The contents of this page may be graphic. The following are actual letters we have received. Some names have been crossed out for privacy purposes, but otherwise the content has not been edited or censored in any way. If you would like to write us a letter, please contact us. If you would like to remain anonymous, you may sign your letter with X’s.
In loving memory of Cpl. Chad Eric Oligschlaeger, USMC
August 13, 1986 – May 17, 2008
It is hard to believe it has been seven years since God took you home. We still miss you so much that there are times the pain is almost unbearable. We miss that beautiful smile that lit up the room when you entered, the telephone calls telling us about Iraq and your plans after your services was up, and those wonderful hugs that made us feel like we were the only person you cared about. There is not a day that goes by that we don’t think of you and shed a tear. You will be in our hearts until the day we die.
With all our love,
[Momma, Dad, and Christopher - May 17, 2015]
My dearest Chad,
There will always be a place in my heart for you. I treasure all of the memories I have of your smiling face, young and older – but not as old as it should have been. I’m sure you are glowing in heaven and hooked up with grandpa. I thank you for all you did for the sake of all of our families, friends, and country. I wish you didn’t have to serve as you did and could have lived the life you deserved and dreamed about.
[Aunt Heidi – June 28, 2008]
We miss you! We love you and will honor you! You were a hero, and shall not be forgotten.
[Jimmy, Andrea, Logan, and Kate - May 20, 2008]
I needed to let you know there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about you. I will always cherish the memories of our time together good and bad. You were the child/son I never had and I am so grateful to have had 21 years to experience you. I will forever miss and love you.
[Tamara Smith aka Aunt Tam – August 7, 2008]
First and foremost I want to express my sorrow for the paid your family has gone through. I have shared Chad’s story with my entire family, it hits close to home for us.
My husband was a Marine for 18.5 years, last years stationed at MCAGCC 29 Palms, CA. He was deployed to the war over 6 times. Between Iraq & Afghanistan. After the last deployment he came back different. Violent, Depressed, scared, turning to alcohol, and eventually drugs. Within the first 4 months of being back I called his command – begging for help. I wrote emails, went face to face, anything I could think of. They literally laughed me out of the office. This was in 2005. About a year after many attempts to get my husband help, he turned his violence at me. Battered and scared, I called the police. He was arrested and spent 3 days in jail. When I called the police ( I knew the deputies) I told them the situation, that he was ill, and needed help desperately. They have a mental health division attached to the police dept, they told me he would be evaluated. He was. But… His unit still didn’t see it as everyone else did. They punished him. Finally in 2008, after getting my congresswoman, my parents, his parents, and a civilian doctor I was seeing involved – my husband (Mike) was diagnosed with PTSD.
I wish the story ended there, but I can tell you just because someone is diagnosed does not mean they will get the help. My husband was harassed on a daily basis from his superiors. Calling him “a Shitbag”, “Substandard”, and much more. Mike was an exceptional Marine – many awards, and his job field was one that was one of the most valuable in the Corps. In 18 years he never had one bad fit rep, and had Colonels that wrote recommendations to him. So at this time his unit, who once turned to him for the toughest assignments – gave him basically trash duty, made him sit at a desk at stare at paper. After his diagnosis, we, his family got him in treatment, he then finally got a Navy Doctor – who of course did nothing but medicate him. With his unit against him, his depression is full force, he attempted his first suicide. We found him in time. Still the military did NOTHING. In the year from 2008 to 2009 my family contacted everyone.. Senators, the commandant, the base Inspector General, the Marine Corps Inspector General, Congressman, newspapers, TV shows – EVERYONE. The only person to even look into this was the Congressman from San Bernardino County. But he was stopped short by the base Commander.
In 2009, July to be exact the base commander sent down a notice to court martial my husband. To make a long story short – they kicked him out on a dishonorable discharge stating his was unfit to be in the military with behavioral issues, reduced his rank from MasterSgt to LCPL and that was it. Now my husband cannot even get VA benefits to help get treatment. Since they kicked him out within a month of starting the entire discharge process, we have no retirement benefits either. He was 1. 5 years away from retiring. Because of the nature of his discharge, and his sickness – he cant get or hold a job.
Since then I have worked with alot of Veterans who have helped Mike get some medical treatment from the VA. We are also petitioning the Marine Corps and the Board of Naval Records to change his discharge. It has been almost a year, and he have gotten no answers from them.
This is an all to common occurrence with our service members. I am saddened that young men such as Chad, did not get a chance to fight. But I am happy to know there are families such as yourself that are keeping the fight for them.
My entire family sends thoughts of encouragement and support to yours…. Hopefully someday they will wake up and see that PTSD is deadly, and the only ones not solving the problem is them.
