Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army 1st Lt. Joshua C. Hurley

24, of Clifton Forge, Virginia.
Hurley was riding in a HMMWV when he was hit with an improvised explosive device in Mosul, Iraq. Hurley was assigned to the 326th Engineer Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Died on November 1, 2003.

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"Lt. Hurley,
Sir, I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Sappers Up!"

"We still miss you Josh. Class of 97 will never forget"
amber of Covington

"I never met Josh, but I want anyone who reads this to know that his memory still very much lives on in a most awesome man who served with him. This man doesn't let many people into his life, so I know Josh must have been a most remarkable person.

Thank you Josh for touching the life of the man I love with all that I am in a most wonderful way. You know who he is, and the troubles he faces daily. He misses you. Oh mercy how he misses you.

Memorial Day (2014) is only a few days away now and my beloved has a funeral of another loved one to make it through. I know his thoughts will be on you still even with the new burden he carries. Mine I assure you will be on the entire families of you both. I pray all involved find peace somehow this weekend and on all the difficult days to follow.

On 1Nov03 the lives of many changed...and over 10 years later...they are still changing. Time may continue to pass, but his memory will live forever. For anyone who reads this, you may never know who I am, but when you find you feel alone just remember there is a woman out there somewhere who is praying for you. Helping you through in my own little way behind the scenes, just like my hero so loves to do.

Here's to you Josh, for all you did for our country in life, and all you continue to do for my love, and now me, even in death."

"I meet Joshua's father in the airport in Houston last week. He told me of Joshua. I have never had something effect me like it did. I have known of people paying a price for my freedom,but never looked in the eyes of one who has lost someone for me. I was told of Joshua's commitment his dedication to never settle. He never took the easy way. Chuck I don't know if you will see this but love to stay in touch with you. 4323321777 thank you is not the right words and I don't know what to say other than I will never forget Joshua Hurley even though we never met."
Kerry Fisher of Midland,Tx

"Joshua Hurley,
I'm giving a speech today to my VMI ROTC class about your service and sacrifice for our country. It's an honor."
Jake Moyer of VMI Lexington, Virgina

"LT Hurley was my LT for OIF 1, even to this day I cannot look at an officer without comparing them to him. A great leader, compasionate and fair with a outstanding personality that made soldiers want to follow him, a great trait that any leader would love to posses. 9 years later I recently lost my first soldier that i was in charge of here in afghanistan, there is no doubt that PVT Harris and LT are looking down and safe guarding all of thier friends and comrades. thank you for leaving a impact that will never be erased in my mind and the mind of so many others."
SFC Jason Thomas of Cop Carwile, Afghanistan

"I have so many memories about Josh from when we were all growing up together. Him and my brother were best friends for as long as I can remember.

For the rest of my life...I will never forget all the times I cussed him for hitting me on the head with his damn VMI ring, his and my brother's hunting trip that they drug me along to video, the sleigh riding, the beach trips, Shane's bachelor party, all the shots of patron...I could write more but well, it's just not the same.

Josh, I love you brother and want to thank you for helping me to get to the place I am today. If I can ever be half of what you were? Well, I'll say that I did pretty good. We all miss you down here.

SSgt Nathan Wilhelm
United States Air Force
Military Intelligence
Wright Patterson AFB, OH

Headed back to Camp Slayer, Baghdad, Iraq in February

Message left 0227 on November 2, 2010"

"Miss U bro, I think you every time I go fishing, I know you are casting out in the greatest fishing hole ever."
Robert Lawson of Roanoke VA

"Remembering my friend Josh today on Memorial Day as I do throughout the year. There was only one person like Josh and he'll never be forgotten. May GOD continue to bless those whose lives he has touched."
Teresa Humphreys Windsor of Eagle Rock, VA

"Brother, I miss you. Every day I think about you, man. You can't believe how you impacted me and my life in just the short time we knew each other.

"The one that got away" from back home, the one we talked about so many times, is in my life again. Married to her, now. Wild how things work out sometimes. I wish that you could have met her, Josh. She knows about you and the time we shared together over there.

I am holding true to my word, brother. You still get that beer I owe you everytime I go out (even when I have one at the house). It'd taste much better if you were here to share it with me.

God's speed, buddy. Thanks for being my friend."
JP of 1-327th

""To the family of Joshua C. Hurley ,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""

"I served with LT. Hurley in Iraq 2003, He still crosses my mind at least once everyday, and am honored to have served with him."
CPL Tyree, Lisa of Tampa, FL

"You still cross my mind from time to time. February 27, 2010
Chad Nicely of Lexington , Virgina

"I didn't know josh but i am very good friends with his family and his friend Joey is like a brother to me I hope to meet you in the holly land. GO RANGERS!!!!!!!!!!"
Ben Persinger of Clifton Forge V.A.

