Sunday, November 07, 2010

Army Spc. Dale J. Kridlo

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Dale J. Kridlo, 33, of Hughestown, Pa.

Spc. Kridlo was assigned to 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Nov. 7, 2010 in Kunar province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with small-arms fire. Also killed was Sgt. Aaron B. Cruttenden.

"My son joined the Army at a later age," said Albert Kridlo, of Hughestown. "He did it on his own. It was his decision. He loved being in the Army."

The son even liked Army basic training, and he was initially trained to drive heavy vehicles, the father said.

"He loved his friends," the father said. "He was a little older than a lot of these guys. He wanted the hardest job because he felt he could protect other people."

A fallen soldier in Sunday’s insurgent attack in Afghanistan was the recipient of many prayers and gifts from Vero Beach.

U.S. Army Spc. Dale J. Kridlo, 33, the son of a Vero Beach couple, was killed in the Kunar province in a surprise attack on his unit from small arms fire, according to the Department of Defense. He and another soldier killed, Sgt. Aaron B. Cruttenden, 25, of Mesa, Ariz., had been assigned to the 27th Engineer Battalion in Fort Bragg, N.C.

Kridlo had been in Afghanistan since the beginning of the year, checking roads for improvised explosive devices, his parents said.

“He was so proud of what he was doing,” said his mother, Michelle Dale, of Vero Beach. “He told me his unit was sent on missions because they did a good job.”

Kridlo’s mother and stepfather, Ken Dale, moved to Vero Beach a few years ago. After Kridlo enlisted and was assigned to Afghanistan, she joined the local group Military Moms Prayer Group in 2006. The group, which meets each Thursday at Christ Church in Vero Beach, held a vigil for the specialist Monday.

“The ultimate resource we have is to turn to God,” said Pam Proctor, who founded the group in 2006.

On top of sending prayers, the group also sent care packages and letters to Kridlo and other soldiers, Proctor said.

“They’re a wonderful group,” Michelle Dale said. “They’ve been so helpful.”

Kridlo returned to the United States late last year for his leave during the holidays. The soldier and his stepfather spent at least one of the days fishing in Indian River County.

“He enjoyed catching that fish,” which was a 40-inch-long red fish, Ken Dale said. “He couldn’t believe it when I told him he had to throw it back because it was too big.”

Kridlo grew up in Hughestown, Pa., where he previously had a interior painting business, and had twin daughters, Madelyne and Zoe.

“He really loved his two little daughters,” Proctor said. “The girls came to one of our prayer meetings last summer. I believe they were 8 years old at the time. It was very touching to see one of the girls pray for her father.”

Kridlo’s father also served in the Army and his grandfather won a Silver Star medal during World War II, his family said. He was expected to come home in December.

“He wanted to spend at least two weeks here in Florida,” Ken Dale said.

Spc. Kridlo will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. A local memorial serviced also will be scheduled.

Dale Kridlo is the second fallen soldier for the members of the prayer group, Proctor said. Four years ago, Marine Lt. Gen. Trane McCloud, son of Roma Anderson, died in a helicopter accident in Iraq.

For the holidays, the group is gathering snacks and gifts to box up and send to troops overseas. Collection stations are set up at Publix locations in Indian River County and other businesses. Proctor said this year’s drive will be dedicated to Kridlo.

Spc. Kridlo is survived by his wife Antonia, twin daughters Madelyne and Zoe, 9 years old, father Albert Kridlo of PA., his mother and step father Dale and Michelle Dale of Vero Beach, FL. and a brother Damian Kridlo of PA.

Army Spc. Dale J. Kridlo was killed in action on 11/07/10.

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