Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Spc. Rafael L. Navea

34, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
An improvised explosive device struck Navea's vehicle in Al Fallujah, Iraq. Navea died of his injuries. Navea was assigned to C Battery, 2nd Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment, Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Died on August 27, 2003.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Army Spc. Rafael L. Navea.


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"Wish that I found this website sooner, I was Rafael Platoon Sergeant. I remember like yesterday, I gather his things and gave it to his Section Chief and load him into the chopper home, he was not alone the day he left us. I spoke with him just a few times, he was a hard working family men. I want to visit his grave site to pay my respects. With respect and appreciation.

Smoke Ramos
MSG Retired"
MSG Ramos of Dallas, Texas

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.

Faithful And True
(5th FA motto)"

I was Rafael's Vehicle Commander on the convoy that took his life. We spent many hours together just talking about our families, our children and life in the Army. He was the biggest, happiest, most sincerely motivated Soldier I have ever had the honor of working with. As the Commander of that vehicle, his safety was my responsibility. Rafael was my gunner. His actions when the IED hit saved the lives of the other 6 Soldiers in the back with him. He gave so much of himself in the 3 weeks he was with us, and ultimately gave it all for those around him. It's been almost 10 years now, and to this day, he is still in my thoughts every day. As his direct supervisor at the time of his death, I want to express my deepest condolences to you and your family. Those that were there have not been the same since. His loss weighs heavily on us all."
SSG John Buschmann of Rock Oscar, C 2/5 FA, Fort Sill

"To the family of Navea,

I don't do good on speeches but I am honored to speak on behalf of spc. Navea. I would like for you to know that I saw first hand what happened because I was with him in the convoy when he passed and I can't seem to let go what happened that day. He sat with me for hours on guard duty the day before the incident and he asked that I read the Bible with him. He told me of how he longed to get back home to his wife and kids. All in all he brought my spirits back up when they were down and taught me that there was things still left worth holding on to and then things changed for the worst that very next morning. Well, I want everyone to know that I haven't been able to live that day down but don't take this in as negative. Take some good out of this by knowing that everyday someone bad mouths anyone that fought for this country, I am here and Spc. Navea lives through me because I defend everything that anyone can say just for his sake. And if it makes a difference I broke my hand back in 2005 because of what somebody had the nerve to say. Anyway, my best wishes and condolences to the family and good bless"
Spc. Cory J. Reynolds of Lyons, NY united states

""Estrano mucho a Rafa y las lagrimas casi no me dejan tipiar...ok escribir..wow las cosas tan bellas que escribieron...wow me da alegria y tristeza a la misma vez..pero que orgullo tener un amigo..un pana asi...que privilegio que lo conoci y es y siempre va hacer parte de mi vida y de Marina....te he buscado por todos lados para saber como estas...bueno es Eileen Marie Morreo y estoy en facebook....y quisiera saber donde esta Rafa para pagarle mis respetos y agradecerle por mi vida....y tu Marina para verte....los tqm"
Eileen of Greensburg, PA, USA"
E Morreo of Greensburg, PA USA

"Gracias Marco Antonio por tus palabras. Siempre recordaremos a Rafa especialmente hoy que ya cumple 8 anos de haberse ido al cielo.
Thank you very much Andreina. I know you knew and appreciated Rafael very much. Wish you and your family always the best. Lucia K. Rafael's Mother"

"Me acuerdo de el carino tan grande que te tenia cuando nino y de la admiracion que nunca ceso de mi parte, te quiero y te extrano mucho mi primo querido y algun dia te vere en el cielo si dios me lo permite."
Marco Antonio Prado Gonzalez of Birmingham, AL

"Rafael came to the US from SA to make a better life. He joined the National Guard & served honorably. He did not re-enlist. A comfy, sedate life & a wife who was a marvelous cook brought his weight up to a very dangerous level. He was contemplating what he needed to do to lose weight, if he even wanted to bother. Then 9/11 happened.

Rafael knew then what he needed to do. He went on a massive diet/exercise program and lost enough weight to re-enlist Active Duty. He was assigned to HQ 212th Brig. Ft Sill, OK.

I was a new private fresh out of AIT. I too joined after the events of 9/11 at the ripe old age of 33, with 4 kids & an active duty soldier husband waiting for me at Ft Sill. I went through all 9 circles of hell to complete basic (got injured after 6 weeks, was in physical rehabilitation for 3 months, went back and did 6 more weeks of basic.) Then in AIT I discovered Dante lied, there are many more circles to hell. I graduated and then sat on Hold til my Security Clearance came through.

