SGT Ryan John Baum, USA assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska; died May 18 in Karmah, Iraq, of wounds sustained when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small-arms fire.

Ryan was a 1997 graduate of Smokey Hill High School in Aurora, Colorado. Friends remember him as a stubborn person but after joining the Army, he became an absolutely amazing person, man, father and son – he found his niche. He grew from a kid who defied authority into a man who soldiers on the front lines could count on. Ryan was an Army Ranger medic called “Doc Baum” and his comrades described him as the finest American soldier – talented, dedicated and proud. He was just a day away from a two-week leave so he could witness the birth of his first child, a daughter. But he volunteered for one last mission in Iraq because he didn’t want to let his fellow soldiers down – he was that rare breed who placed duty and sacrifice above his own needs and wants. Some of his passions were football, baseball, lacrosse, camping, family gatherings and defending his country.

Ryan’s wife, Amber, participated in the 2014 and 2015 Survivor Summit Expedition and 2015 Shane’s Challenge in Guatemala in honor of her husband.

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