Kristine Street, Proud Wife of MSgt Michael Street
His Parents: Linda & Norton Street, My Parents: Ty & Jim Hargate, and my husband, Michael Street
[February 6, 2010]
I am a former Marine, and West Virginia National Guard SSGT, I was in Iraq in 2004-2005…and I have PTSD, if it were not for my wife and her pressure on both me and the VA..and her due diligence, I would be dead today. I was on a hand full of pills for my PTSD, and then the VA Dr tried to add one more…without telling me why, or even putting it in my medical records. When the pills came in my wife asked me about them,but I did not know what or why they were sent… so she called the VA and fought with them, basically she was told that she was to throw out all my other meds, I was on 5 at the time, cut me off cold turkey, and start me on the new one he sent… which if I had taken with the other 5 would have possibly killed me… so we did what they said, and now I have terrible headaches all the time… due mostly in part to the sudden change in medications…and the stress and mess it caused in my head…. now we complained to the VA OIG..and were told that nothing was done wrong..and we complained to the state Med Board…with the same results…and do you know why??? Not because we are nuts and our cause was unfounded, but rather when the VA investigates itself, as well as the Med Board investigating one of its own…they will never find anything wrong… and if they do..it is only because someone outside and higher up is jumping on them.
Now I no longer go to the VA, we demanded, and were given a fee basis letter that lets us seek our care from an outside DR and therapist…. I do not trust the VA as far as I can throw them… and my wife is my assigned care taker, so that she now sits in on all DR appointments so that she knows what is said and holds them to it.
My wife has been working with a noted neurologist, Dr Baughman, as well as a gold star family member in our group, Stan White, who lost two sons to this war, one in Afghanistan, and the other to the VA and PTSD meds here in the states, Andrew died at the age of 22 while in his sleep…. cause is yet to be determined, but we know it was the meds. Over 85 men and women have died from these meds, my wife has a spread sheet and keeps it updated…it will tell you who died, where they died, and how… funny thing is… there are never follow up stories on these men and women…until this one today that was sent to us by a friend in the Marine Corps Engineer Association. I wonder why that is? I mean some of these troops died over a year ago and still there is no true cause of death? A friend, I served in Iraq with, died at the age of 27…the day he came home from an in house VA treatment center…. his wife is now a widow..with two small children, and she is an OIF vet as well from my unit… and will she ever get justice or even an explanation into the death of her husband? My wife went with a slew of other people to DC to fight the drug makers at an FDA hearing on expanding the use of these drugs… in my opinion they were treated like garbage, their questions were ignored…and the very next day on the drug companies web site they told of the new FDA regulations regarding their drugs… the same regulations that the day before were being debated?? Has anyone in this world ever heard of a government agency working that fast?? HELL NO! The public meeting was bullshit and the outcome already determined…and more of our veterans and civilians will die because of this. They pull medications off the shelves all the time…but not these meds… over 85 deaths and still rising and yet no one will stop them…because it is a billion dollar industry and we are too few to be heard.
We started our own, non Va, Non denominational, non anything… PTSD support group, we are out to educate veterans and their families about what PTSD is all about, what meds can and can not do for you, and basically to be there for anyone when they need us. Please check out our website if you get the chance www.lestweforgetptsdsupport.org We will be the place that vets go to get good information on medications, on working with, through, and around the VA and any other agency that is harassing our vets. We will not just send someone away without helping them and their families learn to cope with both the PTSD and those that are more than willing to silence us all. As many veterans will tell you, the VA will not leave you alone till you die or give up…well we refuse to give up and will fight for our vets and their families. If you email my wife she will send you the list of the other 85 veterans that have died mysteriously in their sleep since the start of the wars.
Sorry to have written so long…but these issues have got to be addressed. I am very sorry for your loss…. but keep the faith and know that your Marine is standing guard in heaven now till you all meet again. I am sure he is proud that you are fighting for his cause and his brothers in arms.
Tom Vande Burgt
Co-Founder “Lest We Forget PTSD Support Group”
[October 1, 2009]
This is email is more for the parents of the fallen marine…
To start off I would like to say thank you to your son for his service to our country, he is a hero and always be.
I myself served in the Marines from 01-05, during that time I was with the 2nd bat 1st marine div CAAT PLT. I suffer from PTSD, I know what it is like to have the nightmares, the uncontrollable thoughts, and the suicidal urges. They all come from people not understanding us; we all have a story but can’t tell it because no matter who we tell, no one will understand. I got diagnosed with PTSD, they put me on pills, they told me what I needed to do, and I was pretty much their puppet. I got fed up with them talking to me like a child; they gave me a doctor who was Arabic. They sent me to doctors who were Arabic to be tested. not once did I feel comfortable, I would only speak of some problems so I could get their educated guidance. I didn’t want some one who didn’t know me, to know things about me that I wouldn’t tell my own parents, wife, or closes friends. I have come to believe that there is no help out there for us. I have been doing this all on my own. I am not racist by any means; it is just hard for me to deal with people of that nature. I got tired of taking pills, there has to be something other then pills to help / shut us up.
