Soldier from New London killed in Afghanistan

Pfc. Ryane Clark
This is an undated U.S. Army photo of Army Pfc. Ryane Clark, 22, of New London, Minn., released by his family. Clark was killed while on duty on Oct. 4, 2010, near Shekhabad, Afghanistan.
U.S. Army Photo via West Central Tribune

Army Pfc. Ryane Clark, 22, of New London, Minn., was killed earlier this week by a rocket propelled grenade in Shekhabad, Afghanistan, just south of Kabul.

Ryane Clark was part of the 57th Engineering Company at Fort Bragg, N.C., and had been in Afghanistan since Dec. 2.

The Department of Defense has not publicly confirmed his death, but Clark's parents said they were informed last night.

Rick Clark, Ryan's father, learned about his son's death in a visit from military personnel during which he took careful notes.

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"Ryane was a passenger in a lead vehicle of a convoy that was struck by an RPG," Rick Clark said. "He was killed instantly."

Ryane Clark reported for active duty a year ago Tuesday. His father said it was his son's dream since he was 5 years old to serve in the military.

"He was very goal-oriented and he wanted to make a difference," Rick Clark said.

Clark worked toward that dream by becoming an Eagle Scout with Troop 228 at age 15. He was an athletic teen, a wrestler at New London-Spicer High School, where he graduated from in 2007. He also had a great love for hunting and the outdoors.

His family supported him unconditionally when he joined the Army last year.

"We were proud that he, during war time, was willing to step up and do his duty, but we also, with our Christian faith, we told him, 'It's not always nice people that you're going to go visit,'" Rick Clark said.

Rick Clark said he can't articulate how he's dealing with the loss of his only son, but Aleah Clark Auge, Ryane's sister, said she's at peace with her brother's death.

"It's where he wanted to be. It's what he wanted to do and you always want to go doing something you want to be doing," she said. "He knew the consequences as everybody does when you go off to war. And the fact that he did something for his country is amazing."

Auge bought herself a laptop with a Web cam before her brother's deployment to stay in touch while he was in Afghanistan. She says Ryane Clark was very close with his 5-year-old nephew Connor.

"So any chance we got, we had that up and on and (we talked) by phone as frequently as we could," she said.

Auge said her brother didn't talk very much about his work in Afghanistan, but he told her he enjoyed the company of his fellow soldiers.

Clark's family will travel to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware where his body will arrive. Funeral arrangements are still pending.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)