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Memorial Held In Afghanistan For Soldiers Recently Killed In Combat

The following story first appeared on the Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System website after a memorial for Sgt. 1st Class Clark Corley, Spc. Ryan Lumley, and Spc. Thomas Mayberry, who were killed in action Dec. 3 after their vehicle struck an IED. The unit, part of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division is based out of Fort Bliss, Texas and is the first unit from the 1st Armored Division to deploy to Afghanistan. IT is stationed at Combat Outpost Sultan Khel in Afghanistan

Story by Sgt. John Ortiz

Saturday, Dec. 3, began as a sunny and cloudless day here in Afghanistan. The soldiers of second platoon, “Action” Company readied themselves, checking equipment and inspecting their combat vehicles before leaving the wire to escort explosive ordnance disposal technicians to a reported improvised explosive device on a nearby road.

Action Company had run missions like this 40 times before. Forty times outside the wire, 40 times coming out on top. In the eyes and minds of Second platoon, Action Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, readying themselves for this mission was no different.

Before long, the bomb technicians rendered the IED safe and second platoon was on their way back to Sultan Khel, a small combat outpost in southern Sayadabad district here, where the unit was based.

In a scene several soldiers described as “surreal” and “in slow motion,” an IED exploded directly beneath the MRAP carrying Sgt. 1st Class Clark Corley, Spc. Ryan Lumley, and Spc. Thomas Mayberry.

Members of second platoon rescued the platoon medic and the interpreter and pulled Mayberry from the gunner’s hatch. The soldiers attempted many times to extinguish the fire that started and rescue Corley and Lumley, putting themselves in danger to save their comrades. In the end, it was not to be.

December 3 became the date that would change three families forever when Sgt. 1st Class Clark Corley Jr., Pfc. Ryan Lumley, and Pfc. Thomas Mayberry died following the IED explosion.

Corley, born June 29, 1976 in Oxnard, Calif., was a 16-year veteran of the Army and one of the first NCOs to stand up 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment when it activated as part of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division in 2009 at Fort Bliss, Texas.

“Sergeant First Class [Clark] Corley was the first soldier I met when I came in as a platoon leader,” said 1st Lt. Brian Page, the platoon leader for second platoon. “I leaned on him a lot in the beginning?his opinions were invaluable.”

The platoon’s training before deployment required hour-long drives to training ranges and on one of them Page passed the time listening to Corley. “He shared a lot about how much he loved and cared for his son and he shared great wisdom about what deployment would be like, the challenges and adjustments I would encounter when I would returned home.”

“Prior to deployment Corley ensured all the guys were taken care of as a soldier along with their families. While deployed, Corley was a constant mentor to me and always had the guys straight and aware,” Page said.

Page remembered a late night when Corley talked about his experience as a squad leader in Iraq and losing one of his soldiers to an IED. “He talked about the sorrow when losing a soldier, but how you have to keep driving on with your guys to accomplish the mission. That is what second platoon will do.”

Spc. Ryan M. Lumley, a native of Lakeland, Fla., was born May 8, 1990 and joined the Army in May 2009. After completing his initial training as an infantryman, Lumley reported to Fort Bliss for his first assignment and joined 2-5 Infantry, serving in various positions before becoming a vehicle operator during his first deployment to Afghanistan.

“Specialist Lumley was a guy who cared about his buddies,” said Spc. Josue Gonzalez-Cruz, who served in the same squad since arriving at the unit in 2009. “When we deployed, he seemed to hit a whole new gear that I didn’t even know was in him.”

Gonzalez-Cruz continued saying that Lumley loved his wife deeply and planned to throw a big barbeque party for the platoon once they all came home from deployment.

“I will always carry Specialist [Ryan] Lumley’s memory in my heart and will continue to pray for his wife and the rest of his family. The loss of him made me realize how much people in second platoon care about one another,” he said. “I realize just how much second platoon is a family to me now.”

Pfc. Thomas Mayberry, posthumously promoted to specialist, a native of Springville, Calif., was born Nov. 15, 1990 and joined the Army in January 2009. After completing his initial training as an infantryman, Mayberry completed a year tour in South Korea.

Following that assignment, Mayberry was reassigned to 2-5 Infantry becoming a machine gunner for Action Company.

“This is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life, but it is no comparison to how hard it is right now for the families of our three heroes,” said Staff Sgt. Steven Rossler, the second platoon weapon’s squad leader.

“Specialist Mayberry?he was one of the hardest working [Soldiers] out in the field, but one of the biggest pains in garrison,” said Rossler. “When he showed up to our company, right away I knew this kid was something special. His motivation and drive to be the best in weapons squad showed every time we had a field problem or just were out back in the motor pool doing crew drills.”

“This world is a lesser place without him in our lives,” Rossler said. For the men of Action Company, Dec. 3 will be the day they lost their friends, their comrades, their brothers, a date always remembered, never forgotten.

“Mrs. Corley, Mrs. Mayberry, and Mrs. Lumley my thoughts and prayers are with you during these difficult times,” said “Action” Company commander Capt. Adrian Koss. “I know that no words of mine can replace your loss or ease your grief, but I hope that you can take some solace knowing that Clark, Thomas, and Ryan died as heroes, next to their brothers, and for a country they loved.”

“I and the men of Action Company will spend the rest of our days trying to live up to the exampled they set and upholding the values they died to save,” said Koss.

“Clark, Thomas, Ryan it was an honor to serve beside you,” he said. “I know you’ll be watching over the men of second platoon and Action Company and I know they will continue to honor you through their service to our country and to each other.”

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