Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Marine Lance Cpl. Andrew J. Zabierek

25, of Chelmsford, Massachusetts.
Zabierek died due to hostile action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. His unit was attached to I MEF in Iraq. Died on May 21, 2004.

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"To Andrew "Uncle Zip" Zabierek and to his family,
I am one of the few who had the privilege and the honor of serving with Andrew in 2/2. He was one of the first marines that I met when I got to 3rd Platoon, 2/2. He had already been there awhile and was one of the few marines who were really willing to help the new marines figure it out.
We gave Andrew the nickname "Uncle Zip" because, at 25, he was several years older than most of the rest of us "boot" (new) marines. Part of his nickname was also because of how he would help anyone out, and was so smart. He always had great words of wisdom and encouragement. Another thing that made Uncle Zip special was that he had a college degree, and could have been an officer and made a lot more money. He didn't care about the money or the extra privilege that comes with being an officer. He wanted to be one of the guys and had the philosophy that to be a good officer, if he ever decided to take that route, that he needed to know what it was like to be a regular enlisted grunt. A concept that is completely foreign to most officers who just think that they are better than everyone else to begin with and that only care about rank and wanting a feeling of power. Not all officers are like that, but a lot of them are.
Andrew gained everyone's respect even more in Iraq. Everybody went to him for words of encouragement, which he always had, and, in Iraq, we all needed encouragement more than ever. Aside from his encouragement and wisdom that he shared he was just a really good person, and a great person to talk to. You could have hours-long conversations with him about anything and that was a really great way to pass downtime between endless patrols and fire-fights. Andrew was not just a philosopher and conversationalist, he was also a dang good marine and as brave and selfless as any other.
Andrew's selflessness and compassion were a couple more of many great attributes. I remember that he had an especially soft spot for the children of Iraq. He always made it a point to take candy along with him to give to the children and to talk and play with them as much as he could. Andrew had joined the Marines because of 9/11, but I think that once we were in Iraq his reason for fighting there was to help those children who couldn't help the situation they were in. He understood when most of us didn't that to really defeat terrorism in the long run you have to care about and improve the lives of the children. His favorite missions were when we went out to give out tools and things to the adults, and pencils, paper, books, and toys to the children. He loved to see how extremely happy those kids would be just to have a soccer ball and a piece of candy, gifts that most children here would take for granted and ask "Where's the rest?", and turn their nose up when they learn that the ball and candy is it.
The day we lost Andrew was the worst day of my life and I remember it like yesterday. I will save the details of exactly what happened as they are disturbing for me and inconsequential. I will say that he was right behind me as we were moving to contact when The Lord called him home. I have always felt that it is at least partly my fault, that if I hadn't crossed when I did then he wouldn't have when he did and would still be alive today. I think about Uncle Zip and about that day every day of my life.
I had the opportunity in 2009 to visit Andrew's parents and his burial site in Massachusetts. Seeing his grave and speaking with his parents, learning more about Andrew and about how his parents felt, helped relieve a great weight from my soul. I still, though, feel the weight of his death on my shoulders and I still relive that event an think about Andrew every day.
The world lost one of its greatest people in Andrew Zabierek. The gap that this great human being left behind will never be filled, it is not possible, there is only one Andrew Zabierek. I cannot possibly imagine the feelings of his parents in losing such a great son. If anything good came of Andrew's death it is that God and Heaven gained an awesome angel and guard at the pearly gates. Rest in peace Andrew, Uncle Zip. We miss you and pray for you and your family every day. I hope to see you again one day my brother, but until then, I know that you are watching over us and looking out for us. We love you brother and I will continue to remember you. Until we meet again. Semper Fidelis, Marine."
Richard Speir of Cusseta, AL

"Thank you for your service. I celebrate your life and applaud your service."
RIch of Upton, MA USA

"May 31, 2009
To the family of Lance Cpl. Andrew J. Zabierek:
Andrew 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

"Still brings tears to my eyes that you are no longer here. I keep my pictures of you, Tommy, and me from our New Years trip to Boston in 2000. I see you everyday and wish you were here. Love you brother...."
Chris Edens of Asheville NC

"Thinking of you and your family this Memorial Day."
Laurie &Joe Desiato, Family of Bedford, MA

"Zabie - We're a few days early, but Happy 30th Birthday. Wish we could celebrate together."
The Loop Mike, Jeff, Geoff of Lowell/Chelmsford, MA

"I'll never forget our talks in college. I love you and miss you."
John Allison of Columbia, SC

"To the Zabierek Family,
Our sincere condolences in the shocking
loss of your dear Andrew. May God
take Andrew, and all who have given
their lives, to a Special Place in
Heaven reserved for those who made
the Supreme Sacrifice. May God send you
all abundant graces to bear your burden
of sorrow and loss.
[Judy - You are in my thoughts, my
heart and my prayers.
Love, Denise]

Most sincerely,
Denise, Bill and Mary Denise Dunn"
M. Denise Dunn of Chelmsford, MA

"Thank you Andrew. You are a hero to all who knew and love you and to those like myself who simply feel a deep gratitude when I drive by the bridge overpass on Rte 495 in Chelmsford and see the flags placed in your honor. Rest peacefully young man. We will never forget."
Terri of Chelmsford

