QAYYARAH WEST AIRFIELD, Iraq - Soldiers of Battery C, 2d Battalion, 32d Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, gathered to remember the life of U.S. Army Spc. Ryan Dennis Orin Riley April 25, 2019.
"Spc. Riley was a Soldier who would brighten your day with just a few words ... I know personally, I have never spoke with him without walking away with a little laugh ... We will heal. We will rise up from this, with Spc. Riley in our hearts and come out as a strong, unified, unbreakable family. This I promise you." said Capt. John Fridlington, Battery C commander, during the memorial service.
Riley, 22, served as an artillery fire control specialist and was in his first deployment when he died in a noncombat related incident in the Nineveh province April 20, 2019.
"As we entered our deployment Spc. Riley continued to be the consistent Soldier everyone could count on; we hit the ground running and Spc. Riley never slowed down." said Cpl. Cody Roberts. "Spc. Riley was everything a leader could ask for in a Soldier. Riley taught me how to lead by allowing me to fail and never losing confidence in my judgment. Riley taught me how to feel pride in others by watching him succeed. Riley did more for me and many others than we could ever repay him for. Every day the section hurts without him and we feel empty with the loss of our brother. Now we will come together and continue to work and live for you Riley. At the end of our last conversation, I told you, 'I will see you in the morning Ryan' and until the morning comes, may you help us find peace without you. We love you Riley."
The ceremony also included a silent tribute, final roll call, firing of three volleys, taps, and individual honors.
Spc. Chad Williams was Riley's friend. "He had amazing military bearing, Ryan presented himself everyday professionally, he would always greet seniors with a great attitude. Once the conversation was initiated he would always give something to laugh about, whether it was an awkward moment or funny statement that he made. Ryan really had a great sense of humor."
Battery C, 2d Battalion, 32d Field Artillery Regiment, remains dedicated to caring for their Soldiers and families who lost a loved one while defending the nation.
"The question before us now is not, 'Why did this happen?' but rather, 'If honor is an essential part of who we are and what we do, then what does honor demand of us in a situation such as this?' Honor demands we understand that what happens to any one of us individually affects us all collectively" said Capt. Daniel Hurd, battalion chaplain.
"This accountability to one another is a reality that we ... must recognize and embrace. Not only does our success in combat demand this of us, but so does life. And apart from the relationships that we ... share together, not only are we 'combat ineffective', we are 'life ineffective'. Honor demands that we come together, not just in here, but more importantly out there. 'We are responsible to honor one another, not just in death, but more particularly in life' said Hurd.