Patrick Ryan Adle – Lance Corporal, United States Marine Corps

NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
No. 630-04
July 01, 2004

DoD Identifies Marine Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of three Marines who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lance Corporal Patrick R. Adle, 21, of Baltimore, Maryland
Sergeant Alan D. Sherman, 36, of Brick, New Jersey
Corporal John H. Todd III, 24, of Bridgeport, Pennsylvania

All three died June 29, 2004, southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, as a result of hostile action.  They were assigned to the Marine Corps Reserve’s 6th Engineer Support Battalion, 4th Force Service Support Group, Folsom, Pennsylvania.

U.S. Marine from Harford County killed in Iraq

Fallston High graduate, star athlete was on his second tour of duty
20 June 2004:


Lance Corporal Patrick Ryan Adle, a former star football and lacrosse player at Fallston High School who joined the Marine Corps when he turned 18 because he wanted to protect his family and his country, was killed Tuesday near Baghdad, Iraq, when the Humvee he was riding in struck a land mine.

“He was a hero,” Michael Watts said today of his stepson, who was 21. A Marine reservist, Adle was on his second tour of duty in Iraq.

“I don’t know all the details,” Watts said, “but apparently the Marines were in some kind of skirmish and some were injured. They were put into an ambulance to be taken out of the area. The ambulance was the lead vehicle.

“The Humvee in which Patrick was riding with two other Marines was trying to protect the ambulance. It went around the ambulance to take the lead, and in the process it hit an embedded land mine.

“All three were killed instantly,” Watts said.

The other two men who died were identified as Sergeant Alan Sherman of northern New Jersey and Corporal John Todd III of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania., military officials said.

Pamela Adle-Watts, Patrick’s mother, said her son “was very proud of being a Marine. He believed he was helping the people of Iraq. He believed he was doing the right thing.”

Watts added: “Patrick made friends with the people of Iraq — the little kids, the parents. He told us ‘they were grateful we were there to help.’ ”

Adle was with a military engineering unit based in suburban Philadelphia, according to Watts, who said he drove an earthmoving machine.

It was because of his skill in operating machinery that Adle agreed to a second tour of duty in Iraq earlier this year.

“They [the Marines] said they needed him to operate the equipment, and he was committed to the Marines,” said Watts. “He agreed to do it. He went back to Iraq in February.”

His first involvement in combat came in the summer of 2002, only about 24 hours after his unit arrived at a base in Kuwait near the Iraqi border.

“They came under attack almost immediately,” said Pamela Adle-Watts.

Adle grew up on Birchwood Manor Lane, near Bel Air. He is remembered for his prowess on the athletic fields while at Fallston High, where he was graduated in 2001.

“He was an average student,” said Michael Watts. “He did good in some subjects and not so good in others that didn’t interest him. He excelled in history and French. He was probably in the upper portion of his class.”

He lettered in football and lacrosse all four years.

Dave Cesky, Fallston’s football coach, remembers Adle as “an all-American kid.” On the football team, he played running back and receiver on offense and defensive back.

“He was so enthusiastic and played so hard that I had to put him on the kick-off team,” said Cesky.

Adle helped the Fallston Cougars to a state title in lacrosse in 2001. He played defense and was remembered for aggressive play and leadership.

Fallston High’s Principal Robert Pfau said Adle was a popular student and was one of eight in his high school graduating class to enlist in the Marines.

The sign outside the school on Route 152 was changed yesterday to read: “Fallen Cougar USMC Patrick Adle 2001/June 29, 2004 Iraq.”

On his 18th birthday, when Adle announced his intention to join the Marines, his mother and stepfather tried to discourage him. They wanted him to go to college and pursue his plans to become a schoolteacher and football coach.

The family reached a compromise. Adle joined a Marine Reserve unit and attended Harford Community College.

“He wanted to be in the infantry,” said his mother. “We talked him into joining an engineering unit. We thought that would be more safe.”

Adle’s unit was called to active duty after his first semester at Harford Community College.

“Everyone loved him, and he loved everyone. He had no enemies. He was the life of the party,” said Pamela Adle-Watts.

