Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Remembering the servicemembers who died in the service of their country.

Army Capt. Russell B. Rippetoe

27, of Colorado.
Killed when a car exploded at a U.S. checkpoint in western Iraq. He was assigned to A Company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia. Died on April 3, 2003.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Army Capt. Russell B. Rippetoe.


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Leave a message in memory of this servicemember, and/or to the loved ones left behind.

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"I went to Metro State and had the privilege of knowing this fine young man who aspired to go into LE. I will always remember his bright smile and dedication even as a young man. God bless his family this Memorial day and every day for their sacrifice."
Ralph Stevenson of Aurora CO

"I knew Russell not as a soldier but as a friend. Russel worked for me in downtown Denver as a Barback st Josephinas. I just stumbled upon this tribute for Russ as I was looking to see if the restaraunt was still there. I am proud to call him my friend, and I want to give my heart felt condolences to all that have met him. God Speed Brother!!"
Bob of Oregon

"I never want to forget the sacrifices of so many young men and women. I am so proud it makes me cry. I understand in theory only that war is a part of human nature but so is love and caring. I wish I could take the families pain away but I can't. I am committed to loving ALL people, myself and our environment. I am committed to working on my happiness everyday because so many have died for my freedom to live my life. Thank you is not enough but it is all I have. All my love and respect. ogersteiner@yahoo.com
A hundred times a day, I remind myself that my inner and outer life depends on the labors of other men, living and dead, and I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am receiving. - Albert Einstein"
Scott E. Steiner of Worthington, OH USA

"I just found out right now! I served with him at C-Btry 3bn/319th AFAR 82nd Abn Div. He was Lt. Rippetoe then! He was one of the few officers I liked! May God bless his family and loved ones! I will miss you. ALL THE WAY sir!"
Stacey Dyson of Meridian, Ms.

"I wear the bracelet honoring CPT. Rippetoe's service to his country. Joshua 1:9 I will be strong and courageous, I will not be terrified, or discouraged; for the Lord my God is with me wherever I go"

"Dear Rippetoe family, I am the mom of the 3 wide-eyed kids that had the pleasure of meeting you and your husband at the American History Museum, Washington D.C. , in July of 06. It was by far the most memorable and meaningful experience of our trip. My husband, children and I learned first hand that day of CPT Rippetoe's courage and sacrafice. We will never forget you or your husband and still hang on to the dog tags that Mr. Rippetoe gave the children.We will never forget your son's story of courage... I will be strong and courageous . I will not be terrified, or discouraged; for the Lord God is with me wherever I go. Joshua 1:9. God bless and keep you. And thank you ."
Jami Schnur of New Tripoli, Pa USA

"I put you in a bag. Its one of the only memories i have that makes me smile"
Fritsch of Las Vegas

"I served in Iraq during OIF III. I wear your bracelet with pride honoring your sacrifice to our country, our way of life and your family. Thank you!!! Semper Fi"
of Lafayette, LA

"My husband was serving with Russ on that fateful day in April. I was at home in Ft Benning, pregnant with our son. We decided to "never forget" a fallen Ranger by giving our son the name Adam Russell Stewart. We took Adam to Russ's grave when he was a month old and have returned many times in the past 4 years. Thank you for the sacrifice your son and brother made for our country's freedom! May God Bless You!"
The Stewart Family of Fort Belvoir, VA

"December 30, 2007
To the family of Capt. Russell B. Rippetoe:
Russell gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"I am Russell's aunt and still continuing to miss him. I would welcome any e-mails from soldiers or friends that knew Russell and I am also willing to share my memories too. margaretpapp@hotmail.com"
Margaret Papp of Denver, CO

"Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

-Matthew 6:10"
SGT F. of Baghdad, Iraq

"Dear Rippetoe Family,

My name is Vet. PFC Jared P. Arensdorf. I am one of SPC. Ryan P. Long's cousins. I just want to give my condolences for your son and want to say thank you for all that your son has done while serving with my cousin and you also Sir in your time in the service. I am going to take a work related trip to D.C. in May of '08, and am going to make it a priority to visit Capt. Rippetoe's final resting place in Arlington while I am there. You can reach me at the following e-mail addresses if you want:


