MISSOULA, MT, USA
PFC, COMPANY B, 3D BATTALION, 75TH RANGER REGIMENT, FORT BENNING, GA 31905
He was fiercely proud to be in the Army Rangers and always sought a challenge. In fact, his sense of adventure was what led Kris Stonesifer, 28, to quit ROTC in 2000 because it wasn’t hard enough for him. So he enlisted in the Army and joined the Rangers.
It was with the 75th Ranger Regiment, based in Fort Benning, Ga., that Stonesifer, along with another young soldier, died on Oct. 19, 2001, when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Pakistan. The chopper was preparing for search-and-rescue duty in neighboring Afghanistan, where Rangers have led the ground war against Taliban and terrorist targets.
Stonesifer was raised in Doylestown and attended Central Bucks West High School. He moved to Missoula, Mont., several years ago with his girlfriend and best friend, according to Diamond, and went to the University of Montana. It was there that he enrolled in the ROTC program in 1999. But Stonesifer grew restless. He left after his junior year to enlist in the Army in 2000.
“He wanted to be the best soldier in the U.S. Army, and the best soldiers in the Army are in the Ranger battalion,” said Lieutenant Colonel Jim Clegg, who headed the university’s ROTC program.
Those who knew Stonesifer remember a young man who thrived on mental and physical challenges. A ROTC buddy, J.C. Schneider, said that for fun and practice, Stonesifer would round up other cadets at night and hop from roof to roof of buildings in downtown Missoula. The goal was to try to survey the scene without being detected.
Thoughts on Kris from his mother Ruth: Feb 28, 2002
If my son Kris were here with us today, he would not understand all the fuss being made over him. He would be amused and bewildered that so much attention was being made about his life and death. He would understand and respect our need to pause and pay tribute to fallen Rangers; however, he would not define his death as a sacrifice for his country. It was just ‘another day’ for him; to do the best job he could and protect his fellow Rangers to the best of his ability. Friends have written to me saying he died for his country. This may be true, but I believe that Kris died for what he valued most, Friendship and Truth.
Kris was a shy and unassuming person with a smile that would light up the room, dimples that would melt a girl’s heart, and a twinkle in his eye that always gave way to one of the brightest giggles. He listened more than he spoke and enjoyed verbal debate. It did not matter which side he took. When you finally saw merit in his arguments, he would laugh and say that your opinions were right all along.
Kris knew how much I enjoyed being a mom. One Christmas I received a most treasured note, he wrote: “Dear Mom, on a day when gifts are exchanged in a dazzle of mediocrity and meaninglessness. You have given me an authentic gift, by being a Mother true. That I thank you for. Love Kris.”
Total strangers have written me that my son Kris is an American hero. I prefer to describe Kris in much loftier terms—Dear Kris, during your lifetime, you gave me an authentic gift, by being a true loving son. That makes me very proud and very humble. I thank you for that gift. Love Mom.