Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Marine Sgt. Kirk Allen Straseskie

23, of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.
Drowned in a canal near Al Hillah, Iraq, when he attempted to rescue the crewmembers of a Marine CH-46 helicopter that went down in the canal. Straseskie was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Camp Pendleton, California. Died on May 19, 2003.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Marine Sgt. Kirk Allen Straseskie.


Contributions to the Families of the Fallen


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

Please report inappropriate messages

"Hey Bud. It's been 20 years since we have had a chat, a beer and a good laugh. Our boy is grown with a little Marine of his own and I hope your as proud of the man he has become as I am. Nate is with you now and I know the two of you are out somewhere together letting us know the blanket we both provided is still watched over as always. It's a digital message to all out there to let them know 20 years later, although the sun has risen each day since 19 May 2003, your light shines very bright and out heart and still holds so much love for you that can never be replaced."
of USA

""The Guide"
By Juan Chavez

He was a big brother to so many young men, always leading from the
front and never looking back. 
He is watching the young men as they go into battle and he is pleased
with what he sees. 
He no longer sees followers he is watching leaders saying and doing 
the same things he did. 
He wants to get down from the clouds and join his brothers in battle. 
He was the guide for the platoon and now he has been promoted to the 
Marine Corps Guide. 
We will see him when it is our time to check into heaven. 
He will be the one behind the reception desk in the clouds taking 
roll call. 
Even in death he has led from the front as he died trying to save his 
brothers that crashed into the river. 
No one made it so he guided them to heaven where he is still guiding 
Marines through the clouds."
Gunnery Sergeant Chavez - Retired of San Juan Capistrano, CA

"I did not know you but I think of you often. My husband. My husband was part of HMM-364. We now have a daughter who is working on a project at school on heroes. She asked me who mine was and you always come to my mind when I hear that word. I think of you and your family often."
of Anaheim, Ca

"RIP, Sgt. Straseskie. I think of you every day, brother."
LCpl James of California

"I didn't know Kirk, but I was so touched by what a fine young man he was reported to be, and the bittersweet sacrifice he made for all of us Americans, that I attended his funeral in that beautiful little church out there in Beaver Dam. I want Kirk's family to know I still get a lump in my throat and tear up when I hear Ave Verum, as you had the choir sing that day. It left a life-long impression on me. May God bless all of you in his family and his close friends. And may I still honor him by having a Mass said for him."
Jeffrey Wolf of Menomonee Falls, WI

"Dear Kirk, you are gone but not forgotten, we thank you for your service to our country and for giving the greatest contribution...yourself. We love you and miss you, Aunt Debi"
Debi Guenterberg of Princeton, WI

There have been so many things that I wish I could tell you, so many things I remember us sharing. I remember your passion for our Corps and the drive you had daily. I remember our long talks on the ship and us standing shore duty together, I remember your dedication to recovery after your knee injury. You were a Marines Marine and a Leader of Marines. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about that day. I remember jumping in that canal and seeing you swimming towards that helicopter. I remember everything, I know you sall me standing at your helicopter saluting you as you left. I can't look at a Huey without remembering that day. I came and visited you in Beaverdam brother, and I know you we're with me because I walked right too you not ever being there before. Your picture hangs on my wall in my room. There isn't a day that goes by where I don't think about you. You are a true Hero. I am thankful you are watching over us. Semper Fidelis brother. Miss you Ski."
Sgt. James Henson of Abilene Texas

"I know I didn't know you all that well but cousins will always be cousins and I appreciate that you served out country. We all love and miss you a lot. <3"
Ashley Steffen of WI/USA

"Thinking of you today buddy. I still have a tribute to you posted in my classroom."
Eric Spielman of Sheboygan, WI

"It is Veterans Day 2012 and I am thinking about you. I cannot articulate how grateful I am. Thank You"
Nathan Crook of Oshkosh Wisconsin

"Happy Birthday! I'll never forget! Love you and always will! Wish you were still here to see how i've grown up man."
Devon Tarantino of Fond du Lac, WI/USA

"Found - I found a wonderfull piece of art work by Ray simon, it was the Operation Iraqi Freedom With Kirk's picture and a copy of his last letter. Due to this I looked in to his life, & found him to be an unsung hero. Can any one tell me if this piece of art was lost by a family member and do they wish it returned, Please contact me vixnnig@fsmail.net . my heart felt thank, Vicki"
Vicki of Norfolk, England

