Labels: Spot News
I am so honored to have been able to attend Sgt. Ryan Baumann's funeral this past weekend and to have the opportunity to meet so many of his fellow soldiers, friends and family members. These are a few photos from the last few days. I hope to update this posting in the coming days, but wanted to post a few photos to share with everyone. To Lauren, Bob, Cindy, Gary, Christina, and everyone else who welcomed me and treated me so great I thank you for allowing me to be part of everything. Meeting all of you I can see how Ryan became and was such a great person. Seeing the thousands of people who lined the roads waving flags, saluting and holding signs, he not only died a hero but reminded all of us about what patriotism means and what our country is all about. As I drove along in the funeral procession to Arlington National Cemetery and watched mile after mile of people, I was so proud to be an American and I thank Ryan for that.
I've learned a lot as a photojournalist in the last few days. To often we take for granted what we do. I have been very blessed in my career to cover many amazing stories, to be behind the scenes at events, to be in the company of presidents and celebrities, to be on the sidelines of great games, to travel to faraway lands--Cuba, India, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, to be a firsthand witness to history--the crash of United Flight 93, the Sago Mine Disaster, elections in Pakistan, but no story or work I've even done has touched me as much as covering the war in Afghanistan. Since I've returned and our stories, videos, and photos have run in the newspaper and online, I've received so many touching emails from soldiers and their families. One soldier's wife emailed to tell us that her two boys spotted their dad, Sgt. Lynch, in a video. She wrote, "Thank you so much . As soon as we pulled up the Tani Mission video my boys spotted their daddy right away. We've been watching him for about the last hour over and over. They love their daddy so much!!" An email from Ryan's mother reads, "My father who is 89 and served in WW II actually had tears in his eyes. He found a frame and is moving it from room to room so he can "always keep Ryan on [his] mind and in [his] prayers." As I said before, you can't imagine what comfort it brings." And another email from a soldier's wife reads, "THANK YOU for giving me the chance to see and know and small glimpse of his life right now." Of all the awards I've received in my career, there is nothing that compares to emails and letters such as these. With our jobs, as journalists, to often we are forced to move from one story to the next, but this story will linger with me for quite some time. I'm so happy that my photographs have provided so many with glimpses into their sons, husbands, dads, brothers, uncles, cousins, and friend's lives while serving in Afghanistan. In particular, I'm overwhelmed at the emails I've received from Sgt. Ryan Baumann's friends, family members and fellow soldiers. There are to many to mention but each one deeply touches me and humbles me. I wanted to share some more photos I took of Ryan while I was with his platoon in Afghanistan. He truly was a consummate soldier and American.
Top photo: Ryan stopping to check for IEDs along a road near Seneky. Second photo: Ryan with Sgt. 1st Class Dustin Horn locating wells on a mission in Legorah. Third photo: Ryan at a well with Afghans on a mission in Legorah. Fourth photo: Ryan (center) with Capt. Nick Howard (left) and Sgt. 1st Class Dustin Horn (right) on a mission near Seneky. Final photo: Ryan keeps a careful watch along a road on a recognizance mission.
I was deeply saddened today to hear that Sgt. Ryan Baumann, 24, of Great Mills, MD was killed in action on Friday in Afghanistan. I was fortunate to not only spend a couple of weeks in Afghanistan at a small combat outpost with Ryan and his platoon, but to get to know him as a person. He was a dedicated and respected soldier, but also he was deeply devoted to his fiance Lauren who he spoke so highly of and was so excited to marry early next year. My heart goes out to her as well as Ryan's father, Bob, mother, Cindy, and his family and friends. I know that nothing can ever fill the void in their hearts at the loss of Ryan, but hope they find comfort in knowing he died doing what he believed in. I am honored to have had the chance to meet Ryan and I will remain eternally grateful for his service and for his sacrifice.
Top photo: Ryan on a mission in Turqel. Second photo: Ryan on a recognizance mission near Seneky. Third photo: Ryan (at left) with Sgt. 1st Class Dustin Horn on a mission in Legarah. Fourth photo: Ryan joking around with an interpreter during a mission to Legarah. Final photo: Ryan leading a group of soldiers across a field on a mission in Legarah.