Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Marine Lance Cpl. Thomas J. Zapp

20, of Houston, Texas.
Zapp died as a result of enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to Combat Service Support Battalion 1, Combat Service Support Group 11, 1st Force Service Support Group, Camp Pendleton, California. Died on November 8, 2004.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Marine Lance Cpl. Thomas J. Zapp.


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

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"TJ you are dearly missed!"
Beth of Houston, TX

"I met with L/Cpl Thomas Zapp before he deployed to Iraq. As the Commanding Officer of the battalion, he was one of the most motivated and dedicated young Marines I have ever met. He was also the first marine I lost in combat and will always remain in my thoughts and prayers. Never forgotten! All Give Some; Some Give All."
MajGen (ret) Peter J. Talleri of Southpointe, PA

"I will never forget when you showed me some pictures of your family at Camp TQ before you headed out. I appreciate everything you have done for this country ."
Andrew Wichmann CPL USMC of Idaho

"Hey brother think of you daily. Jay Bee and I always bring you up when we talk. Rest easy."
Daniel of Phx, AZ

"i remember in our forward operating camp, setting up the consentina wire around as you were setting it up you shouted my name and took off your cammie blouse and you had spray painted a super man emblem on the front of your green skivy shirt with red spray paint with the letter "Z" in the center of the emblem.. brother you had me cracking up that day... rest easy my friend..."
jay bee of chicago, il/u.s.

"My story will never change, you asked me to join the Marine Corps with you, th so called buddy program. I named my son after you. I visit you from time to time, you changed my my life forever."
Sgt. Armendariz of Houston, Tx

"To the family of LCpl Zapp, I found this site a few years ago and I think about him everyday. I am now writing here because, well, I just finally am. I was in Quantico a few years ago and someone had your name in big bold letters commemorating you. I never found out who is was. I know that you are in a good place, but I would still like for your family to have you here. I think about that day, everyday, and wish I could have done more than what we did. To your family, there is nothing I can say that will ever make the hurt go away, but know that he was and still is with brothers in arms. He was a good kid. Whenever he went on our convoys, many Marines looked after him to make sure he had all his gear and that he was good to go. He is still missed and he will not be forgotten.

Semper Fidelis,
MSgt Hernandez"
Daniel Hernandez of Phoenix, Az

"I remember the day you told me you enlisted in the corps I was happy to have another marine in the family I hugged you and said semper fi be the best marine you can. after ten yrs. I still shed a tear when I look at your picture on my dresser. someday we will meet again and knowing you are the marine that I could only try to be I will once again hug you and say semper fi. your uncle knorovsky George s. USMC1392448"
george s. knorovsky of twin lakes wi.

"It's been many years you've passed and yet you still often cross my mind. I only knew you briefly but your awesome personality was impossible to miss. I remember filling out your leave paperwork right before you deployed. And then just a few short months later being in Iraq on the day we dedicated that road to you. You were gone way way too soon. But you were a bright light when you were here. Be sure that your fellow Marines will never forget you. Rest easy , Marine."
Corporal Gratini of Supply Company, Camp Lejeune, NC

"Just remembering.........
Semper fi"
GySgt Thompson of Lafayette IN

"Gone but not forgotten"
Thomas J Felton of Roscommon M.I.

"It's been 8 yrs now and we still miss you. Sorry we weren't able to travel back home together but the fight was still raging."
SSgt Williams of Honolulu, HI


Its been a 7 years since you left us and you are still in our hearts. All I can say is thank you and I hope to play catch with you another day."
Brandon Kennedy of Houston, Tx


I think about that night a lot. A bad one. Got word your memorial is still on the hangar at camp tq! Cssc-113!! Still can't wrap my mind around it. Ill never forget. Rest in piece devil dog."
Lcpl unknown of Grand rapids, Michigan

""To any Family and Friends of the fallen Marine: My name is Sgt Mariko C. Willis, I serve with 6th ESB and I also am the C.O.O of the Corporal Christopher Kelly Willis Foundation. My family started a non-profit organization in memory and honor of my deceased brother Cpl. Willis back in 2004. The Foundation has built a MEMORIAL CABINET in honor of the four fallen Marines attached to 6th ESB OIF I: LCpl Jeffery Lam, SSgt David Ries, Cpl Joshua Palmer and LCpl Thomas Zapp. I would like to make contact with friends and/or family so that we can attain pictures/bio's and any other memoriabilia you may want presented in this case to honor your fallen Marines. Please contact me at Mariko.Willis@usmc.mil or MarikoCWillis@aol.com.