"Ski, you are a hero of mine. I'll never forget you."
Paul Gomez of Sterling, VA

"I love you Uncle Kirk. You will never be orgotten. Almost 9 years without you. I miss you soo much. Forever and always!"
Katelynn Straseskie of Wisconsin, USA

"I got a tattoo of a cross and your name in it! Love you uncle kirk! Always and forever!"
Devon Tarantino-Straseskie of Fond du Lac, WI/USA

"Uncle Kirk I didn't know you and I wish I had I love looking at your pictures and everytime I cry but it always makes me smile when I remember what you did for those soldiers in the river please know that I can't ever let you go you'll stay with me forever I was only three when you died but I still remember the way you looked dressed in blue with your gloves on and those gold things on your gloves the way your eyes were closed and you only appeared to be sleeping and my father was holding me as I gently put a bag of chocolate coins in your casket because "I wanted to share" and when we put the pinwheels by your tombstone the wind blew and spun the american flag on them I wish you were here and I hope your proud of who I am I'll always love you forever. <3"
Madison Straseskie of Virginia beach, Virginia

"I will never forget kickin in doors and all the laughs.simper fi brother"
Ethan martinez of Boulder colorado

"Graduated bootcamp with Kirk. Was trying to find out what happened to those in my platoon. So sorry to hear of his passing but glad to know he was a hero trying to save the lives of his fellow Marines. Rest in peace Kirk. Semper Fi."
Cpl Pat Smith Pltn 1090 of San Antonio, TX

"I still think of you each and every day! I think of all the times that we spent together growing up as neighbors. I grew up thinking of you as my brother. You protected and looked out for me like no one else that I know. God I miss you! There are so many times that I wish that I could talk to you and ask your opinion. I still have that newspaper clipping framed in my classroom as well as your Marine picture. My students ask about you and I tell them what a great man you were and how much I miss and love you!"
Alisha Toellner of Beaver Dam, WI

"A Special Place In Heaven

You have lost your love one
Tears stream from your eyes
God has sent us down from heaven
To whisper in your ear
Something you must hear

There's a Special Place in Heaven
Where all good soldiers go
Since we ourselves now know
So we were sent to tell you
That he will never be alone

We"ll be there waiting
To greet him with a smile
There's a Special Place in Heaven
Where all good soldier's go

There will be laughter all around him
He'll have a twinkle in his eyes
The war for him is over
He finally found some peace
So smile when you think of him
He's in a Special Place in Heaven
Among his greatest friends...."
Debra Guenterberg of Princeton, WI

"To this day your brothers miss you everyday!"
of Beaver Dam,Wis

"2/2/10 - You are still in our thoughts."

"just wanted you to know I still think about you. thanks for being part of my life. even though I can't see you, i still want to say, thank you."
Nathan Rader of Virginia Beach, Va

"Thinking of you today. I know you're watching down on us. 9/20/09"


I love you and always will."
Devon Straseskie-Tarantino of Fond du lac, WI/USA

"Ski, I think of you often. You are an example to the rest of us - someone who gave it all in service to his country and fellow Marines. There is no sacrifice more honorable than yours. Thanks alone are not enough. Know that you inspire me to do better every day.

Semper Fidelis"
Major Paul Gomez of Virginia

"I will always remember you...
Love you and always will

Devon Straseskie-Tarantino of FDL,WI,USA

"SGT Straseskie you were a great friend and even though we had our differences at the end of my Marine corps career I still considered you one of my brothers. You were everything a Marine should be. You will forever be missed in my life bro. Semper Fidelis"
former SGT Gilbert Lopez of Mesa, Arizona

"It's September 08 and I still think about the total loss we all expierenced. You should have had more time."
Michelle of Minnesota

"It's August 2008 and you are still remembered and thought about. I was one of your teachers in middle school and I remember you every time we say the pledge of alliegance in class. Many students don't stand and say the pledge any longer. It's sad. I always tell them they should, that it's important, and that, at the least, they should do it in remembrance of a man as great as you who paid the ultimate price for the freedom and the country we too often take for granted. Bless you always; you are remembered always.

