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Corey J Rystad


Army Sergeant Corey J. Rystad, 20, of Red Lake Falls, Minnesota, was killed on Saturday, December 2, 2006 in Iraq. While traveling on a patrol mission near Fallujah, an Improvised Explosive Device detonated near his vehicle, mortally wounding him. Sergeant Rystad was assigned to B Company, 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry Regiment, a Minnesota Army National Guard unit based in Crookston. He had served in the National Guard for only two years, eight months and was less than a month away from of his twenty-first birthday.

On Wednesday, December 13, 2006, Sergeant Rystad was laid to rest with military honors in a little cemetery in one of Minnesota’s smallest counties after a funeral watched by more than 1,000 people at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and nearby halls. The mourners came from the villages of Red Lake Falls, St. Hilaire, Dorothy, Gentilly and Terrebonne. The local cable and telephone companies broadcast the funeral live to people in Thief River Falls, Baudette, Karlstad and other communities throughout northwestern Minnesota.

Corey was the first Soldier killed from the Crookston Diocese, so Bishop Victor Balke presided at his funeral. Among the funeral prayers was one for “all the factions in Iraq” and elsewhere in the Middle East, “that God will inspire them with a new vision and give them courage to work for peace.”

The Rev. Tim Bushy, pastor at St. Joseph’s, said, “This is a region where people and towns work together very cooperatively in all areas of living, all areas of life.” In his homily, Father Bushy told the mourners that the war in Iraq “is closer to us now, more real for many of us. We have rallied together today to support and walk with one another through … our loss and our grief.”

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, U.S. Senator Mark Dayton, and Congressman Collin Peterson joined a military honor guard and saluted Corey’s casket as it passed down the church steps.

Corey enlisted in the National Guard in 2004, following in his family’s tradition of serving the country. His grandfather, father, and brother had also served in the military. Sergeant Rystad’s father, James, is a deputy sheriff and his mother, Donna, is a registered nurse. He also had two brothers, David and Brian, and a sister, Sarah.

Sergeant Rystad’s military awards included the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and Army Good Conduct Medal (all awarded posthumously), National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal w/ “M” Device, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (also awarded posthumously), and the Combat Infantry Badge.


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