MHarrison (07.31.11, 1:00 AM): My daughter was born September 26, 2010 three days before Mark lost his life. The pride and honor Mark had for our country is truly amazing. I want to thank his parents for giving our country this true hero that was taken from them too soon. I will keep them in my prayers that God grants them the peace they need to move on without this angel. An angel that forever will shine when I tell his story about how he wore our flag in combat. As my daughter grows up each year I will remember this amazing soldier. I am so proud and thankful I had this angel fighting for me and my babys freedom. Rest in peace Mark A Forester.

Charles Chapman (07.24.11, 8:15 PM): I did not know this young man. I was a combat medic in VietNam 1968-69 I learned at a very early stage of the game as a medic if you took care of your guys they tried their damnest to take care of you. I see mark was trying to get to his medic that was down. This is a tribute to both of them . He looked afetr his group and the group looked after him. I have to take my hat off to the brother of Mark that has tried to saty out of the spotlight on Comming Home he is a fine man himself allowing Mark the praise and not trying to get any of it Hope someone is doing this for Calvin Harrison ,the fasct Mark went after him speaks highly of Calvin,good medics get life risk for them. I know been ther AND THEN THERE WAS ONE

Richard R. (03.31.11, 4:36 PM): I to watched Mark's story on Lifetime's "Coming Home". It was very emotional for me. Thank You Mark & Family for all you have given. His story will inspire many to love country, be better people, have faith, and to take care of eachother. I am a proud american thank you. I hope we all try to earn it.

melba (03.31.11, 1:19 PM): i believe Mark put his life on the line, but i also believe it took a lot for his comrades to come forward and tell his parents how WONDERFUL he was. It was not only painful for them, but for COMRADES as well. I pray for all the families that Mark touched. And I pray for all of you

melba (03.31.11, 1:16 PM): i did not know Mark, however, i think i knew parents. Mark was so remarkable. I lost my only child there also. God bless each of you. I know what you feel, and I also know the blessing that have been brought to you. My prayers are with each of you. MARK WAS OUTSTANDING, HE GAVE HIS LIFE FOR OTHERS AND HELPED OTHERS. SINCERELY, Melba

brandi jo greer (03.29.11, 11:40 AM): As an aunt of an U.S.Air Force, my heart goes out to this family.When i watched the show Coming Home last week I shed a tear.And yesterday I prayed for his family.And as I checked out this website I was just amazed because in all of Marks Photos he had a smile on his face.A true American Hero,and I will think of him daily,and his family as well.No words I can say to bring him back but now I know I have another guardian angel.I believe he passed away wih diginity, honor and pride.May God bless his family and every way,and to know Hes watching over you !!And to his mother,who has such courage,I love u..

Shannon Bell (03.28.11, 1:27 AM): I want to give my respects to the family and friends of Senior Airman Forester. I am a wife of a SSGT who just returned from a deployment and we are currently stationed in Alabama. I want to let the family know that they are strong! I will be praying for the friends and family. I also know it is very hard to be a family member of a loved one who is serving and that is deployed to a war zone. Again thank you for serving our great country! My prayers are with you all.

Tandy Warwick (03.28.11, 12:02 AM): I saw the tribute tonight to Mark on Lifetime's "Coming Home," and it truly touched my heart. God Bless his family and friends, and Thank You, God for allowing us to hear of Mark Forester and his Bravery, Courage and Honor for our Great United States of America! We appreciate and love you, Mark and will always remember you for all the good deeds you did and the many lives you have touched. God Bless you, Forester Family, you will always be in my thoughts and prayers. You are such sweet and loving people.

Renee (03.27.11, 11:34 PM): I just saw the special "Coming Home" about Mark and wanted to say "Thank You" for your willingness to serve and lay down your life for my safety and freedom. My heart goes out to your family and friends. This special has really opened my eyes that I need to do more to honor the bravest soldiers in the world. Thank you for the website, I feel honored that I get to know a true American Hero through the thought, words, and pictures of his family and friends. God Bless You All!

Shannon Valicevic (03.27.11, 11:19 PM): I too just watched the Lifetime story of Mark and was extremely inspired. Although, I did not know him, Im very touched by the story and very appreciative of his services. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family.

Barney Watt (03.27.11, 11:10 PM): I just finished watching Coming Home on Lifetime TV. I know from the program and comments that you are a hero to be remembered. I am honored to say that we were unknowing brothers, as I served in the USAF during the Viet Nam conflict on C-130's. My heart and prayers go out to all your family and friends for your sacrifice. God bless you, your family and ALL our brothers and sisters serving our country.

Tony Sharpe (03.27.11, 11:05 PM): To the friends and family of Mark Forester. I just watched the Lifetime special "Coming Home" and it took everything I coud to hold back my tears. I was flicking through the channels and immediately noticed the Crimson banner flying at a grave site. Being a HUGE BAMA fan I flicked it back and was just taken over by emotions of Mark's story and the story of the Marine that delivered a sentimental flag to his family. I wish more people had an ounce of his bravery, and patriotism. He gave up what so many of us take for granted everyday and for that I am in debt to you Mark. RIP and ROLL TIDE ROLL

Gregg (03.27.11, 10:28 PM): Thank you Mark... R.I.P. I just watched the Lifetime special, "Coming Home," and I was very moved by the story. I have seen the sacrifice of men first hand losing 5 very close friends in Iraq, 2008, so I know the pain. GODSPEED to his family and friends. My prayers are with you.

Sue (03.27.11, 10:27 PM): God bless you Mark. You were a true hero trying to save a friend.

Edward Sookikian (03.27.11, 10:24 PM): As a Air Force vet, watching the story of Mark's sacrifice of a fellow comrade makes me feel proud to be an American. There is a normal rivalry between the services of who was better, but when it comes down to the final analysis, we are all comrades in arms until the day we die and when one dies, a part of the rest of us dies with him. To paraphrase the line from John Donne, the death of one of my comrades diminshes me as a person. My heart and prayers go out to the Forester family, but to know that he is a true hero to all Americans.

Tammy (03.27.11, 8:27 PM): Thank you Mark for fighting for out country you are a Hero . To marks family my heart gos to you you had a great son for doing what he did you should be so proud. My prayers are with you in this time..

db (01.24.11, 5:23 PM): I just learned about Mark, from a friend in Vermont. And oddly enough I have a friend that was in there. Well, I am not sure there...but here is what he said when I asked if he knew Mark: "He was killed w/one of my teams. One of my operators took a round through the leg during the same TIC (troop in contact). There was two CCT killed in a 2 week period...both supporting my teams." It is a small world, but I am glad through this sad situation, I learned of such a great hero. Thanks for sharing.

Sherman (11.18.10, 9:41 PM): Thanks for service, Mark. We will ensure it wasn't in vain. Rest in peace! It sounds as if you were a cut above most!

Kathy (11.03.10, 2:08 AM): Thanks for updated us on the upcoming happenings Michael. I appreciate it so much.

Michael Andrew (11.02.10, 5:31 PM): I have some more things coming- Recently just found a video of him playing flag football. We are also building him a website, should be up very soon.

Kathy (10.31.10, 4:20 AM): Please continue to update with more pictures and any tributes to Mark. I continue to follow this blog to see what has been added. Thanks for all you have done so far.

Thad (10.27.10, 12:20 PM): To: Mike from Texas--we finally were able to talk to Calvin's mom last week. My wife sent her the pic of Calvin and Mark that is posted on this site. Good to hear what you said about him. We figured he had to be extraordinary too.

mike from texas (10.14.10, 11:04 AM): I knew calvin harrison from high school. Believe me when i say that mark couldnt have picked a better man to give his life for...rip to mark forester and calvin harrison...may the lord bless your souls...

AJ (10.09.10, 2:48 PM): You will not be forgotten brother RIP

Carol Davis (10.08.10, 10:57 AM): I have known the Forester family for many years. Mark came from a wonderful family. This has made a great impact on my life and the other people who live in Haleyville.I will never forget the sacrifice he made for all of us.

:) (10.08.10, 1:04 AM): There are additional pictures & blog entries at www.hbtv.us

Robyn (10.07.10, 10:49 PM): "Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in Heaven where the love of our lost ones pour through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy..."

Michael Andrew (10.07.10, 9:35 PM): Amazing Service today. I am traveling up with the family to NC for his Unit's memorial. Ill be posting more pictues and video on Saturday. LOTS MORE.