DAS - teacher BDHS of Beaver Dam, WI

"i may not have knew him for that long but i think of him often and how he looks in on me when im gettin ready to do something and tells me not 2.so i know that he's up their looking out for all of us he knew and loved and loves us now but shows it differnt.

well what im saying is i love you kirk

c/sa winegardner"
Bailie of V.A. Beach

"Still thinking of you man"
Tommy Kirk of Rochester NY

"Kirk i just want to say that i wish that you were still here..."
Devon Straseskie of FDL,WI,US

"January 19, 2008
To the family of Sgt. Kirk Allen Straseskie:
Kirk 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

"You where one of the best Marines i've served with. I still remember the day on the amtrack having a smoke with you. When i got the pictures of my little girl. I miss you

Semper Fi"
Sgt Mussa

"I didn't know you Kirk but my grandma has a picture of you. It seems that you are missed which is an amazing thing. You make me proud and I have no idea who you are. RIP :)"
Ashley of Beaver Dam, WI

"Sgt. Ski-
Still miss you brother. I remember getting to the fleet and meeting you and Sgt. Werges. I remember telling myself 'that's what I need to get to.' I always looked up to you both and tried my best to emulate you guys. I remember you used to carry the Ranger handbook around studying it. I always thought you were an awesome Marine and I tried my best to follow in your footsteps. You were always an inspiration to me and I hope I didn't let you down.

God bless you Sgt. Ski."
C of San Clemente, CA

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. You are the epitome of what Marine and NCO should be-you went to the aid of your fellow Marines without hesitation-you are a true hero. I served in the USMC from '85-'89 and fortunately it was peacetime but when I read of Marines like you-I feel honored and privileged to be a member of the same organization.

Semper Fi Devil Dog!"

"You have changed my life and I never even got to meet you! My heart goes out to the Straseskie families. Please understand I hold you in the highest respect."
Erik Wittstadt of Baltimore, MD


I always wanted to leave a message on this site but never summoned up the courage. I had such a hard time accepting your loss and was not prepared to say goodbye. How do you ever accept the loss of someone that was the epitome of “Marine”? Early in our careers, you showed me what it takes to be a leader. It was evident that you were a natural born leader. Over the years, I enjoyed the hard times I gave you every time the 49ers beat the Packers and I’m sure you enjoyed the same on the rare occasions when the Green Bay was victorious.

One of my very few regrets in life: days before we deployed, I saw you at the 52 Area chowhall. I wanted to stop and catch up but I was short on time so I didn’t. I figured I would see you again shortly and catch up then. I never realize that I would never get that opportunity.

I remember vividly that May day when I picked up the local paper and read about you. I was shocked by your death but not by the way in which you left us. You left on your own terms and I would have expected nothing less from you.

Take charge of the Marines in heaven and I’m sure you’ll square them away as you always have. If you have some spare time, see if you can’t do the same for those Army Doggies. Save a spot for me in formation as I will see you again one day. This time I WILL make the effort to catch up.

Semper Fi, Marine!"
Sgt. Wong, Samson K. of San Francisco, CA


I always wanted to leave a message on this site but never summoned up the courage. I had such a hard time accepting your loss and was not prepared to say goodbye. How do you ever accept the loss of someone that was the epitome of “Marine”? Early in our careers, you showed me what it takes to be a leader. It was evident that you were a natural born leader. Over the years, I enjoyed the hard times I gave you every time the 49ers beat the Packers and I’m sure you enjoyed the same on the rare occasions when the Green Bay was victorious.

One of my very few regrets in life: days before we deployed, I saw you at the 52 Area chowhall. I wanted to stop and catch up but I was short on time so I didn’t. I figured I would see you again shortly and catch up then. I never realize that I would never get that opportunity.

I remember vividly that May day when I picked up the local paper and read about you. I was shocked by your death but not by the way in which you left us. You left on your own terms and I would have expected nothing less from you.

Take charge of the Marines in heaven and I’m sure you’ll square them away as you always have. If you have some spare time, see if you can’t do the same for those Army Doggies. Save a spot for me in formation as I will see you again one day. This time I WILL make the effort to catch up.

Semper Fi, Marine!"
Sgt. Wong, Samson K. of San Francisco, CA

"im so sorry to here about what happend
to kirk allen straseskie it breaks my
heart every time i here somebody young
drowned to save somebody else life"
ashley fisher of north charleston s.c.