Semper Fi""
Sgt Mariko C. Willis of Battle Creek, MI USA

"I am not sure how long it's been since someone has posted anything here or if anyone will ever see this. My name is Sgt Acopiado and I served with Lcpl Zapp for some time. It has been 5 years now since your death and I'm still talking about you and how I feel a great loss in my heart beacuse you are no longer with us. I still remember the day I got in trouble for visiting you at Camp Johnson. You will still in student status and I was in the blueroom. I couldn't belive i was getting yelled at for seeing my friend. The crazy thing is just a few weeks later you came to work side by side with me in the blueroom. And the it happened they came in asking for some one to go to iraq. We all raised our hands saying we would go. Just like every good Marine would do. You were chosen and we all said that we could not wait to get out there and serve with you. Well the word was passed to us that your life had been taken. First anger flooded everyones vains i shouted that **** ain't funny you don't joke like that. I ran to my boss and said tell me it isnt true. Please tell me its not true. it was late at night i had to wake him up. a few minutes later i was informed it was true. I hit my knees and cried i could not belive that i had lost a friend. A great friend. Kramer, Idrovo, Dick and myself sat at the ends of our racks crying and remembering all the things we could. We made it to iraq a few months later. Still bleeding at the heart for our loss knowing that we needed to do something in memmory of you. When the idea came up that you deserved everyone to know your name and that you would never be forgoten. So we named the road infront of were we where working LCPL T.J. ZAPP. and as i can see from a previous post it worked. I talked to a friend that just came back and he informed me that your sign is still up and standing proud. Buddy im not sure if we can ever do enough to let you know how much you are missed or how much what your death ment for this world. But i will say this your memory will always live on in the hearts of those that your touched. I know my spelling is not good and most of this probably doesnt make sense but I know that Zapp would laugh about this telling me to use a dictionary. anyways take care. And to TJ's family im sorry i was not at the funeral i was not allowed to go. but i want you to know your son is and will always be a hero. There is a road named after him in iraq for all to see. and there is a huge plaque in the battalion bldg at lejeune. so all who who walk thru those doors new and old can stop and remember or the new marines can ask who is this marine and his memory can live on. Love you man."
Sgt Acopiado Matthew K. of Fort Leonard Wood Mo.

"Today is September 11, 2009. I was reminded of Thomas who sat next to me in high school English class. Although I did not know him well, I always enjoyed his company.

Thank you Thomas for your commitment to our country and my condolences to your loved ones."
Bryan Longobardi of Houston, Texas

"Zappy Plates!!

Ahh bro it seems like yesterday we were hanging out in Kuwait waiting to go over into Iraq. Some great times playing spades with the boys... whipping the officer from RECON in our fun little card games. HaHa you remember that? As i sit here and type that i have a smile on my face.I remember some of our crazy conversations about life in general and the fun we had.

I see some of our friends left messages for you as well. Jesse Williams and Sombat... good times with them. You have not been forgotten by myself or any other Marine that knew you brother. I look at some silly pics of the two of us sitting in Kuwait and can't believe what happened. You were a great man and Marine, who lost his life way to young. We all miss you and wish your family the best... even if it is four years later. Rest in peace my brother. Semper Fi!"
Cpl. Andreychik, Mark of Hillsborough, New Jersey

"November 24, 2008
To the family of Lance Cpl. Thomas J. Zapp:
Thomas 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 became a volunteer bugler late in 2003. Mostly I played for older veterans who lived long full lives. TJ was my first active duty KIA funeral. I was always aware of the number of soldiers who had fallen, but TJ gave the number a name and a face. I'm a veteran, my brother is a U2 pilot, my sister and my wife's sister are both married to active duty military. Four years later, your son is not forgotten. Not by my family. We remember him. We honor him. We thank you and him for the sacrifice made for our freedom."
Scott Bartholomew of Cypress, Texas

