Tomorrow is Memorial Day, and, as is tradition, we will be performing Murph. For us, this is a tough workout and a humble nod to the ultimate sacrifice that far too many Americans have made.
After giving it some thought, I wanted to mention a guy that I went to grade school with – Dan Riordan. I won’t spin some tale about him being my best friend, but I remember him being an incredibly smart guy and a genuinely good person. Later, I learned that Dan was killed while serving in the US Army. Here is a bit about him:
Dan began his military career in the Infantry at Ft. Benning, Georgia, but eventually moved to a hybrid cavalry company that combined two tank platoons and two infantry platoons. Lt. Dan, now a tank commander in “America’s First Team,” joined Blue Platoon, D Company (the Demons), 2nd Cavalry Regiment, 8th Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division out of Ft. Hood, Texas. After taking on a new platoon and being baptized by fire, Dan and the rest of Demon Company were deployed to Camp Taji, Iraq in October 2006. While on a 15-month tour, Dan and his unit were heavily utilized in Operation Iraqi Freedom. As Dan put it in one of his emails, “Demon Company is to be the tip of the spear to pave the way for our mission.” Dan believed in his mission. While at home on leave in February 2007, he consistently reassured his family that our country’s – and his company’s – military efforts were truly bringing empowerment and freedom to the men, women and children of Iraq.
Dan and his unit fought in several key campaigns during OIF II, including numerous intense firefights. In spite of covering a large territory where they were always outnumbered, they pressed the offensive with courage and determination, and accomplished all of their objectives. It was easy to find Dan, since he was always out on the “point” directing his platoon. Dan took his leadership responsibilities literally. As he put it, “How can I order my men forward if I’m not willing to go first?” He escaped many close calls, including numerous IED strikes, with relatively minor wounds, burns, and concussions. But on June 23, 2007, a massive IED explosion proved to be one too many – Dan and four of his brave troops were killed instantly.
To honor Dan, his siblings have created a scholarship which, “will be given to a student with financial need and who represents the qualities of faith, honor, and service. “Lt. Dan” was a man who loved his family, his God, and his country. His faith gave him the strength necessary for battle; this faith was cultivated and strengthened by the faculty and staff of Vianney High School.”
Feel free to leave thoughts about Dan, as some of you may have known him, or anyone else who died while serving our country.