"My brother loves kirk and is going to join in remembering him."
Bailie Winegardner of V.A Beach

"Hi this is Baile i new Kirk but not for long he was my friend and i miss him a lot it has taken a long time to do this because i was not ready i just want him to know that i love him"
Bailie Winegardner of V.A Beach

"May you rest in peace and always be there for me. Your nephew, Devon.

I will join the marines and represent you. I promise."
Devon Straseskie of Fdl,WI,USA

"I love you uncle kirk..."
Devon Straseskie of FDL/WI/uSA

"To the family of:Kirk Allen Straseskie 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"

"Sgt. Ski Not a day goes by that I dont think about that day on the river. I was on the other side of the river and looked right at you as you started to swim. I am so forever touched by the actions you took on that day that I will be forever haunted by the should haves and could haves I'll see you when I get there I'll see all of you save me a seat."
Fmr Cpl. Jason Grimes USMC of Frisco, Texas

"Semper Fi says it all. You are not forgoten and while some may call it the "ultimate sacrifice", you were "doing what we have to do". Taking care of each other. Didn't know you, didn't have to, you were still my brother. God bless you and God bless the United States of America."
HMCS of Panama City FLorida

"I just wanted to leave a note to for SGT Straseskie for his sacrifice. My brother, SSgt Aaron White, was a crew member on the CH-46 that day. Growing up, Aaron was my hero. He always stood up for me and took care of his "little sis". I just want you to know that you too are my hero and I will never forget your name or face. I pray for your family and friends. I pray that they are finding peace in their hearts. You sacrificed your life for my brother and his crew. I will forever be in debt to you as I know that you didn't have to go into that canal that day. I want you to know that you have made me a believer that God has placed angels on earth to watch over us. I just wish that he didn't have to take you back too. I pray that God has made a special place for you in Heaven and that you have gotten to meet my brother. You will forever have a place in my heart."
Patricia LaBar of Fort Stewart, GA

I am proud to have known you. Thank you for always exemplifying all things Marine Corps. Thanks for the pillow fights in Watertown, surviving my misguided kick to the mid section, the firemen carries and not dropping me, getting stuck with having to run with me and never letting me smoke while you were in your “Blues”… You’re the best, and we’ll miss you…
Semper Fidelis"
Andrea Syens of Friesland Wisconsin

"I remember playing atari and G.I. Joe and running wild in the basement until aunt diane (kirk's mom) would holler at us to settle down. Sometimes we'd go play down the block at Swan City park, or on the Jefferson Elementary playground. Later on in middle and high school we both played violin in the Beaver Dam orchestra, and I goofed up my chair test on purpose one year just so I could be seated farther back near him. Kirk always sparked a smile in everyone he met, and could make anybody laugh, too. Despite his usual pranks, he was always very proud and determined. Maybe Nostradamus was right after all. Anyway, I miss Kirky tons. Going back to Beaver Dam feels a bit empty sometimes knowing he's gone, but I know he'll always be there. He left us more than just the letter he wrote. He left us with a legacy... to be brave, to be honest, and the drive to look past your own limitations in order to do the right thing. Christmas time at grandma's just isn't the same without a game of connect four, chinese checkers, or trouble, and watching Kirk go bonkers for grandma's fruit salad. But I cherish those memories now, and live on to create more of those happy moments in time. Thank you, Kirk. Thank you for making me smile when I was all in tears so many times."
Emily Rodewald of Cotati, CA

"To the Family of Sgt. Kirk Straseskie:
We have constructed a memorial to the service men and women from Wisconsin and Illinois who have died in Iraq which includes, as of 6/20/05, 111 crosses and Stars of David. We would like your permission to put Sgt. Straseskie's name on one of them. We have called our display "Arlington MidWest." It is our expression of mourning for the indescribable loss you have suffered for our country.

If you would like us to do this, please email martypres33@yahoo.com.

We invite you to come to visit Arlington MidWest. I can send you directions and some pictures by email.

