Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Spc. Nathan W. Nakis

19, of Corvallis, Oregon.
Nakis was in a convoy returning to Mosul when he lost control of his vehicle after driving through an oil-soaked area in Mosul, Iraq. He was assigned to Company B, 52nd Engineer Battalion (Heavy), Army National Guard, based in Albany, Oregon. Died on December 16, 2003.

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"While we were not particularly close over the years, you held a special and distinct honor as perhaps the first real friend I ever made. We met at Carrol Engberg's preschool class. I was a painfully shy and a complete anti-social introvert, something that would haunt me to this day, and you were a strangely outgoing kid who never talked(at least in preschool), opting instead to follow me around and acting like an animal/puppy dog/rabbit/or something. Perhaps the last memory we shared came when you were at college in Corvallis and just got the notification you were heading overseas. As one big last act of insanity, I gave you the location of a female friend's dorm room on your campus so you could repel on to her balcony and raid her room, which you did like a trooper. It's 2022 and I was thinking of you buddy."
JH of Fairbanks, Alaska

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!"

"My dearest Nathen,
I miss your smiling face and presents in this world every day... I wish I could have gone to the war in stead of you...
Im so up set that I couldnt go to your memorial... but my command in okinawa wouldnt let me leave early...

I will always remember you running around our really tall friend Clay and calling him daddy lol you made me and Katie laugh soo hard... and we were all in a band called smut lol... we all went to home coming to gether and ive never told any one this but I was kinda jealous that you asked Katie and not me lol... but I was kinda shy about it... to shy to even ask you to dance though we were all friends and we all got our picture taken together...

These are the memorise that stick out in my mind now as most of them have been erased by the VA giveing me ECT to combat my major depression... dont worry though im not deprssed because of you... your smile makes me happy everytime I remember it laughing and joking with us all before school and hanging out and such lol and seeing your Christ like self on the back if a donky in Iraq with children all around you :') those are the memories I have of you my friend my high school crush lol and brother in harms and arms...

I miss and love you everyday Nathen... thank you for your ultimate sacrifice... for our our rights and freedoms... it is in your honor that I go to the VA and accept my VA PTSD disability for I never feel like I deserve it because I didnt do as you or others did... but I accept it because I know you want me to... and are telling me to... yes I hear you my brother... and not in my crazy messed up brain lol but in my heart... where you are and and always will be...

Mcl and blessed be my friend and brother

Love Jamie Lynn Anderson :'D im a corpsman I can help"
Jamie Lynn Anderson of Long Island New York

"nakis it has been along time since you left us. A long timesince i reached out like this too. I miss you.. your attatude, you candor, andthe many talks we had about the Beavers and what you wanted to do in the future. I havent forgotten you nor will i ever forget"
SSG James Rader of Salem

"Wow Nathan it's been 8 yrs that you've been gone all ready, sure dose'nt seem that long ago. I and all of Us sure do miss your great enthusiasm and your "let's git er done attitude. You inspired a great many people in the 1249th Battalion as well as the B-52 Engineers. You were a great asset to the the 5Deuce and we all think about you all the time. My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to your family now and forever...., Rest In Peace lil Brother we will always love you,and Never will forget you...I Salute You...... Spc.Joe Cook B52nd En.Bn."
Joe Cook of Albany,Oregon

"Nathan was the best friend a person could ask for. His joy for life was infectious. I'm sure that Im not the only person who keeps Nathan as the person they strive to be like. I have never met a more generous and geniune human being. I miss you Nathan."
clay christofferson of spring, TX

"I was supposed to be in that convoy, in the vehicle behind Nakis, I didn't go. To this day I'm not sure if the fact that I wasn't there is a blessing or a curse. All I know is that I think about him often, and smile, but often feel a pain in my chest when I do. He was a great guy."
Kelley (Bratton)

"Nathan you were an amazing person!! It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do to tell my brother at his bootcamp graduation that somebody he had grown up with and been so close to had passed. You are missed by everybody, your family and the people who knew you so close. Thank you for your unselfishness to give your life to serve our country. I think of you every day when I put my boots and camis on and I know my brother and everybody else you have touched does too."
Heather of Alexandria, Virginia/Sedro Woolley, Washington

