Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

David George Ries

Lincoln City, Oregon

November 8, 2004

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
29 Marine SSG

Marine Corps Reserve’s 6th Engineer Support Battalion, 4th Force Service Support Group

Portland, Oregon

Died as a result of enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq.

For Some Memorial Service Snapshots, Click photo below:

November 14, 2004

Staff Sgt. David G. Ries
David Ries was a committed Marine reservist of more than a decade, and friends were not surprised when he volunteered to return to Iraq after already completing a six-month stint. ";He believes in what this country stands for and the general purpose that we''re there ... to give other people a shot of making their own choices," said Brent Loper, a childhood friend who ran cross-country with him in high school. Ries, 29, of Vancouver, Wash., died Nov. 8 when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. His unit was based in Portland, Ore. Ries worked security jobs at an airport and a shopping center, and friends said he hoped one day to get a job in corrections or with Portland police. Loper said Ries never complained about his Iraq experience. "I figured at one point he would be up to talking about it," Loper said. "I never expected not to have another chance to talk to him." Ries is survived by his wife, Mandy, and two young children.
From Brianna Ehlinger 07/08/05:

David George Ries was one of my best friends for 7 years. He will always be remembered in our hearts for being the most selfless person. He volunteered for his 2nd tour and gave his life for our freedom. For that, everyone that knew him will forever be grateful to him. He is and will be greatly missed.

From Amanda Ries 05/10/05:

Thank you for such a wonderful site and allowing us to express our love for our servicemen and their families. It was a pleasure having you take pictures and extend your devotion to the military...

From Amarillo Globe-News amarillo.com 12/01/04:

Friends, co-workers honor family's fallen Marine
Posted: Wednesday, December 01, 2004
JIM McBRIDEjim.mcbride@amarillo.com
When they heard Jean and David Ries' only child died in faraway Iraq, Rhonda Compton and Peggy Stevens searched their hearts for a lasting Amarillo tribute.

Compton and Stevens, who work with Jean Ries at Nationwide Insurance in Amarillo, soon started raising money for a granite marker and a tree to honor Ries' son.

Marine Reserve Staff Sgt. David G. Ries, 29, of Vancouver, Wash., died Nov. 8 in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, when a deadly blast from an explosive device ripped through his convoy.

Ries was the second Marine with an Amarillo connection who died the same week last month in Iraq.

Staff Sgt. Lonny Wells, whose father lives in Amarillo, died in an explosion Nov. 9 during the Fallujah invasion.

After Ries' death, Compton and Stevens thought his mother should have a tangible tribute here and began selling American flags for a dollar each.

"We thought a living tree would be a good deal," Compton said. "He was their only child. ... It's a sad, sad thing. He gave his life for our country."

Nationwide employees quickly shelled out money for the marker, but they needed just a few more dollars for a sturdy tree, one that would last through the years to come.

The company also donated $400 to the Marines Toys for Tots program in David's name.

Compton said Jim Reid, owner of Coulter Gardens and Nursery, told her to bring in the donations.

"They gave us a beautiful red oak tree. They donated a large percentage of the tree. They are coming (today) to plant it for us," she said Tuesday.

On Saturday, Ries' parents, his wife, Amanda, and their two children will attend a 4:30 p.m. public dedication ceremony in front of Nationwide, 4320 S. Western St.

Warren Reid of Coulter Gardens said nursery officials chose a hearty red oak, a beautiful tree known for its crimson fall colors.

"To us, the Texas red oak has always been the prettiest of all fall colors," Reid said. "It's one of the longest-living. ... It'll get about 40 by 40 some day. They live 100 years plus. It's the most dramatic of all the oak trees."

Vancouver Marine killed in Iraq bomb attack

By Melanthia Mitchell

Associated Press

SEATTLE — A Marine reservist from Vancouver, Wash., who volunteered for a second tour of duty has been killed in a roadside bomb attack in Iraq.

Staff Sgt. David Ries, 29, died Monday when the vehicle he was in struck an improvised explosive device. Marine officials said Tuesday that Ries had been part of a convoy traveling west of Fallujah, an insurgent stronghold that is under siege by U.S. forces.

Ries was an electrician with the 6th Engineer Support Battalion at the Marine Corp Reserve Center in Portland, Ore. The unit is attached to the 1st Force Service Support Group based at Camp Pendelton, Calif. Ries provided mobile power and water services to Marines in the field, Lt. Col. Pete Ramey said Tuesday.

Ries had been with the Marine Corps for at least 10 years. He came home earlier this year from a six-month deployment in Iraq and volunteered for another six-month mission, deploying in August or September, Ramey said.

Friends said Tuesday they weren’t surprised when Ries offered to return to Iraq.

“He believes in what this country stands for and the general purpose that we’re there ... to give other people a shot of making their own choices,” said Brent Loper, a childhood buddy who ran cross-country track with Ries at Evergreen High School in Vancouver.

