Marine honored for saving Sgt. Ryan

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A Marine who took the motto "leave no man behind" to heart was credited Wednesday at Stewart Air Base with saving Sgt. Eddie Ryan's life more than three years ago.

Rep. Maurice Hinchey presented Sgt. Kenneth Burdine with a Commendation Medal for Valor. Burdine pulled Ryan from a rooftop in Iraq in 2005 after Ryan's sniper team came under intense fire, and got him to a medial helicopter. Many thought the Ellenville Marine wouldn't survive the two gunshot wounds to his head.

Six months later, Ryan learned his traumatic brain injury was the result of friendly, not enemy, fire.

Ryan, who's not paralyzed but is in a wheelchair, remains positive that he'll walk again despite the injuries he suffered at the age of 21. He owes his life to Burdine's courage under fire.

"On behalf of all the fellow Marines here, I want to thank you for your uncommon valor," Ryan said to Burdine at the ceremony.

Ryan's father also credited Burdine with saving his son, saying if it wasn't for the heroic act, Ryan would have died on foreign soil.

Wednesday marked only the second time Ryan reunited with the man who saved his life. Burdine is now stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Two other colleagues also played a role in saving Ryan, who hopes they will all receive Bronze Stars for their bravery.

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