WILLIAM PATRICK RUDD
1981 to October 5, 2008
Eight tours in service to his country
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
Assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, GA, Patrick served as a rifleman, grenadier and fire-team leader in the Army Rangers, an elite special operations group. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, he was targeting associates of senior Al Qaeda leaders in Mosul when enemy fighters, some armed with suicide vests, engaged his unit with small-arms fire.
Before entering the U.S. Army on Oct. 2, 2003, the 1999 graduate of Madisonville’s North Hopkins High School – a lanky young man with the sunny disposition – worked on the assembly line at White Hydraulics in Hopkinsville. When the job didn’t seem to be leading anywhere, Patrick started looking into the military.
He genuinely wanted to defind his country
He knew he needed a different direction in his life, his father said, and spent two years thinking about it. In the end, Patrick didn’t join for himself, Bill Rudd added. “You might say he joined for everyone else over here. He genuinely wanted to defend his country.”
Army Rangers who knew Patrick echo similar sentiments. They remarked on his “awesome personality,” that he was “a joy to be around” and “always brought a smile to everyone’s face.”
He took the politics out of it
Matthew Helwer of Milwaukee, WI remembers when he and Patrick got held back in one phase of Ranger school. “If it wasn’t for his humor, I might not have made it out of that school,” Helwer said. Both went on to graduate and serve in the 3rd Battalion, where Patrick’s upbeat personality remained in tact. No matter the situation, Helwer said, he always found a way to make a joke about it.
Bill Rudd marveled at his son’s attitude toward the War on Terror. “He took the politics out of it and did his job [and] would not comment about whether it was right or wrong. It was the bravest thing he ever did, and brought the whole family closer,” said Rudd, who last heard from his son in a Sept. 27th email. Patrick wrote that he wanted to spend a few quiet days hunting. His father responded, “I’ll make it happen.”
Posthumously receive the Purple Heart
A highly decorated soldier, Patrick Rudd was the recipient of the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Army Good Conduct Medal and the National Defense Service Medal, among others. He is expected to posthumously receive the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star and the Meritorious Service Medal.
In addition to his father, Patrick is survived by his mother, Pamela Coakley of Nortonville, Ky.; stepmother, Barbara Rudd, of Madisonville; stepbrother Josh of Madisonville, Ky.; and sister Elizabeth of Nortonville, Ky. [KBL]