Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Marine Staff Sgt. Russell L. Slay

28, of Humble, Texas.
Slay died as a result of enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Died on November 9, 2004.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Marine Staff Sgt. Russell L. Slay.


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

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"Always my hero Russ, and never far from my thoughts."
Kristy McGuire of NH, USA

"It's been many years, but I still vividly remember standing underneath the wing of the aircraft next to Russell's parents as rain poured on the team of Marines in Dress Blues removing his casket from the cargo hold. I was the Marine Casualty Escort that had the honor of accompanying Russell on the last leg of his trip home from Dover Mortuary. God bless his family and God bless this country he sacrificed his life for. We love and miss you, Marine. Semper Fi!"
Tim Dalhouse MGySgt. USMC Retired, of Kailua Kona

"You are NEVER forgotten old friend...Semper Fidelis and Happy Birthday Marine."

"Still on my mind brother."
Joe Rice of VT

"To the family and friends, love to all of you. I had the honor of remembering him this morning on Ft. Bragg's JSO 10k run.
He will never be forgotten."
Gina of Southern Pines, NC

"15 years.... You are never forgotten old friend. Semper Fidelis, and as always YAT-YAS!!! PALADIN SENDS"
Joe Hyatt of Dallas, TX

"I celebrated the Marine Corps birthday last week with a big group of Marines. When we sung the Marine Corps Hymm I couldn't help but think of you when we got to the verse: If the Army and the Navy ever look on Heaven's scenes, they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines. You were a great section leader and I really appreciate how you kept us safe in Iraq. Semper Fi brother!"
Justin Gruzalski of Chicago IL

"Hey bruddah....Its been a while. Two of my favorite things in my life happen in November, and two of the most painful are remembered in November. 14 years ago today I lost my old man...You were there for me on that day...and two days, two years later.... I will have our toast together Wednesday. I never did marry that woman...I'm in computers now....I know, don't laugh...I'm actually pretty good with them. I'm working and have been back in school working on some more certs that should pay better... Russ, there is not a day that goes by that I don't think of you, Bitz, Chuck, Smitty, Jordan, or Bailey... I miss you brother. Happy 241st Birthday.... I look forward to the day I get to be with all of you again. PALADIN SENDS."
Joe "PALADIN" Hyatt of Plano, Tx

"SSGT Slay was the reason we made it back from Iraq the first time. He was a great Marine and I still miss him dearly. Until Valhalla brother!"
Justin Gruzalski of Chicago IL

"It's been ten years since yesterday and tomorrow is Veterans Day so I wrote your name on a star. I love and miss you I hope your proud of us."
Madison Arnold of Tomball,Tx USA

"I miss you so much even though i was like 3 I still love you and your my hero and I'm writing a book about you called my hero"
Madison Arnold of Tomball, Tx

"Remembering you always, missing you forever. Nine years feels like an eternity of yesterdays."

"In memory of this fine young man today and everyday, it was a pleasure to have known him. He would sing a Pat Green song so beautifully and I would like to share a portion of those lyrics:

And it came upon me wave on wave, You're the reason I'm still here, Am I the one you were sent to save, And it came upon me wave on wave ...

Thank you Russell for serenading me with this song when I was missing my own son."
Phyllis of Topsail Island

"thank you. and im sorry.please forgive me.
i know we never met.
maybe we can in another place, in paradise.
put in a good word for me if you want.
i could use it.
gone but never forgotten"

"To the family of:Russell L.Slay
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""

"Well Russ, another year, another toast to you. Every November 9th, I keep a tumbler for you. We have our shot of Jäger, and I have the shot of lemon juice for you, because you are not here. I'm getting married September 1, next year. You'd love Rita. She's great. Say hey to my old man for me. YAT-YAS SLAY! And Happy Birthday.
Josef "PALADIN" Hyatt SSgt USMC (MEDRET.)"
Joe Hyatt of Dallas, tx

"One more year has passed and it seems like just yesterday they came to my door with the heartbreaking news. I know you are looking down trying to tell us you are in a wonderful place and not to be sad-but all who knew you cannot help but be saddened by the missing link . You could make the saddest or miserable person laugh no matter what. We all miss you sooo much SSGT Russell Slay."
Donna Barlow of Huffman

"Wish you were here with me instead of me writing on this wall. I can't wait for when we get to see eachother again. We are going to laugh our guts out LOL Missing my best friend today. See you soon and you know I love you so!"
Calli Conner Dornak of Humble, TX

"Well brother it's been a long time, but seems it was just yesterday I got called on emergency leave from the redcross to head home from japan to see you one last time. I almost didn't go back but I knew that was the last thing you would want me to do. I miss calling you a jarhead and you calling me a squid, I also miss thanksgiving when you would come over and get a big ol plate of green bean casserole, everytime I go to the cemetery i see there are more and more soldiers around you. I know you are in a outstanding place and the food has to be better than the chowhalls and MRE's. I miss you and will see you one day in the future!"
James Barlow of Huffman TX

