Marc T. Ryan

Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps 

Second Battalion,
Fourth Marine Regiment,
Second Division

Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: November 15, 2004
Buried at: 
Awards: Purple Heart


CORPORAL MARC T. RYAN was killed in action while serving in Iraq on November 15, 2004.


TIME Magazine - October 25, 2004

Taking the Battle to the Enemy
U.S. and Iraqi forces launch high-risk probes of the insurgency in Fallujah and Ramadi.
A TIME exclusive

By PHIL ZABRISKIE/FALLUJAH

As lightening flashes intermittently in an otherwise clear sky, a group of more than 200 Marines begins to gear up on a dusty plain outside the Iraqi city of Fallujah. Officers bark orders, directing grunts into their vehicles. Tank drivers climb into turrets and crank up heavy-metal tunes. Infantrymen who moments earlier had been asking about baseball scores exhort one another to move forward. "This is what you trained for, Marine!" "You're the hunter! You're the predator!"

As the group prepared to move last Thursday on the city that has most bedeviled the U.S. occupation, the hyperbole seemed appropriate. Fallujah is the presumed base of Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi, the most potent terrorist in Iraq. And more than 100 suspected insurgents have been arrested in recent weeks in nearby villages. Now the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines along with the Army's Brigade Combat Team 2 and a company from the 2nd Tank Battalion - a combined force exceeding 1,000 troops - were about to launch the biggest move on Fallujah in months. The 3/5 would not enter the city but intended to go right up to the southeastern outskirts. The Army would move to the southwestern edge and the tankers to the northern limits, while F/A-18s continued to pound suspected insurgent hideouts. Yet this was not the big showdown everyone had expected but rather an attempt to see how the insurgents inside the city would respond. A Marine battle-operations officer called it "a dress rehearsal" for the ultimate combat. This was a scouting mission, a risk-filled feint supported by air power, an attempt to get an edge for the eventual showdown.

The latest counterinsurgency effort began in a week that included the start of Ramadan and saw the U.S. military - primarily the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force - move boldly to try to subdue the rebellion raging in Fallujah and Ramadi, the two most restive towns in Anbar, Iraq's most restive province. New forces were brought in, new strategies employed. But despite clear successes, the week's record of strikes and counterstrikes suggests that if, as the young Marine said, the Americans are predators, the prey is dictating the nature of the hunt.

The assault had begun in Ramadi two days earlier, when much of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines joined the elite 36th Battalion of the Iraqi National Guard and their U.S. special- forces advisers to raid seven mosques in the city. As in Fallujah, attempts to prop up a local government in Ramadi have faltered amid violence, kidnappings and assassinations. Military bases in both places are frequently mortared. Unlike in Fallujah, though, in Ramadi the Marines are a regular presence in the streets. And they are hit daily by a mostly invisible enemy, bountifully armed with improvised explosive devices (IEDS), rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and automatic weapons. Most attacks occur on Ramadi's main road, dubbed Route Michigan. (When asked if they're in control of the city, a roomful of grunts responds with phrases like "Oh, f___ no!") The mosques offer support and sanctuary to fighters, the Marines say. Calls to attack Americans and the Iraqis working with them go out over the mosques' loudspeakers.

Iraq's 36th Battalion was called in because American troops are forbidden to enter mosques and because the 36th is battle tested, having taken part in earlier sieges in Najaf and Samarra. "God willing, we will go anywhere in Iraq and kill the terrorists," says battalion commander Fadil Jamel. With the 36th out front, the Marines play a supporting role.

The Ramadi operation, launched at 4 a.m., is designed to end before sunrise, before morning prayers. The Marines expect resistance, but as the 36th breaches the gate of Ramadi's main mosque, the city remains quiet. Sergeant Jose L. Carillo of the 2/5's Whiskey Company looks out from a position on a nearby rooftop. "These guys fight when they want to fight, not when we want them to fight," Carillo says of the insurgents, as he peers through night-vision goggles. "They just keep on recruiting. And, I don't mind saying it, we don't have enough people for what we're doing."

With the first search complete, Whiskey Company moves with the 36th to another mosque, while other units pursue other targets. Again, no resistance. The whole day is quiet. "That's not good. That means they're planning," says a Marine who asks not to be identified because he has told his wife he is in Kuwait. Indeed, the response comes at night. Shortly after 9 p.m., another company encounters resistance in the town. The Whiskey platoon, tasked as that night's Quick Reaction Force, gears up, led by company commander Captain Patrick Rapicault. "We'll probably get hit tonight," says his driver, Corporal Marc Ryan, who gazes at a picture of his sweetheart back home before speeding into town.

First stop is the government center, a heavily fortified observation post where two Marines had been wounded by mortar fire earlier that day. The stay is brief. "We're definitely being observed," says Rapicault, but the night seems calm enough, so the units decide to head back. They turn right out of the government center onto Michigan, then right again on Central. Halfway down the street, an IED detonates near the lead humvee. They have driven into an ambush. As Ryan steers through the smoke, red tracers streak through the air and bounce along the ground. RPGs fly from both sides of the road, and AK-47 fire crackles. Rapicault's gunner returns fire with the mounted .50-cal. machine gun; his counterparts in other vehicles do likewise. The convoy U-turns en masse, back to Michigan, then back to sanctuary in the government center. No one is injured. One humvee has a flat tire, and another has been hit with two RPGS, which were deflected by the armor. A Marine says his crew saw an RPG team running down an alley and tried to take it out with an automatic grenade launcher, but the weapon jammed.

