Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Staff Sgt. Eric M. Steffeney

28, of Waterloo, Iowa.
Steffeney died in Tuz, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated. He was assigned to the 184th Ordnance Battalion, 52nd Ordnance Group, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Died on February 23, 2005.

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"I was the XO of 2/278 ACR, which SSG Steffeney was supporting. He and I ate dinner together at the mess hall the night before he was killed. We talked about our children and what happiness they bring us. He was preparing to rotate back home in a few days. Such a tragedy. Hardly a day passes when I don't think of Steff. He was a great guy and his work in Iraq made sure a lot more of our guys made it home. A hero in the truest sense. God speed Brother, til we meet at Fiddler's Green."
LTC Miles C. Smith of Texhoma, OK, USA

"To Eric's family, you have my most sincere condolences. I was in charge of the aid station at Bernstein. I frequently think about that day and fondly remember him."
Cale Queen of Clarksville, TN

"MRS. Steffeney and family. I was there the day Eric passed. Along with other members of my platoon. I remember taking a video and Eric asked if I was filming. When the IED went off I looked up on the hillside after it went off and saw a car speeding off. I was yelling at the top of my lungs but nothing was coming out of my mouth. I feel guilty cause I could have got the guy who done it. I'm so sorry for your loss. Eric is a true Hero."
Spc. Wade, Timothy of Morristown, TN

"Ma'am, to this day, this heart has carried a heavy burden knowing that it was my responsibility for his loss. I was responsible for the security detail that day, I was in charge of the platoon on the scene that day......and in no way was any member of that platoon responsible, except for myself,.....but I was young and foolish as a lieutenant......to even let him do what he decided to do .......well, either way, I had the power to tell him "HELL NO".

On a lighter note, he was a huge supporter of Pepsi!!!! Even in the last ten minutes on that day, he opened that can, smiled, and said "let's get this over with"."
Major Tyler D. Capps of Memphis, IN

"I worked with SSG Steffeney at FOB Bernstein while I was serving with the 105 EN BN. We cycled out in December 2004, and I was very saddened to hear of his loss in 2005. I think of him often; he was a great soldier and professional."
CPT Steve Smith of Kent, OH, USA

"to the family of Eric M. Steffeney no words can explain the gratitude that i have for your husband for on that dreadfull day of feb. 23rd Staff SSG steffeney saved my life if it had not been for him the explosion would have killed or seriously injured me i was just 15ft from him when the Ied exploded.a day dosen't go by that i don't think about him .He will always be remembered.He will always be in my heart.He will always be a hero!!! you will be in my prayers....."
SGT. Joshua L. Sweeten of Newport . Tn

"To all of Eric's family...There are many of us who served with him and still think of him often. 21 MAY 2010"
SFC Phillip Todd Whatley of Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan

"I served with Eric for a very short time at FOB Bernstein but he made an ever lasting impression on my life."
Charles W. Weaver, Jr. 1LT/FA of Berwick, PA

"I grew up next door to Eric on Oriole Ave. My memories of him are good ones. All I can say is "Thank You Soldier" for your sacrifice and Bless the Family who has lost him. My gratitude for the Freedom you provide."
Samantha Facchi of Los Angeles, CA USA

"February 7, 2009
To the family of Staff Sgt. Eric M. Steffeney:
Eric 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

"Mrs. Steffeney
I was assigned to operations at Fob Berstein. I talked with Sgt Steffeney before he went out that day. We talked about going home and his family. Their hasn't been a day that goes by that I don't think about him or his family. He was and is a hero. You and your family will always be in my prayers."
Ssgt. Stuart Rogers ret. of White Pine Tn.

"Eric worked for me in 2003 (Baghdad). I nicknamed him "Renegade". He was unfamiliar with the word "fear". He approached every mission with the utmost in confidence and vigor. He was a true Warrior.
Mrs Steffeney...I'm so sorry. God Bless you and your family."
SFC J. Flum of Ft Jackson, SC.


