DOVER, PA, USA U.S. Army SPC, COMPANY A, 1ST BATTALION, 26TH INFANTRY, SCHWEINFURT, GERMANY ADHAMIYAH, IRAQ 07/18/2007
Ryan Clouser was very athletic growing up and in high school; he loved baseball, basketball, football, bowling and precision archery. He was an avid outdoorsman, who enjoyed hunting and fishing and was also a member of several local car clubs.
SPC Clouser joined the Army soon after graduating from Dover Area High School in 2005. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Schweinfurt, Germany. He died onJuly 18, 2007, one month before he was due home. Ryan died in Adhamiyah, Iraq, of wounds sustained when his vehicle was attacked by enemy forces using an improvised explosive device and small-arms fire. Also killed were Sgt. 1st Class Luis E. Gutierrez-Rosales, Spc. Richard Gilmore III and Spc. Daniel E. Gomez. His unit supported Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was nineteen years old and just short of his twentieth birthday. He had been in Iraq for nearly a year. SPC Clouser’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (Posthumous), Purple Heart (Posthumous), Army Commendation Medal, National, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon with Numeral 2, and the Combat Infantryman Badge (Posthumous).
Family and friends describe Ryan as quirky. He had a gift of making you laugh just by the dumb stuff he did. He was outgoing, very athletic and he enjoyed being with friends. He was just a good person. Zachary was the biggest prankster, jokester, and would try anything he could do to get anybody to smile. He had planned to learn more about computers or criminology after his enlistment ended in 2009.
Zach had six siblings, two sisters and four brothers – Megan Williams, Matt Asper, Zachary Asper, Shawn Ethridge, Ronnie Ethridge and Shalina Etheridge. He was close to all his brothers and sisters; they all have numerous memories of the pranks they would pull on each other throughout the years. The separate families had different interests but Zach enjoyed both families and was close with everyone. He spent a lot of time with his Dad and they were very close.
Zach loved to go to the cabin in Haneyville with his grandparentsA favorite pasttime with them and his cousin was spotlighting deer and looking for wildlife. That love for the wildlife and outdoors never left Zach.
Zach’s sister Megan was expecting her second child on July 24, 2007 and Zach’s last conversation with her the day before he died was about how excited he was to see his nephew born. He wanted to have a webcam in the hospital so he could see his little linebacker as he called him. Megan says that her son, Shawn Jr., now 2 years old, frequently talks to someone in his room while playing and he says it is his Uncle Zach.
Zach’a parents have a memorial garden in their backyard. All the flowers, trees, shrubs and a flag pole were donated by friends so the family would have a place to honor Zach.
While babysitting their grandchildren, Shawn Jr. stopped dead in his tracks when he went into the backyard and saw the flag. He looked up and said, ‘That’s Uncle Zach’s flag.’ Zach remains in everyone’s hearts.