Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Marine Lance Cpl. Tony L. Hernandez

22, of Canyon Lake, Texas.
Hernandez died when the CH-53E helicopter he was in crashed near Ar Rutbah, Iraq. He was assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California. Died on January 26, 2005.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Marine Lance Cpl. Tony L. Hernandez.


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

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"There was a sign made in remembrance of you some time ago, and to this day, it still hangs in our new hangar. I never knew you but I wish I could have. You paid the ultimate price in a job where we must live our days to the fullest. You will never be forgotten and future generations will learn who you are. Semper Fidelis unknown brother of mine."
Cpl. Dalton VanCor of HMH-361, MCAS Miramar, San Diego, CA.

"There was a sign made in remembrance of you some time ago, and to this day, it still hangs in our new hangar. I never knew you but I wish I could have. You paid the ultimate price in a job where we must live our days to the fullest. You will never be forgotten and future generations will learn who you are. Semper Fidelis unknown brother of mine."
Cpl. Dalton VanCor of HMH-361, MCAS Miramar, San Diego, CA.

"Well... Tony . I really do miss you. Happy memorial day. I love you. You are my twin💕 everyone says we have the same red hair. You cant buy our hair in a box haha and the same laugh and the way we sit. I am just glad i can give them an image of you still. I miss you so very much! 💔 you were like a brother to me. We didn't really get to spend much time together but im glad i did 6 years of my life. I couldn't thank you enough. You are my HERO. I wish i could hug you and hear you one last time. I know your always watching over me. I am in a good relationship with a guy and wish you could meet him. Love you tony bologna please dont ever leave me."
Kaitlyn Michelle Mendez - twin of Canyon Lake, Texas

"Its November 30th 2012 and i still miss every moment with you Tony! You were the best uncle a little girl could have to look up to! You are my HERO and I will NEVER forget you! I wish you could see baby cam he's so cute and he looks just like his daddy :) I hope one day I could show him all the pictures of the family and tell him that you died as a hero to protect us and for everyone else to be safe too. I do miss you! your laugh, helping me when I'm sad, seeing me grow up, everything... I'm going to hate not having you here to see how well I'm doing or to even see me get married and have kids because I know they would love you as much as i do. Well i love you Uncle Tony! your always with me in my dreams, in sprit, and in my heart for ever and always!
Jordan Nichole Mendez Proud niece of Tony L. Hernandez! <3<3<3<3"
Jordan of Canyon Lake, TX

"To the family of:Tony L.Hernandez
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""

This is the 4th of July weekend and I woke up early this morning with you on my mind. I just wanted to thank you for the sacrafice you made for me and my family. Thank you for the freedom we enjoy because of men and women like yourself that have given so much. I keep your family in my prayers and one day we will meet again. God bless you and thank you again!
Ben and LeVana Brooks"
Ben Brooks of New Braunfels, Texas

"Hey Tony,
I only new you for a short time, right before you left for Iraq, wish I got to know you better. Godspeed."
Declan of Seattle, Washington

"Tony i miss you A LOT and i still think about you and cry. miss you! I wish you never would of gone away i hope to see you again one of these days with you laughing and telling me jokes.
love your niece Jordan<3"
Jordan of Canyon lake TX

"Tony its been 5 years since you been gone but I never forget you brother, I wrote a song for you and all of the guys we lost that day that I will never forget, Tony when your life ended my mission began to speak truth so that we dont have to say these words anymore.
Positive Perception was inspired by you and Its our life is your tribute, I love you "T""
Johnny (Matrik) Salcedo of Los Angeles

"Five yr bro, but you will never be forgotten, "snap". To his wife and Family, he was a hell of a man and friend."
S.R.- HMH-361 of Ft. Worth Tx.

