Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Sgt. Skipper Soram

23, of Kolonia Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia.
Soram died in Baghdad, Iraq, when a vehicle-based improvised explosive device detonated near his security post. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas. Died on September 22, 2004.

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"SGT Soram was most sincere in his desire to serve a noble cause as well as in his steadfast dedication to Thunder Battery. For those of us who served with Skipper, we'll always be reminded of those qualities on this day especially. After eighteen years, his character endures in our collective memory as though we just recently crossed paths."
George Scharwath CPT (Ret) of NC

"As Memorial Day approaches again, we are once again remembering the ultimate sacrifice that Sgt. Soram gave almost 10 years ago. My husband, Russ Ratliff was 10 feet away from him when the incident happened. He was devistated when he learned of the loss of Sgt. Soram, his friend. I just want his family to know that we think of him and his family every year, and he has not been forgotten."
Kristi Ratliff of Cibolo, TX

"Time has gone by but yor are not forgotten, you will always be in our memory."
Gittens, Deryck L. of Jersey City, NJ

"To Sgt. Skipper Soram,
I remember the day like if it was yesterday. I was 100 feet away from the car bomb,I prayed that no one was hurt as I ran toward the attack, I was in shock that my good friend did not make it out. My condolences to his friends, family, and anyone who crossed his path. Never did I hear him complain, always happy to wake up in the morning. I remember playing ping pong with him for hours and he did not have the heart to say I was not a good ping pong player yet he kept telling me I was getting better at it. I will never forget my good friend Skipper Soram"
Alonso Gonzalez of San Juan Texas

"To Sgt. Skipper Soram,

I was in the same unit with Sgt Soram... He was a great Sergeant and a great person. Everything happened so fast that day... Sgt Soram we the Thunder family miss you so much, we are so proud of you, can't wait to see you again! Thanks for been with me every 22 of September for the rest of my life."
SSG Arroyo, Maury of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico

"To Mrs. Skipper Soram, his family and friends:

I am a police officer in Bradenton, Florida. A co-worker of mine was assigned to the same command as Sgt. Skipper Soram. My co-worker wears a bracelet bearing the name, company and KIA date of another soldier that he served with in the same command. I asked him to get me one of someone that he knew personally that paid the ultimate price of freedom. A couple of months later (yesterday to be exact, 10-11-2009) he gave me a red bracelet bearing the name of Sgt. Skipper Soram indicating his command, the date he was killed in action and where it occurred. I just wanted to let you know that I now wear the bracelet in memory of Sgt. Skipper Soram and will tell of his sacrifice to all that ask me about the bracelet. His story and memory will live on and reach out beyond the humble island where he was born and raised in the Pacific Ocean. God bless you and you have mine and my family's deepest condolencenes for your loss.

Sgt. John Negron
Bradenton Police Department
100 10th Street West
Bradenton, Florida 34205
Sgt. John Negron of Bradenton, Florida

"”Honor and Remember” - “Project Compassion” We love our Soldiers! We love our country and we cannot express enough love and compassion to the families of our fallen heroes. War does not discriminate – It breaks our hearts to see the faces of the fallen. We want to give this gift to you. We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization! Over 1,750 portraits have been completed and shipped to the parents and or spouse - at no cost as this is a gift from one American to another!
Mothers of our heroes, please be aware that the Project Compassion sponsors will now help cover the costs of the portraits for you to have one - regardless if the spouse of the hero has one or not!
Contact us directly at Projectcompassion@manti.com or go to www.heropaintings.com . If you have already had a portrait completed, we pray that you are enjoying the portrait and God Bless You.
Sincerely and Respectfully,
Project Compassion
P.O. Box 153
Manti, Utah 84642"
Project Compassion - Kenna of Manti, Utah USA

"How can I reconcile the internet photo of a grown, mature soldier, now dead, with my memory of a tiny twin 7th grade rascal that I taught while a Peace Corps Volunteer in Pohnpei, Micronesia so many years ago? My deepest condolences to the Soram family, and my warmest memories of times of peace and a little boy and his family who taught me the essence of life on Pohnpei."
Andrea (Rihna) Eisen (Rospel) of Chapel Hill, NC/USA

