Ronald W. Gebur

Company B 1-22 Infantry

4th Infantry Division (Mechanized)

KIA 05/13/06

 

Ronald W. Gebur, 23, of Delavan, Illinois, died of injuries sustained in Baghdad, Iraq,
when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during combat operations.
He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

**********************

On May 13th, we lost Specialist Ronald Gebur of 2nd Platoon while conducting operations along the Tigris River.  
There will never be adequate words to express our sorrow and what he has meant to us since he arrived to the Bears in November of 2004.  
He was one of us, fought with us, and will always be with us.   Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, their young son,
and their families in Illinois as they grieve for his loss.   We will never forget the sacrifice that he has made
and we will continue to serve with a renewed commitment to seeing the mission through to a successful end.  
Anything else would diminish the sacrifice that our brother has made.

—Captain Matthew Weber Commanding Officer Company B 1-22 Infantry (Bears), May 15, 2006

**********************

The past month has been a particularly difficult one for B Company.  
We have mourned the loss of Specialist Ronald Gebur on May 13
th and Corporal Bobby West on May 30th.  
Specialist Gebur – of 2
nd Platoon – was from Delavan, Illinois and is survived by his wife Bethany, son Gage, and parents Debra and Larry.
  Corporal West – of 3
rd Platoon – was originally from Beebe, Arkansas and is survived by his parents, Linda and Ricky West.

     We gathered on May 19th and June 6th, respectively, to pay our final respects and share memories of our fallen comrades.  
We feel their loss deeply, but we continue the mission they have left behind; we do so looking out for one another,
realizing the best way to thank our brothers in arms is to succeed in the mission they began with us
and return home to enjoy the comforts of the life for which they sacrificed their own.  
Our thoughts and prayers remain with Specialist Gebur’s and Corporal West’s families.

-----------------Captain Matthew Weber, Commander Company B 1-22 Infantry, June 15, 2006

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SPC Ron Gebur's decorations

 

 

 

Ron Gebur in Iraq

 

Command Sergeant Major Richard Beal said of Ron Gebur:

"Ron was a dedicated young man who had so much potential for future leadership positions and advancement.
He was a great loss to his platoon and is sorely missed."

 

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Tuesday, May 16 2006 @ 07:35 AM EST

Journal Star -- PEORIA -

Members of an Illinois Army National Guard unit who knew a Delavan man killed over the weekend in Iraq describe him as a "morals and ethics" type of guy. "He was a great guy . . . morals and ethics all right there," said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Koslowsky, who served with Spc. Ronald Gebur in the 733rd Quartermaster Battalion, based in Delavan.

Gebur, 23, died Saturday when an explosive device blew up near his Humvee during a patrol in Baghdad, according to the Pentagon.

He leaves behind a wife, who is also in the U.S. Army, and a 9-month-old son.

"He gave the ultimate sacrifice for us," his father, Larry Gebur, said Monday while fighting back tears.

Koslowsky remembered Gebur as someone who enlisted in the National Guard after graduating from Delavan High School in 2002. While with the 733rd, he was a cook, but he had higher aspirations. "All I know, he wanted to go active duty the minute he came in," Koslowsky said. "He wanted to be infantry."

So in 2004, Gebur transferred to the 4th Infantry Division, based at Fort Hood, Texas, where he was assigned to 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment. There, he was a platoon leader and a sniper. His unit had just arrived in Iraq for a tour of duty in December.

Master Sgt. Jason Burris was also in the 733rd with Gebur. He remembers him as a friendly guy who always seemed happy. He would volunteer for extra duty and loved the Army.

Deborah Gebur said her son joined the military to follow in the footsteps of his grandfathers, who both served in Korea. "He was very talented. He grew up learning to hunt with his grandfather, so that's how he learned to shoot. He was just so talented. He was a strong man. That's how I remember him," his mother said.

Koslowsky, 34, said he considered Gebur not just another soldier under his command but a close friend as well. They would hang out together after drill sessions. The death has been tough for the sergeant. "I will miss him greatly," he said.

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The Honor Guard carries SPC Ronald Gebur at his funeral.

