Army Heritage Month spotlight on a military hero

Master Sgt. Micheal B. Riley. Courtesy photos.

I miss him everyday…that is the sentiment of a friend lost and for Benjamin Brand with the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden. No statement is truer than how he feels about losing his best friend, Special Forces Master Sgt. Micheal B. Riley.

Riley was killed during combat operations in the Uruzgan Province in Afghanistan June 25, 2019. He joined the Army in 2006 and deployed to Afghanistan 6 times; Iraq, Israel, Slovakia, Lebanon, Norway, Estonia, Republic of Georgia, Syria, Hungary, Poland and Turkey.

Riley was born in December 1986 in Heilbronn, Germany, outside Stuttgart, to an American Army father and a German mother. He and Brand grew up together, became best friends and shared a passion for music and DJ’ing. Brand said they DJ’d together in many clubs around the Stuttgart, Wiesbaden, Frankfurt and Kaiserslautern area throughout their years together.

Brand reflected on Riley, saying “When you saw Master Sgt. Micheal Riley, you saw one thing. That he was a professional through and through. Mike had a huge desire to constantly improve, to always be the best version of himself, but also make people better, so they achieved results they didn’t think they could achieve, but Mike knew they could.”

Benjamin Brand with U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, left, and Master Sgt. Micheal B. Riley, grew up together in Germany and became best friends.

Brand said that whether it was through coaching, teaching or mentoring, Riley wanted the best for everyone he came across.

“If he called you his friend, he was there for you no matter what problems you had, and he made sure you were okay and making the right decision.”

He also said that Riley supported his teammates, for example taking them on runs to get them ready for Ranger School or flying to Fort Bragg so he could train new potential members for the company.

“Mike died, doing exactly what he loved to do, closing with the enemy in order to destroy the enemy. Mike died with his boots on, in direct contact with the enemy. There was no other place that Mike wanted to be, to be in a place, surrounded by his brothers, performing his craft, his art, being a Master of Arms, a Special Forces Soldier.”

Since Riley was a fitness beast, every year on or around June 25, Riley is honored and remembered with a workout called the Micheal B. Riley Hero WOD. It is a crossfit workout that Green Berets, friends and family across Germany, St. Louis, Fort Carson and other military Bases around the world conduct.

This year for the first time, it will be conducted at the Wiesbaden Fitness Center on Clay Kaserne, supported by Morale Welfare Recreation, on June 26 at 10 a.m. It is free and open to the community.

Master Sgt. Micheal B. Riley