Sgt. William P. Rudd

WILLIAM PATRICK RUDD
1981 to October 5, 2008

Eight tours in service to his country

better-photo.jpg Sgt. William Patrick Rudd, 27, an Army Ranger who planned to go hunting with his father when he flew home to Madisonville, Kentucky for Thanksgiving, died Oct. 5th from wounds sustained while on combat patrol in northern Iraq. It was Patrick’s eighth deployment in support of the War on Terror – his sixth in Iraq. Two previous tours were spent in Afghanistan.

The one thing that sustains his father, William E. Rudd, a Madisonville real estate broker, is that his son loved his job. “When someone loves something so much and something bad happens, we’re at peace with it,” said Bill Rudd, who has been buoyed by “the love and prayers” of his community. “Through God’s strength, we’re able to celebrate his life.”

A lanky young man with the sunny disposition

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David Nunez

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DAVID NUNEZ
June 16, 1980 to May 29, 2008


Flawed like the rest of us

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following message, posted originally in Spanish by a woman named Gloria, was in reaction to a Los Angeles Times obituary devoted to Sgt. 1st Class David Nunez, 27, of Los Angeles, a member of the U.S. Army’s elite Green Berets, who died as a result of small arms fire on May 29, 2008 in Shewan, Afghanistan.  More than anything else, the poignancy of the response rests in the first sentence, which stands as one of the most memorable (if not the most memorable) tributes to a young man who, while flawed like the rest of us, so loved his country that he made the ultimate sacrifice.

A womanizer, liar, and drinker

nunez-4.jpgYou were a womanizer, liar, and drinker. But this does not take away your good qualities. You were human, and like all humans you made errors. Nobody knows about me or about our love, and they never will know in reality what happened with us. It made me sad to see you buried and your death in this way. But my comfort is my memories of you and the time we lived together. We were very happy in that time. What I do know is that your only and true love was your work. You died doing what you wanted most in life. In reality I never understood what it was that you did but just hearing you talk about it was enough to know that you enjoyed it. Now you can rest, you did your part in this battle. You will always live in my heart. Gloria”

Into his third deployment

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Faoa L. Apineru

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FAOA L. APINERU
1976 to 2007 to August 3, 2008


Semper Fi

Considerably after the fact

apineru.jpgIt’s strange how one Marine’s death can affect so many – especially when it is acknowledged considerably after the fact. Such is the case with Faoa L. Apineru, 31, of Yorba Linda, a staff sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserve, who died on July 2, 2007, two years after suffering massive brain injuries due to a roadside bomb attack in Anbar province, west of Baghdad. Yet, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) did not officially recognize his death as resulting from the Iraq war until August 3, 2008.

Just how did the DOD explain the cause of death of the strapping Samoan, formerly a black belt in karate and marathon runner, who was confined for over two years in the Veteran’s Affairs Hospital in Palo Alto, his brain so traumatized with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) he had to relearn how to walk, talk and drive? Perhaps the DOD viewed Apineru’s loss of memory, his inability to distinguish nightmares from reality, his tendency to attack anyone who resembled a “jihadist” (his term for the enemy, said his brother, Selemaea Apineru of Colorado) as some sort of a chemical imbalance.  The Department of Defense isn’t saying.

Reliving the attack in recurring nightmares

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Corporal Joseph C. McCarthy, USMC

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CORPORAL JOSEPH C. MCCARTHY
March 21, 1983 to Sept. 6, 2004

[EDITOR’S NOTE: On this Memorial Day 2008, a U.S. Marine is remembered for his sweet heart and belief in future generations, a belief his family gives voice to through a foundation bearing their fallen hero’s name.]

“Hearts and minds, gents”

Lance Cpl. Joseph C. McCarthy, 21, would kneel down and clown around with Iraqi children, dispensing fistfuls of candy (which he always carried), even in dangerous situations. “Hearts and minds, gents,” he would quip, leveling a frisky grin at fellow Marines concerned for his safety.  McCarthy’s sweet-dispensing ways won him the nickname “Willie Wonka.”