Anna Harmon (10.07.10, 8:16 PM): WOW...an amazing tribute...very humbling and spiritual...today for Mark, as well as his family. I am SO proud for the brief time I knew him...he helped teach me (unbeknownst to him!) what it meant to be a "good guy"...and, ultimately, I found myself one. Mark was a wonderful teacher---whether he knew it or not...in so many ways...even after his death, I know personally people were greatly influened and moved by him. All my love and prayers to his family. I know he's "ok"...sad it it may be for us, but I hope that THEY are "ok"...I want them to know what an excellent teacher and friend Mark was...always funny, always polite, and always true to who he was. They don't come much better than that. :)

Robyn (10.07.10, 6:29 PM): Thank you for updating this with new pictures and videos. I knew Mark in Oakland and he was amazing. It has been comforting to be able to read all the kind comments that others have left. It has also been nice to see that Mark hadn't changed at all since the last time I saw him. Please continue to update this with any other pictures or video that you may have, it means a lot to those of us who are not close enough to have local coverage of it. God speed buddy!

Tony (10.07.10, 1:35 PM): Losing someone close to you in any circumstances is always extremely hard. But losing a good friend, and obviously Mark was a lot more to you than just a good friend… in a warzone is devastating. Having lost two close friends in the Falklands war in 1982, I know what it's like. I remember them both to this day, and I'm sure that you will remember Mark too, everyday in your thoughts from now on. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember all those who fall in battle; and we will add Mark's name to the long list of our fallen comrades. On Armistice Day this year I will reserve my own thoughts to Mark, even though I didn't know him personally. My thoughts will be with his family today.

Lea (10.07.10, 11:49 AM): I don't understand why such a fine young man was taken from this earth. It seems to me we need them so much more here but I trust God has a plan. We have too. I am praying that God our father will comfort his family. I have a son this age and am so grieved for his parents. Our only comfort is that you are in heaven today celebrating with our risen Savior Jesus. You gave it all and I will be forever grateful. I pray the Holy Spirit will comfort your parents and give them strength.

Heather Sweat (10.07.10, 10:55 AM): From the bottom of my heart, thank you Mark for you sacrifice for us all! "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" 2 Timothy 4:7 To Mark's family, you are in my prayers!

Amanda Pennington (10.07.10, 12:38 AM): To Mark you make me proud to be an American! I cannot thank you enough for defending me, my son, my husband, my family, my friends, and everyone in this country! You have given your life and no amount of words can describe our thanks! We do not know you but we love you and we support you! God Bless you and your family! And to Mark's family...thank you for having a remarkable son willing to defend our everything! My familes condolences go out to you and we will be praying for your entire family!

Thelma & James Mitchell (10.07.10, 12:25 AM): Sending our condolences to the Forrester family. I know that Mark was a fine young man just from reading about him. Your family has been added to our church prayer list. I don't have the words to express our gratitude for all that Mark did for our freedom. May God bless your family is our prayer. James & Thelma Mitchell Guin, AL

Melba Chaffin Hale (10.06.10, 9:31 PM): Pat, Ray and family my heart goes out to you at this time of loss. I am truly sorry and wish I could be there for you. Please know that Terry, Sybrina, James, Michael, me and our families are praying for all of you. Mark was a special person and will be truly missed. Love you all Melba and Family

Elizabeth (10.06.10, 6:34 PM): Michael, here is a news article about Mark's arrival in Haleyville: http://www.timesdaily.com/article/20101006/NEWS/101009869/1011/NEWS?Title=Town-welcomes-home-fallen-hero

Gary & Denise Loden (10.06.10, 5:49 PM): Our hearts and prayers go out to Pat and Ray. Words cannot express the depths of sorrow we feel. Although our time together was short, we consider you a part of our family. Mark was an outstanding example to all and a true American hero. Mark, may the Lord keep you in his arms till we meet again...your brother in arms, USAF Ret.

WYMAN OLIVER FAMILY (10.06.10, 10:04 AM): THANKS PAT, RAY AND MARK AND THE REST OF THE FAMILY

Ron Horton (10.06.10, 1:01 AM): I didn't know Mark personally but we lived in the same town of Haleyville, Alabama. I want to thank Mark and others that have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. May God bless the Forester family in these days. May our Lord comfort you and give you peace at this time. I am thankful for the support our city has shown in these days. Thank you Haleyville for praying and being there for this family. (2 Cor. 5:8).

wendell harrold (10.05.10, 11:28 PM): Forester Family- May God comfort your hearts.

Ken Kross (10.05.10, 9:01 PM): I would like to extend my heartfelt condouess to Marks family. I did not know him , but form the smile he shows in each and evey picture I know him as soul mate. His lost is felt here in Arizona and I will keep him in my prayers. God Bless.

Patti Lynn Wood (10.05.10, 6:07 PM): I have known Mark and his family for many years as we live across Dime Road from the Foresters. My thoughts and prayers go out to each of them. I use to babysit the Forester children and I have fond memories of "koolaid" adventures! God speed Mark! We know you are now with God!!! May God Bless our Troops and their families!

Tiffany Albright-Donnan (10.05.10, 3:30 PM): "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." -John 15:13..Thank you Mark for your sacrifice. It was a true joy going through school with you as my classmate. May God bless your family and friends...

Susan Stovall Huddleston (10.05.10, 2:58 PM): I have known Mark's family for many years. They are a loving and christian family. I pray for them to find the strenght to deal with this and to Mark I know that you are in a better place because you are one of Gods children. You are a hero among hero's. You gave all so we could be free. I am so touch by the love a dedication that you showed to all. May you rest now. The battle is over and you are with God now.Bless you!

Suzie Morton (10.05.10, 2:53 PM): I did not know Mark but, was proud to be a part of the many people of Haleyville that stood on the side of the road as as he made his way to his final resting place..Welcome Home Mark...and a Big Roll Tide to you!!

traci (10.05.10, 2:06 PM): as the song goes " ALL GAVE SOME AND THEN SOME GAVE ALL" Mark Forester gave ALL God bless to his family and friends for the great service he done for our country we are forever thankful to Mark and all our military men & women for the service they do for us to be FREE " FREEDOM IS NOT FREE" by any means

Kelly Kiser (10.05.10, 1:50 PM): May God Bless the entire Forester Family. Thank You Mark for making the ultimate sacriface. RIP A True American Hero.

Jamie Brooks (10.05.10, 10:42 AM): I have known the Forester family forever and I just wanted to say how sorry I am that this has happened. I remember Mark from my days while working at the Park & Recreation Dept. in Haleyville. He was a very talented kid but more than anything else he was very polite and respectful to everyone. To the Forester family: May God be with you during this tragic time. To Mark: Thank you for being so brave and defending the freedoms we all are Blessed to have in the greated country in the world.

jeff and debbie (10.04.10, 10:40 PM): our prayers are with your family we didn't know mark but he was truly a hero !!!!.

Anna (10.04.10, 10:27 PM): Wow...Mark was an awesom man. I mostly knew him from church dances, and through some mututal friends...but what a fun, humble, and funny guy I remember him being. You could not be around him and not want to be around him some more. My love goes out to him--his parents--and his brother, Thad, sister, Terri, and any other friends and family of this beautiful man. Mark, buddy, I pray you can see how big of an impact you made in life--all over the world. Its been years since I've seen you, but I hope you are so happy and safe and comforted now, and that you are surrounded with love....you absolutely deserve it. You will forever be loved and missed.

Kristy Robertson (10.04.10, 3:31 PM): My heart goes out to the Forester family. They are and will continue to be in my prayers. Mark was a true hero.

Stephani (10.04.10, 10:51 AM): Many Prayers of strength and comfort are sent for Thad & the Family.

Jeff (10.04.10, 12:34 AM): My prayers are with Mark and his family and the continued protection of those who served with him.

Jeff (10.04.10, 12:12 AM): Mark, our friendship was brief during college, but I cherished the discussions we had, the flag football games played, and the late hours we spent playing games together. Our lives took us down separate paths after graduation and I lost touch with you as you began your training. It seems like yesterday we were talking about you joining the military and your passion for it. I have kept an eye on your progression through pictures and messages knowing one day we would be able to catch up once again. The stories, pictures, and memories posted these past few days has made it seem like we have been able to sit down and talk. They all represent the person I knew and respected. The effect you have had on people is astounding. You are clearly a great American, Christian, friend, soldier, and will be missed greatly.

Jerry & Rosemary (10.03.10, 3:43 PM): God Bless a true American Hero and God Bless his family

DEL (10.03.10, 2:41 PM): I am in the SF team that Mark was on as well. I cant say it better than how Marc has already stated. You will be missed brother.

