Friday, August 01, 2008

Army Sgt. Ryan P. Baumann

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Ryan P. Baumann, 24, of Great Mills, Md.

Sgt. Baumann was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died Aug. 1, 2008 on Route Alaska, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.

Lenoardtown -- Sgt. Ryan Patrick Baumann was honored today. He was honored for his service to his country, his friendship, his patriotism, his life – eleven days after an Afghan improvised explosive device in a remote portion of embattled country near the Pakistan border took his 24 year-old life.

According to friend and combat photographer, Justin Merriman, who accompanied Baumann on a number of missions taking pictures for the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, “I was embedded with his unit for about two weeks and Ryan was a real soldier. He worked non-stop. The missions were long, hot, dangerous, and hard, but Ryan never stopped working. He never complained. He’d continue working even after coming back to the base.”

The combat photographer said, “Ryan was respected for his work and his dedication.” Merriman accompanied Baumann on missions in an area that is dubbed Alaska Highway. The area borders Pakistan which is believed by intelligence sources to be home to Osama Bin Laden and a Taliban strong-hold, who are trying to retake Afghanistan from the American-backed government that replaced them.
“I was never with him during combat,” said Merriman, "but we did have an encounter with an IED that malfunctioned. When these men ‘drive out of the wire’ anything can happen.” Drive out of the wire, is the soldiers term for leaving base on a combat mission.

Merriman was asked by the family to be the photographer for today’s funeral, procession and burial.

Attending and honoring the fallen hero were the Patriot Guard along with many fire companies, Maryland State Police, St. Mary’s Sheriffs, countless military personnel and citizens wishing to pay their respects to honor Baumann’s life for what he sacrificed for his country and his family.

Later today, Baumann will take his place of honor among the thousands of heroes buried in the Arlington National Cemetery.

==Another news story==

Southern Maryland Newspapers -- Waves of mourners in military uniforms, motorcycle attire and the clothes of law officers, firefighters and rescue volunteers converged Monday morning with other people at a funeral home in Leonardtown to pay their last respects to Ryan Patrick Baumann.

Halfway through the service at the Brinsfield Funeral Home, Hollywood Road already was lined with people holding small U.S. flags for the procession that would follow, up Route 5 through northern St. Mary’s and eventually to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Baumann, a 24-year-old sergeant with the U.S. Army, died Aug. 1 when the Humvee he was traveling in struck an improvised explosive device near the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. A 2003 graduate of Great Mills High School, Baumann was stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky., when not deployed overseas or visiting family members, his fiancee and friends in St. Mary’s.

On Monday morning, color guards from the St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Office and motorcyclist groups including the Patriot Guard and Blue Knights stood in place along a lane during the service led by Monsignor Maurice O’Connell, where attendees said speakers included Baumann’s mother, Cindy Lohman, his longtime friend Josh Stevenson, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-5th, Md.) and a gunner who had traveled with Baumann in the Humvee he drove.

Hoyer’s remarks included references to the county’s earlier losses thus far in the war on terror, including Raymond J. Faulstich Jr. in 2004 and Matthew P. Wallace in 2006, according to Del. John Bohanan (D-St. Mary’s).

‘‘We hope to break that [cycle] in 2010, and not have any more to go through,” Bohanan said after Baumann’s service. ‘‘This is a guy who believed in what he was doing, and served with great compassion and leadership.”

Capt. Andrew Macyko, the commanding officer at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, said the service for Baumann was very moving.

‘‘It brings the reality, or the gravitas, of the situation a little more to the forefront” when someone in the community is killed in war, Macyko said. ‘‘We are a nation at war and we are making sacrifices.”

The captain added, ‘‘His friends from childhood and then his friends in the Army spoke so highly of him and how he was so generous and cared very much for his junior soldiers.” Many described him as a hero and a leader among his fellow soldiers, the captain said.

Baumann’s family was presented with a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart by an Army general at the service. ‘‘That was a touching moment,” Macyko said.

A Maryland State Police motorcade escorted the procession to Virginia, accompanied by the Bay District Volunteer Fire Department.

About 20 minutes before the funeral service, about 75 motorcycles brought by riders from the Patriot Guard, Blue Knights and other groups already sat in pairs in a parking lot across the road from the funeral home.

