1st Lt. Nathan M. Krissoff
Died: December 09, 2006
25, of Reno, Nev.; assigned to Headquarters and Service Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan; died Dec. 9 from wounds sustained while conducting combat operations in Anbar province, Iraq.
Recon Marines Honor Fallen Officer
Story by 1st Lt. Lawton King
CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq (Dec. 26, 2008) - Marines from Regimental Combat Team 5"s 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion paused to memorialize a fallen brother at Camp Fallujah's Chapel of Hope Dec. 26.
Marines gathered to honor 1st Lt. Nathan M. Krissoff, who was killed in action while conducting combat operations south of Fallujah Dec. 9. Krissoff, the battalion's counterintelligence officer, was from Washoe, Nev., and was 25 years old.
"Nathan, like so many who have gone before us, can be considered a modern-day knight," said Lt. Col. William Seely, the battalion commander. "Why? Because he believed and shared our beliefs in service to others. His service and sacrifice shows us great courage and steadfast dedication to rid Iraq, and more importantly the world, of oppression, tyranny, and extremism. He believed those things."
"Lt. Krissoff was the type of man who made things seem easy," said 1st Lt. Daniel Ballard, an intelligence officer with the battalion who roomed with Krissoff. "He was an ideal Marine. I know I am a better person and a better Marine for having known him."
Ballard underscored Krissoff's affability and his curiosity, which both stemmed from an attentiveness to the needs of others that manifested itself in his daily interaction with his Marines.
"Nate taught me to treat everyone well because you never know who is going to be your buddy down the road," he said. He always asked questions, and "he was a gifted listener."
"Most of all, Nate was a friend. He was my roommate here at Camp Fallujah. We kept each other sane," Ballard continued. "We had many talks about God, the purpose of life, the world in general, and I know he's in a better place now."
Krissoff graduated from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., in 2003 with a major in international relations. The following year, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. In 2006, he was assigned to 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion and deployed as the battalion's counter intelligence officer in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Among his personal decorations are the Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
All of the Marines who eulogized Krissoff noted his "passion for the outdoors," which inspired him from an early age. He was a member of the 1999 Junior National Kayaking Team and excelled in swimming and water polo in college.
Staff Sgt. Allan Clemons, the battalion's intelligence staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge, recalled Krissoff's character.
"Many good men have given their lives in the ultimate sacrifice, men such as 1st Lt. Nathan Krissoff," he said. "He was the type of person who would let his actions speak for themselves. He never complained; he was a good man, a good officer and mentor to his Marines."
Even though the Marines endure months away from their families, he added, "but we share a bond here. We have a family here, whether you consider that family to be your platoon, your team members, or your section. My family here is made of eight outstanding Marine whom I work with. We share a box of goodies and cookies from home. And we even occasionally on a daily basis actually make fun of each other, but this is our family, and Nathan was part of our family."
One of Krissoff's Marines, Cpl. Dennis Forsyth, an intelligence analyst, also commemorated Krissoff's devotion to his Marines. "He cared deeply about all of his Marines," he said. "Nate would care for us as if we were his younger brothers. He would often ask and want to talk about family and loved ones back home."
He also reminisced about Krissoff's predilection for comedy. "Those who knew Nate knew what kind of sense of humor he had," Forsyth said. "He was able to be mature when he wanted to be and had to be, and when he didn't have to be, he didn't pretend to be anything he wasn't."
"Nate will not only be missed by the Marines in this battalion," he added, "but also by the Marines back in Okinawa." The battalion sergeant major, Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Pickering, barked the "Final Roll," but no reply was returned after he announced Krissoff's name three times.
A bugler eased into the somber melody of "Taps," and as the last note melded into silence, Marines in attendance filed out of the rows to pay their respects at the small memorial that had been erected in Krissoff's honor.
An inverted rifle with a helmet crowning the buttstock, identification tags dangling from the pistol grip, and boots resting on the floor at a 45-degree angle reminded the Marines why and for what he sacrificed his life.
"When we depart these lands, when we deploy home, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the long silence of our friends," Seely said. "Nathan, your love, your brotherhood, your memory, like the flash in the horizon at sunset and sunrise, will be endless. Your silence will be deafening."
Former Reno resident killed in Iraq honored posthumously
The Associated Press
RENO, Nev. - A former Reno resident who died Dec. 9 of wounds sustained in a roadside bombing in Iraq has been posthumously awarded another medal for meritorious achievement.
Marine 1st Lt. Nathan Krissoff has received the "Navy and Marine Commendation Medal with the Combat Distinguishing Device for Valor."
The 25-year-old Krissoff was serving as a counterintelligence officer when he was injured in the blast in Anbar province.
"[Krissoff] established himself as a first-rate counterintelligence officer," the military said in awarding the medal. "He frequently exposed himself to dangerous situations in order to facilitate intelligence driven raids."
In December, Krissoff was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart.
Survivors include his parents, Bill and Christine Krissoff of Reno, and his brother, Marine 2nd Lt. Austin Krissoff, also of Reno.
A Truckee native, Nathan Krissoff was a Williams College graduate who put his international affairs career on hold to join the Marines in 2004. He attended elementary and middle school in Reno before attending a California prep school.
Nathan M. Krissoff
December 14, 2006
Nathan M. Krissoff was born on March 29, 1981 in Truckee, Calif. The family moved to Reno in 1990 and he attended public school there. Wanting to broaden his horizons, he attended high school at The Stevenson School in Pebble Beach, Calif.
He was the ultimate scholar-athlete, excelling in water polo, swimming, piano and graduating at the top of his class. His natural leadership skills were in play then as student body president. During this time, he also earned a spot on the U.S. Junior National Wildwater Kayak Team and he represented his country at two world championships in Europe.
