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Lt. Col. Rod Richardson USMC (ret.)
Died: October 04, 2006

Shawnee News-Star
Lt. Col. Rod "K2" Richardson died Wednesday, Oct.4, near Baghdad, Iraq as a result of injuries received from an improvised explosive device, while serving his country as a civilian manager of a private security company.

He was born Oct. 3, 1952, in Lamar, Colo., to Gene and Reta (Fisher) Richardson. He was reared and educated in Kansas and Oklahoma, graduating from Boise City High School, Okla., in 1970.

Following high school graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served in Vietnam. Returning to Oklahoma he graduated from East Central University in Ada. There he met his future wife, Rita Aleene Wiley. They were married on July 2, 1977, in Shawnee.

Rod re-entered the Marines after graduation and attended Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Va., and was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. He held ever-increasing assignments and responsibilities with the Fleet and in the far East, mixed with shore duty and Marine schools in the United States. He was selected and served a two-year tour of duty with the British Royal Marines in England.

Throughout his years in the Marine Corps he was a leader in training and fighting in the jungles, the desert, and with the fleet. This includes some operations still not known to the public. He was credited with many paratroop jumps. He also exited from submerged submarines through the torpedo tube to lead his reconnaissance unit swimming to shore to recon on the beach.

He developed a love and ability for teaching mountain climbing and warfare tactics at the Pickle Meadows training site in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Later this climbing ability allowed him to ascend several of the highest peaks in the Himalayas and elsewhere.

Rod and his wife, Rita, built their home near the Marines' Sierra Nevada training site in Gardnerville, Nev., in 1987. Even though serving with the Marines in other areas of the world they resided in Gardnerville until his retirement from the Marine Corps in 1994.

Following his military retirement, he began work with Rite of Passage, a program designed to assist youths with discipline, education, and training. He also completed his Masters of Business Administration degree at Chapman University.

Shortly after the war began in Afghanistan he signed on as a contract employee providing VIP security services. He said, "I was trained for it and I want to help!" As the war spread to Iraq he continued his work in Iraq. Besides brief periods of returning to the United States to spend time at home with his wife, he served in the midst of an unconventional war zone from the onset.

Rod strongly believed in service, discipline, physical training, and developing the abilities of those he commanded. He cared for his men but did not expect them to do anything he could not do. He was known for always being out front as a leader.

Rod is survived by his beloved wife, Rita; three sisters, Deb Crabtree, Pam Thrall, and Sandy Wells, all of Boise City; one brother, Mike Richardson of Guymon, Okla.; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Kathy and Chris Rick of Shawnee; several nieces and nephews; and a host of other relatives and Marine friends throughout the world.

Service was held Saturday, Oct. 14, at Boise City Baptist Church in Boise City with burial at Boise City Cemetery.

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