 

 

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

By Karen McDonald

of the Journal Star

PEKIN — Army Spc. Ronald “Ron” Gebur was a superhero who chose to use his strength for good. He warmed people’s hearts and had this light in his eyes, his sister, Camille Gebur wrote in a letter that was read Tuesday during his funeral.

He was a one-of-a-kind friend with a big heart, dependable and stood up for what he believed in, his best friend, Court Houston said during services.

Gebur, 23, died May 13 when an explosive device blew up near his Humvee during a patrol in Baghdad, according to the Pentagon. His acquaintances, friends and family said they will remember him as an all-American hero.

“God gave him 23 years on this earth. There are people given 100 years who could not accomplish what all Ron Gebur did for us,” Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn said during Tuesday’s services, where a general also presented his widow Tuesday with a Purple Heart and several other medals.

Gebur, formerly of Delavan, liked to do the guy stuff. He enjoyed fishing, four-wheeling, golf, hockey, baseball, and building fires, family members said. He graduated from Delavan High School in 2002 and married Bethany in Aug. 2003. Bethany Gebur’s mother, Karen Boswell, said the couple had a “fairy-tale love” that made others enviable. Ron and Bethany Gebur and their nine-month-old son, Gage, had been living at Fort Hood, Texas, since February. There, Ron Gebur was assigned as a platoon leader and sniper with the U.S. Army 4th Infantry Division. His unit travelled to Iraq in December for a tour of duty. “Ron wanted so badly to make a difference,” Boswell said during the funeral.

Brandon Marmion has known Gebur for about five years and said he will remember his permanent smile and unselfish demeanor. “He’s someone you could count on — a fun person to be around,” said Marmion, a former Pekin resident who drove from Tennessee to attend the funeral.

About 50 people stood outside Woolsey Funeral Home hosting American flags as guests arrived, although most of them did not personally know Gebur. They represented the Patriot Guard and Soldier’s Angels, both organizations that support U.S. troops. “We’re out here for honor and respect and to show our support,” said Patriot Guard Jim Wood, of South Pekin. Glenda Spinner drove from Assumption, which is located south of Decatur, to Pekin Tuesday to represent Soldier’s Angels. “It feels good, but sad at the same time because it’s a fallen hero,” Spinner said.

A graveside ceremony at Orendorff Cemetery in Hopedale included a gun salute and an honor guard. Bethany Gebur, a U.S. Army medic dressed in uniform, saluted her husband and sobbed as his casket was carried from a vehicle to the grave.

“He was a good man, a strong person, a loving a caring father, husband, brother and son,” sister Camille Gebur stated. “We will never forget the way he made us all laugh, love and hope for a safer tomorrow.”

Karen McDonald can be reached at 346-5300 or kmcdonald@pjstar.com .

**********************

 

By Brock Spencer
Posted: Tuesday, May 23, 2006 at 3:26 PM

Hundreds turned out in Pekin to say goodbye to a local soldier Tuesday morning.

Army Spc. Ron Gebur was laid to rest. He was 23. He suffered fatal wounds when a roadside bomb went off in Iraq earlier this month.

Gebur's best friend Court Houston fought back tears as he explained how much he looked up to Gebur. Comrades and friends honored the 2002 graduate of Delavan High School as a hero, for what he stood for and what he fought for.

Even those who didn't know Gebur, stood outside the Woolsey Funeral Home in Pekin with flags in hand. Members of the Patriot Guard also led part of the procession from Pekin through Gebur's hometown of Delavan.

Supporters said this is a hard time for everyone.

"The more support that they can see that is there, the better for them it is because they know that someone actually cares,” AMVETS post 235 Commander Paul Kerby said. “And, that is what we are out here for. It's to show them that we do care."