I inprocessed to Ft Sill the same day as Rafael. We had a lot in common. Joined at an older age, each had 4 boys, signed up after 9/11, were both very overweight & had to struggle with it.

Rafael was my coach & cheerleader. We worked out at the gym after PT for an extra hour before work. We power-walked at lunch & ran the track together after work. His wife is an amazing, wonderful woman who would join us after work to cheer us on during our runs.

Rafael did what I couldn’t do. Though I begged & pleaded to be allowed to deploy (anything to get out of my unit!!!) he was the one who went to Iraq. In the 2 weeks he was there he showed everyone what a wonderful, big-teddybear, father figure he was. The Iraqi children loved him.

Rafael lost his life to an IED after only 2 weeks in Iraq. I miss my friend.

Rafael is who this day was meant for. Rafael and men & women like him."
Andrina Lindstrom of Ft Sill, OK

"Gracias a todos por sus hermosas palabras.
Thank you everybody for your beatifull words.
Te amo,"

"Para Familia Rafael Navea, mis mas sinceras condolencias."
isaias navea of San Bernardo = CHILE

""To the family of Rafael L Navea ,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""

Con Honor y buenos recuerdos en 'Veteran's Day 09.'"
Eddy, Josh, y Lalo of Evans, Georgia

"to the Navea family my condolences goes out to you for the the ultimate sacrifice. while stationed at Fort Sill OK as a Drill Sergeant I trained alot of new soldiers and Navea was one of them, Refael was a very respectful person and i got he priviledge of talking to him about family and he shared with me pictures of the kids he spoke very highly of the family. Thank you for all you have given and God Bless Navea the family.."
samuel.molina SFC US Army retired of Columbus GA USA

iwas going thru old photos of army times and i found some of rafael in there and also i have an old answering machine that has a message from navea and i think that you should have it. it is when he was at ft sill.. please contact me if you can 412 760 4342 or email me davisclay9370@yahoo.com... I miss him a lot"
David Claycomb of edgewood

"Conoci a Rafa cuado vivi en USA en el ano 98...De una manera fortuita o por causalidad....Hoy 10 años despues buscandolo en el facebook para poder tener contacto con el de nuevo, me encontre con esta noticia.... Rafa, quizas estas letras solo sea una manera de desahogarme yo, pero espero lleguen a ti donde quieras que estes... Jamas te olvidare, tu sabes lo que significaste en mi vida, lo maravilloso de conocerte y las largas charlas fueron un aprendizaje continuo....Fuiste una persona maravillosa, un mago como tu hijo te creia pensando que podias cambiar la luz del semaforo de roja a verde solo con aplaudir!!Lamento no haberte buscado antes...kizas te hubiera dicho muchas cosas mas....Que tremendo orgullo conocerte Rafa...Gracias por esos momentos q aun 10 años despues siguen vivos!!...Tu amiga de siempre Adri Te quiero mucho!
Mi pesame(aunque tarde) para toda su familia..."
Adriana Rubial of Ahora en España, Barcelona.

"My name is SGT Jason Preston and i was there the day Rafael was taken there's not a night that i dont relive that day and hope that his family has found peace god bless you brother save me a me place next to you in heaven"
SGT Jason M Preston of Dallas Tx

"Marina, Nico, Ale, siempre Rafael va a estar en nuestros corazones.
Rafa te fuiste muy pronto pero descansa en paz tu familia y amigos jamás te olvidaremos y siempre vamos a estar junto a tu hermosa familia. Le diste a mi amiga lo mejor de su vida y siempre vas a estar en las plegarias mías y de mi familia."
Clota of Buenos Aires

"July 3, 2008
To the family of Spc. Rafael L. Navea:
Rafael 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

"Eres un gran heroe, un gran hombre... y todos estaremos siempre orgullosos de ti.. Tio rafa! te amamos, saludos a lafamilia desde Maracaibo -Venezuela."
Eugnia Martintereso of Maracaibo, Zulia. Venezuela

"To Rafael Navea family. First and most my deepest condolonces I know that it has been a very difficult time for you. Rafael was new to our unit and for the first day we met him he was liked and respected by everyone, always with a smile and talk about his wife and kids. I was with Rafael the day he left us. I was his Platoon Sergeant in Iraq and stayed with him until the end, and prayed. The unit was not the same after that day, I was never the same, it happens in my birthday. Once again, I'm sorry about your loss, I will always remember Rafael and his family he won't be forgotten. With respect "Smoke" Ramos. edramos27@yahoo.com"
Edgardo Ramos MSG USA (RET) of Dallas, Texas USA