"SSgt Slay, We all miss your laugh and great sense of humor! Not a day goes by that I do not think of you and the fellow warriors that served bravely! YAT YAS"
Sgt Major (Ret) Howard B Gatewood of Dallas, TX, USA

"Had a random thought about you today. The years have passed and life is something totally different. You'd be surprised what your baby sister has accomplished. Marriage, a beautiful son, a home in the suburbs; who would of thought? I miss you Russ, I wish you were still here to physically be a part of our lives. Memories aren't enough sometimes."
Debra (Slay) Rollo of Houston, Tx

"Thinking of you today. Our Hero bigger than life. Missing you on this Veterans Day and everyday inbetween."
Brenda of Jacksonville, NC

"I miss your laugh. I miss the hilarious way you would make fun of me. HA! You and Calli would just laugh and laugh...I miss playing cards and drinking iced tea at Calli's dining room table while listening to George Strait's boxed set (Disc #1, of course!). You could sing so beautifully! My heart aches and smiles at the same time when I think of you. My sweet friend...not a day goes by that I don't think of you. I saw Walker for the first time in a LONG time the other day...it was like looking at YOU! I will see again one day and can't wait to get one of your hugs--the best hug ever. I miss you sweet boy and love you with my whole heart. *I told my students about you today and showed them a picture of what a real HERO looks like. They were in awe. It was a very special moment for all of us. I love you Russell. xoxo Kelli"
Kelli Gothard Graham of Katy, TX

"I miss you. Love you."
Calli Dornak of Humble, TX

"You are not forgotten. Your family is in our prayers."
Matt and Leah

"SSgt Russell Slay,
Its been 6 years Rus and you will never be forgotten. There is not a day that goes by without you in my thoughts and prayers. Semper Fi SSgt. Slay"
1st Sgt Gary SHREK Lomelino

"Tomorrow will mark 6 years...seems like so long ago. Although, it often feels like yesterday. I think of you often, and Miss you ALL the time. I will never forget the man you were and the times we shared. I still pray that you are watching down over Kinlee and Walker and I wish you could be around to watch them grow up. Until we meet again...
Love and Miss You ~ xoxox"
Dyrcka of CO

"I served with SSGT Slay for the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003. He was my section leader and I was a crewchief of the AAV that rode directly behind him. He got our whole section through the invasion without anyone even getting injured despite the fact that we were in several horrific firefights. I was thinking about him today because I knew it was close to the 6 year anniversary of his death. He was a great man and was the reason we made it back in 2003 without any causalities from our section. I am proud to have served with him."
Justin Gruzalski of Chicago, IL

"My girlfriend's brother died of cancer 3 years ago on the 5th. I know her pain. I miss you Slay."
SSGT Joe Hyatt of Plano, TX

"I know your looking down on Kinlee & Walker; with a smile on your face. They are growing up so fast, If only I could turn back time.The Lord had you here for a short while, but in that time you touched many hearts in so many ways, you were a True Man and True to your family. Thank you Russell Lee"
of Humble TX

"Thinking about you today brother, allways will."
Joshua N. Orndorff of Talahassee, FL

"Thinking about and remembering you this Memorial Day!
Love and Miss You!"
Dyrcka of Colorado

"Thank you for your service and what you did for our country and to protect our freedom. God Bless your soul, I know that you are missed by many"
Sara Kruppa of Humble, TX

"It has bee almost 6 years since SSgt Slay way killed. I was there with Delta Company but in a different Platoon. I will never forget that day. I served with Slay back in California when he was a PFC. I will never forget get my fallen Amtracker "YATYAS". My condolences still go out to the family, SSgt Slay will never be forgotten."
MSgt Frank Edling of Camp Pendleton

"Thinking about you...
5 years tomorrow. While the pain has lessened, it still remains. I Miss You SO much and I think of you often. I still hope and pray you are watching over your two beautiful children and Christina. I wish you could be here to watch them grown into the teens and adults they are or soon will be. You will always hold a special place in my heart! And I promise I will never forget you or the sacrifice you gave for our nation! You were a true hero in every sense of the word!
I Love and Miss You ~ xoxox"
Dyrcka Larson of Colorado

"SSgt Slay I remember when I met you I was green as hell and scared as hell to be in a combat zone. But just watching you and listening to you I knew that you would show me every thing I needed to know to survive over there and you will always have my respect for that. I still think about that day alot I can't believe it's been almost 5 years since that day i still remember that sinking feeling I got when Cpl Schaffer told us you were gone, but still having to push on and do what we had to do. Now looking back I thank you every day that I spend with my family because I honestly believe that if it weren't for you and the lessons I learned SSgt Slay I wouldn't be here today. You taught me what being a Marine is all about in the few months that I knew you than I've learned in my entire career. Semper Fi"
Sgt Marcus B. Davis Davismb11@yahoo.com of Hardeeville Sc

