Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Master Sgt. James F. Hayes

48, of Barstow, California.
Hayes died in Taji, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during patrol operations. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Died on November 6, 2005.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Army Master Sgt. James F. Hayes.


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

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"Hi. I work for the Dept of Defense and just received a Memorial Day remembrance card with MSG Hayes' name on it. Reading about him, "Smoke" was a great Soldier and leader. It just happens I was in Mosul deployed with 11 ACR when Smoke made the ultimate sacrifice for us in Taji. My condolences to his family and friends. Have a blessed Memorial Day everyone."
John Boland, MAJ (R) of Fredericksburg, VA

"I was sad to hear that MSG Hayes had lost his life. I remember Hayes when he was a Cpl in Germany in 1988. He was always quite and soft spoken, but what I remember most was that he was a smart soldier. Hayes was one of the older guys in our little crew. It just bothered me so much to have heard the news of him passing. He was a good man with a very good heart, Hayes man, damn! Love you brother."
Arnold of Georgia/USA

"Jimmy, I still think of you often (mostly everyday). I luv ya, man! I'll see you on the other side. And to Kathy and the kids...I hope all is well with you."
Brian Duke of Manhattan, KS

"Chief Hayes I remember the times I spent with you and Chief York in Ft Lewis Washington B 3/11 FA where you and Chief York taught me so much coming up as a young SGT. You and Chief York were the best of the best on the firing line. I remember going out to Yakima Training Center with you for a base piece shoot and serving as your gunner. Chief Hayes you taught me so much and I will never forget you and the leadership you provided. Thank you for all the Soldiers you touched and made better artillerymen and leaders. God bless and keep your family.
SFC (RET) Kerry D. Freeman (Strike Fast Kick Butt)"
Kerry D. Freeman of SC

"You were one of the finest NCOs I ever worked for and taught me so much about what it was too be a leader, and that you could drive Soldiers and still care about them, that it was in fact the same thing. The Army and the Country lost one of our best that day. You will never be forgotten."
Glenn Rodgers of Huntsville, Al

"You were one of the finest NCOs I ever worked for and taught me so much about what it was too be a leader, and that you could drive Soldiers and still care about them, that it was in fact the same thing. The Army and the Country lost one of our best that day. You will never be forgotten."
Glenn Rodgets of Huntsville, Al

"I will always remember being at Ft Lewis as a young corporal and seeing you and then SSG York as gun chiefs and thought that the both of you were the epitome of leadership and professionalism. As time went on and OIF started, I happened to be a SSG in a battery where you were the smoke and we had 1SG York as the 1SG (Even though you were only there with us for a short time). The thought of you two being there reassured me of our mission and our capabilities. You and your family will always be in my thoughts."
SFC Jose A. De Leon of FT Sam Houston Tx.

"I never want to forget the sacrifices of so many young men and women. I am so proud it makes me cry. I understand in theory only that war is a part of human nature but so is love and caring. I wish I could take the families pain away but I can't. I am committed to loving ALL people, myself and our environment. I am committed to working on my happiness everyday because so many have died for my freedom to live my life. Thank you is not enough but it is all I have. All my love and respect. ogersteiner@yahoo.com

Scott Steiner of Worthington, OH USA

"to uncle fred and family,
I rememeber driving with you from campbell to knox in the uhaul truck. its one of the best memories i have from my childhood.
to aunt kathy and family, imm sorry for your lose. i remember dad calling me in basic training and telling me the news. i couldnt help rememebering the ruckmarch i just got done with, i was wanting to quit and as soon as i was about to i felt the ruck lift off my sholders and felt as if someone was pushing me. i believe to this day that it was uncle fred. i love you all and miss you all
chris and the brink family"
Sgt Brink, Christopher of fort bliss, tx

