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We Lost a True American Hero This Last Weekend

RIP Renn Bodeker
RIP Renn Bodeker

America lost one of its greatest living heroes this past weekend. Renn Bodeker, a 92-year-old World War II veteran passed away early Sunday morning. I had the honor and privilege  of meeting Renn last year at Bundy Ranch. As luck would have it, I was embedded with Stewart Rhodes as alternative media, and drove down to the ranch and back again with Renn. Even though I only got to spend a couple of weeks with him, he had a tremendous impact upon me. In his 90’s, his age never slowed him down in the slightest. Through out the stand-off, Renn was always right there, on the front lines with his younger fellow patriots.

I remember when Ren related to me what inspired him to take action again so late in life, we as a country, had become too complacent. When we sat back and watched as our own government killed women and children at Ruby Ridge and again at Waco,  he felt that the people’s lack of action emboldened the government to further overreach. It was this idea that was his second call to arms. Renn decided the best way to to stop this rampant abuse was to stand up, get off the couch, and go tell the Powers That Be, eye to eye, that we will not stand idly by any longer as our rights are further eroded.


During World War II, Renn, was the very definition of a “war hero.” At the age of 19, he enlisted and served in Co. B, 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment (11th Airborne Division.) During his three combat jumps he earned 2 bronze stars. On one of those jumps, on the island of Luzon in the Philippines, 40 kilometers behind enemy lines, he helped to rescue over 2,000 men, women, and children who were scheduled to be brutally slaughtered later that day. Renn had told me, at Bundy Ranch, about a young man that has approached him, out of the blue, and thanked him for saving his grandfather’s life in World War II. This young man stated that if it were not for Renn’s heroic actions that early morning at the Los Banos Internment Camp, that he would not be alive today. Please see the video below to see Renn speaking about this event in his own words.

Even after giving so much for the cause of freedom in his earlier life, Renn, like so many other veterans, found himself fighting for his own life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. This time, the danger did not come from a foreign enemy, but from his own local government. In 2012 Renn had just lost his wife after a decade long battle with cancer, and like so many other Americans these days, he faced a mountain of medical debt. During bankruptcy proceedings Renn, himself, became sick with cancer. While in the hospital, he learned that he was not only going to be forced off his land, but also faced the possibility of having to exhume his beloved wife, and learned that he may not be able to be buried next to her at the home they had literally built together. This was his greatest wish, to be buried there next to his true love.

Please watch this video to see just how brutally he was treated in this bankruptcy.

I am truly honored to have helped insure that Renn got his final wish.

As the sun set this last Sunday a small contingent of Oath Keepers, close friends, and family came together at Renn’s home on Liberty Lane, in western Montana. We gathered to remember the actions and words of a true patriot, a true American, and a true hero. It was a small but powerfully touching service. We began with singing of the Star Spangled Banner and a favorite hymn. We prayed together and shared some of our fondest memories. We then carried Renn’s casket out to his final resting place in front of his family home.  The playing of Taps was followed by a 21 gun salute and the flag was presented to his closest friends as we helped one of our own fulfill his dying wish. We buried him next to his beloved wife.


What will happen to his house and grave is still up in the air, but the Oath Keepers will stand vigilant to help carry on his fight.

Jason Van Tatenhove


Stewart Rhodes

Stewart is the founder and National President of Oath Keepers. He served as a U.S. Army paratrooper until disabled in a rough terrain parachuting accident during a night jump. He is a former firearms instructor, former member of Rep. Ron Paul’s DC staff, and served as a volunteer firefighter in Montana. Stewart previously wrote the monthly Enemy at the Gates column for S.W.A.T. Magazine. Stewart graduated from Yale Law School in 2004, where his paper “Solving the Puzzle of Enemy Combatant Status” won Yale’s Miller prize for best paper on the Bill of Rights. He assisted teaching U.S. military history at Yale, was a Yale Research Scholar, and is writing a book on the dangers of applying the laws of war to the American people.


  1. in a world of dis functionality it is so good to know a man of his STATURE is one of us. and because of him and men just like him OUR America is still FREE and we have hope.

  2. God bless Renn for all that he has done to help preserve our liberties…may you rest in peace with your beloved wife. And God bless the contingent of Oath Keepers, close friends, and family for being there for him in his final hours to help fulfill his dying wish! I am so very proud to be a member of such a great organization as Oath Keepers. And thank you very much Jason for putting together such a touching tribute…very well done.

  3. Thanks to Renn and millions of others like him we are not speaking Japanese or German living under a dictatorial or Imperial tyranny.

    Thank God for this true American Hero and we must always remember and do our best to emulate his sacrifice and all the others who sacrificed for the cause of liberty.

    Rest easy now trooper your honorable and virtues fight has ended with your outstanding example carried on by those of us that you have left behind.

    Currahee Renn, now we have more “Strength From Above” with us.

  4. He put so much on the line for us and gave up a large part of his youth so that we can be free. Would there be any way that a collection could be started in his name to save his property and let this man and his wife rest in peace on the property that he earned with his sacrifice?

  5. My Dear Jason Van Tatenhove.
    I just received this great send off for Renn Bodeker, WWII Hero…
    I wish I could have been there. I was told there would be no service of any kind, he would be placed in a wooden coffin (which he built for himself years ago) with what ever he was wearing at the time of his demise. The ground next to his wife Lorna would be opened and his body would rest next to his love in a family plot and that would be that.
    I spoke with Renn on Sat. the 5th of Sept. the day before he was called home. I also spoke with him on the 3rd. back to Sat. we had a bad reception, I told him I would call him Sunday morning, which I did, I feel as if I am being dis-respectful when I’m talking about Renn because to me he was always My Hero Uncle, Uncle Renn & Aunt Lorna…They were re-united on 6 Sept 2015, 10 days before my 75th BD, my Uncle was the reason I enlisted in the Air Force but that is another story.

    Thank all of you with Oath Keepers for being there for, as you said…
    “A True American Hero” His war is over, the sound of guns, bombs and men dying is now silent. He never liked it when some one referred to him as a Hero, true to the code of the fighting men of any branch of the service, “The Hero’s were the ones who gave their life’s for this country, over there, wherever “Over There” was…. Is my Uncle Renn a Hero, you better believe his is… When I called him on Sunday morning, I thought one of his nurses answered the phone, I said, “Good morning this is Bush Thornton, I would like to speak with my Uncle Renn.” I heard a women’s voice say, “Bush, this is Roxanna, your Uncle passed away earlier this morning and were here to clam his body.” When I spoke to Uncle Renn Sat. Evening I didn’t end our conversation with good-by, I said, “I will see you in the morning.” and I know I will.
    Jason, thank you again for being there for me, and you didn’t even know it did you….
    God Bless You and all OKay’s Oath Keepers.
    God Bless America again and God Bless ALL
    our Veteran’s for ALL are Hero’s !!!
    We all went in as Boys, and those who have been
    to War were changed in an instant too Men…
    Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. the survivors have
    been to Hell and Back..
    With much Respect and Admiration.
    Bush Shane Thornton

  6. Papa~ You left on my BD! I think about you everyday! I miss talking to you everyday. It has been a very ,very long 9 months! With you gone my world feels so much smaller now. I promise to live and do as you instructed during these times of uncertainty. I will always keep God, Family and Country first! Thank you for your love & wisdom and most of all, your love for your country!! So many memories! ILU

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