"Russ, I will always remember sitting and watching you and Rock play football and the many softball games at Lejeune. But most of all I will always remember how you hugged me when you and Rock had to get on the buses the first time to Iraq. And how you told me it'd be ok and you would bring him home and not to worry. At that point I knew that my husband was in presence of a Hero. We think about you all the time. I hope that your children will get a chance to read this. So they will know that you were a wonderful person and a great Marine. We will always remeber you."
Brian and Stephanie Rothrock of Honolulu, Hawaii

"As I sit here on the eve of Memorial Day...I of course find myself thinking of you.
I often wonder if these "holidays" will ever get easier? I Miss You so very much!
I wonder how things would be? What you would be like? And how my life would be different without the saddness of your loss? With that said, I would never give up having known you, for you brought so many wonderful memories and happy moments to my life :) I just wish you could be here...to see your children and to bring all the happiness and joy you brought to my life and share it with so many others! Theres not a day that goes by that you are not thought of and missed! Thank you for being the man that you were! And one day, we will all be reunited again...
I Miss and Love You <3

Happy Memorial Day and Thank You for your service!"
Dyrcka of Colorado

"Its been a while since I last wrote, alot has happened. I know you are watching over all your family and friends, guarding them from where you are just like you did when you were here. I know you have probably met my brother Blake (David Blakeley Williams). He was killed in Bagdad on March 22, 2008. Knowing you will watch over him has made this a little easier for me.
Zoe still talks about you, she still has your picture in her room. We miss you so very much.

To Russ's family: I have photos of Russ that I would like to share with y'all. Please let me know if you'd like to see them. beanspridex2@yahoo.com

"The beaches of Topsail will never be the same without you."
Brenda of Jacksonville

"SSgt Slay,
To the family of Russell. I never got to meet you in person but I wanted to say it was an Honor serving with him his sense of humor brought many laughs to all of us and he is greatly missed. We will all see him again someday and tell him how much we've missed him until then we have to remember all the greatness he brought out in all of us.
I miss you brother."
Cpl Duane Adams of Elwood, Indiana

"4 years now....Alyssa just turned four. We now have two little boys, we like to call "the sloop boys". Brett and I think of you everyday. We miss you dearly, but know you are watching over us. Your memory will never fade. WE LOVE & MISS YOU BUNCHES!"
Jenelle Sloop of South Bend, IN

"Russell: I miss you, brother. I know where you are, what you are doing, and how well you are doing it. Keep em in check until I get there, and we'll begin where we left off, my friend. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about you and what you have given for us all. I am sorry for your family and those of us that consider you a wonderful friend because we miss you terribly; but I know why you are gone. You were always a selfless man. I always thought of you as a true human being, Russ. While I served at Stone Bay, I made friends with someone who was in your unit during the first assault in Iraq. He told me that you saved his life, and that he would be forever grateful to you. He spoke of a night operation in which you all were ambushed. He was a gunner in one of your tracks, and he couldn't get his .50 up and firing. Knowing this, you jumped from your track onto his, and helped him get his weapon up and running. You did this all under fire. He was inspired, and so was I when he told me of what you had done. You stayed cool under fire, kept the well being of your men in mind above all. That is something that always stuck with me. I felt no need to mention it to you, because it was something that was in your nature. I only mention it now because I want you to know that I know what you did over there. It was something that I was proud of. It was one of the reasons I was so protective of you on the beach in Surf City. You are a human being in the truest form, Russ. I know that when you were taken from us, you were leading your Marines, looking out for them. You always held them above all else. I will never forget you, and when I have children, they will know about you and understand why the world needs Marines. Marines like you. Men like you. I will always have you on my mind, and I can't wait to see you again, my dear friend. Semper Fidelis!! po box 1142 mission, sd 57555"
Sgt Lynn F Burnette, Jr. of Mission, South Dakota

"November 16, 2008
To the family of Staff Sgt. Russell L. Slay:
Russell 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

"Its been 4 years now. So much has changed, but yet so much remains the same. I think about you often and I wish you could still be here with all of us. I wish you could be here to watch your beautiful children grow. I miss you more than I thought was ever possible to miss someone. I know one day we will all meet again. Until that day...I will remember the amazing man you were and the joy you brought to all of our lives.
I love and miss you!
Happy veterans Day."
Dyrcka of Colorado

"Russ.. where do I start and where do I end... I was on duty at Blue Diamond the day MGySgt Webber and I got the word about what happen. I was in total disbelief for about a year. When I returned from Iraq my wife and I did a vietnam wall run and they had the unveiling of all the OIF fallen hero's dog tag salute. I fell to my knees in tears when I saw your name on that gold Dog Tag. All I could remember where the good times we had in C company, Oki, and later on at the Amtrack school house. BROTHER, I will see you on the flip side. May the Good Lord Bless your family"
SSgt Wayne Tipton of Big "D" 29 Palms Ca

Man almost 4 yrs since Falluja. My son is 6 and is starting to understand how things go. I read him your obituary Sgt Maj Gatewood gave us in Falluja explaining to Connor how you are a hero. I remember everyone from Delta everyday God Bless your family and keep them safe."
Gunny J aka Blue Falcon of Oceanside Ca