"Smoke man. Where do I begin? Wolfpack 5, Battery XO for A BTRY-1/320th during OIF 1. I remember being told we would be getting a new Chief of Firing Battery. When you showed up, Smoke, we sat down and had our talk, exchanged a few pleasantries, and you proceeded to tell me how your firing line ran. As junior officers, we were always told NCOs didnt make the Army work-they made it work RIGHT. At that point, I truly understood what this meant. Smoke, you made life for the entire battery much smoother. You held the soldiers to the same high standards that held yourself. You groomed young soldiers into responsible young men, capable of leading others. You worked the boys hard, Smoke and sometimes you were tough on them. But at the end of the day, each and every one of them knew it was because you loved them and only wanted them to live up to the potential you saw in them. I remember right before I left the battery to prepare to leave Mosul to get out of the Army, you tried one last time to change my mind. Your words were more than complimentary to me Smoke, they were an honor. Your frank, up-front personality meant you held no punches and if you saw a spade, thats exactly what you called it. You told me, "Sir, I hate to see you go, the Army can use officers like you, but I'm glad to have worked with you, good luck out there..." If I hadn't lived and worked and interacted with you day in and day out, I would have taken that as a standard farewell. But it meant much much more, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the time you took with me. I was amused by the fact that we didnt see eye to eye about everything. From letting soldiers play basketball to patrol schedules to extra duty to assigning drivers. Again at the end of the day, you had the best interest of the troops and the battery at heart, and I always appreciated that. I keep a picture of you in a crowd of about 60 kids that we took in Mosul in '03 on my desk at work. Smoke man, thank you, thank you, thank you. You are FOREVER remembered, ALWAYS missed, and ETERNALLY APPRECIATED!

Johnathan O'Neil aka, BIG O
"Wolfpack 5"
A/1-320 XO"


I think of you often and know that I will never forget you. The world is a lonelier place without you. You were my true friend in a land far away when there were few to be had. Thank you for your inspiration, genuine leadership, and being there when I needed you. Oh, how I miss talking to you. I love you, Man!"
"Big Bri" 1SG Duke of Ft Riley, KS

"November 5, 2008
To the family of Master Sgt. James F. Hayes:
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

"To the family of: James F. Hayes 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"

"mr. fred
what can i say.. I LOVE U and u r like my second father, u are my hero along with my daddy, i remember sitting at ur house while u taught me algebra, u gave me hope and the loss of u truly saddens me.. I love u with all my heart and i miss u very much... u were an amazing person and i know u will watch over my lil brother when he goes to iraq in october.. I love u mr. fred"
tanya brink of independence, missouri

what can I say. You were more than a leader to me, you were that father figure that I never had the opprotunity to have. You went to the board with me. That ment so much to me. You were behind me in everything that I did in the Army. You helped me through our first trip over seas. You told me to always be strong and take care of home. I send my prayers to your family (I remember them being in your office like everyday doing things for the unit.) now you can rest smoke man cause you did good by your guys. This is the last MATHA F#$@IN!!!!!! HOOHA!!!!! SMOKE!!!!!! We love you"
SGT. Qahhaar (SGT "Q") of Huntsville, AL/ U.S.

"To the Hayes Family, I am so sorry for your loss. You are in our thoughts and prayers. To James, you sir are a true American Hero. Thank you for all you have done in Iraq. May God Bless you James and God Bless your family."
Mary Ghaney of Brooklyn, New York

"In Our Hearts

We thought of you with Love today
But that is nothing new
We thought about you yesterday
And the days before that too.

We think of you in silence
We often speak your name
Now all we have are memories
And your picture in a frame.

Your memory is our keepsake
With which we’ll never part
God has you in his keeping
We have you in our hearts.

Author Trudy Craft-Austin

Gone – but not forgotten.
Thank you for sharing your loved one with us,
and for the sacrifice made by you and your family on our behalf.
Proud mom of Lcpl Alex. Currently serving in Iraq"
Patricia of Bishop, CA

Your are a great friend and a great leader. I truly enjoyed sharing the front seat on a HMMWV with you on patrols. You are a great American and a hero for all of us. Your voice mail message says it all, "Keep leaning forward in the foxhole, Smoke Man OUT!"
Smoke you are the greatest, your fellow PLT SGT "PUFF""
SFC James Swearingen of Fort Sill, OK

"Smoke, you said I was your hero everyday, but you are my hero. You will be missed by all, but your style of leadership affected us all. You were a true Non-commissioned Officer, the best at what we do. I still see and hear you in every soldier you led. You were the "Rock" in "Rock Hard"."
SSG Forbess of Fort Campbell

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

"Thank you James Hayes, 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 Master Sgt. James Hayes:
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 Master Sgt. James Hayes:
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