Adle’s last message to his parents came in an e-mail Saturday. “He said he was going on a nine-day mission. ‘I love you, miss you a lot. Can’t wait to get home. I will write when I get back to camp,’ ” his mother said.

He is survived by a brother, Michael Adle Jr., and his father, Michael Adle, both of Bel Air.

Michael Watts said a funeral service would be held at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Bel Air. The date has not been set. He said that Adle would later be buried in a military funeral at Arlington National Cemetery.

The Rev. Kenneth Homer, the pastor at Good Shepherd and an Army reservist, described Adle as an “authentically religious person who didn’t try to get out of work details by going to church.”

When Adle left for Iraq in February, Homer gave him one of the cloth crosses from an Army uniform shirt he had worn in Bosnia. “I said his job was to keep the cross and bring it back to me safely.”

Adle taped the cross into his helmet, according to his mother.

“He loved the Marine Corps,” Homer said, “but not in a bloodthirsty way. He thought he was helping the people of Iraq. He sincerely believed that.”

Maryland Marine’s body escorted home, arrives at Dover AFB

2 July 2004

As friends and family remembered his infectious smile and drive to serve his country, arrangements were being made to honor Marine Lance Corporal Patrick Ryan Adle, who was killed in Iraq Tuesday.

Arlington National Cemetery will be the final resting place for Adle, a 2001 graduate of Fallston High School in Bel Air, Maryland.

Adle, who was serving with the 6th Engineer Support Division, and two other Marines were killed when a roadside explosion hit their Humvee. The vehicle was escorting an ambulance through southeastern Baghdad when the explosion struck, according to Major Brian Dwyer.

Dwyer was in Bel Air Thursday as the military liaison to the fallen Marine’s family. Adle’s mother, Pamela Adle-Watts, embraced Dwyer in the family’s living room on Birchwood Manor Lane in the Marywood development just north of Bel Air.

“Thank you for bringing him home so quick,” she said. Her son’s body arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware Thursday afternoon.

His family went to Dover for a small ceremony.

“It was very moving. He was escorted home by Marines from Iraq. There’s a ceremony they perform with honor guards when he’s taken off the plane and loaded into hearse,” said Mike Adle, Adle’s father.

The mother of the fallen Marine was visibly shaken Thursday. Family members quietly bustled around her house, answering the door and accepting flower arrangements. She had last heard from her son Saturday. He was due home in September.

The stern-faced man in a posed Marine photograph was not the true Patrick, his mother said. Pointing to a newspaper photograph of herself and her smiling son embracing when he arrived home from his first tour in Iraq last summer, Adle-Watts said: “That’s my son.”

By her own admission, Thursday had been a tiring, draining day for Adle-Watts. Each time someone else came over to the house, she cried all over again. There was a whirlwind of phone calls to take and arrangements to make.

Outside the house, a Marine Corps flag hung still in the summer air. American flags dotted the lawns and porches of neighboring houses in the community of compact homes on small, tree shaded lots.

As she tried to compose herself once again, Adle-Watts turned a large Marine Corps ring around and around on her right ring finger.

“He wanted this ring because he wanted to be a Marine so bad,” she said, adding her son had worn his Marine ring much more than he had ever worn his high school ring.

Remembered Fathers Day

Fraternal cousin Bruce Tackett said the last time Lance Corporal Adle spoke to his father, Michael Adle, was by phone from Iraq on Father’s Day.

“He said he was enjoying himself. He said it was starting to get hot, it was only 110 over there,” Adle said. “He said he’d make [Father’s Day] up next year.”

In addition to full military honors and interment in Arlington National Cemetery, Lance Corporal Adle will receive a posthumous Purple Heart.

Though times have not been set, viewings will be at Schimunek Funeral Home in Bel Air. The funeral service will be at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Bel Air.

Important to help

It was Lance Corporal Adle’s smile and positive attitude that won him a big place in the hearts of friends, family, coaches and teachers, but there also was a serious side to this young man, and the desire to serve his country burned deep within him.