"Russ, I'm sorry it has taken me this long to find your site. You are often in my thoughts and your family in my prayers. I miss you bro. Keep the streets of gold well guarded and policed. I will see you when my time comes. Semper Fi and YAT-YAS!"
Fmr. SSGT Josef "Paladin" Hyatt, Bco 3rd plt. 2DAABN of Plano, TX

"I thought of you today. It happens that way. I go to work, patrol the area then start to remember things from the Corps. You were so young when I met you. The 4 years I knew you we blessed. I think you read this from up above. I hope so anyways. I let Cpl. Guy and Sgt. Cummings know what happenend. Their thoughts are with your family as are mine. I'll see you when its my time. Sleep well brother."
B. Townsend of Aubrey TX

"Its been a while since I have been on here...But tonight as I was watching the news there was a story about a group of people who are running across the US for all the service members killed in Iraq. They are running over 4,000 miles and at each mile they stop a post a flag and a memorial card for a service member. So of course after I heard this I had to look into it and find out where they hung your flag and card. Come to find out it is in Colorado :) I cant wait to go see it when I go home in a couple weeks. Having a place that I can go and see to remember you (besides your grave site) is just another way I am able to heal and remember you. I think about you often and I promise I will never forget you! You were a specail person to have in my life and I am grateful for everyday that I was able to have you as a part of my life. I miss you dearly! XOXOX"
Dyrcka of Temporarily in WY

"Hey brother
Its taken me so long to figure out what to say. I think about you all the time, when i wake up until I go to sleep at night. On days like today I think of you even more there are so many of us down here that looked up to you. You've tought me so much if it wasnt just about being a Marine it was about being a man. I know you are in a better place, May we Meet again someday Brother Semper Fi. WE Miss You.

P.S. To your little ones, I want you to know that your father was the most bravest man I have ever meet and he has tought me soo much and that you should be very proud of him as i'm sure you are take care of yourselves and grow big and strong. Your Dad will never be forgotten he will always be in our hearts. Sincerly Sgt. Shafer Mark A. U.S.M.C."
of Quantico, VA

"As the fourth Memorial Day approaches since you've been gone. I just wanted to let you know I will be thinking of and remembering you. Each year that passes gets a little easier, but it will never be easy to know that you are gone. I think of you almost daily and I find comfort in the memories we shared. I cannot wait until the day when we can all meet again. I Love and Miss you more than you will ever know ~ XOXOX"
Dyrcka of Wyoming

"I think that I was related to him and I am crying right now my name is Kristie Slay ."
Kristie of Mineral Wells

"I think about you and all the fun times we had together on Topsail Island. From football practice on the base, to babysitting, to having a couple of capt' and cokes, and all the memories in between, I will never forget. You were the "big brother" I never had, always looking out for me. I still think of you daily and always will.
My heart goes out to your family.

Brenda of Jacksonville, NC

"We are approaching the 5 year "anniversary" of the war. Its so strange to think it was five years ago that I drove you and Bri to the armory to pick up your weapons to leave for Iraq the first time, and then, you were all home so soon, if only that would have been the end. And now just 5 years later, both of you are gone...forever. If anyone would have told me 5 years ago that that was the case I would have never believed them. I think about you often and I promise I will never forget you! You were an amazing man, and I am SO grateful to have been given the opportunity to have you as a part of my life. So, until that day when we can meet again...Ill be thinking of you and remembering all that you were.
I miss and love you ~ xoxox"
Dyrcka of Wyoming

"To you, you gave your life for our freedom and i say thank you very much to you and all who will never return to the the best country in the world and for this "WE SALUTE YOU""

"hey slay its bonano just wanted 2 say im praying 4 you and i know u are in a better place brother i still remember when u played football for the bathallion and how u were always making us have a better day at work semper fi bro love u"
sgt bonano carlos of fort carson colorado

"I have put together a page on marines.togetherweserved.com for Russ. I would like to invite everyone to check it out and please leave messages, photos, anything to show his friends and fellow Marines just who Russ is. I need some help putting this together to make it accurate. E-mail me @ tracker_1833@yahoo.com"
GySgt Joe Rice of Stafford, VA

"So tomorrow is one of the days I dread every year. Its been 3 years already, I cant believe it. It still feels like just yesterday...I Miss you everyday and I think about you all the time. I often wonder if you are watching and if you're proud of who Ive become and what I am doing with my life. I still remember all the good times we shared and hope they meant as much to you as they do to me. I feel so guilty that I havent been able to make it to your grave in the past year and a half, it was always so peaceful to be there. I promise I will come and visit just as soon as I can! I Love You and I Miss You Terribly! Rest In Peace and know that you are in my thoughts everyday. Until that day when we can meet again..."
Dyrcka Larson

