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A Gold Star Honor Roll Legacy: Capt. Kevin Michael Kryst

Capt. Kryst was a kinesiology major at UW-Madison.

It wasn’t far into his UW-Madison education that Captain Kevin Michael Kryst of West Bend, Wis. decided to join the Marine Corps: during his sophomore year on campus, the kinesiology major committed to enter the corps as an officer upon graduation.
He attended two basic training sessions at Quantico, Virginia, during the summers following his sophomore and junior years before graduating with the UW-Madison class of 2001. Once commissioned as an officer, Capt. Kryst completed Officer Candidate School at Quantico where he was awarded a pilot contract. After, he trained in Pensacola for his pilot’s license, and earned the Commandant’s Award for Excellence, choosing to fly Cobra helicopters.

After additional trainings in San Diego and Miramar, he officially received the title of captain in October 2005, and deployed to Iraq twice. During his second deployment, Capt. Kryst was killed Dec. 18, 2006 while serving in Iraq at Camp Korea, protecting his Marines. He left behind a fiancé, his parents, one sister and four brothers.

“Kevin was a wonderful child and overall generous and kind person,” Capt. Kryst’s mother, Liz Kryst, said. “Computers, piano, French horn, running marathons, taking care of his siblings, and good friend to all were some of his passions in life.”

Capt. Kryst was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart, and his dedication and sacrifice to our country is why the Wisconsin Union takes part in the Gold Star Honor Roll.

The stories of our nation’s service members have been part of the Wisconsin Union’s story for generations, beginning with the dedication of the Memorial Union as a memorial to UW-Madison’s Civil War, Spanish-American War and World War I service members.

On Nov. 11, 2017, this past Veterans Day, the Union unveiled its new digital kiosk Gold Star Honor Roll, an interactive method to learn the stories of the 903 fallen UW-Madison students since 1866.

To learn more about the Wisconsin Union and the UW-Madison classes of 1963 and 1967 devotion to share soldiers’ stories like Capt. Kryst, click here.

Author: Ellie Herman

Ellie Herman is a senior at UW-Madison studying Journalism and Mass Communication and French. If she's not petting every dog at the Terrace, you can probably find her drinking massive amounts of coffee at Peet's in Memorial Union.

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