Marc (10.03.10, 1:09 PM): I am in the SF team that Mark was on. He was a wonderful man and the best CCT I have ever worked with. The other man in the last picture is the other hero that gave his life for his country. I am actually the third guy in that picture. I have never met a more dedicated guy, whether it be to his faith, job or friends. He gave all of himself to whatever he did... especially Alabama football. We love you Mark and you will always be missed.

Paul and Sue Rhyner (10.03.10, 12:20 PM): As parents of a CCT we would like to extend our deepest sympathies to Mark's family and friends. After the ceremony when our son became a CCT we were told that we had become part of an amazing family, we truly feel that way. So when a CCT gives up his life for his duty we all take a loss as a family. May the dear Lord hold Mark and all of you close to his heart!

roxana barton (10.03.10, 11:44 AM): I did not know Mark..but I can truly say I missed knowing a wonderful person. Thank God for people like him that fight for us and what we believe in. GOD BLESS AMERICA AND EVERY SOLDIER THAT HAS TAKEN DOWN A RAGHEAD!!!!!!!!

Charlie (10.03.10, 11:36 AM): Mark picked me up from the airport that first day in Oakland. I remember many discussions about the work and forward looking conversations about being fathers someday. He probably never knew the impact he had on me during the short time we served together. He was more genuine, far wiser, and more poised than anyone I had met at his age. Thank you for your service to me, our Lord, and our country. God be with you till we meet again brother.

A.M. (10.03.10, 5:50 AM): Mark was a great controller. Always calm and collected in the worst situations. I worked with him many times as a gun pilot here in Afghanistan. We took many bad guys off the earth together as well. I never got to meet Mark personally, but it is amazing the friendship and bond that you can develop over the radio in combat. He will truly be missed. My deepest sympathy goes out to his family and friends. Please know that we will continue to take the fight to the enemy in your honor!!! TCB!!!

Nic V (10.03.10, 4:10 AM): You WILL always be a true American Hero in my book... It was a pleasure to have trained with you Mark! May you rest with God now for all time... You will be remembered ALWAYS

Tommy Stovall (10.03.10, 1:06 AM): Did'nt know him but being from Haleyville like I, it is obvious that he was a swell fellow. My prayers go out to the family, he's now God's soldier now.

cindy wheeler sutton (10.03.10, 12:23 AM): I knew mark while serving as missionaries together in oakland. He was a good friend and missionary. He always brought laughter to the room. I was deeply saddened when I found out about his death. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Alaina Enslen (10.02.10, 11:08 PM): I want to send my regards and gratitude for Mark's ultimate sacrifice. Here at West Point I am constantly reminded of the great soldiers like Mark that represent our country and protect not only our freedoms, but also those of others around the world.

KATHY LOVETT (10.02.10, 10:31 PM): I DINT KNOW MARK BUT FEEL I HAVE COME TO KNOW HIM THREW THE WORDS OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS ,HE IS OUR TRUE HERO, MY HEART GOES OUT TO THE FAMILY.HALEYVILLE HAS LOST A WONDERFUL BRAVE MAN AND A TRUE AMERICAN HERO

KATHY LOVETT (10.02.10, 10:30 PM): I DINT KNOW MARK BUT FEEL I HAVE COME TO KNOW HIM THREW THE WORDS OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS ,HE IS OUR TRUE HERO, MY HEART GOES OUT TO THE FAMILY.HALEYVILLE HAS LOST A WONDERFUL BRAVE MAN AND A TRUE AMERICAN HERO

Eric Brook (10.02.10, 9:41 PM): Mark and I were together for 5 months in Oakland. We had a rough start together, but after the first month we became good friends. What a great guy and unconquerable soul. I found out this morning that Mark passed away and it brought tears to my eyes for many reasons, but most of all - 29 years wasn't enough for Mark. I will think of Mark often, for the remainder of my life, for the great sacrifice he has made for us. My favorite memories of Mark were when we sang country music together, talked of hunting back home, and reminiscing about the Dukes of Hazard and quoting Rosco P. Coltrane... 'Oh, goo - goo!" He taught me the beauty of fabric softener and the Stain Stick for laundry. I loved our late night runs to Wendy's to get Frosty's on the way home from a long day. Having water balloon fights on the road. He was a good friend to talk to and have by my side during tough times. It hurts so bad to hear of this terrible tragedy. My thoughts are with his mother, father, and family - of which he talked often. Eric

Telie White (10.02.10, 8:53 PM): Mark was fiends with my daughter and he came to our home to visit a few times this past year. I am greatly honored to have known him. My sons are better having been touched by his fine example. We are all saddened beyond words by this news. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mark’s family at this time. A good man will draw a circle around his family and take care of them. A great man will draw a larger circle and care for friends and loved ones. But the greatest of men will care for all of humankind. This was Mark, the greatest of men. We can never give him enough honor to do justice to the high calling Mark felt and the ultimate sacrifice he willingly gave. He is my hero. Thank you Mark. You were greatly loved and will be dearly, sorely missed.

Reese Widmier (10.02.10, 8:22 PM): I served with Mark in Oakland, not beside him but around him and I enjoyed every moment of if. He was proud of his country and defended it when he had a chance. I know the Lord has another battle for him to fight and I couldn't think of a better man do it. My love and thoughts go out to his family.

j (10.02.10, 8:01 PM): While I don't know this hero, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to all who knew him, and I would like to thank you all for your sacrifice. My son was at Cobra from February thru June of 2009. The images bring back so many memories. My son is now stationed somewhere, I won't know where until he comes home. I do know that I learned of this hero's passing from my son's posting, so maybe they knew each other. In any event, they were brothers. My prayers are with you all...God bless you and God bless America.

Jane Page Blevins (10.02.10, 5:46 PM): I did not know Mark, but I knew his parents when we were all younger. Mark had to be a wonderful, fun loving person that loved life to be the son of these two wonderful people. May God bless and keep you all --

Hal and Marilyn Williams (10.02.10, 3:43 PM): As the parents of a presently deployed CCT in Afghanistan, we cannot describe how we hurt,anguish and pray not only for the Forester family but his teamates and friends who knew Mark so well. We feel through this tribute that we also knew him. Plainly and simply USAF CCTs are the best of the best - highly motivated, most thoroughly trained tip of the spear that protects our great country. Our hearts grieve with all who knew Mark and made him the amazing man that he was. Continue to lift up all of the wonderful people who sacrifice daily to protect our country.

Jared Watson (10.02.10, 2:15 PM): Mark was always my go to guy. He helped me throughout basic training and school. Mark was one of my best friends and he will forever remain an example of how to live life to the fullest.

Milton Miller (10.02.10, 2:14 PM): To the family of a very brave Man.Mr. Mark Foster, you have done just what God wanted you to do and i ave great respect for you and your family.God made a hand full of mans like you..And i like to had one more to your list. My nephew Master Sgt. Rickey Washington who back over their for the three time. I drove oover 700 miles just to tell him thank you and If it wasn't poeples like Rickey and Mark where would this wolrd be..I LOVE YOU GUYS andMAY GOD BLESS YOU

Dana Burelson (10.02.10, 2:02 PM): I just wanted to thank you for putting together this page. It is allowing me to have some closure and understanding of what Mark went through and the scrafice he made for us all. It has been years since I seen him but I was able to talk to him on facebook a few weeks ago. I'm so glad I did. I am praying for his family and friends and will forever be grateful for Mark and all his service to our country. We love you Mark!

Carl Jacobs (10.02.10, 1:34 PM): God bless him and his family. He is a consummate hero. America is better because of his sacrifice and protection.

Rich + Gail Evans (10.02.10, 2:56 AM): What a wonderful tribute to Mark. We have known Mark since he was a young man and he has always been an inspiration to our family. Mark attended seminary with several of our children and graduated from HHS with our daughter Kelly. Our son Matt leaves for Afghanistan in a few days and his brother Ricky has just returned from his second tour there. We understand the great determination these young men have to serve our country and protect us here at home. They know what they are doing and choose freely to make the sacrifices that they make. Mark will live forever in our hearts and the hearts of countless others, because he touched all who had the privilege of knowing him. Mark comes from a family of Heroes both on and off the battlefield and he will never be forgotten. Our prayers are for Ray + Pat and all the Forester family. Personally , from my conversations with Mark I know that he truly believed in what he was doing and he gave his very best, he wanted to make a difference and he did....Father, keep him till we meet again....MSgt. Rich Evans USAF Ret.

