Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Staff Sgt. Russell J. Verdugo

34, of Phoenix, Arizona.
Verdugo died in Baghdad, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated as he was responding to a report of an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 767th Ordnance Company, Fort McNair, Washington, D.C. Died on May 23, 2005.

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"With condolences, and respect for the family of SSgt Russell J. Verdugo. This is a belated message; I came upon this website looking for other information, and found someone with my last name - Verdugo. The commonality does not end; my son, Sgt. Matthew C. Verdugo (1st Armored Division of the Army) served in Baghdad and in Ramadi (2005-07). My cousin, LCL Daniel Verdugo, a Marine, was killed in Vietnam in 1969. And my father CPL Jimmie J. Verdugo, Army, was wounded in combat in Italy in WWII. My thoughts are with the family of 'Russell.'
Chris L. Verdugo
Retired DEA Special Agent
San Diego, CA
Dec. 15, 2011"
Chris L. Verdugo of San Diego, CA

"TO THE FAMILY OF RVERDUGO.... I saw your son profiled on the Nancy Grace show tonight and his smile lit up my room.. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for supporting your loved one to fight for our freedom... I am so saddened by your loss...
Mon of PHX, az

"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 Worthington, OH USA

"May 31, 2009
To the family of Staff Sgt. Russell J. Verdugo:
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

"I served with Russell I knew him as V,two days before his death he saw me save a friends life after my team leader was loaded on the medevac he told me he saw what I did running through gun fire without thinking about myself to help a friend he told me thats what a true hero does helps others without thinking about what might happen to youself. The day he was killed I was with him I was only 10 feet from him when he found the IED Russell saved my life that day and I will always remember what he told me before. To his family I am always in your debt anything you ever need I will be there. He will forever be in my heart"
SGT, Jason Mouret of Opelousas, La.

"To the family of:Russell J.Verdugo 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"

"Rest well mighty warrior. May God continue to bless your loved ones.

Family of Lost Fellow EOD"
Kervin Evans of Peoria, IL

"ms kari verdugo thank you so much you were the best teacher in the world. I'm so sory."
Katherine Kromer of Alexandria, VA

"Kari Verdugo was my very beloved teacher and track coach. I morn for her and hope that her husband remains in her heart to this very day."
Madelyn Schneider of Alexandria, Virginia, United States

"You were my light when it was dark,My warmth when it was cold,and my eyes when I was blind.You were my strength when I Was Weak,My Voice when I was timid and My freind when I was alone. I miss you so very much Russell James.I wish I could have told you that when you were still here I know you are with me always as I travel down the Road that is life. I cant wait to See you Again"
Anonymous of Unknown

"I miss you Russ aka Patrick :) You touched so many of our lives and we thank you! I am a friend of Russells. I only had the opportunity to know him for a short time but it was a memorable time. For Russells wife and Family, Please let me know if you ever need anything. I would be more than happy to do whatever I possibly can. Luv you Russell! Thank you!! twizzler8@hotmail.com"
Sarah K of Alexandria VA, USA

"I have never met Russell but have sent packages to Anna Marie Verdugo and other soldiers. I don't know if she was related to Russell. My heart aches everytime I hear a soldier is wounded or killed. You people are so special. The Bible says, "blessed are the peace makers". You certainly have given your life for peace. I pray for your families that God will give them peace and comfort. I have a son serving in theAir National Guard and he has been in combat a numbers of times so I know how your families feel. Myself and my family appreciate what you soldiers are doing for us. I know we would have had terrorist attacks here had not it been for you protecting us on another continent. Thank you."
Juanita Ramsay of Meridian, ID USA

"I knew and served with Russell in Iraq. Each and every day “V” made a difference in the lives of his fellow soldiers. Words can never express the sense of loss felt by his brothers in arms. Not a day went by that I didn’t see Russell working on new ways to make our job safer, easier, just a little less stressful. It is an honor to have served with Russell, and I will never forget the sacrifice he gave so that others may live."
SFC Robert Hood of Ft McNair, DC

"Russell, I miss you more today than yesterday, I wish that you could be here with me again. This world seems so cold and lonely without you. I love you soo much still and I cant but hope that, Maybe you will come home some day. I feel you with me always."
anonymous of unknown

"Verdugo, you were scrubbing brass pipe
on your day off as a PFC
when I met you in the 82nd. You were quiet, gentle, giving, and had a wry sense of humor. You gave me a paperback in the field to relieve my boredom. You died doing what you love, i have no doubt, because you draped your ceiling with a chute canopy and burlapped your rifle in the field--you were 100% real soldier. I'll always remember the gaunt and gentle cook, with that quiet smile, that was Russell Verdugo."
George Matchen, SPC 82nd ABN 94-97 of Berkeley, CA

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

"Russell, I miss you so very much. I thank God that He gave you to me, as my one and only son. I was very proud of you, as you served your country, God and loved your new bride Kari.
As your step-brother Scott Stanley stated “You have reminded me that my freedoms are not free, as you helped to pave a road to Democracy for a people who are not as free as me.”
I’ll be with you again someday. Then we can share more stories and praise our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, together for eternity!
Love you Russell,
Susan Christina Stanley (Russell's mother) of Grand River, IA, USA; nstanley@grm.net

"Hello Mrs. Verdugo and family,
My name is SPC Aaron Wright and I had the honor of bearing your husbands body in Arlington national cemetary as one of the casket bearers that folded the flag given to you. This country and every one in it can not thank you enough for your husbands sacrifice."
Aaron Wright of Ft. Myer , VA USA

"God Bless the family of this fallen hero."
A. Guerrero of Phoenix

"6/3/05 To the family of SSG Verdugo,
We know your profound sorrow and wish that we could offer you some solace in these difficult times. Freedom is not free - your son is truly a hero and has given his life for all of us - many who take their freedom for granted so much of the time. Russell's bravery and willingness to serve will never be forgotten. Please know that there are so many of us now who share a kinship - those who have lost sons and daughters in war - and you are in our prayers every day. May God give you strength and blessings.
John 15:13 Greater love than this no one has, that one lay down his life for his friends."
Webster and Ruth Reed (Father and stepmom of Jonathan Ray Reed who died in Iraq on January 28, 2005) of Krotz Springs, Louisiana

"We are deeply sorry for your loss. America will forever honor your Hero.
The Courage, Honor, and Valor that your Hero showed will always be remembered.
We are grateful for the sacrifice that was made and we will NEVER FORGET.
God Bless your family and please know that you are not alone.
All of our prayers are with you."
Jennifer and SSGT Larry Mays of Massillon, Ohio

"To the Verdugo family from the Guruli family -- Our prayers are with you, Kari, and we will always be here for you."
Erin Guruli of Alexandria, VA

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 the Verdugo family from the Wahl family. We are deeply sadden to your lost. Our heart and prays are with Russell and your family. Russell you are a her and much more. You my friend have touched so many lives. That you will not have given your life in vain. We lost our son last May. Both of you hadn't known one another, still miltary brother's. An my heart and prays are with you always."
Leonard Wahll of valley Stream ny

"Thank you Russell Verdugo, 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 Verdugo:
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 Verdugo:
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