"I would like to offer my deepest condolences to the family of Thomas Zapp. I was driving through Camp Taqaddum, Iraq and I noticed a street sign with the name T.J. Zapp on it. I knew he had to be someone special, someone who made a difference in the world. I knew he had to be a Marine. He gave the ultimate sacrifice in order for each one of us to live free. Thanks T.J. Thanks for your honorable service to our great nation."
Capt/USMC of Taqaddum, Iraq

"You are still missed 4 years later. It seems like just last week that we were walking across the stage at Graduation. You were my friend and now you are in my memories. I will never forget you, Thomas. I hate the war you fought in, but I respect your wish to fight for your country. You did a good job, my friend. From the graduating class of Alief Elsik High School 2003, we love you and will never forget your smile.
Peace and Love"
Amber Perez of Houston, Tx

"TJ was a genuine person his smile always lifts others up. He always had a very warm and helping nature through out the high school days that I known him. It was a shock for me to find out that one of my classmate, a person that studied with me, sat by me and had many laughs together is no longer with us. My condolences to the family and friends...I can only imagine the pain that you are experiencing. It has been about 3 years…he is in better place looking over us now with Gods guidance. TJ Zapp will be missed."
Maya Thomas of Houston

"I cant believe its been 3 years! i miss you and i think about you often. i always think about high school in geometry we sat in the back of class making jokes and you always said the teacher sounded like ms swan from mad tv. i miss those days wish i could have those days back but i will never forget you!"
Tiffany Vargas of Houston, Tx

"Please know you are not forgotten. Rest in peace.
you are missed."

"hi i just want to say that i am sorry about thomas i have a brother that is going on his third trip to war i am not all that happy but that's what he love but i am real proud of him"
janie teel of rosenberg tx

"Dear Zapp,
I don't know what to say. You had just come into the fleet and i thought you were awesome. You became part of our little family of friends over night and we all hate to see you leave. I was really counting on the car lessons. I've taken a special interest jusy for you though. I think you'd be quite impressed. I could talk to you about anything and I always appreciated your advice. You're a true hero in my eyes and I guess i'll be catching you on the other side. Take it easy my friend and rest in peace."
Ryan Doles of Gainesville, FL

"To the Family of Thomas J. Zapp,
Your son was one of the best friends I had in boot camp. Every night we would get most of the Texas guys together and just talk about families. We were Whisky Locker recruits together as well, Ill never forget when we stayed up till 3AM cleaning up bleach on night. He will always be in my heart, he was a true friend."
Cpl Antonio J Chapa of Wahiawa, Hi

"To the family of:Thomas J. Zapp 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"

"Pretty soon it will be 2 years. I still can't believe that a person like T.J. is gone. He is always in my heart, I truly feel like I lost my brother. I think of him everyday and all the memories I have of him. You will never be forgotten bro, my brother & I will always miss you hun! You're a hero bro."
Jennifer McCrea of San Diego, CA USA

"TJ and I shared a room together at MOS school. I remember how he would talk me through arguments with my wife or even talk to her to try and calm her down when i was too frustrated and I would do the same for him when he needed it. Sadly, I did not find out about his death until several months later as I was deployed myself with another unit. The last time I talked to him was through email when we both picked up LCpl. We were planning to open a car customization shop when we got out of The Corps. My condolences to his family I wish there was something I could have done."
Cpl Jesse W. Washburn of Camp Pendleton, CA USA

"T.J was one of my closest friends all throughout high school...We shared so many memories...It's so sad to have seen him go...I remember in 12th grade, we made a $10 bet on the superbowl (Tampa Bay vs. Oakland)...I lost the bet, and I told T.J that I would pay him in 10 years at the class reunion...looks like that's one debt I'll never be able to pay back...but i know I'll see him again, in a place where death exists no more..."
samson varughese of Houston, TX

"To the family of LCpl Thomas J. Zapp,
I was at his funeral with the CWO he worked with in Camp Lejeune, NC. I thank the family for their comfort and acceptance. You took me into your hearts as though I was already a part of the family. By the way, I still have the teddy bear you gave me. I have never met a family quite like them. To this day, he still is in my thoughts. I know we (his friends) had so many plans together. We were going to do and see things together. Our brother, our companion, our buddy... TJ will always be apart of us. I just regret not being there with him. Katie and I will always think of you as our brother, Zapp. Put a good word in for us in heaven.
Love Always"
Cristina Macias, LCpl/USMC of Camp Lejeune, NC/USA

