21 years old from Nokomis, Illinois
2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment,
June 26, 2006
"His platoon leaders described him as the type of soldier every leader wants: A very talented, dedicated soldier, who did everything that was asked of him." That's what Lt. Col. Greg Butts, commander of the Army's 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, said about Cpl. Ryan J. Buckley at his memorial service. "I'm glad I could come here. It was an opportunity to recognize one of my great soldiers."
Cpl. Buckley lost his life on June 26, 2006 when an IED detonated near his Humvee during combat operations in Baghdad. "I held him while he died," Spc. Richard Morris, a fellow soldier who was wounded in the attack, said after the service. "He was my best friend. This nation has lost a hell of a soldier."
Ryan Buckley, a 2003 graduate of Hillsboro High School, was attending Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield in March 2004 when he left school to join the Army. He had told his mother on 9/11 that he planned to join the military to defend his country. Jennings Carter, who recently retired from the Army, was the commander of the Litchfield Army Recruiting Station when Buckley signed up. Carter said Buckley was an unusually cheerful young man. "Every time we saw him, he was always smiling," Carter said. "Before he went to Iraq, we saw him a few times. He was always happy. He would come by and tell us what he was doing."
Jean Buckley, Buckley's aunt, said he was always a responsible young man, who took his school work seriously, as well as his role in the school bands. The talented French horn player was awarded the John Philip Sousa award his senior year as the outstanding band member.
"He was always a protector," Jean Buckley said. "It's such a sad time. We're so thankful for the Ryans of the world. I appreciate all the veterans and all they've done for this country."
Cpl. Buckley was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Iraq from Nov. 30 to June 23. Bronze Stars were presented to his wife of one year, Tina Buckley, his mother, Sally Nation, and father, Dennis Buckley.
These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives
so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday.
For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
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