Ryan Casey McGhee – Corporal, United States Army

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 334-09

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Corporal Ryan C. McGhee, 21, of Fredericksburg, Virginia, died May 13, 2009, from wounds suffered when his unit came in contact with enemy forces while conducting combat operations in Central Iraq.

He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia.

A Fredericksburg man who was an Army Ranger died yesterday of wounds received by small-arms fire in central Iraq.

Corporal Ryan C. McGhee, 21, and his unit were conducting operations to rid Iraq of a weapons facilitator and suicide-bomber cell known to be operating in the area when they came under attack, the Army said in a statement.

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McGhee was an automatic rifleman assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia.

“Corporal Ryan McGhee's actions are in the finest traditions of this great regiment,” Colonel Richard D. Clarke, 75th Ranger Regiment commander, said in a statement.

“He continuously answered his nation's call, fighting the most tenacious, fanatical and resolute enemies of our country during multiple deployments to places where most would or could not go. His memory will not be forgotten by our Rangers.”

McGhee was on his fourth deployment. The other deployments had been to Afghanistan, the statement said.

McGhee enlisted in the Army on August 1, 2006, after graduating from high school in Fredericksburg.

McGhee is survived by his father, Steven McGhee of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, his mother, Sherrie L. McGhee of Knoxville, Tennessee, and his brother, Zachary, the statement said.


Under a blustery gray sky and in a transfer case draped with an American flag, Corporal Ryan Casey McGhee, 21, an Army Ranger killed in Iraq on Wednesday, began his final journey home.

In a solemn scene yesterday on the tarmac, McGhee's remains were transferred by fellow soldiers from a 747 cargo plane bearing the Stars and Stripes on its flank, to the ground where relatives and a large white van were waiting.

McGhee, a 2006 Massaponax High school graduate, is the son of Steven and Kristie McGhee of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Sherrie Battle-McGhee of Knoxville, Tennessee. He was engaged to be married to a fellow Massaponax High School graduate next year.

On Wednesday, the flag-draped remains of five soldiers killed over the weekend by a troubled fellow soldier in Iraq were were received by relatives at the same spot.

McGhee, who served four tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, was killed by small arms fire while conducting combat operations in central Iraq, when his unit came under fire. A combat operator with the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Georgia, McGhee was part of a team hunting down a weapons provider and a suicide-bombing cell.

“He was an all-around great person and he loved what he did,” McGhee's brother Zachary, 24, said yesterday. “I talked to him two weeks ago. He called to wish me a happy birthday. He said he loved me and he missed me.”

Zachary McGhee, who lives in Stafford County and is a Sergeant in the Army National Guard in Fredericksburg, said his brother was interested in the military early on and decided in his senior year in high school to become a Ranger. “He pretty much wanted to serve his country and give something back.”

“Ryan McGhee's actions are in the finest traditions of this great regiment,” said Colonel Richard D. Clarke, 75th Ranger Regiment commander. “He continuously answered his nation's call fighting the most tenacious, fanatical and resolute enemies of our country during multiple deployments to places where most would or could not go. His memory will not be forgotten by our Rangers.”

High school Principal Joe Rodkey said he learned about McGhee's death Wednesday while attending a Massaponax soccer game.

“This is just devastating to us,” Rodkey said of the impact on the Massaponax High School community.

“We all just thought the world of him.”

McGhee also had been a member of the Key Club and served on the class executive board his junior and senior years.

He was chosen by his classmates for two senior superlatives–friendliest and most charming.

Rodkey said he met in his office yesterday with students who had learned of McGhee's death.

“Kids have a hard time with this because they never expect it to be anyone they know,” Rodkey said.

He said the school is prepared to assist students if any need help dealing with the death.

Deb Aragon, who helps coordinate the “dignified transfers” at the Air Force Base, said it's an emotional time for all involved.

“My heart goes out to the families every time,” said Aragon, a retired Air Force Master Sergeant. “I have two sons, 19 and 21.”


Fredericksburg Ranger Fatally Shot in Combat
Courtesy of The Washington Post

Ryan C. McGhee, 21, who grew up in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and became an automatic rifleman in the Army Rangers, was killed Wednesday by small arms fire during combat in central Iraq, the Pentagon said.

The Corporal's unit was trying to rid Iraq of a weapons facilitator and suicide-vest cell known to be operating in the area, officials said in a statement yesterday.

He was serving with the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment of Fort Benning, Georgia.

After graduating from high school, McGhee enlisted in the U.S. Army in August 2006.

McGhee, who was born in Pennsylvania, was on his fourth deployment; his three other deployments were to Afghanistan, the Pentagon said.

“Corporal Ryan McGhee's actions are in the finest traditions of this great regiment,” Colonel Richard D. Clarke, 75th Ranger Regiment commander, said in the statement.

McGhee is survived by his father, Steven McGhee of Myrtle Beach South Carolina; his mother, Sherrie McGhee of Knoxville, Tennessee; and his brother, Zachary.

Corporal McGhee will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors on 2 June 2009.

Arlington National Cemetery Funeral Services

A caisson carries the remains of Corporal Ryan C. McGhee, during burial
services at Arlington National Cemetery Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Arlington National Cemetery Funeral Services

The firing party waits for the burial services of Corporal Ryan C. McGhee
at Arlington National Cemetery Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Arlington National Cemetery Funeral Services

Honor guard members prepare to carry the remains of Corporal Ryan C. McGhee to his grave site
during burial services at Arlington National Cemetery Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ryan C. McGhee, Sherrie McGhee, Pete Geren

Army Secretary Pete Geren meets with Sherrie McGhee, the mother of Corporal Ryan C. McGhee during
burial services at Arlington National Cemetery Tuesday, June 2, 2009.

Ryan C. McGhee, Zachary McGhee, Steven McGhee, Sherrie McGhee

Sherrie McGhee clutches the flag from the casket of her son, Corporal Ryan C. McGhee as she sits
with Ryan's father Steven McGhee, left, and brother, Zachary McGhee, left, during burial services
at Arlington National Cemetery Tuesday, June 2, 2009.

Ryan C. McGhee, Steven McGhee, Sherrie McGhee, Zachary McGhee

Steven McGhee, center, is comforted after receiving a flag from the casket of his son, Corporal  Ryan C. McGhee,
during burial services at Arlington National Cemetery  Tuesday, June 2, 2009. With Steven McGhee are
Sherrie McGhee, mother of Ryan McGhee, second from right, and brother, ANG Sergeant Zachary McGhee, right.

NOTE: On 7 August 2009 Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Rippetoe, Colonel, United States Army (Retired) visited Arlington National Cemetery and placed an Army Ranger Beret on the headstone of Corporal McGhee (see photos below).  Colonel Rippetoe's son, Russell B. Rippetoe, Captain, United States Army, himself an Army Ranger, was killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom on 3 April 2003.

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Cherry Tree Planted In Memory Of Ryan Casey McGhee
Photo By His Loving Mother, Sherrie McGhee

MCGHEE, RYAN CASEY
CPL  US ARMY
DATE OF BIRTH: 11/04/1987
DATE OF DEATH: 05/13/2009
BURIED AT: SECTION 60  SITE 8870
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

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