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SFC Aaron A. Grider
from Brighton, Illinois

SFC Grider served with: A_Co 1_75_Ranger_Bn

Born in 1980, Ranger Grider was 30 years old at the time of his death in 2010.


Complete biography is below the photo gallery
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SFC Aaron A. Grider 's Biography

Sgt. 1st Class Ronald A. "Aaron" Grider died Saturday on his 30th birthday after being hit by machine gun fire during combat in the Kunduz province of Afghanistan, officials with the U.S. Department of Defense said.
His is a story of unbelievable courage, bravery, and dedication. It was his ninth military deployment overseas. He went seven times to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan.

During his military service, SFC Aaron A. Grider also served in HHC 2nd Bn 504th PIR, USASOC

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/military/soldier-from-brighton-killed-in-afghanistan/article_e5ba81ed-32e7-5f9b-a1c9-ebff5603cfc5.html


BRIGHTON • A soldier from Brighton died Saturday -- his 30th birthday -- after he was hit by machine gun fire in Kunduz province, Afghanistan, his family and the U.S. Department of Defense said.

Sgt. 1st Class Ronald "Aaron" Grider, 30, was assigned to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command in Fort Bragg, N.C.

"He was just loved by everybody," said his stepmother, Virginia Grider. "We miss him."

Grider was just married in March to Brittany Reed. They lived in North Carolina. Grider had a 4-year-old daughter from his first marriage.

Grider's uncle, Ned Thompson of Bunker Hill, said Grider was "a beautiful kid who loved his country.

"He knew what the risks were and was willing to die to help us out," said Thompson, 61. "It's just amazing. It doesn't even strike home until it gets this close."

Grider's wife was in North Carolina on Monday night to see his casket escorted from the plane.

Grider was born in Alton. He graduated from Civic Memorial High School, where he had been involved in cross country and track, and wrestled a few years, Thompson said.

"He was a real physical fitness nut as far as biking and staying in shape," Thompson said. "He was even voted the "best-built" boy of the school."

Thompson called Grider by the nickname "Hank," as a joke because Thompson's favorite ballplayer was Hank Aaron.

During high school, Grider worked at a grocery store after hours. After graduation, he joined the Army before the age of 18 so his father signed for him to go, Thompson said.

"He joined the infantry. He went from there to airborne, to rangers, then to special ops," Thompson said.

Grider served with the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment at Fort Bragg, N.C., as a grenadier, rifleman and scout team leader. He served with the 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Ga., as a rifle team leader and squad leader and was sent to Afghanistan once and to Iraq three times. After Grider joined the special operations team in 2005, he went to Iraq four more times and to Afghanistan once.

His uncle, Thompson, is a Vietnam veteran and recalls talks with his nephew about the military.

"He would talk about that he was so secure in his training and felt so good about this team of guys he worked with, they were very successful in what they did," Thompson said. "He didn't get into the politics of the war. He said this was his job and there were bad people in the world and his job was to rid the world of people like that."

Thompson said Grider was very religious. A Lutheran, he met his wife Brittany at a Lutheran church in Colorado. On one of their first dates, they went skydiving.

When Grider would come home to Illinois to visit relatives, Thompson said he would never brag about his job. It wasn't until after Grider's death that Thompson found out that Grider had previously been awarded two bronze stars.

"He was one of those kind of guys, he wouldn't even tell you what his rank was," Thompson said. "He was just the most amazing person. For a guy as tough as he was, he hugged and kissed ya, and he loved everybody."

After 12 years in the military, Grider had opportunities and could have come home to work as a military instructor. "But that wasn't him," Thompson said.

"He would smile and say, 'I can't wait to get back to work.' He was going to go where there was extreme danger. He was in the thick of it all the time. He was excited about it."

One example of Grider's duties, Thompson recalls, is how his team worked with a dog that would run through buildings with a camera mounted on it so the team could visualize the layout.

Grider is survived by his wife, Brittany Grider of Carthage, N.C., daughter Catie Anne Grider of Raleigh, N.C.; his mother, Rita Grider of St. Louis County; his father, Ron Grider of Brighton and stepmother, Virginia Grider; two sisters, Sherry Grider of East Alton, and Jennifer Thompson of Alton; and his grandmother, Phyllis Grider of East Alton.

The Aaron Grider Memorial Fund has been set up. Contributions can be made to Jane Unsell, attorney; 3 South Sixth Street, Wood River, Illinois, 62095.

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http://livinglegendteam.blogspot.com/2010/09/army-sgt-1st-class-ronald-grider.html
Army Sgt. 1st Class Ronald A. Grider
Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. 1st Class Ronald A. Grider, 30, Brighton, Ill.

SFC Grider was assigned to U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died Sept. 18, 2010 at Kunduz province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he was struck by machine gun fire.

Sgt. 1st Class Ronald A. "Aaron" Grider died Saturday on his 30th birthday after being hit by machine gun fire during combat in the Kunduz province of Afghanistan, officials with the U.S. Department of Defense said.

Aaron Grider, an Alton native and a 1998 graduate of Civic Memorial High School in Bethalto, was assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C.