Robyn Lisk (10.02.10, 12:45 AM): My heart goes out to all of Mark's family and friends. My husband was a combat controller for 15 years and retired form the Air Force iin 1985. I never had the good fortune to meet very many of his brothers in arms until Mousy passed away last month, but I know now how very closely knit the CCT family is. We have been truly supported by his brothers and I know that Mousy and the other combat controllers who have gone on before Mark will be there to greet him with open arms.We will keep his family in our hearts and prayers.Thank you for the beautiful tribute to your friend.

Cathy Davis (10.01.10, 11:31 PM): After reading this tribute I am so saddened to learn America lost a great soilder and son. Praying for his family and friends.

Ginger (10.01.10, 11:25 PM): Reading LtCol L's post about Mark sounds exactly like the warrior that I know Mark was. I only knew him a short while, but knew right away that he was more than special. He and Bobby were our neighbors in NC. My son-in-law, Jack was one of his instructors at CCT school. When Jack had his accident, Mark and Bobby walked to our house continually to make sure that Jack's 5 yrs old son was ok. They played the wii, jumped on the trampoline, and just were "backup Dads" to him. Mark always helped around the house and always had that special smile on that handsome face! We had to move, but we knew we would always have a special place in our hearts for Mark and Bobby. We still do. Our very deepest sympathies go out to his mom, dad, and special family, as well as all the CCT family that will miss him so. Only the good die young.....RIP Mark! xxoo

Marlene Stevens (10.01.10, 10:32 PM): I want to add that I noticed our friend, Garrett, had a special experience hearing the Star Spangled Banner tonight. I attended a classroom play my granddaughter, Gabrielle, had today about how it came to be written. At the end, we sang it together. I choaked up thinking of Mark. The teacher mentioned at the end that her son is in Afghanistan now. Very bittersweet time being there...thanks to Mark. He has forever changed the way I will hear that song.

Teresa (10.01.10, 10:05 PM): You've put together a great tribute of Mark. I didn't know him personally but worked with Thad for a while. He talked often of his family and made you feel like you knew them. My heart goes out to everyone affected by his death. Brings tears to my eyes. I just can not imagine. He was fighting for everyone of us!! My thoughts and prayers are with the family! The Forester's are a very close family and they will have each other and so many friends to help them during this time.

Carolyn McFall (10.01.10, 9:11 PM): Thank you American Hero Mark Forester for giving the ultimate sacfrice so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we have !

Steve Purser (10.01.10, 7:33 PM): So sorry to hear about this. I did not know him but I grew up in Haleyville. My deepest sympathies go out to Mark and his family. The good lord will be with them.

Jason Garrison (10.01.10, 6:53 PM): What a great tribute. Beautifully done. My heart goes out to the Forester family. Your all in my thoughts and prayers.

CHRIS (10.01.10, 6:50 PM): I knew this great america hero briefly and he will truly be missed. Every time i ran into him he had me laughing. This is a big loss for ST and america.

Dave Urbinati (10.01.10, 6:45 PM): I want to start by offering my deepest sympathies to Mark's family and friends. I am a SrA in the USAF deployed in Iraq right now. I noticed Mark enlisted about 2 months before I did, and we are the same rank. I found it inspiring that one of my peers could have such an amazing impact to those around him. I just want to say that it's an honor to be able to say that I was part of the same organization as Mark.

Mark Brooks (10.01.10, 5:47 PM): Words cannot express how much sorrow we feel when such a courageous young person places himself in harms way to make the ultimate sacrifice. My heart goes out to all those he left behind, his family and friends alike, all that I am certain he touched during his journey on this earth. Sadly, I did not know Mark, but feel that after reading the words before me, that I had. What a charismatic presence I'm sure he commanded, his dedication to those around him and his selfless work to make the rest of us safe here at home. I am humbled by his achievements in his career, and how his gaze speaks a wisdom beyond his years. Such a moving photo with Lackland in the background, where I watched in amazement as my only son graduated from BMT in Septembe of this very year. I pray he is as well received as Senior Airman Mark Forester is among his peers. God Bless you Mark for everything that you are. From our family to yours, you sir, will forever will be our hero.

Kim MIranda (10.01.10, 4:56 PM): My husband is also a combat controller in the Air Force and I admire all the courage and sacrifices these men make. My heart and prayers go out to Mark's family, I have nothing but pride for these elite guys. I love my husband with all my heart and pray he has a safe return home. In honor of Mark I have one last thing to say ROLL TIDE ROLL!!!!

LtCol L (10.01.10, 3:55 PM): I am a Marine F/A-18 squadron commander and I was overhead Mark engaging the enemy with him for the last 3 hours of his heroic life. I did not know Mark’s name, only his radio callsign. But I felt like I knew him well as I had served with him on several previous missions where I flew in support of him and his team. I am not surprised to read all of the wonderful things posted about Mark because I could tell from our first mission together he was different- a cut above the rest. Please know that he was the best I've served with at controlling aircraft fires in all my years flying in support of ground forces. He no doubt loved what he was doing and you could always tell he was in a good mood on the radio, even in a firefight- even on that fateful day. His calm professionalism always instilled confidence in everyone on the net regardless of the situation. As an eyewitness to his final firefight that went so wrong, I just want to confirm to all that he died a true hero, advancing at the enemy and kicking butt. When his radio fell silent it didn’t seem possible or real. I'd like to make a comment about what "K" posted yesterday (he was in a helo gunship also overhead). You guys and the rest of Mark's team did a great job holding things together down there and taking it to the enemy. I only hope to fly to that same valley tomorrow and finish what Mark started. To his teammates, family and friends you have my deepest sympathy and condolences. I pray you can find comfort in knowing how hard Mark fought for you and all of our freedom. God Bless you all as you mourn and celebrate Mark’s life. To Mark, you are my hero. Thank you for risking and giving all so that others don't have to. Semper Fidelis.

Candace Hudson (10.01.10, 3:16 PM): I work with Mark's sister-in-law Roz (his borther Thad's wife), and she talked about him all of the time! About how great of a person he was! I know from all of the wonderful things Roz said about Mark that he was an amazinng young man, who she and his big bro Thad thought the world of! I want to let Thad, Roz & the Rest of the Forester family know that my prayers are with you all! And to Mark.....thank you!!!! May you rest in peace!!

Jo (10.01.10, 2:12 PM): God bless the family of Mark. Personally, I don't know him and can't say that I remember ever meeting him here. But I will say that our pilots spoke very highly of him, both as a person and as a CCT. If you ask me, I remember very little about the day that it happened, really can't even tell you the day of the week it was. However I remember being in an aircraft when I happened on the radio chatter. That will always be a moment I will never forget. My prayers go out to the family of Mark and to his brothers that must carry on with the mission!

Amy Otterson (10.01.10, 1:53 PM): To the Forester family, my prayers are with you at this time of tragic loss. I had the opportunity to get to know Mark in Raleigh by way of his CCT friends at Pope. He was such a strong and kind man with a true understanding of faith. Each conversation with him reminded me how important strong family values and spiritual connection are in the development of a man. His team had the utmost respect and admiration for him and his choices in life. I will always remember his smile and ability to live each day with appreciation. May you find peace in the knowledge that you raised an amazing man and heroic soldier. God bless you.

Sharon Brannon (10.01.10, 1:29 PM): Will be praying for Mark's family. My nephew Matt Phillips was killed in Afghanistan (Chosen Company, 173rd, Vicenza, Italy) in July, 2008. We miss him everyday, but are proud of the sacrifice he made and the bravery he showed. Mark's family are heroes too, for supporting and loving their son while he fought for our freedom. God Bless you, Mark and family, and a big Roll Tide.

Nina (10.01.10, 1:26 PM): I graduated high school with Mark and he was a wonderful person with a wonderful family. My prayers are with the Forester family.

Barry Hines (10.01.10, 1:02 PM): To the family of Mark I wish to extend my most sincere condolences and want to thank you for his service to our country. It’s hard to find young people today who are willing to put “service to country above self” the way Mark did and you were truly bless to have such a fine son and airman in your family. Thank you and God bless your family… TSgt Hines, USAF, Ret.

Dawn Smith (10.01.10, 12:59 PM): I don't know Mark or any of his friends or family, I am posting this simply as a supporter of our military. From what you have written on here, he seems like he was an amazing man. He is a true hero and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. He will be remembered by those who know him as the wonderful individual he seems to have been. He will also be remembered by those of us who didn't know him for paying the ultimate sacrifice to his country. Thank you for you and your family's service to our country.

