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Dr. Krissoff Goes to War

Dr. Bill Krissoff, father of 1st Lt Nate Krissoff ’03, USMC, has joined the Navy.

Former East Grand Rapids resident Bill Krissoff never figured to be in a position to look President Bush in the eye and ask a favor.

But there he was, sitting in a room in Reno with Bush and several other families who had lost soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan.

His son, Marine Lt. Nathan Krissoff, had been killed in a December 2006 roadside bomb explosion in Iraq.

Months later, Krissoff came to a carefully considered decision: He would honor his son by leaving a flourishing orthopedic practice, a comfortable life, to join the Navy as a combat surgeon.

But his application for an age waiver was mired in paperwork.

Bush went around the room and asked if there was anything he could do.

“I said, ‘Yah, there is one thing. I want to join the Navy medical corps and I gotta get some help here,'” recalled Krissoff, 61, a 1964 graduate of East Grand Rapids High School who now resides in California near Reno.

Three days after that August meeting, the Navy called. His waiver had been granted.

Krissoff was commissioned a lieutenant commander Nov. 18, after which he expects to attend officer development school in January. Attached to the 4th Medical Battalion, he is on course to join a combat surgical team. He hopes to serve in Iraq.

Krissoff and his wife also appeared on a CBS Morning segment. CBS News picked up the story from People magazine. A scan of the article is below. The Krissoff’s other son is also a Marine officer.

His wife, Christine, 56, has made peace with his choice as well. But it doesn’t mean she won’t miss her husband.

“I am not fine with the amount of time he’s gone. But none of the wives of the military people who serve are going to be fine with it.

“That’s just part of the deal.”

His mother, East Grand Rapids resident Sylvia Krissoff, 88, said she was “shocked” when she learned what he planned to do.

Then it started to make sense.

“I think, for him, it really is great. It’s really an extension of his love for Nate and, in some ways, carrying on for what Nate would have done.

“Nate would have been so proud of him.”

As are we all. As the Marines he saves will soon start addressing him, “Welcome aboard, Doc.”


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#1 Comment By Anonymous On November 30, 2007 @ 4:13 pm

Not the path I’d take, but still a very touching tribute to a lost child.

#2 Comment By FROSH mom On November 30, 2007 @ 4:37 pm

Indeed, they are very lucky to have him.

And there is something mighty preposterous about his needing George W’s recommendation to make it happen.

Nonetheless, he is to be admired. My thoughts and prayers go out to the whole family.

#3 Comment By frank uible On November 30, 2007 @ 5:03 pm

Just about when I have reconciled myself to resigning from the human race, some clown like this pops up and confuses me.

#4 Comment By Will Slack ’11 On November 30, 2007 @ 5:43 pm

There’s a nice Youtube video from Fenway park that did that for me a few days ago.


#5 Comment By PTC On November 30, 2007 @ 7:23 pm

They have been chatitng about this in the military chatrooms. I was wondering…..

#6 Comment By anonymouse On November 30, 2007 @ 7:34 pm

Makes Bush look good. Hope he finds consolation in sacrifice. Semper Fi.

#7 Comment By FROSH mom On November 30, 2007 @ 9:56 pm

To Will Slack:
You are absolutely right….Great video! Thanks so much for sharing it.

to 7:34: I think I am beginning to recognize your voice…if you are also 4:13 and well, a few other posts….

But can’t you identify yourself with some sort of blog name? Otherwise you run the risk of occasionally being confused with, well…. you know…the other anonymous bloggers….

Just a thought…

#8 Comment By JQP On November 30, 2007 @ 10:01 pm

I’m still stuck on the question: How can the war in Iraq be a just war when the rationale for it was based on false pretenses, and the action was pre-emptive and aggressive?

The question aside, I respect and honor the selfless service of women and men in the armed forces, like Dr. Bill Krissoff and Nate and my friend Sharon.

#9 Comment By frank uible On December 1, 2007 @ 4:53 am

Perhaps the answer is that preemption in the service of defending against a perceived clear and present danger is no injustice.

#10 Comment By PTC On December 1, 2007 @ 9:42 am

Frank- Hogwash!

#11 Comment By frank uible On December 1, 2007 @ 11:44 am

An emotional but not very thoughtful response.

#12 Comment By Sarah On December 1, 2007 @ 12:51 pm

I’m extremely touched that Dr. Krissoff has done this.

My extended family is full of servicemen, and my first reaction upon hearing of Nate’s death was shock, coupled with extreme grief, which led me to wonder (briefly) whether I myself should enlist.

Instead, I’ve thrown my support behind peace efforts, but I will always carry Nate’s memory in my heart.

Gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice can take many forms– I am humbled by Dr. Krissoff’s action, and grateful to live in America.

God bless the troops, the Krissoff family, and the whole world, no exceptions.

#13 Comment By JQP On December 1, 2007 @ 6:54 pm

Frank, we agree on the threshold judgment – clear and present danger or eminent threat. But I don’t think the intelligence drove the decision. I think the facts were fixed to support the war policy and the decision drivers were concealed from the public and Congress. The Iraq war was rolled out like a product launch with a marketing campaign, not on the facts but on misinformation, such as aluminum tubes, Niger Uranium, Al Qaeda-Iraq “alliance”, and the specter of a smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud. Our enemy Al Qaeda was conflated with Saddam, and we bought it… BUT we bought it based on false pretenses – our consent was manufactured. I could have said “hogwash” but I thought I’d offer you more than that, not that I believe you’ll find the argument compelling. Having committed to full-scale warfare in Iraq, the calculus changes. The illegitimacy of the case for war may be completely irrelevant to the war policy going forward but it is not irrelevant to the accountability of the leaders who mislead us to war in Iraq due to their incompetence or worse, their competence in perpetrating the deception.

#14 Comment By ephmom On December 1, 2007 @ 11:14 pm

What a testament to a family’s love for each other and for their country. I’m humbled by the actions of the Krissoff family, and made to feel all the richer as a member of the extended Eph family that includes them all.

#15 Comment By & On December 4, 2007 @ 5:09 pm

For some reason, I didn’t get a box for comments on Stewart’s “Adopt an Eph” post above, so I will do this here.

To my mind, Dr. Krissoff is an Eph. Would someone please add his name and address to the card solicitation list as soon as he is deployed? Thank you very much.

#16 Comment By Jeff Z. On December 4, 2007 @ 5:41 pm

David has probably already suggested this, but just in case, are bicentennial medals ever awarded posthumously? If that is possible, the college should definitely honor Nate in that fashion.

#17 Comment By & On December 4, 2007 @ 6:06 pm

It looks as though this post didn’t “take” the first time I tried it. To my thinking, Dr. Krissoff is an Eph. Would someone please add his name and address to the “Adopt an Eph” program list as soon as he is deployed? Many thanks.

#18 Comment By & On December 4, 2007 @ 6:08 pm

Oh there it finally is. Apologies.