"Just read about death of Rafael. It is indeed a sad tragedy. My condolonces to Navea family"
Romeo B. Navea of Muntinlupa City, Philippines

"I am very happy when i search for the family name NAVEA. flash on my screen was a HERO. i AM PROUD as one of the NAVEA here in the PHILIPPINES... CONDOLENCES to the family.

from: allan o. navea
legazpi city, philippines
emailadd: navea_allan@yahoo.com"
allan o. navea of legazpi city, philippines

"Clay,Carl,and friends:
Thank you so much for your thoughts,
Rafael's mom and I (his wife)always read this messages.We love and miss him too."
Marina Navea and kids

"Clay,Carl,and friends:
Thank you so much for your thoughts,
Rafael's mom and I (his wife)always read this messages.We love and miss him too."
Marina Navea and kids of Florida

"its been four years and not a day goes by I dont stop and think about you and the memories of the laughs you have brought. I can still hear your voice and it always brings a smile. you are near although we cant see you, we know you are there
clay of swissvale

"To the family of Rafael:
Every Sunday when I go to the field to play softball, Rafeal is in my thoughts and prayers. We all miss him still. We all loved him and his contagious laughter. His life and companionship made all of our lives a little better.
God bless your family. We shall never forget him."
Carl Vitti of Pittsburgh, PA

"Four years....

We love you forever,

N,A,S @ M"

"Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all who have sent messages remembering our beloved Rafael Luis or sending a word to his family. Whenever we feel sad, I usually come here and see the messages where some of his friends talk about him and it gives me a little peace. God Bless all of you and your families."
Rafael's Mom and Family

"Thank you Janet..."
Rafael's family

Soon it will be your birthday and we still miss you!!
We will always love you and we will always pray for your family
I can still hear your loud laughter and your funny words
Love you my friend!"
Janet of Pittsburgh

"Hi my name is Jaren I'm from woodsfield. I'am 9 years old. I'am a friend of Ed Shipp he served with Rafael. I just wanted to tell you that I'am very sorry for your loss."
Jaren Bradley Hupp of Woodsfield, Ohio

"My Heart goes out to the family and friends of this very special soldier. We grew up in the military togather in Ft Hood,Tx. I can still remember our last conversation togather before he went on his final mission. He was always about family- Everything he did showed that he loved his family as well as his country."
Staff Sgt John Thomas 2/5 FA of Atlanta, Georgia

"Rafa nunca te vamos a olvidar.Marina, Ninos y Maria Lucia siempre estaremos aqui para ustedes, Gracias por ese sacrifio tan grande, que Dios los bendiga."
Joey, Aleja & Jose of Ashland city,TN

"Para la familia de Rafael mi nombre es Elder Aguilar nosotros estavamos en Iraq cuando Rafael llego a nuestra unidad y me acuerdo en el dia antes que el falleciera nos mandaron a una mision de cuidar que habia gente poniendo bombas en las calles. Esa noche Rafael y yo nos quedamos hablando toda la noche lo unico de lo que el hablaba era de cuanto extranaba a sus hijos y esposa. En la manana nos hibamos a regresar a nuestro campo cuando nos dijeron que teniamos que ir a patrullar las calles eran como las 7:45 de la manana todo iva bien, en la ultima vuelta para regresar a nuestro campo olli una explosion y nunca se me va a olvidar yo iva manejando un humvee, mire hacia atras y en una nube de humo salio otro humvee paramos para ver que todo estaba bien, empezamos a tratar a los que estaban en el vehiculo, pero yo me di cuenta que Rafael faltaba, lo demas no lo quiero decir porque es muy triste. Lo unico que quiero decirle a la familia es que Rafael va ser extranado."
Elder Aguilar of tazelriag012001@yahoo.com Amarillo, Texas

"Te voy a amar por siempre..."

