Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Marine 1st Lt. Dustin M. Shumney

30, of Benicia, California.
Shumney died when the CH-53E helicopter he was in crashed near Ar Rutbah, Iraq. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Died on January 26, 2005.

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"I was there with LT Shumney and it hit me today that it has almost been 18 years. I believe his wife was pregnant at the time and I would really like to get in contact with his family. If someone sees this, please reach out to me directly: Colby Williamson 941-201-7589 colbywilliamson@icloud.com"
Colby Williamson of Virginia

"I can't believe that it has been 11 years. I grew up across the street from Dustin on Raymond Drive. We went to school together from 1st grade at Mary Farmer Elementary through the day that we turned our tassels and graduated Benicia High School in 1992. The day that the notice went out that Dustin had been killed felt like a close family member had passed. Dustin will forever be in my heart and I continue to pray for his family that has been left behind. Dustin has always been the kind of person that I would look up to. He will forever be apart of my youth. RIP Dustin and Thank you for your service."
Raelynn Kelsey of Benicia, CA

"I had the distinct privilege to work with 1stLt Shumney He always had a kind or encouraging word to say to me anytime we crossed. There has seldom been a day that I don't think of those cold desert months and the Warriors whom I will see on the other side of eternity. To the family, I am noone of influence or esteem and I have very little to offer but I promise you that he will always be remembered by me. Semper Fidelis."
Doug Davis of Lake Charles, LA

"Hey Daddy will I know you are a marine and you are working in Japan until the year of 2014."
D'NaivetTe' of Columbia, Maryland United States

"dustin shumney was lik my father i never got a chance to meet him but julie is lik my mom. i meet her cause u i became really close with her daughter mallory. i cared about this family like they were really mine. i cant wait till i die so i can meet my dad for the very first time i love u mom"
daizja of mesquite texas

"I never want to forget the sacrifices of so many young men and women. I am so proud it makes me cry. I understand in theory only that war is a part of human nature but so is love and caring. I wish I could take the families pain away but I can't. I am committed to loving ALL people, myself and our environment. I am committed to working on my happiness everyday because so many have died for my freedom to live my life. Thank you is not enough but it is all I have. All my love and respect. ogersteiner@yahoo.com

Scott E. Steiner of Worhington, OH USA

"julie, this is david apple. I served with your husband in the first platoon he commanded, before the war. when we were on ship in and out of the persian gulf.. I was stuck on ship with him for months on end..lol. I have so much to say.. I have pictures of him chasing sheep off the road in greece, I still remember the advice he gave me that I will carry forever in my heart and in my mind. I struggled for years with the deaths of my friends in Iraq, until one night on memorial day weekend, dustin came to me in a dream, i told him how bad I wished I could bring them all back and he very loving and symphathetcally told me, that we could never do that, I awoke crying harder than I have ever cried, my wife was shocked to see this unfolding. but I coud still feel his presence. I have been able to to go on with less pain ever since that night. I think about you and your kids ever single day and tell people about him all the time. my wife has heard his name more than most of my current friends.. I was shocked to see this on facebook I have been thinking of how to reach you."
David Apple of stigler ok

"January 18, 2009
To the family of 1st Lt. Dustin M. Shumney:
Dustin 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

"1st LT Shumney,

I was a Scout Sniper with 1/3 and was in Charlie Co. before I joined Wpns. Co. I had the honor of working with you on only one mission in Fallujah. It took only that one mission for you to prove your leadership, courage, and love for your Marines to me. I think of Jan. 26, 2005 almost daily. Loosing all my C Co. boys still hurts. You guys will never be forgotten. Semper"
Brad Thomas of Houston, TX


You know me and Rachel fairly well. At least you did before we deployed. It is now 2007, and I still think of that awful day. However, it has been three years, and I know that you and your children must be adjusted. The last time I talked to Dustin we were in a basement face to face laughing while the insurgents were shooting at us through the concrete walls. I have to admit that I was "above average" scared, but Dustin was already thinking about what to do next to get his platoon and me out of the danger. He was always a good friend to me, and a good guy. I miss him daily, but obviously not as much as you. I just hope that you interpret these words as a fellow Marine who loves Dustin, and desires to ensure that you are at least content with the fact that he was an example to his children and fellow Marines. Please tell your childen that his actions were always honorable. There is nothing else to say.

Joshua Wells of Beaufort, SC

"As a former active duty Marine having served in Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia, etc...I love Dustin Shumney for being one of my fellow brothers in arms and for him having served his country with the ultimate sacfrifice. As one of Dustins good friends and someone whom Dustin came to for advice about joining the Marine Corps I love him even more. I grew up with Dustin in Benicia, we played football together, baseball and worked together at the Raley's grocery store. Dustin came to me when I was home on leave and he was still working at Raley's and going to Sac State. He asked me how I liked the Corps and what I thought about him joining. I told him he should finish school and go in as an officer. I knew Dustin would make a great officer and be an asset to my beloved Corps. Dear Julie, we never had the chance to meet, although I heard such great things about you and the kids from Dustin. I left for boot camp 2 days after graduation at Benicia HS and was not around when you and Dustin met. I have many great stories about Dustin from our time playing football (we played next to each other on the line at Benicia HS) and baseball together and growing up in Benicia. I would love to share these with you so you and especially your children will always have these memories of what a great person and friend Dustin is. If there is anything I can do to help you and your family please contact me, or if you would just like to chat and hear some of the stories. Please reach me at dprescott@ktconsultinginc.com or at 707-315-2207. God bless you and Dustin.
Daniel V. Prescott
Corporal of Marines
3rd Bn. 26th Marine Reg.
26th MEU
HQ Co. STA Platoon"
Dan Prescott of Benicia, CA

"Lt. Shumney,
Sir, I would like to say thank you to you and all the other men who were on that '53 with you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy. I read in an old copy of Leatherneck Magazine how you wrote up one of your Marines for a Silver Star during the battle of Fallujah-it's shows what kind of leader you were by thinking to do that for one of your Marines.

