Kentucky soldier dies from non-combat incident in Iraq


An investigation is under way into the death of a Kentucky solider while he was serving in Iraq.

Spc. Ryan Dennis Orin Riley, 22, from Richmond, Kentucky, died April 20, 2019 in Ninawa Province, Iraq, from a non-combat related incident, according to the Department of Defense.

Riley was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky. 

He was a fire control specialist on his first deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Lt. Col. Martin L. O’Donnell, spokesman for the 101st Airborne, told The Army Times on Sunday.

Riley enlisted in the service in October 2016, was promoted to the rank of specialist in October 2018 and arrived in Iraq in December, O’Donnell said.

“We are deeply saddened by Ryan’s passing," Col. Derek Thomson, commander of 1st BCT, 101st Airborne, said in a statement. "Our hearts go out to his family as together we mourn the loss of our brother-in-arms. As we grieve this tragic loss, we will also draw strength from his memory as his mates continue to build the capacity of the Iraqi Army and enable the defeat of ISIS.”

Riley’s awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Korea Defense Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon and the Combat Action Badge.

There’s no word yet on funeral arrangements or when his body will be returned to Kentucky.

"Our hearts are broken for the family of this young Kentucky soldier," said Gov. Bevin. "May God bring peace and comfort to those grieving as only He can."

Service arrangements are pending. Gov. Bevin will direct flags at state facilities lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on the day of Spc. Riley's interment, and he encourages individuals, businesses, organizations and government agencies to join in this tribute.


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