Lance Corporal Adle’s stepfather, Michael Watts, said his stepson came home from high school one day saying he’d met a Marine. There was no doubt what he wanted to do and the stepson enlisted in the Marine Reserves when he turned 18. When he was called to active duty, there was no doubt in his mind about what he’d being doing overseas, Watts said. “One thing Patrick explained to me and his mother was how important it was to him to help the Iraqi people,” Watts said.

In frequent e-mails to the family, Lance Corporal Adle talked about the good things he saw in the country, Watts said, adding it was an opposite version of the story told daily by the American news media.

As a member of the Marine Corps engineering division, Lance Corporal Adle helped build bridges, roads and other infrastructure. His last mission, cousin Bruce Tackett said, involved moving south to build a bridge.

Tackett, also a Marine who served in the current Iraq conflict, and his wife, Brenda Tackett, received an e-mail Saturday.

In the e-mail, Lance Corporal Adle was “thanking us for sending him stuff, looking forward to coming home in September,” Brenda Tackett said.

“We want people to know that he loved what he did,” Bruce Tackett said.

Lance Corporal Adle wanted his family to know that his work in this war was having a positive effect.

“These little Iraqi kids would come up to him and they would hug him and kiss him. He really felt that he was giving these people something that we take for granted in this country,” Watts said.

Love of country, football

From the reactions of people who knew him, from his immediate family to his high school football coach to his close friends, it’s clear Lance Corporal Adle was genuinely loved.

His first recollection of Lance Corporal Adle was as a two-year varsity player, but after looking back over team photographs, Fallston High head football Coach David Cesky realized Lance Corporal Adle had joined the varsity squad as a sophomore.

“He must have had something we were looking for,” Cesky said Wednesday.

Lance Corporal Adle, who wore number 4 on his jersey, was a utility player and special-teams leader on Fallston High’s repeat county football champions in 1999 and 2000. Lance Corporal Adle, who also played on the 2001 state champion varsity lacrosse team from Fallston High, left Cesky with a lasting impression.

“Even if he wasn’t starting, he was working as hard as he can all the time,” Cesky said, describing him as the kind of kid who, on a kickoff, would run full speed into a guy 150 pounds heavier. That attitude led Cesky to get Lance Corporal Adle, who also played running back and defensive back, onto the field wherever he could.

Jim O’Toole, who taught Lance Corporal Adle in ninth grade English and who is the public address announcer for the football games at Fallston High, summed up his former student’s two main passions.

“I know he was very proud of the Marine Corps. He dreamt about serving his nation and contributing,” O’Toole said. “And he loved football. Man, did he love football.”

O’Toole recalled how Lance Corporal Adle was always talking about football, so much so that on several occasions the teacher had to send him off with a late pass or start English class late because their football talk had cut into class time.

‘Just a tragedy’

Fallston Principal Robert Pfau heard about Lance Corporal Adle’s death on the eve of his retirement. As he tied up loose ends at the school on his last day Thursday, Pfau reflected on his former student’s death.

“It’s just a tragedy. That’s the only way to describe it,” Pfau said.

Lance Corporal Adle was one of eight graduating seniors from the Fallston High Class of 2001 to join the Marine Corps, an unusually high number from one school during peacetime. In an article published in the May 31, 2001 edition of The Print, Fallston High’s student newspaper, he spoke of his decision to serve.

“It takes a lot of patriotism to be in the services. You’re putting the country and the Marine Corps ahead of yourself,” Lance Corporal Adle said in the 2001 article. “Once you make it through boot camp, you’re a Marine for life.” At least three of the Fallston eight, including Lance Corporal Adle, served or are serving in the Middle East.

John Weber is deployed in Afghanistan. Weber’s father recently called Pfau to give him an update. Weber’s company had been ambushed and Weber had seen two of his friends killed but had escaped serious injury, Pfau said.

“Parents keep us posted. It’s the first time it’s hit home like this,” he added.

Friends said Mr. Adle had run into his close friend and fellow Marine Kyle Madden while serving in Baghdad. Football coach Cesky struggled Thursday to grasp the meaning behind the 21-year-old’s untimely death.

