Priorities, politics & Afghanistan
Running for Office is like Jumping Out of Airplanes - Part II

Godspeed, Sergeant Chris Rudzinski

Photo courtesy of US Army

I was sitting in McCarran airport in Las Vegas looking forward to coming home when I received word that Chris Rudzinski, on his fourth tour, was killed by an IED in Afghanistan. 

I can barely stand to write the words, but our son Chris died in the line of duty in Afghanistan on October 16, 2009.  I am currently in Dover, DL.  Today we return home while the military and civilian personnel of the mortuary affairs unit take care of our son after his return to U.S. soil yesterday...

Chris's father Mike has been with us at Blackfive since 2003 and comments on blogs as "Annoying Mike".  Mike is a Colonel and the son of a viet nam vet, and Mike has another son in the military. 

Anne Morse wrote a piece for NRO about Mike and Chris and their family here.

Mike Rudzinski, is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the son of a Vietnam vet, and the father of Chris Rudzinski, who served in the 4th Infantry Division in Iraq. His son's time in the sand "was much more perilous than mine," Rudzinski wrote. When asked why so many sons of Vietnam veterans saw their sons volunteer for service in Iraq, Rudzinski replied:

I believe Chris joined because he loved his country and he loved his family and he wanted to do something for both. I'd like to think that my dad and I were an inspiration to Chris: after all, my dad was the inspiration for me to join . . . My dad supervised the maintenance and repair of Army helicopter radios and avionics in the 101st Airborne division (Air Assault). While my Dad was in Vietnam, he used to regularly visit an orphanage in Da Nang with one of the Catholic chaplains," from which his parents adopted a five-year old girl. "Dad told me it was his promise to God that he would take at least one child out of that miserable existence if he made it through his tour . . .

I was 11 years old when my dad left for Vietnam. He told me he was going to war in the hope that his children, my brothers and I, would never have to do this when we got older. I remember that moment and his words: I used them to tell my young sons (Chris' brothers) why I had to go to Kuwait for OIF. Chris said something similar to me. He said that he wanted to do his part like me and my dad, so his siblings and any kids he might have, might never have to serve in the future.

A few years later, Chis did have a family.  A beautiful wife, Caroline, and little son, Ryan.  He transitioned from Armor to the Military Police.

In August 2004, the sergeant reclassified as a MP and deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in January 2006. There, he led a team of MPs that mentored, and trained the Iraqi police.

In March, Rudzinski was assigned to the 293rd MP Co., and deployed with that unit July, conducting a combat advisory mission in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

"Sgt. Rudzinski was a great noncommissioned officer, husband, father and friend. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him," said Capt. Michael Thurman, commander of the 293rd MP Co.

Sondra K has some posts about Chris and his family hereBut, if you just read one post today, make it this one - "Through the Clouds".

Once funeral arrangements are made, Mike will let us know so we can help.

Godspeed, Chris.