In the empty, darkened hallways of the government center, Rapicault huddles with senior officers from both Whiskey and Echo companies, studying a map by flashlight, plotting the next move. Reports arrive that some 25 men are massing south of the ambush site. The Marines debate their options, then head out again to find these insurgents.

Ryan once more turns right on Michigan. As the convoy approaches Central, an IED blows near the lead vehicle. Then two more-- 155-mm mortar shells wired with remote triggers - detonate on either side of Rapicault's humvee, only a few feet from the front tires. The blasts shower the humvee with sparks and dust, spider-webbing the windshield and nearly piercing the reinforced glass in two places. Ryan pushes through the smoke, struggling with steering and visibility, then hits a barrier on the side of the road. The vehicle is alone, no support front or back. More IEDs go off in the distance, and Rapicault shouts to Ryan to turn around. "We can't stop here!" he yells. The windshield is covered with oil, so the gunner shouts out directions, and Ryan feels his way back onto the road.

A few anxiety-ridden minutes later, the men again take cover in the government center. The other humvees lurch in on busted tires. Between Whiskey and Echo, seven vehicles have wheel or windshield damage. A few gunners are dazed. One has had his neck grazed by shrapnel, but again the men have evaded serious injuries thanks to the reinforced armor of their vehicles. For the next few hours they wait for a support team with extra tires. When the vehicles are fixed, the men will head out to swap with another platoon. Rapicault's humvee is disabled - this is the sixth time he has been hit - and efforts to tow it fail when it skids sideways into a concrete barrier, busting the axle.

All told, 13 IEDs have been detonated in Ramadi Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning. The explosions and the chase - it's not always clear who is chasing whom - continue into the next day. Two Echo Company Marines have been killed and one wounded by small-arms fire and an RPG attack. By noon Wednesday, things begin to settle. The battalion has detained 15 people and seized a weapons cache. The Americans believe they have killed 30 to 40 insurgents but can't say for sure because the insurgents quickly remove their dead and wounded. Rapicault calls it "a very successful day" and says he hopes the seizure of mortar shells, pipe bombs, AK-47s, machine guns and RPGs means the next few days, at least, will be quiet.

The push on Fallujah comes the following night. The tanks and troop carriers led by the 3/5 pull out of the base around 9 p.m. An AC-130 Spectre gunship - known to the Marines as "Basher"--is already in the air. After an hour, the battalion vehicles set off. The neon-green lights of the Fallujah mosques are visible in the distance. The main target, though, is an old soda factory just south of the city's main thoroughfare; insurgents are thought to be congregating in the area. The nerve center of the jihadist network, the military believes, is just to the west, in an area the Americans dub "Queens."

On their way toward the factory, the vehicles turn off a paved road onto a dusty plain and struggle with the uneven terrain and fine sand. One tank gets stuck for a spell. "So much for rolling right on in," says Captain Brian Chontosh, who heads the infantrymen of India Company. But they are protected. The deep percussion of artillery impacting the target area booms through the night, sending a huge black cloud into the sky. Aerial surveillance spots a pickup truck with a mounted machine gun moving in from the west. From above comes a deep rumbling sound. "Basher took it out," says a radio operator in Chontosh's carrier. Insurgents seen trying to set up a mortar position are killed with a TOW missile fired by another company. Around midnight, as the convoy approaches the factory, the Americans take gunfire from the upper floors and off both flanks. The shooters are immediately silenced by tank shells and heavy machine guns. India Company grunts dismount and move through the factory and surrounding buildings. There are no further exchanges.

Chontosh sets up a command post in the sand and lights a cigarette. "It's time for a defensive mind-set now," he says, settling back to await the insurgents' reaction. On a screen with a live satellite feed, he monitors movement in the surrounding area. There isn't much to see. Word from headquarters is that communications intercepts suggest the insurgents thought this was in fact the big showdown and had congregated in the middle of the city. But other than random bursts of small-arms fire, which is met with heavy fusillades, there is little action at the soda factory. Chontosh meets with the 3/5 commander, Lieut. Colonel Patrick J. Malay. They agree that things are looking good, but Malay says, "Let's not press our luck" by staying too long and "letting someone get lucky with a mortar." Twenty minutes later, they head out.

By the end of last week's mission, Marines and Iraqi soldiers began to relax the checkpoints they had set up around the city. The military gamesmanship in Ramadi and Fallujah gave the U.S. useful information about the insurgents but certainly did not eliminate them. Company commanders know it will be a long struggle and that this is only one piece of it. No single battle can settle everything.

The U.S. believes its Fallujah bombing campaign has killed some top al-Zarqawi operatives, and military officials hope the latest mission will hamper his network's ability to operate. But the insurgency has shown a clear ability to regenerate itself after losses. And the rebels continue to adapt their tactics, adding TNT to their IEDs, for instance, to make them more lethal. In Ramadi they have begun attacking more at night; in Fallujah they have dug into defensive positions. A U.S. military battle-planning officer in Fallujah says the raid left a "big intel wake," information that will be useful later, he says, when the military moves to retake the city. No one can say when that will be. Corpsman Scott Pribble, a Navy medic with the 3/5, had said before last week's operation that he hoped he wouldn't be busy that night. He wasn't. But when asked about the eventual fight for control of Fallujah, he said, "Oh, we'll be busy then."


