Timothy Patrick Ryan

…had a long and distinguished career as a United States Air Force Pararescueman. He was a longtime member of Joint Special Operations Command’s 24th Special Tactics Squadron; one of the military’s designated Special Mission Units.  He was on a combat jump into Panama, and was also awarded the bronze star and purple heart during his time in the service.

I didn’t know Tim nearly as well as his active-duty teammates; he was a little before my time. We didn’t meet until I decided to take a break from non-stop contracting and do some medical instructing for various military/law enforcement agencies. Tim was the lead instructor on my first class.

We quickly bonded over our shared PJ heritage, and went on to do more classes together. Tim was a fantastic instructor, very intense, and you could tell all of the students, especially the young future medics and corpsmen, were slightly scared of him. Even in his 50s, he cut an imposing figure. We would always crack open a few cold beers at the end of the training day, and have a great time with all the other instructors, swapping stories.


Tim and I would go back and forth on Facebook talking politics, pop culture, and current events all the time. He loved to mix it up and make fun of all the ridiculous shit that happens in our wacky American life. I like to think he’d be a fan of what we’re doing here on cms.sofrep.com.

I was shocked when Tim died suddenly from a heart attack last November at the age of 53, gone way too soon. He is missed by his comrades, and especially his children. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C. last week (apparently it takes a while these days,) and there was a great contingent of his brother PJs to see him off to his final staging area amongst his fellow warriors.

Every Memorial Day, I think about a lot of people. I think about my friend and former teammate, CMSgt. Nick McCaskill. I think about the PJs, SEALS, and army personnel from Extortion 17.  I think about all of the people I didn’t know, who never got to come home. And I also think about everyone else I knew who served our country, and are no longer with us, like Tim.