“It’s hard for me because he’s the same age as my son. I think that’s what hits home the most,” Cesky said. Lance Corporal Adle, who attended a semester at Harford Community College and was planning to attend University of Maryland, might have been preparing for his senior year in college if hadn’t joined the Marines, Cesky said.

Dealing with the loss and grieving will be hardest for Lance Corporal Adle’s young friends, Cesky said. “They just don’t understand. None of us do, really,” he added.

‘So many friends’

By all accounts, Lance Corporal Adle, who acquired a love of surfing while serving at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, was a popular guy.

“The kid had so many friends. He was probably the most loved person that I know,” said Kelly Gettier, who graduated a year ahead of Lance Corporal Adle at Fallston High. “He was one of the nicest, sweetest people you’ll ever meet in your life. Just the happiest kid ever.”

Watts, his stepfather, said groups of girls would knock on the door on a regular basis, looking for Lance Corporal Adle.

When asked which one was his girlfriend, his stepson would reply: “Well, they’re all my friends. I’ve got a while to be serious yet,” Watts recalled Tuesday.

“He had a great smile. People always loved to see him smile,” Brenda Tackett said.

Lance Corporal Adle returned from his first tour in Iraq late last spring and stayed at home until he was called back to active duty in February. He turned 21 March 8.

“He was actually over there when he turned 21 so he never got to enjoy it,” Bruce Tackett said.

Fallen heroes

In their last correspondence, Gettier said, Lance Corporal Adle wrote he was excited to have landed in an Army post with real beds and air-conditioning.

Gettier said that before her friend left for Iraq, she often asked him why he wanted to be in the military. As Gettier remembers it, his response was: “So you and none of my other friends have to. So nobody else has to.” “And I always thought that was completely heroic,” Gettier said.

Harford County Executive Jim Harkins issued the following statement Thursday: “All in Harford County share in the tragic loss of our young patriot Patrick Adle. Freedom is not free, it comes with a price. Pat has paid the highest price possible for the freedom we enjoy. It is because of young men and women like him, that we cannot forget the sacrifice he has made. I hope everyone holds the Adle family in their prayers, as I do. This is the toughest of times for them.”

Lance Corporal Adle wanted to eventually be a school teacher and a football coach. At heart, he was a patriot. “Patrick’s position was a total 100 percent citizen, an all-American boy,” his stepfather said.

Now, Lance Corporal Adle stands with giants.

Outside Fallston High, the American flag has flown at half-staff since former President Ronald Reagan died June 5. With Mr. Adle’s death, the lowered flag means something more.

“Now it stands for both of them,” O’Toole said.

July 7, 2004:

The body of Marine Lance Corporal Patrick Ryan Adle of Bel Air, Maryland, who was killed June 29, 2004, in Baghdad, Iraq, was returned to his family yesterday.

Viewings for Corporal Adle are scheduled from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow and Friday at Schimunek funeral home, 60 W. MacPhail Road, Bel Air, the family said.

The funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 1515 Emmorton Road, Bel Air.

Corporal Adle will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery at 3 p.m. Tuesday, according to family members.

Corporal Adle, 21, was killed when the Humvee in which he was traveling struck a roadside bomb.

Marine Lance Corporal Patrick Adle, left, Corporal Josh Tackett, center, and Tackett’s brother Corporal Bruce Tackett pose in a 2003 photo. Adle and two other Marines were killed Tuesday, June 29, 2004, when a roadside bomb exploded in eastern Baghdad. The others killed were Sergeant Alan D. Sherman and Corporal John Todd III, 25. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Josh Tackett)

July 11, 2004

Courtsy of the Baltimore Sun

On Memorial Day, the Rev. Kenneth H. Homer stood before his congregation at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd and read an e-mail from Lance Corporal Patrick Ryan Adle, a young man the Bel Air parish called “our Marine.”

In that e-mail, Homer said, Adle thanked the congregation “for all the stuff we had sent to him – so much stuff that he gave away much of it to those who had not received anything from home.”

Homer recalled that e-mail yesterday as he led a funeral service for the 21-year-old former Fallston High School football and lacrosse star, who died June 29, 2004, while evacuating wounded from a skirmish in Baghdad, Iraq.