"To the family of:Rafael L. Navea 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

"Rafa, I will be forever in your footsteps, because now I have your duty. Not as a soldier but as a Dad. My promise: I will be there for him, always. When he is hurting, when he needs a friend or when he has those enduring questions that make us fathers cringe. Your son is my son. He will grow to be a man and love life as you did. He will be a man of character just as you were. When I look at him I see you in so many ways. I know you're so proud of him because I am.
Rafael and I were friends. We served in Iraq in support of OIF at the same time. I can only imagine the pain and worry his family was going thru, especially one of his sons. His oldest. For Rafa and I had something in common. His son Sergio. I am his step-father. The worry of not just losing one Dad but maybe both, must have been overwhelming. I reassured him that God is the only one that knows the answers. So Pray, not just for me but for all of us. And, He did."
SSG Chad Dehne of The United States Army

"Rafael, You are gone. The world is not the same. YOU ARE LOVED AND MISSED."



tu actitud tan positiva, la cordialidad con que nos trataste cuando se nos dio el chance de conocernos, tus chistes y carcajadas tan criollas y tan contagiosa, nos alegraste la vida en Texas...asi vives en nuestro recuerdo hasta que tengamos la oportunidad de reunirnos de nuevo, ciao por ahora "chamo"...
ps: Nuestras oraciones, apoyo, y condolencia para cada uno de los seres queridos de Rafa...siempre estaremos con uds."
Eddy, Josh, and Lalo. of US Army post inThe Netherlands.

"He tratado de localizar a uno de sus familiares y no me ha sido posible, por esta vía solicito si alguno se puede comunicar conmigo a mi correo para saber el lugar donde fue enterrado el cual me gustaría visitar en su aniversario. ivior03@yahoo.com.mx"
Ivonne G. Ordosgoitti of Caracas-Venezuela

"Rafa: Your memory and your smile will be with us for ever. We love you very much."

"Rafael, You were a very Special person. I will miss you terriably. We had a special connection and I really enjoyed working with you at upmc, thank you for all of or help and all of your time. I will always Love you. God be with you . ALWAYS"
Heather Oswald of PGH,PA

"Buscando los origenes de mi apellido siento tristeza al ver a un posible familiar caido. Mi pesame a la familia."
M.Navea of España

"Para sus familiares solo me resta ofrecer mis más sinceras condolencias por una pérdida insustituible y ofrecerles mis felicitaciones por haber dado al mundo un ser humanos extraordinario como lo fué él."
Ivonne Giselle Ordosgoitti of Caracas, Venezuela

"Rafael, aqui tienes una amiga que siempre piensa en ti, de la que te ganaste un amor para siempre. Te quiero mucho y aunque tarde he sabido de tu muerte siempre estas vivo en mi corazón. Tu amiga de Venezuela...."
Ivonne Giselle Ordosgoitti of Caracas, Venezuela

"Sentido pesame a los familiares y que Dios lo tenga en su gloria."
Juan Carlos Navea of Toronto, ON/Canada

"We are so sorry for your loss. We lost Army Spc.Joshua Justice Henry on 9-20-04. This was the hardest day of our lives. We honor these guys as our Heroes and hope no one else has to go through with what we are all dealing with. Rest in peace Rafael, and thank you for serving your country to the fullest"
Henry family of Vandergrift , PA

"You will always will be remembered in this your home.

Tú siempre serás recordado en ésta tu casa."
Hispanic and Latin Community of Pittsburgh, PA

"In Loving Memory..Its been a year..8/27/04

At the rising of the sun and at its going down, We remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of Winter, We remember them.
At the opening of buds and in the rebirth of Spring, We remember them.
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of Summer, We remember them.
At the rustling of leaves and the beauty of Autumn, We remember them.
At the beginning of the year and when it ends, We remember them.
As long as we live, they too will live;
for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.
Rest in Peace Dear Soldier!!! We will NEVER FORGET!"
The Grogan Family of Lakeland, TN

"Mi mas sentido pesame para sus familiares, sorprendido de encontrar alguien de mi mismo apellido en esta instancia de conocimiento mundial"
Wilson Navea Espinoza of Iquique Chile

"To Rafeal's family,
I was one of Raf's classmates at ITT and I was STUNNED to hear this shocking news. Raf made school fun, he made everything fun. He was a good man. He always talked about his family and was proud of them. I just want to send my condolences to his family."
Ken Holmes of Pittsburgh, PA

