1st Lt. Nathan Krissoff
(reprinted from December 30, 2006)

Recon Marines Honor Fallen Officer
by 1st Lt. Lawton King

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 Marines 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.”