New York Newsday - November 16, 2004 - 6:36 PM EST

Marine from Gloucester City killed in Iraq

GLOUCESTER CITY, N.J. (AP) _ A Marine corporal who volunteered to go to Iraq after two combat tours in Afghanistan was killed Monday in fighting in Ramadi, family members said Tuesday.

Cpl. Marc Ryan, 25, was a 1998 graduate of Gloucester City High School, where he was a star athlete and captain of the football team.

Ryan was a third generation Marine. His father and grandfather were in the Corps, and he joined more than four years ago to carry on the family tradition, said his brother Chris, a Gloucester City firefighter.

"He died doing something he loved," Chris Ryan said.

He said Marc was due to get out in May, but volunteered for a third combat tour, in Iraq, because he was concerned about the number of casualties among his brother Marines, Chris Ryan said.

"He was an amazing man. He'd do anything for anyone," said his sister, Lauren.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete, but at the family's request a service was to be held at Gloucester City High School, WPVI-TV reported.

Ryan is the 27th member of the military from New Jersey to be killed in the fighting in Iraq.


Camden Courier-Post - November 17, 2004

Gloucester City man killed in Iraq

Courier-Post Staff
GLOUCESTER CITY
Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Chris and Marc Ryan sat in the back porch of their parents' Chestnut Street home sipping beer and trading stories.

It was September and Marc - a corporal with the Second Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment, Second Division - had just returned from Iraq.

"You could see he was really affected by what he had seen," said Chris Ryan, a 26-year-old Gloucester City firefighter. "He said it was really bad over there, you can't really trust anyone - children, women."

Marc went back for his third and last Iraq tour and was scheduled to return home in March.

He never made it.

The 25-year-old 1998 Gloucester City High School graduate was killed in an explosion in Ramadi. He was pronounced dead at 4:37 p.m. Iraqi time on Monday. He was the ninth tri-county area resident to perish in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It wasn't the first time Marc faced enemy fire. 

Last month, a Time magazine reporter tagged along with Marc, who was driving an armored Humvee, in a raid of seven mosques in the Iraqi city of Ramadi.

"We'll probably get hit tonight," Marc told Time reporter Phil Zabriskie, as he gazed at a picture of his girlfriend, Kathy Cerminara, just before he drove into what turned out to be an ambush.

Marc had met Cerminara, who lives in Horsham, Pa., roughly six months ago at the Adelphia night club in Deptford and they hit it off instantly, said Marc's sister, 22-year-old Lauren Ryan of Haddon Heights.

In his account of the ambush, published on Oct. 25, Zabriskie said Ryan steered through smoke caused by the nearby remotely detonated explosions amid a shower of AK-47 rounds.

The convoy returned safely to its stronghold, but set out again later that night to find a group of roughly 25 insurgents just south of the ambush site, Zabriskie said.

According to Zabriskie's account, two 155 mm mortar shells wired with remote triggers detonated only a few feet from the front tires of Ryan's Humvee, breaking the windshield and nearly piercing the reinforced glass in two places.

Struggling to see, Ryan hit a barrier on the side of the road and the vehicle was left alone, without support from other troops, Zabriskie said in his Time article.

The gunner had to shout directions to Ryan, who found his way back to the road and the safety of their stronghold despite having the windshield covered with oil, according to Zabriskie.

Last Saturday, Marc called the girl in the picture he carried with him and told her he missed her and wanted to hear her voice, his sister said. It was the last time they would speak.

"He was an amazing man," said Lauren Ryan. "His smile was the kind of smile that would light up a room."

Wearing her brother's fatigues and holding hands with her parents - Linda and Thomas Ryan - Lauren told reporters the family had begged Marc not to return to Iraq.

"It's no use, when he made up his mind, that was it," she said.

Having joined the Marines months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Ryan was among the first troops sent to Afghanistan.

He was in the Marine Corps playing football on an Australian beach when the two jetliners hit the twin towers. He was immediately called back to his ship and learned of the terrorist attacks, Chris Ryan said.

Marc did two tours in Afghanistan and two in Iraq. He could have returned home after his second Iraq tour, but instead, he volunteered for a third.

"We asked him `Why did you do it?' and he said `My brothers are dying out there, I gotta do something,' " Chris Ryan said. "He would do anything for anybody."

"He fought for his country, he fought a hard fight, and he died doing what he loved," Lauren Ryan said. "Marc, I love you and I will miss you forever and I know you're up there right now saying, `Stop crying.' "

Family members said Marc was meant to be a Marine like his father and grandfather before him.

"It was inevitable for one of us to go and do that," Chris Ryan said. "We had two choices: I was either going in the Marine Corps or I was going to be a fireman. I took this route and he took that."

Marc joined the Marines after two years at Wesley College in Dover, Del., where he majored in education. He planned to become a policeman after returning from Iraq.

"He was a young man who exemplified the best in the Marine Corps," said Tom McGinnis, Marc's seventh- and eighth-grade teacher. "At the high school today, there were a lot of teary eyes."

"He had unbelievable dedication," said Leon Harris, his football coach at Gloucester High School. "He was literally the first guy to arrive and the last to leave. He was a great player and a tremendous leader. Everybody around this program looked up to him."