"As long as we live, they too will live;
for they are now a part of us, as we remember them." Anonymous"
Marty Preston of Wisconsin Dells, WI

"Kirk, I never knew you but wish I had. You are an honorable person we all should admire. There is nothing more honorable than a person who has fought and died for our country, and I hope every person in this USA can recognize and appreciate what you and your fellow soldiers have sacrificed for this country. You truly are among the admirable and elite. People like you, and those that have sacrificed their lives for our country, so we can live in freedom, are in a whole different league. I thank you Kirk, for all you have done. I could only hope to one day be a fraction of the person you are."
Tim Wendt of Mooresville, NC USA

"I still remember the moment i heard of Ski's passing. I heard of how it happened. That moment summed up everything i knew about him. Selfless, always looking out for others. I miss him everyday. As does everyone that had the pleasure of knowing him.
Semper Fi Ski"
Sgt. Tommy Kirk USMC

"To the family of Kirk Allen Straseskie:

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"


I'll never forget the last time we hung out. You came out to the bars with us after a paddle party for one the BLT Recon Marines. We tried to talk you into taking the Recon screening but you said that you weren't a good enough swimmer. When we heard from Lt Rod. that you had died jumping into the river to go after the men in the down chopper, we all thought back to our last conversation. You were one of the best and brightest Marines I ever had the honor of knowing.

RIP Marine"

"Ski, I looked up to you like a big brother and an outstanding leader as did so many other Marines. You were a true friend, a mentor, and a hero to all of us. You are truly missed and will not be forgotten."
Former Sgt Lott, Zachary D of Mission Viejo, CA

"I took a picture of Kirk's father standing by theside of his pickup truck on09/11/03 at the USA Sport Complex in Appleton and also put 60 + pictures on a CD Disk in a Slide show. Iwould like to give a copy to you in memory of your son. eagle724.1@netzero.com"
Thomas Gambsky of 724 So Lee St. Appleton, Wi 54915

"Sgt. Ski Words cannot express what you meant to me. When Bitter told me that it was you in the canal, I lost it. I still cant believe it to this day. You are my hero. Thanks for always looking out for me! Even after I went to H&S Co you still considered me one of your Marines. You are still my Sgt. You tought me a lot about leadership all of it was by example. I tried to lead my Marines the way you led yours. You are a true HERO!! I miss you man. SEMPER FI!!"
Cpl Haubert, John R of Longmont, Colorado

"I have very few hero's, but here is one. Not a life of quantity, but the biggest in Quality."
Gary Hammack of Kennewick WA

"To the family of Kirk, I am an eigth grade student and I live in Tenn. and I am sorry for his death. I wonder what he was like and who he wanted to be. He will always be in my heart."
Shelby Fuller of william.gant@mnps.org

"Kirk, It's been almost a year and a half since you've been gone and I still feel like you are here. You made such a difference in this world and and your strength continues to live on in so many. I have faith in our abilities to find peace knowing that you are now watching over us. I love you Kirky. Until we meet again."
Your Cousin-Theresa Martin of Beaver Dam, WI

"Kirk i wish i could tell you how much of a difference you have made in my life. I looked up to you when i just barely knew who you were throughout middleschool watching your football games. Now that you are gone i no longer look up to you, i admire you, your strength and courage motivates me in every aspect of my life, i hope that as a future marine i will be able to represent this country in a manner that would do justice to those who have fought before me such as yourself. All being said, i just wanted to say thank you, because it hurts me i didnt get the chance before you left us..."
Alex Grandprey of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin

"The picture of him and I the day we left Coyote for the LOD stands on the bookshelf in my living room. It will always be displayed. The most dedicated Sergeant I knew. I envy his family's pride. It is duly etched."
Manny Konstandakis of Bklyn, Ny

"I've never met someone who loved the Marines more than Ski. He was very honest and caring. A real inspiration for those who were down. You won't be forgotten. Semper Fi Kirk!"
HM2(SW) Ryan Gibson of Chicago, IL

"Sgt Ski

I had the honor to know you during my duty with Bravo Co. and i always looked up to you even though i was in a different section i still admired the way you handled situations and treated your marines.I remember the time you caught me smoking the the barracks and i thought you were gonna destroy me but instead you told me not to do it again and trust me i never did.I was comming back from an escort mission in Al-Hillah when i heard about you on the radio and what had happened.I knew Haubert (one of my best friends and a marine who followed and looked up to you and emulates you to this day)hadnt heard the news so i informed him of it. we both shed some tears but knew that you would be watching over us in heaven.thank you Sgt Ski for your bravery and the legend that you left for all future marines to look up to you are a true hero.

