance Cpl. Michael Hanks,

I learned about Michael through the media, and was struck by accounts of his courage, honor, and compassion. Michael was one of the good guys, and it's people like him who make me so very proud to be an American. I am deeply sorry for your loss."
Wilson Brooks of Alexandria, Va.

"To the family and friends of Lance Corporal Michael W. Hanks,

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

"To Michael's Family:
There are no words to express the sorrow we feel for your loss. May God bless you and help you through this time."
Dan and Meg Manninen of San Antonio, Texas

"To the family and friends of Michael Hanks:

Although I did not know Michael personally, I honour his sacrifice in the just cause of freedom. There are no words for a life lost so young, but you should know that many people in many countries around the world are mourning Michael's loss today. We are thinking of you and praying for your comfort in this time of sorrow."
A grateful New Zealander of Auckland, New Zealand

"To Michael's Family and Friends:

On behalf of the Blanco-Caldas family, we send our sincerest condolences. We share the same loss ... the same pain. Our prayers are with you in this most difficult time and we thank you for your soldier's bravery and sacrifice.


The Family of Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco-Caldas, 82nd Airborne
KIA Iraq 12/28/2003.
Gloria Caldas (The Big Ern's Mom) of San Antonio, TX

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

"Thank you Michael Hanks, 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 Lance Cpl. Michael Hanks:
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 Michael 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 Lance Cpl. Michael Hanks:
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 Michael, 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