WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published December 12, 2009, 10:21 PM

Family and Friends Pay Respects to Pape

An East Grand Forks Marine who died in a training exercise was laid to rest today.

By: Joel Porter, WDAZ

Family, friends, and fellow marines gathered today to pay respects to an East Grand Forks marine.

Corporal Ryan Pape was laid to rest this afternoon in East Grand Forks.

Around 30 marines from Ryan's company flew in to be at the service, something any marine will tell you is rare.

Pape died while attempting a low altitude parachute jump during a training exercise at Camp Pendleton in California.

Before the drop of the puck tonight, a sold-out crowd at Ralph Engelstad Arena paused to pay respects to local marine Ryan Pape. Earlier today, more than 50 marines were in town to honor the East Grand Forks native as he was laid to rest.

Mike McNamara/ Friend of Pape Family: it sent, I think a very nice message to the entire Pape family and the community about how much Ryan was loved and how much they enjoyed working with him and what he meant to them.

Joel Porter/ WDAZ News: Pape was killed on December 3rd during a training exercise. His team leader Ben Cohen was one of about 30 marines from his company to fly in from California for the funeral.

Sgt. Ben Cohen/ Team Leader: It meant a lot to the company to be here, we were worried we'd be overbearing on the family, but in the end, it turned out that we were the best healing power for them that you could ask for.

Joel Porter/ WDAZ News: Pape first joined up with Cohen's company six months ago and it didn't take long for him to win their respect. The sargent describes Pape as a constant professional.

Sgt. Ben Cohen/ Team Leader: He'd call me randomly on Saturday and Sunday and ask me off the way questions about our job and I'd have to stop and say what are you doing? He'd say I was just curious, I just had a thought in my head.

Mike McNamara/ Friend of Pape Family: If you would've told him, you don't have to do this, you don't have to do that, he would've looked at you and said, what do you mean? I'm going, I'll be there, I'm doing it.

Joel Porter/ WDAZ News: Now as his team heads back to Camp Pendleton, Cohen says he's not just losing a good sniper, but a friend with a trademark smile and a winning attitude.

Sgt. Ben Cohen/ Team Leader: But everywhere you go, you need a man like that behind you, every team's got to have one and every family should have one and that's the only thing we can ask for is Ryan's incredible passion for life.

Pape's brother Riley, who also served in the marine corps, died four years ago in a motorcycle accident.

Ryan and his brothers tallied five total combat deployments in Iraq during their service.