Nino D. Livaudais

Nino D. Livaudais—July 2008 Shipment Honoree

Nino D. Livaudais

Sources:  USA Today, Associated Press, Military Times 
Nino Livaudais
Nino Livaudais

Livaudais, 23, was the “image of an American,” his best friend says.  “He’s a hero, definitely,” that friend, Hayden Hatch, told Salt Lake City’s KSL-TV.  “They had to do a terrorist-type thing in order to get him.  He was definitely a strong individual.  He was a good guy.  I’m proud to say he was my friend.”

Livaudais was killed in a suicide car-bomb attack April 3 while coming to the aid of a pregnant woman standing next to the car.  The woman, who had been a passenger in the car, also was killed.

Hatch, friends with Livaudais since junior high school, last saw him in the summer when he went home to Utah for a visit.  Hatch said Livaudais didn’t talk much about Iraq, except to say he was willing to serve.  “He was definitely an image of an American.  He loved his country.  He loved his family.  He would do anything for either,” Hatch said.

Jackie Livaudais, who has two children with Nino and is pregnant with a third, said she was proud of her husband.  “He had a purpose,” she said.  “He was doing his part as an American. I knew I never was going to get him behind a desk.  He wanted to make the world better and get the bad guys.”  She wasn’t surprised her husband would have rushed to aid a pregnant woman.  “What man wouldn’t run to that?” she said.

Livaudais, who also served in Afghanistan twice, planned to make the military his career.  He graduated from high school in Ogden in 1997, joined the Army in 1998 and became a Ranger in 1999.

Utah Soldier Buried at Arlington

Source:  Arlington National Cemetery Website
 April 17, 2003

Nino LivaudaisARLINGTON, 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, whose 24th birthday would have been April 30, was born in the Philippines and emigrated to the United States with his mother, Divina, who lives in Syracuse. His late father Howard, an Air Force veteran, was a survivor of the Bataan Death March.

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.      “He was always looking out for others,” Jackie Livaudais said. “He’d pile needy men into the back of his pickup and take them to McDonald’s where he’d buy food for them.”

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.

“Please know I died defending my family and my beliefs,” he wrote. “I just hope in the event of my death, that a lot more of my comrades and fellow Americans’ lives will be saved.”

A memorial fund for Livaudais’ children has been set up through America First Credit Union.

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