"Tony was a very good friend of mine. We went to school at MCAS New river and checked in to 361 about the same time. I think about him, SSGT Kimbal, Capt Alaniz, And Capt Gordan every day.I will never for get Tony, or the other crew members."
Sgt Tony Speedling of Jacksonville, NC

"January 17, 2009
To the family of Lance Cpl. Tony L. Hernandez:
Tony 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

Brother, I miss your smile, your laugh. I remember when we got rocketed and you ran and jumped about 10ft infront of you. Scratched your elbow and we laughed about it. I tell all the young CC's about you and how you are a true HERO!!! YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN!

SSgt Gosney, C.D. of HMT-302

You are missed very much. I miss your laugh, smell everything. You will be my heart and most likely everyone who knew you. you're family and friends miss you. luv ya"
Racey of New Braunfels, Tx



"Tony, I'm thinking of you and our loving family. I speak to your dad and moms alot. I believe in spirit energy and that you are in a realm where you are with us in spirit.
Love Aunt Chucky."
Memorial 2007 of SO CALIF

"Tony it's been two years and I still miss you so much. I will never forget you or our memories we shared. Thanks for being my best friend all these years! I love ya and miss ya!
RIP Tony"
Danielle of Parker, CO

"Tony you're in my mind and in my heart. Your strong spirit lives on within all of us, your family. 10/25/2006."
A. Chucky of ca

"Tony you're in my mind and in my heart. Your strong spirit lives on within all of us, your family."
Aunt Chucky of CA

"I will never forget Tony, he always made me laugh. We always talked about TX and how we would get togeather when we got back. The day before 60 went down I remember giveing him a hug, patting him on the shoulder and telling him to stay cool. I will always remember him, He will never leave my heart."
Victor A. De La Cruz of San Antonio TX

"It is Feb 25th, 2006....My name is Diane Adame. I have written before, I just wanted to let you know Tony is not forgotten, I will always remember his and your sacrifices. God bless you.
Diane (VERY Proud Mom of a United States Marine)"
of San Antonio, Texas

"Tony -- What can I say man? I am gonna miss you. You were always so great, so friendly, so full of life. I can't believe you're gone. But I know you will always be with us, watching over us. Thank you for all you did, my friend."
Cpl Anna Horn, USMC of Oceanside, CA

"To the family of Lance Cpl. Tony Hernandez: Today it's been a year since Tony left. I have thought of him each and every Day in between. The flag still flies in my yard for him.
I just want you to know, I will never forget Tony."
Jody Eidsness, mother of a Marine of Fort Collins, Colorado

"It has been only a few months since we lost four of our own. I remember walking into the squadron area, and knowing, from the stillness in the air, that something was wrong. The news hit us all like a wall. I thought I would be strong when I heard about the accident, then I asked who was on the flight... once I heard Tony was on that flight I began trying to believe that it was a mistake. I just saw Tony, he wasn't missing or in some crash. They must be mistaken, I kept thinking to myself, but the more I looked around I realized it was true, and the tears were uncontrollable. It sank in that I would never see him again. Tony will always be remembered as the guy who makes people feel good no matter what the situation. I'm happy that I had the opportunity to be friends with Tony, and I'm sure everyone who knew Tony felt the same. I am truely blessed to have known him at all, and I regret not letting him know what a good friend he was to me. He will always be remembered. I send my deepest condolences to his family and friends who also suffer in the loss of a truely dedicated and outstanding Marine. The passengers of Tiger 60 will always be remembered. The memory will keep them with us forever. May we never forget the sacrifices they have made to give us the freedom some people take for granted."
M. N. Rodriguez, Sgt USMC of San Diego, Ca MCAS Miramar

"To the Hernandez Family,

I met you the other day at my work...My heart goes out to you and your family. Your son is a HERO and will never be forgotten. I read every article I could find about him today, he really was a fine young man.

God Bless"
Diane Adame (Ashley Furniture) of San Antonio, Texas

"tony, i am not sure if i ever really told you how proud i am to be your big sister, but i am. i hope you are keeping the other guys that were with u that day laughing like you did with everyone else. i miss your smile and i see you everytime i look at your neice(my daughter). i love you and miss you big t!!! my condolences go out to the other families that are struggling like just we are. god bless."
Tracy Mendez of Canyon Lake, tx

"Tony was a bright young Marine, whose spirits were always high. He inspired his fellow Marines to look at the bright side of every situation. I tried to bring all of those boys home, and was unable to bring Tony home. I know Tony is here with us in spirit, but as one of our fellow line Marines put it, we miss our fat little buddy!

