An American soldier was killed in action this week in Afghanistan.
Specialist Joseph “Joey” W. Riley, a 27-year-old Paratrooper from Grove City, Ohio, was killed when his unit was ambushed during a patrol by an improvised explosive device (IED). Riley was an infantryman with the Scout Platoon of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.
Spc. Riley’s family released a statement about the loss of their son:
“We are so heartbroken by this news. We are proud of our son and the sacrifice he made. He loved the Army and felt strongly that freedom is worth the fight. He loved Grove City and we have already felt comforted by the love and support of this community, our many friends and our beloved church family. We ask for time and space with our family now as we grieve, but please know that we will see him again because he trusted Christ to usher him into eternity.”
Lt. Col. Matthew Konz, Spc. Riley’s battalion commander, noted:
“Spc. Riley was a superb Paratrooper who I will remember as having an infectious positive attitude,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Konz, Riley’s battalion commander. “He was able to lift the spirits of those around him, even in the worst conditions. I am humbled to have had the opportunity to know and serve with him.”
The military release included background on Spc. Riley’s training:
Riley enlisted in the Army in June 2012. He completed one-station unit training, and the basic airborne course, which are both located at Fort Benning, Georgia. He arrived at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in October 2012, and was later assigned to 1-508th PIR March of 2013.
Riley’s awards and decorations include the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO medal, and the Basic Parachutist Badge.
Spc. Riley’s positive impact on his unit will not be forgotten, and we will remain ever grateful for his sacrifice in the service of our nation.
Prayers and thoughts go out to the Spc. Riley’s family and friends as we remember once again that freedom is not free.