Friday, July 17, 2009

Army Sgt. Ryan R. Schlack

Remember Our Heroes

U.S. Army Sgt. Ryan Schlack is remembered as a good soldier, who did his work and got the job done.

The 30-year-old Oshkosh man was laid to rest in a funeral service Friday about a week after he was shot and killed by a fellow soldier during an altercation at an on-base party in Fort Hood, Texas.

An estimated 150 people, including family, friends and military personnel, attended a funeral for Schlack at Fiss & Bills-Poklasny Funeral Home in Oshkosh. Schlack was later buried with full military honors at Riverside Cemetery

"Ryan did his part. He always did what he was supposed to do. It's a big loss and we will definitely miss him," said U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 John Griner, who attended the funeral and had served with Schlack in the 27th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division.

Officials from the U.S. Army said Schlack, who served 5½ years in the Army, was posthumously promoted to the rank of sergeant.

The Rev. Carl Knitt, who officiated at the funeral and burial, had words of comfort to those who knew Schlack.

"As we go through all of this together, putting to rest our friend who served our country we want to say 'thank you Ryan' for doing what you did," he said.

Oshkosh resident Sally Marshall, who said she knows Schlack's parents well, said Friday was a tough day to get through.

"Nobody should have to bury a child," said Marshall, who attended the funeral.

Two-dozen members of the Patriot Guard Riders stood watch holding American flags outside of the funeral home prior to the service. They also drove their motorcycles in the funeral procession to Riverside Cemetery.

"We come with the utmost respect and compassion," said Kaukauna resident Michael Weaver, a veteran of the Vietnam War and a member of the Patriot Guard Riders. "We feel it is our duty and obligation to pay respects to the veteran and also the families and to be here in their time of need."

Spc. Armando Baca is charged with murder in the death of Schlack, who is a 1998 graduate of Oshkosh West High School. Schlack and Baca were members of the 1st Cavalry Division and had recently returned from tours in Iraq.

Schlack's father, Richard Schlack, said his son's commanding officers told him Schlack had been at a party last Saturday less than an hour when an argument broke out. Baca is accused of leaving the party and coming back with a gun. When Schlack stepped in to calm things down, Baca shot him in the hip. He died July 18 at a Texas hospital.

Schlack entered the military in 2004 as a computer detection systems repairer and arrived at Fort Hood in 2005. He served two tours in Iraq where he was assigned to the 27th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

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