Sgt. Michael E. Ristau, R.I.P.

One of our Battle Company soldiers was been killed during combat in Afghanistan.

Please remember in your prayers this brave, quiet young soldier:

Sgt. Michael Eugene Ristau
1986-2012

KENT, Wash. — Services for U.S. Army Sgt. Michael E. Ristau, 25, who was killed July 13 in Afghanistan, were held at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 28, 2012, at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent.

Another memorial service was held Aug. 4, 2012 in Cascade, Iowa, where his parents live, and a final military memorial service for him was held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord on Wednesday, Aug. 8.

Ristau grew up in Dubuque, Iowa, and Rockford, Illinois, joining the Army in 2004 after graduation from Lincoln’s Challenge Academy in Rantoul.

He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and sons, Bradley and Hyle, all of Tacoma, Wash.; his parents, Randy and Suzanne Ristau of Cascade; brother, Christopher Powers; and sister, Halie Ristau.

We ask you also to pray for his family and friends, plus all the soldiers fighting with him in Afghanistan including the two soldiers who were injured in the same combat incident.

His family remembered him in an interview with his hometown newspaper, the WCFCourier.

An Illinois National Public Radio station, WBEZ91.5 in Chicago, broadcast a story about Sgt. Ristau written by Quinn Ford and broadcast Wednesday, August 22. The station’s website also carried photos and a story about Sgt. Ristau. Be sure to listen to the audio file at the top of the page. Their website: A GRIM MILESTONE

Sgt Michael Ristau on duty

Sgt Michael Ristau on duty

One of the soldiers in his unit remembered him this way:

“Another 5-20 brother lost. May he rest in peace for he has done his time in hell.”

Sgt. Michael E. Ristau, was born on December 20, 1986, at Manhattan, Kansas. He died July 13, 2012, in while fighting with the United States Army at Qalat, Afghanistan.

He listed his hometown as Rockford, Ill., and he died in Qalat, Zabul province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when his vehicle was attacked with an enemy improvised explosive device (IED). He was assigned to the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

Michael joined the Army in July 2004 and had been at Lewis-McChord since he completed his training. He deployed to Afghanistan with his brigade in December 2011. It previously served in Iraq from June 2006 through August 2007.

In a statement released by the Department of Defense, the Army said:

He attended Initial Army Training and Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Fort Benning, GA. His AIT training was for MOS 11B (Infantryman).

Sgt. Ristau arrived at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in November 2004 and was assigned to the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. He deployed with his brigade to Afghanistan in December 2011. This was his second deployment. He previously deployed with 3rd Stryker Brigade to Iraq from June 2006 – August 2007.

Sgt. Ristau’s civilian and military education includes a high school equivalency diploma (2004), Technical Transporting for Hazardous Material (2010), Combatives Level One (2008), Warrior Leader Course (2008), and Military Occupational Specialty 11B: Infantryman (2004).

His awards and decorations include Army Achievement Medal, Valorous Unit Award, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Army Good Conduct Medal (two awards), National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, Iraq Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Driver and Mechanic Badge with Driver – Wheeled Vehicles.

Michael (right) on patrol April 2012 at Zabul Afghanistan with another soldier

Michael (right) on patrol April 2012 at Zabul Afghanistan with another soldier

Michael (right) on patrol April 2012 at Zabul Afghanistan with another soldier

Michael (right) on patrol April 2012 at Zabul Afghanistan with another soldier

A native of Cascade, Iowa, Michael, graduated from Lincoln’s Challenge Academy in Waveland, Mississippi, in 2004 and enlisted in the Army about a month later. He was married to Elizabeth Lemly on June 18, 2011, and they have two sons, Bradley, and Hyle Lee Ristau, who was born at Tacoma on Nov. 28., 2011, just days before he deployed to Afghanistan.

Ristau’s family released this statement shortly after his death was announced:

“Sergeant Michael Ristau, husband, father, son, brother, died serving the country that he loved. He will live on forever in our memories. Though his time on earth was short, his impact was huge. We have lost our Michael, but we are still so proud of him and his choice to serve our nation. He had a tremendous love for life and was passionate about bull riding. He leaves behind a wife, two sons and many family and friends. We want to thank all of our friends, family, community and the nation for their prayers and support during this time of great loss.”

Michael and Elizabeth Ristau on their wedding day, June 18, 2012

Michael and Elizabeth Ristau on their wedding day, June 18, 2012

Michael and the bridesmaids having fun on his wedding day

Michael and the bridesmaids having fun on his wedding day

Michael on deployment day Dec, 16, 2011 with his son and wife

Michael on deployment day Dec, 16, 2011 with his son and wife

Michael and his newborn on deployment day, Dec. 16, 2011

Michael and his newborn on deployment day, Dec. 16, 2011

Michael's son, Hyle Lee Ristau

Michael’s son, Hyle Lee Ristau

Michael, the sleeping dad, and his newborn son just before he left for Afghanistan duty

Michael, the sleeping dad, and his newborn son just before he left for Afghanistan duty

Michael Ristau in his cowboy mode when off-duty

Michael Ristau in his cowboy mode when off-duty

Michael's chaps - he used his rodeo presence to advertise his faith!

Michael’s chaps – he used his rodeo presence to advertise his faith!

Michael competing at an eastern Oregon Rodeo in October 2011

Michael competing at an eastern Oregon Rodeo in October 2011

The soldiers injured during the same combat incident that killed Sgt. Ristau are Pvt. Dakota C. Vojta and Pvt. Teddy Wilson



PVT Dakota Vojta on patrol

PVT Dakota Vojta on patrol

Vojta is a native of Bertrand, Nebraska and attended the University of Nebraska. A single soldier, he worked on farms in Nebraska before joining the Army last year.

PVT Teddy Wilson on patrol

PVT Teddy Wilson on patrol

Wilson is a native of Dayton, Tennessee, He is a 2011 graduate of Rhea County High School in Evansville, TN.

2 thoughts on “Sgt. Michael E. Ristau, R.I.P.

  1. RIP
    American Hero

    From a Father & Mother who have 3 in the US ARMY and multiple deployments.
    7th Group SF
    82nd AA 2-504 PIR

    You and your family are in our prayers.

Comments are closed.