As a linebacker, Marc was well known in the community.

"I go to calls and people ask me `How's your brother?' " Chris Ryan said.

Even after he graduated, Marc still attended the high school football games.

During his last visit, he talked to Harris about being a Marine. "I feel strongly that I am doing what I was trained to do," Marc said then.


WPVI Action News - November 17, 2004

Area Marine Killed in Iraq

The reality of war is devastating a family in South Jersey. With the Fallujah fighting nearing an end, violence has erupted again in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi over the past week and Monday, an explosion claimed the life of Marine Corporal Marc Ryan.

He hailed from Gloucester City, the 27th member of the military from New Jersey to die in Iraq. But numbers mean nothing to the Ryan family.

Marine Corporal Marc Ryan died yesterday in an explosion in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi. Chris Ryan remembered his brother today and spoke for his grief stricken parents who received word last night that their 25-year-old son was killed in action. Marc Ryan had served 2 tours in Afghanistan before going to Iraq. He was due to get out last May but signed up for a 3rd tour. His family asked why.

Chris Ryan is a Gloucester City firefighter, a department that saw its share of tragedy two years ago when 2 of its members died with 4 others in a house fire. Today the department came to support the Ryans.

Corporal Ryan was a 1998 graduate of Gloucester City High School where today a flag flew at half-staff in his honor. He was a star athlete and captain of the football team, but his coach and athletic director says he was much more.

Marc Ryan and his whiskey platoon was profiled in an article in Time magazine just last month as they prepared for the assault on Fallujah. Corporal Ryan was driving a Hummer and is quoted as saying 'we'll probably get hit tonight.' The article goes on to describe the assault quoting, 'now, they have driven into an ambush.' As Ryan steers through the smoke, red tracers streak through the air and bounce along the ground. Ryan pushes through the smoke, struggling with steering and visibility. Ryan survived that night only to die a month later in Ramadi.

The funeral arrangements are still being planned but we do know they will be held at Gloucester City High School..


Camden Courier-Post - November 17, 2004

RYAN, CORPORAL MARC T.
Suddenly and Tragically K.I.A, On November 15, 2004. Age 25. Of Gloucester City. This Dedicated Marine Corp Corporal gave his life for his country and in the Anvar Province in Ramaldi, Iraq he died serving his country with pride and honor. Information can be viewed at www.mccannhealey.com. Due Notice of the funeral arrangements will be given from the United States Military.


Camden Courier-Post - November 18, 2004

Another S. Jersey hero falls in Iraq
Marc Ryan, a Marine corporal, was as dedicated to his family and friends as he was to the service.

Marine Cpl. Marc Ryan, 25, died fighting Monday in Iraq, thousands of miles from the people and places he loved in his native Gloucester City. Yet the fall of this hero in Ramadi - a terrorists' nest about 30 miles from Fallujah - echoes in the lives of the people who knew and loved him. By all accounts, Ryan was as loyal and loving with friends and family as he was to his fellow Marines and his nation.

We join his family and loved ones - and the rest of the South Jersey community - in honoring this Marine's life and mourning his death. It is never easy saying a final goodbye to such a young man, but we are grateful that he had the courage to offer his life in service to his country.

Ryan did not have to be in Iraq this week. He had served two tours in Iraq and two in Afghanistan, so he could have returned home had he chosen to. But it was his nature to go above and beyond what was expected of him.

As a Gloucester City High School football star, Ryan helped lead his team to victory. That desire to be true to his teammates may have played a role in his decision to volunteer to return to Iraq.

Ryan told his brother that the Marines were dying as they worked to establish freedom in Iraq. "I gotta do something," Chris Ryan said his brother told him.

Now Ryan has moved on. But he won't soon be forgotten. The people of South Jersey and this nation will remember the sacrifice he and his family made for this nation.

Neither will we forget the other eight military men with South Jersey connections who also perished in Iraq or Afghanistan during the past two years:

·  Marine Sgt. Brian McGinnis, 23, who grew up in Pitman and whose father lives in Woodbury Heights, died March 30, 2003. McGinnis was one of three Marines killed when a helicopter he was flying in crashed in southern Iraq.

·  Army Staff Sgt. Terry W. Hemingway, 39, formerly of Willingboro, was killed April 10, 2003. Hemingway died after a suicide bomber exploded a car next to his Bradley Fighting Vehicle in Baghdad.

·  Army Spc. Ryan Travis Baker, 24, of Browns Mills, died Nov. 15, 2003, when two Black Hawk helicopters collided over Mosul, Iraq. Baker was one of 17 soldiers killed in the crash.

·  Army Spc. Adam C. Froehlich, 21, of Pine Hill died March 25 when his patrol attempted to remove a homemade bomb in the town of Baqubah, Iraq.

·  Army Spc. Philip I. Spakosky, 25, of Browns Mills died May 14 in Baghdad. Spakosky died after being shot by a suspected sniper in Karbala, Iraq the previous day.

·  Army Spc. Anthony Dixon, 20, of Lindenwold, died Aug. 1 when a bomb exploded near his guard post in Samarra, Iraq, killing him and another soldier.

