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SSG PATRICK LEE LYBERT

  • Branch: Army
  • Hometown/City: LADYSMITH, WI
  • Date of Birth: 09-29-1977
  • Date of Death: 06-21-2006
  • Conflict: Operation Enduring Freedom
  • Unit: TROOP C, 3D SQUADRON, 71ST CAVALRY
  • Port/Base: FORT DRUM, NY

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  • Although the Gold Star Site and the Army now list my Son Patrick's Date of Death as 22 June, 2006. This is not truly accurate. My Son was KIA on 21 June, 2006 - which is the date of the D.O.D. notification and all initial releases. Months later, they altered the final Death Certificate because he was not removed from the mountain he was killed on until the next day.

    To pay tribute to my Son, is for you to know him:

    Staff Sergeant Patrick Lee Lybert was born September 29, 1977, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin; son of David and Cheryl Lybert. His big blue eyes and captivating smile grabbed everyone's heart from the moment birth. Patrick was given his mother's maiden and middle name.

    Patrick, his brother Stacy, and their parents resided near the farm of Lee and Susie Riphenburg of Sheldon, Wisconsin where his father was employed. Early years were spent enjoying farm life with Dad and Lee. As a member of both the Marshall Marchers and Cloverland 4-H Clubs he enjoyed showing dairy cattle with his Grandparents Robert and Helen Patrick.

    In 1983 Patrick, his Mother, and Stacy, moved to Ladysmith, Wisconsin .

    A student of Ladysmith–Hawkins School District, he graduated in 1996.

    An eager young boy, Patrick joined Cub Scouts and thrived in Scouting. He met every goal and requirement, ultimately achieving Eagle Scout. Throughout his educational career he excelled at his athletic activities. These included Football, Wrestling, Cross Country, and Baseball. If competition was involved, he was there.

    Camping, Fishing, Hunting, Canoeing were all favorite past times he carried into his Adult years.

    Following high school, Patrick attended Winona State University, later transferring to LaCrosse Western Technical College, graduating with a degree in Criminal Justice in 2002. . He also loved to play Rugby during his college years playing for both the Winona Bulldogs and LaCrosse Rats.

    He was employed by Shopko as a Loss Prevention Specialist in both the Winona and LaCrosse stores prior to enlisting in the U.S. Army, August 1, 2002. He proudly served his Country with the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York. First assigned to A Company 1-32nd Infantry when deployed to Iraq Sept. 2003 to Sept. 2004. He then returned to Fort Drum, NY volunteering for a new unit forming, the 3-71 Cavalry devoted specifically to Recon. Patrick deployed to Afghanistan Feb. 12, 2006 with 1st Platoon, C Troop, 3-71 Cavalry, 10th Mountain Division.

    On March 16, 2006 Patrick took his Oath of Recertification, reenlisting for another five years. His military education includes Warrior Leaders course, Combat Life Saver Course and Combatives Level 1 Course. Awards and decorations include the Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Course, Overseas Service Ribbon, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, and Parachute Badge.

    Patrick made the ultimate sacrifice for America and departed this world on June 21, 2006. Patrick is survived by his mother Cheryl Patrick (Terry Nussberger) of Ladysmith; Father David (Janet) Lybert of Missoula, MT, Brothers Stacy Lybert of Henderson Nevada and Noah Nussberger of Ladysmith; Fiancé Carola Hubbard of Felts Mills, New York; Grandparents Robert and Helen Patrick of Ladysmith; and Frances (George) Kettering of Glen Flora. He will be dearly missed by many Aunts, Uncles, Cherished Cousins and Friends. Patrick was preceded in death by his paternal Grandfather Paul "Butch" Lybert, and his Aunt Denise Lyn Patrick.

    SSG Patrick Lee Lybert was laid to rest Monday July 3, 2006 with full Military Honors at Woodlawn Cemetery, Sheldon, Wisconsin.

    A Memorial Fund is in place at Wells Fargo Bank, Ladysmith Wisconsin. Deposits can be made at any Wells Fargo, Bank. Specify "SSG Patrick Lee Lybert Memorial Fund". This fund will be directed by family for support of the Rusk County K-9 Law Enforcement Unit.


    SILVER STAR AWARDED

    ***Silver Star presented to SSG Patrick Lybert
    U.S. Army Major General John Pollmann presented a Silver Star for the first time in his 37-year military career posthumously to SSG Patrick Lee Lybert at a ceremony in Ladysmith last week.