"6 yrs SIR and still not a day goes by we dont think of you!
SAPPERS Lead The Way"
of afghanastan

"Its been 6 years and theres not a day that goes by that I don't think of you. RIP *My Joshy*"
Lindsay of Clifton Forge,VA

"Hey Ranger,
It has been six years since that horrible day and you know not a day goes by that your memory doesn't cross our minds. Air Assault sir. See you on the other side."

"I knew Josh very well he was my best friend and he was also my brother. Me and him did lots of things together like fish swimm hunt and check out the girle.Now that he is gone my world crashed and the world is less with out him.love ya Josh see later."
Joey Loughlin of clifton forge ,VA

"November 1, 2008
To the family of 1st Lt. Joshua C. Hurley:
Joshua 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

"Our prayers are with you and thank you for allowing your son to serve his country faithfully."
The Carpenter's of Deering, NH/USA

"you are not forgotten LT."
SAPPERS of 101st Airborne

"My name is CPL. Charles L. Dougherty, I served with Lt. Hurley for about 2 years and he was a great leader and friend. I am sorry this message is so late but I just came across this site. I am very sorry for your loss."
CPL. Charles Dougherty of Ft. Campbell, KY, USA

"We are thinking of you Josh today and always."
BR 01 of Bravo

"I knew Josh ever since I was a little kid because his mom Chris babysat me & I use to always call him *My Joshy*. I will never forget his heart made of gold or that crazy country grin. He was truelly one of the best people I've ever known and one of the greatest best friends I've ever had. We lost truelly a great man and I lost truelly a great friend. We love you Josh & will never forget you! You'll live on in our hearts forever!"
Lindsay of VA/USA

"I served in the same battalion as LT Hurley as the Senior Medic and remember the day as if it were yesterday. The dark cloud that hung over our battalion was something awful. We lost one of our own in that little Sapper family. LT Hurley you will never be forgotten by all of us who served in 326 during the 1st OIF! Sapper Eagle!"
SGT Jennifer Updyke of Clarksville, TN

"We are proud of Joshua C. Hurley. We had hoped his future would not have required this greatest of sacrifices. All of us are saddened by his passing. My words are intended to honor his memory and especially to make it clear of our appreciation for his dedication to service. HooRah... SEMPER FIDELIS, "Always Faithful" Patrick A. Gregory Cpl, USMC"
Patrick A. Gregory of Eagle Rock, CA, USA

"I didn't know Josh well, but we crossed paths a few times at VMI. Regardless, I will never forget him and his sacrifice. God bless you."
CPT Rachael L. O'Connell of US Army

"Josh was a good friend of mine. I enjoyed hanging out with him and just being teenagers. I will never forget the strange way he and I became prom dates for our senior prom. Or just going for a drive. Or missing his call when he was on his way to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I will never forget anything we did together or him. He will always be missed..."
Beth Hepler Amos of Portales, NM- Air Force

"Mr and Mrs Hurley,
I was in Alpha Company, 326 Engineers during our tour in Iraq. I was in the 3rd platoon and didn't know him as well as I wished I had but every soldier in our company loved LT Hurley. He was without a doubt one of the greatest officers I have ever had the chance to serve with. I know you are and you should be proud of everything he has done. Men like LT Hurley are what make this country great."
SGT Shane McNeil of TX Army National Guard

"Dear Mr. and Mrs. Hurley,
We sent this letter during the war but do not know if you ever received it.

The Soldiers, Non-Commissioned officers, and Officers of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry wish to offer our condolences and express our bereavement at the loss of your son, Josh. We had the honor of serving with your son during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

We can’t imagine the grief that you must feel as parents losing a son. We cannot offer you compensation or explanation that would make your loss any more tolerable. What we can offer you is a glimpse of what your son meant to the Army and to our company. We know Josh as a man who led from the front without fear or reservation. Josh’s combat engineer platoon was attached to our company during operations in An Najaf and for some time afterwards in the cities of Qayyarah and Makhmur.

From the start of the war Josh and his soldiers became brothers to us, and we looked after them like family. Josh trained and led a highly competent group of young men into a war that would call on his platoon to conduct a myriad of complex and difficult missions. Josh trained his men to know the ins and outs of their jobs like no other engineer platoon around. His courage and the courage of his soldiers were an inspiration to everyone who saw them in action. He is the reason that so many of our missions went off with out a hitch.

Josh’s engineers were at the leading edge of Charlie Company’s mission to seize a military compound in An Najaf. While under direct and indirect fire, his platoon breached a hole in the perimeter wall that allowed our company to enter and clear the compound. After our Brigade liberated the city, Josh’s platoon took on the arduous task of destroying thousands of pounds of dangerous arms, ammunition, and explosives that were stashed away in over 100 primary schools in An Najaf. His efforts to clear the dangerous materials saved the lives of countless U.S. soldiers as well as all of the children in An Najaf.