·  Navy SEAL David M. Tapper, 32, a native of Waterford, is the only individual with South Jersey connections to die in Afghanistan. Tapper died Aug. 20, 2003, from wounds he suffered when his convoy encountered enemy forces near the Pakistan border.

·  Army Reserve Spc. Bryan L. Freeman, 31, Lumberton, died Nov. 8. He was shot by a sniper while searching a vehicle in Baghdad.

We extend our most sincere thanks to each. And we extend our deepest sympathy to their loved ones. 


Philadelphia Inquirer - November 18, 2004

Hero lost in Iraq mourned by many
His hometown had been proud of Marc Ryan, known for good cheer.

Inquirer Staff Writer

Christopher Ryan learned of his brother Marc's death in Iraq when he walked into his parents' Gloucester City house Monday.

"I came over to watch the Eagles football game and saw the Marines standing there," he said yesterday.

Lauren Ryan got the news about her brother from a telephone voice message. "I basically dropped to my knees and just couldn't move," she said. "I was stunned."

Marine Corps Cpl. Marc Ryan, a hometown hero and all-South Jersey football star at Gloucester City High School in 1997, was killed in combat in Al-Anbar province.

Ryan, 25, studied and played football at Wesley College in Dover, Del., before entering the Marine Corps about four years ago. He was planning to return home in three months to join the New Jersey State Police.

But yesterday, his family and Gloucester City friends awaited an earlier return to Dover Air Force Base and planned a viewing at the high school gym and a church funeral.

Standing outside their parents' Chestnut Avenue home, Lauren and Christopher Ryan described their brother as a "regular guy" who knew the risks of military service but believed in what he was doing.

"He knew what his job was about, that 'this can happen to me; I've seen my Marine Corps brothers die.' He wasn't above it," said Lauren Ryan, 22, a Haddon Heights resident who was wearing a camouflage shirt her brother wore in Afghanistan during his first tour of duty.

Last month, Cpl. Ryan was quoted in a Time magazine article, describing a harrowing fight with insurgents in Ramadi. "We'll probably get hit tonight," he told Time as he gazed at a picture of his sweetheart, who lives in Horsham.

Ryan, the driver for the company commander, steered through smoke, red tracers, rocket-propelled grenades, and the crackle of AK-47s.

"He knew 'I need to cover myself, too, or it will be me,' " Lauren Ryan said. "He knew something was going to happen. He knew. I know he knew."

Lauren and Christopher Ryan were joined by parents Thomas and Linda Ryan, who chose not to address the neighbors, friends and reporters who had gathered on the lawn in front of the split-level house.

A blue-star service banner - indicating the service of a loved one in the armed forces - was attached to the front door. Autumn decorations and flags were placed along the sidewalk.

Her brother "always smiled, no matter what," said Lauren Ryan, whose father and grandfather also served in the Marines. "Every time he came home, we would go out to the bar, have some drinks, see all of our friends, have a great time.

"He was not like a god or anything, but he was my brother. I'm going miss him very much."

Christopher Ryan, 26, a Gloucester City resident and member of the Fire Department, said his brother "knew what he was doing and thought he was doing the right thing - going out and protecting our freedom - and that's what he did."

Christopher Ryan was surrounded by nearly 20 fellow members of the Fire Department who turned out to show their support.

They were joined by friends such as Tom McGinnis, who taught Marc Ryan English and science in the seventh and eighth grades. He called the soldier's passing "a loss to the community."

"There are people you like and people you love, and he was one of them," McGinnis said. "He was a powerful man, the kind of power that comes with a good heart and common sense."

Yesterday, the sign in front of Gloucester City High School read: "Marc Ryan - Our Fallen Hero." And on a football field where Ryan played, his coach, Leon Harris, was watching over a football practice.

The Lions defeated Glassboro High, 6-0, on Friday and - reminded of Ryan's service by the Time article - saved him the football.

"He was certainly something special," said Harris, who played football with Ryan's father for the same high school. "Our kids are aware of the type of person he was - strong and fit, tough but courteous. He epitomized our football program with his tremendous work ethic."

In 1997, Marc Ryan looked ahead to some tough football games in the South Jersey Group 2 tournament. "If we win," he said at the time, "it's going to be a great day. If we don't, it'll still be a good memory. We'll always talk about it."

Yesterday, family and friends talked about him all day and recalled warm memories. "I've been wearing my brother's shirt all day long," Lauren Ryan said, "and probably won't take it off for a while."


Corporal Marc T. Ryan

United States Marine Corps



 Camden Courier-Post - November 21, 2004

RYAN, CORPORAL MARC T.

Suddenly and Tragically K.I.A, On November 15, 2004. Age 25. Of Gloucester City. This Dedicated Marine Corp Corporal gave his life for his country in Ramadi, Iraq he died serving his country with pride and honor.

Loving and Proud son of Former United States Marine Thomas E. Ryan and Linda (nee Sharp). Beloved brother of Christopher D. Ryan (wife Khara) of Gloucester City and Lauren D. Ryan of Haddon Heights. Beloved maternal grandson of the late William J. (Former United States Marine) and Barbara H. Sharp formerly of Gloucester City. Loving paternal grandson of the late James M. and Ruth Ryan. Dear great-grandson of Delinda Gabriele of Medford, NJ and Margaret Heitz of Sacramento, California. Loving uncle of Laney, Justin and the late Logan T. Ryan. Sweetheart of Cathy Cerminara of PA. Adoring Nephew of Bryan D. and Tammy Sharp. Loving nephew of the late Jack and James Ryan and Rose McDonald. Dear Cousin of Jason, Bill, Jesse Sharp, Brenda, Tracy, James Jr., Colleen, John, Kevin and Brian. Caring Nephew and god-son of Joseph F. Ryan of Woodbury and Diane Hale of Swedesboro. Devoted family friend of Sherry, Lester III, Cody and Marisa.