God Bless you Tony. The Line all misses you!"
SSgt Bunnell HMH-361 Flight line

"to the family of tony. he was a person who talked with everyone, no matter their walk of life, he was funny and caring, he graduated one year before my husband joshua flores and I. you are all in our thoughts and hearts tony. we will remember you forever. thank you tony, for serving your country,and for being so brave. we miss you"
joshua and cassie flores of san diego, ca

"My condolences to you and your family. My brother was also stationed out of Mirmar and lost his life that night. At his funeral, I displayed the names of all the marines on that flight to honor not only my brother, but those who stood with him, including LCpl Tony Hernandez. I first learned about Tony's involvement from the Family Readiness Group at my unit, 111th ASMB, in San Antonio and I wanted you to know that we share your pain and loss."
The brother of Capt. Paul Christopher Alaniz of San Antonio, Texas

"To the family of Tony L. Hernandez,
My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Thank you for having such a brave young man who dedicated his life for our freedom. I'm from San Antonio and it hurts to hear about a fallen hero who was from such short distance away. May you be at peace in this time of grief."
Dulce Villalobos of Oceanside, CA USA

"I was proud to have flown with Tony Hernandez when I was a pilot with HMH-361. I was heartbroken to see that this young Marine with so many years ahead of him had to depart this life so soon. Happy trails, old friend; I'm proud to have known you before you gave the ultimate sacrifice."
Maj Lee Cracknell of MCAS Iwakuni, Japan

"My son Sgt. Michael Finke was on the helicopter with Tony. My condolences to his family, as I share in the loss of one so loved. We are forever united through the sacrifices these young men made. Thank you and God Bless"
Sally Rapp of Westlake, Ohio

"My son, Richard Gilbert, Jr., was also killed on that helicopter with Tony and 29 other heroes. Our sons will be forever brothers in arms. May God ease your pain."
Helen Gilbert of Dayton, Ohio

"Our family sends our deepest sympathy, to you. We too lost a soldier, a son, agrandson, a brother, a uncle, a cousin, a friend on that day, in that helicopter. They will always be in our hearts!. God Bless our Fallen Heroes, We will never forget!"
Elizabeth of Bethlehem, PA

"To the family and friends of Tony Hernandez, my thoughts and prayers are with you all, Tony was a good freind of mine, and for a time we were in the same unit together. i am proud to have worked and flown with him. He will be greatly missed, to his family, i will be praying for you, and god bless."
David J. Vargas III/Cpl USMC of Key-Largo, FL.

"To the family and friends of Lance Corp.Hernandez.My thoughts and prayers are with you.He is a hero and I grieve with you for his loss.Stay Well may God bless you."
A Marine Dad of New Jersey

"To the family and friends of Lance Corporal Tony L. Hernandez,

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."
Sandra Moudy of Placentia, Ca USA

"To Tony'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 hero's bravery and sacrifice as we mourn the loss of yet another of Texas' sons.


Gloria Caldas
Proud Mother of Fallen Hero
Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco-Caldas
"The Big Ern"
82nd Airborne, KIA Iraq 12/28/2003.
San Antonio, Texas

"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

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

"Tony and I have been best friends since we were in grade school. He was the nicest person I ever met. He was always willing to help a friend out. He will not be forgotten and in his memory I plan to burn a candle at my wedding so he can be there with me and my Fiance to share our special moment. Tony I miss and love you! I would like to give his family my condolences because he was truely a hero!"
Danielle Litteral of Emporia, Kansas/US

"Thank you Tony Hernandez, 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. Tony Hernandez:
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 Tony 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. Tony Hernandez:
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 Tony, 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