"Nakis I will never forget you."
SPC Horn(Mrs. Ann Claiborne) of Colorado Springs


i know it has taken a while for me to write this but i still can not beleive that you are no longer here. i can still see you walking down the high school hall ways tuba bell on your head and sitting in the chair infront of me in the hotel loby in your blue spedo on our last disneyland trip.

what you did classifies you as a true hero and i will always miss you and i hope that where ever you are you are happy and at peace."
Laura of Sedro woolley, WA USA

"December 13, 2008
To the family of Spc. Nathan W. Nakis:
Nathan 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

i know that i did not get toknow you well but you are one of the reasons i joined troop 4067 and you were always kind to anyone when then needed help and if they needed the help you would go out of your way to help them. Everyone that worked at Camp black mtn with you will pass on your memory to everyone else that ever comes there or ever works there for summer camp.
my wishes still go out to arty and elenor and your brother. im sorry you had to die so young and not get to live your life to the fullest like all your friends that you went to school with. and i bet that any of them would trade their life just so that you could come back into this world"
Nick Montgomery of Burlington Wa Usa

"Nathan was a good man. i didnt know him that long but with the little time that i knew him he was kind generous, and loving. when i was little he would help me with some things and he would play games with me. i looked up to Nathen so much. when i was little i also thought of him as my uncle or as an older brother. he stood up for me and was there when i needed him. when my grandparents ( gene and jayne) told me he had passed away i was so sad. i was only 10 years old when he passed. and to this day im still sad. and i wish his family the best and i kind of know what there going through. he was a good kid, and we all loved him. Rest in peace nathen we all love you <3"
Katie Schloemer of Bow, washington

"i am so sad. i wish his family the best of luck."
Athena of Washington

"Nakis Family....I just wanted to say that there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of Nathan and the fun we had in Iraq. I miss him and have that little piece of paper at my front door that we were given of what you said. Your son was a ray of light that was taken too soon and made such an impact on so may peoples lives. I truly am honored that you allowed me into your home while I was on R and R to talk with you. I miss him Daily!"
SPC Chris Rutter Commanders Driver , B Co. 52nd Eng of Salem, Or

"I just wanted the Nakis family to know that we love and pray for you every day that passes. Each night as I watch my own son fall asleep in my arms I say a special thank you to Nathan for bringing peace to our world. Thank you Arty and Eleanor for bringing him to us even for his brief time."
Cuellar Family (Rachel Money) of Dallas, Texas

"I grew up with Nathan we were friends as kids all the way into Highschool. I still remember the day I found out about him. And I can't belive it's been almost four years. I miss you Nathan and I will always remember you and the times we shared growing up together."
Cori Jackson of Sedro Woolley, WA

"To the family of Nathan Nakis,
I am a member of First Baptist Church of Orlando. This past Sunday we had a flag march from one part of our campus to another. We were each given a flag with a fallen soldiers name(there were 2 flags per soldier, so someone else was praying for your family also). I prayed for Nathan and you on our walk (we were led by bagpipes) and tried to picture your brave son. At the end of our walk, we placed the flags in rows of wood with holes drilled in them. It was such a lovely sight. The flag will remain there until the 4th of July. They are located on a busy road with a huge sign that says "WE REMEMBER". I know none of this will bring Nathan back home, but I pray in some way it will bring some comfort to your family to know someone is praying for you. God bless your family and all the soldiers."
P. Diehl of Orlando, FL

"To the family of:Nathan W Nakis I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. He died a hero defending freedom. May you have the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Prayerfully, we will 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, Gateway Community Church, 11677 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015. Your friend in Jesus Christ,"
Polly Ballew of Covington, GA

"My soldiers and I carried Nathan from the aircraft at Dover AFB. His name, out of so many, has stayed with me this whole time. I think of him often though we never met in peace time. He, for a reason that I cannot explain since we never met,is an inspiration to me. I am proud to have welcomed him home and honored to have carried him for a grateful nation."
CPT. M of Va.