Darlene Seevers (TRA) (10.01.10, 12:50 PM): I did not know Mark, but I feel as as though I've lost a friend too after reading this wonderful tribute to him. He is truly a hero.

Jeni Ennis (10.01.10, 12:49 PM): God be thanked for Mark Forester, and those brave ones like him in the world, so that we may have a world worth living in. All my love to his grieving family.

Ali Davis-Walker, American Red Cross (10.01.10, 12:34 PM): On behalf of the American Red Cross, we to extend to you and the Mark Andrew Forester family our deepest condolences on the loss of Mark Andrew Forester, an American Hero! Since 1881 the American Red Cross has provided services for members of the military and their families. Some of the services we provide include counseling, information and referral, financial assistance and emergency communications. If we can be of assistance to you or the family, please do not hesitate to notify us. A Service to Armed Forces Caseworker can be reached at (205) 758-3608. Please know that the thoughts of all of us at the American Red Cross, West Alabama Chapter, Tuscaloosa, Alabama are with you at this most difficult time. We are also grateful to you for the sacrifice you and your loved one made for our county. Ali Davis-Walker, Director of Emergency Services, Service to Armed Forces, American Red Cross, West Alabama Chapter, Tuscaloosa, Alabama35404

Sandy Cappucci (10.01.10, 11:57 AM): Thank you Mike for making this post about Mark. It is a beauttiful tribute to a wonderful, kind and loving young man. I especially love the picture of Mark in the Bama hat. It reminds me of when Dario and I were traveling in CA. We had stopped at the church to attend sacrament service in Richmond. When leaving, someone called my name. It was Mark. He had seen my car with the Bama plates and recognized it. He gave me a big hug and smile. He had waited to speak to me before his meeting begin. I did not know he was there, in the same building. He gave me a big hug and smile. As a former Air Force C-130 flight nurse who served in DESERT STORM. I find that the song "Angel Flight" is a moving tribute to Mark and other dedicated service men and women. Thank you Pat and Ray for such a special son. My heart and prayers are with you and the rest of your family.

Russell Brewer (10.01.10, 11:55 AM): Thanks for taking care of business, Mark Forester is a true American hero. God bless him and his family.

Tony BrakeField (10.01.10, 11:47 AM): My heart and prayers goes out to Mark's family and friends on the passing of this exceptional young man.

amy b (10.01.10, 11:36 AM): great tribute! it's so sad to find out another young American has lost their life for us, altho their protection is necessary or we wouldnt keep our freedom. God comfort his family in this sadness/loss!

Pamela (10.01.10, 11:27 AM): M this means so much to me... I lost my BIL in Iraq in 04! They are forever in our hearts! I will never forget.

Bonnie (10.01.10, 11:08 AM): SO SORRY, I meant Michael, I don't know why I said Mark!

Kathy Bartholomew (10.01.10, 11:08 AM): What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful young man. We have wept and been so saddened by this loss. How thankful we are for young men like him and you and your courage. We are hanging our flag today with black ribbons below the eagle to honor this wonderful son. We send our love to his family and hope angels will carry you. Kathy from Idaho

Bonnie (10.01.10, 11:07 AM): I did not know Mark personally, although I do know a family member! My prayers go out to all his family and friends. may God Bless all of you! Thank you for keeping his memory alive with this blog!

HK (10.01.10, 10:31 AM): Blue Skies Brother! HK

Hugh Torres (10.01.10, 10:29 AM): Even though I do no tknow this young man, a brother in uniform is never forgotten. As a former member of the USAF, I salute you, and your family, for making the ultimate sacrifice anyone can make for DUTY, HONOR and COUNTRY! Thank you for the freedoms, liberties, rights and priviledges your selfless sacrifice helps to maintain and many, many individuals take for granted! May the Lord keep you in His glory. May you walk with Him, as He takes you by the hand and welcomes you home. May the Lord also shime His light of mercy and peace upon Michael' family, revealing His everlasting Love and Mercy upon them! God Bless and Rest In Peace!

Joey Loden (10.01.10, 10:02 AM): I had the privilege of knowing the Forresters when I was twelve. They were an example of great faith, service, and charity to me personally. My memories of Mark are of when he was a child of about 5 or 6 and I looked down at him because of his hieght the irony is that I now will always look up to Mark for the ultimate example of duty to God and country. His sacrifice is not in vain for we will continue to defend freedom here and abroad. I want to express my thanks to each person who helped shape the life of Mark for he was truly a work of art. Though I did not know him well he will be missed and remembered...

jjkusaf (10.01.10, 9:52 AM): RIP Brother.

Mandy McNutt (10.01.10, 9:48 AM): I went to high school with Mark and his brother Thad and have known his family for many years. What you wrote about Mark was very moving and true. He was an incredible person and I am so thankful for having the opportunity to know him. He was a true hero and I thank him for fighting for our freedom!! He will be very missed!!! My prayers go out to you and the entire family.

susan huddleston (10.01.10, 9:40 AM): Thank you for the information. I grew up with the family. They are very special to me. My thoughts and prayers go out to them all. Mark was a true American Hero!

Gary McCool (10.01.10, 9:26 AM): I would like to offer my thoughts and prayers to the Forester Family and to this American Hero. I would also like to thank you for this great tribute to Michael Forester. He gave the ultimate sacrifice for this Great Country and we will forever be indebted to him and the many others, past, present and future that voluntarily serve. God be with Michael and with his Family and with all of our GREAT WARRIORS!! A Big Roll Tide to Michael.

Tara Hulsey (10.01.10, 9:19 AM): Thank you to Mark & to all the soliders that have gave their lives to give us freedom. You are heros. God Bless.

Missy (10.01.10, 9:12 AM): I taught Mark in his elementary years but I have known the family since they moved to Haleyville. What a loving family they have are and truly followers of Christ! I treasure Mark's gift of protecting our great country and pray for his family to have peace!! To have such a percious angel watching over all of us is a blessing! Prayers to all!!

Josh (10.01.10, 8:41 AM): I am a SC Royal Marine and Met Mark on joint Group ops and to be honest it's has been a shock to hear that he has paid the price. He was a laugh and a true professional and had the grace to help us all in improving our FAC abilities without making us feel dim. I want to pass on my deapest condolences to Marks family and Mates. RIP Switched on Warrior

Keyona (10.01.10, 7:51 AM): As a fellow service member and fellow Air Force member my heart goes to to Mark and his family. May he rest in peace and may his family find peace.

Niutupuivaha (10.01.10, 7:17 AM): I served my mission with Mark, and it was a privilege to have known you Mark. God be with you till we meet again. Thank you for defending our country and our freedom. My prayers go out to you and your family. With the utmost love and respect, Niutupuivaha

lois parker (10.01.10, 6:56 AM): i didnot know this hero, but my heart aches for the family and friends of mark.you hear everyday of people losing there life,but when it hits at home it makes me realize they are true heroes!will be praying for the family of everyone whos lost a loved one in this war

Allison Almand (10.01.10, 4:53 AM): Thank you for giving a glimpse into Mark's life. I did not know him but I am thinking of all of his family and friends and keeping you all in my prayers.

Ramonia (10.01.10, 2:29 AM): May God be with the Forester family during this time. We lost a hero, God gained an angel. My hands are lifted for Mark and our other fallen soldiers.

Dave CCT 1981-1998 (10.01.10, 1:27 AM): Mark will be missed and honored forever in the hearts of all Combat Controllers, past, present and future. RIP my brother

Steve and Janet Duff (10.01.10, 1:22 AM): Awesome tribute! Mark paid the ultimate sacrifice doing what he believed in. Our thoughts and prayers are with you Tyran, Teresa and the rest of your family. Please let us know if we can do anything at all. De Oppresso Liber!

Anthony (10.01.10, 1:02 AM): I can only grope for words of appreciation and respect for someone like Mark, who gave the supreme sacrifice in a distant land for us. Anthony Missouri Ozarks

Rob (10.01.10, 12:26 AM): Michael, I'm sorry to hear of such sad news. My heart goes out to you and his family. If you want to talk, you have my number, give me a call anytime.

Brooke Bartholomew (09.30.10, 11:56 PM): Thank you Michael for doing this, there are so many people who care about this family and it is comforting to know how they are doing. After I said prayers with my kids tonight I just laid next to my 6 year old son and hugged him. I cannot even begin to comprehend what Pat is going through...as a mother my heart aches for her. Thank you again for doing this.

