Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Marine Sgt. Mark T. Smykowski

23, of Mentor, Ohio.
Smykowski died while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Died on June 6, 2006.

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"I first met Ski in 2001 when I was attached from Charlie 1 /10 to Fox Company 2/6 as the artillery liaison. It was intimidating moving to a new barracks to live with a unit where I knew not one person. As it turns out, I was lucky enough to have a connecting room (common head) with Ski.

From day one he was welcoming, energetic and easy to talk to. He loved the Marine Corps. That was obvious from our first conversation. We later deployed together on the 22 MEU.

During these times I noted Ski never lost his natural enthusiasm for life nor waivered in his dedication to his country.

As I sit here in July 2013 I thank God everyday for the blessings I have received in this lifetime. It pains me deeply when I think of Ski's time on this Earth being cut short. The memories he never got to make. Then I'm reminded of Abraham Lincoln's famous quote, "In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." Ski put life into his years here on Earth and what better way to do so than with Honor, Courage and Commitment.

Ski, you are not forgotten. I thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice to protect our country. My prayers are with you and your family always.

Semper Fidelis"
Sgt J. Paul Doherty USMC of Middletown, DE

"To the family of:Mark T. Smykowski
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""

"Hey Ski, Think about you alot, i still remember that phone call i got from bogus on my way to work, letting me know the bad news. I haven't forgotten the weekends in Ohio, i hope your family is well, i'm sure you've got an eye on them. I'll see you again, on the other side. miss you brother."
Mike Whited of Sandy Springs GA

"Hey Ski,
What I wish I could say to you right now...
I wish you could be here. I fight every day to honor you and Matt and everyone else. I carry this weight of guilt that I can't put down. No matter how successful i've become I still think that people refuse to truly understand why. I fight everyday so people will remember you and Matt, because I know how much better of a man you were then them. And I wouldn't trade a thousand of the for one Smykowski, not in a heartbeat. I would never kill or die for any of them.

I'm forced to make some hard decisions right now Ski. If you get the chance, watch my back bro.
John 15:13, and I see you when I see you.

Jonathan Paterno
2/6 F & E co."

"Ski, just had you on my mind and thought I'd send something your way. They say that time can make all wrongs right again... I guess I once would have thought that to be true, but I don't anymore. Time can't fix June 6th 2006 no more than it can June 6th 1944. Just know that you my friend are not forgotten. I'm out the door again next month to Afghanistan. I need ya to watch over me again amigo."
1stSgt Roger Griffith of Camp Lejeune NC

"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 Steiner of Gahanna, OH / USA

"June 6, 2009
To the family of Sgt. Mark T. Smykowski:
Mark 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

"Mark, brother you wouldn't believe how Iraq has turned out. I'm heading back yet again in about three days for another 7 months. I just got back this past March and its my turn again. I wish you were here to go with me Amigo. I just don't understand why life turns out the way that it does sometimes....I only pray that time has eased some of the pain that I know your family must still feel. You know the word hero gets tossed around so often these days that I think that most people don't know what a real hero looks like. Maybe as time goes by they will look at the way you lived your life and the sacrafices that you made for our country and then....only then, will they see what a real hero looks like. I miss ya Bro...
1stSgt Roger Griffith
1st Bn 7th Mar"
Roger Griffith of 29 Palms California

"I served with Ski from Aug 04 until April 05, I was deployed with him in that time. Ski was always smiling and loved his job, He was a great team leader and I am proud to say I served with him, I was devestated to hear he did not make it back from his next deployment. My heart goes out to his family for losing such a great Man"
Sgt Nathaniel Goodfellow of USMC Det Rome Italy

"To the family and friends of Sgt. Mark Smykowski. Our thoughts and prayers remain with you. 26 May 2008"
Mark and Theresa Raney of Navarre,FL

"To the family and friends of Sgt. Mark Smykowski,
Please accept our deepest condolences on the loss of your son on behalf of our family. My brother Javier served with Alpha Co. 2nd Recon Bn. during OIF II. He was wounded alonside Sgt. Andy Hatcher and did not survive. I'm not sure if he served together with Mark but I'm sure they are together now watching over their brothers. You raised and outstanding son and Marine. He will never be forgotten. May God bless you and your family. Semper Fidelis!!"
Mike Obleas of Winchester, Va

"I don't know if anyone will ever take the time to read this or not simply because it has been so long since I lost a true brother. Mark was an amazing man and Marine. I was his Platoon Sergeant in 2/6 Fox Co. when he first came to the FMF. I remember talking to him about going to Recon and how excited he was while we were in Pakistan. I spent many hours just talking to him because he was far more mature than his years in life and even though I should have been teaching him, I learned from him. I can only hope that God has provided the Smykowski family with the support that they deserve.
To the Smykowsaki family, I cannot even imagine your loss, but I will tell you that I too have a son. He is nine and if he grows up one day to be the same kind of man your son was I will feel truly blessed.
To Mark, brother I know your guarding the gates in heaven with a M-4 in hand holding back those that don't deserve to enter. I'm going back to the sand box soon amigo watch my 6 for me. Semper Fi brother.
GySgt Roger Griffith"
Roger Griffith of Pensacola, Fl.

I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Semper Fi Devil Dog!"

"I want to thank Mark and his Brothers for the freedom they provide this country. There is no way to thank them enough for this sacrifice. My prayers are with you and your family Mark, and I will never forget you!"
Anne Bomkamp of Mentor, Ohio

"On behalf of the family of SPC Shawn Davies, Our hearts go out to the friends and family of Mark. We share in your pain and sorrow. We have all become part of a club that we did not want to join. May God be with you. Mark will never be forgotten"
Toni Peters, toniannp@sbcglobal.net of Concord, OH

"I came to your sons memorial to pay my respect. You did such a wonderful job with everything- the pictures , the music!"
Tracy of Ashtabula , Ohio

Please KNOW so many people share your sadness,
and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief.
Our nations HERO, Mark will be remembered by name.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Pat & Sandi Breckenridge / Montana
May we always remember: FREEDOM ISN'T FREE!

"Thank you Mark Smykowski, 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 Sgt. Mark Smykowski:
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 Mark 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 Sgt. Mark Smykowski:
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 Mark, 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