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CSM FRANCIS J. RUDDY
1924 - 1985
CSM (Retired) Francis J. Ruddy died on Feb 13, 1985 at home following a long bout with cancer at the age of 61. Fran will be long remembered by his many friends and members of the Special Warfare community for the time he removed his Green Beret and placed it on the grave of President John F. Kennedy on 25 November 1963. Fran was, at the time, the Command Sergeant Major of the Special Warfare Center.
Fran had served in the United States Army for over 30 years upon his retirement at Fort Hamilton, New York where he was the Command Sergeant Major of HQ EAMTMC on 31 August 1975. His service included combat action with the 517th PIR during WWII, the 187th AIRCT in Korea, 1st Special Forces Group in Vietnam, and with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. He also served with the 82nd Airborne Division prior to joining Special Forces in 1954. His service with Special Forces included duty with the 77th SFG(A), Ft. Bragg, NC, the 14th SF Det, Hawaii, moving to Okinawa with the 14th Det and joining ASOD from Japan to form the 1st Special Forces Group, Abn. While serving with the 1st SFG(A), he served on many MTTs to include Thailand, Taiwan, Korea, the Philippines, and as an SF Advisor in Vietnam in 1957. Upon returning to the US from Okinawa, he was assigned to the 5th SFG(A) for a short time prior to being assigned to Headquarters Special Warfare Center as the Command Sergeant Major during the period 1962 to 1965. In late 1965, he returned to Vietnam as the Command Sergeant Major of a unit of the 101st Airborne Division. Upon his return to the US from RVN, he was assigned as the Command Sergeant Major of HQ, EAMTMC, Bayonne NJ, with duty station at Fort Hamilton, NY, until his retirement.
Fran was one of the original charter members of the Special Forces Association.
His awards and decorations include: the American Campaign Ribbon; Good Conduct Medal, 8 awards; European-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal; National Defense Service Medal w/star; Combat Infantryman’s Badge , 3rd award; Master Parachutist Badge w/2 combat jump stars; Thai, Taiwan, and Vietnamese jump wings; Glider Badge; Thai Forrigere; Korean Service Medal; United Nations Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal; Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal; Meritorious Service Medal; Army Commendation Medal w/3 OLC; Presidential Unit Citation w/1 OLC; Valorous Unit Citation; VN Cross of Gallantry w/Palm; Bronze Star Medal w/V Device and 2 OLCs; Air Medal w/Medal Pendant; WWII Victory Medal; and Army Occupation Medal. He served in the following campaigns: Anzio; Rome-Arno; Southern France; Ardennes-Alsace; Central Europe; UN Offensive 50; Korea Summer-Fall 53; RVN Defensive; RVN Counteroffensive; RNV Counteroffensive Phase II; Consolidation I and Consolidation II>
Fran was born in Scranton PA on 6 April 1924. Survivors include his wife Rilla, of the home; Roxanne Weller of Wilton, NY; a brother, a sister, and four grandchildren.
A memorial service for CSM Ruddy was conducted at 2 PM on 18 Feb 1985 in Rockledge, FL with family members, friends, and members of the John Wayne Chapter XXI of the SFA.