Jeremy Wise (09.30.10, 11:34 PM): Thank you for posting the pictures of Mark. I love the Alabama flag and Bama hat. Our prayers go out to everyone.

DeAnna (09.30.10, 11:31 PM): This is a beautiful tribute to Mark and for his family to see how much he meant to so many people. My thoughts and prayers are with the family during this very difficult time.

Juliet Dobbs (09.30.10, 11:17 PM): That is wonderful. He is a wonderful person as well as his loving family. Many prayers go out for them.

Colt Smith (09.30.10, 10:59 PM): I served my mission with Mark. He and I could not have been more different or been better friends in the time we were together. Many of the things I learned from him, I use everyday. You were the very best of men and I'll never forget you.

Amy Preston Jenkins (09.30.10, 10:50 PM): God Bless the Forester Family! Mark paid the ultimate price so that we might continue with our freedom that we all take for granted so many times. Mark and his family are such wonderful people and may God keep them through this horrible time in their lives! Thank you to all our soldiers for what they do for us everyday...and their families for their sacrifice as well! Prayers and love being sent to the Forester family!

Jen (09.30.10, 10:49 PM): Thanks for sharing this beautiful tribute. I'm so sorry for your loss, and so thankful to him and his family for their true sacrifice. We just spent an hour with our Cub Scout Pack practicing flag ceremonies, and to come home and see the picture of Mark with the flag overhead was quite moving. I hope someday to share this with our boys. They're practicing to someday be like him. Love the Yellow flag on his DCUs too!

Brian and Patricia Fortenberry (09.30.10, 10:24 PM): Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time. May God comfort them as only He can.

Kari (09.30.10, 10:10 PM): Our son in law is a combat controller for the past 7 years @ Hurlburt. Our son is a Srgt in the United States Army infantry division. We come to know the true sacrifaces of the men & women of the military. Our son-in-law just lost his good friend on Sept 16th, 2010 & was suppose to be groomesmen in their wedding in June 2011, I wish for all peopl;e to know & understand what the combat controllers are really all about. The fact that their is only a little over 400 in the whole world should speak for themselves. Or the fact that are tdy or seployes on the average of over 300 days a year. PLEASE for the love of God keep them and all military in your prayers we do not need to loose anymore. Thoughts, love & prayers for the family & friends of Mark.

Bill (09.30.10, 9:58 PM): My son has been through FB Cobra. My profound sorry for the loss of your son. He's a true hero and a one in a million warrior. God Bless you and the rest of your family You certainly will be in my prayers.

Col Robert Brooks (09.30.10, 9:34 PM): John Stuart Mill once said: "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself". Thanks Mark for being the better man and for your sublime duty.

Mr. P. (09.30.10, 9:10 PM): Mark was a fantastic student at the STTS in Florida! I recall that his Faith in the Lord was strong! I'm very sorry to hear this sad news.

roy caul (09.30.10, 9:07 PM): im very sorry to the family and friends for the lost of a great hero may the lord be with you all

Elaine (09.30.10, 9:04 PM): My heart goes out to Marks family. I am a mother of a combat controller and know what a true sacifice Mark paid for the freedom of our country. My prayers and thoughts are with you. I pray God will give you peace during this time

Jake Peterson (09.30.10, 8:59 PM): The important part of my story that I ran out of room for was that I swear to god, and would never lie about this under any circumstance, is that at one point in my encounter I felt a hand from god tell me what to do to be safe. No doubt in my mind that was Mark

Dave Willingham (09.30.10, 8:54 PM): As Mark would have said, this news is "very no bueno." Love ya brother, and God be with you and your family.

Jake Peterson (09.30.10, 8:50 PM): I thought I would add a short story about my day today. I didn't know Mark that well beyond our stay at Lackland AFB but I know he was watching out for me today. Before I heard this news I responded to a 911 call of 6-7 males fighting with 2 of them carrying handguns. I stopped a vehicle with 3 males fitting the description. Immediately 1 male exited the car and ran. I ran past that van and after the male later taking him into custody. During the chase he pulled out a full size, fully locked and loaded Colt 1911 .45 cal handgun. His friend, that I ran right by, had a fully locked and loaded 9mm handgun. Both could have killed me and had nothing to lose......they didn't...... Was Mark watching over me? I like to think so. Thank you Mark.

kim (09.30.10, 8:38 PM): Great tribute, I didn't know him as well as I knew Thad but I do know he was a great man and served his country well. My heart is hurting for them and all who have ever lost a loved one during times of war.

Jake Peterson (09.30.10, 8:31 PM): You always said god created you to kill terrorists. So very true but you were a great friend for our time together in Texas. God bless you Mark and thank you.

david cookie rosser (09.30.10, 8:29 PM): may god bless and take care of your family.

Alex Rubio (09.30.10, 8:12 PM): Beautiful tribute Michael, although I did not know Mark, through these posts I sense a manificent person has left our side. I'm truly sorry for your loss and that of his family.

Kelly Mauzy (09.30.10, 8:10 PM): I am so sorry for your loss. I only knew Mark for a very short time, but all the words said above were completely correct. Please know my heart goes out to his mom, dad, brother, extended family, and close friends who got to know him better than me. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. May you find comfort and peace knowing he is with God.

Harold Bearden (09.30.10, 8:03 PM): Mark's hometown, Haleyville, AL, express our deepest sympathy to his family, friends and comrades in arms. Dying in the line of duty, defending our way of life, the supreme sacrifice for his country. Mark Forester, an American Hero. Updates on arraignments can be found at www.hbtv.us

Leah (09.30.10, 7:10 PM): Mike, THANK YOU so much for putting this together. I love seeing all of the pictures of our dear sweet Mark! I still can't believe he is gone! He was truly one of a kind! We are all so so Lucky to have been a part of his life and to have known him. Mark was one of my dearest friends and i miss him tremendously. I will cherish all of our memories and all of these pictures forever! I can't wait to see him again and give him the biggest hug ever, then smack him for putting me through this!! :) I'm so PROUD of him and grateful for the sacrifice he made for all of us! He is a true example of our Savior! I LOVE YOU MARKY!!!!

Anthony B. (09.30.10, 6:55 PM): I can't think of anything else to add. I know Mark touched us all profoundly. He was a supremely wonderful person. Thanks Mike for putting this tribute together. In each of those pictures you can tell Mark was happy with his life and work.

Michael Moore (09.30.10, 6:52 PM): I did not know Mark personally, but as a Chaplain at Headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command and a serving member of the USAF I mourn the loss of a brother... A good man with an abiding faith... I thank God for him and for his brother warriors who serve... May God's perpetual light shine upon him and upon his family as they mourn...

Marie Elkins (09.30.10, 6:50 PM): I have not seen Mark since he was in High School, but have known Pat & Ray for years and know what a good family they are. I feel so for their loss and ask God to bless them and the whole family. I thank him for serving his country. My son served in Iraq and I know the feeling everydays brings while they are there. Our prayers are with you.

Miranda Little (09.30.10, 6:49 PM): Mark's brother, Thad, graduated from high school with my husband. I also went to school with them. They are such a nice family. I was so sorry to hear this sad news. I thought what you wrote about Mark was beautiful. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and his family.

K (09.30.10, 6:47 PM): We were tasked to support this engagement shortly after it began, and I heard him on the radio just prior to his being wounded. Calm, collected. We were overhead after Mark and his unit were ambushed. Though I'm sure it's no consolation, some of the EF who ambushed their patrol did not survive the afternoon. Please know that Mark's teammate and the rest of the patrol continued to engage and inflicted casualties as well. They paid Mark a great deal of respect, in my view, by holding it together and fighting on. Though I didn't know him, I suspect this would make Mark proud. My heart goes out to Marks' family. I have three boys not much younger than Mark must have been, and I cannot imagine the loss you must be feeling. Please accept my deepest sympathy and my sincerest gratitude for producing such a fine young man.

chaos2k (09.30.10, 6:41 PM): My heart goes out to you and his family. I can tell by the pictures and your description he was well loved. Its sad we have to loose any brave men or woman to war. RIP Mark

Becky Layfield (09.30.10, 6:39 PM): I am so sorry for your loss!! Praying for all family and friends!! I do thank you for your sacrifice for serving this country and the citizens of the USA!! My heart is so heavy but I know God will see yall through!!!

