Sunday, December 10, 2006

Remembering a hero

1st Lieutenant Nate Krissoff, U.S.M.C.

It is easy to look at Nate Krissoff's life and call him a hero because of what he accomplished. He was a tremendous athlete -- captain of the water polo and swim teams at Williams, a phenomenal skier and world class kayaker. He was studious and ambitious, becoming commissioned as a marine officer and serving as a counterintelligence officer for his battalion in Okinawa.

But Nate's heroism was more subtle than that. It was in many ways his defining personality trait. It derived from the unfailingly loyalty he showed to friends and family, the courage he demonstrated in the face of adversity, the seriousness with which he approached life and the joy he took in everything he did. Few of us will ever even hope to match his deeds. But all of us can aspire to those characteristics that made him what he was.

To a friend and hero. Rest in peace.

Read more about Nate:
Reno-Gazette Journal, 12/12: Reno Marine killed in Iraq
Monterey County Herald, 12/12: Stevenson grad killed in Iraq
Sierra Sun, 12/13: Son of area physician dies in Iraq roadside bombing
North Adams Transcript, 12/13: Williams grad killed in Iraq

UPDATE 5/26/07: The North Tahoe Bonanza reported last week that Nate has been awarded the Navy and Marine Commendation Medal with the Combat Distinguishing Device for Valor.


pogblog said...

What an horrific waste. Makes it even more ice-pickedly clearly why war is obsolete.

Nemesis of Evil said...

It is beyond my talents as a writer to capture my teammate for those who did not know him. The best I can do is say that I doubt a single person at the service this weekend fully grasped the extent of Nate's greatness until the weekend was over.

The dean of his prep school, where Nate was student body president, referred to him both as a piano prodigy and one of the finest literary minds the school had ever seen. His commanding officers in the marine corps described him as a natural leader who saved countless lives through a combination of talent and determination.

But the most telling thing for me about the weekend was that every single person there, no matter how they knew Nate, described him the same way. He took both pride and joy in everything he did, but he never was proud of himself. The sheer volume of anecdotes alone, from people whose lives he touched with a kind word or a crooked smile, was simply astounding. As a fellow Eph said, he made everyone feel like they had a special relationship with him. And they were right.

Thank you to Bill, Chris and Austin for putting together a weekend to honor a man who was a hero to more people than you will ever know.

And thank you, Nate, for inspiring us and bringing us together, in death as in life.

Anonymous said...

Nathan was the first person I met when I arrived at RLS 10 years ago. After I left RLS we kept in touch per email and started talking more right before he commissioned. I got to to see Nate for a few days just before he left for Japan and I was amazed of the person he had grown in to. Smart, charming, intriguing,intense, handsome and simply special. While he was in Japan, I was stationed in Korea and our emails continued. When Nate deployed I made sure to show him even more appreciation for what he did; I truly admired him for his courage and great attitude. I mailed off a care package in late November for the holiday season along with an email telling him to wait until Christmas to open it. A response came back "I'm not the patient kind, but ok." He never got to open it. I received a card and gift in the mail from Nathan on 09 Dec. In his card, among other kind words he said "We'll catch up eventually. I'll make sure." When I received notice of Nate's death my world changed. There was so much more that I wanted to talk to him about. I had looked forward to spending time with him again eventually. Even now, I think of him daily. All the comments I read from other people describe him exactly the way I knew him. It moves me to see how much of an impact Nate has made on so many people. He truly was an amazing person and proud Marine and this world is an emptier place without him. Nathan and his family will always have a place in my heart. God Bless Austin and his parents.