Saturday, July 25, 2009

Their Stars Have Turned From Blue To Gold

Sgt. Ryan Lane
Sgt. Josh Rimer

Record monthly Afghanistan toll claims 2 area men

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Ryan LaneTwo U.S. military personnel with roots in Western Pennsylvania were killed in Afghanistan this week, contributing to the deadliest month for American forces in the region.

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Ryan Lane, 25, the son of former Castle Shannon police Chief Harold Lane, died in combat yesterday, according to family friends.

Army Sgt. Josh Rimer, of Fort Carson, Colo., was killed Wednesday morning when his armored vehicle struck a roadside bomb, said his father, Jim Rimer, of New Sewickley, Beaver County.

Sgt. Rimer was 24 and a 2003 graduate of Freedom High School.

With the latest fatalities, at least 35 Americans have died this month in Afghanistan, surpassing the highest previous monthly toll, 28, reached in June 2008. The deaths come at a time when thousands of new troops are arriving in the country for operations in areas controlled by the Taliban.

Sgt. Lane arrived in Afghanistan this summer after serving at least one other tour in the country. His unit had lost several Marines in recent weeks, said Shirley McMonagle, police secretary for Castle Shannon and a close friend of the Lane family.

"He's my hero," Mrs. McMonagle said of Sgt. Lane. "He always wanted to be a Marine. He just wanted to serve his country."

Sgt. Lane, the youngest of four brothers and a graduate of Keystone Oaks High School, was an avid baseball fan and played the sport throughout his childhood. He was outgoing and friendly, Mrs. McMonagle said.

"He was a sweetheart," said Sarah Coffey, Mrs. McMonagle's granddaughter.

Sgt. Lane joined the Marines in 2002. Three years later, he saw heavy combat in Afghanistan's Khost province, according to a military report posted on the Castle Shannon Web site at the time.

He was reluctant to talk about his experiences there, Mrs. McMonagle said.

Sgt. Lane married his wife, Valerie, about two years ago. They lived at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

This year, Defense Secretary Robert Gates observed Sgt. Lane's Marine unit, Delta Company, 2nd Light Armored Recon Battalion, as it prepared to go overseas.

"I am honored he took time out of his day to watch us do this," Sgt. Lane told an Associated Press reporter. "We train like we fight -- 24/7."

Sgt. Lane's father served as Castle Shannon's police chief for 17 years, retiring in June to become an investigator for the Allegheny County district attorney's office.

"It's a terrible blow," Castle Shannon Mayor Donald Baumgarten said yesterday. "Our hearts go out to the family."

Friends and family of Sgt. Rimer yesterday arrived at his Beaver County childhood home to pay their respects.

"He was a great kid. Everyone will miss him," said his father, Mr. Rimer, 52. "I've got a house full of people to prove it."

Sgt. Rimer was escorting a convoy at the time of his death, his father said. The Army did not provide him with anymore details.

Mr. Rimer said his son wasn't much for school growing up, so he joined the Army after graduation to give his life some "structure" and an education.

At 18, Sgt. Rimer was wounded by shrapnel in Iraq in 2004 and earned a Purple Heart. He had served a second tour in Iraq before being shipped to Afghanistan several months ago as the military ramps up its attack on the resurgent Taliban.

"He just talked to his mother (Donna) on Saturday," said Mr. Rimer. "He was looking forward to coming home on leave for two weeks in September. We were going to visit him and his wife in Colorado Springs."

Sgt. Rimer married his wife, AnnaLisa, two years ago in Colorado and bought a house near the Army base. He planned to leave the Army, raise a family and become an electrician, his father said.

Friday, July 24, 2009
By Jerome L. Sherman and Torsten Ove, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


May Almighty God Bless these two brave soldiers and comfort the families who love them so.


USA_Admiral said...

Prayers for the families and friends of these brave young men.

God Bless them and keep them.

AirmanMom said...

admiral...I thank you for stopping by to read the story of these two heroes.

Chuck said...

Admiral said it, peace to their families. Rest In Peace to these fine young men.

coffeypot said...

I believe Asscrackastan will be more brutal on our guys than Iraq. There will be many more Gold Stars before we are through. I pray more that our government will support them totally and let them do their job. If they are left to their own means of fighting we will have less casualties. It's partly the rules of engagement that are getting our boys killed and wounded.

christian soldier said...

They are on my site...I'm keeping track...

AirmanMom said...


AirmanMom said...

coffeypot...I always appreciate your visits!

AirmanMom said...

c-cs...each and every one of our soldiers deserve to have their sacrifice recognized!

Mary said...


True heroes. I am praying for their loved ones.

Canada has lost quite a few in Afghanistan this month as well.


AirmanMom said... prayers are lifted for your soldiers as well. thanks for stopping by!