"Daddy, I really miss you. I hear all these stories of how kids my age hate their dad's. I say you are lucky you still have one around. Day in and day out I think of you constantly. I know that you are watching over me and I really wish you would come back, but then I think about how you are in a safer and better place. I dearly miss our daddy-daughter dates and seeing you on holidays and summers. I know you would want to see me soon, but I have a lot longer to live. I believe you are the one and only best dad ever. I love you and miss you. 11/4/07"
Kinlee of Humble

"Ive been thinking about you more than ever lately. And I feel myself slipping back to where I was when I first got word of your death. I guess some days are better than others, and sometimes I still just dont believe that you are really gone. Im leaving for NC on Tues, going to welcome home a friend returning from his 3rd tour in Iraq...I think thats whats bringing up all these feelings again. Everytime I go out there, and everywhere I go, I am reminded of you and all the wonderful times we had. I miss you more than I could ever express! I know that someday we will all meet again, but sometimes someday is just too far away...I Love You! And Ill be thinking of you, until that someday is here..."
Dyrcka of Coloraod

"Donna, I just found out today about Russell. It came in my mailbox with all the names of the ones who died in combat from this area. When I saw Russell's name, I was in Shock. I called Misty and she looked it up on her computer and told me that it was, in fact, your Russell. I was in my car at the time, so I called her since I couldnt get on my computer. Our thoughts & prayers go out to you and Roy, and Debra. I can still remember all the good times we had when our kids were little. All the party's and BBQ's we had, and going to Magnolia Gardens with all the kids. It seems like so long ago. If you get this message, please call me at 409-736-2049 or 409-718-1634. I now live in Port Arthur. I am divorced AGAIN, and my mom lives with me. I sure would love to hear from you. Remember, I will keep all of you in my daily prayers. Love, Susie (Cormier) Dugas."
Susie Dugas (Cormier) of Port Arthur, Tx 77640

"Russ.... I cant forget the last time I saw you, standing at the Airfield in Al Asad Iraq. I had'nt seen you since we all got together in Adiwania and took that picture in front of the COC after we attacked Baghdad. You came to me and asked if this was your final destination and I said "No...those trucks on the road are there to take you to Fellujia....tonight!!" thats the last time I saw you. I was your Section Leader, Platoon Sgt, Company Gunnery Sergeant and Friend. I was Honored to re-enlist you in Kuwait in 1998...we had a 1stSgt, however you requested I do it. Thank You!! I know that no matter where we were...your upbeat attitude and sense of humor set the tone. regardless of your outcome I am glad you stayed in our Beloved Corps.

You were that which others did not want to be, you went where others feared to go and did what others failed to do, and excepted the thought of eternal lonliness should you fail.
You have seen the face of terror, felt the stinging cold of fear and had the sweet taste of a moments love.
You have lived times that some say were best forgotten. But you can lift your head high and be proud of what you are... "A UNITED STATES MARINE!"
"Semper Fidelis" and "YATYAS""
MSgt. L.D. Baga of 3D AA.Bn Camp Pendleton Ca.

"So...Ive been thinking about you A LOT lately. Missing you as always. I finally bought "We Were One" I thought I was ready to read the first hand account of the attack on Fallujah...It broke my heart all over again to read/hear the story of your death and to hear how hopeless you were in your final moments :( For a man who was larger than life, to be brought to the end of his life in such a way, was horrifying to me. You are a Hero to many, and I am SO very proud of you! Although I wish you were still here with us all today, you gave up your life to protect the lives of your fellow Marines. One day I will be able to actually read the whole book, but I now know 2 1/2 years is not enough time for me to be able to get through it. I Love You and I Miss You!! God is lucky to have you on his team. Rest In Peace...Until we meet again..."
Dyrcka of Colorado

"Staff Sergeant Slay, I just read about your sacrifice in "We Were On." As a fellow Texan, I sincerely appreciate you answering the call to arm's as a protector of my families freedom's. May the loving hand of God continue to provide your family with comfort and peace that only he can provide. Thank you, we will never forget."
David Deardorff of Austin, TX

"I miss you soooo much daddy and I am soooo proud of you having all that bravery to serve our country! I love you soooo much!"
Kinlee Slay of Humble,TX

"2 years and 20 days...For a while I thought I would never be ok again. But this past summer I was getting there :) Then for some reason God decided to take Brian. I still cant believe you are both gone...forever! I miss you more than you will ever know!! I Love you <3 Until we meet again...RIP Ssgt ;-)"
Dyrcka of Colorado

"Russ; It has been a little over two years now, and I still think of you from day to day. I think back to our years together and all the good and bad times that we shared. I will never forget our last minute trip to Big Bear. Three guys in a standard cab truck. Not pleasent, but then we get there and decide to sleep by the camp fire and no one getting any sleep cause of the cold, and someone scared about the the animal sounds. Then fishing the next day and again 3 hours in the truck. We did some crazy things over the years but that is the best memory that I will share. Hey man I miss you and wish you could have met my wife and son. We will again meet as friends and brothers. To your family I wish them the best of luck in the future and to the kids I wish for them to never forget who you are and the life you gave them."
Ssgt. Dennis J. Brede of Kiel, WI brederacing03@yahoo.com