Jared Arensdorf of Darien, WI/USA

"Dear Rippetoe Family,
I first met Russ when I joined Air Force ROTC at CU in August of 1996. He was absolutely the nicest, most genuine guy I have ever met. He was always smiling and he helped to keep everyone motivated during those early morning PT sessions down at Metro State. He had such a positive impact on everyone he came in contact with, and he will always be missed. I pray for God's blessings upon your family and that you find comfort in the fact that your son was a true hero. Russ, you were a great Officer, leader, and friend."
Capt Bryan Dresser, 354th Fighter Squadron of Tucson, Arizona

"I am a blast from Russ's past-a friend who has known Russ since middle school. Russ and I went to church together back at Boulder Valley Christian church and we played soccer together. Back in high school Russ and I would simply talk about the struggles in our daily lives and girls and simplistic problems that high school kids have. I always knew what Russ dreamed about and his true ambition to serve his country in one way or another. Russ and I were roomates our junior year in college when he became a pin-up model for downtown bars-he was always a stud. We did not get to talk or hang out too much becuase he was too busy doing his ROTC and working and going to school, but that is just who Russ was-quiet, to himself a bit, but he will always be one of the best friends I have ever had. He was a guest player on my soccer team in high school, a quality roomate in college, a church friend, and now, unfortunately a lost hero in my life. I have since paid tribute to Russ in a master's class of mine and I brag about him every chance I get. I was only a National Guard member, but my daily devotion was to God first and to Russ secondly. I was more or less a JV player in the game, but I think about Russ often, more than one would think, and I pray about him and his family and wish there was something I could do. I miss the Rippetoe family and the strength in Mr. Rippitoe's handshake and his friendy greeting at Boulder Valley, but most of all, I miss the fact that Russ is no longer present on this earth to guide and lead peopl like he was born to. God bless you Russ and your family for your sacrifice."
Jason Casanova of Highlands Ranch, Colorado

"As a cousin of Joe, living in Colorado, I did not see Russell often growing up as I wished because of living in Oklahoma. My mother, Virginia Olive, and Russell's grandma, Viva, being sisters, were the most wonderful people, in the world. The Rippetoes are the best our country has to offer! Like his own father, Joe, or even his grandpa Rip, integity and heart were common among them. We miss and salute "Rusty" whom gave his life for this country! Peace be with you , Joe, for you raised a real good example for all of us to remember. From our part of the family to yours, God Bless you Joe & Rita and Rebecca, for I think of him everytime there is a new sacrifice being made by another great family!"
John & Johnathan Olive of Durant , Okla, , USA

"On Memorial Day we remember you Russ and the impact that you had on all of us. I know that God cradled you in his loving arms when you left this world."
Steven Martinez (AFROTC friend) of Okinawa Japan

"Russell was one special person. A smile from Rusty could light up the Whole World. I looked up to Russ in so many ways. Behind his good looks, was a man with a great heart. His personality was everything. He was always looking out for everyone, and was always willing to help whom ever he could. He was a person who looked at you for being you, he was filled with positivity, encouragement, and happyness. He inspired me in so many ways. I thank god so much for the oppertunity's that I had with Rusty, because I think my whole life could have a different outcome at this moment. I will forever keep Rusty in my heart! I LOVE YOU RUSTY! YOU ARE MY HERO!
With love.
Rusty's Neighbor."
Harmony Mason of Denver, CO

"Capt. Ripp was one of my FSOs in 3-319th at Bragg. He was a great person and lead from the front always. I will never forget him and hope that I can be half the leader and person he was."
SFC Matthew Hatfield of HHC 2-508th

"Capt. Rippetoe,
Sir, I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country-not just in OIF, but also for your service in Afghanistan as well. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy. After reading all the reflections left for you, all I can say is that I wish that I had had the chance to have served with an officer like you.

Rangers Lead The Way!"