During funeral services this morning, military members awarded Gebur's wife with her husband's Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

Hundreds of supporters also came out because the family expected to see anti-war protesters. But, HOI-19 News never spotted any protesters. Ron Gebur leaves behind his wife, a medic in the army, and a nine-month-old son.

http://www.hoinews.com

**********************

The following was posted in Bob Babcock's 4ID Updates, May 25, 2006:

A Vietnam Vet Reflects on the Funeral of a Fallen Comrade from Iraq  

When SPC Ron Gebur of B/1-22 IN was killed in Iraq, I was quickly contacted by LTC Craig Osborne, CO of 1-22 IN,
and asked if I could assemble one or more 22nd Infantry veterans to attend the funeral of SPC Gebur. 
I sent out a note to those living within a 150 mile radius of his hometown and got an immediate response from Mike Lummis,
Vietnam veteran from E/1-22 IN, 4ID, that he would attend and represent all of us veterans. 
Following is the note he sent me the morning after the funeral on Tuesday.   ----------  

Good morning.  When I retired, one ritual I began was that of planning my activities for each upcoming week.  
I felt that I needed to accomplish something each and every day as well as pursue my hobbies and passions.  
This morning I awoke both physically and emotionally drained, I most likely will do nothing today.  
I am still drained from SPC Gebur's funeral service yesterday.  I had prepared mentally, I thought. 
I wanted to represent 1-22 IN and the 4ID in a most honorable fashion.  I introduced myself to the family the night before,
offered my condolences on behalf of myself and the 22nd Infantry veterans.  I have a blazer with our crest on the pocket and I wore my mini CIB.
  His widow, a SGT in the US Army Medical Corps, and I locked gazes as soon as she saw the crest. 
A million unspoken words of respect passed between us.  I spoke with his parents, two wonderful people, I spoke with his sister,
who, being only 15 or 16 I guess, displayed dignity and courage above and beyond her years. 
I spoke with Ron's mother in law and when I mentioned your name more tears welled in her eyes.  
I don't think you realize fully the impact you have on these people.    I had intended on staying longer,
I slipped into the room where the honor guard was assembled, introduced myself, and felt the immediate, immediate respect they gave me.
But I was the one who respected them, some of our best and brightest.
 I spent a few minutes in the vicinity of SPC Gebur's son, nine months old, all boy, with a big grin,
and probably a lot of wonderment on what was all of this going on?   After that I had to leave and did so quietly.

Tuesday morning I arrived early, fully composed.  I watched his wife take their son up to the open casket and my heart broke once again.
  It was a beautiful service, a true religious, military, and life tribute.    As I exited the funeral home, I saw the men and women
of the Patriots Guard and Fallen Angels at attention with Old Glory slightly waving in the bright Illinois sunshine.
 Across the street I saw what at first glance might be protesters.
 But they were standing quiet and waving flags.  They were private citizens, most of which I doubted even knew SPC Gebur.
  The procession began its 20 mile journey to the cemetery.  In South Pekin, the streets were lined with people holding flags and saluting.
 Even in the open countryside, at virtually every drive way or house, a flag was flying and people were silently showing their respects. 
The procession entered the small town of Delavan Illinois, where SPC Gebur had graduated from high school. 
The whole town lined the highway of this perfect model of small town America.   And that is when the emotions overcame me.

 I have cried once since I left Vietnam, at the dedication of the 4th Inf. marker in D.C.  But when I drove by a pack of Cub Scouts,
uniformed and standing at attention as only an eight year old can, the tears began. 
I was by myself, between the tinted windshield of my car and my sunglasses, no one saw my tears.
They were tears for SPC Gebur, his wonderful family, for 1-22 IN and the 4th Infantry Division, and for the United States of America.
  Following the committal service, it was announced that the family wanted some private time alone. 
Silently and respectfully 500 or so people turned and walked back to their cars. 

I was leaving the cemetery when a young SFC from Ft Hood came by my car. 
 I rolled down my window pointed to my shoulder and said, "Steadfast and Loyal".  He responded with a "HOOAH" and a salute. 
I quickly rolled up my window and started down the dusty drive of this little country cemetery. 
Though the road under my tires was dry, my cheeks once again had salty tears running down them.
CPT Litherland (Escort Officer) is an exceptional officer.  His task has to be among the most challenging of the 4th Div. 
He and all the 4ID and 1-22 IN currently serving reaffirm my belief
that the small miniscule part I had in the Vietnam conflict was time spent with the best units the US Army has to offer.