The way I have been dealing with it is by blowing it off and laughing about it. the same way I use to blow off the close calls while in combat. that’s all you could do is laugh it off so no one would know you were scared or that you have that feeling of just wanting out. I live my life like I am still in combat and so far it has been working. I just don’t know how long I can live a life like that. Don’t get me wrong, I am a happy person, I have a wonderful daughter and fiancé. I am happy when they are near me and when we are together. Most of the time the random thoughts are because I am alone and have nothing else to think about. Just as I type this email, and all morning at work, I have thought about nothing but Iraq and all the brothers I lost and never see anymore. Woke up this morning in a cold sweat, I had a dream last night that I shot my best friends son in the face 30 times with an m-16, my best friends son is four years old. Damn near made me cry because I am capable of having dreams like that.
There is no help for the Marines like us; all we have is each other. It wasn’t the cops, shrinks, or doctors my brother’s wife would call if they were getting into it or he woke up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, it was me. I could help him; I knew what he was going through.
I like what you have going, it needs to be talked about and people need to be aware of what a hero comes home with. They are not the person you use to know. As much as you loved your son, you didn’t know him like this. He would never tell you. The same reason I don’t want to talk to my parents about anything, we all do things we regret, taking a life is something you regret, especially when they are trying to take yours in the process.we are survivors by luck, we should have died with the rest of them. You remember every little moment, what bird just landed on the truck next you before that first shot was fired, the grain of sand that hit you in the eye from a stray bullet, to the screams of wounded marines and the last word you hear them say.
I sent this email with all respect for your son and family; you had nothing to do with his death. Never blame your self for that. You probably haven’t found your answer of what happened and that’s probably how he wanted it. he wouldn’t want you to know him this way. He will always be a marine, a hero and most importantly your son. Never forget that, he made a decision that he thought was right for his own good. I have been in those shoes, and know what it is like to hold that pistol to your head, or the cold blade from a knife on your wrist. I could have made life easier for myself, I chose different. I could have made a mistake by not pulling the trigger, or pulling down on the knife handle, I don’t know what my next step will be. You never know with people like us, our thoughts have no limit. I have woken up thinking the enemy was in the house and low crawled looking for some one with my pistol in hand. I have woken up to getting my clothes on so I could go find my platoon. We are an incredible, unpredictable breed.
It’s a life we would rather forget, a bad dream that doesn’t go away. What’s the easiest way to get away from it all? You already know, it’s the wrong way, but it seems to be working.
Good luck with your search for answers, the only person that can tell you the answers that you seek is your son. Some times an unturned stone is better left unturned.
Good luck in life, may god heal your wounds, give you health, and let you live a long adventurous life.
XXXX Lcpl United States Marine Corps
First I want to thank you for your friendship and all that you have done for me. You may not have known it but you taught me a lot, especially how to be a better person. You were a true leader. I miss you more and more every day but it comforts me to know that you are able to rest peacefully now. The hardest part about you being gone now is that I never got the chance to thank you for all that you did as a Marine. You are my hero Cpl. Chad Oligschlaeger. I love you.
[Jackie Pena – August 27, 2008]
Thank you Chad for being my grandson’s brother, buddy, friend, mentor and angel…your death has not been in vain.
[USMC GMa Beverly Davis – October 7, 2008]
I love all of you for doing this!
Chad was a good friend of mine that I served with and came to be close to after the second tour to Ramadi.
He is always in my heart!
[SGT Derek Cirilo USMC - May 17, 2009]
I met Chad in my first tour to Ramadi in 2005 and I got to really talk to him before our second tour back to Iraq. He had asked me if he didn’t find a job in Austin as a firefighter if he could stay with me in Las Vegas if I went to the Las Vegas PD and I had told him yes he could, but worst things worse, I withdrew from the Las Vegas academy because of stress. I got out of the Marines and now in the Dallas Police Academy about to graduate. To my good friend Cpl. Oligschlaeger you will never be forgotten.
[Former Marine Cpl. Daniel Razo – May 20, 2009]
You can rest now Chad.
[Leslie Hester – June 16, 2008]
My heart goes out to all over you, I am an army wife who is married to someone that has PTSD.
It is very hard when the military won’t help i should. I am walking in those shoes with no help and a sick husband. I so sorry for your loss and hope that this group helps all the families that are suffering from this silent killer.
I am so glad to have a place to check out and see such a huge support.
Thank you for your story.