Loper said he learned of his friend’s death after military officials visited Ries’ wife, Mandy, at the couple’s Vancouver home Monday night. In addition to his wife, Ries left a 2-year-old daughter, Cameron, and a 4-year-old son, Bailey.

“Right now she’s still trying to deal with the news,” Loper said.

Loper said he’d known Ries for roughly 15 years, “since junior high school,” and described him as a loving person, “very dedicated and very honorable.”

“He’ll go out of his way to help you,” he said. Ries was interested in law enforcement, Loper said, and worked as a security officer for the airport and a shopping center in Vancouver, and part time at a gun range across the river in Portland. He’d talked of getting a job with the Washington state Department of Corrections or the Portland Police Department.

Ries never complained about his Iraq experience, Loper said. “He just 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 never pushed him for details.

“He just said he made it through OK. I figured at one point he would be up to talking about it,” Loper said. “I never expected not to have another chance to talk to him.”
From The Oregonian OregonLive.com 11/15/04

Marine stories evoke joy, pain

VANCOUVER -- It was a day of contradictions. Smiles and tears. Lighthearted storytelling and a flag-draped coffin.

More than 200 friends, military comrades and family jammed into a Vancouver funeral home, then they braved a biting wind at Willamette National Cemetery on Sunday to honor Marine Staff Sgt. David G. Ries.

Ries, 29, died Nov. 8 when a bomb exploded near the Humvee in which he was riding as his convoy helped resupply forward units during the assault on Fallujah. The convoy was returning to base.

He also was honored Saturday night at a candlelight vigil at Westfield Shoppingtown Mall in Vancouver. Ries, who worked as a security officer at the mall until he went to Iraq, had campaigned for a flagpole at the mall. During the vigil, the mall dedicated a flagpole to Ries, and Marines raised the U.S. flag.

Amanda "Mandy" Ries told mourners who packed rooms and hallways at Evergreen Staples Funeral Home about her fun-loving husband. He was the father of a son, Bailey, 4, and daughter, Camryn, 2.

"He loved the Marine Corps, his family and then beer," she said.

She told a string of stories about his antics that had the crowd nodding, smiling and chuckling.

She remembered the time he and his buddies released pepper spray out a car window as an experiment, but the spray ended up blowing back in the car, disabling all of them.

He and a friend painted the hood of a car with a Nike symbol and took photographs to send to the manufacturer in hopes of getting free shoes.

Ries' mother, Jean, said her son was on his second war tour because "there was a job to do." He went on the resupply convoy "because he could not let his fellow Marines go while he was safe," she said. She also talked about his practical jokes and pranks.

One of his Marine buddies described how Ries wanted to go outside to see what it felt like to be picked up by a tornado when one hit the Army base they were visiting in the Midwest.

Mandy Ries said that despite a close relationship, "we mainly called each other by our last names. He was always 'Ries' until (daughter) Camryn came along, and then he became 'Daddy.' "

Then came the procession to Willamette National Cemetery. City, county and state police from both sides of the Columbia River blocked off Interstate 205 for a caravan that stretched about two miles. Officers and even highway workers stood beside the freeway.

At the cemetery, a pair of F-15 fighter planes flew slowly across the amphitheater atop Mount Scott while honor guards from the Marines and American Legion stood at attention.

The crowd stood quietly in the brisk breeze when the squad of Marines fired three volleys. The Portland Police Highland Guard pipe band played "Amazing Grace," the Marine Corps Hymn and "Auld Lang Syne."

At the funeral, one Marine friend summed up Staff Sgt. David Ries: He worked hard and played harder.
From Henderson Hall News 11/24/04:

1st FSSG Marines mourn fallen comrades in Iraq
Staff Sgt. Jim Goodwin
CAMP TAQADDUM, Iraq -- A memorial service for four Marines from the 1st Force Service Support Group who died in support of recent combat operations in Fallujah was held here Nov. 20, 2004.
Hundreds of Marines attended the memorial service of Staff Sgt. David G. Ries, Cpl. Joshua D. Palmer, Lance Cpl. Jeffrey Lam, and Lance Cpl. Thomas J. Zapp.

All four Marines were attached to Combat Service Support Company 113, Combat Service Support Battalion 1. CSSB-1 is part of the 1st FSSG.

All four Marines died Nov. 8. Ries and Zapp died due to enemy action in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq. Palmer and Lam died while building a fighting position near the Fallujah peninsula. The bulldozer Palmer was operating fell into the Euphrates River after the ground gave way.

The ceremony started with the playing of "Amazing Grace," on bagpipes, followed by a call to worship by Navy Chaplain Lt. j.g. Thomas T. Cook and comments from unit's senior leadership.

"Each of them knew the risks and still answered the call," said Lt. Col. Kurt A. Kempster, CSSB-1's commanding officer, during the service. "They volunteered to serve their country and made the ultimate sacrifice so others less fortunate could experience the freedoms we all enjoy."

