Remembering the Life and Memory of...
Spc. Ronald H. Wildrick Jr.
Age: 30 years old
Hometown: Blairstown, New Jersey.
Died: December 11, 2011 in Operation Enduring Freedom.
Unit: 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
Birth: Aug. 22, 1981, New Jersey, USA
Death: Dec. 11, 2011, Kunar Konar, Afghanistan
Spc. Ronald H. Wildrick Jr., 30, of Blairstown, N.J., died Dec. 11, in Kunar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. In addition to his mother and stepfather, Sandra Osborne McDonald and Ian McDonald, he is survived by wife, Stephanie Kasper of New Jersey; 2 daughters, Kaylee and Leah Wildrick, both of New Jersey; maternal grandmother, Barbara Osborne of New Jersey; a sister, Christie Berkey and husband John of Woodsboro where Ron considered home; brother, M Sgt Joseph M. Osborne USAF and wife Michelle of Maryland; 2 half-sisters, Debra Stickles and Susan Benziger, both of New Jersey; and numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.
Arlington National Cemetery
Plot: Section 60 Site 10009
WOODSBORO, Md. - They spilled onto sidewalks, hiked through corn fields, and hoisted flags in the air. Many cried. Some had kept their kids home from school. Eight-year-olds held homemade signs that read "Thank you for serving our country." And even those not known for their patience were willing to wait.
"Hour and a half. Doesn't matter. I had lunch plans, but that doesn't matter either," says Mary Cutshall.
Their sacrifice could never be anything like the one made by Army Specialist Ronald Wildrick Jr. and his family. Wildrick died on December 11 when his truck hit an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.
This is his final journey home from Dover, Del. to tiny Woodsboro, Md. Hundreds lined the streets to salute the procession carrying Wildrick's casket.
"Number one - they're our neighbors. We're a small town. Second, we're Americans," says Maria Beyer.
And third, her son, Benjamin, is home on leave and headed back to Afghanistan soon.
"I'm scared. I'd like to see them all come home one day soon," says Beyer.
Residents say they weren't surprised by the large turnout, but they are proud.
"It says a lot about our community. That we really do pull together and care about one another. He's one of ours - whether we know him or not," says Colette Wolf.
Wildrick had told his family that if anything ever happened to him, he wanted to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. His Arlington burial is scheduled for Friday.
U.S. Army Spc. Ronald H. Wildrick Jr. earned several awards and decorations for his service, the U.S. Department of Defense said in a statement, including:
ROCKAWAY TWP. — Continuing an annual tradition at Picatinny Arsenal, 13 New Jersey service members who died in Iraq or Afghanistan in 2011 were honored Saturday along with their families and loved ones.
Among those honored was SPC Ronald H. Wildrick Jr., 30, of Blairstown, who died Dec. 11 in Kunar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to A Company, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii and also served in the U.S. Army Continental Color Guards.
Wildrick grew up in Byram and attended Lenape Valley Regional High School. He had also lived in Blairstown with his wife and two daughters, and most recently was a resident of Woodsboro, Md.
Along with the 13 fallen heroes for 2011, another 149 New Jersey service members who lost their lives since Sept. 11, 2001, were also honored at the ceremony.
As part of the annual New Jersey Fallen Service Member Tree Memorial Ceremony, a red oak tree is planted as a memorial to the individual service member and a plaque is placed at the base of each tree. The red oak is the official state tree of New Jersey
Woodsboro soldier buried at Arlington National Cemetery
Originally published January 14, 2012
Members of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard, set down the flag-covered casket of Army Spc. Ronald H. Wildrick Jr. on Friday at Arlington National Cemetery.
During his first two years of military service, Army Spc. Ronald H. Wildrick Jr. was a member of the elite Continental Color Guard. The Old Guard mans the caisson at all military interment services at Arlington National Cemetery and serves as the honor guard for Army burials.On Friday, Wildrick's former unit honored him as he was laid to rest among more than 300,000 of the nation's service members in the hallowed ground of Arlington.
A band and honor guard unit accompanied the horse-drawn caisson carrying Wildrick's casket to the grave site. Capt. Brandon Denning, Army chaplain, briefly addressed the mourners, speaking of the honor in laying down one's life for others.
"It has been said that there are only two people who would give their lives for us, Jesus Christ and the American soldier," Denning said. "There is hope today, and that hope is that Jesus Christ also died for us."
The honor guard fired a 21-gun salute, and the band played taps before closing the ceremony with "America the Beautiful."
Maj. Gen. Bernie Champoux, who commands the 25th Infantry in which Wildrick served, presented flags to Wildrick's mother, Sandra Osborne McDonald, and his sister, Christie Berkey.
Wildrick, 30, died Dec. 11 in Afghanistan's Kunar province when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb. He was assigned to Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion 35th 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, training Afghan soldiers and police to fight insurgents.
EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 84
WHEREAS, United States Army Specialist Ronald H. Wildrick, Jr. grew up in Byram Township, New Jersey and graduated from Lenape Valley Regional High School in Stanhope, NJ in 2000; and
WHEREAS, Specialist Wildrick was assigned to A Company, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; and
WHEREAS, Specialist Wildrick also served in the U.S. Army Continental Color Guards; and
WHEREAS, Specialist Wildrick was an honorable and courageous young man who loved his country and the military; and
WHEREAS, Specialist Wildrick has received some of our nation’s highest military honors, including the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Service Star, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and Basic Parachutist Badge. Posthumously he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, NATO Medal, and Combat Infantryman Badge; and
WHEREAS, Specialist Wildrick tragically lost his life while heroically and selflessly serving his country in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom; and
WHEREAS, Specialist Wildrick was a brave and dedicated solider as well as a loving son, brother, husband and father whose memory lives in the hearts of his family, friends, and fellow soldiers; and
WHEREAS, Specialist Wildrick’s heroism, patriotism, and service to his country make it appropriate and fitting for the State of New Jersey to remember him and his family, to mark his passing, and to honor his memory;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, CHRIS CHRISTIE, Governor of the State of
New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:
1. The flag of the United States of America and the flag of New Jersey shall be flown at half-staff at all State departments, offices, agencies, and instrumentalities during appropriate hours on January 12, 2012, in recognition and mourning of a brave and loyal American hero, United States Army Specialist Ronald H. Wildrick, Jr.
2. This Order shall take effect immediately.
GIVEN, under my hand and seal this 5th day of January Two Thousand and Twelve, and of the Independence of the United States, the Two Hundred and Thirty-Sixth.
/s/ Chris Christie