Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Christopher M Rudzinski

Rantoul, Illinois

October 16, 2009

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
28 Army Sgt

293rd Military Police Company, 385th Military Police Battalion, 16th Military Police Brigade (Airborne)

Fort Stewart, Georgia

 Killed near Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device.

Christopher Rudzinski

RANTOUL Christopher Michael Rudzinski, age 28 of Rantoul, died Friday (Oct. 16, 2009) near Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered while conducting military operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was a staff sergeant in the United States Army Military Police Corps.
Christopher was born in Augsburg, Germany, on Aug. 29, 1981, a son of Michael Charles Rudzinski and Bonita Kay (Jackson) Rudzinski.
In addition to his wife Caroline and son Ryan, Christopher is survived by his parents, Michael and Natalie Rudzinski of Rantoul; his sister, Annette Dalton of Fisher; three brothers, Private First Class Jordan Rudzinski, Germany, and Christian and Alexander Rudzinski of Rantoul; nephews Ian and Sean Dalton of Fisher; his paternal grandmother, Janet Rudzinski of Canton, Mich.; maternal grandparents David and Valerie Grindley of Urbana; a great-grandmother, Nadine Legue of Urbana; and several aunts and uncles and their families, Eric and Judy Rudzinski of Chicago, David and Gwen Rudzinski of Port Angeles, Wash., Oliver and Martina Hemming of Atlanta, Ga., Erick and Sonya Grindley of St. Joseph and James and Martha Jackson of San Antonio, Texas.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Bonita, and his beloved sister, Jacqueline Rudzinski.
Christopher was a 1999 graduate of Rantoul Township High School, where he was active in the marching band, madrigal and Help Peers.
Prior to coming to Rantoul, he lived in Germany, Arizona and Washington.
Growing up a military brat and being part of a family with a tradition of military service in the U.S. armed forces dating back to the Second World War, he enlisted in the United States Army at the age of 17 and was sworn into service by his father, Michael.
He was an M1 Abrams tank armor crewman and attended basic training and the armor school at Fort Knox, Ky., where he was subsequently assigned to Germany and deployed on his first tour to support the peacekeeping operations in Kosovo. Christopher was later transferred to Fort Hood, Texas, and assigned to the 4th Infantry Division and subsequently deployed to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Toward the end of this deployment, he became ill with leishmaniasis and was medically evacuated to Walter Reed Army Hospital for treatment.
Christopher re-enlisted for service as a military police officer and graduated from MP training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., in 2004. He was again assigned to Germany where he met Caroline and later deployed to Iraq on his third tour, this time training and mentoring Iraqi policemen. While home on leave during the tour, he married the love of his life, Caroline.
Upon returning to Germany, Christopher resumed his police duties and later became an investigator and MP desk sergeant. In September 2008, Caroline gave birth to Ryan, and Christopher added "devoted dad" to his responsibilities. His last military assignment was to Fort Stewart, Ga., where he deployed to Afghanistan with the 293rd MP Company on his last tour and subsequently died in the service of his country.
His military awards included the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, four Army Commendation Medals, four Army Achievement Medals, three Army Good Conduct Medals, the National Defense Service Medal, the Kosovo Campaign Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Combat Action Badge, the Driver's Badge, and the German Schutzenschnur Badge in Gold.
Christopher had a love of cars, fishing, video games, friends, family and Walt Disney World.
Visitation is on Sunday, Oct. 25, at Rantoul Township High School, 200 Sheldon, Rantoul, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. A memorial service and celebration of his life will follow at 7 p.m. at the Rantoul Township High School Gymnasium. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Malachy Catholic Church at 11 a.m. Monday with a graveside service following at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Rantoul.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Ryan A. Rudzinski Scholarship Fund c/o Community Plus Federal Credit Union in Rantoul or to any veteran's service organization of the donor's choice.
Published in The News-Gazette on October 23, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
IL Sgt. Christopher M. Rudzinski

October 23, 2009 

Honoring Illinois' Fallen 
United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from Sunrise, Saturday, October 24, 2009 until Sunset, Monday, October 26, 2009. 