Jim Sotiropoulos, a captain with the All-American Harley Davidson owners’ group in Hughesville, said its members and other motorcyclists including the Southern Maryland Cruisers discussed in advance their show of support.

‘‘They have a blog, they have a [Web] site, where we communicate during the week,” Sotiropoulos said, noting that the groups’ response followed anti-gay protests by a small religious organization at earlier services.

‘‘That’s why the Patriot Guard formed,” he said. ‘‘When they know the Patriot Guard’s coming, they pretty much stay away.”

No disturbances occurred at Monday’s service.

As the service ended, 17 white doves were released from a cage by John and Dawn Tierney, who operate Southern Doves for Love in Mechanicsville. Dawn Tierney works with Baumann’s mother at the Calvert County Health Department. ‘‘We called her and told her we’d like to be here,” Dawn Tierney said. John Tierney added, ‘‘It was the least I could do for the young man.”

Among the mourners outside paying tribute, Misty Frantz stood along the road in Leonardtown with her three children. Her husband, Jay Frantz, just returned in July from a mission in Iraq as the pilot of an unmanned aerial vehicle.

‘‘I feel blessed that my husband made it home. It breaks my heart” to know others are not making it home alive from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Frantz said, tearing up.

‘‘It’s really hard. It makes us be even more thankful to have him home safe,” said Paula Bonilla, whose husband, Evaristo Bonilla, also just recently returned from Iraq. ‘‘Our hearts go out to them.”

A hundred or more enlisted men and officers from the Navy lined both sides of Route 245 for the procession. Many other veterans took to their motorcycles as part of the procession. A Patriot Guard member later wrote of concerns that law enforcement authorities limited the number of motorcyclists who could participate in the formal procession, forcing the rest to trail behind unescorted.

Baumann’s mother later wrote that the outpouring of patriotic expression in tribute to her son was ‘‘phenomenal.”

‘‘He was our hero,” Sen. Roy Dyson (D-St. Mary’s, Calvert, Charles) said as he arrived at the funeral home. ‘‘It’s always a shock to see a young man struck down in the prime of life.”

Two 101st soldiers killed
By Brian Dunn
The (Clarksville, Tenn.) Leaf-Chronicle

Two 101st Airborne Division soldiers died during the weekend, one in Afghanistan and the other in Iraq, according to Department of Defense news releases.

Sgt. Ryan P. Baumann, 24, of Great Mills, Md., died Friday of wounds suffered when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Route Alaska, Afghanistan, according to the release.

He was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team.

Pfc. Jennifer L. Cole, 34, of American Canyon, Calif., died of injuries suffered in a noncombat-related incident Saturday in Bayji, Iraq, according to a release.

She was assigned to the 426th Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team. The incident is under investigation.

Baumann joined the Army in May 2004 and arrived at Fort Campbell in September 2004, according to Fort Campbell’s Web site.

Baumann’s awards and decorations include: Meritorious Service Medal; Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal (two awards); National Defense Service Medal; Iraq Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; Overseas Ribbon; Air Assault Badge; Driver and Mechanic Badge with Driver-Wheeled Vehicles and Weapons Qualification, M4, expert.

Baumann is survived by his mother, Cindy Lohman, of Great Mills, Md.; and father, Robert Baumann, of Jeffersonville, Ind.

Cole entered the Army in July 2007 and arrived at Fort Campbell in April 2008, according to Fort Campbell’s Web site.

Cole’s awards and decorations include: National Defense Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon and Weapons Qualification, M4, Expert.

Cole is survived by her husband, Lamont C. Capers of Fort Campbell; mother, Candace L. Gholson of Napa, Calif.; father, James M. Cole II of White Marsh, Md.

Including Baumann and Cole, a total of 40 soldiers from the division have died overseas since September.

More than 12,700 Fort Campbell soldiers are deployed to Iraq. Approximately 7,400 are deployed to Afghanistan.

A memorial service for the fallen soldier will be held in Iraq. Fort Campbell holds a monthly Eagle Remembrance Ceremony the second Wednesday of each month.

Army Sgt. Ryan P. Baumann was killed in action on 8/1/08.

No comments: