The Valor of Nathan R. Krissoff, 1stLt USMC, 0204

“Ah my friend, if you and I could escape this fray and live forever, never a trace of age, immortal, I would never fight on the front lines again or command you to the field where men win fame.”
― Homer, The Iliad

10 September 2006, on his departure to Iraq

Almost five years to the day after September 11, 2001, I have the chance to put my money where my mouth is in terms of service…. I’m constantly reminded of that famous quote from Tom Hank’s character at the end of Saving Private Ryan: “Earn this.” Earning it will mean sacrifice, determination, doing my job to the best of my ability. I chose this, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The complexities of the conflict and the shifting perceptions of the world are all but totally irrelevant to the fact that we fight for the men at our side; my success will be gauged by the responsibility to safeguard Marines and accomplish the mission, not by any other metric. I’m lucky to be deploying with such a phenomenal, savvy group of guys.

Love,
Nate

On 30 October 2006, Nate wrote to his brother Austin, who was attending Officer Candidate School in Quantico. Nate described the loss of a member of his unit, and what it should mean to Austin and the other officer candidates.

Austin,

We had a Marine with 3rd Recon killed in action about two weeks ago out west. Sniper shot. He went down in the street and a full-fledged, complex attack was initiated by the enemy. Other Marines – under fire – risked their lives in the ensuing events to recover him, triage him, and get him on a HMMWV to Fallujah surgical. All this happened as Marines counterattacked, bullets snapping by as they took up defensive positions. I knew the events because I talked to them afterward. Included is his memorial pamphlet. I wish I had the chance to know him, all the Recon guys admired him, looked up to him, and are devastated by his loss.

Why do I tell you this? Because Sgt Simpson and many all-Americans like him are the ones you will be entrusted to lead, protect and stand in front of. Never forget that all the trials and training you and the other candidates (eventually Second Lieutenants) go through is not about you. America’s sons and daughters will be entrusted to your care. You owe them competence, discipline, courage, judgment, etc. Post Sgt Simpson’s memorial picture, perhaps up on your squad bay read-board, tell your fire team and squad and platoon about him — as a clear reminder of what this is all about.

Keep it with you through the trials ahead. Because when you hear the final roll call, the long bugle playing taps, and the bagpipes wailing – we better have done everything short of the hand of God Himself to accomplish the mission and bring Marines home. It is a sacrifice he and many like him have made fighting for each other. Earn it.
Semper Fidelis,
Nate.

The above is credited to Mr. Matt Pottinger of The Daily Beast.

Summary Action: Summary of Action: First Lieutenant Nathan M. Krissoff

SNM was receiving Imminent Danger Pay

-1st Lieutenant Nathan M. Krissoff is enthusiastically recommended for the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for heroic achievement in the superior performance of his duties while serving as Counter Intelligence Collections Officer, Headquarters & Service Company, 3d Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, I Marine Expeditionary Force Forward in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM from 10 June to 8 December 2006.

-Upon his arrival to 3d Reconnaissance Battalion, First Lieutenant Krissoff began training the Marines with classes that directly related to human exploitation and the parameters of detainee handling procedures. He participated as a Reconnaissance Operations Center (ROC) Watch Officer during a Battalion Command and Control Exercise. With little to no training as a Watch Officer, First Lieutenant Krissoff displayed his flexibility and ability to absorb an immense amount of information, filter out irrelative pieces, report with confidence, and systematically handle details of scenarios that were being put before him. He continually went the extra mile during the exercise learning every task and procedure of the ROC Watch Officer billet even though his primary duty was a Counter Intelligence Officer.

-First Lieutenant Krissoff deployed with the Battalion to Exercise Mojave Viper in 29 Palms, California. During the exercise, he took superior initiative learning the different facets of tactical interrogation, detailed specifics of sensitive site exploitation, and advanced skill sets that would separate himself from other Counter Intelligence Marines.

-Constantly seeking information and taking initiative, he frequently interacted with the Marines to ensure they were applying the proper methods of field questioning and acting within the parameters of tactical interrogation. With spirit and determination he used every scenario in the exercises as a learning skill set to use for future combat operations. In the field, First Lieutenant Krissoff set a high standard and example, volunteering for any mission that would contribute to learning about human intelligence and confronting any challenges in problem sets with due diligence and an open mind. His physical and mental abilities were an inspiration to the Marines and the battalion during the exercise. For his performance during Exercise Mojave Viper, First Lieutenant Krissoff received noteworthy praise by the Tactical Training Exercise Control Group (TTECG) for his capability and solid tradecraft as a Counter Intelligence Officer.

-Upon the Battalion’s return to Okinawa, First Lieutenant Krissoff retained his contacts at 3d Marine Division and other outside agencies to continue building his situational awareness and knowledge base of activities in the battalion’s future area of operations; thereby allowing him to be extremely effective with the, the training received in 29 Palms and the pending deployment to Iraq for combined counter-insurgency operations. As a result of his resiliency, he quickly distinguished himself as an extremely competent and reliable Marine Officer within the Battalion.

