Capt. Ryan K. Iannelli
Capt. Ryan Iannelli, 27, an AH-1W Super Cobra pilot with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Sqdn 269, and a native of N.J., died Sept. 28, supporting combat ops in Helmand prov. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of captain. In the wartime chapel on Camp Dwyer, where Capt. Ryan Iannelli once worshiped, his fellow Marines gathered to remember him in a ceremony, Oct. 3.
CAMP DWYER - The Marines who served alongside Iannelli described him as a deeply spiritual man who strove to make a difference. “Whether you knew him for 5 minutes or 5 years, he impacted you in a positive way,” said Capt. Scott Neidecker, a Super Cobra pilot with the sqdn. “He was the kind of guy who would do anything for anyone.”
Neidecker said he had known Iannelli since they met at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., for flight school. “We worked in ops, writing the schedule together,” Neidecker said. “After I checked in with the sqdn, he came out here too, and we still wrote the schedule together. We were really good friends. He was my best friend here.” At the ceremony, Neidecker read Bible verse Matthew 34:40.
Days before Iannelli’s death, Col. Ben Hancock, the ass. wing cmdr. for 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Fwd), traveled to Camp Dwyer to fly with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Sqdn 269, and there he met the young captain. Hancock flew a mission that Iannelli had been slated to go on. “Here comes this old colonel, taking his flight time,” Hancock said. “A lot of guys would have been upset, but he was very gracious, very sharp, very motivated, and very helpful.”
Hancock said Iannelli loaned him his helmet, his flight vest, his supply of cold water, and even his rifle. “It was quite tragic to hear about his loss, but it was even more personally tragic to know, ‘that’s the kid who hosted me down there,’” Hancock said. “By all accounts, he was extremely well respected and liked – an extremely unique individual who was not just a great aviator, but a great person as well. I got the impression Ryan Iannelli was the kind of guy everyone wanted to hang out with.”
Iannelli attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., playing baseball for the university for 4 years. His awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Sgt. Maj. William Sweeney, the sgt. maj., said, "the Marines of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Sqdn 269 will remember Iannelli’s character, and that will help them as they complete their mission of providing close-air support for CF eradicating terror and violence in SW Afghanistan. Sweeney said, “I think ultimately, this will bring us tighter and closer together".
Hometown: Clarksboro, New Jersey
Age: 27 years old
Died:September 28, 2011 in Operation Enduring Freedom
Unit: Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269, Marine Air Group 29, 2nd Marine Air Wing, II Marine Expeditionary Force.
Birth: Apr. 3, 1984
Death: Sep. 28, 2011
Captain Ryan K. Iannelli, 27, of Clarksboro, N.J., died Sept. 28 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269, Marine Air Group 29, 2nd Marine Air Wing, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C. Posthumously promoted to Captain. Captain Iannelli was survived by many adoring family and friends including his mother Donna (nee Futia), father Kenneth, sister Amanda, grandfather and US Army Veteran Angelo Futia, grandmother Rose Futia and grandfather Leo Iannelli.
Gloucester County Veterans Memorial Cemetery
New Jersey, USA