Hundreds filled the sun-drenched sanctuary and spilled out into the vestibule to hear friends remember Adle as an outstanding athlete, a devoted son and a dedicated Marine. That he was in the lead vehicle when it struck a roadside bomb was no surprise to his pastor.

“That’s where you put your best people, those who are most committed and the most vigilant,” said Homer, also an Army Reserves Chaplain. “It is their job to protect. The lives of everyone else who follows depends on their actions.”

Adle, who joined the Marine Reserves while a senior in high school, died with two others – Sergeant Alan Sherman of northern New Jersey and Corporal John Todd III of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

Homer comforted the gathering of more than 500, many of them former Fallston High classmates, saying, “Patrick was where he wanted to be, with those he wanted to be with and doing what he wanted to be doing.”

‘No other branch’

Men and women in military uniforms sat among family and friends of the young man who, his parents said, joined the Marines to protect his family and his country.

“We all joined senior year,” said Lance Corporal Kevin Deremeik, 20, who served in Iraq with Adle last year. “We just wanted to be in the service, and there was no other branch for us but the Marines.”

Many at the service wore yellow ribbons given by the family as a reminder of the many military men and women serving their country.

“You see all these uniforms, pageantry and drill today,” Homer said. “But military service is about a life of sacrifice and exertion, of saying good-bye and doing without and doing what you are told. All that is at odds with the culture high school seniors are immersed in.”

The church’s pews filled early, more than 90 minutes before the 10 a.m. service. Adle’s family filed in behind his flag-draped casket while the congregation sang “How Great Thou Art.” His mother, Pam Adle-Watts, accompanied by her husband, John Watts, and a Marine officer, walked up the aisle singing. Adle’s father, Michael Adle, and his brother, Michael Adle Jr., followed.

High school memories

On the right side of the altar, Adle’s photo in formal military dress rested between the U.S. and Marine Corps flags. To the left, a framed Number 4 orange high school football jersey stood as a poignant reminder of his high school days. David Cesky, athletic director at Fallston, who delivered the first of three eulogies, recalled a scrappy football player with more spirit, optimism and speed than heft.

“He would sprint down the field at full speed into a block of linemen who all weighed 100 pounds more than him,” said Cesky. “He taught us well.”

After one devastating loss, it was sophomore Adle, last out of the locker room, who tried to cheer up his coach.

“He told me, ‘We did good,’ with the best record ever,” Cesky said. “Then, he said, ‘I can’t wait for next year.'”

Frank Taddeo Sr., who coached Adle in recreation leagues, called him a “110 percent team player. The truth of that is painfully obvious now.” In what Taddeo called “a clear indication of his character,” Adle volunteered for a second tour in Iraq so that those reservists with children could stay home.

“He has filled us all with such pride,” Taddeo said. “He helped others, never backed down from a challenge and kept God in his life.”

Helene McCullough, Adle’s high school French teacher, shared a few of the letters written by him.

“He had a spark for life that drew everyone in,” she said.

Homer also read a letter of thanks from Adle’s parents, who wrote that their “hearts were broken but filled with so much pride.”

The Marine Reserves and enrollment in Harford Community College were a compromise Adle made with his parents, who wanted the younger of their two sons to go to college. Adle, who had hoped to become a teacher and coach, drove an earthmover with a military engineering unit at Folsom in Ridley Township, in suburban Philadelphia. He was called to active duty after his first semester in college and served in Iraq for six months last year.

Adle visited Homer in February, shortly before leaving on his second deployment. He frequently e-mailed the pastor from Iraq, often reminding the Army chaplain about the superiority of the Marines.

Adle kept a cloth chaplain’s cross, a gift from Homer, taped inside his helmet. He had promised to bring it home safely.

“That cross has not yet come back to us,” said Homer before he gave Pam Adle-Watts a replica of it yesterday.

At the end of the service, two Marine officers slowly approached the altar and saluted the casket. As an honor guard of Marines escorted the casket from the church, the congregation sung “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Adle was “the true embodiment of the warrior spirit with a heart devoid of hatred for the adversary,” Homer said.

Burial will be at Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday.