Seper Fi brother"
Lcpl Benefield of Albuquerque New Mexico

"RIP Marine"
Petty Officer Cawthon of RTC Great Lakes,IL

"I only had the honor of meeting Kirk on two occasions. Once at the Marine Corps Ball in Vegas and again when I picked him up in California from the airport after his visit home for christmas with my now fiance. My fiance had the honor of serving with Kirk. My condolences to his family, friends and his girlfriend who I heard so much about on the ride from the airport to the base.

Sandy Jablonski-finace of Sgt. Christopher Swaine of Buffalo, New York


My wife Barb and I visited Kirk's grave today to pay our repects and say a prayer for this lovely man who died trying to save his friends. God bless Kirk Straseskie, a great man and courageous Marine, and his family. May God bless you all and grant you peace.

Tom Laney
Colfax, WI
82nd Airborne 60-63"
Tom Laney of Colfax, WI

"In Loving Memory..Its been a year..

At the rising of the sun and at its going down, We remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of Winter, We remember them.
At the opening of buds and in the rebirth of Spring, We remember them.
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of Summer, We remember them.
At the rustling of leaves and the beauty of Autumn, We remember them.
At the beginning of the year and when it ends, We remember them.
As long as we live, they too will live;
for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.
Rest in Peace Dear Soldier!! We will NEVER FORGET!"
The Grogan Family of Lakeland, TN

"Today in honor of Memorial Day my school had a blackhawk fly and land on our football field, and some soldiers/pilots talked to us. Each student also got a flag with a soldiers name on it which we placed in front of our school. I got Kirk's name, and I wanted to find out more about him. I am really sorry for everyone's loss and I wish I had known more about him."
Laura of Ohio

"There aren't enough words to describe the type of person Kirk was. He was a great friend to me. I couldn't have asked for a better friend. His bravery, courage, and unselfishness will always be engraved in my heart. As I put my recruits in the rack tonight (on the one year anniversary of his death), I made sure they knew of this man and the life that he lived. He will be missed, but never forgotten."
Sgt. Robert Mayfield of MCRD San Diego, California

"Kirk . . .

I didn't get to know you, but I knew of you. Your Marine brothers loved you and honored you. Thanks for your patriotic service and ultimate sacrifice. You gave your all selflessly and in the truest measure of an American hero. I was deeply humbled and honored to have been the chaplain on scene when you were returned to us that fateful day at Babylon, Iraq. I did my best to console and comfort your Marine and Navy brothers. I will never forget you Kirk! May your family and loved ones be embraced in the arms of a loving and consoling God."
CH (MAJ) Terry Callis of Canyon, TX

Although you may not remember me, I remember you as clear as a bell. I remember all the good times we had partying @ Rayza's house - not to mention the night Ray had to go to the hospital b/c you tried to be "Hercules." But that's okay, b/c as much as you were Hercules, you are a hero as well. Kirk, I may just have been a shadow in the room, but I want to thank you for all that you have done from for all of our friends to our country. If it wasn't for people like you, I wouldn't be able live freely every day. Thank you Kirk - you will always remain in our hearts."
Michelle Tervola of Port Charlotte, FL

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

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

"Kirk, I know you are still with all, all whose lives were touched by your brave actions. Anyone else, please see my website "In Memory of Kirk Straseskie:
You will never be forgotten Kirk!"
Mike of Beaver Dam, WI

"My Dear Kirk,
When sitting down to write this, the first and only word that came to mind when I thought of you was Love. You had so much love; Love for your family, your friends, and your duty as a Marine. In the end it was your unselfless love for others that made you my hero.

You know you were my hero even before that. Growing up with you was one of the best things that could have happened to me. Who else would I have played softball, kickball, or "Bloody Murder" with? I remember I was always scared of the dark and you would hide with me so I wouldn't be scared. Or how about the time that the doors of my car froze shut on the way to high school. I would never have gotten the doors open without you. What I am trying to say is that you were always there for me whenever I needed you and that made you my hero! I can say that even though it is just me and my sister in my family that I have a brother.

I will never forget the last time I saw you. It was when you were home for Christmas in 2002. You came up to my house and we went out in Oshkosh. You made me drink too much Tequila and on the ride home you rubbed my back. That night I will never forget because while I was passed out on my bathroom floor you covered me up, kissed my forehead and said, "I love you sis!" When you walked out of the room I whispered back to you, "I love you too brother."

