SGT Mracek was born in Chadron, NE and lived in Chadron for the first five years of his life.
He graduated from Hay Springs High School and attended Chadron State College before joining the 1057th National Guard. He went active duty Army in January of 1986 and was sent to Korea. He was there one year and then went to Ft Campbell, KY. He left the Army after four years and came back to Chadron to live and was in the 1057th during that time.
After 9-11, Cory decided his country needed him and he joined the Army. He went back to Korea for 15 months. He was selected to be a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne and went to training in Georgia where he jumped 5 times.
December 1, 2004 he reported to Fort Bragg where he was a fire support specialist and forward observer assigned to 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment.
He deployed with paratroopers from the 82nd’s 1st Brigade. January 17, 2004 he was deployed to Iraq. He spent two days in Turkey and 8 days later on January 27, he and two others, 2nd LT Luke James and SSGT Lester Kinney were killed by an IED. He was 26 years old.
Cory never got to jump his sixth jump which made him an official paratrooper. At Cory’s funeral, a promise was made to get that jump for Cory. In July of 2004, 55 of his fellow paratroopers made that jump for him. His log was signed which made him an official paratrooper, a photo was taken for the family. That sounds like “fighting soldiers from the sky” making good on a promise and thinking of the family of a fallen soldier.
Cory left behind a loving family, dad and mom, Jim and Pat, sisters Stacy and Jeremy Fry, Shelby and Jaden and Heather and Justin Schlager. He also left grandparents, aunt, uncles, cousins and many friends.
Cory had only been with the 82nd for a few short weeks but in the time he was there he was given the nickname SGT Morale Check because of his positive attitude and his good mood and because they couldn’t pronounce his name. He loved his country and was very proud to serve with all those he called his brothers. “ALL THE WAY”
Honor and Remember Nebraska Chapter is pleased to present this flag sponsored by Valkryie to the family of SGT Cory R. Mracek.
I believe my son, Cory, is a hero because he had been in the Army for four years. He left the Army and after 9-11 he said his country needed him and he re-upped. He had every intention of going to Afghanistan and finding Bin Laden. He knew the risks and did it anyway.
Cory was only in Iraq 8 days before an IED killed him and two other soldiers. I believe Cory would have died to save another soldier if he had thought he needed to. I believe he is a hero just because he knew the risks of going back into the Army, he didn’t have to do it and he did. He loved his country so in my eyes that makes him my HERO.
Cory Ryan Mracek was born on March 16, 1977 in Chadron, NE. He attended school in Chadron, Bayard, Hemingford and Hay Springs, NE. He attended Hay Springs High School where he was active in football, basketball, and one year of track. He was the Senior Class Vice President. He went to Chadron State College one semester and then joined the National Guard.
After basic training, he came home and decided he wanted to be in the Army fulltime. He agreed to go to Korea for one year so that he would get his choice of duty stations; it was his dream to join the 82nd Airborne. Then he found out that the paperwork was not right and he would not get to go to Fort Bragg, instead being sent to the 101st in Fort Campbell, KY where he was trained in air assault.
While in Korea, he was chosen to be a United National Commander Honor Guard for six weeks in Seoule. Only the best soldiers from each unit were picked. He also had the honor of patrolling for a Four Star General, the Commander in Chief of the US and Korean forces. He came home after his four year tour and worked as a night stocker at Walmart.
One night shortly after September 11, we stood on our porch with our candles lit along with the rest of the nation and Cory said “Mom, don’t be mad at me but I have to go back in the Army, my country needs me. I am trained to fight and I want to go to Afghanistan.” It was very hard but I was so proud of him at that moment because he knew he would be putting his life in danger.
He re-enlisted and went to Fort Sill, OK for training to be a Forward Observer. He graduated from school, again thinking he was getting sent to the 82nd Airborne. He was again sent to Korea for 15 months. He arrived back in the states in October 2003 and proceeded to Ft. Benning, GA where he attending training to be a paratrooper. He loved the thrill the first time he jumped from that plane. He graduated on November 5, 2003 and finally got to live his dream.
He had to report to Fort Bragg on December 1, 2003 and learned he would be going to Iraq shortly after. He left for Iraq on January 17, 2004 arrived in Iraq on January 19 and was killed on January 27, 2004 eight days after arriving in country.
On July 7, 2004, the 82nd Airborne held a special day in Cory’s honor. He did not get to make his 6th jump, (which makes them officially a paratrooper), they all jumped in his honor and signed the jump log make him a paratrooper.
Because Cory had persisted in achieving his dream and working so hard to get it, the 82nd honored him by naming him as a Distinguished Member of the 319th Field Artillery in November of 2005. There is a plaque hanging in his honor at Ft. Bragg.
While in the Army, Cory earned the Army Achievement Medal with three leaf clusters, Army Commendation, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Expert Badge M-16 rifle, Expert Badge Hand Grenade, Parachustist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Driver and Mechanic Badge, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, Korean Defense Medal, Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
In Korea, he ran the Manchu Mile three times. The Manchu Mile involves some tricky math: it equates to 25 standard miles, each marcher dressed in battle gear with helmet, backpack and gun. This is a volunteer march and only 85 percent of those that start the trek, finish it. When done they are rewarded with a belt buckle, he was very proud of his three buckles.
Cory loved God, his country and his family. He loved life and loved to laugh. He liked the adult cartoons such as Beavis and Butthead, the Simpsons and Family Man. He could imitate quite a few of the characters in those shows. He saw he first Star Wars movie when he was four years old and was hooked. He loved the NE Cornhuskers, Denver Broncos, & Colorado Avalanche. He got to see the Avalanche play in North Carolina before they went to Iraq. He was so excited that he was the only one wearing an Avalanche jersey among the Carolina fans. He was proud to be an American and proud to serve his country.
He is survived by his parents, Jim and Pat, sisters Stacy and Heather.