As a leader, Josh commanded our respect. As a man, he earned our friendship and the loyalty and dedication that go along with it. His quiet charm and steadfast courage are unmatched, and will be terribly missed. I’m sure you are proud parents, and we thank you for bringing him to this world. He is a shining example of our nation’s character, and who we, as Americans, should strive to become. We are all better people from his influence.

We in Charlie Company want you to know that we will continue on in these uncertain times as Josh did. Without fear or reservation, in his memory.

With gratitude and respect,
Charlie Company, 1-327 Infantry"
of Ft Campbell, KY

"November 1, 2006

I never knew Joshua. I only know of him through my brother who served with him in Iraq. My brother holds Joshua in very high regard and the loss of Josh will forever be with him. It has passed to me as well.

I wanted to pay my respect to Joshua and to his family.

Joshua's reach is further than you may realize."
Martin MacDonald of Annandale, NJ

"Josh was an incredible guy. He was sweet and kind, and adorable all around. I'm sure he was an outstanding soldier, although I lost touch with him after he started his military career. I remember exactly what I was doing and where I was when I found out the terrible news. I met my husband later that night, with tears in my eyes... at Camp Lejeune. Everything still reminds me of him, from being at VMI for fireworks to anything about the awful war. It is almost the anniversary of his death, so I have been thinking of it more and more... that is how I found this site.

Thank you Josh for protecting our country and our freedom, and you are greatly missed...."
Dana of VA

"For myself and on behalf of my family, please accept our profound sadness at your loss. We are eternally grateful to 1st Lt Hurley and all those like him who have fought and died for our country."
Dan C of Allen, Texas

"I didn't know Lt. Joshua Hurley, but I found this site by chance and I felt I should express my thanks. Especially since I too, have the name, Joshua Hurley. There is no way I can ever express enough gratitude for what Joshua and so many others have sacrificed. We owe everything to these men and women. To the family and friends, I'm sorry for your loss, Joshua is a true Hero and will never be forgotten! God Bless our Troops"
Josh Hurley of High Point, NC

"Josh was my cousin, my mother is a Hurley as well. Even though I didn't know Josh as well as I should, he was a solider and I will hold his memory close to my heart...As a Nam Vet I have seen carnage and it's never easy and to see our young men who have so much promise leave us too early I weep for him and his wife.

A Troop 3/4 Cav 25th Inf Div"
1SG Lonnie Dotson (retired) of Covington, Washington

"My husband and I saw him the day before he left for Iraq. He was at a steak house waiting for his wife. I was introduced to him by my husband (John) and I looked at John and said, Do I know any stories about him? Josh laughed and said, "Not yet." As if to say he knew he would be doing great things and be remembered. Too bad about this war taking so many good people and leaving us tragedy. Josh was in OBC when my husband was there. We lived next door to him. I cant believe you're gone. I just cant believe it. 326 forever."
Kristin of clarksville, TN

"A member of the class of 2001 will be missed forever."

"I was with the 326 Engineers in Iraq. I served With Apha company headquarters platoon. I did not know Joshua as much as his platoon did but I was his Mechanic and we had some good laughs and we shared are goodies. Joshua was the platoon leader of first platoon, where 2 of my closest friends I served with was under his direct command. And if I trusted anyone to take care of my friends it was Joshua. So I want to say thank you to his wife and family for raising such a good role model, and an all around great person. He saved alot of lives in his leadership, and protected his country.

Troy A Benson
SPC. Troy A. Benson of Sacramento. California/USA

"Josh Hurley is the best friend I will ever have. Few truly know what a loss his death has been. Not a day has gone by in the 1 year and 17 days since he was taken that I have not thought of his crooked country smile. I will share with all who are interested the words I spoke at my best friend's memorial service 1 week after his death, an honor I pray none reading this will ever have to perform.

Eulogy as spoken by G. Seth Ford, VMI Class 2001, at the memorial service of LT Joshua C. Hurley on 8 November 2003:

I see a few faces I don’t recognize out there today so for those of you who don’t know me, I’m Seth Ford. Josh was my best friend, and the brother I never had.

I was asked to say something today, and I wasn’t real sure what that would be…I’ve never had to do anything like this before. So I decided to share with you all a little bit about the Josh I knew, and the Josh I’m going to miss in hopes that some of this may speak to more than one of you today.

