HOLLIDAYSBURG, PA, USA
GYSGT, 2D INTEL BN, II MEF, 2D MAR DIV CAMP LEJEUNE, NC
AL ANBAR PROVINCE, IRAQ 05/03/2004
Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Ronald E. Baum was an avid sports fan and would often call his brothers while watching Pittsburgh sports teams and Penn State football games.
Baum, 38, of the western Pennsylvania town of Hollidaysburg, died on May 3, 2004, in Anbar Province, Iraq. Defense officials said Baum and seven soldiers came under mortar and machine gun fire. Baum replaced a soldier atop a Humvee and was killed when it was hit by a mortar.
He was a member of the 2nd Intelligence Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
“Ronnie was just so incredible. He volunteered to go to Iraq. He said it would be an opportunity to fulfill his mission and we did it. It there was any way to go, this was the way he would have wanted it,” his brother, Jodi Baum said.
Baum and another brother, Marine Staff Sgt. Brian Baum, both joined the Marines in 1986. Both brothers were stationed in Iraq. Baum took part in the evacuation of 172 people in Eritrea during a border dispute with Ethiopia in 1998.
He was also an instructor at the Naval Survival School in Rangeley, Maine, where he taught troops to survive in hostile environments and evade capture.
“He was tough as nails, disciplined, compassionate,” said Baum’s company commander Capt. Michael DuBruel. “He helped make the world a better place. Ron lived life to the fullest. He died while leading men in battle.”
“All I have to say, if you didn’t know him, you didn’t talk to him, he is the greatest person I’ve ever known in my life, the best man I’ve ever seen in my life” said his brother and fellow Marine, Brian Baum.
“He gave his life for love of his country, the Marine Corps,” said his wife, Cynthia Baum.
He is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.