Brother I think of you everyday and how all of the Snco's in Dco talked craziness and when you constituted the now famous Blue Falcon call. Keep the beer cold I'll be inbound when it is my time."
Gunny J Deuces Wild of Camp Lejeune

"To the Slay family from the Wahl family. We are neighbor's! (Spring) Deeply sadden of the news of RUSSELL> He will never ever be forgotten, not today and all the tomorrow's. I reach out to your family. That we be able to organize a group with other fallen families in the Humble, Woodlamds, Willis, Spring and other surrounding area's. Stefanie Pelkey is also from Spring. Anyway, I lost my son US Army Sgt. Gregory L. Wahl. Stefanie and I, offer our heart and prays to Russell and your family."
Len Wahl of leonard_wahl@hotmail.com

"Well, it's almost 2 years now that you've been gone. I don't think that there has been a day that has gone by that you were not remembered upon. Alyssa will be 2 next month. I think the last thing you said to me when you were over in Iraq was that you were gonna be the 2nd one to hold her when you got off that bus in NC. I wish so much that that were the case. Well on November 4th our church will be having a candlelight ceremony to remember the deceased and Brett and I will be a part of that, honoring you. We miss you dearly. You will always be the funniest guy we've ever met. All our memories will never be forgotten and the funny stories we have of you (which is probably every story) will continue to be laughed upon. We'll see you in Heaven!"
Jenelle Sloop of South Bend, IN

"Your are missed so much every day. You told me once that you always wanted to be a hero. You were always a hero to me. I love you, Kristy"

"To the family of SSGt. Russell L. Slay:
I just wanted to write a few lines to tell you how great of a man your husband was. I was a mechanic for his platoon. I am now out of the Marine Corps., and am missing it and him more often each day. Those who never got the chance to meet him lost, but those who got the chance to know him will be forever greatful for the man that you made. My family and I pray everday for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and remember Russell in our prayers."
Cpl. Allen B. Roe Jr. of Humble, TX/USA

Hey you, so I've been thinking about you alot lately, well I actually think about you daily but lately more than most. I miss you SO much! I miss seeing your face, hearing your voice and most of all the hugs. It's been 16 months, and while I can actually make it through the days, it still brings tears to my eyes when I think of you. I will never understand why you had to leave, when you had so much left to do. I know they say you are in a better place and I believe you are truly at peace. What I would give to be able to have just one moment more to tell you all the things I never had the chance to...although I believe in my heart you already knew everything. I hope you are enjoying your everlasting peace and happiness in heaven, and no matter what I know you will always be watching over us all, especially those two beautiful childrn of yours. You are always in my thoughts...until we meet again..."
Dyrcka of Lakewood, CO

"Today the Iraqis voted for their new government...the first time they've been able/allowed to do so. You and so many others fought and died so the Iraqis could be able to have a better life. And slowly but surely it is happening. Nothing will ever ease the pain of your loss, but days like these give hope, that in the end greatness can come from so much sadness. I miss you each day and will always keep your spirit alive within me."
Dyrcka of Colorado

"The second Thanksgiving came and went without you here. Even though you are no longer with us physically you are still with all of us in spirit. I could almost visualize you standing up after dinner and patting your belly as you did, but still able to put another bite in. I admire your mother so much for being so strong. As a mother of a military son I cannot imagine the pain she must carry around in her heart, yet at the same time the pride that you were such an exceptional person. You are always on our minds and in our hearts."

"It's been a year since you've been taken away and at times I still can't believe it. You were so silly and always had a way of making those around you laugh. Your family are in my prayers."
Janis Fuller of Okinawa, Japan

"Tomorrow I will be leaving for Texas, I guess we all know why...It's been a year and I will be going to your graveside. I still cant believe it, I wish so bad that it wasnt so! I am hoping to be able to see Christina and the kids while I am there. She has sent some pictures and its just amazing to see SO much of you in them. They are beautiful as you know, and I am so sorry that you wont have the opportunity to watch them grow and help them through the journey of life, I know you'll always be watching from above. Thank you for being the AMAZING man that you were, and for making the ultimate sacrifice for all of us and for the millions of others who will never have had the opportunity to know you. You are and will always be my HERO. I miss you more with each passing day. Until we meet again...."
Dyrcka of Lakewood, CO

"It's almost been a year and I still can't believe that you are gone...
It's such a shame that Kinlee and Walker have to go through life without their father, I know how much you loved them and how much you missed them when you were away.

Donna, Debra, Christina, Kinlee and Walker, I am so very sorry for your loss. I still think of Russell every day and the joy he brought when he was a part of my life. Our move to North Carolina was such a huge turning point in my life and for his contribution to it, I will always be grateful. I never thought in a million years, being stuck in a car with someone for a week could be so much fun! His jokes and funny stories are sadly missed, what an amazing sense of humor he had...No matter the situation, he was always able to make me laugh. Christina, thank you for your friendship and understanding when it was needed the most.

