Palm Springs, Calif. - The remains of a soldier killed in the Korean War and recently identified through DNA testing will be escorted from Palm Springs to Riverside National Cemetery today (September 8, 2012).
U.S. Army Master Sgt. Clifford L. Ryan was killed at age 28 on Nov. 1,
1950, in an engagement with Chinese forces while guarding a bridge near Unsan, North Korea.
His body was not recovered at the time, and he was listed as missing in
action until last year, when his remains, which turned up 12 years ago during a
North Korean construction project, were identified through DNA testing at the
forensics lab at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.
Ryan's remains were flown to California on Thursday and driven from Los
Angeles International Airport to Wiefel Mortuary in Palm Springs, escorted by
motorcycles supplied by the Patriot Guard Riders. Ryan, whose 65-year-old son,
Terry Ryan, lives in Cathedral City, will be buried at Riverside National
Cemetery today. The Patriot Guard Riders will escort Ryan's remains from Palm
Springs to Riverside.
The estimated departure time is 8:30 a.m. A ceremony is planned for 10
a.m. at the cemetery's prisoner-of-war memorial, 22495 Van Buren Blvd.
The escort will take Vella Road to Ramon Road and Ramon to Gene Autry
Trail to get on westbound Interstate 10, according to the mortuary.
The Patriot Guard Riders group was formed in 2005 to protect the
families of deceased armed forces members from Westboro Baptist Church
representatives, who disrupt funerals with claims that the deaths of American
troops in Iraq and Afghanistan reflect the wrath of God over the nation's
tolerance of homosexuality.
The riders send representatives to the funerals of armed forces members,
police officers and other first responders when asked by the families of the
Ryan, a native of Muscatine, Iowa, served in the Army 12 years, seeing
combat in World War II and the Korean War. He served in the 70th Tank
Battalion, 24th Infantry Division and 1st Cavalry and earned several medals,
including the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart.