Welcome home, Corporal Ryan!
by Cate Murway

“Welcome back, welcome back, 
(You know you like that) Ryan’s back”

Homecoming delivered the promise 
of a part of the family restored 
and the safe end to the latest journey 
in his military career 
of “The Few. The Proud. The Marines.”

Marine Corporal Ryan Matthew Brodsky, BHS ’05 is a member of one of the finest generations of young Americans that our country has ever produced. Historic Bristol on the Delaware with heartfelt community respect, truly recognizes and honors him as the hero he is and the entire town showed their determination that he get the proper welcome home.
The Warriors Watch Riders, a group of bikers committed to honoring soldiers, mostly military veterans, saluted and welcomed him back as one of the “strongest and yet most merciful, the fiercest and yet most welcomed, the most dreaded and yet most compassionate, the deadliest and yet most moral warriors in history”. They use their motorcycles to draw attention with honor and dignity to their cause, which is their uniformed brothers and sisters.
The machine gun squad leader’s escort from Philadelphia International Airport included the Pennsylvania State Police, the Bristol Borough Police Department, Bristol Fire Co. No. 1 and American Hose, Hook & Ladder Company and the borough council honored him for his combat service. 
The fire companies joined their ladders in position 
to hoist an American flag flapping in the breeze 
near his Lafayette Street home. A beautiful sight!

Corporal Ryan is home for his share in some holiday family time after seven months deployment in the landlocked mostly rugged mountainous nation of Afghanistan, his second tour in Southwest Asia.  He will then be reporting back to his base in Hawaii. Semper Fidelis; Always Faithful!

The Marine uniform has been temporarily replaced by his familiar civilian clothing that has most likely been folded in the drawer for quite some time, awaiting his return. The doorbell starts to ring and celebrating the return of a Bristol Borough hometown kid begins.
We are so blessed to have young men and women giving up so much, willing to serve this great country for all of our freedoms. Ryan is back. We breathe a collective sigh of relief.

His parents Gary and Cynthia “Cindy” [Cordisco] Brodsky are “so grateful to the Warrior’s Watch and Heroes Welcome, the Bristol Township and Borough Police and the Borough Council for their heartfelt ‘Welcome Home’”.
Principals Thomas F. Shaffer and Rosemary Parmigiani lined the students outside to salute Ryan with cheers and waves.
Ryan was quoted in the Courier Times as saying "Wow. It means a lot,'' he said of the greeting by the students. "People do care about the work we are doing over there." 

Donnie Petolillo, the owner of “Cesare’s Italian Specialties Ristorante” [the closest thing to home cooking!] generously provided Ryan’s choice of his welcome home meal, a grilled chicken Caesar salad.

Ryan has two brothers and a sister, construction worker Kenny Joseph Brodsky, BHS ’99 and his twin sister, April Lee, who is a phlebotomist and Marine Justin Ryan Frazier, BHS ’00 who is stationed in Iraq. He left in August and is due to return in March 2010. Justin’s girlfriend Shere Billouin, a research assistant from Trinidad is patiently awaiting his return. Gary and Cindy Brodsky are thrilled to have Ryan back at home.

“Welcome home son
His loving arms held open
And his heart so full of love
Welcome home son”  Dolly Parton’s song: Welcome Home

After graduation, Ryan tried a semester at BCCC at his parents’ request. It wasn’t for him.
He enlisted in the armed forces through the Recruiting Office on Dec. 4, 2006 and he admits, his folks were nervous.
He quickly learned the core values of “Honor, Courage and Commitment”, lessons learned from Marines that have served our nation for more than two centuries at the Recruit Training Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina.  Camp Geiger School of Infantry’s training mission ensures "Every Marine is, first and foremost, a rifleman” and Ryan specialized in machine guns. He shoots a 30-pound M240 Bravo machine gun, a successful and well-regarded weapon system. 
Corporal Ryan is prepared mentally, physically, and morally for the challenges of 21st Century warfare after his urban terrain training, non-lethal training and hand-to-hand combat.
He has been serving with the weapons platoon infantry battalion of Echo Company of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, known as 2/3, based out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay for three years now.
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot. The backbone of armies infantry units have more physically demanding training than other branches of armies, and place a greater emphasis on discipline, fitness, physical strength and aggression.

From 2-1-08 to 9-1-08 Ryan labored in Iraq, training local security patrols and sweeping for improvised explosive devices [IED]. Unearthing the bombs is a painstaking task demanding the most exacting deliberate movements and vigilant eyes. He knows to move with stealth and look ahead. He lived in a police station surrounded by barbwire.
There were no days off and he napped sleeping against a wall. The weather is hot and dry and they swelter in flame resistant long sleeve digital camouflage utility uniforms. A remarkable feature of Afghan climate is its extreme range of temperature where a shade maximum of 45–50 °C (113–122 °F) is not uncommon. 
He ate when he could and it was always a self-contained, individual field ration in lightweight packaging, a Meal, Ready-to-Eat — commonly known as the MRE.
“Doesn’t sound very tasty.” “No, ma’m”. 
Ryan prefers Italian food, especially his mom’s simmered vodka rigatoni.

He arrived in Afghanistan in May ’09 and lived in fighting holes for weeks.
He’s on leave now, “basically a paid vacation” and he’s happy to be home. “Bristol is a cool little town.”
Ryan plans on spending some time with his fallen buddy, Lance Corporal John J. Malone’s family in NY. He is sporting a new “tat” in honor of this friend who lost his life September 24th in a hasty foot patrol ambush while supporting combat operations in Farah province, Afghanistan.

“It’s hard to explain. It’s something inside you; you just can’t really explain. What does it for me, is the Marine to my left and my right. I can’t wait to go back. I just want to be a trigger puller.”
When he returns in early January, he will be going out for the United States Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command. Its core capabilities are direct action, special reconnaissance and foreign internal defense. These soldiers operate in small teams, jump out of planes and perform underwater demolition. He will be training in Counter-insurgency [abbreviated COIN]. In the context of an occupation or an armed rebellion, counter-insurgency is a military term for the combat against an insurgency, by forces aligned with the recognized government of the territory in which the armed conflict takes place.
This Saturday's child works hard for a living!

According to the 2005 BHS yearbook, Ryan Brodsky will always be remembered for making people laugh and always having a good time. “If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made of” was this All-Star Ice hockey athlete/football full back’s graduation quote.

Welcome Home Corporal Ryan—you have our undying thanks and gratitude. We are humbled by your sacrifice.

Recommend a “spotlight”: e-mail vjmrun@yahoo.com

Uncle Steve Cordisco, Ryan & his parents, Uncle John Brodsky