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Western Ky. Army Ranger, 27, dies while on patrol in Iraq

MADISONVILLE — The father of a Western Kentucky soldier killed in Iraq says Madisonville is "filling me up with love and prayers" since learning of his 27-year-old son's death.

Sgt. William P. Rudd died Sunday after being hit by enemy small-arms fire while on combat patrol in Mosul, said the U.S. Defense Department.

Rudd was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Ga.

"The community is filling me up with love and prayers," the soldier's father, Bill Rudd of Madisonville, told The Messenger newspaper of Madisonville. "They support what Patrick did for our cause, so we wouldn't have terrorists back over here."

Patrick Rudd is thought to be the first Hopkins County native killed in Iraq.

He graduated from Madisonville-North Hopkins High School in 1999, then went to work on the assembly line at White Hydraulics in Hopkinsville.

Patrick Rudd had previously been deployed twice to Afghanistan and five times to Iraq. He joined the Army on Oct. 2, 2003.

"He had spent two years thinking about it, knowing that he needed a different direction in his life and wanting to defend our country."

Patrick Rudd served with the Army Rangers, elite special operations troops. "He didn't join for himself," Bill Rudd said. "You might say he joined for everyone else over here."

Patrick Rudd was a decorated soldier, receiving the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and many awards.

He is expected to posthumously receive the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal.

Other survivors include Patrick Rudd's mother, Pamela Coakley of Nortonville; his stepmother, Barbara Rudd of Madisonville; and a sister and brother.

The funeral is pending.

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