Army Major, Marine Mourned at Arlington

By Jason Ukman
Courtesy of The Washington Post
Wednesday, July 14, 2004In the short life of Army Major Paul R. Syverson III, one filled with journeys throughout the Middle East and stories of heroics in Afghanistan, it was family that mattered most.

These were the people he loved: the woman he married after meeting her on a blind date at a military ball, the son he took camping in state parks, the newborn daughter he hardly had a chance to know.

Yesterday, they gathered at Arlington National Cemetery to bid farewell to Syverson, an Illinois native who was killed June 16 when a mortar shell slammed into a U.S. military camp in Balad, Iraq. He was 32.

Syverson’s was a life dedicated to country and committed to family, according to those who knew him.

The life of Lance Corporal Patrick R. Adle, even shorter than Syverson’s, was dedicated to country, too, but death cheated him of an opportunity to start a family of his own. Adle, a 21-year-old Marine from Bel Air, Maryland, was killed June 29, 2004, in a roadside bombing near Baghdad. Just hours after the funeral party for Syverson departed the cemetery, a group of mourners arrived for Adle.

Syverson and Adle were the 75th and 76th casualties of the Iraq war to be buried at Arlington. Though their paths probably never crossed in life, they will be forever near each other in death. Their graves lie side by side, at the end of a long row of marble headstones marking the final resting places of other Iraq war casualties.

Syverson was a highly trained Special Forces soldier, schooled in international studies and Arabic. He was a decorated veteran who had served in Kosovo and Afghanistan. He had graduated from Virginia Military Institute and married the daughter of a former U.S. ambassador to Italy. “The guy was destined for greatness,” said Paul Arndt, a friend who met Syverson in the eighth grade in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

Among his achievements, relatives and friends said, was his role in the war in Afghanistan. He was among the first soldiers to respond to the 2001 prison uprising in Mazar-e Sharif, where he helped retrieve the body of CIA officer Johnny “Mike” Spann.

During the mission, an errant U.S. bomb exploded near Syverson, bursting both his eardrums and injuring his back. He was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. After recovering from his injuries, he returned to action and served three tours of duty in Iraq.

He had a week or two to go in his third tour when he was killed last month.

Waiting at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, was his wife, Jackie, along with their son, Paul IV, 7, and daughter, Amy Elizabeth, who at the time of his death was 2 1/2 months old.

Yesterday, “Little Paul,” dressed in a tiny blue blazer, laid his head on his mother’s shoulder as they sat near Syverson’s grave. They held hands as they rose to put flowers on the flag-adorned coffin. Jackie Syverson kissed her hand and laid it on the coffin; Little Paul did the same.

Little Paul “knows what happened,” said his grandfather, Paul Syverson. “Whether he’s just hiding it or not thinking about it or what, I don’t know. . . . He has times when you can see in his eyes he’s very sad.”

Just three years out of high school, Adle had no children, but he did not lack loved ones. His funeral was attended by several hundred people, and his coffin was surrounded by countless wreaths.

Adle was assigned to the Marines’ 6th Engineer Support Battalion, 4th Force Service Support Group.

He came from a long line of military men and was the first member of his family to die in combat since a great-uncle was killed at Iwo Jima during World War II.

The chaplain at the funeral, Lieutenant Cynthia Kane, noted that Adle had cared for a comrade who had fallen ill with pneumonia and that, at the time of his death, he had been part of a convoy escorting an ambulance. “His beautiful smile lit up the world,” she said.

Kane added: “In the shadow of Lance Corporal Patrick Adle’s life, which spanned a mere 21 years, we rejoice in the legacy of his restless spirit — a restlessness that led him into the United States Marine Corps in a time such as now in our world’s history.”


  • VETERAN SERVICE DATES: 10/07/2001 – 06/29/2004
  • DATE OF BIRTH: 03/08/1983
  • DATE OF DEATH: 06/29/2004
  • DATE OF INTERMENT: 07/13/2004

Pamela Adle-Watts, mother of Lance Corporal Patrick Adle, and stepfather Michael Watts, place flowers on the coffin of Corporal Adle during a funeral ceremony at the Arlington National Cemetery, Tuesday, July 13, 2004.

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