LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) — Family, friends and counselors are remembering Spc. Ryan Dennis Orin Riley, the 22-year-old solider from Richmond who died over the weekend in Iraq.
Tuesday, he made his final trip home to the states. He arrived in Dover, Deleware in the morning.
“Ya know if the world was just full of Ryans it would be a very nice place to live in so we’re just gonna miss him,” says Josh Edwards, Riley’s counselor at Henry Clay High School.
And miss him a lot — that’s what we’re hearing from people who knew Riley.
The Department of Defense announced Sunday that Riley – a fire control specialist- had died Saturday in what the army calls a non-combat incident that’s still under investigation.
“Any student that you would lose you would feel really bad about but I really knew him well and knew what a good-hearted kid he was and it was just really hard to see him go,” says Edwards who counseled Riley all four years until he graduated.
The Army Times reports Riley enlisted in October of 2016 and during his time in the army he received several awards.
He was promoted to the rank of specialist in October of 2018.
Riley was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell.
HE was on his first deployment. He was sent to Iraq December of last year, according to the Army Times.
One of his long time friends, since middle school, says it was always Riley’s dream to go and serve his country.
She had this to say about him:
“Ryan – he was a good guy, quiet and lovable. He was hopeful. Just re-enlisted for five more years and was ready to come home. He loved his brothers-in-arms and would do anything for them. He was an amazing man and he will be dearly missed by all who knew him.”
Edwards says Riley would’ve done so much for the community when he returned from war because he was just that type of guy who wanted to make the world a better place.
Family friends say Riley’s body will be returned to Richmond in the next week or two.
A funeral date has not been set but Governor Matt Bevin says flags will be lowered that day.
“I just think it says everything you need to know about his character that he was willing to go over there and protect us,” says Edwards. “He was just that type of person.”