Memorial Day is nearly upon us, we must never forget.  
 

Mike Lummis, E/1-22 IN, 4ID - Vietnam 1969-1970  

In an e-mail to the webmaster of this site Mike added:

Every Memorial Day is special to me as I am sure it is to you but this one is going to hurt a little deeper.
I am getting older and I find my admiration and respect for these young warriors
all of whom  who have volunteered is growing. 

............................................................................

------------   And the mother and father of the B/1-22 IN company commander in Iraq also attended the funeral of their son's fallen Soldier. 
Here is what she had to say

...   My husband and I traveled to Pekin, IL this week to attend the funeral of SPC Ron Gebur, at the request of our son. 
I am sure that although we introduced ourselves to the parents, grandparents, and wife that no one there will remember who we were
or that we were even there, but it was important to us to fulfill our son's wishes to represent him there.    The service was both moving and inspirational. 
We were impressed with the Patriot Guard and the number of armed forces (of all kinds) who were in attendance. 
The 27 mile trip from the funeral home to the cemetery was inspiring.  All along the route folks were out on their lawns, the side walks,
on horses, along side their cars, etc. saluting or standing at attention with hand over heart as we passed. 
Signs praising and blessing our Soldiers were also visible.    I spoke with the rear detachment commander CPT Litherland 
who was taking care of things in Pekin while his family was burying his mother in Dallas.  The strength of these Soldiers and families is truly amazing! 
I just wanted you to know that the last couple of days I have felt an overwhelming sense of pride ... pride in my son, what he is doing,
the group of people of which he is but one, and pride in a country that is trying to do what is right.  Faltering at times, but TRYING to do the right thing. 
God bless them (us) all!

I see now where you get some of your strength to continue to do such a wonderful job ... out of loyalty and love ... not duty.

............................................................................

------------   And the sister-in-law of the 1-22 IN battalion commander also attended the funeral...  

I too went to SPC Gebur’s funeral and visitation and I was overcome with emotions myself! On the procession from the funeral home to the cemetery,
 I was “happy” to see so many flags and the respect that was shown by ordinary citizens to Ron’s family and friends.  
I have only heard of these protests at Soldier’s funerals and I was concerned about them showing up at the funeral
but all of my concerns were dashed as I exited the funeral home and saw the barrier of American flags.
 As I stood next to the “leader” of the Patriot Guards, I asked him if he had seen any protestors.   His response was, and I quote,
“They won’t be here !”   I don’t know what he meant exactly, but relief came over me....
I wish that I could somehow replay all of the special moments for Ron’s friends and fellow Soldiers in Iraq! 

**********************

 

At the 4th Infantry Division memorial service held on June 15, 2006,
Ronald was remembered by PVT David Chamberlin:

Spc. Ronald W. Gebur, father of an infant son, loved baseball and liked to watch wrestling on TV, said his friend Pvt. David Chamberlin. 
Gebur, who served with the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, died May 13 after a roadside bomb exploded near his Humvee. 
He was remembered for his upbeat personality and for being a good listener. 
"I'd like to say thank you, Ron, for all the memories and for all you taught me," Chamberlin said through tears as he looked toward heaven.

 

**********************

 

Ron Gebur Memorial Highway - Devalan, IL

 

Highway to be named after fallen Soldier
By Ed McMenamin
GateHouse News Service
Thu May 07, 2009, 05:00 PM CDT

DELAVAN, Ill. -

Almost three years ago, Army Spc. Ronald “Ron” Gebur’s family received the unthinkable message that he had been killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq.
His wife, Bethany Gebur, was stationed at Ft. Hood, Texas. She was alone, by herself, with her infant son,” said Bethany’s mother,
Karen Boswell. “So she had to take the news by herself.”

Since that day, the family has worked toward finding a fitting tribute for Ron Gebur, a Delavan native. Boswell lobbied state Sen. Bill Brady,
R-Bloomington, who eventually proposed and passed legislation renaming the stretch of Illinois Route 122 between Delavan and Stanford
the Ron W. Gebur Memorial Highway.

