Father joins Navy to honor son who died in Iraq
After a lucky encounter with Bush, surgeon, 61, is granted an age waiver
By TED ROELOFS
Newhouse News Service
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. — 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, Nev., with Bush and several other families who had lost soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan.
His son, Marine Lt. Nathan Krissoff, 25, 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.
So, on that August day in Reno, when Bush went around the room and asked if there was anything he could do, Krissoff spoke up.
A request for help
"I said, 'Yeah, there is one thing. I want to join the Navy medical corps and I gotta get some help here,' " recalled Krissoff, 61, who lives in California, near Reno.
Three days after that meeting, the Navy called.
His waiver had been granted.
Krissoff was commissioned as a lieutenant commander Nov. 18, and he expects to attend officer development school in January. Attached to the 4th Medical Battalion, he plans to join a combat surgical team and hopes to serve in Iraq.
It is a story of loss and sacrifice being told on national media outlets. But Krissoff considers himself anything but a hero. He reserves words like that for people such as his son.
"The loss of a son puts a certain perspective on things.
"It's my turn to serve. I'm honored and privileged that the Navy will have me in the medical corps," Krissoff said. Continued...