I know you would not want me to grieve for you forever, but live life happy with your memory. I will do that for you! I will always have the memories of what a truly amazing person you were and still are to me. I will carry those memories around with me throughout my life as well as the tatoo on my left shoulder blade in your memory. Kirk, I love you, and I will never forget what you have done not only for me in life, but for our country! Guard those gates for me until we can play "Bloody Murder" again. Only this time I won't be scared!

Love You Forever!!"
Alisha Toellner of Fond du Lac, WI / USA

"To the family/friends of Sgt Straseski,
I had to great honor to serve with Sgt Ski. I am HM3(FMF) Blackwell we served together in 1/4 and also went through marine corps martial arts course and instructed some courses together. He was the best marine that I have ever known or had the luck to serve with. I also was serving in Iraqi. I know the loss is great for you and the Corp. Thank you for your gift to our country, corp and way of life. Semper Fidelis, and fair winds and following seas"
William Blackwell of Brunswick, ME/USA

"Thank you Brave Marine"
J and T Taylor of USMC-North Carolina

"Thank you Kirk Straseskie, 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

"I am sorry this world - and particularly this country - has lost one of its true heroes. This young man was the epitome of bravery. I don't know how much comfort his final actions bring his parents -- I am sure they miss him terribly -- but what an honorable young.

I am sure he has earned a very special place in Heaven. May God watch over him and his family."

"Kirk thank you for serving our country you will always be remembered.."
Ricky Juarez of Hartford Wisconsin

"Kirk is my cousin. Although growing up i never really got the chance to know him, i am still proud to be one of his family"
Todd Selsing of Hartford, WI



"Kirk- I grew up with you as a big brother. You and my sister were very close and I'm sorry for everything that happened between you. I just want you to know that I still love you and remember all the days of happiness I spent with you. Every time I come home, to Beaver Dam, I come and visit you and wish I could have gotten to get one last hug, see one last smile, and simply say goodbye. I love you more than you will ever know."
Amanda Tesch of Cary, North Carolina

"I had the pleasure of knowing Ski and serving with him in 1/4, during the last deployment and squad leader course, the first thing i noticed about him was his devotation to duty and the corp. He never complained about stuff when everybody else would, he would just go about his business and get the job done, so it doesnt surprise me for what he did, he is a hero and now that i look back he always had been to me for doing whats right all the time, Im sorry for your loss. He was a good friend and i will miss him dearly, Cpl Brian B Hogan Aco. 1/4"
Brian Hogan of Placerville,CA,

"I read the letter he had wrote to his friend and wanted you to know that even to total strangers, this was an extraordinary man. May God Bless Him and I know in my heart that he truly is in his dress blues guarding the gates of Heaven. May God help you thru your loss."
Wendy of Flushing, MI

"To My Friend,
How hard it's been to find peace in these times of war. I've found both peace and heartache in your death. I smile at our memories. All the times at Third Heaven (Martial Arts), the shirts, "Pain is weakness leaving the body". I hold that time dear, and promise to do my best to make you proud of me. I love you Kirk. I will not forget your joy to live, and love others, I will never lose that "Loving Feeling"."
Rachel Brazee of Beaver Dam, WI

"Kirk sacrificed his life attempting to rescue fellow soldiers. A noble example of bravery for all of us. May he never be forgotten and may he rest in peace. May his memory be a source of pride to the loved ones he left behind. My sincerest condolences to you all."
Richard of Minneapolis

"Kirk- What a sacrifice you have layed upon the altar of freedom. I am forever in debt to you and your fallen brethren for what you have done for me and our country. I did not even know you but as I was looking through the names of the hundreds of fallen heroes in Iraq, your name and your story stood out to me the most. There is little I can say to console the aching hearts of your loved ones, but may they know that God chooses wisely always, and you were no acception. It may be a cliche, but Kirk, you truly are my hero. The purest form of love is laying down your own life, and you have truly showed that. Here's to a soldier that all Americans should be like. Thankyou Kirk."
Kurt of Cincinnati Oh