"He was just loved by everybody," said his stepmother, Virginia Grider. "We miss him."

Grider's aunt, Debbie Thompson of Bunker Hill, who is his father's sister, said the family received the sad news Saturday. She said her nephew, who was called "Aaron" by his family, was a "wonderful" man.

"He was just the nicest person," Thompson said. "He has done so much in 30 years that it's amazing."

Thompson said Grider ran track and cross country and also wrestled during his high school years. "He was so physically fit," she said. "He liked to be physically fit; he was an exercise nut."

Thompson also recalled Grider's sense of humor, noting that he was the baby of the family. Grider has an older sister, Sherry, she said.

His aunt said Grider had been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan a total of 11 or 12 times.

"He would talk about service" when he was home on leave, she said. "He was dedicated to it. He thought it was a worthy cause."

Thompson said she never heard her nephew express any fear for his own safety. "He wanted us to think that there was no problem," she said. "He was so specialized that he thought he was invincible."

Grider is survived by his 4-year-old daughter, Katie-Anne Grider of Raleigh, N.C., from his first marriage. He married his second wife, Brittany Grider of Carthage, N.C., in March of this year, and she also survives.

"They were married in Colorado, actually," Thompson said. "We had a little reception for them after the wedding in Bunker Hill."

Thompson said his father, Ron Grider of Brighton, was in Dover, Del., on Monday night, waiting for Aaron Grider's body to be returned to Dover Air Force Base. She said Aaron would be brought home, but she was unsure about funeral arrangements.

"We'll probably all go to Fort Bragg," Thompson said. "I think there will be a big military service there."

During high school, Grider worked at a grocery store after hours. After graduation, he joined the Army before the age of 18 so his father signed for him to go, Thompson said.

"He joined the infantry. He went from there to airborne, to rangers, then to special ops," Thompson said.

Grider served with the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment at Fort Bragg, N.C., as a grenadier, rifleman and scout team leader. He served with the 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Ga., as a rifle team leader and squad leader and was sent to Afghanistan once and to Iraq three times. After Grider joined the special operations team in 2005, he went to Iraq four more times and to Afghanistan once.

His uncle, Thompson, is a Vietnam veteran and recalls talks with his nephew about the military.

"He would talk about that he was so secure in his training and felt so good about this team of guys he worked with, they were very successful in what they did," Thompson said. "He didn't get into the politics of the war. He said this was his job and there were bad people in the world and his job was to rid the world of people like that."

Airborne-qualified, he served with the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment at Fort Bragg as a grenadier, rifleman and scout team leader. Also during this time, Grider attended and graduated from Ranger school.

Once he was Ranger-qualified, Grider served with the 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Ga., as a rifle team leader and squad leader, where he deployed once to Afghanistan and three times to Iraq.

In November 2005, Grider was assigned as a special operations team member, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, where he deployed an additional four times to Iraq and once to Afghanistan.

He was posthumously awarded his third Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart.

His other awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal with Valor Device, three Army Commendation Medals, five Army Achievement Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, the Iraq Campaign Medal with six Bronze Service Stars, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medals, five Overseas Service Bars and the Valorous Unit Award.

Friends of the Grider family already have scheduled a fund-raiser for the family's travel expenses, with any additional money to be placed in an educational fund for Aaron Grider's daughter. The fund-raiser will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at Leroy's Bar at Holiday Shores. Admission will be $20, with draft beer and food included.

"It's just terrible; it's unimaginable," Thompson said about her nephew's death. "He was just a great person. For his 30 years, he was something."

Thompson said Grider was very religious. A Lutheran, he met his wife Brittany at a Lutheran church in Colorado. On one of their first dates, they went skydiving.

Grider is survived by his wife, Brittany Grider of Carthage, N.C., daughter Katie-Anne Grider of Raleigh, N.C.; his mother, Rita Grider of St. Louis County; his father, Ron Grider of Brighton and stepmother, Virginia Grider; two sisters, Sherry Grider of East Alton, and Jennifer Thompson of Alton; and his grandmother, Phyllis Grider of East Alton.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Ronald A. Grider was killed in action on 9/18/10.
Posted by Terri Rager at 8:02 PM
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https://www.facebook.com/notes/military-wall-of-honor/special-forces-sgt-1st-class-ronald-a-grider/10150260082675244

SFC Aaron Grider, a former veteran of the 1st Ranger Bn, 75th Ranger Regiment was killed in action in Afghanistan.

SFC. Ronald A. Grider was born in Alton, on September 18, 1980. He graduated from Civic Memorial High School in Bethalto in 1998. SFC. Grider enlisted in the U.S. Army as an Infantryman on August 18, 1998. After completing Infantry One Station Unit Training and Basic Airborne School, SFC. Grider was assigned to Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Fort Bragg, N.C. where he served for three years as a grenadier and a rifleman.

In the spring of 2000, he attended 82nd Airborne Division Pre-Ranger Course, subsequently attending and graduating from Ranger School in May 2000. SFC. Grider was assigned as a scout team leader in March 2002 to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Bn., 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, and served in this capacity for seven months before being reassigned to Fort Benning, Georgia.