On Wednesday, May 13, at 12:30 p.m. — the three-year anniversary of Gebur’s death — Gov. Pat Quinn, other elected officials
and Gebur’s friends and Family will gather at the new sign, near the Interstate 55 exit at Illinois Route 122. The event, which is open to the public,
will then move to the Delavan Armory for a press conference and reception.

Route 122 has a special, double significance for the Gebur family. It’s the road that connected Gebur’s hometown of Delavan and Bethany’s
hometown of Princeton, Boswell said. Also, the 23-year-old Army sniper was serving in the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment,
or 1-22, of the 4th Infantry division when he was killed in Baghdad. “It seemed to be an inherent fate,” she said.

After getting the stretch of Route 122 designated, Boswell said she encourages Families of other service members to have state roads
and bridges named after their fallen loved ones, if it’s something they desire. With more than 150 Illinois deaths in Iraq since the start of the war,
there is plenty of highway mileage for each Soldier to receive a designation, she said. “Every Soldier is special,” she said.
“He’s so much more than just a Soldier, and they all are.

“Across the country, a lot of Post Offices are being named after service members from the hometowns they’re from. In our hometown,
the post office building is leased, so that was out. We name highways after rocks stars and movie stars ... why wouldn’t we try to do this
for the very bravest of all? This is the first highway (in the area) that’s ever been named after a Soldier, unless it was accidentally named
after a Soldier because he shared a name with a politician.

“You could name a highway stretch for each and every last one of them if that’s what the families wanted.” She said some other states
have taken the lead. The Tennessee legislature, for instance, has introduced a bill honoring every fallen Soldier.

“We didn’t treat the guys from Vietnam very well,” Boswell said. “The way to fix that isn’t to perpetuate that going forward.”

 

**********************

 

Photo by Bob Babcock

 

Fallen area Soldier has road named in his honor


Wednesday, May 13, 2009 9:21 PM CDT

By M.K. Guetersloh
mkguetersloh@pantagraph.com

DELAVAN -- Bethany Gebur, of Normal, fought back tears Wednesday as she talked about honoring her husband U.S. Army Spc. Ron Gebur.

It’s been three years since Ron Gebur, a Delavan native, was killed when his Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq.
On Wednesday, the Delavan National Guard Armory was filled with soldiers and Army brass as well as friends and neighbors
to name a stretch of Illinois Route 122 for him.

During the ceremony, Bethany Gebur held her three-year-old son, Gage, as the two pulled the cover off of the highway sign.

“He is the only piece of Ron that I have left,” Bethany said of her son.

The Ron W. Gebur Memorial Highway starts at the Delavan exit from Interstate 155.
It is the first piece of Illinois highway to be dedicated to a Soldier killed in combat.

Family members said Route 122 into the Tazewell County village was more than a perfect choice
because it connects Ron Gebur’s hometown with Stanford, Bethany Gebur’s hometown.

Army Lt. Col. Craig Osborne, his commander, said the route number was “providence” because Ron Gebur’s unit
was the First Battalion, 22nd Infantry or the “122.”

Karen Boswell, Bethany Gebur’s mother, called it a happy day.

“We worked hard to get to this point,” Boswell said. “It wasn’t a slam dunk by any means.”

The challenges faced by the family — frequently referred to Wednesday as “Team Gebur” — to get the highway dedication
was more inspiring than daunting, Boswell said.

Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, sponsored the bill in the Senate to rename state highways after fallen Illinois troops.
Although it met some resistance in the House, Boswell said they kept pushing.

At the ceremony, Ron Gebur was remembered as a talented athlete, a strong leader and a man of integrity.

“His death has left an indelible imprint on the people who knew him and loved him,” Boswell said.

Illinois Army National Guard Col. Alicia Tate-Nadeau said the highway not only keeps Ron Gebur from being forgotten,
but should be a reminder to all that true heroes are the men and women who answer the call to serve their country.

Copyright 2009, Pantagraph Publishing Co. All rights reserved.