I remember telling you that you were going to have to leave and how it would be a great experience and you'd be able to save some money and not to worry about anything, and I'm sorry things didn't quite turn out how I told you. I remember yelling at you for being two hours late for work and telling you how you'd never be worth a crap if you didn't get your * together. Well I guess God always has a funny way of doing things, cause he went off and made you a hero. I can only hope that one day I can be a fraction of the man that you proved to be. Your never forgotten. God be with your family and everyone you left behind.

Sgt Collier"
Nathaniel of Little Rock , AR

"To the Zapp Family,
TJ was like an older brother to me. We spent several months together at Camp Johnson. He was like family. I was crushed when i heard what had happened to him. In total shock. I was supposed to go to his funeral, but was unable to because of work. I am in Iraq now and i think of him everyday! As it nears 1 year, it saddens me to think about how good of a person that we lost, but i know that he is looking down on each and every one of us. If anyone would like to know how well i knew him, feel free to email me RuizKR@cssemnf-wiraq.usmc.mil

Love Always
His Little Sister Katie"
LCpl Kathleen Ruiz of Camp Al Taqaddum, Iraq


Youll never be forgotten man, i think about you all the time everytime i hear about someone dying over there. I remember the days before we left all of us bonding knowing that the next 7 months were really going to suck. It really hit me when you died, its alot different when you get the news about someone you personally knew. Just remember that you wont be forgotten by me or the other 15 people we went out there with. Rest in peace brother
if anyone wants to know how good of a guy he was you can email me at williamsjd16@hotmail.com"
Lcpl Williams, Jesse of Camp Lejeune, NC

"Everyone dies eventually, some at a young age for a cause, some at ripe age without any thing to look back upon. TJ died a hero, His life is admirable!"
Tim of Pensacola, Florida

"T.J., my second brother to me. I'm lost for words and very sad for his loss. He was the most wonderful guy and the funniest. He always picked on my little brother and my Mom too. Because of T.J., my brother is a strong Marine too."
Jennifer McCrea of San Diego, CA USA

"TJ, I always think of those awesome days we had back in Lejeune. I don't know what happened to get to this point but I know that you will never be forgotten man. You got me into a great chow hall, 2d Tanks, and we wrestled like it was our WCW event. It was hilarious when we chilled in the blue room and you came over to CS and broke my computer instead of fixing it. There's everything and anything I would've done to make sure you came back with us. Thanks for giving me the chance to know you. You are a great person."
LCpl Sombatsaphay, Vilaykham USMC of Charlotte, NC

"To the family of Thomas Zapp -- sorry it's taken so long for this. It's been a rough few months, as we would know. But I just wanted to let you know that your son has been on my mind ever since Nov 8th. I would have loved to know your son. I'm sure from just reading the messages that he was a great person just like my husband and that they would've gotten along very well. Please anytime you need to talk, don't hesistate to get ahold of me. I would love to chat. riespieces63@yahoo.com Thank you for your son's sacrafice in fighting for what he believed in."
Amanda J Ries of Vancouver, WA

"TJ was and will always be the love of my life. I never knew what love was until I met him. He showed me what life was about and was always motivating me to do my best at everything. Mrs. St Michels, you know that TJ and I love each other very much. No one will ever love me or make me laugh and smile the way he did and no one will have my heart the way he does. No matter what, he will always have my heart and I know that when I see him once again that one day, Im going to drop everything and run to him like never before. I hope you also know that you're like my second mother. You and TJ were always there when I had a problem. I love you. Thank you for everything and you know Im only one call away. Don't forget that he's in Heaven and he's happy now...with his cars and pets."
Tina Pham of Houston, TX

"TJ was and will always be the love of my life. I never knew what love was until I met him. He showed me what life was about and was always motivating me to do my best at everything. Of course with any relationship, there were disputes and arguments, but the start of all this was love. Mrs. St Michel, you know that TJ and I love each other very much. It was to the point where we planned out our entire future...everything from what we wanted to be occupation wise, to what we wanted to name our kids. No matter what, he will always have my heart and I know that when I see him once again that one day, Im going to drop everything and run to him like never before. I hope you also know that you're like my second mother. You and TJ were always there when I had a problem. I love you. Thank you for everything and you know Im only one call away."
Tina Pham of Houston, TX

