Joseph Robert Ryan, JrFirst Lieutenant
MOBILE ADVISORY TEAM 68, ADVISORY TEAM 41, MACV ADVISORS
Army of the United States
16 July 1946 - 28 March 1971
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The database page for Joseph Robert Ryan, Jr
Joe was the Assistant Team Leader of MACV Mobile Advisory Team 68, Advisor Team 41 in Kontum Province, RVN. Joe and I worked and fought together in the jungles and small operating bases with our advisor team and Vietnamese infantry.
Joe was a dedicated, brave, and "can do" soldier and infantry officer who believed in leadership by example. His willingness to do whatever it took to succeed was an anchor I could count on, regardless of the situation.
His memory is still with me.
From his Senior Advisor and Team Leader,
Joe Ryan was a friend of mine from the time I was a little girl.
From a childhood friend in Bedford, Ohio
I served with Joe Ryan in Kontum with Advisory Team 41. I was the senior leader on the MAT team with Joe. He was assigned to my team approximately January, 1971. We were assigned at various locations around Kontum with the local ARVN company.
On March 28,1971 our team was assigned to go along with an ARVN company to clear Highway 14 north of Kontum that morning. Each morning the highway was checked before anyone could travel up the road. About 5 miles up the road forward portions of the company came under hostile fire and a number of ARVN soldiers were wounded. The captain of our group picked Joe plus our interpreter to take our jeep and go back down the highway and bring the ARVN ambulance up to our location where the wounded soldiers could be picked up. About 200 yards from our location the interpreter - Phan Tho - pulled the jeep to the shoulder of the road and the front right wheel hit a land mine. Both Joe and Phan Tho were killed instantly.
It was a very sad day for me and the whole Team 41. I remember giving a talk at the memorial service that we held for him.
I would like to contact some of his sisters or other relatives.
Wilton E "Sandy" Carter, Jr
I am one of LT Joe Ryan's sisters and he was one of my best friends.
Despite the typical sibling rivalries while growing up, we developed a deep friendship as we matured. While we both attended Miami University we had the opportunity to spend time together and shared many letters when he graduated and began his military career. Once he went to Vietnam his letters became our only link. Fortunately, he was a gifted writer who could create pictures with his words. I still have the letters he wrote. They provide a window to his experience that we never had the opportunity to share any other way.
I often wonder what he would have done with his life had he lived. Though he had expressed a desire to train as an Army Ranger, once the war ended, I'm not sure he would have followed that path. I tend to think he might have eventually gone to law school and perhaps found his way back to Oxford, Ohio to teach government at his beloved Miami.
I try to help my own children understand the kind of person that he was. Our family has always had mementoes of his service displayed for his nieces and nephews to remember that they had an uncle they never knew and understand the values he held.
As a staff member at an elementary school, I gave an annual presentation to the fifth graders about Joe. The Friday before Memorial Day, they would gather and I would take Joe's decorations, his photo and a photo of him when he was in the fifth grade. I had to explain that, back then, all fifth grade boys wore cowboy-print shirts! It helped make Memorial Day more relevant to the students and I was always amazed at their interest and attention. I was honored when one of the students returned the following year to share the report he wrote on "My Hero, Lt. Joe Ryan".
Joe's death in Vietnam left a hole in my heart that can't be filled; yet this memorial page has opened windows to his life that were never available before. My three sisters and my remaining brother are deeply grateful to Marty Goslar and Sandy Carter for adding a dimension to Joe's time in Vietnam that we could not have had despite the many detailed letters he sent to each of us. We are also grateful to those who maintain this web site and work so diligently to keep the memories of these veterans alive and provide connections between family and friends that would not have been forged otherwise.
From his sister,
The point-of-contact for this memorial is|
Mary Kay Hahn
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 8 Sep 2001
Last updated 11/07/2007