"To Erics family:
I knew Eric as a teen when my family would visit my sister each summer in Waterloo. Eric would join us at the Amusement Park in Des Moines. He was always kind, respectful with a great smile and warm heart. Today Eric walks in Heaven with Jesus and is watching over all of you and loving you still."
Judy Koemptgen of Phoenix, Arizona

"I worked with Eric at FOB Bernstein - he was a top-notch EOD stud; I was the nerdy Intel guy on the base. My unit left Berstein about 2 months before Eric was killed. I was on vacation in Colorado when a buddy called me to tell me the news. All I could think of was that Eric went out of his way to help others understand what was going on with IEDs, especially with those of us who could get his message out to the troops.
God rest Eric Steffeney...hearing of his loss was a dark day for those of us who had the chance to work with him."
Thomas Ruyle (ex-CPL, 1/120IN, NCARNG, USA) of Columbia, MO

"I too was at fob bernstien with eric m.steffeney.I met him a couple of times in the maint-area, I was a mechancic their and I'am sad that he passed away. Now,I go go back to the same area to look for those who have done harm too my fellow brother's.This time I will do more too prevent good men like SSg Steffeney from passing away.25thID 3rdIBCT-2/27th INF.Thank you for your service and god bless your family."
SPC Hyatt,Eric J of Schofield Barrarks,HI

"omg this is my dad(eric matthew steffeney) and i love him i dont kno wut to do wit out him!:("
alexis steffeney of Lillington, NC

"i was the maintenance supervisor responsable for the up-keep of ssgt steffeney's EOD vehicle, and i got to know him a little. he was a super soldier and a great NCO whom loved his country. i will always remember his smile and dedication to his job! may God keep his arms around him. SFC TOMMY JAMES TRP-E 2/278"
SFC TOMMY JAMES of talbott,Tn

"I left the Army in 2001, before the towers were hit. One of my most cherished memories of being an EOD team leader was heading out to the desert with Steff (NTC). I'll never forget him driving us around in the sand and I was reading a book...he leaned over and said, "Hey Jamie the convoy's gone." Through all the dust he made a wrong turn and we were in the middle of nowhere. What a laugh we had. All he ever talked about was going back to Bragg (as he and I both came from the 82nd ABN). The last time I saw Steff was at the memorial service for SSG Boudreau here at Fort Carson. I wish I would have talked to him a little more that day. You never know. I'm sorry for your loss Theresa. I know you and the kids have come a long way. God Bless...and thanks Steff. See ya round."
Jamie Heath (SSG, EOD) of Colorado Springs, CO

"Thank you Eric for the knowledge you passed on to me and the rest of my platoon. Thank you for your patients as we learned from you. We all miss you and think of you often. You will always be remembered as the hero you are. May God watch over your family and ease their pain."
SGT Jason Yount of 2/278 RCT TNARNG

"I am sorry for your loss. I was with Troop E 196 Cav of the NC Army Guard and left FOB Bernstein in Dec. I did not know Eric, but we apparently shared in common serving at FOB Bernstein."
Mike Howard of Dallas, NC

"It was a year ago today that we all lost Eric. Its been a long time since I got back from Iraq, so my memory is now just snapshots, but one which will never fade is seeing Eric smile the night we left for home, it was big enough to light a room. Eric was a geat man who loved his wife and adopted children and who was at heart a servant. It was my pleasure to serve with Eric and I mourn his loss to this day. He died protecting soldiers like me, and I swear Eric you will never be forgotten. Theresa, you and your family are forever in my prayers."
Steven Lancaster of Roseville, MN

"Mrs. Steffeney,
I had the privilege of being around Eric daily. There has not been a day since 23 Feb 05 that I have not thought of him. His smile and easy going way will always be missed. He was a true professional in every sense of the word. His work undoubtedly saved many lives and allowed us to return to our families safely. You and your family will always be in my prayers. My unit was given a home coming celebration shortly after arriving home and Eric was honored at this celebration. I know nothing will fill the void left by his passing, but I just wanted to assure you that he will always be remember by those who served with him."
SFC Ralph D. Huskey, S2 NCOIC, FOB Bernstein of Newport, TN