When I was in second grade I looked up to you as a role model. Now that you have passed away you are even a greater role model now, then when I was in second grade. Jumping in to save a friend, a brother was very brave of you. As I read the note that you wrote to Nick I knew that you were doing the right thing in your life. Giving your life for ours. We are all thankful for that. My life after your death was hard and tearful. My days of school seemed longer but you are in my heart, My HERO... YOU WILL ALWAYS BE MY HERO KIRK, ALWAYS. I will never forget you Kirk, never forget."
Katelyn of Beaver Dam

"Sgt. Kirk Allen Straseskie is guarding the pearly gates of heaven, so it will be there when our time comes to join him. This man is a hero in all of our book's, I never had the pleasure to meet this SGT of Marines but I sure wish I had. When I read his story on CNN it made me tingle to know that there are still a few in this world who when asked would make the ultimate sacrifice, not just for our country but for our fellow servicemen as well. Sgt. Kirk Allen Straseskie has taken his place among our nations list of men and women remembered for their selfless acts of bravery. I will be highly ashamed of our government if he is not awarded the ( Congressional Medal Of Honor )Sgt Straseskie guard those golden streets well, and I will see you soon.
Semper Fi"
Former CPL Shake of Indianapolis Indiana

""Sadness flies away on the wings of time..." We will never forget you Kirk, you were a special man who touched the hearts of many in your time here... Godspeed."
Annie of Southern California

"Thanks to all of you for your kind words and prayers for Kirk's family. He is my cousin, and we were devastated by his death. If anyone wishes to contact me, my email address is: hiddeninhim@earthlink.net
Thank you Kirk for the sacrifice you made - so glad I got to come home last Christmas and see you."
Kit Strickler of Oklahoma City

"Dearest Kirk, Your selfless courage is an inspiration to me and all who knew you. Yours was the most pure kind of sacrafice when you tried to save your Marine Brothers. The only comfort I take in our loss of you here on earth is the knowledge that you are basking in the glow of Christ's love. Thank you Kirk for the beautiful man and hero you became. I'm Dallas' mother."
Katie (Catherine) of Sumter, SC

"I met Kirk in Feb of `01, right after his knee surgery.. He became a fast friend and touched my life with his kindness and warm heart. His faith in God was obvious, as well as his love for his brothers, and his nephews and nieces. I will miss him. Even though it feels like we've lost a great friend, he's where he can watch over everyone and anyone he loved."
Michelle Iverson of 161 83rd Ave NE Minneapolis, MN 55432

"I had the honor to know Kirk and can only say that there are never enough words to describe to type of man tha he is or the impression that I will always carry in my heart. God blessed us with him for such a brief moment in time but the memories will last forever.For all the Marines he had the honor to work with; please know how much a part of his family you are and know that until your job is done he is with you always to ensure not only your saftey but your legacy. Semper Fidelis Kirk and god bless to your family for the sacrafice they gave."
Unknown of USA

"I was lucky enough to serve with "Sgt. Ski" thorughout the war. He was on my AAV the whole time. I have some stories and pictures I would love to share with the family. Please contact me.

Contact Info:

LCPL Nick Low
Katy, Texas
832 423 8633 cell
281 392 8434 home"
Nick Low of Katy, TX / USA

"To the family and friends of Sgt. Kirk Straseskie:
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 Kirk for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"I'm doing a report on hereos for my Literature class and I chose to write about Kirk Straseskie. I pray that his young soul is at rest beyond the gates of heaven and that his family and friends are not upset with the loss with their saddness but are sad and proud that he is a hero to many. And those who survived should not feel guilty that they are alive because of Kirk's death but know this was his will as a hero for others to go on after him."
Alyssa Hulbert of Grayland, Wa

"Your effort and courage will be felt for years to come, thanks to you and those who raised you for this ultimate sacrifice, your service to this country and mission to better the impoverished Iraqi people will never be forgotten and lead others to follow in your courageous footsteps.

I only wish I could have thanked you personally before you left, so thanks to those who helped shape this fine young man. You have become a large block in the foundation of a terror free world, and I can't wait to shake your hand when we meet in heaven, God Bless"
US Citizen of Everywhere, USA

"What valor this young man had! He will be remembered for his courage and determination to help others. God Bless Kirk's family and friends."
Souvigney Family of Nashville, TN

"To the family and friends of Sgt. Kirk Straseskie:
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 Kirk, 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