Saturday, June 03, 2006

Marine Cpl. Ryan J. Cummings

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Cpl. Ryan J. Cummings, 22, of Streamwood, Ill.

Cpl. Cummings was assigned to 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.; died June 3 from wounds sustained while conducting combat operations in Anbar province, Iraq.

Ryan Cummings signed the papers needed to enlist as a Marine on Sept. 10, 2001.

The terrorist attacks the following morning on Sept. 11 only hardened the then 17-year-old Streamwood youth's resolve to serve his country, said his father, John Cummings.

"He was more gung-ho than ever that he did the right thing," his father recalled Tuesday, as grieved his son's death in Iraq.

"He said that [the terrorist attack] was his sign that he did the right thing," added stepmother Melissa Cummings.

Cummings, 22, died Saturday from wounds suffered while on patrol in the Al Anbar province of Iraq, said the Department of Defense and family members in Crystal Lake, where he spent his boyhood. An improvised bomb exploded and his vehicle rolled over, said Marine Master Sgt. Reginald Ingraham.

Cummings lived in Crystal Lake until he was about 8, then moved to Streamwood with his mother, Janis Cummings, after his parents divorced.

He attended Hoffman Estates High School, where he earned straight A's and played the French horn, graduating in 2002, family members said.

When he signed the papers to join the Marines, his father and stepmother said, his recruiting sergeant told Cummings his test scores were good enough for any assignment he wanted.

He chose the infantry-a decision that worried his family.

"He said, 'if you're going to be a Marine, you have to be in the infantry,'" John Cummings recalled. "'Because that's what a Marine stands for.' He wanted to see combat. He wanted to see action."

But family members said Cummings also was involved in relief efforts following the 2004 tsunami and helped build a medical facility in Africa during another tour, as well serving short stints in Iraq.

He volunteered to return to Iraq for a third tour of duty, which began in February.

Due home in August, Cummings was scheduled to leave the Marines in November and begin studying engineering in January at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

"I was always afraid for him," said Cummings' brother, Jason, 13. "Because I knew he was going to get killed if he was in the infantry."

Although he was an excellent student, with a sharp wit and quick mind, John Cummings said his son craved the discipline of the military. And it worked.

"He definitely felt like he was making a difference," John Cummings said.

Visitation is scheduled from 2 p.m. until 9 p.m. Monday at the Ahlgrim and Sons Funeral Home, 330 W. Golf Road, Schaumburg. Services will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday June 13 at the funeral home.

Also surviving are his mother, as well as a brother, Kevin, 17, and sister, Kristen, 20, both of Streamwood.

Marine Cpl. Ryan J. Cummings was killed in action on 06/03/06.

No comments: