Sunday, March 25, 2007

Greg N. Riewer dies of injuries from I.E.D.

Minnesota National Guard Sgt. Greg Riewer, -- nicknamed Smiley by his family in Frazee because of his quiet nature -- was killed in Iraq while on patrol Friday near Fallujah.

Col. Kevin Gutknecht, a Guard spokesman, said Riewer died when a roadside explosive device struck his vehicle about 5:30 p.m. The blast also injured three other Minnesota members of his unit -- Bemidji-based Company A, 2nd Battalion, 136th Infantry Regiment. Their names and medical conditions were not released.

Riewer, 28, is the 12th member of the Minnesota National Guard to die in Iraq. About 2,700 Minnesota Guard members are serving there.

A 1997 graduate of Frazee High School, near Detroit Lakes, Riewer enlisted shortly after graduating. He was single and had five sisters and seven brothers, one of whom, Andrew, is serving in the same unit, Gutknecht said.

Riewer previously served in Bosnia and was deployed to Iraq last year. His unit's tour of duty had been extended. It was providing base security, training Iraqi soldiers and occasionally doing combat missions, Gutknecht said.

He added that family members said Riewer enjoyed deer hunting and riding motorcycles. They also described him as an obedient person who never caused trouble.

His father, Richard Riewer, told Gutknecht that "my image of Greg was when he would jump on his bike in the middle of the night. He was always proud of his bike even though it bothered [his mother] that he had bought and then upgraded it to be more powerful."

He also said his son was quiet, sometimes returning from hunting with a buck but not saying anything about it until asked hours later.

From the Tribune