The Department of Central Management Services has received notice from Governor Quinn's Office to fly the flags at State occupied buildings at half-staff on behalf of: 

Sgt. Christopher M. Rudzinski 
United States Army 
Hometown: Rantoul, Illinois 

Please lower the United States flags and the State flags at all buildings occupied by your agency's personnel from: 

Sunrise, Saturday, October 24, 2009 until 
Sunset, Monday, October 26, 2009 
From US Army army.mil 11/25/09:

Fallen Soldier Honored at Fort Stewart's Warriors Walk
November 25, 2009

By Mrs. Jennifer Hartwig (3rd ID) 
FORT STEWART, Ga. - </b> A good man, a good husband, a good father, and a great leader. 
Those were the words used to describe Staff Sgt. Christopher M. Rudzinski by his battalion commander at the tree dedication ceremony in his honor at Warriors Walk, Nov. 19.

Staff Sergeant Rudzinski, 28, of the 293rd Military Police Company, 385th MP Battalion, was killed near Kandahar, Afghanistan, Oct. 16, of wounds suffered when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device. 

The native of Rantoul, Ill. is survived by his wife, Caroline, and his son, Ryan, 1. 

On a mild, cloudy fall morning at Fort Stewart, Staff Sgt. Rudzinski's name was committed to granite stone and placed in front of an Eastern Redbud, the 421st such tree at Warriors Walk.

"Chris had a servant's heart," said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey E. Phillips, deputy commanding general-rear, during the ceremony. "We remember him as a volunteer, a leader, an American Soldier, and we honor him."

Staff Sergeant Rudzinski joined the military at the age of 17, a third-generation Soldier who was sworn in by his father, Col. Michael Rudzinski, a 2003 Iraqi war veteran. 

Staff Sergeant Rudzinski started out as an armor crewman, serving in Kosovo in 1999 and deploying to Iraq in 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In August 2004, he reclassified as a military police officer and deployed to Iraq in 2006, where he led a team of MPs that mentored and trained Iraqi Police. In March, Staff Sgt. Rudzinski was assigned to the 293rd MP Co. and deployed to Afghanistan in July.

"You never get used to it - never," said Lt. Col. Michael C. Henshaw, commander, 385th MP Bn., of the memorial. "And quite frankly, I hope I never do get used to this. Of course, I'd love it if I never had to attend one of these again. It is never fun to watch a Family grieve."

In addition to Caroline, Ryan and Col. Rudzinski, there were five other Family Members in attendance, as well as hundreds of member of Staff Sgt. Rudzinski's other Family - his fellow Soldiers.

"We really have two Families here," said Brig. Gen. Phillips. "The Family constituted by our Soldiers, and the Family constituted by those who stand with them."

After the speakers, including Brig. Gen. Phillips and Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Ashman, command sergeant major-rear, the granite plaque was unveiled and the Rudzinski Family stood for a receiving line, which wound down and around Warriors Walk. 

"I cried today, and I cried when I got the phone call," Lt. Col. Henshaw admitted.

Though the solemn ceremony was filled with tears, it was fitting tribute to a Soldier who gave his all for his country with no expectation of gratitude. 

"I think the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Staff Sgt. Rudzinski is duty," Lt. Col. Henshaw said. "He served four combat tours... I wish people like Staff Sgt. Rudzinski were on the cover of the newspapers; what he stood for is so much more important than the celebrities on the magazines."

Staff Sergeant Rudzinski was a decorated noncommissioned officer, his awards including the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and the Army Commendation Medal. 

The planting of the tree in Staff Sgt. Rudzinski's honor isn't to commemorate his death; it is to celebrate his life, said his commander. 

"This ceremony is important," Lt. Col. Henshaw said. "These trees symbolize the lives of these Soldiers. It is a celebration of life instead of death- these trees will continue to grow."

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