To all of the Slay family, you will always be in my thoughts and prayers. Find strength in knowing that Russell’s memory will forever be alive in the hearts and minds of so many.

With Love,"
Crystal B. of Dana Point, CA

"It's been almost a year and I still think about him almost every day. As a kid growing up he was the closest thing I had to a brother. When I heard what happened I fell to my knees and started to shake. My thanks to the family for letting me be a pallbearer and for always making me feel like a part of the Slay family.

When it is my time I will be proud to guard the streets of heaven with you."
Jason Tucker of Okinawa, Japan

"We thought of you with love today,
but that is nothing new
We thought about you yesterday,
and days before that too
We think of you in silence,
we often speak your name
Now all we have are memories,
your picture in a frame
Your memory is our keepsake,
with which we'll never part
God has you in his keeping,
we have you in our heart

Not a day goes by that you aren't thought of..."
Dyrcka of Colorado

"It's approaching 10 months since you've been gone. Eventhough it has been a while it still hurts today the way it did in November. Not a day goes by that I dont think of you! I am so greatful to have been able to know and love you. Thank you for brightening my life, you will never know the impact you made. In a couple months I will be going to your grave. I am dreading it already, but I think it's something that needs to be done. Deep down I know you're at peace and watching down over your children, but I wish it wasn't so. I miss you & until we meet again..."
Dyrcka of Denver, CO

"To my AAV brothers,
May you Rest In Peace and thank you, you will never be forgotten."
The former Sgt. Colón of Northern, VA

"It has been almost 9 months that you were taken from all of us. I still cannot believe you will never tell your jokes again or walk in and give me and Jimmy a hug and head straight for the refrigerator as always before. I remember sitting on the back porch at the BBQ when you came back from your first tour of duty in Iraq telling your stories and having us in stitches. You had all of us crying with laughter. I wish you could tell us more of your stories. We miss you Russell. But we are fortunate to have Kinlee and Walker to keep a part of you around us."
Donna & Jimmy of Huffman

"Last time i seen Russell what on a christmas back when i was dating James Barlow. I am so thankful now that I got the chance to meet such a wonderful person. A great man with a big heart. You are greatly missed by all. You will always be in my heart everyday. Love u"
Christina L. Greer of Huffman Texas USA

"I came across this and thought it was fitting...
"Our hearts are broken, as we have lost a hero, a father, a friend...and the world has lost someone special"
We certainly have! We love you Russ!"
Dyrcka of Denver, CO

"Its been seven months now and it feels as though it was just yesterday. There are good days and then there are those days that I still just cant believe it. I thank God for the opportunity to have been able to know and love you. I cherish all the memories I was able to share with you, eventhough I find myself wishing I could re-live all of them! I hope you know how much you truly meant (and still do) to me. You will forever be in my heart and I hope that I can live my life to honor you and all you left behind. There is not a day that goes by that I dont think of you! I love and miss you dearly. Until we meet again..."
Dyrcka of Colorado

"This Memorial Day was one of honoring you and your fallen brothers and as I sat by your graveside on Sunday, I prayed that you continue to watch over your men and keep them safe. A promise you made to us and I know that we can still count on you to watch over them from above. You were a true friend and mentor to Alan and I know that you are looking down with pride as he has stepped up to the plate as only you could have taught him. You were a special person in his life and a part of you will always remain in his heart.
May God give you peace."
Jeri Vandewater of Houston, Tx

"Yesterday was Memorial Day and I couldn't bring myself to go to your graveside. I think about you atleast once a day and so many months later I still can't believe you're gone. I'll never forget the moment I knew that nothing would ever be the same again. I wish I had the opportunity to go back and tell you I how much I did love you and how proud I was of you. I still think back to when we were kids and we would wrestle on our trampoline or play basketball at the end of the street. You were the jerky big brother and I was the perfect bratty sister! I can only hope you knew how much I loved you and looked up to you. I look at Walker and I see so much of you in him. That kids going to be just as full of life and full of just as much trouble as you were! I love you Russell........"
Debra Slay of Houston, Texas

"A role model like no other. On this Memorial Day, coming this Monday, a flag will be flying for you, Staff Sergeant. It was an honor to have known you, served with you, and learned from you. Thank you."
Sgt Aaron J. Faulkner, strife412@yahoo.com of Pittsburgh, PA

"Russ, I vividly remember walking onto Camp Fallujah and seeing you there, I wish we could have finished our conversation. Thanks for being a good friend. I think about what happened, and where we were all the time. I still meet marines who were with you for the push into fallujah. You are a hero, someone I will never forget. We still tell stories of things that all of us did together at schools bn, and after work. You are very missed pal. The last conversation I had with Russ was about our kids. He was proud that Walker had taken the play tractor Russ had given him and was raising hell with it. I'll never forget."
Joe R. of Camp Pendleton CA

