For Immediate Release

October 31, 2005

Hinchey Says Wounded Ellenville Sergeant Will Receive Purple Heart

Final Report From Marine Corps On Circumstances Behind Incident That Led To Serious Wounds Remains Under Review, But Will Be Released To Family & Congressman's Office Upon Completion

Ellenville, NY - In response to his inquiry last week over the circumstances behind the serious wounds Sgt. Eddie Ryan of Ellenville sustained in Iraq, the U.S. Marine Corps today told Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) that they are awarding a Purple Heart to Ryan. The Marine Corps also told Hinchey that its investigative report into the reasons behind Ryan's injuries is under review and that once it is completed the Marine Corps will brief the Ryan family and then provide a copy of the report to the congressman. Hinchey made a Freedom of Information Act request last week to obtain the report following the Marine Corps' reluctance to release the information.

"I am very pleased that the Marine Corps is doing the right thing in awarding Sgt. Eddie Ryan with a Purple Heart," Hinchey said. "However, the circumstances surrounding Sgt. Ryan's wounds remain murky and have added another level of stress for his family, which is already dealing with the fact that Sgt. Ryan is suffering from serious wounds to his brain and head. I am encouraged to hear from the Marine Corps that they will personally brief the Ryan family on the investigative report of Eddie's injuries, and hope they will take into account the perspective of all those who witnessed the incident."

Ryan, who was ranked as corporal at the time of the incident, was seriously wounded on April 13, 2005, while serving in Husaybah, Iraq. He is currently undergoing rehabilitative therapy for the grievous wounds he sustained from being shot in the head twice. According to the original casualty report, Ryan's wounds were listed as being the result of enemy fire during combat operations. A subsequent Marine Corps investigation changed the cause of his wounds to friendly fire. However, Ryan's family has learned from other sources that Sgt. Ryan was not the victim of friendly fire. As a result, there remains a very cloudy picture as to what exactly happened on April 13.

"Finding out the whole truth to the story of what happened to Sgt. Eddie Ryan is of critical importance to the Ryan family," Hinchey said. "Until an accurate investigative report comes out, the Ryan family will unfortunately not have an important aspect of closure for which they are looking. However, they can now know that Eddie earned a Purple Heart for his dutiful efforts in Iraq."

Hinchey first inquired about the circumstances behind Sgt. Ryan's injuries on October 26 after Ryan's family contacted his office about obtaining a copy of the final report and a Purple Heart.

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