LCpl Colton W Rusk

My son LCpl Colton Wesley Rusk was born September 23, 1990.
He is the middle brother of Cody and Brady. He is the son of Darrell Rusk,
my husband and rock for 29 years.

Colton grew up loving History, and he was always intrigued with the military.
As a Mom, I always thought he would grow out of this stage, but he never did. As we got into his High school years, we had agreed that he would try college first and then if that didn't work then he could try the military. Colton had his mind made up. The Summer before he started his Senior year of High school, he asked me to please just go with him to talk to the recruiters. He had already been talking to them for a year or more.
As I went with him that day, I was expecting a kid that didn't really know what he wanted out of life. What I got instead, was a young man that had an answer to every question they asked. Not just any answer, a from the heart honest answer. As we left that office that day, I knew Colton would not be
happy doing anything else until he followed his heart and became a US Marine. As we drove home that day, through tears I told him, "You know Colton, as a mom, I have spent my whole life protecting you. Now you are
asking me to sign you over to someone that I will no longer have that control and could possibly put you in harms way."
 All he could say is I know mom but I will be fine and I love you.

On July 18, 2008 Colton signed into the delayed entry program of the US Marines at the age of 17. Two days later, his best friend Justin who had been in the Marines for 2 years was hit by a IED and lost both legs. Colton was with him that entire summer as he fought for his life. He stayed with Justin at the hospital and he saw many faces of what war could do. It only made him want to be a Marine more. Colton graduated high school June 2009 and graduated boot camp January 2010. He was chosen to be a dog handler shortly after boot camp and met his loyal companion Eli that spring of 2010. He was living his dream and so very happy. On September 23, 2010Colton turned 20 and we saw him for the very last time as he was deployed to Afghanistan. I will always regret not hugging him longer on that day. I told myself not to make a scene and that it would be okay because I would see him again when he returned.  That day never came - Colton was KIA on December 6, 2010.

Our hearts are broken as we try to live our lives without him. We were given his dog Eli shortly after we lost Colton. We know how much
Colton loved Eli, and we hold on to that special bond he and Eli had, giving and taking comfort from each other. The picture I submitted
is one of my favorite pictures of Colton and I after he came home with his first tattoo! When Colton was at boot camp he would sign all his letters home with his name followed by a picture of a heart with Mom in the middle. He would joke and tell me that he was going to get that tattoo when he got home. Being a mom, I would tell him NO your not!! On his deployment leave he came back with that MOM tattoo. Although I was against my baby boy getting a tattoo, what mom could be angry with their son getting a Mom tattoo and of course that beautiful smile:)
Love and miss my baby boy so very much.


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