Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Allen Gloyer, 34, of Zelienople, died courageously in battle in Kunduz, Afghanistan Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel. Born April 6, 1982, in Torrance, Calif., a beloved son of Lurene W. Gloyer, of Fountain, Colo., and Richard A. Gloyer (Michelle Rossi), of Seven Fields, and fiance, of Sierra Day, of Fountain. Ryan is survived by two brothers, Matthew R. (Michelle) Harris Gloyer, of Orange, Calif., and Justin W. (Marisa) Gloyer, of Santee, Calif. He was the stepbrother of Michael (Anne) LaButis, of Califon, N.J., and Rebecca LaButis, of Pittsburgh. Ryan and his family moved to the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh in 1989 when Ryan was six-years-old. At an early age, Ryan demonstrated a vivid imagination and would frequently dress up and pretend to be a frontiersman, cowboy, American Indian chief or soldier. Around the age of 10, Ryan started wearing camouflage shirts and pants. Ryan's mom gave him a hat with "special forces" printed on the front of the hat. Ryan wore that hat almost every day until middle school, when the letters started to chip off. Ryan kept that hat and today it still hangs in his closet. His interest in the military increased every time he visited "Pop" (Ryan's grandfather), who was a World War II veteran and was wounded during the June 1944 invasion of Normandy. Ryan was intrigued with his grandfather's war souvenirs and fascinated by passages from his war diaries. In high school, Ryan was a good student and athlete, lettering three years in soccer and track. He participated in three school musicals as a dancer. He sang in the choir and was selected for District Chorus. For his senior project, Ryan taught younger students how to break dance. Throughout his high school days, Ryan developed a charismatic, gregarious, animated and fun-loving personality. He was able to make friends across various social groups by possessing a knack for making them laugh with his singing, dancing, impersonations and antics. Ryan graduated from Seneca Valley High School in May 2000. He continued his education at Thiel College, Greenville, where he graduated with magna cum laude honors and received degrees in psychology and early education. He obtained his Pennsylvania teaching certificate after completing his student teaching at a Greenville elementary school. While at Thiel, Ryan continued to participate in musicals, theater, various clubs and in his senior year, was selected to be a resident assistant. His outside reading interests included American history, military history, survivor and outdoorsman magazines and fantasy series books like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. He loved all kinds of music, including classical, 40s big band, swing, oldies, contemporary and hip-hop. He loved movies and particularly enjoyed all of the Disney animated films. On Dec. 28, 2004, Ryan enlisted in the Army with orders that would send him to Airborne Jump Qualification School and Special Forces Selection course after graduation from boot camp. He decided on the non-commission officer route rather than OCS, because he wanted to experience all facets of the life of a soldier and believed that the sergeants did the "heavy lifting" and were always in the forefront of the action. From day one of his military career, Ryan had his sights set on becoming a part of an elite unit and had a goal and steadfast determination to be a Green Beret. He wanted to be one of the "best of the best". Ryan possessed unbelievable self-discipline to keep himself in top physical condition throughout his 12-year military career. Although he incurred a couple of setbacks in reaching his goal of being a Green Beret, Ryan did not view them as failures. Instead he viewed them as learning opportunities to improve himself and they strengthened his resolve to achieve his dream. Ryan embraced the concept that anyone can achieve their dream job if they have a strong work ethic to go above and beyond what is required and they possess the self-discipline, courage and fortitude to overcome obstacles and disappointments as well as a never-give-up attitude. In this regard, Ryan was a role model to all in how to achieve what you want in life. Along Ryan's journey to becoming a Green Beret, he went to Ranger School and earned his Ranger Tab in April 2006. He also served with the 82nd Airborne and completed two tours of duty in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2009. During his first 15-month deployment to Afghanistan, Ryan made valorous achievements in support of Operation Enduring Freedom which earned him the Bronze Star Medal with "V" (Valor) device and the Meritorious Service Award. In his second 12-month tour of duty to Afghanistan in 2009, he received the Army Commendation Medal under Task Force Fury. In April 2010, Ryan was selected to be inducted into the prestigious Sergeant Audie Murphy Club for his dedicated leadership, exemplary professionalism and high standards of excellence. In 2013, Ryan tried a 3rd time to complete the Special Forces Selection Course. This time he completed the course and was accepted into the Special Forces 18-month Special Forces Training Program. After 18 months of intensive training and Russian language instruction, Ryan graduated and finally donned his green beret in September 2014, almost 10 years from his enlistment date. It was the proudest moment of his military career. Upon graduation, Ryan attended the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School to complete Free Fall training. Ryan was then assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group, 2nd Battalion, located at Fort Carson, Colo. In May 2015, Ryan deployed to Republic of Congo; in June 2016, he deployed to Afghanistan for the 3rd time and was scheduled to return home at the end of November. Ryan was awarded a Purple Heart and a 2nd Bronze Star for his heroism during the battle that took his life. Although Ryan's life was short, he lived life to the fullest. He was an inspiration to all who knew him from the 4th grade students he taught in Greenville to the soldiers who trained under his leadership. Ryan led by example and set the standard for what a soldier should be. He dedicated himself to be the best he could possibly be in all he did and encouraged and inspired others to continuously to improve themselves. Ryan also taught us how to enjoy life by entertaining us with his animated personality, stories, historical facts and antics. He was always the life of every party. He truly cared about the men he mentored and trained. He made it his personal duty to not only insure that they were combat ready, but also that they were confident within themselves to live a happy life. He loved his "Brothers", and they in turn loved him back. Ryan truly was one of the "Best of the Best". Ryan's awards and medals include: the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Bronze Star with "V" (Valor), two Meritorious Service Medals, two Army Commendation Medals, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantry Badge, Parachutist Badge, Ranger Tab, Special Forces Tab and Sergeant Audie Murphy Club Medallion.
Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, at the MURPHY FUNERAL HOME, 4510 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22203. Funeral services will be held Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, at Fort Myer Memorial Chapel, 101 McNair Road, Fort Myer, VA 22211. Burial with full military honors will follow services in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Green Beret Foundation, 14402 Blanco Road, Suite 101, San Antonio, TX 78216, www.greenberetfoundation.org