Nino Dugue Livaudais
Staff Sergeant,United States Army
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 201-03
April 04, 2003
DOD ANNOUNCES ARMY CASUALTIES
The Department of Defense announced today the identification of the following three soldiers who died as a result of severe injuries on April 3, 2003, in Iraq. They are:
Staff Sergeant Nino D. Livaudais, 23, was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia. Livaudais was from Utah.
Specialist Ryan P. Long, 21, was assigned to A Company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia. Long was from Seaford, Delaware.
Captain Russell B.
Rippetoe, 27, was assigned to A Company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger
Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia. Rippetoe was from Colorado.
Utah Soldier Buried at Arlington
ARLINGTON, Virginia -- With a breeze off the Potomac River freshening the unseasonably warm noon, a group of 50 mourners solemnly watched as Army Staff Sgt. Nino Dugue Livaudais of Syracuse was buried Wednesday in Arlington National Cemetery.
The 23-year-old Army Airborne Ranger from the Davis County community was one of three soldiers killed April 3 at a coalition checkpoint near Haditha Dam in western Iraq when they approached a vehicle while attempting to help a screaming pregnant woman. In an apparent suicide attack, a bomb in the vehicle detonated, killing the two female occupants along with Livaudais, 27-year-old Captain Russell B. Rippetoe, of Arvada, Colorado, and 21-year-old Specialist Ryan Long of Seaford, Delaware.
Livaudais was the fourth casualty of the Iraqi War to be buried in the nation's best-known military cemetery, preceded by Rippetoe, who was laid to rest last week at Arlington. Long also was buried Wednesday at a private cemetery in Wisconsin.
Livaudais' funeral, which was closed to news reporters at the request of his family, was attended by more than a dozen members of elite 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, based at Fort Benning in Georgia where Livaudais was stationed.
The rangers, who declined
to discuss Livaudais' death out of respect for his family, wore their signature
khaki berets and dress green uniforms as they joined a procession of more
than 30 vehicles behind a hearse bearing the squad leader's body and a
limousine carrying his family as it moved slowly through the manicured
green swales that are the final resting place for 275,000 servicemen dating
to the Civil War.
Besides his mother, four
brothers and two sisters, Livaudais is survived by his 21-year-old wife,
Jackie, a native of Clinton, and their two sons, Destre, 5, and Carson,
2, who live in Fort Mitchell, Alanama Jackie Livaudais is pregnant with
the couple's third child. According to statements released through Fort
Benning, his family remembered Livaudais as a humble man who cared for
the less fortunate.
As a matter of practice before leaving on a combat deployment, Army rangers write a letter to be forwarded to their families in case they die.
Fort Benning officials released
a portion of Livaudais' last letter to his loved ones.
A memorial fund for Livaudais'
children has been set up through America First Credit Union.
16 April 2003:
Family lays Livaudais to rest in private ceremony at Arlington
ARLINGTON, Virginia - The family of Staff Sergeant Nino D. Livaudais laid to rest the fallen Army Ranger in a private ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday.
Livaudais, 23, from Draper, Utah, and two other soldiers were killed April 4, 2003, in a suicide car bombing at an Iraqi checkpoint they were patrolling.
Livaudais was buried with full military honors. His casket was drawn to the gravesite by a horsedrawn caisson and he was saluted with three rifle volleys from a seven-member rifle party and a bugler playing ''Taps.'' A number of Army Rangers wearing khaki berets attended the graveside service.
Livaudais grew up in Utah where he later met and married his wife, Jackie. He has two young children and his wife is pregnant with their third child.
After graduating high school in Ogden in 1997, Livaudais joined the Army and became a Ranger in 1999. He was part of the 3rd Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia. He served in Afghanistan before his time in Iraq.
Livaudais and fellow Army Rangers were manning a checkpoint in Iraq near the Syrian border when a pregnant woman jumped from a car screaming in fear. The soldiers approached the car and it exploded, killing Livaudais, two other soldiers, the woman and the driver, according to the Defense Department.
Captain Russell B.
Rippetoe of Colorado, who was killed in the blast, was buried at Arlington
National Cemetery last week. His parents, retired Lieutenant Colonel Joe
Rippetoe and his wife Rita, attended Livaudais' funeral Wednesday.
Saturday: 12 April 2003:
Slain soldier's story one of valor
When Ñino Livaudais was a Clovis High School junior, his older brother knew the teenager would mature into a military man. When Livaudais parachuted into Afghanistan the day after two towers crumbled in New York, his older brother knew the young man and soldier was fearless.
When the phone rang April 3, 2003, however, nothing Phillip Livaudais knew about his little brother prepared him for the news.
Ñino Dugue Livaudais, 23, had been killed in Iraq by a suicide bomber.
"I just broke down," said Phillip, who got the call from his sister Lisa, also a Valley resident. "I kind of collapsed on the floor. I was real close to my brother."
Disbelief led Phillip to call a casualty office in Indianapolis "to make sure he was on the list. He was."
