Valley loses native son

Story by Chris Graham

The Shenandoah Valley is down one hero.

Jason Redifer, a native of Augusta County and a 2003 graduate of Stuart Hall, was killed in action in Iraq on Monday.

Redifer, a United States Marine, was among three Marines killed in action Monday morning. Two other Marines were wounded, the Pentagon confirmed late Monday.

The group was engaged in security and stability operations in the northern quadrant of the Babil Province when an improvised explosive device detonated.

“We are devastated,” said Redifer’s mother, Rhonda Winfield, who said her son had been scheduled to come home on Feb. 9.

Redifer, 18, had joined the Marine Corps two days after graduating from Stuart Hall in May 2003. He turned down a chance at a prestigious White House guard assignment upon his completion of basic training that summer for the chance to make a difference, his mother said.

“He said he didn’t have a wife and children at home, and people were leaving behind their families to go fight for their country. Certainly, he was in a position to be able to step up and do it,” Winfield said.

“He didn’t waver in it for a moment. Of course, when he was ready to go to Iraq, he’s very home-centered, very family-centered, and he didn’t want to leave anybody behind. But he knew that this was what he had signed on for,” she said.

“Jason said he felt the heart and soul of the Marines was the infantry, and this is where he felt he could make the most difference,” Winfield said.


(Published 02-01-05)

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