"To Rafael's family,
Rafael was one of my students at ITT in Greentree. I was stunned to learn of his death, and it has stuck with me for all of these months. He was a wonderful man who loved all of you very much. Everything he did was for you. I remember that when I was pregnant with my second child he would look at me everyday and say, "It will be a boy Mrs. Rider!" in that memorable voice of his. It makes me smile to think of it to this day, because, as I told him from the first time he said those words to me, he was wrong! I knew I was having a girl, but he insisted, EVERYDAY! I know that it was because he loved his own boys so much. Marina, my condolences to you and your sons. May they always know what a great man he was, and how much he is missed. I hope that you receive this message."
Stacey D. Rider of Beaver Falls, PA

"he was a brave person and he always made the ppl around him laugh and he loved his family. It was a pleasure serving with him"
spc. matthew tello of FT. SILL. ok

"Specialist Navea, 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, Rafael will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"spc navea was my driver while assigned to 3-16 fa at fort hood,texas. he was a great guy and the world will be a much sadder place for his lost"

"Nosotros no conocimos a Rafael personalmente pero conocemos a Luisa y Sergio su hijo y gracias a ellos sabemos el buen padre, esposo y amigo que era, estamos orgullosos de el por defender la libertad junto a nuestros esposos.
Mis mas sinceras condolencias para su esposa Marina e hijos y para la mujer que le dio la vida su querida mama.Que Dios les de tranquilidad, paz y bienestar ahora que tienen que seguir adelante sin la presencia de Rafael."
Lt Jamie Niles, Liliana Niles, Marcela Niles of Clarksville,Tn

"We give our deepest sympathy to Rafael Navea's family. he was a a young man who did what he believed was best.

Nosotros le damos nuestras mas sinceras condolencias a la familia de Rafael Navea, El era un hombre joven que hizo lo el creia era lo mejor."
VENAO Venezuelan American Association of Oklahoma of Tulsa - Oklahoma -USA

"Thank you Rafael Navea, 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


You were a cherished member of the Latin Community in Pittsburgh. We are so sorry that you are no longer a part of our physical world, but we are always with you in espirit.
Please guide us."
Carla Leininger of Pittsburgh, PA USA

"Eras un heroe
Eres un horeo y siempre lo seras
Para nosotros y toda la familia"
Tu prima , Maria Isabel Prado of Miami , Florida

"SPC Rafael Navae was my friend. We inprocessed to our first active duty assignment at the same time. He and his family had arrived at Ft Sill before I did but I had already lived in the area for years because my husband is also stationed there. I had offered to show them around but he left for Iraq before we could all get together.

Navea, as we all call each other by our last names, was a dear friend and hero to me even before he left for the desert. He was just a year younger than me and understood the unique hardships of joining the Army at a late age. Though he had already been on active duty when he was much younger, he had been out for a while. He was one of the few people who never critized me for not being a 'PT Stud'. I really suck at pushups and running.

Instead, Navea helped me out in the gym in the mornings while he worked out with one of his friends. He supported me, encouraged me, and prayed for me.

I was staggered when I read in the paper that he had been killed. His memorial service was set for Sep 10 but I had been scheduled to attend some Army training on that day and it could not be postponed. I prayed and prayed I would be able to go to my friends memorial. When I showed up for my class, it had been canceled. God had answered my prayers and allowed me to go pay my respects to my friend.

I want his wife and sons to know that he was a great man and hero to others too. I want everyone to know what a wonderful person Navea was. He will always be in my heart and his family will always be in my prayers.

God Bless You Navea and may your bright smile shine down on all of us from heaven."
PFC Andrina Lindstrom of Ft Sill, OK

"Mirando la red, encuentro un soldado caido que tiene mi mismo apellido.
Desde España, recibid mi más sincero pésame.

"Tus primos de Buenos Aires, rezamos por tu eterno descanso, aunque nunca nos conocimos personalmente, el dolor de tu perdida es muy profundo, ya que quedo pendiente en esta vida poder demostrar el afecto que tenemos por vos.
Alumbrá guia y protegé a Marina y a tus hijos desde donde te encuentres, desde Argentina nosotros le daremos el amor que este a nuestro alcance.
Fue una injusticia que tuvieras que haber sido elegido para esa mision absurda.
Siempre te recordaremos."
Blanca y familia of Buenos Aires - Argentina

"Tus primos en miami,Arelis,Toño,e hijos,te recordamos y te queremos por siempre.
En nuestras oraciones estas presente siempre,al igual que Marina,Maria Lucia,Ronelza,Sergio,Nicolas y Alex.
Descansa en Paz.HEROE de este Pais"

"To the family and friends of Spc. Rafael Navea:
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 Rafael 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. Rafael Navea:
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 Rafael, 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