[Nikki McNicol - Oct 28, 2008]
Well I just never got to say that I’m glad that I served in Iraq with you more than anyone. You knew that I was new to the whole deployment thing and you took me under your wing and became the best of friends that I had ever had in my Life! You were more than a friend, you became by brother. I love you and miss you dearly!
[Sgt. Tim Clark – August 1, 2008]
Our hearts, of course, go out to you.
We will be making a donation to your foundation. What a wonderful tribute to Chad.
[Carl and Jeane Oligschlaeger - Oct 20, 2008]
Hi Family of Chad,
I recently ran the Rattan Creek Trail and discovered your Memorial to Chad. It is beautiful spot. I found the website with Chad’s story…how terrible for him, and for you all. I am so sorry for your loss, Chad looked like a stand up kinda guy. Adorable photos too, he was handsome and had a twinkle in his eye. It is clear he came from a loving and caring family, and the world was robbed of a good man.
All my best, especially during the Christmas Season, and thank you for the gift of sharing the story of Chad.
[Laura Nye – December 16, 2010]
My name is Jordan. I remember the first time I met Chad in the Marine Corps. I had arrived at Camp Pendleton, CA. I was about halfway through School of Infantry training. At morning formation, we were asked to choose our MOS’s. Everyone chose Infantryman(0311), Machine Gunner(0331), and Assaultman(0351) for their top choices. I chose Mortarman(0341). There were almost 30 other Marines that chose the same MOS. Chad was one of them. Chad and I would compete everyday, performing gun drills. He would always set his gun up next to mine. He was one of the fastest Mortarmen A-gunner’s I ever knew. From there, we moved onto 29 Palms, CA to be put in 3/7 Weapons Company. Many Marines in our company didnt know how to pronounce Oligschlaeger, that’s when the nickname “O-G” was born. Chad was put in a different platoon than me, but that was okay because we were still in the same barracks together. He liked to have a good time. I always tried to look after him after he’d been drinking too much. I remember all the hard training we spent together in 81′s platoon when we went to Bridgeport, CA. Chad was tough and always determined to get the job done. I’ve looked over all the pictures of Chad in the gallery. I always liked taking pictures of us training. Several of my pictures are in the gallery. I so glad my photos contributed to this website to remember Chad and all the training he’s done. He’s another you dont have in the gallery yet. I miss Chad, and I’ll be thinking of him on this coming Memorial Day. Semper Fidelis.
Sgt. Jordan Meek, USMC
“I think about Chad O. often, especially around Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day. He was one of my Junior English students—his goofy grin sticks with me more than anything. My best memory is the first of two visits he made after he graduated—he came in during lunch time to say hello, and we ended up talking so much that I didn’t even realize my last class had come in. He stayed the rest of the day and I scratched all my lesson plans while we listened to him tell funny stories about his life after high school. The kids were totally enamored with him—he had that effect on people.
As his teacher, my heart broke when I heard he was gone—all I could think about was the lost potential. As the wife of a vet, I’m pissed off at how our military failed to help him. And as a parent, I can’t even imagine your grief—you have been through every parent’s worst nightmare. Where is his memorial bench? I would love to visit it. ”
May 30, 2011
With love and heavy hearts we say goodbye to a wonderful young man. Let his life be remembered and shed light to those in need.
[Jimmy, Andrea, Logan, Kate Phillips – June 17, 2008]
Thank you for making part of the trail a reminder of what we love. I didn’t know Chad, but I do have sons, one of them, my step son, finished a tour in Iraq in November. I always, and I mean always, stop to look at the beauty that you have created. I would want someone to do that if it was my son. Thank you for allowing me to stop and remember how much I have when I am on my run. I will make a donation tomorrow.
[Jill Beardsley – December 12, 2010]
I miss you and wished that I had just one more chance to tell you that I love you, you were more than a nephew to me and your Aunt Tam, we both miss you and are very proud to have had you in our lives, thank you Chad Mo.
[Byron Smith – July 17, 2008]
I had my backdoor open today, I heard the wind chimes making such a peaceful sound - it made my heart a little sad.
I worked in the attendance office at McNeil and as you can guess, I got to know Chad very very well - we became quite close - after a while, I couldnt help but melt when he looked at me with those big brown eyes!
At the end of his senior year, he brought me a thank you card and the wind chimes to thank me for pushing him and helping him get his diploma.
I read alot from the page today and I just looooooved this : "the McNeil High School student who had pushed his friends into every kind of mischief imaginable, giggling all the way." Thats the Chad I knew and remember, thats soooo him - soooo sweet!
It saddens me that they failed him...and that we lost him too soon.
I hope to help out in May! <3 Carla
[Carla Caleffie Neipert, Volunteer - March 13, 2011]
Thanks for being a part of our life for your time in Arizona. Your smile is etched in my memory. You are missed, Chad.
[Catherine – June 17, 2008]