Saturday, September 10, 2011

Staff Sgt. Keith F. Rudd

Remember Our Heroes

Staff Sgt. Keith F. Rudd, 36, of Winder, Ga.

SSgt Rudd was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Sept. 10, 2011 in Parvan, Afghanistan, after being found unresponsive in his room.

The original DOD announcement stated that SSgt Rudd died Sept. 10 in Parvan, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained while supporting combat operations.

However, a later release from the 82nd Airborne Division said Staff Sgt. Keith Rudd did not respond to efforts to revive him after he was discovered in his room in Parvan, Afghanistan. His death is under investigation.

SSgt Rudd joined the Army in 2003. He served as medic. He deployed last month. This was his third deployment, having previously been deployed to Iraq in 2007 and Afghanistan in 2009.

"If Rudd was your medic, you could be rest assured of two things," said U.S. Army Sgt. Robert Smith of Savannah, Ga., a colleague and friend of the fallen medic. "One, he would come to get you without hesitation. Two, he would not stop until you were safe and in good care."

SSgt Rudd's awards and decorations include:
Air Medals (3)
Army Achievement Medals (6)
Army Good Conduct Medals (2)
National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Iraqi Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon
Army Serivce Ribbon
Overseas Service Ribbons (2)
Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal
NATO Medal
Combat Medic Badge
Army Aviation Badge

September 20, 2011
I feel compelled to share some of my earliest memories of knowing our dearest friend and brother, Keith Freeman Rudd. Keith and I were assigned to our first duty station, Tripler AMC, within a week of each other back in January 2004 and the first week we knew each other demonstrated both who Keith was and what he loved.

The first time I experienced who Keith truly was on my third day in Hawai’i. We went to Hanauma Bay, he went scuba diving and I snorkeling. This outing seemed like any other one would expect in Hawai’i, gorgeous water and nature. After spending a few hours exploring the bay we decided it was time to pack up and head out. It was approximately 1630, the same time the lifeguards call it a day, and time to go any ways because the park closes at 1700 and there were maybe five people left on the beach including Keith and myself. Just as we are about to collect our things we hear someone call for help from the water. We both turn and cannot see any one in the water and remark to each other derisively that it was probably some kids playing a joke and that needing help is not something to joke around about. Just as we saying this we hear another call for help, turn back to the water, and notice that a woman is screaming frantically for help. Keith, myself, and one other Samaritan then headed for her calls of help. Keith grabbed his scuba gear, thinking it is damn good source of air for a casualty, and the other guy grabbed the lifeguard paddle board. The paddle board reaches the guy (his wife was the one screaming for help) before us and we met up at a coral outcropping in the middle of the bay. We drag the board with the guy up onto the rocks for a solid base and Keith starts performing CPR. During this time I am trying to hold the board steady as the breaking waves are rocking it and all of us. At sometime during this someone on the beach called EMS and the just departed lifeguards. After about 2-3 minutes of CPR a lifeguard makes it out to us and brings the man on the board back to a just arrived ambulance on the beach. They are unable to revive this guy and suspected that he had a heart attack and then slipped under the water. That day we left the beach with an indelible mark on us both physically from the sharp coral and on our souls and heart pondering how little nuances might have made a difference.

The second event that week involves something that Keith had a lifelong obsession with, vehicles. We went out to Schofield Barracks to the salvage yard, Keith was always working on his or someone else car and I decided to head out with him. Keith at time had 1989 three cylinder Dodge Colt he bought for 300 bucks to cover until his Ford Ranger arrived, based on his beater at the time I am sure we were looking for parts for the Colt. I needed a car because I did not ship one to Hawai’i. In the salvage yard was a 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee that was impounded by the MPs and the owner went to jail. It would not start at this time and was missing a window, the radio, keys and even a title but Keith looked it over and recommended I put in a bid in the silent auction for it. I ended up following his advice and won it with a 3 grand bid. I knew this guy a week and took his advice to buy a car that didn’t work and was missing a couple of things. There were many things that I had to fix and replace not to mention about 6 different starters/solenoids. I learned everything there was to know about a car for Keith because he was there busted knuckle and greasy with me every time. Similar tales occurred many times over, and there are many great stories I have about Keith and I am sure all of the stories you have are just as great. Keith will be truly missed and I am looking forward to having many more great times with him when my time comes too. ~ Michael C., Chisinau, Moldova

Staff Sgt. Keith F. Rudd died in Afghanistan on 9/10/11/.

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