Oregon reservist dies in Iraq
SEATTLE – A Marine reservist from Vancouver, Wash., whovolunteered for a second tour of duty has been killed in a roadsidebomb attack in Iraq.
Staff Sgt. David Ries, 29, died Monday when the vehicle he wasin struck an improvised explosive device. Marine officials saidTuesday that Ries had been part of a convoy traveling west ofFallujah, an insurgent stronghold that is under siege by U.S.forces.
Ries was an electrician with the 6th Engineer Support Battalionat the Marine Corps Reserve Center in Portland, Ore. The unit isattached to 1st Force Service Support Group based at CampPendelton, Calif., and Ries provided mobile power and waterservices to Marines in the field, Lt. Col. Pete Ramey saidTuesday.
Ries had been with the Marine Corps for at least 10 years. Hecame home earlier this year from a six-month deployment in Iraq andvolunteered for another six-month mission, deploying in August orSeptember, Ramey said.
Friends said Tuesday they weren’t surprised when Ries offered toreturn to Iraq.
“He believes in what this country stands for and the generalpurpose that we’re there … to give other people a shot of makingtheir own choices,” said Brent Loper, a childhood buddy who rancross-country track with Ries at Evergreen High School inVancouver.
Loper said he learned of his friend’s death after militaryofficials visited Ries’ wife, Mandy, at the couple’s Vancouver homeMonday night. In addition to his wife, Ries left a 2-year-olddaughter, Cameron, and a 4-year-old son, Bailey.
“Right now she’s still trying to deal with the news,” Lopersaid.
Loper said he’d known Ries for roughly 15 years, “since juniorhigh school,” and described him as a loving person, “very dedicatedand very honorable.”
“He’ll go out of his way to help you,” he said. Ries wasinterested in law enforcement, Loper said, and worked as a securityofficer for the airport and a shopping center in Vancouver, andpart time at a gun range across the river in Portland. He’d talkedof getting a job with the Washington State Department ofCorrections or the Portland Police Department.
Ries never complained about Iraq experience, Loper said. “Hejust said, ‘I have my job to do and I’m going to do it.'”
Loper said he’d asked Ries about his time in Iraq, but neverpushed him for details.
“He just said he made it through OK. I figured at one point hewould be up to talking about it,” Loper said. “I never expected notto have another chance to talk to him.”