Elizabeth (09.30.10, 6:36 PM): This is really great Michael. Beautiful tribute to Mark and all that he did for us. He will be very much missed.

chad sanford (09.30.10, 6:32 PM): i graduated with mark in 99 and he was a great guy .. he will be missed R.I.P. mark and Ty for good fight!!!

Jerri Lynn (09.30.10, 6:24 PM): www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgkxiqKj0nU ANGEL FLIGHT This is how our fallen soldiers are brought home, very moving, and a must see, God be with all in the loss of Mark. God bless our troops

Tyran Colvin (09.30.10, 6:19 PM): Mark is my nephew. When I got the news I didn't want to believe it. Knowing Mark, he would want us all to take comfort knowing he was in a good place. He served his GOD and Served his country honorably. He was a model citizen, soldier, brother, nephew, missionary and friend. I'm going to miss you buddy. Love Uncle Tyran!

Pam Lynch (09.30.10, 6:11 PM): I did not have the honor to know Mark, but my heart breaks for his parents and for all those that loved him. Mark is a hero and I offer thanks to him for his patriotism, honor, and dedication to our country and for fighting for our freedom.

Jeff (09.30.10, 6:11 PM): Thank you Mark, you have given the ultimate sacrifice. God bless your family and I'll meet you on the other side.

Tiffany Gray (09.30.10, 6:01 PM): Freedom is such a sweet word but at what price. I did not know Mark but my heart is sore for the family and friends and for the life and the kids he will not get to share with the world and for that my heart cryes. Their are two sides to this war and i belive we are the good guys and the good guys always win right.? We might lose some of the best but its not invain cause we carry their name to victory and thats what we are going todo. I will never give up on any of our troops but the other side wont either so we need to come up with better plains , so we will have fewer lose. I say this to give you hope because Mark and everyone out their gives us hope everyday. I love and thank them for that. Their are familys on both side that will lose i hate that so bad. I do wish we could all get along like we were ment to. We will one day. God loves you and he will give you peace i know we always dont want to here that but we must cause he is peace that is what he will give you peace to you. It will never get all the way better but it dose get better day by day. Im We are all with you guys love and prayers

Rebecca Wilson (09.30.10, 6:00 PM): I have known the Forester Family for over 30 years, however have not seen Mark since he was a very young man. I admire this family for all they stand for. My heart is very heavy and sad and truly feel the hurt and pain they all will feel in the days to come. I prey, through God's Grace, they will find comfort. I have walked in their shoes and know only time can heal this kind of loss. Let us all stand together and pray for The Forester Family. We thank Mark for his service to our country and our freedom. Mark stands with God now and we must stand with his family.

sunfrog (09.30.10, 5:59 PM): sorry for the lose of your bud

Derinda Moody (09.30.10, 5:52 PM): I do not know Mark, but, his family and friends are in my prayers.

Tammy Schmidt (09.30.10, 5:46 PM): Hello Michael, My name is Tammy and my husband is a Combat Controller. I didn't know Mark, but the Combat Controller community is so small when we lose a Controller it weighs heavy on us all. Not only are they Controllers but they are someone's Father, Brother, Husband, Uncle or a Friend. Everytime I hear about a fallen Controller I honestly cry, even when I don't know them. I couldn't imagine what I'd do if something happened to my husband and it hits so close to home. But that's a risk these Controllers take, knowing that they may not make it back. That's what makes these guys so Courageous and Bad Ass (excuse the language). Words cannot express the pain I imagine you and his family are going through. I want to take this time to thank Mark for paying the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. His family and friends will be in my prayers!

Josh S. (09.30.10, 5:29 PM): I had the pleasure of calling Mark a friend the 2 years that we were in Tuscaloosa together. Mark was unique, and didn't walk the course of most men. I looked up to him and thought of him as a close friend during this time. The most fond memory I have of Mark is very appicable now. Him and I were sitting in his living room one night having a "deep" conversation. Talked about church, life and a few other things. After a silence in the conversation Mark asked me, "Josh, do you ever feel like you made to do something? Like God made you and put you on the earth at this time for a specific purpose? My response was that I knew I had a purpose in life, but wasn't really sure what it was at that time. Mark's response was profound, "Josh, I believe God made me to kill terrorists! I honestly believe that's why I am here on earth!" My thouhgts and prayers go out to his family. I commend Mark's parents for raising an honest, respectable man in Mark. The earth lost a good man, but Heaven has gained a valuable asset.

Elaine Fernandez (09.30.10, 5:23 PM): I don't know Mark but I have a son who is a controller. I know that these men have a special bond that is stronger than anything I know. To Marks family I am so sorry for your loss. There are no words I can convay that can make it go away. I am so sorry for your loss and a loss to this country.

Lushell (Mashburn) Cole (09.30.10, 5:14 PM): Every word spoken above, and I am sure what will be spoken below about Mark is true. He was such a sweet person, and will be missed in many ways by many people. May God comfort his family and friends in ways only he can.

Jed (09.30.10, 5:12 PM): I also had the opportunity to serve with Mark as a missionary. He was as you said exceptionally generous and kind. I remember one Christmas he and some other missionaries saved their personal funds and bought what I believe was a nice stereo for a family who wouldn't have gotten much. To his friends and family know he was loved by many who still remember him well.

gail evans (09.30.10, 5:11 PM): we as a family will miss you mark having two sons in severve in the army this realy diffcult for me

Skye (09.30.10, 5:03 PM): Thank you for the beautiful tribute. I was lucky enough to serve in the same mission as Mark. Our prayers are with his family and friends.

Mikey Brannon (09.30.10, 4:53 PM): Let me say that I as so greatful for the sacrifice that Mark and his family have paid for our country. I had not seen Mark in years, but for some reason he popped in my mind on the way to work Wednesday morning. I could not believe it when I heard the news later that day. He will always be rememberd by me as a true American Hero.

Caroline (09.30.10, 4:43 PM): Thank you Mike for posting this wonderful tribute and for the pictures.

Richard May (09.30.10, 4:38 PM): My condolences to Mark's family. He was a hero you all should be proud of for making the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Josh Miller (09.30.10, 4:16 PM): R.I.P Brother you will be missed. See you on the other side.

Christi (09.30.10, 4:13 PM): My son and I knew Mark from church in Tuscaloosa, and through his brother Thad. What we both remember is his easy smile and his sense of humor. This is a wonderful tribute to him. Thank you Mark, for your sacrifice...

Michael Andrew (09.30.10, 3:38 PM): Any news organization wishing to do an article on Mark have my permission to use any of these pictures posted here. The images of Mark in Afghanistan were not taken by me, however, Mark clearly told me that I was free to post them and use them as I saw fit.

MIchael Andrew (09.30.10, 3:36 PM): If anyone has any more pictures of Mark they would like me to post here, please send them to me. If any of Mark's brothers at FOB Cobra who were with him when he died please email me at shiffler@gmail.com - Thank you.

Wanda McGee (09.30.10, 3:35 PM): I worked with Mark at TLS in Tuscaloosa, Al. I can't think of anything else to write that has not been said about Mark. Such a great friend, loved by all that knew him. Great soldier that would have your back at all times, and stood true to his beliefs. Mark Forester I will miss you very much, but will always have my memories of you. Your parents raised a great son. My thoughts and prayers are with the family. God bless all.

Tyler Biral (09.30.10, 3:29 PM): Ill never forget the first time i met Mark at BMT in Lackland AFB, TX. I asked him what his job was, and he replied Combat Controller. i asked him, why do you want to be a CCT? and with a stone cold face and eyes as deep as an ocean he replied, "God made me to kill terrorists". ill never ever forget that moment. god bless you mark, and ill never forget!

Jessika Chrismond (09.30.10, 3:17 PM): You raised an amazing individual. I will never forget the long conversations we shared. He showed genuine concern for every person he crossed paths with. He has such a gentle soul. You are in my prayers. “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” Psalms 116:15

Brad Knight (09.30.10, 3:15 PM): George Orwell once said, "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." I can't think of a better way to describe what Mark did for our country. It's impossible to find the words to explain what a wonderful friend and influence he was on my life. You will be greatly missed and always loved, brother.

Cheryl (09.30.10, 3:06 PM): I am so sorry to hear of the loss of this amazing young man. He is a true hero. My heart goes out to his family and friends who have truly lost such a gift.

Carolyn Fahm (09.30.10, 2:50 PM): What a grievous loss. What a beautiful person.

Dennis McMurray (09.30.10, 2:48 PM): I had the pleasure of working with Mark Forester while he was training at STTS. I remember him having a calming effect on a room full of high speed CCTs. He will be missed.