    SSG Lybert was killed in action on June 21, 2006, at age 28 while serving with C-Co., 3-71 Cavalry, 10th Mountain Division (Recon) near Gowardesh, Afghanistan. Ac-cording to witnesses. SSG Lybert was returning fire with his weapon at his shoulder when he received his fatal wound.

    General Pollmann, who heads the 88th Regional Readiness Command based at Ft. Snelling, presented the medal during a ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Assn. building April 2. Gen. Pollmann handed the Silver Star to Patrick's grandfather, CPL Robert Patrick of Ladysmith, who in turn presented it to his daughter and mother of Patrick, Cheryl Lee Patrick.

    Robert had presented Patrick with his blue infantry cord upon his graduation from basic training at Fort Benning on Nov. 15, 2002, nearly 50 years after he (Robert) had served as an infantryman there.

    Among other members of SSG Lybert's family gathered near the podium for the presentation were his maternal grandmother, Helen Patrick of Ladysmith; his paternal grandparents, Frances and George Kettering of Glen Flora; and his brothers, Stacy Lybert of Nevada and Noah Nussberger of Ladysmith. Patrick's father David Lybert was unable attend the ceremony, and a Silver Star was presented to him in Montana where he resides.

    Also in the audience of over 100 were Patrick's cousins, aunts, uncles, friends, fellow Boy Scouts and former comrades in arms.

    "Patrick's actions on that day in June were those of honor, loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, integrity and personal courage . . . those values that we as soldiers strive to live out everyday," said General Pollmann. "His were the actions of a hero exemplifying all that America has stood for and held dear since the birth of our nation.

    "The Silver is reserved only for an elite few who epitomize these values no matter what the cost. First approved on July 19, 1932, the Silver Star is awarded for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States, and of the 120,000 soldiers that have served in Afghanistan to date, only 101 have received the Silver Star.

    "For SSG Patrick Lybert and for many others like him who have earned this prestigious award, we are unable to present it directly to them for their gallantry in action because they made the ultimate sacrifice . . . a sacrifice so great that it renders this medal as only a small token, but most importantly it rep-resents a tremendous symbol of honor bestowed upon Patrick from a forever grateful nation."

    SSG Lybert, who attained the rank of Eagle Scout, joined the army in 2002 and was deployed to Iraq in September of 2003. Upon his return to this country, he volunteered for a new unit, forming the 3-71 Cavalry (Recon), which was deployed to Afghanistan on Feb. 12, 2006.

    The actions of SSG Patrick Lybert the day he was killed in action in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border were explained by Command Sergeant Major John Vacho of Ladysmith, who has served with General Pollmann the past three years in the Headquarters of the 88th Regional Readiness Command.

    CSM Vacho said that K Team (a forward observer element) and members of C Company, 3-71 Cavalry, executed a two-day climb to their watch/hide position on a ridge approximately 4-5 miles from the Pakistan border. K Team took up a position along hill 1610, which actually was more of a small ridge which ran north to south.

    "They were to establish surveillance on the target area of a suspected enemy area/safehouse operating in the vicinity," said CMS Vacho. "The position also overlooked a trail with steep slopes in all directions. The cover on top of the ridge consisted of some boulders, some bushes and a few scrub trees.

    "On the 21st of June at approximately 1415 hours (2:15 p.m.) K Team, just recently supplied by helicopter, set up in three small groups along the ridge top. SSG Lybert was in the southern most group of soldiers on that ridge.

    "The soldiers had just finished packing away their supplies and started laying out their security plan by pushing further out up the trail when they came under a combined arms attack initiated by rocket propelled grenades, simultaneously accompanied by intense machine-gun and small arms fire. The direction of the attack came from a north to south direction running the full length of the 50 meter deep defensive perimeter set up by K Team."

    The attack was so violent that one K Team soldier was immediately wounded by shrapnel from an rocket propelled grenade and simultaneously shot by small arms fire.

    "He said he knew if he stayed in his position he would die, and ran with the rest of the northern group of soldiers to where there was more cover (this was to the southern area of hill 1610)."

    One soldier said he was unable to return fire immediately as there were "friendlies" in that direction and it was a narrow sector along that ridge, and he got on the radio to call for indirect fire support from artillery and mortars. He went on to say, "I observed Lybert returning fire over the wall to my left."

