Sergeant William P. Rudd, 27, of Madisonville, Kentucky, died Sunday from wounds he received from small arms fire while on combat patrol in Mosul, Iraq.
Rudd was a native of rural Hopkins County in Western Kentucky. Hopkins County is where Governor Steve Beshear was born and raised.
Rudd was an Army Ranger, a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment based at Fort Benning, Georgia.
His father said Rudd, who joined the Army in October 2003, loved what he did. That's what brings his family peace.
"When someone loves something so much and something bad happens, we're at peace with it," said William E. Rudd, who still lives in Madisonville. "Through God's strength, we're able to celebrate his life."
Fighters attacked as Rudd was conducting a raid on associates of senior al-Qaida leaders. It was his eighth deployment -- his sixth in Iraq with two previous ones in Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning.
A 1999 graduate of Madisonville North Hopkins High School, the future Ranger worked in a factory for a few years. His father said the job wasn't going anywhere.
"During that time, he talked about the military a few times," his father said. "We encouraged him. He said, 'I'm going to do it,' and he did. He loved what he did. He took the politics out of it and did his job. He would not comment about whether it was right or wrong. It was the bravest thing he ever did. It made a man out of a boy. It brought the whole family closer together."
The last time Rudd's father heard from his son was in a Sept. 27 e-mail. He hadn't spoken with him for about two to three weeks.
"We were just talking about Thanksgiving," Rudd said. "He said, 'I better go hunting and spend a few quiet days hunting.' I said, 'I'll make it happen.' "
Cross-posted at They Gave Us A Republic ....