John Thomas Ryan

Specialist Four
Army of the United States
19 September 1944 - 26 June 1969
New York, New York
Panel 21W Line 020


Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for John Thomas Ryan

20 Nov 2004

Jack was as gentle a fellow as you would meet in the Bronx, the land of a lot of very tough guys. He came from a very loving and religious family. His brother and I think his sister seriously considered joining Catholic religious orders.

Once at a collge dance at Manhattanville girls college which was several rungs up the social and economic ladder from our Bronx upbringing, a matron brought a comely young blond girl to where Jack and I were standing. The matron looked Jack and me up and down and then took Jack and the pretty blond out to the dance floor to dance. Bashful Jack was redfaced the whole dance and was relieved when it ended. Of course the matron knew what she was doing when she selected Jack, because his goodness was easy to see even at a casual glance.

Jack was not a softy. He took the hard hits in our not too gentle game of two hand touch football without complaint.

I met Jack by chance the Friday evening before he was going to Vietnam. He wasn't happy about going to Vietnam. He said that the officers were from Texas and did not get along with the grunts who were from NYC. I wished him luck and said good-bye.

I learned of his death from his best friend John Rath who served in Vietnam as a medic and who was awarded the Silver Star. I was visiting John Rath at the suggestion of his mother who was concerned about her son adjusting after his heavy combat experience.

A fellow soldier in Jack's squad who was wounded by the explosion that killed Jack described Jack as "very competent, a kind man." He was kind after 10 months of combat.

From a friend,
Brian Kennedy

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Charlie Company, 2/14th Infantry, lost four men on 26 June 1969:
  • SSG Roger L. Simpson, Belington, WV
  • SGT Jackie Coots, Cumberland, KY
  • CPL Charles D. Ayers, Sneads, FL
  • SP4 John T. Ryan, New York, NY

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a friend,
Brian Kennedy

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 20 Nov 2004
Last updated 08/02/2007