Joey Cedillo (09.30.10, 2:45 PM): It was an honor serving with Mark on the battlefield. He was one of the greatest men i've had the pleasure of knowing. Rest in peace brother.

Kelly Wyatt (09.30.10, 2:42 PM): Thank you for sharing the pictures. We all lost a great friend.

MaKeba Adams-Jones (09.30.10, 2:40 PM): Mike, there are no words to explain how much work and decication that you put in writing about our friend Mark. You did a WONDERFUL job of expressing the LOVE, THE DECICATION that Mark did for ALL of us on a DAILY BASIS, and I'm so glad that I too was able to be a friend to him. He will be Truly missed. His Laughter, His Smile, will NEVER be forgotten. May the Lord Comfort the Forester Family.

Michelle P. (09.30.10, 2:06 PM): Such a beautiful tribute, so befitting and a perfect reminder of the smile he always had. I will miss our Alabama conversations and the search for the perfect place to find him here in NC so he could shoot his gun whenever he wanted. Mark's parents raised an exceptional man, so much to proud of. God has wrapped his loving arms around Mark....every road trip to Alabama will have a stop in Haleyville. Bless Mark's family, his red beret brothers, and friends

Kate Pihana (09.30.10, 2:05 PM): I didn't know Mark for very long, I met him when he first got to Afghanistan, but even during that short time I recognized what a great human being he is. Even though I only got a glimpse of his spectacular personality, I still feel very privileged for having known him. I am a better person for it. My heart goes out to his family and friends. Take care and you will all be in my thoughts.

Patsy (09.30.10, 1:50 PM): I am so sorry for this loss. My son also is a Combat Controller...... I would love to know when the service is and his parents address. You can send it to me in the email address listed. Again, I am so sorry for the loss to the CCT community, his family & friends and our Nation....

Carol Lakeman (09.30.10, 1:43 PM): My heart goes out to the Forester family. They are and will continue to be in my prayers. Mark was a true hero.

Christine Walker (09.30.10, 1:41 PM): I had the pleasure of meeting Mark and shaking his hand one day! But that is all I know of him. However, My husband had much more to say about Mark as he was one of his instructors at CCS...some of his words included: "an all around great dude, stand up guy and squared away." He is deeply sadden by this news. God bless to him and his family - we support you all the way through.!

Sue Anderson (09.30.10, 1:40 PM): What a loss. My heart goes out to his family.

Allen Barton (09.30.10, 1:27 PM): I only had the priviledge of knowing Mark for a short period of time while he worked for me at R&R supply, but in that short time both he and his brother Thad made an impression that will last the rest of my life. Even at that young age, Mark had a level of integrity that was beyond that of his peers. As has already been said in the blog, this both saddens me, and makes me feel priviedged to have known him. To the family, thank you for your sacrifice. May God bless and comfort you during this time.

Jodie (09.30.10, 1:26 PM): I didn't know Mark, but am grateful for his sacrifice. Thank you for doing this Michael, I hope your sadness eases soon.

Jake (09.30.10, 1:17 PM): Some gave all. May the sun and wind be at your back.

Pete (09.30.10, 1:15 PM): I have known Mark for 28 years. So many good memories. Ever since I heard yesterday I've had one good memory after another file past my mind. I love Mark like a brother.

Mona (09.30.10, 12:29 PM): My family and I have known Mark all his life - my children grew up with him. He was a man of integrity. He set a goal of going into the military when 9/11 happened. First he went and served a mission for the church! A fine up-right righteous young man. He died the hero he was already. We will miss him but never forget him. He is a standard for our youth to look up to and strive to emulate. The Lord has gained a mighty warrior!

Christie (09.30.10, 12:28 PM): Mark was in training with my husband. Mark was a wonderful person with so many great qualities. He will be missed. Our prayers go out to the family.

James (09.30.10, 11:57 AM): Mike, thanks for the tribute. Thad, thanks for the brother. Foresters, Thanks for the hero.

Eric Hohman (09.30.10, 11:38 AM): I didn't know Mark very well because, he was on a team behind mine while stationed in Florida. I did have a brief conversation w/ him once and he was very mild mannered. My heart goes out to his family. To his family...is there anything we (CCT) can do don't hesitate. Mark has over 300+ brothers that are willing to help. "Destruction cometh: and they shall seek peace....but there shall be none." -Ezk 7:25

Marlene and John Stevens (09.30.10, 11:35 AM): Mike, this is a beautiful tribute to Mark. You did a wonderful job as always. Mark was truly a very special young man. I wish his family all the comfort the Comforter can give them at this painful time. We are just proud to have known him.

David Mink (09.30.10, 11:30 AM): That was definitely a bit of sunshine on this dark day. It was great to see those pictures of Mark... such a genuine, kind, courageous, certain, and all around amazing guy. Thank you for taking the time and thought to do that Mike.

george (09.30.10, 11:19 AM): although i have never met him and i just follow this blog, my heart goes out to all that were affected by the loss.

Sandy Pihana (09.30.10, 11:08 AM): My daughter met your son before he left Hurlburt. She is at the 23 STS. She told me today that he was kind friendly easy going & one of the best guys she has met. Her father has been in CCT for 37 years so we know how much you have sacrificed for our county. You will always be in our prays & in our family forever.

Michelle Moore (09.30.10, 10:51 AM): Mark will truly be missed, but I am so proud to have known him & so proud of what he did for our freedom. Thank you for this tribute!!

Cheyenne (09.30.10, 10:48 AM): I'm so glad you posted this with all of those pictures. I laughed right out loud through my tears to see him wearing his Alabama hat and camo. Not only did he serve well, he VOLUNTEERED to serve. He knew what could happen and he served anyway. Hero hardly describes it.

Rochelle (09.30.10, 10:37 AM): Mike, thanks so much for this post. I'm so sorry, I know you and Mark are so close. He will be greatly missed.

Leah Stacey (09.30.10, 10:03 AM): Heaven has gained a true solider today. He will be missed dearly. I am proud to say he was my friend.

JesseAnn (09.30.10, 9:58 AM): That was beautiful, Mike. You expressed it very well.

Aaron (09.30.10, 9:58 AM): To Mark: Thank you! May you rest knowing your life and sacrifice will always be remembered, cherished and honored.

Alicia Sierra (09.30.10, 9:53 AM): Thank you for sharing this personal tribute, which I will pass on. The sacrifices made for our freedom run so wide and deep, and we need to be reminded of this. Please accept my humble condolences, and inexplicable gratitude. and share them with the family; they must be experiencing immeasurable grief and pride.

Maria (09.30.10, 9:39 AM): A very heartfelt tribute for a man who gave all for his country. Our prayers are with you and his family.

Tracy (09.30.10, 9:31 AM): So well said Mike. We lost an amazing person yesterday and I hope we never forget the sacrifice he made. Everytime I woke up last night I was thinking about my own time at Mark and Thad's. I am so grateful for those two years I had to get to know him. I will forever cherish those times. Mark truly is an American hero.

Dad (09.30.10, 9:29 AM): A beautiful tribute Michael. Our prayers go out for his family. This is the awful price of freedom Americans must never forget or take for granted. God Bless him.

Chase (09.30.10, 9:16 AM): Nice tribute Mike, well said.

Kathy (09.30.10, 8:17 AM): Michael, I'm so very sorry for your loss of your dear friend, and for his family. I pray God comforts you all with the comfort only He can give. You are in my prayers.....

Tracy Bergeson (09.30.10, 8:09 AM): Thank you for taking the time to create such a beautiful tribute. I enjoyed it very much!

Thad (09.30.10, 8:06 AM): Well said Shiff. Thanks for your words. Great post. He was extremely good at what he did and he took down many rag heads with him.

don travo (09.30.10, 7:30 AM): i have know mark for a few years, through training and such and i have to say he was an amazing man. there was peace about him. he will be missed. i pray god comforts his family in this time of sorrow

Bill (09.30.10, 7:18 AM): very sad.................I said a prayer for him.

Audrey Coley (09.30.10, 7:15 AM): My prayers go out to you and his family M. xoxo

Robert LaRaia (09.30.10, 6:01 AM): Before Mark left knowing what his assignment was, we had spoke. I said, keep your head on a swivel because that place is ugly. His response was, so you think I will get the bad guys? I said absolutely, there was a pause and the he responded, good, thats how God wants it. Thats who Mark Forester was. Totally stoic. He did it with conviction.