As an active duty U.S. Navy Sailor, Owen Ryan was on leave in between duty stations in his hometown of Hillsboro for Memorial Day and on hand to participate in the city’s ceremony commemorating the holiday.
Ryan showed up to watch his brother, Garen, a member of the Hillsboro High School band who will be entering his junior year this fall, play taps for the ceremony.
Being in uniform, Ryan was asked by members of the Highland County Veterans Honor Guard to be a part of the gun salute for the event. “It was pretty cool,” said Owen. “I was in the color guard down in Pensacola, (Florida) where I was just stationed, so I had done a little bit of that before, and it was pretty cool to be able to do it again.”
The brothers’ grandfather, David Woodruff, served on a mortar team in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.
Ryan entered Navy boot camp in July of 2021 and then reported to Pensacola, Florida to complete technical training to become an aviation electronics technician. Known as a Class “A” Technical School, the 19-week training program provides instruction in basic aviation theory and technical knowledge, aviation electrical systems, and electrical and electronics theory.
Following his leave in Hillsboro, Ryan will begin the rest of his five-year enlistment in Sasebo, Japan as part of U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo. Ships of the United States Seventh Fleet and the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force share the port.
“I’m looking forward to experiencing the culture, the food, and the different sites, and I heard there is a lot of stuff you can do right on base,” said Ryan. “You can climb Mount Fuji, and I think that would be really cool.” A little more than 720 miles from Sasebo, Mount Fuji is the seventh highest peak of an island on earth and a cultural icon of Japan.
Ryan’s brother was pleased to be able to participate in the ceremony. “It was a great honor to be able to do that for the ceremony in front of a lot of people, and it was just a good experience, and especially with my brother there because he did the gun salute,” he said.
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.