• December 21, 2014

A hero remembered

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Posted: Thursday, January 18, 2007 12:00 pm | Updated: 4:55 pm, Wed Aug 15, 2012.

By Sgt. Serena Hayden

1st Cavalry Division public affairs

BAQUBAH, Iraq "I'd like to take a few moments to share some memories I have of Ryan Berg, an American hero," said Capt. Peter Chapman, during a memorial service for his fallen soldier, Pfc. Ryan Berg, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

"Ryan was the epitome of youthful vitality," said Chapman, the commander for Bravo Company, also known as the "Bone Crushers."

"His seemingly limitless energy could not be contained and this is how I will remember and honor him," he said. "Ryan refused to quit.

"The same energy was a force to be reckoned with on Wednesday mornings during combatives, or any time Ryan was ready to grapple," Chapman said. "Ryan refused to tap out to anyone."

More soldiers also testified to Berg's abilities in combatives, which is a form of grappling in which soldiers can practice hand-to-hand fighting techniques.

"He was never afraid or intimidated going up against guys bigger than him," said Sgt. Eric Wall, Berg's team leader.

"Every time he got the chance to during combatives, he always wanted to wrestle Staff Sgt. Embry," said Pfc. Bruce Avila. "Staff Sgt. Embry is one bad dude at combatives."

"Ryan would always lose, but he would always get up and say, 'One of these days Staff Sgt. Embry, one of these days I'm going to get you,'" Avila said.

"Staff Sgt. Embry said, 'Berg no, no you're not,'" Avila said. But later Embry said he would have done something different if Berg was still here.

"Staff Sgt. Embry said, 'If Ryan was here, I'd let him tap me out. And then I'd say, you got me, Berg,'" Avila said.

"If I could describe Ryan in six words, I'd say he was respectful, caring, loving, friendly, tough and very loud," said Avila.

"Ryan was respectful towards everybody," said Avila. "He treated everybody from NCOs, officers, friends, family and his elders with respect that they deserved."

Wall also spoke of Berg's respect.

"Ryan was a good soldier. He was the kind of soldier every NCO wants," Wall said. "He knew the details of his job inside and out, and was always, always respectful."

"He was always a caring person," Avila said.

"When someone was feeling low, Ryan was there because he knew he could lift their spirits," Chapman said. "He put so much energy into life."

Avila also mentioned Berg's wife, Katie.

"I remember calling Berg on the weekends," Avila said. "I asked him if he wanted to go to the beach or just go hang out."

He would always say he would spend the weekend with his fiance Katie, whom he later married, Avila said.

"I got to hang out with both him and Katie, and I realized that (he) really liked her. He loved her," he said.

"The day he was married, he called me and said, 'I did it man. It's a wonderful feeling, dude. No one can ever take this feeling away from me,'" Avila said.

Wall said Berg had a great sense of humor.

"He would say some of the funniest things I had ever heard on my life," Wall said. "If there was a joke that was ever directed to him, he never took it personally."

Avila said Berg was an outgoing and friendly person with everyone.

"I think Ryan got along with everybody on the company. In fact, I think he was the only one who could go up to anyone and have a conversation with that person," Avila said. "Not many people can do that."

"Ryan's gone now, but he's not going to be forgotten," Chapman said. "I ask everyone here to take a lesson from him and share in the energy and determination that defined him."

"Even though Ryan has left us, let's not be sad," Wall said, finishing up his speech. "Let's celebrate his memory."

"Let's be happy that he moved on to a better place, and let's be happy that we knew him," he said.

"Honor him by working toward accomplishing our greater purpose here," Chapman said, "by defending, protecting and helping the innocent; trying to bring those on the fence to the table so they can resolve their issues peacefully. And for those who demonstrate intentions or actions designed to do us harm, demonstrate to them the Bone Crusher rule of law and bring untold violence onto them.

"Honor Ryan by doing this," Chapman said.

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