SFC Ruark enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in December of 1995 and attended Marine Corps Basic training at Marine Recruit Depot San Diego. He served as a Huey and Cobra mechanic and eventually earned his Naval Aircrew wings as an Aerial Observer/Gunner. He was deployed with the Marine Corps in 1998 as part of Marine Expeditionary Unit 22. He participated in Rescue Eagle in Romania, Operation Sea Breeze in the Ukraine, and Cooperative Assembly and Best Effort in Albania.
SFC Ruark left the Marine Corps in December of 1999 and joined the New York National Guard in November of 2000. He was assigned as a Heavy Weapons Anti-Armor Infantryman in Delta Company 2/108IN, 27TH Infantry Brigade. During his time with the New York National Guard, he served as a gunner, team leader, and squad leader. Shortly after 9/11, he participated in Operation Noble Eagle, then volunteered to deploy to Iraq with the 42nd Infantry Division. SFC Ruark deployed as an Infantry liaison and later served on the personal security detail for the Division CSM.
After returning from Iraq, SFC Ruark conducted a direct transfer back to active duty and moved to Fort Riley, Kansas, where he was assigned as a squad leader in Charlie Company 2/16INREG 4th BDE 1st Infantry Division. The brigade was rapidly stood up then deployed to Baghdad as part of the Surge in 2007. Subsequently, David Finkel wrote a book titled The Good Soldiers that chronicled 2/16’s 15 month deployment in Eastern Baghdad.
SFC Ruark served as a platoon sergeant at the Army’s first GED school at Fort Jackson. The school was the first of its kind and successfully graduated over 3,000 Soldiers from 2008-2010. He also served as a platoon sergeant and Battle Captain in 2/18IN 170th IBCT out of Baumholder, Germany. He deployed with them to Kunduz, Afghanistan, from 2011-2012.
His awards include Iraqi Campaign Medal, Afghan Campaign Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, NATO Medal, Meritorious Unit Citation, Combat Infantry Badge, Combat Action Badge, Parachutist Badge, Naval Aircrew Wings, and Order of St. Maurice.