"From one Chelmsford Marine family to another. Andy played baseball not all that long ago with my sons on the fields of Chelmsford. Our beautiful sons then moved on to fight, honor and protect us on the fields of Iraq. On behalf of my family and sons, we are truly saddened by Andy's loss. There is not one day that goes by that I don't pray for you, for Andy and for all our soldiers. Tim returned from Iraq a year ago. We are grateful for the blessing of his return. We salute you."
Jo Shaw (Holt) of N. Chelmsofrd, MA

"I haven driven Lcpl Zabierek out on patrol several time and spoke with quite frequently. I was a truck driver for Fox Co 2/2. I am teribly sorry for your loss. Lcpl Nicholas McGhee"
nicholas mcghee of paragould, arkansas

"To the family of:Andrew J. Zabierek 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"


Hearing the news was a shock to the system. I lost touch with you after high school, but I still remember you and will keep you in my memory always. I miss you."
Dimitri of Charlotte, NC

"I met Andrew while we worked together at American Express. Both of our careers there were cut short after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I left to join the Army Reserves, and Andrew to the Marine Corps. I remember a conversation that we had before we parted, and realized that Andrew was one of the most patriotic people that I have ever met. He was an intelligent and compassonate human being who was filled with kindness and empathy - traits that are hard to come by in this day and age. I always thought that I would see him again, but he gave his life, the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom as Americans, in OIF. I will cherish his memory always. To his family, friends, and fellow Veterans: You are in my prayers. Andrew was an outstanding person, a brave warrior who is greatly missed. To Andrew: I am so proud of you. I think of you often, and will see you again someday."
SGT Lauren Nasson, USAR of Somerville, MA USA

"It's hard to put any of my feelings and thoughts down in one or two sentences about this, it is devestating to me personnaly. Andrew, you were my friend at college and after college. Some of the best times I had in school ivolved you. I'll never be able to say enough about how proud I am that you and I were friends during and after our years at Clemson. Thank you for making me laugh so hard that my head hurt, thank you for all the good times we had together, thanks for being a part of my life and allowing me to be a part of yours. With every ounce of sincerity I have in my body, you will truely be missed.....Love ya brother...."
Chris Edens of Jacksonville, FL/USA

"To the family of Andrew:
I served with your son at FOB St. Mike. He died on my birthday and I will never forget hearing the news of his death. He was a damn good grunt and the hole that he left will never be filled by anyone in 2/2. Semper Fi...see you again one day..."
A grieving friend of USA

You are an American hero whose ultimate sacrifice will not be forgotten by a grateful nation. Rest in peace Marine. you will be remembered for always being faithful to God, Country, Family and the Corps."

"To the family of Andrew-
I had a chance to serve with 'zippity'when I first returned from Iraq. He was one of my new guys in the begining and then went off to another platoon. He was always a step up on the other guys and always so polite and mature. I always kidded with him about why he wasnt an officer and he said he wanted to be with guys. He will be greatly missed in this world but I know he is watching over everyone and gave his all for everyone in the US and Iraq! "Zippity" Ill see you Brother!
Cory Dreyer"
Cory Dreyer of Clearwater, Florida

"Thank you brave Marine for taking the fight to those cowards who would do us all harm. My family will remember your courageous deeds and keep you in our prayers. Semper Fi. May God Bless you and grant your loved ones peace at this time. From a very grateful American family."
The Shaw family of Pasadena, Maryland

"Thank You and God Bless you. If it weren't for our soldiers we wouldn't be a free country."
tessa of salt lake city, utah, USA

"Thank you brave soldier for sacrificing your today for my children's safer tomorrow. You have our utmost respect and gratitude. May God provide your family with comfort in their time of sorrow. May you forever rest in Heavenly peace. Neither you nor your sacrifice will be forgotten. For the family/friends: May time provide happy loving memories in place of present sorrows. Look to the sky for in the infinite meadows of Heaven the bright shining stars bloom....the forget-me-nots of angels. God bless you and thank you."
a grateful family in Phoenix, AZ

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

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

"To the family and friends of Lance Corporal Andrew J. Zabierek,

Those we hold most dear, never truly leave us. May you find comfort in love's everlasting connection.

In the Support section of this web site you will find links to many groups that support you at this crucial time. The Marine Comfort Quilt group would be honored to send a quilt to the next of kin. There are many, loving and caring Americans from all over the United States that will never forget the sacrifice that your loved one has made for our Freedom. Please register so we can send you our "Love Stitched Together."

Proud Marine Mom and Proud Member of Marine Comfort Quilts"
Sandra Moudy of Placentia, Ca USA

"To the family of Andrew:

I was a classmate of Andrew's at CHS. He was a good man. May God bless you in your time of grief."
Heather (Brown) Janis of Provo, UT

"To Andrew's family, I am so sorry for your tragic loss. Please know that many of us appreciate his service to and sacrifice for our country."
F. Smith of Pennsylvania

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

"To Andrew'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 his bravery and sacrifice.


The Family of Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco-Caldas, 82nd Airborne, KIA Iraq 12/28/2003.

Gloria Caldas (his mom) of San Antonio, TX

"To Andrew'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 Andrew Zabierek, 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 Lance Cpl. Andrew Zabierek:
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 Andrew 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 Lance Cpl. Andrew Zabierek:
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 Andrew, 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