Sunday, December 11, 2011

Army Spc. Ronald Wildrick

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Ronald Wildrick, 30, of Blairstown, N.J.

Spc. Wildrick was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; died Dec. 11, 2011 in Kunar province, Afghanistan, of wounds caused by an improvised explosive device. Also killed was Sgt. Christopher L. Muniz.

Spc Wildrick enlisted on June 18, 2008 as an infantryman. He spent two years in the Army's elite Continental Color Guard which is the official escort of the president and participates in military ceremonies across the nation. After leaving the unit, which has a time limit on service, Wildrick re-enlisted in the infantry.

Sister, Christie Berkey, said her brother was particularly proud of those two years adding that her brother was dedicated to serving the nation as part of the armed forces.

"He didn't want to leave," Berkey said. "It is such an honor."

Spc Wildrick deployed to Afghanistan in September.

Berkey said her brother never expressed regrets and believed deeply in what he was doing. She said he never saw his duty as anything heroic.

"He said it isn't something you enjoy being a part of because you're watching them struggle so much trying to learn how to take care of themselves, but he felt proud to be able to do it," Berkey said.

"He said 'this is something I need to do.' It made me so proud."

Berkey said her brother will be remembered for his sense of humor and dedication to his friends and family.

"He'd give you the shirt off his back, anything you needed," she said. "You could call him, and in a heartbeat he'd be there for you."

Ian McDonald, Wildrick's stepfather, frequently corresponded electronically with Wildrick from his home in Australia. Wildrick said his unit helped train Afghan soldiers and police to fight insurgents.

"He couldn't sleep longer than three or four hours because the insurgents would be firing at them again and again," McDonald said.

Family members knew Wildrick as "Uncle Ronnie." They described him as having an infectious personality that immediately drew others to him and made him friends wherever he went.

They said in one instance, a quick trip from a hotel room to find a corkscrew ended up taking an hour and resulted in Wildrick being invited to the wedding of a complete stranger and out to dinner with another.

Spc Wildrick's awards and decorations include:

Bronze Star
Purple Heart
Army Commendation medal
Army Achievement Medal
Army Good Conduct Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Started
Global War on Terrorism medal
Army Service Ribbon
Basic Parachutist Badge
NATO Medal
Combat Infantryman Badge

Funeral service will be held on January 12th.

Spc Wildrick will be laid to rest on Friday, January 13 at Arlington National Cemetery.

Spc Wildrick is survived by his mother, Sandra Osborne McDonald of Australia and stepfather, Ian; wife, Stephanie, daughters, Kaylee and Leah; maternal grandmother, Barbara; siblings, Christie, MSgt Joseph M. Osborne USAF, Debra and Susan. He was preceded in death by his father, Ronald H. Wildrick Sr.

Army Spc. Ronald Wildrick was killed in action on 12/11/11.

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