"August 22, 2008
To the family of Sgt. Skipper Soram:
Skipper 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

"I to also had the honor of serving with Sgt Soram. I was also with him stationed in Korea C 2/17. We were not really close friends but he did always have a smile on his face no matter what the situation was we were in. It was a great shock to here of what had happened to Sgt. Soram. Just wanted to say that he was a great soldier and will be missed"
Spc. Munford, Tony of Rogers, Arkansas

"To the Soram's Family:

SGT Soram and your sacrifice will always be remembered. On this few days past Veteran's Day, I wanted to reach out let you know, you are family and will remain in my thoughts and prayers."
CW2 Lancaster Mendiola of Houston, Texas

"To all that knew my cousin Skipper thank you all for your great support. As you all know Skipper was from a small island in the pacific. I myself never had the pleaser to meet Skipper because I was raised on another island. I myself am in the military and found out about my cousin while deployed in Afghanistan. Needless to say it was some very hard news to bear. Thanks again to you all for your loving messages. GOD Bless you all"
SGT Andrew S. Burnette of Ft. Hood TX

"I served with SGT Soram in
korea 2/17 FA. He always had a way to lift everone spirits with his smile. He knew how to be the best and brought out the best in everyone. He made your timein thr ROK more enjoyable. Thanks for all the memories Skipper, you are missed!"
SGT Varvel, Gary A. of Ft. Carson,Co

I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy. After reading the reflections left here for you, I wish that I had had the chance to have served with you.

"Can Or Will"(82nd FA Motto)"

"To the family of SGT Soram, I knew Skipper for a few short months while in Iraq (we were in the same battery), he arrived after we had gotten there. I was moved to another battery just 3 days before he was killed. If I hadn't moved, I would have been out there with him (and wish I had). He will be sorely missed. My prayers go out to you and your family. Feel free to contact me at:a13bdude@aol.com anytime."
Mark Dudek of Murfreesboro, TN

"To the family of:Skipper Soram 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"

"I had the honor to serve with Sgt. Soram in Baghdad. A good man and soldier, he always had a smile. You will never be forgotten and that I just wanted to say Thank you. To your family, I want you to know that I will always pray for you, Im sorry for your loss, and that I will always remember him.
"Doc H.""
Julian Huehl of Las Vegas NV.

"I had the great honor of serving with sgt. Soram. The most important thing about him was he is a good man. He thought me no mater how stupid the job may seem, it just has to be done no mater what. he was also there when one of us needed to talk about our problems and i had a few. I will always remeber his smile and how he was always with sgt h. If I could id gladly take his place. I am trully sorry for your loss. my thoughts are with you."
pfc Jackson of sacramento ca

Thanks for all of the wonderful memories. I could not have ask for a better battle buddy in basic training. Your persistence and professionalism is beyond belief. To your loving family and wife, I am truly sorry for your loss. Skipper is an amazing man not only from his own beliefs, but from what you allowed him to be. We will all share these wonderful times again soon with you Skip. Miss Ya Bro. Keep Smiling and continue to look down over your family and friends. Thanks Again for Everything!!"
SGT Al Keener of Kalamazoo, Michigan

"Sgt. Skipper V. Soram
I remember Sgt. Soram when he first came to Howitzer Btry 1/3 ACR at Ft. Carson. He was a young, brand new soldier eager to learn and help out anyone with anything. He was loved and respected and held in the highest regard in our Btry and Squadron. When we learned of his passing we were heartbroken. Sgt Soram will always have a special place in my heart, as he will in everyone he has graced with his presence. Thank you Soram for brightening our days with your constant smile and big heart. We will meet again in "Fiddlers Green" to sip from our canteens and talk of old times.
Sgt. Russell J. Hanson of Exeland, Wisconsin





