SSGT John Ryan Howard

SSGT John Ryan Howard

Birth
Death 11 Aug 2004 (aged 26)
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Section 60 Site 7997
Memorial ID 14296675 View Source
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Marine Corps SSgt. John "Ryan" Howard honored in Covington, VA on November 19, 2006


Marine Corps SSgt. John "Ryan" Howard, was remembered as a loving and caring person who died believing he could make a difference in Iraq by helping the Iraqi people to become free. SSgt. Howard, an eight year veteran of the United States Marine Corps loved flying in helicopters, and being a United States Marine. He was the best at both.

SSgt. Howard was honored on November 19, 2006 in Covington, VA as a Hero by members of the statue projects Advisory Board, his family, the Marine Corps, the Commonwealth of Virginia, Alleghany County, as well as his community with a "life like, life size" bronze bust statue.

The statue was built by Marble Cast Products, Salt Lake City , Utah , and paid for by contributions from the family, the local community, business's, friends, military comrades, veterans, and those with interest in seeing the statue become a reality.

SSgt. Howard died on the night of August 11, 2004 after his CH53E helicopter crashed in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq while on a logistics flight in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. According to the Department of Defense Casualty Report, SSgt. Howard was a crew chief on board the doomed flight, but was classified on the flight as an observer. Howard was 26 at the time of his death, and on his second tour of duty in Iraq . The cause of the crash was ruled as an accident.

Killed in action that night with SSgt. Howard was LCpl. Tavon L. Hubbard of Reston , VA who was also remembered in the unveiling ceremony. Both men were buried with honors at Arlington National Cemetery on September 3, 2004.

SSgt. Howard was also buried with honors in Covington , Va at his families church cemetery on August 24, 2004.The Howard family also remembered the over 3,000 servicemen, servicewomen, and their families for their sacrifice with a laying of a memorial wreath in the colors of the American Flag prior to the ceremony. The wreath was provided by the Little Clay Pot of Covington.

Over 300 guests witnessed the unveiling of the SSgt. John "Ryan" Howard memorial statue at his former high school auditorium, Alleghany High School .

The 4th Marine Engineering Battalion out of Roanoke , VA rendered colors and honors, as well as performed a 21 gun salute. State Delegate Jim Shuler of Blacksburg , VA presented the Howard family with a Resolution of Honor that was passed by the Virginia House of Representatives, and Virginia Senate honoring SSgt. Howard's sacrifice.

Other special guests included 3 other families of Virginia 's lost servicemen, United States Army 1st Lt. Joshua Hurley - Clifton Forge, Va, Marine Corps Sgt Michael Lalush - Troutville , VA , and Marine Corps LCpl. Jason Redifer of Stuarts Draft, VA.

Member's of the statue projects' Advisory Board traveled some very long miles to be in attendance for the unveiling, the very first for the Commonwealth, and the first for the project nationally. The member traveling the furthest traveled from Utah .

Virginia Army National Guard Col. Mike Harris, and CSM Bob Huffman were also in attendance representing Virginia's Adjutant General, Maj. General Robert B. Newman Jr. and member's of the Virginia Defense Force's, 33rd Battalion provided security, and traffic control for the event, assisted by the Alleghany County Sheriffs Office.

SSgt. Howard's memorial statue will be placed in the Alleghany County Governmental building at a later date. The Alleghany County Governmental building was selected as the final resting place for the SSgt. John "Ryan" Howard memorial statue by his family.

Representing the Howard family was SSgt. Howard's Dad and Mom, Greg and Kathy Howard of Covington , Va , his brother's, VaDF Cpl. G. Alan Howard of Covington , Va , and United States Navy LTJG Derek S. Howard of Chesapeake , VA. With Cpl. Howard was his wife Teresa, daughter Natasha Zimmerman, and Granddaughter Kelsey, and soon to be born Grandson Ryan Zimmerman. Ryan is to be the namesake of his uncle SSgt. Howard. With LTJG Howard was his wife Karen.

Speaking on behalf of the Howard family was Rev. Roger Bush, and United States Army Reserve Chaplin Paul Burns, both longtime friends of the Howard family.

Letters from Senator John Warner, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld were also read honoring SSgt. Howard.


  • Created by: Hope
  • Added: 15 May 2006
  • Find a Grave Memorial 14296675
  • Hope
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/14296675/john-ryan-howard : accessed ), memorial page for SSGT John Ryan Howard (5 Feb 1978–11 Aug 2004), Find a Grave Memorial ID 14296675, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Hope (contributor 46790939) .