"Dear Russell: I am Paul Seaton, you and I went through AAV school together and also served for many years in the same platoon (Cco). I remember going through fleet school with you, all the nights you made me laugh, the songs we used to sing...I remeber nights down the gas lamp getting sauced, and the days you kept me going in the field with your endless jokes about the marines we knew (some we loved, some we did not). I remeber meeting your new wife and how proud you were of your first born and I think of those days often. We used to play basketball 1 on 1 and you could never quite beat me but I can't help but wish I could have a rematch this day. I left the Corps. in 1999 and I recall being upset with your decision to stay but I admired your courage and hoped one day we would meet again. I miss ya Rusty and hope that in my life I find the courage to live each day as you did. My promise to you SSgt Russel Slay is that I will forever honor your friendship, your bravery, and always remeber the price you paid for freedom.
To Russels's Family: There are no words of mine that could express my sympathy to your family's bereavement. I wish you and yours a long and happy life safe in the knowledge that Russell's life had meaning beyond his sacrifice to core and country. He was a decent man, a loyal friend, and someone whom I will never forget. Godbless."
Paul Seaton: paulseaton@gmail.com of The Woodlands, TX

"Slay, what can I say except that you always made me laugh. You would poke your head in my office and I knew that the jokes were on their way. No matter what, you looked at the glass as half full and I can't ever remember you being in a bad mood. Thank you for the memories, I will never forget you."
Aniko of Tampa, FL

"Slay, or as I knew you, Lcpl. Slay. 2nd platoon "C" Comp. I left the Corps and began a carrer in Law Enforcement, but I'll never forget the fun in Oki and on Deployment. I remember the nights in Cpl. Guy's room durring field day, as a few of us would goof of and watch movies. The smile on your face as you threw granades in training. I never would have thought you would stay in and continue on as a Marine, but I am proud of the man you became. Until we meet again on the Big Ramp in the sky. Yat Yas, T-Rex."
Cpl. William Townsend of Aubrey TX

"I do not know if we are the same family,but there are only so many Slay's around. My father,Alton sr. retired as a decorated fighter pilot. I am Slay jr and a vet from the 60's. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My prayers are with you."
Alton D Slay Jr of Pasadena, Md.

"Russ you were such a goofball always making people laugh. You were also a very proud father (I remember the first time I met you you proudly showed off pictures of your children). I hope your kids will always know how much you love them and that they were always on your mind even though distance seperated you. You will always be remembered and I wished we could have talked before you left so I could have told you what a wonderful person you are."
Janis of Oceanside, CA

"Russ, or Gus as I always called you. From the moment I met you, I knew you would quickly become a part of our Family. You were truly the Brother I never had and the Son my Parents never had. You brought so much Joy to our lives. I will never forget you and all the fun we all had and all the times you were there for me. I love you with all my heart and I am honored to have met such a wonderful and caring person."
Stephanie of South Bend, IN / USA

"I am lucky to have known you, and I feel privledged to have known you so well. I wish I would have expressed that sooner. Thank you for all you have been to me."
Kristy of plymouth, ma

"God Bless you Russell. As a friend of yours from way back in our younger years in Huffman,Tx it was sad to hear that you would no longer be with us. But you will be with us..in our hearts,and in our minds.
Weapons Co. 2/4 USMC Camp Pendleton,Ca"
Reagan Hodges of Huffman,Tx

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

"Russ, you will never be forgotten. You were a great friend and I enjoyed everything we did. You are a Hero to all of us. Christina, Kinlee and Walker Mine and Cyndi's hearts go out to you I know he was a good husband and father. He will be missed in many ways."
Paul and Cyndi of Camp Pendleton, CA

"You were/are a GREAT man, and will forever be our HERO! I can never express all that you have meant to each and everyone of us. We thank you for your sacrifice and we miss you! May you live on through your children and through all who knew you. You fought a good fight, and we will forever be so proud of you. Godspeed and Semper Fi!"
Dyrcka of Colorado, USA

"men of your caliber are few and far between. i praise you for your sacrifice, and i pray for your family. i know god will bless your family, and your children. rest easy brother you've fought the good fight. godspeed"
carl smith hpd of houston,texas

"Russell Lee, you will always be remembered as a hero. When I look at our children I see you and know that you won't ever be forgotten. Kinlee and Walker remind me daily of you and how you loved. I promise that I will tell them daily about you and that you loved them with all that was in you. I know that your in a better place now. I pray for all the soldiers and their families. And my heart goes out to the famlies that have lost loved ones in combat. God Bless"
Christina Slay of Humble,TX

"To Russell's Family and Friends:

On behalf of the Blanco-Caldas family, we send our sincerest condolences. We share the same loss ... the same pain. Our prayers are with you in this most difficult time and we thank you for your soldier's bravery and sacrifice as we lose yet another of Texas' sons.


The Family of Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco-Caldas, 82nd Airborne
KIA Iraq 12/28/2003.
Gloria Caldas (The Big Ern's Mom) of San Antonio, TX

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

"To Russell's Family:
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

"To the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Russell L. Slay,

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 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

"Thank you Russell Slay, 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 Staff Sgt. Russell Slay:
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 Russell 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 Staff Sgt. Russell Slay:
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 Russell, 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