Joe’s mother, Rhonda McCarthy of St. John’s, AZ, said her son believed Iraqi children “were going to change the world.”  On Easter Sunday in 2004, she said, he handed out candy to youngsters at a military checkpoint west of Fallujah while strangers, who could have been insurgents, looked on. “He did it because he loved kids,” Rhonda McCarthy said. “Joe was the peacemaker that day, and they were all laughing and joking within minutes.”

Couldn’t wait to…get in the corps

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Sgt. Timothy Smith, U.S. Army

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TIMOTHY MICHAEL SMITH
Sept. 20, 1982 to April 7, 2008

Stop-Loss

Stop-Loss orders suspend discharges so that experienced members of the military can continue to serve at a time of national crisis. Hollywood made a movie about it. The reality ordered Sergeant Timothy Michael Smith back to duty last year. He died April 7th when his Humvee struck an improvised explosive device in the streets of Baghdad. He was 25 years old.

Known to family and friends in his hometown of South Lake Tahoe as “Timmy,” the newly-married sergeant had already served one tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2006 and should have been released from the Army last November. Instead, he was redeployed to Iraq as part of the 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Polk, Louisiana.

Pretty gung-ho

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Lance Cpl. Marcus Stephen Glimpse

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LANCE CPL. MARCUS STEPHEN GLIMPSE
1983 to 2006

[EDITOR’S NOTE: To honor the fallen heroes of Iraq and Afghanistan, Précis occasionally revisits those who have paid the ultimate price. This is the second in a series of profiles in braverya reminder of what we have lost.]

160 pounds of pure muscle

glimpse-cropped.jpgFew are as utterly transformed by the U.S. Marine Corps as Lance Cpl. Marcus Glimpse of Huntington Beach. Prior to entering boot camp in 2003, Marc, as everyone called him, was 129-pound high-school dropout, who couldn’t hold a job and liked to sleep the day away.  He sported a fuchsia Mohawk, painted his fingernails Visigoth black and spent every waking hour playing video games or watching The Sopranos.

Then the Marines took over.  By the time Marc graduated the School of Infantry in 2004, he was 160 pounds of “pure muscle,” said his father, Guy Glimpse.  He went on to become an authoritative leader, volunteer for the prickliest combat assignments and inspire his collegues with his quick-draw wit.

But the Marines fired-up something else in Marcus Glimpse: ambition. Following his deployment in Iraq, he planned to go on to college and become a lawyer.

That dream came to a crashing halt

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Major Ricardo Antonio Crocker, USMC

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RICARDO ANTONIO CROCKER
1966 to 2005

[EDITOR’S NOTE: All too soon those who gave their lives for our country vanish in a sea of casualty statistics, their character, bravery and humanity lost to all but family, friends and battle companions. To honor the fallen heroes of Iraq and Afghanistan, Précis will occasionally revisit those who have paid the ultimate price and recall some of the faces, dreams and hopes for the future that extended far beyond war.]

A lean, mean fighting machine

crocker.jpgMost knew Marine Corps Major Ricardo A. Crocker – a tall, buff, likeable guy who loved spicy food and played ball like a pro – as Rick. Legendary in Al Anbar province for his winning way with Iraqi locals, the 39-year-old Marine Reservist was equally famous in Santa Monica, CA for his work with youth through the Police Activities League (PAL). When he left for Iraq in 2004, a life-size cutout photograph of Crocker – a lean, mean fighting machine in full combat gear – stood in the detective squad bureau of the Santa Monica Police Department where he had worked for ten years.

His fellow SWAT team members, even Police Chief James T. Butts, talked to him “as if he were there,” Chief Butts said in 2005. Email, Face Book and letters kept them all in contact, Crocker’s SMPD pals, his family and friends sending so many extravagant care packages that one Marine compared Crocker’s CAG (Civil Affairs Group) house in Iraq to a “supermarket.”

Swamped with an outpouring of support from folks back home, according to Maj. Scott Kinner of Twenty-nine Palms, CA, who served with Crocker in Western Al Anbar in 2005, “Major Crocker went out of his way to be generous with all the things he received. To anyone [out there] who sent him anything-thanks! I undoubtedly ate, read, or watched some of it!”

‘I hesitate to write about this’

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