    Another soldier who didn't have his rifle with him when the attack started said the gunfire was too heavy to reach for it, even though it was perhaps two feet from him on the ground.

    Another soldier observed that Lybert was at one end of the formation firing and a second soldier was at the other end trying to peek over and call on the radio.

    One soldier remembers rounds impacting on the dirt all around him. He ran back to some rocks and took cover. "I was unable to grab my weapon due to the fact that rounds were impacting right next to it." He went on to grab a wounded soldier and drag him to cover. "While looking for cover, I saw SGT Lybert who was returning fire. I watched as he engaged multiple targets. He was popping, popping up and over the rock wall and engaging the enemy and ducking back down again."

    Another soldier said, "I reached for my weapon and when my hand touched it, it got shot out of my hand. I jumped behind a small bush and small rock. To my left was SGT Lybert. I yelled to him, "˜I need a weapon.' He yelled back, "˜Where's yours?' "It got shot out of my hand,' I said. Then he (SGT Lybert) looked behind him and then forwards, shooting and shooting."

    The thrust of the enemy attack came on the left flank, which was the direction SGT Lybert was directing his fire, according to CSM Vacho.

    He said the enemy launched its attack with violence and surprise. But by stalling the attack or causing the enemy to take cover at a greater distance, you buy enough time to recover from the initial shock of the attack, gain momentum and are able to call in indirect fire to inflict casualties on the enemy and save the lives of your soldiers.

    "By SGT Lybert's quick reactions in the opening minutes of the attack, he accomplished just that," said CSM Vacho. "He engaged targets close enough and returned fire long enough that others could recover from the ferocity of the enemy's attack, return fire, treat the wounded and call in indirect fire from 120 mm mortars, 105 mm Howitzers and air support from A-10 fighter aircraft, C-130 Specter Gunships and B-1 Bombers."

    "Of the 17 soldiers present that day, one other soldier was killed and four were wounded. It could have been so many more," said CSM Vacho.

    "In the battle that continued and the heroic actions that followed, some of these and other soldiers would go on to receive Bronze Star Medals for valor and a couple Silver Star Medals" including SSG Patrick Lee Lybert of Ladysmith.

    Also speaking at the ceremony were political leaders or their representatives.

    Karen Graff, the northern representative for Senator Russ Feingold, read a letter Sen. Feingold sent to Cheryl Patrick and David Lybert, parents of SSG Patrick Lybert. It said, "While I know you must still miss your son dearly, I hope you can take pride on the occasion of his being awarded a posthumous Silver Star. Your son's gallant actions during a mission for which he volunteered are an inspiration, as are your ongoing efforts to honor his memory. Staff Sergeant Patrick Lybert served his country selflessly and with dedication to the concerns of his fellow soldiers. He is a true American hero."

    Marjorie Bunce, the northern representative for Senator Herb Kohl, conveyed the senator's heartfelt wishes on the presentation of the Silver Star to SSG Patrick Lybert, who displayed heroism and love of his country, which is an inspiration to us all. He was a role model and was awarded the Silver Star for his bravery and courageous spirit. His sacrifice will never by forgotten, Senator Kohl wrote.

    Doug Hill, representative for Congressman Dave Obey, relayed the Congressman's thoughts on the presentation of this very special award to a brave soldier.

    87th District Assembly representative Mary Williams commented in person on the awarding of the Silver Star to SSG Patrick Lybert for gallantry in action and expressed her thanks to his family and to Patrick.

    In a letter, Senator Russ Decker expressed his admiration and respect for Patrick's heroism. Decker, unable to be present, had attended Patrick's Eagle Scout Badge ceremony more than a decade ago.

    Shane Sanderson, a veteran of the Iraq War who is assistant public works director for the City of Ladysmith, served as the master of ceremony for the program.

    The Pledge of Allegiance was offered by Cody Lehman, a member of Boy Scout Troop 45 "” the troop Patrick had joined and rose to the rank of his Eagle Scout, as did his brother Stacy.

    Jessica Hamilton a cousin of Patrick, led the assembly in singing of the National Anthem. The closing prayer was offered by Doug Sorenson.

    Among those attending was Daniel Linnihan, who was with Patrick the day he was killed. He described Patrick as "the greatest leader I have ever seen. He was a great guy and a good friend. He always put his men before himself."

    *LADYSMITH NEWS, Ladysmith, WI – Editor John Terrill Issue 4/10/2008

    Cheryl Patrick, Mother