Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Marine Lance Cpl. Neil D. Petsche

21, of Lena, Illinois.
Petsche died due to injuries received in a non-hostile vehicle incident in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California. Died on December 21, 2004.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Marine Lance Cpl. Neil D. Petsche.


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

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"Those of us there that night and tried so hard to help will never forget. And each Christmas his family is in my thoughts and prayers."
Maj W.C. Farmer, USMC (ret) of Comanche, Tx

"I often think about the times we shared, good and bad, and I wish those conversations and times together were still happening today. Iíll never forget Neilís sacrifice. Iíll see you on the other side, my friend. I tried to honor you in the best way I could, so on March 25, 2021, my son, James Neil was born. I look forward to telling him where he got his name."
Brett Nunley of McMinnville, Oregon

"I was his team leader, he was a great kid"

"Rest in peace- you are not forgotten.....

"I had the pleasure of serving with Neil from July 2004 until his passing. Neil was a great you Marine and it was a joy to serve with him in a machine gub squad. You have and always will be missed by me and everyone. Semper Fidelis."
Cody Bell of Fort Worth, Tx

"To the family of Lcpl. Neil Petsche. My brother, Lcpl. Alex Alba, served with your son in the 1/7. I want you to know that on this Memorial Day, we remember your son. I want to thank you for raising such an honorable man. It was reassuring to know that such great and brave men, like your son, were at my brother's side. We will always hold him in our hearts and prayers. Thank you and may God bless your family.

"Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier' debt. He only lived but until he was a man. To which no sooner has his prowess confirmed, in the unshrinking station where he fought, but like a man, he died." ~Shakespeare"
Fran Alba of Chicago, IL

"December 13, 2008
To the family of Lance Cpl. Neil D. Petsche:
Neil 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:Neil D. Petsche 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"

"To the friends and family of Neil. I am sure that this holiday will not get any easier for you, however I wanted you to know Neil and his friends and family will be in my family's thoughts and prayers this holiday season. I wear a metal bracelet on my wrist with Neil's photo, name and the date of 12/21/04. He is my fallen soldier, and the young man I will always think about, and the reason I have everything I have. Thank you for raising such an honorable and amazing young man. I feel priviledged to wear him on my arm and in my heart. Happy Thanksgiving and may my love be felt in your hearts.
Heather Kotche
Dunkirk, MD"
Heather Kotche of Dunkirk, MD

"This will be our 3rd Christmas without you in our lives, Neil. We sure do miss you coming over to our house whenever you were back home in good ole Lena, IL! You were truly our hometown hero. You will never be forgotten. We keep looking up to you as you protect us all from your post in the heavens above."
Tim of McConnell, IL

"To the Family and Friends of Lance Cpl. Neil D. Petsche: I thought you might like to know that on Sunday, September 17, 2006, I stood on 25th Street and 5th Avenue in New York City. I held a sign with your loved one's name on it as a way of honoring him and all the other brave men and women who have lost their lives while serving in Iraq. Please know that many miles away, someone is thinking of him, and of you, as well."
Leslie Rubins of NYC, NY, USA

"My name is Cameron Schilling and I have started “Portrait of a Soldier” which donates a portrait sketch of every Illinois soldier who has fallen in Iraq or Afghanistan. All 122 sketches will be on display for a Memorial Day Presentation in Chicago, Illinois on May 26-31 at the James R. Thompson Center in downtown Chicago. After the ceremony the sketches will be given to the immediate families of the Illinois soldiers. I would invite any friends or family members to come and honor these men and women from Illinois who have given their lives to our country. For more information please contact OperationHomeFront.org at 866-417-8889 which is an organization headed by the Lt. Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois who is in charge of the Memorial Day Presentation. Thank You.