"To the family of Skipper Soram and friends. I do is from the same island(Pohnpei) and I do am in the army too. I am really sorry for you loss and I will pray so that we may all find happiness. kalangan en kumwail."
Spc. Baily Rosario of Charlotte, NC

"To the family of Sgt. Skipper Soram,

I would like let you know that my thoughts and prayers have been with you
since the day I found out about the loss of a great friend of mine. I stood beside Sgt. Soram that Sept. 22nd
one year ago turning any cars away that
came down that road. I often wish that
it had been me instead of him. He is a
great man, and he taught me alot about being a soldier. I can still see that smile on his face, like he always had.
I am still recovering from the car bomb
one year later, physically and mentally. He has been a big part of my
strength in my recovery. He will always remain my brother, and he will never be forgotten.
With God"
Spc. Russell Ratliff of San Antonio, Tx./U.S.

PFC LUCIOS Andolin of Fort Richardson, Alaska

KNOW we are continuing to remember your family in your loss and your grief.
Our nations HERO, Skipper will be remembered by name.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
God Bless you ALWAYS.
Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"SGT. SKIPPER SORAM, my dearest , loving ,HONEY, JOEY,
No one can ever replace you in my heart and like always, I'm proud to have you as my husband for life 'TILL DEATH and 'till my second life.

Time can never ever change my love for you. I always keep you alive in my thoughts and in my heart until the end of time."love u more than u do...You're always be my "HERO"

I'm dying to see you...Love u forever...your WIFE, MARISSA G. SORAM"
marissa g. soram of Manila, Philippines

"SGT Soram you are an American hero, A NCO that will never be forgotten. The world is a lesser place with out you. I pray for you and your family, God bless."

"I also had the pleasure of serving in C-Btry 2/17 FA with Sgt Soram and felt truly heartbroken at the news of his death.Sgt Soram I will always remember your smiling face. May God bless you and your family. Rest in Peace."
SSG Ricardo Dillard of Fort Hood, Texas/USA

"Im a very saddened and bothered about the death of my battle buddy Skipper... We were in the same unit in Korea and hung alot toghether on our free time I was just thinking of all the times I wanted to sit alone in the barracks in Korea and he always motivated me to get out and see the sights with him. He always talked highly of his family and I always loaned him my phone so he could call home. I never met a soldier who wanted the best for his parents and worked hard to make sure they were proud. We always talked about his background in the islands and I learned alot. In fact I met a soldier from the same place back in August and talked highly of his home he wondered how I knew so much I said had a good friend in Korea well may God be with you till we meet again"
Sgt.Basacker Raymond of Ft.Riley Kansas

"To those of you who loved and cared for my fallen NCO.
I was stationed in Korea 2-17 FA with Sgt. Soram in Charlie Battery. He always had a leadership trait that I greatly respected. Self-less service, he would be on the ammo track vehicle as the Ammo Team Chief NCO and would stay in the gun turret for all of the day while we were in the training environment. He would put his troops before himself, by being in the hot son and letting us sit in the shade. I remember trying to pull him out of one of our vehicles with some other soldiers to throw him in the mud since it was our last field problem. He said no, you better get away, or Im going to get you for assault on an NCO. I felt a sadness when I was told of what happened, but in my way of dealing with my pain I focus on the good and funny things we shared. So, to the parents of your fallen son and soldier I wish to leave you with my condolences and my ever reminding memories which will guide me to be a better leader. May you have peace in mind and know that many other soldiers who served under him feel as I do.- 5TH SECTION-FA.-CAMP HOVEY-VIPERS"

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

"To Skipper'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.


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

"My deepest sympathy, our family to has also suffered the loss of a precious life in this battle for freedom. May God bless you and hlp you through this time. Forever in our hearts a HERO Skipper Soram."
Amy & Aaron Monier of Waterford, MI,

"To Skipper'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

"Thank you Skipper Soram, 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. Skipper Soram:
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 Skipper 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. Skipper Soram:
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 Skipper, 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