Friday, November 30, 2007

Fullbore Friday

How do you define sacrifice? How do you respond to loss? How do you focus pride, grief, love and honor? Do you try to take positive action in the face of a horror you never expected to face? Can you go beyond the emotional and tap into the intellectual? For today's FbF, I ask you to step back , absorb, and most of all - be humble.
His son, Marine Lt. Nathan Krissoff, 25, had been killed in a December 2006 roadside bomb explosion in Iraq.
The younger Krissoff joined the Marines in 2004 with a background that might not have predicted a military career. He wrote poetry as a youngster and was an accomplished pianist.

Before graduating from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., he was captain of the swim team, in addition to being a whitewater kayaker and alpine skier.

The outdoor activities were a joy shared by Nathan, his father, and his younger brother, Austin, 24, who joined the Marines shortly before Nathan died.

The family kept word of Nathan's death from Austin until after he graduated from the same Marine Corps officer school in Quantico, Va.

"Nate was an extraordinary man in a lot of ways," Bill Krissoff said.
Like many who have lost their loved ones in this war, they had an opportunity to meet with the Commander in Chief, President Bush.
Bill Krissoff never figured to be in a position to look President Bush in the eye and ask a favor.

But there he was, sitting in a room in Reno, Nev., with Bush and several other families who had lost soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan.
"I said, 'Yeah, there is one thing. I want to join the Navy medical corps and I gotta get some help here,' " recalled Krissoff, 61, who lives in California, near Reno.

Three days after that meeting, the Navy called.

His waiver had been granted.
What waiver?
Months later, Krissoff came to a carefully considered decision: He would honor his son by leaving a flourishing orthopedic practice, a comfortable life, to join the Navy as a combat surgeon.

But his application for an age waiver was mired in paperwork.

So, on that August day in Reno, when Bush went around the room and asked if there was anything he could do, Krissoff spoke up.
That is how the CINC got involved. You get action that way.
Krissoff was commissioned as a lieutenant commander Nov. 18, and he expects to attend officer development school in January. Attached to the 4th Medical Battalion, he plans to join a combat surgical team and hopes to serve in Iraq.

It is a story of loss and sacrifice being told on national media outlets. But Krissoff considers himself anything but a hero. He reserves words like that for people such as his son.

"The loss of a son puts a certain perspective on things.

"It's my turn to serve. I'm honored and privileged that the Navy will have me in the medical corps," Krissoff said.
This was a family decision.
He and his wife, Christine, plan to sell their house and move to San Diego. They see it as another chapter in their life, perhaps a way to ease the grief they have shared for nearly a year.

"Really, I'm just inspired by the dedication to service of both my sons," Krissoff said.

Christine Krissoff, 56, has made peace with his choice as well. But it doesn't mean she won't miss her husband.

"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."

His mother, Sylvia Krissoff, 88, said she was "shocked" when she learned what he planned to do. Then it started to make sense to her.

"I think, for him, it really is great. It's really an extension of his love for Nate and, in some ways, carrying on for what Nate would have done.

"Nate would have been so proud of him."
LCDR Krissoff and Christine - welcome aboard. Your response to your son's death and your other son's ongoing service is, simply, Fullbore. Thank you.


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