Fallen hero honored, memorialized at Ramstein
By Airman 1st Class John R. Wright , 86th Airlift Wing/Public Affairs
/ Published June 17, 2020
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Ramstein leadership and Kaiserslautern Military Community members gathered to honor and memorialize a fallen hero during a road dedication ceremony at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, June 16, 2020.
The newly completed Rodriguez Road was named in remembrance of Maj. Rodolfo “Rod” I. Rodriguez, former 86th Construction and Training Squadron contingency training flight commander, who was killed by a terrorist bomb in Islamabad, Pakistan, Sept. 20, 2008.
Maj. Rodriguez began his assignment at Ramstein in May 2005, and for the majority of his time here, was the 435th Civil Engineer Squadron, now the 86th Civil Engineer Squadron, readiness flight chief of design and commander.
Brig. Gen. Mark R. August, 86th Airlift Wing commander, remarked that when it came time to decide on a name for the new road, leadership asked the wing for ideas. What came back was a list of Airman’s names – a group of individuals who had certainly offered a great deal of sacrifice to Ramstein Air Base or their particular units. However, one engineer, Maj. Rodolfo Rodriguez, stood out as the clear winner.
Caryn Rodriguez, who was able to make the overseas trip from Colorado to be a guest speaker at the ceremony, revealed the newly installed road sign after sharing some words about her late husband.
“He embodied service before self,” Rodriguez said. “As Gen. George C. Marshall so aptly stated, ‘there is no limit to the good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.’ In life Rod preferred to serve in quiet anonymity and to give others recognition. However, I believe today he is proud.”
After the dedication, Mrs. Rodriguez was presented with a coin by Lt. Col. Kathryn M. Kilker, 86th CES commander, to thank her for being a part of the ceremony.
Kilker advocated for the repair of the road to provide safer access to Ramstein housing.
“We had the opportunity to fix a traffic flow safety problem here at Ramstein by repairing the old base exchange road using some of the Commander in Chief’s Installation Excellence Award funds that we received last year,” Kilker said.
As a friend and co-worker of Rodriguez, and someone who was sponsored by him upon her arrival to Ramstein in 2005, Kilker championed for the name Rodriguez Road to honor one of Civil Engineer’s fallen heroes.
“I think about Rod often, especially being the commander of the 86th CES, which includes Engineering Flight, where I met him,” Kilker said. “He truly left a legacy and made an impact on all of us.”