Just when I thought that I knew about most of the Ephs, especially most of the Marines, serving in Iraq, I come across an article like this one about Jerry Rizzo ’87.

Current Navy sprint coach. He was not Annapolis. Instead, he was out of Williams College. Four years later, after a series of coaching jobs, he applied for Marine Officers Candidate School. In July of 2001 he was formally introduced as Navy’s sprint football coach. Between the 2002 season and 2003, Jerry Rizzo went to war in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served in Iraq for four months as a forward air controller, coordinating from the ground with a small aircraft above to call in air strikes on Iraqi positions.

“In three nights we covered 50 miles,” he recalls. “We weren’t at the front. We were the front. We were miles ahead of the 1st Marines to the east and the Army to the west.”

It is 3 a.m. and they are rolling toward a brigade of Iraqis preparing an ambush. The Marines saw them first as an Iraqi team was setting up a machine gun. They saw the Iraqi pickup trucks. They ambushed the ambushers.

The firefight lasted half an hour. Then Rizzo took the rest of his element north. In four months of fighting, Rizzo’s unit was back and forth across the face of Iraq.

My daughters sleep safe in their beds at night because Ephs like Jerry Rizzo serve on the frontlines of freedom. My thanks to all of them.

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