Ñino Livaudais, a Staff Sergeant and Army Ranger, was with his battalion at a U.S. checkpoint northwest of Baghdad when a pregnant woman stepped out of a vehicle and began screaming, military officials said.
Livaudais and several other soldiers were moving toward the civilian vehicle when it exploded. Captain Russell Rippetoe, 27, of Colorado and Specialist Ryan P. Long, 21, of Delaware also were killed, along with the pregnant woman and a female driver. Two other soldiers were wounded.
The 3rd Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment was in western Iraq, 80 miles east of the Syrian border.
Film of the two women, taped just before the bombing, was aired on Iraqi television. In the tapes, they stand in front of the Iraqi flag, right hands on the Quran and left hands clutching automatic rifles.
They called themselves martyrs and talked of a holy war.
While the women were making videotaped speeches, the Livaudais family prayed for Ñino.
"We prayed for him every day," said Phillip Livaudais, 44.
In 1995, following his father's death, Ñino moved in with Phillip and his family in their Clovis home.
Ñino moved from Utah to build a relationship with his brother.
Phillip is 21 years older than Ñino, his half brother, but the bond strengthened quickly.
They hunted pheasant, quail and doves in the Fresno County foothills. They watched a Civil War re-enactment.
"I always tried to stay in contact with him when he was younger. And he wanted to come out here to get to know me as a brother," Phillip Livaudais said.
Ñino moved back to Utah after spending one school year in Clovis, to be with his girlfriend and graduate with friends, Phillip said.
The family has deep military roots.
Their father, Howard, retired after 30 years in the Air Force as a liaison officer. A 52-year-old brother, Tom, is a retired Navy officer.
Phillip retired in 1981 from Army military police and now works for the U.S. Postal Service in Sanger.
It came as no surprise when Ñino entered a program to join the elite Army unit.
"I think what drew him was the excitement and how hard it was to become an Army Ranger," Phillip said.
Ñino found plenty of excitement during two tours in Afghanistan, the first beginning September 12, 2001.
"He told me he had been in a few firefights and said that if it wasn't for the grace of God and the umbrella he had over him and his men, that they'd all be dead," Phillip said.
Ñino looked forward to going to Iraq.
"He was never afraid," Phillip said. "That's the way our family was raised, not to be afraid of anything. And if you're going to do it, do it 100%."
For his service in Iraq, Ñino earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for valor.
He is survived by his pregnant wife, Jackie; sons, Destre and Carson; mother, Divina Livaudais; brothers, Walter, Tom, Phillip and Howard; and sisters, Cathy and Lisa.
Funeral services are scheduled Wednesday at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Additional services are planned at Fort Benning, Ga., where Ñino Livaudais' regiment was based, and in northern Utah.
Said Phillip Livaudais, "He died a hero."
HOW TO HELP
To send flowers to Ñino Livaudais' funeral
service, call Arlington Florist in Virginia at (703) 534-7210. For details
about a memorial fund for Sgt. Livaudais' children, call America First
Credit Union in Utah at (800) 999-3961.
Thursday April 10, 2003
At home, Ranger was 'the life of the party'
Jackie Livaudais has no regrets.
She knew going into the marriage what life would be like as a Ranger wife.
Niño explained everything to her: Deployment to the world's hot spots could come at any time; and the stay could be lengthy. And there was always the possibility of being killed in combat.
To that end, Niño left nothing to chance. He painstakingly detailed what he wanted done if he didn't make it home from his most recent assignment. His major request: To be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
That thought came to Jackie's mind when she saw the car carrying three Army officers pull up to her house last Thursday night.
"I knew what they were here for," she said, several days after being told that Staff Sergeant Niño D. Livaudais, 23, her husband of five years, the father of her children, her best friend since junior high, had been killed in a car bombing in Iraq.
One never expects to be told that their soldier husband is dead, she said, almost in a whisper. "But Ranger wives are always prepared for that possibility."
What she wasn't prepared for was the outpouring of support from her Ranger "family" and from the community at large.
There's food everywhere, courtesy not only from neighbors and fellow wives in the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, but from Red Lobster, the Olive Garden and other area restaurants.
"It's unbelievable," she said. "Food came from 17 local restaurants. Can you believe that?" She also received calls from folks from Hollywood Connection, Rich's, Penney's and other area stores, all offering help for her and her kids.
"I knew I'd get support from the other wives... but I truly never expected so much help from the business community."
Jackie spent most of Monday at Martin Army Community Hospital, ensuring that the baby she's been carrying for four months is OK. And it is. One of the neighbors cared for her children Destre, 5, and Carson, 2.
On her return, she was willing to talk about her life with Niño... and what her life might be like without him.
They'd met in junior high, dated through high school and ran off and got married when Niño had built up a bit of leave time.
Jackie Seaver -- "It's Seaver, like the 'Growing Pains' family," she said -- had grown up in Clinton, an east bank town on the Great Salt Lake.
Livaudais, he of Filipino and French stock, was from Syracuse, another of the small towns that flank I-15 -- 23 miles west of Salt Lake City.