Marines who served with Lam, Palmer, Ries, and Zapp spoke of their fallen comrades during the service.

Staff Sgt. Curtiss R. Austin recalled Ries' sense of humor, and how Ries always seemed to be "one step ahead" of him in their career paths.

"He liked to joke and have fun," said Austin. "He beat me to guarding heaven's gates."

Cpl. Jason K. Fox spoke of Palmer's leadership as a Marine.

"To say he was a good Marine is an understatement," said Fox. "There couldn't be a better Marine, a better corporal, a better man."

Lance Cpl. Samuel R. Tijerina recalled Lam's unselfishness.

"He was Lam. There is so much you can say about him," said Tijerina. "He was the kind of Marine you could ask for anything, and he'd do it in a moment's notice."

Lance Cpl. Vilaykham Sombatsaphay served with Zapp at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. He spoke of Zapp's love for the outdoors.

"He didn't like working in an office. It drove him crazy," said Sombatsaphay.

Sombatsaphay also recalls Zapp's love of automobiles.

"He was the only person who liked imports," he said.

Sgt. Robert M. Leach, another CSSC-113 Marine, read a poem he wrote entitled, "U.S. Marine," in honor of the Marines' memories -

A young man no knowledge of the world...

Headed off for boot camp to become something more...

Through the sweat, the tears, the blood and the pain...

His brothers and sisters called him Devil Dog...

And U.S. Marine was his name...

He might have a family or maybe nothing at all...

But you could bet that he'd be there once he got the call...

Hard as nails and tougher than steel...

Something you may never feel...

But deep down inside he knows the truth fear is what can kill...

He uses words like honor, courage and commitment...

To God, country and Corps....

He'll put his life in danger just to save yours...

You might think he's crazy or a little bit insane...

Better known as leatherneck...

And U.S. Marine is his name...

The service ended with a final benediction, the reciting of the "Marine's Prayer," a final role call of all CSSC-113 Marines - including the four fallen Marines, and the playing of Taps.

"The death of these four Marines can remind us that freedom is not free," said Cook during the benediction. "These Marines died for something better, not temporary - but permanent. Remember their sacrifice."

Palmer was a 20-year-old native of Blandinsville, Ill. Lam was a 22-year-old native of Queens, N.Y. Ries was a 29-year-old native of Vancouver, Wash. Zapp was a 20-year-old native of Houston, Texas.

This was Palmer's and Ries' second deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Marine Staff Sgt. David G. Ries 
Death: Nov 08, 2004
of Clark Wash.; assigned to the 6th Engineer Support Battalion 4th Force Service Support Group Marine Corps Reserve Portland Ore.; killed Nov. 8 by enemy action in Anbar province Iraq. Vancouver Marine killed in Iraq bomb attack By Melanthia Mitchell Associated Press SEATTLE — A Marine reservist from Vancouver Wash. who volunteered for a second tour of duty has been killed in a roadside bomb attack in Iraq. Staff Sgt. David Ries29 died Monday when the vehicle he was in struck an improvised explosive device. Marine officials said Tuesday that Ries had been part of a convoy traveling west of Fallujah an insurgent stronghold that is under siege by U.S. forces. Ries was an electrician with the 6th Engineer Support Battalion at the Marine Corp Reserve Center in Portland Ore. The unit is attached to the 1st Force Service Support Group based at Camp Pendelton Calif. Ries provided mobile power and water services to Marines in the field Lt. Col. Pete Ramey said Tuesday. Ries had been with the Marine Corps for at least 10 years. He came home earlier this year from a six-month deployment in Iraq and volunteered for another six-month mission deploying in August or September Ramey said. Friends said Tuesday they weren’t surprised when Ries offered to return to Iraq. “He believes in what this country stands for and the general purpose that we’re there ... to give other people a shot of making their own choices” said Brent Loper a childhood buddy who ran cross-country track with Ries at Evergreen High School in Vancouver. Loper said he learned of his friend’s death after military officials visited Ries’ wife Mandy at the couple’s Vancouver home Monday night. In addition to his wife Ries left a 2-year-old daughter Cameron and a 4-year-old son Bailey. “Right now she’s still trying to deal with the news” Loper said. Loper said he’d known Ries for roughly 15 years “since junior high school” and described him as a loving person “very dedicated and very honorable.” “He’ll go out of his way to help you” he said. Ries was interested in law enforcement Loper said and worked as a security officer for the airport and a shopping center in Vancouver and part time at a gun range across the river in Portland. He’d talked of getting a job with the Washington state Department of Corrections or the Portland Police Department. Ries never complained about his Iraq experience Loper said. “He just 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 never pushed him for details. “He just said he made it through OK. I figured at one point he would be up to talking about it” Loper said. “I never expected not to have another chance to talk to him.”

Click To Return To Main Page

 Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away

Copyright 2003-2015  Q Madp  PO Box 86888  Portland OR 97286-0888  www.OurWarHeroes.org