In October 2002, SFC. Grider was assigned as a rifle team leader to Co. A, 1st Bn., 75th Ranger Regiment, transitioning to squad leader in October 2004. While assigned to Alpha Company, SFC. Grider deployed once to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom and three times to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

SFC. Grider was assigned in November 2005 as a special operations team member, United States Army Special Operations Command (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C. For five years he performed this duty, deploying four times to Operation Iraqi Freedom and once more to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom.

SFC. Grider's military education includes the Basic Airborne Course, Pre Ranger Course, Ranger School, Warrior Leader Course, Static Line Jumpmaster, Ranger Breacher and Master Breacher Courses, Advanced Land Navigation Course, Sapper Leader Course, Department of Defense High Risk Survival Course, Military Free Fall Course, Infantry Advanced Leader's Course, and Infantry Senior Leader's Course.

The Pentagon says 30-year-old Sergeant 1st Class Ronald "Aaron" Grider died after being hit by machine gun fire September 18 during a combat operation in Konduz Province, Afghanistan. He leaves behind a wife and young daughter.

His is a story of unbelievable courage, bravery, and dedication. It was his ninth military deployment overseas. He went seven times to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan. Friends say he was always happy and always smiling. He was a spiritual family man, an outdoorsman, and a music lover. "He had a great smile. Even if you were in a bad mood, he would be one person who could put you in an excellent mood," said former classmate Shanna Combes. Friends and former teachers say he was always putting other people first." Just a fun kid to be around, fun in class. He'd run by and give you a hug for no reason and then take off running," offered former science teacher and track coach Frank Grasier.

Ronald Grider was beloved for his modest, kind nature, his family said Tuesday. "He was just loved by everybody," said his stepmother, Virginia Grider. He was married in March and had a 4-year-old daughter from a prior marriage.

Sgt. Grider's uncle, Ned Thompson of Bunker Hill, said he was "a beautiful kid who loved his country. "He knew what the risks were and was willing to die to help us out," said Thompson, 61, a Vietnam veteran. During high school, Sgt. Grider worked at a grocery. After graduation, he got his father to sign papers so he could join the Army before age 18, Thompson said.

"He didn't get into the politics of the war," Thompson said. "He said this was his job and there were bad people in the world and his job was to rid the world of people like that." Thompson said Sgt. Grider was very religious and had met his wife at a Lutheran church in Colorado.
Sgt. Grider never bragged at home, Thompson said. Only after Sgt. Grider's death did his uncle learn he had previously been awarded two Bronze Stars. After 12 years in the military, Sgt. Grider could have come home to work as an instructor. "But that wasn't him," Thompson said. "He would smile and say, 'I can't wait to get back to work.' He was going to go where there was extreme danger. He was in the thick of it all the time."

Sgt. 1st Class Ronald Grider earned the following awards and decorations: two Bronze Star Medals, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal with Valor Device, three Army Commendation Medals , five Army Achievement Medals, Army Good Conduct Medal (fourth award), National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, the Iraq Campaign Medal with six Bronze Service Stars, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with numeral three, Army Service Ribbon, Ranger Tab, Sapper Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Military Free Fall Parachutist Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, and five Overseas Service Bars and the Valorous Unit Award. SFC. Grider was posthumously awarded his third Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart.

A military service will be held at Fort Bragg, N.C., upon the return of Sgt. Grider's fellow team members, which may be several weeks. Plans for a memorial service in Illinois are incomplete at this time.

Among the survivors are his wife, Brittany Grider of Carthage, N.C.; a daughter, Catie Anne Grider of Raleigh, N.C.; his mother, Rita Grider of St. Louis County; his father, Ron Grider of Brighton; his stepmother, Virginia Grider of Alton; two sisters, Sherry Grider of East Alton and Jennifer Thompson of Alton; and his grandmother, Phyllis Grider of East Alton.

Proceeds from a fundraiser to be held Saturday afternoon at Leroy's Tavern in Holiday Shores will aid Sgt. Grider's daughter and help pay travel expenses for relatives attending his funeral. Contributions to the Aaron Grider Memorial Fund can be sent to Jane Unsell, an attorney, at 3 South Sixth Street, Wood River, Ill. 62095.

Father this young man lived a special life in service to you, his country and his family. We ask a special blessing on his young wife Brittany, daughter Catie Anne and his parents, sisters, grandmother and friends. Father wrap the Grider family in your loving arms and comfort them in their sorrow. We admire, praise and appreciate so much the service and sacrifice of Sgt. Ronald A. Grider. His life touched so many and he will never be forgotten. Welcome him father into his heavenly home for his work here is done and he was a true and faithful servant.

"The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it." ~Thucydides

De Oppresso Liber

Respectfully submitted ~ Debbie Frith

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/illinois/article_20ff8f02-2fc2-5579-91bc-e31ef461bb21.html
http://www.ksdk.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=217524&catid=3
http://news.soc.mil/releases/News%20Archive/2010/September/100920-01.html




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