Ryan Safran was born on December 17, 1986 and is from Carroll County, Maryland. He was raised by a single mother due to being subjected to a toxic abusive father. Ryan knew early on in his childhood that he wanted to be a United States Marine. While in his junior year in high school his mother fell very ill. Ryan moved in with his cousin for the remainder of high school with no one to take care of him but himself. Ryan graduated from Liberty high school in 2006.
Ryan stayed true to his ambition to become a Marine and joined the United States Marine Corps in 2008. His first stop was Paris Island, South Carolina where he attended 12 weeks of basic training. After basic training Ryan got married and started a family. He then went on to Marine Combat training (MCT) in Jacksonville North Carolina. After graduation from MCT he was assigned the Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) of Motor Transportation. He traveled to Fort Lenard wood, Missouri where he learned how to operate multiple platforms of military vehicles and convoy operations. Ryan was selected the honor graduate of his class and was meritoriously promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal (LCpl). Before leaving the school house he was assigned to his unit, 2nd Battalion 8th Marines (2/8) in North Carolina.
As soon as he arrived at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina he was notified that the battalion would be deploying overseas to Afghanistan. It didn’t take long for him to start making an impact on the battalion as he filled the billet of the battalions licensing official. He was in charge of insuring the proper training and safety of the entire battalion while operating tactical vehicles. After maintaining a high level of readiness and proper training for the line companies, the unit deployed to Helmand province in southern Afghanistan. At this point he had to endure the heart wrenching fact that he might not make it back to his first born Austin and expecting wife.
While in Afghanistan he was a part of Operation Khanjar (Operation Strike of the Sword). This was the biggest offensive since the battle of Fallujah in 2004 and the biggest offensive airlift since Vietnam. While in theater Ryan served as a driver, gunner, and vehicle commander. On August 1st 2009 his vehicle was stuck by approximately 70-90 pounds of homemade explosives/improvised explosive device (IED). His gunner was nearly ejected from the gun turret and both of them were knocked unconscious. After being evacuated by air and receiving treatment Ryan returned to 2/8 to finish out his tour where he was combat meritoriously promoted to the rank of Corporal (Cpl). After making a safe return to his family in Camp Lejeune and getting some much needed rest and relaxation his daughter Rylee was born. As soon as post deployment leave was over he started the work up for his next tour with 2/8.
Ryan’s expert knowledge of convoy operations got him selected to serve as the Battalion Commander and Sergeant Majors personal security for the upcoming tour to Marjah Afghanistan. He helped get the platoon up to par on convoy operations and served as the lead vehicle commander/navigator. During another kinetic combat tour Ryan was exposed on multiple occasions to enemy fire and explosions. While on a foot patrol in an effort to clear a compound for the local militia a Marine stepped on a pressure plate and passed away before he was able to be evacuated. That Marine is Staff Sergeant James Malachoski of Westminster Maryland in Carroll County where Ryan would soon return home to serve as the United States Marine Corps recruiter. Before the tour was over Ryan received a combat meritorious promotion to the rank of Sergeant as well the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with a “V” for valor in combat.
Ryan was then selected for the special duty assignment as a recruiter. While on recruiting duty he found the transition to civilian life extremely difficult and was failing to adapt to life outside of the fast paced fleet Marine force. Though Ryan struggled with thoughts of ending his life he continued to perform in a stellar manor receiving multiple awards, but the mental rigors of the transition and the extreme demand put on him as a recruiter took a major toll on him. While at his office on one afternoon he received a call from a woman who was trying to leave the Navy and join the Marine Corps. The woman explained that she was a single mother of two, at that point Ryan tried to explain to her that she would not qualify because of the number of dependents. This is because when you come from any other branch to the Marine Corps you lose rank and it would be a financial burden on the family. The woman was not very happy with this answer and began to argue with him and get upset. Ryan then asked the service member her last name and stated that he would contact his command and see what they could do. The service member then replied Jenny Malachowski. There was a brief moment of silence and then Ryan replied with “was your husband in the Marine Corps?” Jenny replied “yes.” Ryan then asked if he was in 2/8 and she replied with the same “Yes.” He then let her know that he was on that foot patrol that day and naturally Jenny had a lot of questions. Ryan then politely apologized and said that he could not talk about this, not because he wasn’t allowed to but he was not mentally strong enough for the conversation. At this point he broke. Even with all the pride he had he knew it was time to get some help. He was accepted into Wounded Warrior Battalion at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda Maryland, where he received intensive inpatient followed by intensive outpatient therapy. On February 27, 2015 he was medically retired from the United States Marine Corps.
Ryan was no longer a Marine but now a civilian where he started to attend Carroll Community College. Though happy now that he would be able to raise his children, the battle wasn’t over. He moved in with his best friend after going through a divorce and custody battle. In December 2015 he woke up sweating as if he was in a sauna to realize the house was on fire. Reacting quickly he woke every one up in the house and insured every one made it out safe. By the grace of god no one was injured but everything was lost. Every physical and paper award received for his service along with everything that he had to his name. This was a hard hit and a major setback. Ryan went on to complete his associate’s degree in business administration from Carroll Community College. Ryan was then accepted into the school of business at Stevenson University.
Still with no direction as to where he goes from being a Marine for almost eight years he struggled with finding his meaning in life. At this point he had let himself fall into a deep depression, he knew he needed to make a change before he went down a path he had already traveled. Ryan knew that being active would help him pull out of the depression. He got back into the gym which was a place he worked before he had joined the Marine Corps. Physical fitness had become once again a staple in his life reminding him of how he thrived in situations that pushed him to the limits. There were several people that were impressed with how fast he got results. To him it was nothing but a little bit of dedication to something that was making him feel alive again. He was then approached by the owner of the gym who he had known from previously working for him before his military service. The gym owner suggested that he put some thought into becoming a personnel trainer and gave him a job.
Ryan then completely immersed himself in everything fitness related. Ryan studied and obtained a personal training certificate from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He is currently a personal trainer and teaches group fitness classes. Ryan found a passion in this as it reminded him of how he would train and mentor his junior Marines. He then went on to form the limited liability company Shock Troop Fitness as well as an online platform. Ryan now feels that that though his service for this country was shortened, he can now serve his community, having a positive impact by enriching the lives of individuals in the community through fitness and nutrition. He is currently collaborating with a local nonprofit Rising Above Addiction where he will be visiting the half-way houses to provide group fitness for recovering addicts. Ryan continues to push his athletic abilities by training as a triathlete.