Marc was born, raised in Gloucester City and was a 1998 graduate of Gloucester City Jr./Sr. High School. He was captain of the Gloucester City High School Football Team, 1997 All South Jersey Football Player, All Tri-County, All Group 2 First Team and received the Larry Pusey Award from Gloucester City High School for Courage. Marc was
a weapons specialist for the United States Marine Corps and served our country with pride, honor and courage. He is a hero to all and fought for the freedom of those less fortunate.

Relatives, friends, United States Marines and residents of Gloucester City are kindly invited to attend his viewing on Monday Evening from 5 to 9 pm from Gloucester City Jr./Sr. High School: 1300 Market Street, Gloucester City. On Tuesday afternoon all are invited to a celebration of his life and ecumenical interfaith service at 1 pm directly from Saint Mary's R.C. Church: 426 Monmouth Street, Gloucester City. There will be no morning viewing for the public. Entombment to follow with full military honors at Harleigh Mausoleum in Camden with his late grandparents.

Family requests that memorial donations be made in Marc's memory to the Marc T. Ryan Scholarship Fund For Special Needs Students: 1300 Market Street, Gloucester City, NJ 08030. Attn: Mr. Joseph Gorman. Please make checks payable to Marc T. Ryan Scholarship Fund. Expressions of sympathy can be e-mailed to the family through www.mccannhealey.com Funeral Arrangements and Inquires may be made through: 


 Philadelphia Inquirer - November 24, 2004

Left: Mourners outside St. Mary's Church listen to the memorial service under way inside for Cpl. Marc Tyler Ryan, whose picture is on a program in the foreground. He was home in September but returned to Iraq on a third tour of duty. 
Right: An honor guard of Marines salutes Ryan’s casket as it is carried from St. Mary’s. The former Gloucester City


 Camden Courier-Post - November 24, 2004

Marc Ryan's mother, Linda (center), leaves St. Mary's Catholic Church in Gloucester City after his funeral. Photos by AVI STEINHARDT/Courier-Post


 Camden Courier-Post - November 24, 2004

Gloucester City Marine Mourned
Loved ones, strangers salute him
By
LAVINIA DeCASTRO

Jim Goldschmidt didn't know Cpl. Marc Ryan.

"I wanted to be here, and I thought it was important for my grandson to be here," Goldschmidt said, his arm around his 10-year-old grandson Fred. He was far from the only Gloucester City resident at the fallen Marine's funeral on a cold and cloudy Tuesday afternoon. Many of the dozens of others who stood outside St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church didn't know Ryan, who perished Nov. 15 after an explosion in Ramadi, Iraq. But they were there to mourn the passing of a hero and celebrate his life.

"Mark was a man that put his nose to the grindstone," the Rev. Gary Brennan said through speakers outside the stone church. "He did what needed to be done. We know Marc gave all. He could do no less."

The 25-year-old former Gloucester City High School football player was in Iraq by choice. Having served two tours in Afghanistan and two in Iraq, he could have returned home. Instead, he chose to serve a third tour. Ryan, a member of the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 2nd Division, returned to Iraq so "maybe just one child will live," Brennan said. "This Marine laid out his life for you, for me, for the child he didn't know."

To serve his country was in Ryan's blood - his father and grandfather were also Marines. He enlisted after two years at Wesley College in Dover, Del., where he majored in education. He planned to become a policeman after returning from Iraq.

"There can be no greater image of courage than Cpl. Marc Ryan," New Jersey acting Gov. Richard J. Codey said. "Cpl. Ryan gave his life to protect us. We can never, ever repay him for his sacrifice and we can never repay his parents, his siblings, for their loss. At 25 years old, he showed greater courage and strength than most people will ever be asked to show."

Blocks from the church, people gathered outside storefronts and houses decorated with American flags and yellow ribbons waiting for the funeral procession.

In every community between Gloucester City and Ryan's final resting place at the Garden of Honor Mausoleum at the Harleigh Cemetery in Camden, people stood and saluted as the hearse carrying Ryan's flag-draped coffin passed by.

"I know there is one thing he wanted us all to do," Brennan said. "To continue to pray for the men and women that are still in Iraq today."


  Philadelphia Inquirer - November 24, 2004

No. 19, 'Our American Hero'

He might have been home. He should have been home. But Marine Cpl. Marc Tyler Ryan had a sense of obligation so strong that he signed on for a third tour of duty, venturing back to the dangers of Iraq yet again.

"He volunteered to stay to make a difference," Marine Gunnery Sgt. Johnny Walker said of the 25-year-old Gloucester City native. "Too many of his brothers were dying, and he wanted to stay to make a difference."

Ryan, a third-generation Marine, was killed in Al-Anbar province last week. He was remembered yesterday at an ecumenical service at St. Mary's Church in Gloucester and buried at Harleigh Cemetery in Camden.