Semper Fi Devil Dog!"

"He was my best friends dad that I never got to meat, but i'm sure he was a good dad and friend to many people."
Jennifer of mesquite,tx

"""As a veteren of K Co 3/3 and a very short stint (2 Months with G Co)(1986-1990)MCAS K-Bay it saddens me to hear of the loss of my brother Marine but I know he left us bravley fighting to keep my family safe from the evils of the world keeping with the highest traditions of the Corps. I'm now to old to reenlist but if I could I would."""
Lcpl. Robert Blaylock of Lakeside CA, USA

"""As a veteren of K Co 3/3 and a very short stint (2 Months with G Co)(1986-1990)MCAS K-Bay it saddens me to hear of the loss of my brother Marine but I know he left us bravley fighting to keep my family safe from the evils of the world keeping with the highest traditions of the Corps. I'm now to old to reenlist but if I could I would."""
Lcpl. Robert Blaylock of Lakeside CA, USA

"I don't know your family, or the soldier who was taken from your family... However I know the facts of his death.... It happened on my birthday, January 26, 2005 (I was born in 91). Just this year, this soldier was taken from us. In some sense anyway... he's not gone, not really. He'll always be with you, and me, fighting for our country! In class on veteran's day my teacher hung up every single person who lost their lives over there during this war. Dustin happened to be on my desk, I thought that I would right a quick message letting your family know that he is in my prayers! Even though you don't know who I am, nor do I know you, I'll pray. I'm so sorry for your loss... He must have been awesome! GOD BLESS and take care!!!
P. S. I'm not sure why no one else's name stuck with me. I felt a sort of sadness rush through my heart when I read his story. Again I'm so sorry for your loss, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. He is my hero. I send my thanks to Dustin, and pray that he is happy. I know God will watch over him forever! Someday you'll see him again... If you just pray, anything can happen!"
Abbey Wright of Forest Lake, MN, USA

"Julie, I am so happy to read that your husband's flag was returned. I read the article in today's DMN. I fly an American flag in front of my house every day/night, until everyone returns from Iraq. God Bless you and your family. My family prays for your family every night at dinner. God Bless Dustin."
Brian of Plano, Texas

My name is Julie shumney I am the widow of Dustin Shumney. I want all the families whom lost their soldier on the same helicopter Dustin was on to know, that Dustin loved and cared about his platoon as if they were his sons. Dustin carried the weight heavy on his shoulders that, it was up to him to make sure he brought everyones loved one back home safely. Dustin had lost 2 marines in his platoon prior to the helicopter crash. Dustin had planned to go and speak to the families personally, and tell them everything their son did in Iraq. Dustin said it would be hard but that would be the least he could do for the families. I knew Dustin was forever effected by the loss of the two marines. I wish the soldiers that fought side by side with my husband in Iraq would contact us to tell us all of their war stories that included Dustin. The children and I long for that big piece of the puzzle. Dustin had a list of soldiers names and the type of metal they had earned in his daily journal. I forwarded a photo copy to his command, hopeing that it could just be another thing for the families left behind to be proud about, and treasure for the years to come. I want to thank all of the families and the communities all over the
U.S. for their support and their continued support. We miss Dustin so much, our three year old looks just like Dustin and it makes for a constant reminder just how much I love and long to see him again someday. I just remind myself everyday that Dustin and all of the soldiers are in the greatest place that we all long to get to someday, HEAVEN! It says in the bible those who lay down their life for their friends, earned their way through the gates of heaven. All of our soldiers did just that. So i cant wait for the day to be reunited with the holy spirit and Dustin. All of my love to the families.
Julie Shumney"
julie shumney of Mesquite, tx usa

"To the family of Dustin M Shumney,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 all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus."
Polly Ballew of Covington Ga. U S A

"I am so sorry for your loss for I am feeling it also. I am the father of Lcpl Brian Hopper who was on the helicopter with Dustin. May our memories never fade."
Rob Hopper email rob.hopper@pbsgc.com of Wynne, AR

"Dustin, you will always be in our hearts and minds. We are very proud to have known you. We will pray for your loved one's, God Bless you and your family Dustin, you can rest assured that your family will be taken care of."
Mike & Pat Ainsworth of Benicia, California

"My son Sgt. Michael Finke was on board the helicopter with Dustin. My condolences to his family, as I share in the pain of losing someone so loved. We are forever united through the sacrifices our young men made. Thnk you and God Bless"
Sally Rapp of Westlake, Ohio

"May Dustin's children always know that their father died a hero. My condolences to his family. May God ease your pain."
Helen Gilbert (mother of Richard Gilbert, Jr., also on that helicopter) of Dayton, Ohio

"Thanks Dustin,Goodbye Marine"
Mike of NJ

"To the family and friends of 1st Lt. Dustin M. Shumney,

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

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

"Thank you Dustin Shumney, 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 1st Lt. Dustin Shumney:
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 Dustin 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. Dustin Shumney:
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 Dustin, 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