Saturday, August 22, 2015

Navy Veteran Swimming 2,552 Miles For Fallen Soldiers

Navy vet swimming 2,552 miles for fallen soldiers
Quad City Times
By Brian Wellner
August 21, 2015
"When someone dies, people say move on and get over it," Ritter said. "In my world, he would want us to remember his life. Part of his life is something he gave. We are the people who can continue to carry that on." Barb Ritter
Navy veteran Chris Ring of Legacies Alive stops to look at the path ahead on Friday near Bettendorf on the Mississippi River. He's in the midst of a 2,552-mile swim along the length of the Mississippi to support Gold Star Families.
For Chris Ring, the best part about swimming the entire length of the Mississippi River is meeting the families of fallen soldiers along the way.

When he reached LeClaire on Thursday after having swam about 700 miles of his 2,552-mile journey, he met his 77th family.

"They keep me going," he said. "I swim to celebrate their lives."

After 10 years in the U.S. Navy, Ring says he wasn't much of a swimmer before agreeing to tackle the Legacies Alive second annual effort to bring awareness to Gold Star Families. This year's effort, called "Swim for their Sacrifice," is being updated on Legacies Alive social media sites.

To prepare, Ring endured four months of rigorous training, including advanced swimming and breathing techniques. Just being in shape wasn't good enough. He said he needed to be in "swimming shape" in order to handle being able to swim 10 to 20 miles a day, six days a week for six months.
Killed in war on terror
The following 28 men and women from the Quad-Cities were killed in action during the war on terror.

Cpl. Bryant J. Luxmore, 25, of New Windsor, Ill., was killed June 10 two months after his deployment to Afghanistan. He was assigned to the Army’s 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.
Cpl. Zachary C. Reiff, 22, of Preston, Iowa, died from wounds suffered Nov. 18 in Sangin District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force and was twice injured during deployments.
Pfc. Adam E. Dobereiner, 21, of Moline died Nov. 18, when injured by an improvised explosive device at Kandahar province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 8th Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade.
Army Lt. Col. Robert Baldwin, 39, of Eliza, Ill., served in the Army’s 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Ky. He died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, Sept. 30.
Illinois National Guard Spc. Christopher Talbert, 24, of Galesburg was a medic with the Illinois National Guard 130th Infantry Battalian, died July 7 in a terrorist bombing attack near Shindad, Afghanistan.
Sgt. Justin J. Duffy, 31, a native of Moline, died in Baghdad on June 2 after the vehicle he was driving hit an improvised explosive device.
Cpl. Jason Pautsch, 20, of Davenport was killed April 10 in a suicide bomb attack in Mosul, Iraq. Pautsch was a squadron leader in the Army's 4th Infantry Division.
Sgt. Schuyler B. Patch, 25, of Galva, Ill., died Feb. 24 with three other soldiers in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle.
Staff Sgt. Nathan M. Cox, 32, of Davenport died Sept. 20 in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, along with another soldier, after suffering injuries when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device.
Capt. Joshua E. Steele, 26, of North Henderson, Ill., died June 17 in Panjway, Afghanistan, along with two other soldiers, when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle.
Pfc. Michael P. Pittman, 34, of Davenport died June 15 in Baghdad of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device and small arms fire.
Pfc. Robert A. Liggett, 23, a Rock Island High School graduate of Urbana, Ill., died May 29 in Rustamiyah, Iraq, from injuries suffered in a noncombat-related incident.
Spc. David W. Behrle, 20, of Tipton, Iowa, died May 19 in Baghdad, along with five other members of his unit, when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle.
Pfc. Katie M. Soenksen, 19, of Davenport died May 2 in Baghdad of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near her vehicle.
Sgt. Michael D. Smith, 41, of Bettendorf died Dec. 18, in Washington, D.C., of injuries he received while serving in Iraq.
Petty Officer 1st Class Jerry A. Tharp, 44, of Aledo, Ill., died July 12 when his dismounted patrol was struck by an explosive device in the Al Anbar province of Iraq.
Petty Officer 1st Class Gary Rovinski, 44, of Roseville, Ill., was killed June 5 when the Humvee he was traveling in was hit by an improvised explosive device in the Al Anbar province.
Army Sgt. Donald Griffith Jr., 29, of Mechanicsville, Iowa, died March 11 in Telefar, Iraq. He served in the 2nd Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, based at Fort Lewis, Wash.
Sgt. Jessica M. Housby of Rock Island was killed Feb. 9. She served with the 1644th Transportation Unit, Illinois National Guard, Rock Falls, Ill.
Pfc. Scott M. Tyrrell, 21, of Sterling, Ill., died Nov. 20 of injuries suffered Nov. 14 near Tikrit. He served with the 299th Engineer Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, out of Fort Hood, Texas.
Pfc. Nick Skinner of Davenport was killed Aug. 26. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Unit, Platoon 1023, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Trace W. Dossett of Orlando, Fla., a Wapello, Iowa, native, was killed May 2. He was assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 14 out of Jacksonville, Fla.
Sgt. Landis W. Garrison of Rapids City, Ill., died April 29. He was assigned to the 333rd Military Police Co., Freeport, Ill.
Cpl. Michael R. Speer, a Kansas native who joined the Marine Corps in Davenport, was killed April 9. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Sgt. Aaron Sissel of Tipton, Iowa, was killed Nov. 29 in Iraq. He was assigned to the 2133rd Transportation Company of the Iowa National Guard, based in Centerville, Muscatine and Cedar Rapids.
Sgt. Paul F. Fisher, 39, of Marion, Iowa, died Nov. 6 from injuries suffered in a rocket attack on his helicopter Nov. 2 near Fallujah. Fisher served with Army National Guard Detachment 1, Company F, 106th Aviation Battalion, based in Davenport.
Chief Warrant Officer Bruce A. Smith of West Liberty, Iowa, was killed Nov. 2. He also was assigned to Detachment 1, Company F, 106th Aviation Battalion.
Sgt. Bradley S. Korthaus of Davenport drowned March 24. He was assigned to the Marines 6th Engineer Support Battalion.
For more information about Legacies Alive and to keep up on Chris Ring's progress, go to
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