"My brother Marine, guard the streets of heaven. Your great-uncle, corporal, George S. Knorovsky 1392448 U.S. M.C."
George of Twin Lakes, WI

"TJ has always been and always will be a very special person to those who are close to him. As long as we keep memories of him alive he will never be gone. I want to say I am so very sorry to Chris and Larry for what TJ and I kept from you guys. You two have always been so nice to me and my brother and TJ and I should have told you what happened in the begining. I love you guys and I have since I can't even remember and will always love TJ with every ounce of my heart and soul. Please forgive us."
Kristine Patton of Houston, Tx

"In loving memory and admiration of our cousin T.J..This young man was the cream of the crop,the best of the best.We thank God for his life and for his great sacrifice to our country, he will forever be missed and never forgotten."
The Saucerman family of Salem, WI

"words cannot express how sorry we feel about your loss . you were a proud child and even more proud to serve our country for what you believed in . you will be greatly missed in our lives in the future but never forgotten for helping to provide the freedom that so many in this country take for granted.may you forever be with god.you are a hero. love you
uncle john aunt debbie,and cousin steph"
john zapp of worth ill

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

"To Thomas' 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

"I can't express my deepest sympathy you have left me speechless but i guess all I can say is Thank You so much for what you do"
Kaitlyn Hammond of Deville, LA USA

"Thank you for the gift of Freedom. I will honor it in your mrmory."
P Bell of Macon,Ga

"To the St. Michaels and Zapp Families:

Your TJ is a true American Hero and will live on in our hearts. I also am a Marine Mom and your loss is our loss as well. I pray that in this difficult time God, our Father, will wrap his loving arms around you and bring you comfort. Semper Fi."
The DeArment Family of Kingwood TX (ProudMarineMomTX@aol.com)

"To the Zapp family from the Wahl family of New York and Spring, Texas. We are deeply sadden by your lost. An our heart and prays are with your family and THOMAS! From one fallen soldiers family. This is a diffucult process to heal. Thomas has touched many lives with family, friends, neighbors and his military family. The important thing to remember he was a professional soldier. An the elite of all AMERICANS!That Thomas loved his job not many in America can said that today. An all Americans should be thankful to men and women as your son. He is a true HERO! God Bless!!!"
leonard wahl of Valley Stream Long Island

"TJ was more than just a neighbor and friend to my son. He was like a son to me. He and my son and their friend Cary were always giving me a hard time. They liked to hang out at my house, watching movies or playing N64 -usually wrestling. Then they would try different wrestling moves on each other in my living room and I would have to make them "take it outside!" His favorite nickname for me was "Leprechaun" because I am short! My heart breaks at his passing, but I know where he is - he is with Jesus and is happy. I know he is watching over his family and friends and will always be a guardian angel to us. God bless him, his family and friends, and bless his choice to serve. I love you and I'll miss you, TJ."
Crista McCrea of Houston, Texas/USA

"TJ was a fine person and a great guy to know and be around. He has been an inspiration to me both in his commitment to his beliefs and his ability to dedicate himself to a cause greater than himself. I will keep thoughts of TJ in my mind the next time my spirit feels weak. I will use his memory to help me deal with the hardships of life.

I am greatful for the enormous sacrifice your family has made and I cannot even express the sadness I feel."
Dee Patton of New York, NY, USA

"To the family of Thomas;

Our sincerest condolences for your loss. Thomas is a true American hero and will always be remembered by us for his bravery and ultimate sacrifice he gave to our country. Our family has also suffered the loss of my nephew in this battle for freedom. May God bless you during this difficult time."
Vic and Tammy McClain--azquail@att.net of Tucson, AZ

"RIP Tufelhunden..The Taylors USMC NC"

"To the family and friends of Lance Corporal Thomas J. Zapp,

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

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

"To Thomas' 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 as we lose yet another of Texas' sons.


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

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

"Thank you Thomas Zapp, 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. Thomas Zapp:
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 Thomas 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. Thomas Zapp:
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 Thomas, 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