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Army Staff Sgt. Ronald C. Blystone

Died April 23, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


34, of Springfield, Mo.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; died April 23 in Baghdad of wounds sustained when he encountered small-arms fire during a dismounted patrol.

Local soldier killed in Iraq

By Jaime Baranyai

Springfield News-Leader

When a black car pulled into the driveway and she saw two officers coming to the front door, Alexia Blystone knew one of her sons had been killed in Iraq — she just didn’t know which one.

“I wouldn’t let them speak for a long time ... I didn’t want to know,” she said.

She soon learned it was her oldest son — Army Staff Sgt. Ronald C. Blystone, 34 — who had been killed Wednesday in Iraq.

“It was exactly like in the movies,” she said, recalling the officers’ visit to her Springfield home Wednesday evening. “It’s every parent’s worst nightmare to have to bury their child.”

The 1992 graduate of Glendale High School died when he suffered wounds during an encounter with small-arms fire during a patrol in Baghdad. It was his third tour in Iraq.

Blystone was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Hood, Texas, the Department of Defense said.

He leaves behind his wife, Kelly, and their three children, Maggie, 13, Molly, 10, and Zakery, 9, Alexia Blystone said. His wife and children live in Texas.

Alexia Blystone said her son, who was known as “R.C.,” was the type of guy who was friends with everyone.

“He was wonderful,” she said softly. “... Very loving, giving. Everybody that met him loved him.”

Blystone expressed great pride in her son’s accomplishments, which include a Bronze Star Medal.

The military decoration may be awarded for bravery, acts of merit or meritorious service. When awarded for bravery, it is the fourth-highest combat award of the U.S. Armed Forces and the ninth-highest military award.

“His commanders were amazed by him,” Alexia Blystone said.

She said he was also featured on the cover of U.S. News & World Report magazine with a caption that read: “We’re Winning.”

“It was a very proud moment for everyone,” she said.

His children were his passion, Alexia Blystone said. He also loved to scuba dive and was recently certified in deep-water rescues, she said.

He was an avid football player too.

“He had a good opportunity to explore that but chose not to,” she said.

Alexia Blystone recalled the last time she saw her son in February during a visit to Texas.

“We just did family stuff and we just spent time together,” she said, her voice quiet again.

She said she’s still in shock. “It’s not real, and it won’t be real for a long time.”

What scares her the most is the thought of losing her youngest son, 23-year-old Joseph Blystone. She hopes he will be able to come home from Iraq for the funeral, which will be in Springfield.

“I have no idea how I’m going to handle my youngest son finishing his tour,” she said. “I don’t want to take the chance of losing another son over there.”


Army Staff Sgt. Ronald C. Blystone remembered

The Associated Press

Ronald C. Blystone was the very model of a soldier — he was once featured on the cover of U.S. News & World Report magazine with a caption that read: “We’re Winning.”

“It was a very proud moment for everyone,” said his mother, Alexia Blystone.

Blystone, 34, who was known as “R.C.” and hailed from Springfield, Mo., was killed April 23 by small-arms fire in Baghdad during a patrol.

He was a 1992 high school graduate and was assigned to Fort Hood.

“He loved his country, but above all else he loved his wife and children,” said Steve Maples, director of the Missouri Veterans Cemetery. “God has called R.C. to that place of eternal peace.”

It was his third tour in Iraq. He played football and wrestled while in high school, loved watching the Kansas City Chiefs and going scuba diving.

“His commanders were amazed by him,” Alexia Blystone said.

She said he was the type of guy who was friends with everyone.

“He was wonderful,” she said. “Very loving, giving. Everybody that met him loved him.”

He also leaves behind his wife, Kelly, and their three children, Maggie, 13, Molly, 10, and Zakery, 9.

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