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Michael L Runyan


U. S. Army


07/21/2010, BALAD, IRAQ

1st Lt. Michael L. Runyan of Newark, Ohio died Wednesday, July 21, 2010, when his convoy vehicle was struck with an improvised explosive device in Muqdadiyah, Iraq. He was assigned to the 52nd Infantry, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. He was twenty-four years old. He had only been in Iraq for three weeks.

Michael was born November 29, 1985, in Ashland, Ohio. He graduated from Ashland High School in 2004, where he was an impressive golfer, tennis player and swimmer. He was a qualifier for the State Golf Tournament his junior year. He participated in the Army ROTC program at Xavier University and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice in 2008.

While at Xavier, he was a member of the Society of Pershing Rifles and participated in Ranger Challenge. During his senior year, he served as Captain of the Xavier Ranger competition team and Commander of the Xavier Battery of the Society of Pershing Rifles. He also mentored younger cadets and held leadership positions as Battalion Command Sergeant Major and Battalion Commander. He earned his air assault wings as a cadet, and was always commended for his excellent physical fitness. He thoroughly enjoyed participating and encouraging others to participate in running events. He hiked the Appalachian Trail, he ran a marathon, and he led his cadets successfully during many competitions.

Michael was commissioned in May of 2008 as a Second Lieutenant in the Signal Corps, branch detailed Infantry. He attended Infantry Officer Basic Course, Stryker Leader Course, and Army Airborne School. He was stationed at Schofield Barracks, HI with the 25th ID and was assigned a Platoon Leader in B-52, 1-21 Infantry Battalion. He deployed to Iraq with the 52nd Infantry, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division on July 1, 2010 and was assigned to FOB Warhorse.

He also participated in intramural volleyball, the championship softball team, and was in the Xavier musical his senior year. Lt. Runyan loved exploring the outdoors, and most of all, loved his family and friends. Michael had the God-given gift of a smile that lit up the entire room. He touched everyone he met with his charm and grace.

Survivors are his parents, sister and brother-in-law; brother and sister-in-law, his fiancée of Ripley, Ohio; and other loving family and friends.

It was his humble and loving soul, his beautiful and genuine smile, and the impact he made on everyone who encountered him that made him such an unforgettable and extraordinary person. He was an Army Officer by profession but a friend, brother, son, and fiancée by his actions and his love. He was truly human; compassionate, selfless, full of hope and energy. He believed in being the best version of himself to help others, to guide his soldiers, and to support those he loved in finding happiness. Wise beyond his years, his life is a testament to selflessness, service, and the pursuit of happiness. To Michael, that was the Big Picture.. He lives on his supporters’ hearts, actions, and love.


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