MADISONVILLE, KY, USA U.S. Army SGT, COMPANY B, 3D BATTALION, 75TH RANGER, FORT BENNING, GA MOSUL, IRAQ 10/05/2008
Sergeant William P. Rudd died Sunday after being hit by enemy small-arms fire while on combat patrol in Mosul, according to the Defense Department. Rudd was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Ga.
“The community is filling me up with love and prayers,” the soldier’s father, Bill Rudd of Madisonville, told The Messenger newspaper of Madisonville. “They support what Patrick did for our cause, so we wouldn’t have terrorists back over here.”
Patrick Rudd is believed to be the first Hopkins County native killed in Iraq. He graduated from Madisonville-North Hopkins High School in 1999, then went to work on the assembly line at White Hydraulics in Hopkinsville.
Patrick Rudd had previously been deployed twice to Afghanistan and five times to Iraq. He joined the Army on Oct. 2, 2003.
“He had spent two years thinking about it, knowing that he needed a different direction in his life and wanting to defend our country.”
Patrick Rudd served with the Army Rangers, which are elite special operations troops.
“He didn’t join for himself,” Bill Rudd said. “You might say he joined for everyone else over here.”
Patrick Rudd was a decorated soldier, receiving the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and many awards. He is expected to posthumously receive the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal.
Bill Rudd last saw his son four months ago when he visited Fort Benning, Ga., where Patrick was stationed. Bill stood at his son’s casket at First Baptist Church at the beginning of his funeral and told the congregation his son died in the same raid in which U.S. soldiers killed Abu Qaswarah, the alleged No. 2 leader of al-Qaida in Iraq.
During the funeral Tuesday, three of Rudd’s comrades — Corporal Kyle Lillard, Staff Sergeant Brett Krueger and Sergeant Dusty Harrell — shared memories of their friend, whom they called “Ricky.”
Lillard, 25, of Gallatin, Tenn., served with Rudd for three years.
“Outside of work, we’d hang out a lot,” he said. “He came from a place like mine, with the same kind of people.” The friends shared a love of country music and “outdoor stuff,” like fishing and hunting.
“We had pretty much everything in common,” said Krueger, 25, of Grand Junction, Colo. “He was a good-hearted person who loved life. You could never catch him on a bad day.”
Hopkins County Sheriff Frankie Latham, whose department helped organize security detail for the funeral procession, told The Messenger that members of Rudd’s unit told him they had seen a negative reaction at another soldier’s funeral recently and asked him what to expect from the community. “I said it would be just the opposite,” Latham said. “This community supports men and women in the military, but this surprised even me.”