Local family loses son to war in Iraq

It's every military family's worst nightmare.

The Navy chaplain arrives. He tells you your son is dead — killed in the line of duty.

Rod Rosacker of Central Kitsap was told late Monday evening that his son, U.S. Marine Randal Kent Rosacker, 21, of San Diego, was killed in action Sunday — in the war on Iraq.

The younger Rosacker, only son to Rod and Debra, was killed in fighting near An Nasiriyah, Iraq, along with nine other Marines from Camp Lejeune, N.C., when they encountered Iraqi troops pretending to surrender, said the elder Rosacker.

“He was a big hearted kid who took care of everybody,” said Randal’s father.

The younger Rosacker was a machine gunner and corporal in the 1st battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade. He was married and lived with his wife in San Diego. She was also notified by Navy officials of her husband’s death.

His father said Cpl. Rosacker read widely about war and soldiering as he grew up, and always wanted to follow his father into some branch of the service.

Navy Chief Rod Rosacker returned from deployment aboard the USS Alabama Sunday. He is command master chief petty officer on the Subase Bangor-based boat, so-called “chief of the boat” or top enlisted man. He has served in the Navy 18 years.

Rod Rosacker said Randal dreamed of being a Navy SEAL for a long time, but then went with the Marines. The young man was offered athletic scholarships to several colleges. He was adept at football, baseball, and wrestled in high school. He gave that up for the military.

Growing up, Randal Rosacker moved from Connecticut to Norfolk to San Diego — where ever his father was assigned. He was a Boy Scout, and 2000 grad of Junipero Serra High, San Diego. Prior to Iraq, he served in Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

His father was transferred here, with family, two years ago. The younger Rosacker never lived in Kitsap County.

Randal is survived by his wife; mother, Debra; two sisters, Samantha, 21, and Antoinette, 14. His father said his son will have a military funeral in Colorado, where he was born.

“The funeral will be Tuesday or Wednesday of next week (April 1 or 2) in Alamosa, Colo. — where both he and I were born,” said the father. “He’ll be buried in a military cemetery near a lake where both he and I fished, growing up.”

Mr. Rosacker said a memorial service will be held in San Diego after the funeral. His son’s sports jerseys will be retired to his high school to be displayed in the gym.

Randal’s youngest sister pinned a “heart,” in honor of her brother, to a special bulletin board at her school, Fairview Junior High. The tribute was still displayed on Wednesday — days after he died in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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