Please check out www.portraitofasoldier.org
To contact Cameron email cameronschilling84@hotmail.com
To contact Operation Home Front call 866-417-8889"
Cameron Schilling of Charleston, Illinois

"Petsche, you were a Marine that myself and the other NCOs of Weapons Platoon could count on. You always followed orders without hesitation, and gave your all in everything you did. It was a honor to serve with you,and you will be dearly missed. Semper Fi"
(CPL) Victor Campos of Sealy , TX

"My name is Cameron Schilling. I am a college student from central Illinois. I am the first generation of my family not to serve his country. I am extremely grateful for the sacrifice you and your loved one has given for the United States. I am disappointed by the way the news media has covered this war and the deaths of our youth. The media has stopped listing the names of the soldiers killed in Iraq and people only talk about the soldiers when we reach a specific milestone in deaths. If you just started watching the news today you would not even know there is a war going on. Partisan politics have replaced coverage of our young generation who have traveled to a foreign land in the name of the United States. Whether you believe the war in Iraq is wrong, right, justified or not everyone should pay even just a little more attention to what these young men and women are sacrificing. This is what I would like to do. I want to do my part in honoring these soldiers and their memories. Along with being a college student I am also a budding artist. I draw pencil portraits of local people in my community. I want to offer a pencil portrait sketch to the immediate family of every Illinois soldier killed in Iraq. Please contact me at cameronschilling84@hotmail.com."
Cameron of illinois

"To the Family of LCpl. Neil Petsche:

My friends and I have constructed a memorial to the service men and women from Wisconsin and Illinois who have died in Iraq which includes, as of 7/12/05, 112 crosses and Stars of David. We would like your permission to put Neil's name on one of them.
We have called our display "Arlington Midwest" and it is located in Wisconsin Dells, WI.
It is our expression of mourning for the indescribable loss you have suffered for our country.

If you would like us to do this, please email me at ArlingtonMidwest@yahoo.com.

We invite you to visit Arlington Midwest. I can send you directions and some pictures by email.

"As long as we live, they too will live;
for they are now a part of us,
as we remember them."
Marty Preston of Wisconsin Dells, WI

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

"lance corporal Petsche
If you only knew devil dog you are more than a hero to me. I know cause we went to boot camp together you never gave up through it all,im so lost for words were in the same platoon then of course we get ship to different places. Even though you are in heaven you still more than a hero your the angel i will always remember you were boy then and you will always be my boy now. oorah forver for you will always be true united states marine."
(lcpl) Jason Trujillo of sandy, utah

"Thank you for having a son who was brave and gave his life to defend his country and protect the innocent. May God provide you comfort in your grief.
"What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal." Albert Pike"
Paul, Denise and Zachary Driscoll of Elgin, Il

"LCpl Neil Petsche was a special friend to me and to the students in my class at Emilie Ritchen School in Oxnard, California. We adopted his platoon and Neil wrote to me and a boy named Brendan in my class. Brendan and I cherished each letter Neil wrote to us. The letters brought a sense of a wonderful young man, busy and dedicated to a mission. LCpl Petsche will be sorely missed. He was a wonderful young man and a blessing to our country. God Bless his family and Neil."
Linda Reimel of Oxnard, CA USA

"To the family of Neil Petsche, I am so sorry for your loss, but so very, very greatful for Neil's service to our country. May you find comfort in these words from the Bible.

John 15:13 - 'Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.'

God Bless you and your Family."
Dave Trumble, Commander of Lena American Legion, Post 577

"To the family and friends Lance Cpl. Neil D. Petsche: May God's grace be with you during this time of grief. My son, Brian Hogie, is in C 1/7 in Iraq and I can only imagine your sense of loss. You are in my prayers. Contacthogie@sbcglobal.net"
Stephen W. Hogie of Santa Ana, California

"God's Lent Child

I'll lend you for a little while
A child of mine, God said
for you to love the while he lives
and mourn for when he's dead

It may be six or seven yrs. or forty-two or three
But, will you, til I call him back,
take care of him for me?

He'll bring his charms to gladden you
and should his stay be brief
You'll have his lovely memories
as a solace for your grief.

I cannot promise he will stay
since all from earth returns,
But there are lessons taught below ,
I want this child to learn.

I've looked the whole world over
in my search for teachers true.
And from the things that crowd life's lane
I have chosen you.

Now will you give him all your love?
Nor think the labor vain?
Nor hate me when I come to take this lent child back again?

I fancied that I heard them say
Dear Lord, thy will be done
For all the joys thy child will bring
The risk of grief we'll run.

We will shelter him with tenderness,
We'll love him while we may.
And for all the happiness we have known
Forever grateful stay.

But should thy angel call for him,
Much sooner than we planned
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes
And try to understand.

