Soldier killed in Afghanistan remembered at Schweinfurt ceremony
SCHWEINFURT, Germany — Pfc. Russell E. Madden, who was killed last week in Afghanistan during a rocket attack, was a motivated soldier, a good father and a talented athlete, according to fellow paratroops downrange and community members who gathered on Wednesday in Schweinfurt to remember the soldier.
Madden, 29, of Dayton, Ky., died June 23 after a 107 mm rocket exploded over his lead vehicle in a convoy, penetrating its hull and fatally wounding him, according to a statement from unit officials. Three other soldiers were wounded in the attack.
During the ceremony at Ledward Chapel, Madden’s fellow paratroops remembered him in their letters from downrange.
“His leadership and fellow soldiers counted on him to make things happen when times were tough,” said a letter from Capt. Matt Booth, his troop commander. “Pfc. Madden would never leave his buddies in a bad situation.”
Madden served as a driver and gunner of a Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle with Troop D, 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment. While deployed to Logar province, Madden completed more than 85 missions outside the wire, according to the ceremony program.
“Russell always wanted to be the best at whatever it was we were doing that given day,” Pfc. Jose Maldonado wrote in a letter. “He was a very competitive person, which is what drove him to succeed in all that he did.”
Staff Sgt. Jermaine Mathis wrote that he saw Madden’s motivation and confidence the first time they met, shortly after he joined the unit in June 2009.
“I saw Madden trying to lift the heaviest piece of wood off the vehicle all by himself; I asked him if he needed a hand. And he replied ‘Negative sergeant,’ ” recalled Mathis. “I knew at that moment that Pfc. Madden was a motivated soldier; a soldier I wanted on my team.”
Booth remembered Madden for his fearless attitude as a soldier and as a quarterback during unit flag-football games.
“Pfc. Madden was our quarterback and the leader on the field,” Booth wrote. “If God needed a quarterback, he found a great one in Russell Madden. [He] will always be remembered by this squadron, but it was an honor and privilege for his leaders to have led such a great man.”
Madden was posthumously promoted to specialist, according to an International Security Assistance Force—Afghanistan release. Madden was the third 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team soldier to be killed in Afghanistan since the unit deployed late last year.
A second memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. July 8 in Vicenza, Italy, where the brigade is headquartered. Madden was based in Schweinfurt.
Madden is survived by his wife, Michelle Lee Reynolds Madden, and his son, Parker Lee Madden, of Fort Thomas, Ky. and his parents Martin and Pamela Madden of Bellevue, Ky., the release states.