By Guy Leonard, County Times
HOLLYWOOD, Md. (Aug. 7, 2008)—The family of Sgt. Ryan Patrick Baumann, a soldier with the 101st Airborne Division in Afghanistan, is mourning his loss after learning of his death on Aug. 1 but they say that they are beaming with pride at the work their son believed in wholeheartedly.
Baumann, 24, from Great Mills, died of wounds he sustained from an improvised explosive device (IED) that detonated near his vehicle while he was on a mission to aid Afghan villagers, according to information from both his family and the U.S. Army.
He was assigned to operations with the 4th Brigade Combat Team.
He was doing what he believed in, said Baumanns stepfather Gary Lohman. He was making a difference over there, you know he was.
Baumanns stepfather said his son was part of a group of soldiers who would help provide assistance to Afghan villages near his outpost; this included anything from medical supplies to items that allowed children to attend school.
Sometimes it was simple things like pens and notebooks for school children, Gary Lohman told The County Times. Things that are inconsequential to us but that mean the world to them.
Just two weeks prior to his death Aug. 1, Baumanns truck had been struck by another IED while he was on a mission, destroying the front portion of his vehicle, Gary Lohman said, but his son survived with a concussion.
Gary Lohman said his stepsons devotion to duty and to the mission of winning the hearts and minds of the Afghan people was so strong that just a few days of guard duty to allow him to recover made him long to get back into action.
He said he was frustrated that he wanted to get back out there, Gary Lohman said.
Baumanns mother, Cindy Lohman, said that her son had served a tour in Iraq before deploying to Afghanistan and had seen combat.
But she said that fighting was not so much her sons main goal as it was being a part of missions that helped the Afghan people form a new life that helped them turn away from and resist the extremist elements of the Taliban that had ruled the country with iron fist.
He was very proud of the work he was doing, Cindy Lohman said. He loved the army.
He told me that if he wasnt participating in the operations that the army was involved in it would be like sitting on the sidelines.
Baumanns mother said that her son had grown up living around military bases in Germany when she was working as a civilian nurse in the army.
It was his exposure to the military at an early age, she said, that influenced her son to seek a career as a soldier.
Ryan Baumann grew particularly attached to troops from the 82nd Airborne Division stationed in Europe, his mother said.
That was his life, those were his heroes, Cindy Baumann said.
Ryan Baumann moved with his family to Great Mills in 1996 and entered Esperanza Middle School as a 6th grader and later graduated from Great Mills High School in 2003.
He loved soccer, cars and photography, his mother said, and was prone to joke around.
But when it came to the military and work he was all business, his mother said.
Baumann is survived by his parents as well as his father Robert Baumann. He also leaves behind a sister, Christina Baumann, and his fiancée Lauren Smith.
Though her son is gone, Cindy Lohman said she and her husband will continue to support the soldiers in her sons unit with care packages or any other way they can.
We believe in what theyre doing, she said. We know its the right thing.
Great Mills Man Dies In Afghanistan, Aug. 7, 2008