OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Spc. Ryan Scott Michael Dallam, a third-generation Army soldier from Norman, has died while serving in Iraq, his father said Monday. Dallam, 24, died Friday in Baghdad when the Humvee he was driving hit an improvised explosive device, said his father, Scott Dallam. Two other soldiers also died in the blast, he said.
Late Monday afternoon, the U.S. Department of Defense confirmed Ryan Dallam as a war casualty, and said the other soldiers who died were Capt. Anthony Palermo, 26, of Brockton, Mass., and Pvt. Damian Lopez Rodriguez of Tucson, Ariz.
The three soldiers were assigned to the Army's 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Division, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, based in Schweinfurt, Germany, that deployed to Iraq in September.
Scott Dallam said he learned of the details of his son's death by speaking with his son's battalion and company commanders.
``Right now, it's easy to talk about, because it takes your mind off of things,'' Scott Dallam said Monday afternoon. ``We've got a lot of friends and family in the area, and they've been coming by. When everybody leaves, after dinner, when it gets late, it gets pretty lonely. That's when it gets the hardest.''
Ryan Dallam was born in Norman and lived in Midwest City for a time after his parents divorced. His mother, Laura, later moved to teach on an American Indian reservation in Arizona, where he graduated in 2002 from Show Low High School. He later attended Oklahoma City Community College before joining the military during the early spring of 2005.
Scott Dallam, who retired in 2003 after 23 years in the Army, said his father also served in the military.
``We talked about it several times,'' Scott Dallam said of his son's decision to join the Army. ``I told him my concerns, that (Iraq) was probably where he was going to end up. He made a commitment that he wanted to serve and it didn't really matter. When you're young, it doesn't seem to matter. You always think you're invincible.
``I never served in combat, but nowadays, it's a different kind of business.''
Ryan Dallam had been scheduled to return to Oklahoma next week on leave, his father said.
Scott Dallam said his son enjoyed drawing as a youngster before his interests progressed to cars and music.
``He was kind of an average kid,'' he said. ``He wasn't a star athlete or a scholar. He was just a pretty good kid.''
He said the military hasn't told him when his son's body might be returned from Iraq. The family has scheduled a memorial service at First Christian Church in Norman on Thursday. When the body is returned, a service will be held at Fort Sill, near Lawton, with burial at the Fort Sill National Cemetery. His father said Ryan Dallam would want to be buried with other soldiers.
``He really liked what he was doing,'' Scott Dallam said. ``That makes us feel pretty good. He really enjoyed it and the camaraderie of being in the military and being around other soldiers.''
He is survived by his parents; his stepmother, Leslie Dallam; and a younger brother and sister.