"When I first came to Sedro-Woolley my freshman year, Nathan was a senior. My first impression on Nate, was that he was a very interetsing and enthusiastic individual. To me, it seemed like he was always in his own world and that's what made me like him as a friend. He never tried to hide his true colors and was always upbeat about everything. The one thing I'll miss and remember Nathan for is how he made me feel comfortable in the highschool band because when I first started Band in 9th grade, I wanted to quit, but Nathan wouldn't like me. He said "it's best to try something new then just to quit on it without ever knowing what you could have accomplished. I want to thank Nathan for being a great friend to me and for always being there when I needed someone to talk to."
Amber Schuyler of Burlington, WA

"Nathan, thank you. You are the reason I cherish being a NCO. Your selflessness saved the lives of our fellow soldiers and friends. It is my honor to have been your squad leader. You often made life in Iraq a little more tolerable, a little more enjoyable. The joy you brought the Iraqi people, especially the children, often reminded me why I am a soldier.

Elinor, Art, and Nick. Thank you. It is simple to see how Nathan became such an amazing person. Your thoughtfulness for me during your own grieving is more than I could ever expect or deserve. You have helped me manage my own pain. I will forever be indebted and grateful. I am so very sorry that I was not able to bring your son and brother home."
Staff Sergeant Lee Carrar of 2nd Squad, 3rd Platoon, B Company, 52nd Engineer Battalion (Combat Heavy)

"Nathan I am one of the medics who was on the scene of your accident. I am sorry things had to end like this and I know your in a better place. I did all I could do and sorry I couldnt do more. When I realized you were the same age as me it made me realize that Iraq was real and I am not indestructable. I send prayers to your family."
PFC Hughs of Ft. Campbell, KY

"he will never be forgotten. because he gave so much to the community and the school. you may be gone Nathan, but you will never be forgotten even though i've met you once in my sophmore year when Sarah Kemper died, you were compassionate and caring for those who needed comfort. we loved you very much and i know that i won't forget what you've done."
Alyssa Parker of Sedro-Woolley

"Specialist Nakis, 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, Nathan, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you. Pat & Sandi B from Montana "

"My prayers and thoughts go out to all the family members. We lost a loved in fallujah. I know it is hard to understand but, we are with you and rest of your family. God bless"
Kelly Meidinger of Bismarck, ND

"SPC. Nakis:
Thank your for giving yourself so that those of us at home can live freely and safely. There are not enough 'thank yous' for a gift such as this. Rest in peace soldier."
Dan and Meg Manninen of San Antonio, Texas

"I had gone to high school with Nathan. I am from the same town and when this hit home, it hit hard. Our town will never be the same. The innocence of a small logging town is broken. My fiance is going to Iraq this spring, and because tragedy hit too close to home, I am scared. It can happen to any of our boys. I pray everyday for them. As for Nathan I would like to say he was a good person. He was nice to everyone and he had the respect of many. He was musically inclined and had very many talents. I would always see him running for track and admire is eagerness to be all that he he could be. He will be truly missed, people like him are not a dime- a dozen."
Racheal of Sedro Woolley, WA

"Nathan was my nephew, and he is very sadly missed. I'm proud of the work he and his unit were doing to help the Iraqi people. From a poem by Garrison Keillor, whose words I dedicate to Nathan: "I believe in impulse, fresh and green, believe in the foolish vision that comes out true; believe that all that is essential is unseen. And for this lifetime, I believe in you..." Love, Anne"
anne nakis of massachusetts

"If you would like to learn more about Nathan, visit the memorial we set up for Nathan on our website by clicking here


Tim of Portland, OR

"Thank you Nathan Nakis, 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

"My heart broke as I read this notice. My son is also 19 years old and in the National Guard. This has been, and continues to be, the hardest times of our lives. My prayers are with my son and all our troops. My prayers are with you and your family. May God ease your pain and give you comfort."
Melissa Deel of Virginia

"To the family and friends of Spc. Nathan Nakis:
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 Nathan 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 Spc. Nathan Nakis:
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 Nathan, 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