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SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – Illinois Army National Guard Spc. Jeremy Ridlen, of Paris, Illinois, was among approximately 170 Soldiers who deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in December 2003 with the 1544th Transportation Company, based in Paris.
He was just 23 years old when he died from small arms fire May 23, 2004, after a dump truck on the side of the road was detonated as his military convoy passed by in East Fallujah, Iraq.
On Feb. 1, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed House Resolution 3579 to designate the U.S. Post Office in Maroa, Illinois, as the Jeremy L. Ridlen Post Office. This is the first step in the legislative process to rename the Post Office. The bill will now go to the U.S. Senate, and if adopted, to the President for his signature.
“Specialist Ridlen gave his life for his country, and renaming this post office in his honor will serve as a lasting tribute to his sacrifice,” said Maj. Gen. Rich Neely, the Adjutant General of Illinois and Commander of the Illinois National Guard.
Ridlen was born and raised in Maroa, where he attended Maroa-Forsyth High School. He and his twin brother, Jason, attended Illinois State University where they signed up for the Illinois National Guard and were assigned to the 1544th. When the unit was activated in 2003 and deployed to Fallujah, Iraq, Ridlen served as a gunner.
“As a member of the Army National Guard, Specialist Jeremy Ridlen gave the ultimate sacrifice in service of his country and we remain eternally grateful,” said Congressman Rodney Davis, District 13, Illinois. “Designating this post office in honor of Jeremy will serve as a testament to his bravery and a reminder of all those who laid down their life for the United States of America.”