"Mrs. Steffeney and Family,
I was stationed at FOB Bernstein with your loved one and lived right across from him in the bunker. I remember seeing him leave the morning he was killed. He was light-hearted, cheerful, and confident as usual. He was well-liked and respected by the soldiers he served with. I was an interrogator at FOB Bernstein and went out with Eric as part of a QRF just days before his passing...Two mortar rounds had been found in the back of a pick-up truck and Eric was called on to dispose of them. I remember that he insisted on a "safe-zone" around the vehicle while he secured the munitions. He was very professional and saved lives!!! I am so sorry that it cost him his. He was so looking forward to returning to his wife, children, and family. I hope that the feelings of gratitude, respect, and grief shared by those who worked with him ease your pain and loss somewhat!"
SSG Phillip Todd Whatley of Defense Language Institute, California

"To the family of:Eric M. Steffeney I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. He died a hero defending freedom. May you have the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Prayerfully, we will 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, Gateway Community Church, 11677 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015. Your friend in Jesus Christ,"
Polly Bsllew of Covington,Ga

"Mrs. Steffeney, I too was stationed at FOB Bernstein when Eric went to go meet with the lord. I remember hearing the news of his passing and I was floored by it. I didn't work with him much, but I had just seen him two days before the incident when he came out to dispose of an ammunition round my company had found. He was all smiles and his professionalism was astonishing. He was a great soldier and was dedicated to the cause and his country. God Bless you and you remain in my family's prayers."
Spc. Ryan Seals - H Co. 2/278 RCT of Greensboro, NC

"i worked with eric on a daily basis on qrf taking him off of the fob to do his job. he was a good guy and allways did his job without question. i will allways remember the day that he passed, myself and my platoon were out with him that day and we will all miss him. to his family go my thoughts and prayers and just know that i think of him and the others that we lost in iraq on a daily basis and they are all heroes to me.."
sgt chad chambers 3rd plt e trp 2/278 rct fob bernstein iraq of asheville nc

"I worked with Eric as did my Captian. He was a fine soldier and a good person. The day we heard the words broken peacemaker our hearts fell. My condolences to his family."
Jim Judkins 1SGT HHT 2/278th RCT of Church Hill, TN, USA

"You are a true hero brother. You and your family will always be in my prayers and thoughts"
CPT Tyler Rentz, S2 2/278 RCT of Johnson City, TN

"Rest in peace my Brother in Arms. You and our other Brothers and Sisters will NOT be forgotten.May our Lord and Savior look after you until we're all together again in Heaven.
Troop E 196th Cav.
SSG Tafili, Siai S of Rocky Mt, NC

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

"To Eric and his family,

Mrs. Steffeney, i can't imagine what you must of went through. I was there when Eric was killed. I worked with him many times, and myself along with many other people got to know eric and come to find that he was a excellent soldier, and cared and loved his family so much. God bless Mrs. Steffeney, and Eric, you will not be forgotten, rest in peace my friend. Mrs. Steffeney, if you would like pictures of SSg. Steffeney please email me at : the_boogman@yahoo.com , or if you have any question's , please feel free to ask."
Spc. Garnsey, Chris of Fob Berstein, Tuz, Iraq

"i never got to met eric i wish i had. He sounds like a loyal and true American. a year ago my family and i started a project called Troops Tribute Across Iowa. If anyone has information about Eric or his family please contact me at:queenie_20035@yahoo.com. Please and thank you, we would like for his family to join our project/team."
Ashley Farrier (T.C.B. Demo) of Washington, Iowa, USA

"To the family of Eric M. Steffeney:

The Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation will be honoring your loved one at the non-denominational Memorial Day Sunday worship service at 11:00 a.m. on 29 May. We will remember the casualties of the Global War on Terrorism from Minnesota … and the neighboring states of Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Outside of the historic Fort Snelling Veterans Memorial Chapel will be a “Memorial Garden” filled with white crosses bearing the names of the war dead … including your loved one.

I would like to extend to your family an invitation to honor us with your presence at worship as we pay tribute to the sacrifice made by your service member and family. Our pastor, U.S. Army Chaplain, LTC Kenneth L. Beale, Jr. will preach a message entitled “Remembering Our Freedom.” A former Soldier and country music songwriter and performer “Rockie” will pay a special musical tribute. At the conclusion of the worship hour, all of the congregation will be invited to silently pay their respects at the garden and place poppies at each of the crosses. An honor guard squad will be on hand to fire vollies as the US flag is lowered to half-staff and Taps is played.