We went wade fishing; we went float fishing. We went swimming, played basketball, football. We hung out with friends, and sometimes we just went ridin’.
We golfed, played pool, played cards, and hung out with friends some more. We danced. We changed the oil in our cars together and washed them afterwards. We even went hunting together, one time. We laughed ‘til we cried, and we cried ‘til we laughed. We took road trips to Christiansburg, Roanoke, and other places in Virginia. We went to Boone, NC; Atlanta, GA; Albany, GA; even to Savannah, GA for St. Patrick’s Day; Panama City Beach, FL because that’s where people go; and all the way to New Orleans, LA for Mardi Gras. All of these things I have missed, but not because he is now gone. Truth be told, I started missing all of these the second we got done doing them together. I just had plans of us missing them, together.

And what will truly be missed now, is not the things that happened, but the things that were supposed to happen…the dreams that never will…of getting together with my friend and talking about the old days. For a round of golf, or for a round of whatever we have with us—if I can say that here. For float trips, for road trips. For long talks that brothers have just when we need them; for long silences that have no desire to be filled. And when the time comes, I’ll miss my best man; and whether they’ll ever know it or not, my kids will miss their Uncle Josh.

All of us here today have our list of the “used to’s” and “should have’s”, and we’ll all miss his little kid smile and his grown man heart. But in the face of what has happened, remembering all that we have lost, and trying to realize the tragedy that happened that fateful November morning, we must remember some of the things that make Josh the luckiest man I know. First and foremost is his loving family. Not enough can be said about how wonderful they are or how much they love Josh. He is a testament to them and all they did for each other, as all of you hear today are a testament to the man Josh was. Second is his love for life, for he lived each day, took every opportunity and took it all the way, every time. And last, but certainly not least, Josh died for his country, doing something he believed in—an honor to a man’s life higher than any other.

I’d like to close if I can with a short story of sorts. It was the day Josh had interviewed for his Army scholarship—he had been nervous about it. I believe it was Captain Walls who had interviewed him. When he had finished he came to my room. “Well, how’d it go?” I asked him. “Alright”, he said. “Well Josh, what sort of things did he ask ya?” He mentioned a couple things but before we were done talking he said, “You know one question he asked me was if I had any regrets.” He said that he sat for a short moment trying to think. He said that when he finally answered he said, “I don’t suppose I have any, because all that I’ve done in my life, the good and the bad, have made me the man I am today, and I like me.”

We like you too, Josh. We like you too."
G. Seth Ford of Norfolk, VA USA

"I was Josh's attached Battalion Surgeon. He and I became friends over the months of the war until his death. The loss of his smile, friendship and his grace will be felt in the lives of many... including myself. The news of his death and his wife's proximity to it all was devastating. He shared with me some fond thoughts of his wife and his childhood... I wish I could have spent more time with him. Josh, you will never be forgotten by me."
Joseph C. MacDonald, MAJ 1/327 IN 101 ABN, of Lancaster, PA

"To the family of Joshua Hurley, I hope that you are approaching the point where you can begin to celebrate Joshua's life. We have to keep on going for our sons. I know that they are in a better place and that God had a purpose for them. If you'd like to contact me, leave a message on Capt. John R. Teal '94 VMI section of this website. We miss our "rats".

Love to all,"
Louise Teal of Montpelier, Va.

"Joshua was a true hero. He will be sadely missed. May God comfort his family. May God Bless Wanda
Wanda of Manchester,Tenn USA

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

"To 1st Lt Hurley's Family:
Though we are strangers, we want you to know how sorry we are your Joshua was taken from you. He is our hero. We will never forget. You are in our hearts."
Carol & Larry Miller of Tampa, Florida (2/24/04)

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

"Josh was a friend to many and to me the only genuine friend I ever had. To place my thoughts here I felt would be best rather than not place them at all. The day before he left we talked on the telephone for several hours. He had every intention to perform the duties he had trained so well and worked so hard to be able to do. He said, "I'm ready, my Joe's are ready, we're gonna make it right". Letters and emails through his efforts yielded more of the same. Not a single moment of my time can I have without remebering my friend. I like to think, I wouldn't have it any other way. My heart is left open for his family as they will never escape my thinking either.
"...they'll be no regrets, no worries and such, for cowboys like us..."
In honor and memory of my friend,"
Douglas Jeffries of Clifton Forge, VA

"Joshua is a cousin of my niece Meghan Hurley. Though, I did not know Joshua I do know some his family. I am very sorry for your loss. I pray God will wrap His arms of love and peace around you all.

In sorrow,"
Diane Tipling of Tulsa, OK

"Thank you Joshua Hurley, 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

"Your family is in my thoughts and prayers. God Bless You all."
Katie Dixon of Nashville, TN

"To the family and friends of 1st Lt. Joshua Hurley:
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 Joshua 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 1st Lt. Joshua Hurley:
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 Joshua, 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