-First Lieutenant Krissoff was a dedicated and capable Counter Intelligence Officer. During training he was always mentoring and inspiring Marines in the Battalion not only through his example, but, through his personal interaction as well. While conducting training packages such as detainee handling, sensitive site exploitation, acting as a Reconnaissance Operations Center watch officer and Human Intelligence Team basics; First Lieutenant Krissoff could always be found dedicating his time to ensure all the Marines understood all facets of intelligence gathering.

-During Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, First Lieutenant Krissoff wasted no time in preparing the Marines for the initial stages of the relief-in-place missions with a sister battalion. He managed the employment of a Human Exploitation Team which included developing human intelligence, atmospheric development, key leader engagement, counterintelligence, knock and talks, and classes dealing with all facets of detainee handling. As with the pre-deployment work up, First Lieutenant Krissoff again taught different classes on human exploitation techniques, sensitive site exploitation procedures, and proper detainee handling procedures. First Lieutenant Krissoff dedicated himself to ensure that not only the Marines, but the Battalion as a whole, were prepared to handle all facets of Human Intelligence and the parameters it encompassed.

-First Lieutenant Krissoff led a Human Exploitation Team (HET) sub-team on eight different battalion operations and participated in 30 combat patrols. Utilizing his instinctive ability to solicit information and inquisitive nature, he facilitated the timely rescue of a local national who was being held hostage by insurgent forces. On 8 December, Lieutenant Krissoff volunteered to participate on a mission in the Al Amiriyah and Al Faris area, to facilitate targeted intelligence raids, key leader engagement, continued development of atmospherics, and proper mission planning for future operations. As a HET Marine, First Lieutenant Krissoff was constantly in the area of operations, exposing himself to dangerous situations; thereby developing intelligence for future targeted raids and to counter increased enemy activity in the area. As they were returning to base, his vehicle was attacked with an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). During the attack Lieutenant Krissoff was mortally wounded.

-Throughout the challenging pre-deployment training period and deployment to Iraq, First Lieutenant Krissoff consistently and unfailingly contributed to the battalion without fanfare. The consummate team player, First Lieutenant Krissoff’s unselfishness has had a tremendous impact on the battalion’s efficiency and proficiency as it prepared for and deployed to Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. First Lieutenant Krissoff’s dedication, initiative and steadfast leadership have reflected credit upon him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. First Lieutenant Krissoff is exceedingly deserving of recognition for the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (Posthumously) with Combat Distinguishing Device for his contributions to the Battalion and the Marine Corps.

The Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.

Recommended Citation:
FOR HEROIC ACHIEVEMENT IN CONNECTION WITH COMBAT OPERATIONS AGAINST THE ENEMY WHILE SERVING AS COUNTER INTELLIGENCE OFFICER, HEADQUARTERS AND SERVICE COMPANY, 3D RECON BN, RCT 5, I MEF (FWD) IN SUPPORT OF OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM FROM 25 SEP 06 TO 8 DEC 06. FIRST LIEUTENANT KRISSOFF ESTABLISHED HIMSELF AS A FIRST RATE COUNTER INTELLIGENCE OFFICER THROUGH HIS INQUISITIVE NATURE AND INHERENT ABILITY TO SOLICIT VALUABLE HUMAN INTELLIGENCE FROM SUSPECTED INSURGENT FORCES. HE ENDURED FREQUENT EXPOSURE TO DANGEROUS SITUATIONS IN ORDER TO FACILITATE INTELLIGENCE DRIVEN TARGETED RAIDS WHICH YIELDED THE CAPTURE OF SIX HIGH VALUED INDIVIDUALS. HE SUPPORTED EIGHT COMBAT OPERATIONS AND 30 COMBAT PATROLS WHERE HE PROVIDED CRITICAL TIME SENSITIVE COUNTER INTELLIGENCE SUPPORT. HE DISREGARDED HIS OWN SAFETY TO ADEPTLY GATHER VITAL INFORMATION TO ENSURE THE BATTALION’S SUCCESS ON THE BATTLEFIELD. ON 8 DEC 06, WHILE ON ONE OF HIS MANY DANGEROUS MISSIONS, HE WAS MORTALLY WOUNDED BY AN IMPROVISED EXPLOSIVE DEVICE. FIRST LIEUTENANT KRISSOFF’S COURAGEOUS ACTIONS, INITIATIVE, AND COMPLETE DEDICATION TO DUTY REFLECTED GREAT CREDIT UPON HIM AND WERE IN KEEPING WITH THE HIGHEST TRADITIONS OF THE MARINE CORPS AND THE UNITED STATES NAVAL SERVICE.

On 9 December 2006, Nate was killed in an IED attack while supporting 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion in al-Amariyah, Iraq. After the mayhem of the attack, two Marines in the vehicle swore that they had been freed and led away from the burning vehicle by Nate. Semper Fi Brother. We miss you Bro. -E

 

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eric

Eric graduated with honors in 2004 from the The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA. He was then commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant, United States Marine Corps the same year, completed multiple combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan as a Counterintelligence / Human Source Intelligence Officer and later as a Case Officer and Active Duty Special Agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Eric honorably discharged as a Captain after 8 years’ service in 2012.

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