Author unknown"
Jeff & Lisa Lobdell and Family of Lena, Il.

"Thank you Neil for protecting our country and my family. You will be thought of each day we raise our flag in the front yard. Semper Fi, from a very grateful American family"
The Shaw family of Pasadena, Maryland

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

"To the family of Neil Petsche: Our hearts go out to you and your family. He is truly a hero - God Bless him and your family."
Gary & Sue Eisenhower, President Freeport Chapter VietNow of Freeport, IL

"I know that nothing I can say will bring back your son but hope I can help ease the pain of the loss. I will pray for God to help comfort you in this time of grief. I only hope that what little I can do will be enough to help you through these troubled times."
Robert L. Lamm of Freeport, Illinois

"To the family of Neil Petsche, Words cannot convey to you the sympathy I have to offer you for the loss of your son, Neil. I wish to thank Neil for his bravery in defending our country and by giving me and my family Freedom. My family lived in Lena for about 14 years and we know the Petsche family although I never met Neil. Thank you for raising a son that could make you proud of his unselfish act to become a Marine and not only do one tour of duty in Iraq but chose to go back and do another. Our son was also in Iraq and thank God he returned home safely. May God wrap His arms around your family in this time of need and give you some comfort in knowing that Neil is resting eternaly in Jesus' arms. God Bless You."
The Rich Voss Family of Freeport IL

"There are no words that I can say, or anyone else for that matter, that can ease your pain or the pain that so many other American families have had to suffer throughout this war. I, myself, spent a year "over there" and I, like you, realize that freedom is NOT free. I just pray that not too many more parents, siblings, wives, and children will have to know what you know! GODSPEED!"
Judy Vinzant of Freeport, IL, U.S.A.

"There are no words that can ease your pain and lessen your loss. Neil gave the ultimate sacrifice so that others might know freedom. He is a true hero. My prayers are with you as you grieve, that God's abundant comfort and grace would be known to you in a very real way."
Sherri Smith, Former military wife and daughter of Freeport, IL

"GOD BLESS you and your loved ones. I am so sorry to hear of your loss may GOD guide you through your grief. I praise your son and all the other brave men and women that have answered the call of duty and I enjoy the freedom that they fight and sacrifice for. There cannot be enough praise for your son. A great and brave man at the ripe old age of 21. Please let us in the community know if there is anything that we can help you with. with sympathy"
Jenny Pivot of Ridott,IL

"To the family of Lance CPL. Neil Petsche
My heart goes out to all of you. I had 2 of my children in Iraq for over a year and although I was lucky enough to have them come home, I understand the "fears and uncertainty" you lived every day while Neil was there. I can only imagine what you are going through now as that fear is something you will never forget in your life time. Please know our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. A sign remembering Neil was displayed on the corner of West and Empire in Freeport last Fri. for our weekly "Support the Troops" rally, and will proudly be there again this Sat. May GOD BLESS Neil and all of the troops who defend our freedom. Be proud of your son and what he believed in."
Connie L. Wescott of Freeport, Il

"To the family of fallen hero Neil D. Petsche"

"There are no words that I can say which will comfort you in this devastating loss of your precious fallen hero and patriot. Please accept my sincerest and deepest sympathies in your time of great sorrow."
Dan Mauer, Life Member, Freeport Chapter VietNow of Bellevue, Iowa USA

"I didn't know Neil, but I have a good friend that did. From hes desciption he was a very fine young man with a great future. And of course a proud young Marine. I know he will be dearly missed by your family and all that knew him. Please accept my deepest sympathy for the loss of your loved one.
Sam Veer.
Vice Pres. Freeport Chapter VietNow"
of Freeport, Il.

"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 accept our deepest sympathy on the loss of your brave son and hero Lance Cpl Neil Petsche. Our son is a soldier currently deployed to Iraq and we grieve with you as part of the military family and also your local community. God bless you. He will not be forgotten."
Jeff & Andrea Reed & family of Lena, IL

"To the family and friends of Lance Corporal Neil D. Petsche,

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."

Proud Marine Mom and Proud Member of Marine Comfort Quilts"
Sandra Moudy of Placentia, Ca USA

"Thank you Neil Petsche, 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. Neil Petsche:
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 Neil 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. Neil Petsche:
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 Neil, 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