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Army Pfc. Stephen K. Richardson

Died March 20, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

22, of Bridgeport, Conn.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; died March 20 in Baghdad when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during combat operations. Also killed was Sgt. Wayne R. Cornell.

Soldier from Bridgeport dies in Iraq

The Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. — Gov. M. Jodi Rell ordered U.S. and Connecticut flags lowered to half-staff March 22 in honor of a soldier from Bridgeport killed this week in a roadside bombing in Iraq.

Army Pfc. Stephen K. Richardson, 22, died March 20 when the bomb exploded near his vehicle, the Department of Defense said March 21. The blast also killed another soldier in his unit. They were soldiers with 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry, 4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, based in Fort Riley, Kan.

He’s the 38th person with Connecticut ties who has died since March 2002 in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Private Richardson and thousands upon thousands of brave men and women like him serve our nation every day,” Rell said. “Our gratitude runs deep, especially when such a young life is ended so soon. On behalf of all of Connecticut I extend condolences and prayers for comfort to his family — here in Connecticut, his wife and daughter in Kansas and his relatives in Jamaica.”

Flags will remain at half-staff until Richardson is buried. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

Richardson, an indirect fire infantryman, enlisted in the Army in 2005 and began serving with the 1st Infantry Division in 2006, according to Fort Riley. It was his first deployment in the war.

He was born in Jamaica and moved to Connecticut when he was 12 or 13, said Lt. Col. John Whitford of the Connecticut National Guard. Richardson was a student for one semester at the University of Bridgeport in 2004.

Professor Edward Geist, Richardson’s adviser there, said Richardson wanted to be a business major and study international business. Geist remembered a placement essay in which Richardson wrote that he wanted to return to Jamaica and use his education to bring about positive changes.

“He would have done that, too,” Geist said. “He would have succeeded in getting his business degree. He had his best grade in accounting. He had a real interest in it.”

Bridgeport Mayor John Fabrizi extended his city’s sympathy to Richardson’s family.

“Private Richardson served our country with courage and conviction,” Fabrizi said. “Every time we lose a soldier in combat it’s heartbreaking, but it is even more so when it’s one of your own and when it is someone so young. Private Richardson has made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and for that we are humbled and deeply grateful.”

Richardson is survived by his wife, who lives in Kansas; his mother, who is in Jamaica; and his father, a resident of Bridgeport.

Richardson’s body was due to be returned to the U.S. on March 22. Funeral plans have so far not been announced, Whitford said.

Grandmother seeks new passport to attend soldier’s funeral

The Associated Press

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Rep. Christopher Shays is trying to help the grandmother of a Connecticut soldier who was killed in Iraq renew her passport so she can attend his funeral in Jamaica.

Pfc. Stephen Richardson, 22, was killed last week by a roadside bomb in Baghdad. It was his first tour of duty in Iraq.

Richardson, a native of Jamaica, moved to Bridgeport in his early teens. His funeral has been scheduled for April 8 in Jamaica, where his mother lives.

His grandmother, Ina Jackson of Bridgeport, is worried that she may not be able to attend because her passport is expired.

A spokesman for Shays, R-Conn., said the congressman is working with Jackson to get her a new passport, probably this week.

Jackson is now trying to raise money for the air fare and is optimistic she will go to Jamaica.

“I think it is all going to work out and I hope to be there,” she said.

Richardson enlisted in the Army in 2005 and began serving with the 1st Infantry Division last year, according to Fort Riley where he had been stationed.

Legislators help grandmother attend soldier’s funeral

The Associated Press

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Lawmakers will pick up the tab so a local grandmother can fly to Jamaica for the funeral of her grandson, a soldier killed last week in Iraq.

State Rep. Charles D. Clemons Jr., D-Bridgeport, called Ina Jackson over the weekend to tell her the state legislature’s Black and Latino Caucus will pay for her plane ticket. Her grandson, Pfc. Stephen Richardson, who was in his early teens when he moved to Bridgeport from Jamaica, will be buried there April 8.

Lawmakers who read an article about Jackson in the Connecticut Post also offered to pay for plane fare for the 4-year-old granddaughter Jackson cares for during the day.

“I read the article last night when I got back from Hartford,” Clemons said. “I thought that it would be a noble cause for the caucus to help out the family financially.”

The caucus, which has 19 members, contributes each year to charitable causes.

“I’m excited,” Jackson said. “Everything is coming together.”

U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays’ office is also helping Jackson get a new passport, since hers is expired.

Shays, who met with Jackson on March 25, said there should be no problems with getting her passport in time.

“I’m confident that it will all work out because there are so many people helping,” Shays said. “Everyone is pitching in to help a beautiful family.”

Richardson, 22, was killed last week by a roadside bomb in Baghdad. It was his first tour of duty in Iraq.

He enlisted in the Army in 2005 and began serving with the 1st Infantry Division last year, according to Fort Riley, Kansas, where he had been stationed.

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