Sgt. Ryan Baumann / by Justin Merriman

I was deeply saddened today to hear that Sgt. Ryan Baumann, 24, of Great Mills, MD was killed in action on Friday in Afghanistan. I was fortunate to not only spend a couple of weeks in Afghanistan at a small combat outpost with Ryan and his platoon, but to get to know him as a person. He was a dedicated and respected soldier, but also he was deeply devoted to his fiance Lauren who he spoke so highly of and was so excited to marry early next year. My heart goes out to her as well as Ryan's father, Bob, mother, Cindy, and his family and friends. I know that nothing can ever fill the void in their hearts at the loss of Ryan, but hope they find comfort in knowing he died doing what he believed in. I am honored to have had the chance to meet Ryan and I will remain eternally grateful for his service and for his sacrifice.

Top photo: Ryan on a mission in Turqel. Second photo: Ryan on a recognizance mission near Seneky. Third photo: Ryan (at left) with Sgt. 1st Class Dustin Horn on a mission in Legarah. Fourth photo: Ryan joking around with an interpreter during a mission to Legarah. Final photo: Ryan leading a group of soldiers across a field on a mission in Legarah.