The Krissoff’s Uncommon Valor (videos)
After September 11, 2001, one family began a journey that would take them to Sacrifice, Duty, and Honor… and Valor. Though you may have heard this story before somewhere, it is worth repeating now at a time when people are continually bashing our Military and our veterans. This family stands out- their patriotism and honor worthy of remembrance.
Nathan Krissoff and his younger brother Austin weren’t ‘military brats.’ Their Dad, Bill was a successful orthopedic surgeon in Reno, Nevada. Their Mom, Christine, was the kind of mother who supports, loves, and stands by those in her family with dignity.
Nathan Krissoff joined the United States Marine Corps after his graduation from Williams College. He was deployed to Iraq five years after the attacks on the World Trade Towers, in September 2006. At 25, he was athletic, smart, and ready to serve. He knew the risks.
As Nate was serving in Iraq, younger brother Austin was at Quantico, Virginia’s Officer Candidate School. They had no idea what was coming.
When Marines in their dress blues come to your door, you know that something desperately bad is about to be delivered. The men at the door told the Krissoffs that Nate had become the 2,924th Military member to die in Operation Iraqi Freedom. His Humvee had hit an IED buried in the roadway.
For Dr. Krissoff and his wife Christine, the news about their oldest son’s death was a blow that forever changed their lives. But rather than becoming a tombstone in their lives, it became a steppingstone.
Bill Krissoff is not a man to go without purpose in his life. He asked about medical care in the Marines, and was told that they are extremely important and needed. He called the recruiter and asked to be allowed to join the Navy as a surgeon. The recruiter said he thought that was impossible- Dr. Krissoff was 60 years old.
In 2007, the ‘Gold Star’ families of the fallen met with President George Bush. When it was over, the President asked the families privately if there was anything he could do to make it better for them. Dr. Krissoff told him that he wanted to join the Medical Corps as a surgeon, but needed an age waiver. He also told the President, “No disrespect, Sir, but I’m younger than you are.”
When the President asked Christine if she was ok with that, she simply stated that she was on board with it.
A new life
One month and a mound of paperwork later, Dr. Bill Krissoff was allowed to join the US. Navy Medical Corps. He and Christine moved to the San Diego area in 2008. He worked hard at the grueling physical requirements, and sat through countless hours of training in field medical procedures. In February of 2009, Lt. Commander Krissoff deployed to al-Taqaddum Air Base near Fallujah, Iraq.
By 2010, he deployed again, this time to Camp Bastion in Afghanistan. He was promoted to Commander in 2011 and at last note was serving at Camp Pendleton to continue rehabilitating wounded warriors.
Dr. Bill Krissoff was inspired by his sons to serve his country with valor. The men he saved with terrible war wounds and lost limbs are grateful for his skill as a surgeon. He calls them “war fighters,” men who refuse to leave their units even with injuries that would stop ordinary men in their tracks. The Krissoff’s uncommon valor is a rarity- but an honorable one.
“There can be no greater act of love by a father for his fallen son than to take his place in the ranks in the midst of war.” Maj General Larry Nicholson
His promotion to Commander