Christopher Ryan remembered his younger brother as quiet and intense - fun-loving, but with a serious work ethic. A 1998 graduate of Gloucester High, Marc Ryan was a football star - captain of the team, No. 19, with a blond crew cut even before his military days. He was the sort of player who would try to crush an opponent during a play, then offer his hand after it was over to help him up.

"He knew he had faults," Christopher Ryan said. "He never thought of himself as a god."

Marc Ryan delighted in making others happy, but he was a little stubborn, too.

"If his heart and soul were in it, there would be no turning back, no convincing him otherwise," his brother said. "That's what made him a man. That's what made him a Marine."

Marc Ryan studied education at Wesley College in Dover, Del., and briefly thought about becoming a teacher. He joined the Marines about four years ago. His unit was one of the first to go into Afghanistan after Sept. 11. He was home on leave this September, and it was clear to his family that combat had taken its toll on him. But Ryan, driver for the company commander, didn't complain.

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Gloucester City yesterday, holding their hands over their hearts while bagpipes skirled and Ryan's flag-draped coffin was escorted into St. Mary's by pallbearers, a riderless horse, and a cortege of mourners.

This has long been a town that has closed tightly together in times of deep sorrow. Yellow ribbons, T-shirts and buttons bearing Ryan's football number and "Our American Hero!" dotted the town, at the foot of the Walt Whitman Bridge. Speakers were set up outside so those on the streets could hear the service. Gloucester City public and private schools were dismissed early, and businesses placed tributes to Ryan on their signs. Standing outside on the rutted blacktop for more than an hour, people who never knew Ryan crossed themselves, shivering in the cloudy chill.

"There can be no greater image of bravery than Cpl. Marc Ryan," acting Gov. Richard J. Codey told those who had gathered. "We can never, ever repay him for his sacrifice."

Christopher Ryan closed his eulogy with words his brother often said:

"'I'm never above you. I'm never below you. I'm always right next to you.' I believe that today."


Camden Courier-Post

November 24, 2004

Marc Ryan's played football for Gloucester City High School, John Stiefel wears a shirt with his number


 Camden Courier-Post - March 26, 2005

Fallen S.J. Soldier Receives Medal
Marc Ryan was killed in a suicide bombing while serving in Iraq

The occasion was solemn but the mood was upbeat and celebratory Friday afternoon at the Sportsmen Athletic Club, where the family and friends of Marine Cpl. Marc Ryan, killed in action in Iraq in November, gathered to see him honored with a medal for valor and courage under fire.

Ryan, a graduate of Gloucester City High School's class of 1998, was posthumously awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, decorated with a bronze "V" for valor.

"Cpl. Ryan demonstrated courage, initiative and poise while under intense enemy fire," the award's citation read in part. Ryan withstood an "intense barrage of rocket-propelled grenades and machine gun fire" and fought persistently to protect his fellow Marines, it said, "inspiring all who observed him."

Tears, laughter, sadness and pride bubbled to the surface as easily as the soda and beer being poured in the packed bar. Neighbors, classmates and former football teammates witnessed the award ceremony, along with at least two of Ryan's high school teachers.

"He was effervescent," said Sherry Florich, 57, who taught Ryan English in his sophomore and senior years. "He was well-loved by everyone, just a nice, polite boy - kind of like a throwback to the '50s when every kid was like that. We were really heartbroken."

Florich said she has a memorial to Ryan set up in her classroom. "When my students salute the flag each day, they salute Marc," she said.

After Sept. 11, 2001, Ryan served two tours in Afghanistan and two in Iraq. He joined the Marines in early 2000.

Ryan and three others from the Marines' 2nd Battalion, 4th Regiment were killed Nov. 15 when a suicide bomber attacked the Humvee in which they were riding. The incident happened near Ramadi.

His parents, Linda and Tom Ryan, wearing Marine Corps gold stars on their lapels, greeted guests with hugs and memories. Behind them, the medal hung on a green and white-striped ribbon. The citation lay on a table next to a laptop computer that was playing a slide show of digital photographs from their son's overseas tours of duty. There were also framed photos of Ryan in Marine Corps dress-blues and in his football uniform.

"He didn't have to go there," said high school classmate Kevin Hagan, 25. "But he said his brothers were dying over there and he needed to do something about it. He's a hero."

An effort to honor Ryan with a statue is under way, said his sister Lauren Ryan, 23. She'll meet with the local school board next month to get approval for it to be placed near the Gloucester City High School football field, where her brother was an all-star linebacker.

In the meantime, she said funds of between $30,000 and $60,000 will be needed to get the statue erected, and a fund-raiser will be held in May. Lauren said the statue would depict Marc in his Marine Corps uniform, with a football helmet tucked under one arm.

"He loved his football, but he wanted to be remembered as a Marine," she said. 

IF YOU GO

A fund-raiser for the Marc Ryan Memorial begins at 6 p.m. and goes through closing May 7 at Spectators Classic Sports Grille, 56 Crescent Blvd. (Rt. 130 North), Gloucester City.

  • The $15 donation includes a buffet.
  • Dom Pablo and the Flying Burritos will entertain and a Chinese auction will be held.
  • For information and directions, call (856) 456-7858.

 Camden Courier-Post - March 18, 2007

AVI STEINHARDT/Courier-Post
'There are days when you want to fall to pieces, but you hold it together,' says Linda Ryan, whose Marine son was killed in Iraq.