"I was a pvt when we were sent to Afghanistan in June 2002. My team was on an observation point when we came under a RPG attack. Capt. Rippetoe called in fire for us and stopped the attacks. I remember the last time I saw him. It was in Iraq only a few days before he died. I was gonna ask for him to be in a picture with myself and a few others. I didnt and I'll always regret it. Sorry I couldn't return the favor."
N- of IL

"To the family of:Russell B. Rippetoe I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. My heart cries out for you in your grief and you have my thoughts and prayers. He died a hero defending freedom. May you have the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Prayerfully we will all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need prayer or need someone to talk to, please call or write my pastor: Rev. John Pearrell 11677 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015. Your friend in Jesus Christ, Polly Ballew Covington,Ga"

"To the Rippetoe family--
Your son is a true hero and patriot. My sincerest "thank you" to him for the ultimate sacrifice he paid for his country. May you have comfort and peace in believing in His promises and knowing that CPT Rippetoe is in a place without suffering or pain. (I Cor. Chapter 15)."
EPB of Washington, DC

"miss you russ..."
maldo of tx

"May he and his brothers rest in peace."
Ann K. of Long Island

"Thank You. you will always be in your hearts."
Matt Schmidt of Broomfield, Colorado USA

"Broomfield has lost one of its finest sons. America was given a hero with charisma, brains and a natural leadership ability. I am proud to have known Russ and speak on the part of anyone who has met him in saying this. Russ, your sacrifice for this country will never be forgotten. I will never forget that you gave your life in service to America and us all. If there are thousands of Russell's being lost to Iraq we are a hundred thousand times the lesser as a society for not having them here. I'll never forget your service, honor and sacrifice."
Mike of Van Nuys/CA, Broomfield, CO/USA

""I am on my second tour in Iraq. My first tour, I wore a bracelet honoring a Vietnam Vet. On this tour, I am wearing a Bracelet with your name on it to Honoring You. Thanks."
1Lt Kevin M. Wagner of Kirklin, Indiana

"I met Russ while I was stationed at Ft. Bragg in 319th AFAR, we were LT's together in 3rd BN. He was a loyal friend and person who would always be there for you. His dedication and loyalty to his country was second to none. RLTW"
Rob of San Diego

"When I was a Pvt with B 3 319th I had many chats with Cpt Rippetoe about Harleys and our love of them.Now that I am out of the service and own a Harley I often look back on those chats and miss him even more.Cpt Rippetoe was a great man and is greatly missed by all.Ride Free Sir"
Sgt Kern of Sacramento,ca

"My friend just got home from Iraq, and he had a memorial braclet honoring a soldier who died in Iraq. I ordered one through ranger joes, and they sent me Russell B. Rippetoe. If any family or friend would like this, please contact me. Until then I will wear it proudly. lannie2202@yahoo.com"
LeeAnn Robinson of Fort Myers, FL/USA

"I am Russell's sister and would like to thank you for taking the time to send such wonderful thoughts and memories. I would love to speak with anyone that would like to contact me directly. I never get tired of hearing Russell stories! Thank you. rkim5280@yahoo.com"
Rebecca Kim of Aurora, Colorado

"I remember meeting Russ At Fort Bragg, as he lived in the Apt below mine. He knew my roomate and i knew some of his friends as well. We found ourselves out socially often and can remember laughing histerically at his dry sense of humor. Self deprecating and soft spoken, yet with integrity that just spoke for itself, Russ was just a guy you loved hanging out with. I'll always remember ST Patty's Day in Columbia, SC. Russ, you're already missed. There are but few people in this world with character as strong as yours."
Bob Hurd of Fayetteville, NC

"Russ and I were Ranger Buddies in Darby and recycled together. We spent that time talking about Harleys (which we both eventually got) and waiting to get our tabs. I saw him again right before he left Bragg to go to Regiment. He was a great friend and soldier, and I'll miss him.
CPT Shawn Russell of 5th SFG (A)

"To the Friends and Family of Capt Russ Ripetoe:

I first met Russ at CU, AFROTC Det 105. When he left the AF for the Army, I knew we let one of the best go. He and I were friends, and we actually had a chance to talk the Christmas of '02 at Dave and Buster's...it was good to see him...and I'm glad I had the chance to catch up with him one last time. He was a true leader, one that I admired and respected. I will meet him again one day, and let him know how special he was, and how many lives he touched. Cheers to you, Russ...You'll be missed."
Capt Abe Garcia, USAF of Los Angeles, CA, USA

"To the family and friends of CPT Russell Rippetoe,
First I would like to say how much I am grieved at your loss. I myself am a soldier in Iraq and I know what it is like to lose someone during battle. As a soldier I understand that the loss of a member of the armed forces should never be forgotten. That is why I purchased a remembrance bracelet. If you are not familiar with them, basically it is a bracelet with a MIA or KIA's name along with date and unit. The name on my current bracelet is CPT Russell Rippetoe. It is a symbol of importance I believe. That is why I am proud to say that I wear it. Since it is a random name on the bracelet, I know it is hard to get a specific name. That is why I started doing this. I purchase the bracelets and I try to contact the family to ask if they would like to have the bracelet at no cost. I know if I had lost a loved one in war, I would like to have a bracelet in their name. Recently, a family I contacted, had lost a son in Iraq. My first bracelet was that soldier. As I learned more, the father would be leaving for Iraq shortly, so I sent them that bracelet. If there is any loved one of CPT Russell Rippetoe that would like the same, please feel free to contact me at howard.hawkins@us.army.mil . Again, I am sorry for your loss."
SGT Howard Hawkins of Melbourne, Florida U.S.A

"I served with Cpt Rippetoe in the 82nd airborne div .I have many great memories of him.He was not only a great leader,soldier and friend. He was a great person all around.He is well missed as like all paratroopers his time came to slip away.keep your feet and knees together sir."
Sgt Kern of Sacramento,ca

"I was a friend of your sons in high school and he was a wonderful, loving, sweet, and charming man. When I first heard of the news I was speechless, I can't imagine what you as his family could have possibly felt. He was from a small community that was very close and he was very loved. I know our community was rocked that day, because our whole country was shaken, and they hadn't even had the privilege of knowing him. I would also like to say thanks to Lindsey McBride who through the Denver Broncos has paid him tribute. I think the hardest part of losing someone you knew is that you realize what they gave up for you and wish that you could trade places with them.
All my love to his family!
Katherine Lucero"
Katherine Lucero of San Clemente, CA/Orange

"To the friends and family of Russell B. Rippetoe:
We grieve together. My husband, Spc Justin W. Linden, died on June 4, 2004 in Iraq. These soldiers were all so strong and brave and their courageous acts will never be forgotten. Russell's memories will continue to live on forever in your hearts."
Sarah Linden of Portland, OR USA

"Dearest Rippetoe Family,

My name is CPT Jonathan Popovich and I was a friend of your son, Russ. Once upon a time we served together at Fort Bragg in the 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment and competed for Best FSO title in 2001.
I too am a Ranger and served in Iraq for seven months beginning in Feb. of 2003. I recall the day I heard the very sad news about my friend Russ...he was very well liked and respected by all the guys. I took his loss very personally, as he was the first of my peers as well as the very first friend I lost over there.
There are no words to express my sympathy for your loss other than to assure you that he gave his life for a cause he believed in, and that his memory will never be forgotten by those of us who knew him.
God bless you, just as God blessed us all with your boy.
Rangers Lead The Way!!!

Most Sincerely and Respectfully,
Jonathan Popovich"
Jonathan Popovich of Wayne, NJ/ USA

"To Russell Rippetoe's family: I knew your son when I was a first year cadet in the Army ROTC program at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Your son was an inspiration to me and I looked up to him because of his awesome attitude, love of the military, and desire to excel, to go above and beyond. It was an honor to have spent that one year learning with him and from him. I feel honored to have known him and I will forever appreciate his service and sacrifice. Knowing he rests now in the arms of the Lord is sweet among the sorrow. Thank you for raising such a wonderful person! May God bless your family and give you the peace that surpasses understanding and wonderful memories of your son and brother."
Mary Lynn Macsalka of Denver, Colorado

Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Russell, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"In Loving Memory..Its been a year..

