Corporal Aaron J. Ripperda, USMC

Corporal Aaron J. Ripperda, 26 of Madison, Illinois died on March 19th. He and six other Marines were killed during a training accident at Hawthorne Army Depot, in Nevada.

Aaron had joined the Marines in September of 2008, and had been scheduled to leave the service in May, so that he could become a chef. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

His awards include the Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expedition Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan.

He graduated from Highland High School in 2005 and went to L’ecole Culinaire immediately after to pursue a culinary career, but changed his mind and joined the Marines. And while Aaron loved being a Marine, he was scheduled to get out of the service and move home to Madison County in just nine weeks.

Aaron’s father Kent Ripperda, said he was online at work, the morning after the explosion, when he saw the news account. Moments later, he called his ex-wife and Aaron’s mother, Tina Sutton, in and asked if she had heard about the explosion and, if so, whether she had new details.

During the call, Marines arrived on Tina’s doorstep.

Corporal Aaron J. Ripperda had written in his will that he wished to be buried at sea.  A funeral Mass will be held April 3 at 10 a.m. at St. Paul Catholic Church in his hometown of Highland, east of St. Louis.

A funeral Mass for 26-year-old Cpl. Aaron Ripperda will be held April 3 at 10 a.m. at St. Paul Catholic Church in his hometown of Highland, east of St. Louis, with visitation from 3 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Meridith Funeral Home in Highland, then again there from 8 to 9:15 the morning of the funeral.

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