COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A decorated American hero, Sgt. Maj. James “Ryan” Sartor, was remembered Wednesday during a funeral at the Shrine of Remembrance.
Sartor was killed during small arms fire during his second deployment to Afghanistan.
“I’ll just always remember him as one of the most professional Green Berets I’ve worked with in my career,” said retired Sgt. 1st Class William Hoopes.
Hoopes had been at Fort Carson for years before Sartor arrived. Hoopes was heavily involved in the special operations dive team, and met Sartor as he went through the program.
“He definitely stuck out in my mind when I first met him,” Hoopes said. “You can tell guys that just have a certain edge to them, a certain seriousness about what they do and their commitment level to what they do, and there was no one that was any more focused or any more professional than Ryan.”
Sartor is survived by his wife and three children.
After landing at Peterson Air Force base with a traditional dignified transfer ceremony, Sartor and his family were led by police in a procession through the south end of the city to the Shrine of Remembrance.
There were pockets of people throughout the route showing their support.
“It’s sad to see the sacrifices he and his family had to go through,” Deborah Mickle said.
Mickle watched the procession along Fountain Boulevard, and said she gave Sartor a haircut before his most recent deployment.
“I was crying,” Mickle said. “It’s very hard. He was a very nice young man. He was really a family man and he loved his family. We were talking about his kids before he left. I just wanted to say goodbye.”
Sartor was awarded more than a dozen medals, including a Bronze Star and Purple Heart he was awarded posthumously.
“A lot of guys have to go out of their way to be a quiet professional like that, and I think it came naturally to Ryan Sartor,” Hoopes said. “He was a great leader and fit right into the Green Beret mold.”