Sunday, August 29, 2010

Army Pfc. Bryn T. Raver

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Bryn T. Raver, 20, of Harrison, Ark.

Pfc. Raver was assigned to 1st Brigade Special Troop Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died Aug. 29, 2010 in Nangahar, Afghanistan, of wound sustained when his military vehicle was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade on Aug. 28. Also killed was Capt. Ellery R. Wallace.

E-4 Specialist Bryn T. Raver will be buried Saturday afternoon, Sept. 11 (2010) beside his grandfather, Kenneth Raver, in Silver Hill Cemetery in Searcy County — U.S. combat veterans from different wars, different generations.

Bryn Raver was killed Saturday, Aug. 28, while leading a night-time patrol in Nangahar, Afghanistan.

The young soldier’s body is expected to arrive at the Boone County Regional Airport at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 9, and funeral and burial will be Saturday afternoon, Sept. 11 (2010).

Charles Raver learned of his son’s death early Sunday morning, Aug. 29. Charles’ oldest son, Justin, was notified shortly after midnight Saturday, Aug. 28, and he drove to Searcy County to tell his father. Soldiers with the Harrison National Guard unit arrived at daybreak Sunday to deliver the official notification.

The last photo of Bryn shows him looking back over his shoulder while walking into the Springfield, Mo., airport terminal Wednesday, Aug. 25, for his flight back to Afghanistan.

Three days later, he was killed by an armor-piercing, rocket-propelled grenade (RPG).

E-4 Specialist Bryn T. Raver was a military policeman (MP) with the 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky. He was leading a convoy Saturday night, Aug. 28, when Taliban fighters fired an armor-piercing, rocket-propelled grenade into the passenger side of the armored truck he was driving.

Charles said the battalion leader riding in the third vehicle in the convoy said the grenade pierced the armor, then exploded inside the vehicle, killing Bryn and the passenger in the vehicle and injuring soldiers in the back of the truck.

Charles said the officer told him, Bryn “didn’t do anything wrong, didn’t know what hit him and didn’t feel a thing.”

Bryn deployed to Afghanistan in April 2010, then returned home in August for 15 days of R&R. The family celebrated at Six Flags and Hurricane Harbor Water parks in Texas, camped and grilled on the Buffalo River and spent a lot of time together at home. Bryn also bought a racing four-wheeler to ride on backroads.

Charles remembered Bryn as someone who “smiled, loved to have fun, rode four-wheelers, camped on the river and didn’t want to see anyone down and out … an all-round country boy.”

But four months in Afghanistan changed his middle son. “When Bryn first got here, he couldn’t stand still. He said it was boring. He was used to going, going, going. He wanted to be back there, where he was constantly going.

“It has really intensified over there,” Charles said of the warfare. “As they go further south toward Pakistan and Iran. It looks like they’re pushing the Taliban into the south.”

Asked about intuitive feelings about Bryn, Charles said, “I had a gut feeling, ever since he deployed, that he wouldn’t be coming back.

“He said it was getting rough over there and didn’t think he would make it back.”

Charles said enemy forces fired mortars at U.S. compounds at night, and his son had survived a small ambush while recovering a vehicle. Bryn also was in the third vehicle in a convoy when the first vehicle detonated an Improvised-explosive device (IED). He said the night-time episode had killed six soldiers in the lead vehicle and rolled the truck in which Bryn was riding.

Charles said Taliban fighters had warned U.S. soldiers: “You may rule the daytime, but we rule the night.”

Bryn Raver, who would have been 21 later this month, joined the U.S. Army almost three years ago. He passed the Arkansas GED and an advanced entrance test for the military that earned him an immediate rank of PV2. He was ordered to Fort Leonardwood, Mo., where his grandfather had been a drill sergeant.

Two years ago, Bryn was scheduled to be deployed to Iraq. Those plans ended after his wife, Maria, was killed in a four-wheeler wreck on Mt. Sherman, and his mother’s death three months later while he was stationed in Kentucky.

“Those deaths bothered him real bad,” Charles said of Bryn. “They would not let him deploy to Iraq.”

Charles said his father, Kenneth Raver, served in Korea from 1950 - 58 and had been a drill sergeant at Fort Leonardwood. He said Bryn had thought about making a career of the military and going back to Fort Leonardwood and becoming a drill sergeant. “He loved it up there.”

Saturday afternoon, E-4 Specialist Bryn Raver will receive a full-military burial with honors as he is laid to rest by his grandfather.

Army Pfc. Bryn T. Raver was killed in action on 8/29/10.

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