Jackie says the couple couldn't afford a big wedding, so they headed off to the mountains, to a town on the Wyoming border called Randolph.
"The county clerk married us," laughed Jackie, sitting in the comfort of her home off Alabama 315 in Fort Mitchell. "I think she was married to the sheriff. It was fun. We had two friends from home come with us and we stayed in these old ma and pa cabins."
Then the Livaudaises headed South, to Fort Benning, the only post Niño had known since his enlistment in 1998.
"It's funny," said Jackie. "I'd lived in Utah all my life, and that whole time I hated snow. Coming down South was great for me."
From 1999, when Niño graduated from the Ranger course, the family lived as close to post as they could get.
She liked being a Ranger wife. She liked the other Ranger wives. "We're family," Jackie said.
Niño, who had achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant and was a squad leader in the 3rd battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, was often the life of the party at the couple's home.
"He was Mr. Backyard Barbecue," said Jackie. "He loved having his friends over; loved cooking for them. Not just Rangers, but some of his other soldier buddies, too."
Just before he was deployed to the Persian Gulf in March, Niño completed installing a hot tub out back.
"He was really looking forward to soaking in that tub."
Niño was handy around the house. "He could fix anything, including his car and my truck."
Oh, yes, his car. "He's driving the same ol' Camry he had in high school," she laughed. "He loved that car."
Niño had matured greatly since his high school days. "I know he became the man of his house when his father died in 1995. He was a take-charge kind of guy."
Except with his mother.
"Oh, that," said Jackie. "The football thing. Niño had worked real hard one summer to buy this great looking football uniform. He told his mother that he wanted to play for the high school team that fall, that he could be a star on the team. But she wouldn't let him play. She didn't want him to get hurt."
She hopes to remain in this area.
"My family is here," she said, meaning the husbands and wives of the 75th Ranger Regiment.
She'll miss "date nights" with Niño -- dinner at El Vaquero and a movie. And trips to the park with Niño and the kids.
But she's now the "man" of the family, the
one who must make the decisions. She says she had quite a good tutor.
Apparent Suicide Bombing Kills 3 Troops
Iraqi television on Friday broadcast statements by two Iraqi women it said blew themselves up in an attack on U.S. forces, apparently in the blast that killed three American soldiers in western Iraq.
U.S. military officials said Friday that one of the women was pregnant; they said it was impossible to know if she voluntarily took part in the attack.
The attack happened Thursday night about 10 miles southwest of the Haditha Dam when a car exploded at a U.S. checkpoint. The site is northwest of Baghdad and about 80 miles east of the Syrian border.
The Pentagon said the three soldiers killed were members of the 3rd Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment, based at Fort Benning, Georgia.
"A pregnant female stepped out of the vehicle and began screaming in fear," a U.S. Central Command statement said. "At this point the civilian vehicle exploded, killing three coalition force members who were approaching the vehicle and wounding two others." The statement said the woman and the driver also were killed.
"These are not military actions. These are terrorist actions," said Brigadier General Vincent Brooks, Central Command deputy director of operations.
Iraqi television, monitored in Qatar, said the women were those involved in the attack on coalition forces. The tapes had been broadcast earlier by the Arabic satellite station Al-Jazeera.
The two women, each standing in front of the Iraqi flag, right hand on the Quran placed on a table in front of her and left hand brandishing an automatic rifle.
A woman who identified herself as "martyrdom-seeker Nour Qaddour al-Shammari" swore on the holy book of Islam "to defend Iraq ... and take revenge from the enemies of the (Islamic) nation, Americans, imperialists, Zionists" and Arabs who have submitted to the foreigners.
"We say to our leader and holy war comrade, the hero commander Saddam Hussein, that you have sisters that you and history will boast about," said the woman, who wore the red-checked keffiyeh, an Arab headscarf.
In a separate video, another woman, who identified herself as Wadad Jamil Jassem, stood in a similar pose.
"I have devoted myself for jihad (holy war) for the sake of God and against the American, British and Israeli infidels and to defend the soil of our precious and dear country," she said.
The videotapes were similar to those distributed of Palestinian suicide bombers after attacks against Israelis.
Both women were in long, loose-fitting dresses and it was not clear if one might have been pregnant.
In the first suicide attack against American forces, a bomber posing as a taxi driver pulled up close to a roadblock north of Najaf on Saturday, waved to American troops for help, then blew his vehicle up as they approached, killing four.
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein rewarded the officer, honoring him with a posthumous promotion, two new medals and a huge financial windfall for his family.
The Iraqi government has said suicide bombings will be a "routine military policy" and has promised more attacks.
The Pentagon identified the three slain Americans
as Captain Russell B. Rippetoe, 27, of Colorado,
Staff Sergeant Nino D. Livaudais, 23, of Utah and Specialist Ryan P. Long,
21, of Seaford, Delaware.
Photo By Michael Robert Patterson, May 2008
Photo By M. R. Patterson, 22 April 2004