Community honors fallen soldier
IDAHO FALLS — Even the weather honored U.S. Army Sgt. Ryan David Sharp at his funeral Monday. It was balmy and bright.
Sharp, age 28, died Saturday, Dec. 3, at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany, from injuries suffered while on a military mission in Afghanistan's Kandahar province as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Sharp was carrying a fallen soldier back to the safety of the company stronghold when he was hit by a improvised explosive device (IED). He lived 12 days before succumbing to his injuries.
Sharp's parents, David and Lynette Sharp, were able to travel to Germany to be with their son at the hospital.
On Facebook, one of his fellow soldiers wrote, "Where else would he be? Cpl. Sharp sustained injuries that knocked him down but not out. For 12 days, he gave it a Herculean effort. He reminds us to fight back; to overcome adversity that lays before us."
Another soldier wrote, "Cpl. Sharp, you are one of the best men I have met in the Army. I will miss your smile, wit and leadership. Thanks for your advice."
Sharp was promoted to the rank of sergeant after his injuries.
At his memorial service in Afghanistan, Lt. Col. Kidd said, "Sharp was the best armorer in the battalion. He was engaged with almost every soldier in his company nearly on a daily basis.
"He loved his job, his buddies and his company," the colonel said.
At his funeral service in Idaho Falls, Sharp's sister, Michelle Harrison, said, "Ryan was proud to be a soldier. He did it to exactness. He did his job with integrity.
"He was a good soldier, a good father, a good son, a good brother and a good friend," said Harrison.
She also noted that this week the rest of his company returned from Afghanistan.
Sharp was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.
Sharp died during his third overseas deployment.
He served his first tour of duty in Iraq and his second and third tours in Afghanistan. For his actions, he received a Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge.
His parents' were presented his Purple Heart while they waited in the German hospital with him. They were presented his Bronze Star at his funeral.
Idaho Army National Guard commander Brig, Gen. Alan Gayhart said, "With honor, integrity and devotion, he fought to give us our freedoms.
"The nation is indebted to Sgt. Sharp for his sacrifice and the service [he] gave to the nation."
Gayhart quoted President Benjamin Harrison, who, on May 30, 1891, said, "I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day. I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it.
"We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did. We mourn for them as comrades who have departed, but we feel the glory of their dying and the glory of their achievement covers all our great country, and has set them in an imperishable roll of honor," Pres. Harrison concluded.
Military rites were conducted by the Bonneville County Memorial Veterans Team and Idaho Honor Guard. Pallbearers were from the Idaho Army National Guard Honor Guard.
A memorial fund has been set up through Westmark Credit Union, P.O. Box 2869, Idaho Falls, Idaho 83403. The money will be used for his daughters, 8-year-old Sarah and 6-year-old Mia, and to help with funeral expenses.