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Lt. Ryan, Hoadly G.

Lt. Hoadly Ryan 511 PIR 11th airborne

Commanding Officer Company D, 511th PIR

June 23, 1921 - September 6, 2004 (Age 83) - gravesite

Citations: Presidential Unit Citation, World War II Victory Medal, Philippine Presidential Unit Citation Badge, Philippine Liberation Medal with service star, the American Defense Medal, and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three Battle Stars and one Arrowhead

Hoadly G. Ryan was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on June 23, 1921, and lived there until his death from cancer on September 6, 2004. A Mass of Christian Burial was held on September 10th, and he was buried in St. Joseph Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Hoadly joined the Army and became a paratrooper during World War II. He rose through the ranks and became Company Commander, Company D.

Hoadly married Patricia Heekin. Their children: Mary R (m. Richard Pitcairn), Ellen J. (m. Craig Ruxton), Loretta A, (m. Michael Shipmen), John J., Patrick H. (m. Sandra), Richard H.(m. Martha), Joseph T (m. Tina), and the late Kennan J. Ryan.

The following excerpt is taken from the book, PARATROOPER! By Gerard M. Devlin, which gives the saga of Army and Marine Parachute and Glider Combat Troops during World War II:

Page 656The Occupation of Japan:

…When the first atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, the 11th Airborne Division was still undergoing intensive parachute and glider training at Lipa (Lipa Airstrip on Luzon, Philippine Islands). The detonation of the second bomb at Nagasaki, on August 9, set in motion a chain of events that brought the Japanese to the peace table and the 11th Airborne Division to Japan.

At 5:30 A.M. on August 11, the 11th Airborne was but on alert for air movement to Okinawa. There it was to remain ready and waiting to be the first American division to air land in Japan. Shortly after noon, C-47’s starting arriving at Lipa. Soon the first units were in the air heading for Okinawa. Only five weeks earlier, American soldiers, sailors, and marines had completed a three-month campaign to capture Okinawa at a cost of 39,430 casualties. One of the last shots fired by Japanese defenders during that battle killed Army Lieutenant General Simon B. Buckner, commander of all the American invasion troops. Another American casualty of that battle was the beloved civilian war correspondent, Ernie Pyle. Japanese losses on Okinawa totaled 127,000 killed and 7,400 taken prisoner.

It was especially tragic that some members of the 11th Airborne should survive many harrowing close calls with death in the Philippines only to be killed in air crashes en route to Okinawa. The first crash occurred at Lipa Airstrip, where a converted B-24 packed full of paratroopers failed to gain adequate takeoff speed. It ran out of runway, zoomed across a road at the end of the strip, ricocheted off an embankment, and burst into flames. Thanks to the heroic efforts of one of the passengers, Lieutenant Hoadly G. Ryan, four paratroopers survived the crash. Eleven burned to death in the wreckage….

Page 693The Occupation of Japan:

…Though seriously injured himself, Ryan carried one man from the plane after the crash. He returned twice more to the burning aircraft to pull other men from it. On his third trip back to the plane it exploded, injuring him again. He survived and was subsequently awarded the Soldiers Medal, the highest decoration awarded for noncombat heroism…

Official obituary and
PARATROOPER! By Gerard M. Devlin
Typed by Jane Carrico
Submitted to WINDS ALOFT May 2011

To learn more about Hoadly's historic unit and the intrepid men who fought in it, you can order Jeremy C. Holm's new book, WHEN ANGELS FALL: From Toccoa to Tokyo, The 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment in World War II by visiting our online store or purchasing a copy wherever books are sold.