Click on Image to Enlarge

'He died protecting us'

In the living room of the Ryan home in Gloucester City is a display case devoted to Marine Cpl. Marc Ryan, who was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq more than two years ago.

There's Marc's Purple Heart and numerous other medals, photos, flags and a bottle of Jagermeister, his favorite alcoholic beverage. On a table is a picture of him in his dress uniform. A candle burns near the display. In his old bedroom is a shadowbox with his patches, medals and pins.

The display case helps keep his memory alive. There's also a scholarship fund at Gloucester City High School, where he was a standout football player.

"That's my main goal," said Linda Ryan, 51, the Marine's mother. "I have that fear that no one will remember him."

Marc served in Afghanistan -- his unit was one of the first to arrive in the weeks after 9/11 -- and was on his third tour in Iraq. He had recently extended his enlistment.

Marc, who was 25, and three others were killed Nov. 15, 2004, when a suicide bomber detonated a payload next to the Humvee they were riding in. It happened near the Marines' camp in Ramadi.

When Marc's unit came back from Iraq to Camp Pendleton, Calif., in 2005, Linda Ryan and other family members went west. They met the corporal's counterparts, as well as a Marine who was injured in the same attack and the family of another who was killed in the same incident.

"We may seem normal outside, but inside we're falling to pieces," she said. "There are days when you want to fall to pieces, but you hold it together."

For the most part, it has become easier to talk about Marc, said his sister Lauren Harkins, 25, of Gloucester City. But some things are tough.

Harkins got married in December, and remembering her brother was part of the reception. Everyone cried when Billy Joel's Goodnight Saigon played at the end of the evening.

The way the war has been handled makes Linda Ryan angry. She wishes there had been an exit strategy from the start, and says troops need to be better outfitted.

"We, as citizens, should be very concerned," said Linda Ryan. "As the most powerful country in the world, why did we approach Iraq haphazardly?"

But her son did not die in vain, she said. Linda Ryan believes that there are terrorists in Iraq and they must be stopped before the fight is brought to American soil.

"(Marc) was a fighter," she said. "It's the way he approached life. For the sake of everyone I know, his sacrifice was worth it. He died protecting us."

 

allen S.J. Soldier Receives Medal
Marc Ryan was killed in a suicide bombing while serving in Iraq

The occasion was solemn but the mood was upbeat and celebratory Friday afternoon at the Sportsmen Athletic Club, where the family and friends of Marine Cpl. Marc Ryan, killed in action in Iraq in November, gathered to see him honored with a medal for valor and courage under fire.

Ryan, a graduate of Gloucester City High School's class of 1998, was posthumously awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, decorated with a bronze "V" for valor.

"Cpl. Ryan demonstrated courage, initiative and poise while under intense enemy fire," the award's citation read in part. Ryan withstood an "intense barrage of rocket-propelled grenades and machine gun fire" and fought persistently to protect his fellow Marines, it said, "inspiring all who observed him."

Tears, laughter, sadness and pride bubbled to the surface as easily as the soda and beer being poured in the packed bar. Neighbors, classmates and former football teammates witnessed the award ceremony, along with at least two of Ryan's high school teachers.

"He was effervescent," said Sherry Florich, 57, who taught Ryan English in his sophomore and senior years. "He was well-loved by everyone, just a nice, polite boy - kind of like a throwback to the '50s when every kid was like that. We were really heartbroken."

Florich said she has a memorial to Ryan set up in her classroom. "When my students salute the flag each day, they salute Marc," she said.

After Sept. 11, 2001, Ryan served two tours in Afghanistan and two in Iraq. He joined the Marines in early 2000.

Ryan and three others from the Marines' 2nd Battalion, 4th Regiment were killed Nov. 15 when a suicide bomber attacked the Humvee in which they were riding. The incident happened near Ramadi.

His parents, Linda and Tom Ryan, wearing Marine Corps gold stars on their lapels, greeted guests with hugs and memories. Behind them, the medal hung on a green and white-striped ribbon. The citation lay on a table next to a laptop computer that was playing a slide show of digital photographs from their son's overseas tours of duty. There were also framed photos of Ryan in Marine Corps dress-blues and in his football uniform.

"He didn't have to go there," said high school classmate Kevin Hagan, 25. "But he said his brothers were dying over there and he needed to do something about it. He's a hero."

An effort to honor Ryan with a statue is under way, said his sister Lauren Ryan, 23. She'll meet with the local school board next month to get approval for it to be placed near the Gloucester City High School football field, where her brother was an all-star linebacker.

In the meantime, she said funds of between $30,000 and $60,000 will be needed to get the statue erected, and a fund-raiser will be held in May. Lauren said the statue would depict Marc in his Marine Corps uniform, with a football helmet tucked under one arm.

"He loved his football, but he wanted to be remembered as a Marine," she said. 

IF YOU GO

A fund-raiser for the Marc Ryan Memorial begins at 6 p.m. and goes through closing May 7 at Spectators Classic Sports Grille, 56 Crescent Blvd. (Rt. 130 North), Gloucester City.

  • The $15 donation includes a buffet.
  • Dom Pablo and the Flying Burritos will entertain and a Chinese auction will be held.
  • For information and directions, call (856) 456-7858.

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