As this Christian worship service has traditionally been well attended, we would be happy to reserve seating for you and yours. To do so, kindly call (612/970-7866) and leave a voice message indicating your veterans’ name and the number of persons attending. If you are not able to attend, we pray that you would find comfort in knowing that our prayers are with you and all of the fallen heroes.

Leila Campbell
Administrative Assistant
Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation
web site:www.fortsnellingmcf.org"

"The EOD community is a family, and even though I did not have the good fortune to met Eric, I still feel the loss. There is no way I can even come close to imagining what you are feeling, but I know you do have a awesome group of guys at the 18th that will take care of you and help you through this difficult time. If there is anything that we, the 430th EOD company, can do for you please do not hesitate to ask."
SSG Harold "Tate" Jones of Greenville, NC

"I just want to thank everyone for all of the nice things you have added to this guest book, I am going to print out a copy of this and save it for the kids.
It has been almost 6 weeks now and the unit will be home today, for me this is excruciatingly painful... knowing that by all rights my husband should be coming home too. I miss Eric more than most of you can imagine. I'm not sure how I get from day to day... I guess I just keep waiting to "bounce" but haven't quite made it there yet. Jordan and Alexis are hanging tough, giving me the same hard time teenagers are supposed to give their parents. Blake on the other hand breaks my heart sometimes with the things he comes up with... The other night he asked me to write down the spell that Piper, Phoebe, & Paige use to summon Gramms. He put it under his pillow and put a picture of Eric beside him and went to sleep. The next morning he woke up and asked me "did Dad slept beside you" and when I said no, He told me, "Well he slept beside me". At least now I do know that Blake understands what's going on (at least somewhat).
I realize this posting is longwinded and personal, but I really need to try to find a way to deal.
Again I thank you all for your kind words, support, and prayers.
Eric, Honey, I will always love you and I miss you so much.
Love Always, ME"
Mrs. Theresa Steffeney of Lillington, NC

"I work with Eric's uncle Rich Chapman. He told me of Eric's many accomplishments as a man and as a soldier. You can take great pride in the fact that he helped render safe over 50,000 pieces of unexploded ordenance in Iraq. There is no doubt that his work helped save the lives of countless innocent people. I am very sorry for your loss and I thank you for his service to our country."
Marco Antonio Abarca of Denver, Colorado

"I never got the pleasure of meeting Eric, I wish I did. In 2004 my family and I started a project called Troops Tribute Across Iowa. It was a way to honor our fallen heros of Iowa in our own way. If anyone has any information on Eric or his family please contact me at: queenie_20035@yahoo.com. Thank you and God bless Eric and his famiy!!"
Ashley Farrier (TCB Demo) of Washington, Iowa

"Eric, my friend, you will be truely missed. As we toasted your passing many fond memories of school were mentioned. The EOD community has lost another wonderful person. Rest in peace my brother. My thoughts and prayers are with your wife and kids."
Eric Loar of Redstone Arsenal

"my prayers are with you. Eric, you are a hero and we are proud of you.the elite team of EOD has lost another to become an angel. Rest in peace."
judy sutter( mother of SSG. Michael Sutter KIA Dec.26,2003 Iraq---745th EOD) of tinley park,il

"There are no words to express the sorrow we feel for your loss. May God bless you and help you through this time."
Dan and Meg Manninen of San Antonio, Texas

"We mourn your death and honor your life. May God give strenth to your family at this time. You are a hero and have fought for a worthy cause. Our thoughts and prayers are with you now and always,"
Webster and Ruth Reed (Parents of Jonathan Ray Reed who died in Iraq on January 28, 2005) of Krotz Springs, LA

"To the memory of Eric Steffeney,
Eric was a good man and did not deserve what happened to him. I was stationed with him from September to January and he was the last person that I said goodbye to at FOB Bernstein. Eric you were a great man and will never be forgotten."
Staff Sergeant Johnny Justice of Rock Island Arsenal, IL

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

"Thank you Eric Steffeney, 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. Eric Steffeney:
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 Eric 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. Eric Steffeney:
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 Eric, 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