At the rising of the sun and at its going down, We remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of Winter, We remember them.
At the opening of buds and in the rebirth of Spring, We remember them.
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of Summer, We remember them.
At the rustling of leaves and the beauty of Autumn, We remember them.
At the beginning of the year and when it ends, We remember them.
As long as we live, they too will live;
for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.
Rest in Peace Dear Soldier! We will NEVER FORGET!"
The Grogan Family of Lakeland, TN

"Captain Rippetoe, goodbye soldier and thank you. You are my hero."
Bill of Houston, Texas

"I knew Cpt. Rippetoe. He was a officer in my battery for a while when I was in the 82nd Airborne Division...Charlie battery, 3-319th. I had a strong dislike for officers when I was in, but I can truthfully say Rippetoe was one officer I liked. He was so down to earth, the respect I had for him came natural, not because of UCMJ rules. We called him "LT RIP". Even the privates called him that. He was so cool. I can honestly say - Rippetoe was the coolest officer I ever knew in my Army days...I was suprised to hear he died, and my condolences to his family."
Anthony R. Randolph of Killeen, Texas

"thank u xxx"
mark of manchester

"How proud you must be, even in your
grief. I am the widow of Col. J Robert
Backus. Mother of two sons who served
in the Marines and Air Force, two
grandsons who are Marines. One just
returned from Iraq. I know your gift
to your country is great. We all are
grateful for you sons sacrifice.
My great grandfather was Rev. Alexander Nicholas Rippetoe. He was
the father of my grandmother. They
were from Nicholas co. West Virginia.
Such an unusual name that I have never
heard before , except for my family.
Could you sometime let me know where
your family came from.
Blessings on you and your loved ones. Florence B Backus Early. Logan, West Virginia"
Florence Backus Early of Logan, West Virginia

"Thank you Russell Rippetoe, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"Our prayers are with your family during this difficult time. Thank you brave soldier, your courage and sacrafice will never be forgotten."
Ken and Maritza Holley of Pembroke Pines, Florida

"To the Family of Capt. Russell B. Rippetoe,
Thank you for raising a fine individual who didn't take for granted FREEDOM. Our prayers are that God will continually strengthen and Comfort your family during this time of loss. We still have a son over in Iraq who is an Airborne Ranger assigned to HHC 1-15th Sniper Scouts - Sgt. Logan Sibert - He too sends his heartfelt condolences."
Kathleen V. Sibert of Redondo Beach, California

"To the family and friends of Capt. Russell Rippetoe:
May God's grace be with you during your time of grief. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and we feel your loss and share in your sorrow. Bless Russell for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of Capt. Russell Rippetoe:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. He will always be remembered as a hero for fighting for freedom. I hope that this website will be a source of comfort and encouragement for you during this difficult time, and in the future as you recall the memories of Russell, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera, of Powder Springs, Georgia

"Thoughts, prayers, and gratitude go out to you. May God bless you and keep you until you see Rusty again."
Christie Nestor of LaGrange, GA

"The Ranger Creed
Recognizing that I volunteered as a Ranger, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession, I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, and high esprit de corps of my Ranger Regiment.

Acknowledging the fact that a Ranger is a more elite soldier who arrives at the cutting edge of battle by land, sea, or air, I accept the fact that as a Ranger my country expects me to move farther, faster and fight harder than any other soldier.

Never shall I fail my comrades. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong and morally straight and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be. One-hundred-percent and then some.

Gallantly will I show the world that I am a specially selected and well-trained soldier. My courtesy to superior officers, neatness of dress and care of equipment shall set the example for others to follow.

Energetically will I meet the enemies of my country. I shall defeat them on the field of battle for I am better trained and will fight with all my might. Surrender is not a Ranger word. I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy and under no circumstances will I ever embarrass my country.

Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission though I be the lone survivor.


RIP....We shall never forget you..and you will live on in our hearts forever."
The Taylors, USMC of NC

Honor them by remembering... Freedom - is their gift to us But his soul goes marching on