 

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Stretch of highway honors Delavan soldier killed in Iraq


By ANDY KRAVETZ
of the Journal Star
Posted May 13, 2009 @ 08:06 PM
Last update May 14, 2009 @ 10:07 AM


DELAVAN —
His Army unit's official motto, "Deeds, not Words," summed up Ron Gebur's life before he was killed in Iraq three years ago.

He was a devoted father, a loving husband and man who people wanted to be around. And thanks to recent action by the state,
his memory will never fade as long as people drive along Illinois Route 122 on their way to his home of Delavan.

That stretch of road, which coincidentally shares the same numbers as his former unit, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment or 1-22,
was officially dubbed Ronald W. Gebur Memorial Highway on Wednesday. The unveiling of the brown sign was to be outside
near the intersection of Route 122 and Interstate 155, but poor weather moved the ceremony to the Delavan armory.

"They will be reminded that young men and women continue to fight for our country, and they deserve our respect. If that is all they think,
then that is enough. Ron's legacy will live on," said his former commander Lt. Col. Craig Osborne.

More than 150 people - friends, family and soldiers - gathered at the armory to hear speaker after speaker laud Gebur, 23,
for his selflessness and for his wit. However, it was a photo slide show after the official program was done that seemed to capture Gebur's essence.

There were photos of him as a child, of him with his wife, Bethany, and then with his son, Gage, who was less than a year old
when his father was killed May 13, 2006, when a roadside bomb blew up near his Humvee. Among the photos
were ones comparing Gebur to his son. A photo of Gebur would be followed by a photo of his son in a similar pose or expression.

His widow dabbed her eyes throughout the ceremony and afterward looked emotionally drained.
She said the speakers seemed to capture the essence of her husband, which was that of a man who put others above himself.

He was a gifted athlete who loved hockey. He was a natural leader and would have done well in any area but chose infantry and specifically,
a sniper, knowing such an act would put him in harm's way. Gebur, the speakers said, didn't just answer his country's call, he also called as well.

He was the type of man who others gravitated toward and yet never sought the spotlight. Osborne, who has since been transferred to the Pentagon,
said "he simply did his job to the best of his ability simply because it needed to be done."

"He would do anything for someone he never met," Bethany Gebur said, a fact illustrated by a story that Ron was known
for loaning his sleeping bag and poncho to other soldiers who forgot theirs.

But perhaps one of the most stirring statements was given by Col. Alicia Tate-Nadeau of the Illinois National Guard.
A Delavan resident, she said she is reminded daily about Ron's sacrifice as she drives through town and sees the memorial at the high school
and at a nearby park. Turning to the Gebur family, she said she has wondered how she would like her son to be when he is older.

"It is a man of integrity and honor. I want my son to be like Ron, devoted to duty, honor, country, his family and God.
Forget the rock stars of today. Forget the athletes that garner the media's attention. What our nation needs to know
is that there are men and women who do our nation's bidding, and they are the real heroes," she said.

Gage, 3, stood upon the armory stage as his father's sign was unveiled. His mother stood behind him and whispered to him
as the audience stood to applaud. Afterward, she said, Gage, while only 3, understands his father is gone.

"He, for a 3-year-old, knows more than most should know. He knows Daddy is in heaven, and every time he passes a flag -
it could be flying at a school, at a gas station or outside - he says, 'that's Daddy's flag.' He knows he is gone and that he was a hero," she said.

Andy Kravetz can be reached at 686-3283 or
akravetz@pjstar.com.

 

**********************

Bob Babcock, past President of the 4th Infantry Division Association and Past President of the 22nd Infantry Regiment Society,
attended the ceremony honoring Ron Gebur, and writes the following:

I had the honor of attending this ceremony on Wednesday, as well as a dinner with SPC Gebur's extended Family
on Tuesday night. Also representing the 4ID and 1-22 were BG Loree Sutton, former Division Surgeon of 4ID and CO of Bethany Gebur
who worked at the Fort Hood hospital when Ron was killed, and LTC Craig Osborne, CO of 1-22 during OIF 05-06.
Also representing the 4ID Association was Bruce Gass, current national president
and Vietnam vet of D/1-22 IN, and his wife, Sue. 

 

Display at Ron Gebur's ceremony.

Photo by Bob Babcock

 

 

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