He attended Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., where he earned a degree in political science and captained the men's swim team.
Following graduation, Nathan worked in Washington, D.C., for the Monterey Institute of International Studies, during which time he interviewed with the CIA. Told by the agency that he was "too young" and being deeply affected by the events of 9/11, he decided that he wanted work on the "front line" to fight in the global war on terror.
Nathan was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in August of 2004. Following six months of training at The Basic School, he selected the field of human intelligence as his occupational specialty. He was assigned to the 3rd Marine Division in Okinawa, Japan in August of 2006 and was deployed with the Division to Al-Anbar Province in September. Although he knew the work in Iraq was extremely hazardous, he firmly believed in the mission: to stabilize the region by training the Iraqi Army.
Nathan will be remembered for his keen intelligence and sharp wit, for his charisma and kindness to his fellow athletes and Marines. His choices were shaped by an uncommon intelligence, and a truly profound sense of principle, purpose and duty.
He loved his family, country and the US Marine Corps. His passion and commitment were truly inspirational to the people who knew him and specifically to the Marines he served with and commanded.
He is survived by his parents, Dr. and Mrs. William Krissoff of Reno, his brother 2nd Lt. Austin P. Krissoff, his paternal grandparents and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. A memorial service will be held at Nightingale Hall on the UNR Campus at 10 am Saturday, Dec. 23. Burial will follow at Mountain View Cemetery.
Surgeon to fill son's boots in Iraq
Call Dr. William Krissoff's office in Truckee, and a voice on the answering machine says he's no longer seeing patients.
That doesn't tell the whole story, not the important part. It doesn't tell about Krissoff's son, Nathan, a Marine from Reno killed in Iraq on Dec. 9, 2006. It doesn't tell about Krissoff's decision to become a Navy doctor and serve where the war is being fought.
Dr. William Krissoff, 61, an orthopedic surgeon who opened his Sierra Nevada practice in 1979, is now Lt. Cmdr. William Krissoff, a newly commissioned officer in the Navy Medical Corps who reports for duty this week, a year, almost to the day, after his son's death.
"My goal is to work in a combat surgical unit, a forward unit," said Krissoff, who got some help from President Bush to reach his objective.
That came on Aug. 28 when Bush was in Reno to address the national convention of the American Legion, the country's largest group of military veterans. Bush also met privately with eight families of Marines and soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The group included Krissoff and his wife, Christine.
"We met with him for over an hour," Krissoff said. "It was quite remarkable. It seemed he had all the time in the world. It was an emotional time for everybody."
At one point, Bush went around the room, asking each family if there was anything they needed. Krissoff spoke up.
"I said, 'I have something,'" Krissoff said. "I said, 'I want to serve in the Navy Medical Corps.'"
Before answering, Bush turned to Krissoff's wife.
"He checked with her first," Krissoff said. "He's very sharp that way."
Later, in an interview with the Grand Rapids Press in Michigan, where Krissoff grew up, Christine said, "I am not fine with the amount of time he's gone. But none of the wives of the military people who serve are going to be fine with it. That's just part of the deal."
Krissoff doesn't know where he'll be assigned. But he's training to perform surgery in a mobile field hospital, the type where wounded Marines receive quick attention.
"That's been the innovation of medical care in Iraq," Krissoff said. "There is sophisticated care within an hour, very close to the battlefield, if you will."
Marine 1st Lt. Nathan M. Krissoff, 25, was killed outside Falluja in Iraq when the vehicle in which he was riding was hit by a roadside bomb.
"The loss of a son puts a certain perspective on things," William Krissoff told the Press. "It's my turn to serve. I'm honored and privileged that the Navy will have me in the Medical Corps."
The Marines use Navy doctors and nurses. That's why William Krissoff joined.
"Marines don't have their own physicians," he said. "That's what I'll be doing. I will be assigned to a Marine unit wherever it goes. This was my goal."
William Krissoff's brother, Joel, who lives in Grand Rapids, wasn't surprised.
"I think it's something he wanted and needed to do," Joel Krissoff told the Press. "He and Nate were extremely close. It helps him to deal with Nate's being gone to get into this."
Nathan Krissoff, who grew up in Reno, was a world-class kayaker, qualifying for the U.S. Junior National team with his younger brother Austin in 1998. Nathan graduated from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., where he was captain of the swim team.
He joined the Marines in 2004. So did Austin, shortly before Nathan was killed. Austin, 24, is now a second lieutenant, stationed at Camp Pendleton in Southern California.
"Because of my family association with the Marines," William Krissoff said of his reasons for joining the Navy Medical Corps.
After Nathan was killed, William Krissoff was visited by his son's commander, Lt. Col. Bill Seely.
"He was crossing the country, visiting families who lost Marines from his unit," William Krissoff said. "He spent a couple days with us. He talked about their battalion surgeon. I thought, 'I'd really like to do that.'"
Despite his intentions, William Krissoff's age could have been a problem.
"They don't want to look at people over 40, maybe 50 at the outside," he said. "I didn't qualify. You need an age waiver. It's usually a lengthy process."
A year, typically.
"There are security clearances," William Krissoff said. "It's very involved."
But he had the White House on his side. A year was cut to two months.
"I was lucky," William Krissoff said.
After the meeting with Bush in Reno, Krissoff's case was handled by Karl Rove, then the president's top political advisor, who turned it over to Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
By November, Krissoff was in the Navy. He's assigned to the Marine Corps' 4th Medical Battalion. Rove sent a note of congratulations.
Krissoff is headed for training. He knows how to be a doctor. But there are some things he needs to learn.
"Setting up a field hospital," Krissoff said. "Land navigation."
He's leaving town. He's closed his practice. There's a message on his answering machine. It doesn't say enough.