BARSTOW • A Barstow man killed last week while working as a military contractor in Afghanistan will be honored on Friday evening with a law enforcement escort as he is brought back to Barstow.
Paul Almryde, 46, was working for military contractor MPRI in Afghanistan as part of the Afghan National Army Corps support battalion on April 16 when he was killed by a suicide bomber, said his wife, Pamela Almryde. According to reports, a Taliban bomber dressed like an Afghan soldier in order to infiltrate a joint Afghan-U.S. base in the eastern province of Laghman. Four Afghan soldiers and five NATO service members — including Paul — were killed in the attack.
Rick Kiernan, a spokesman for MPRI, said the company wanted to express its condolences to the Almryde family and said that Paul was a "dedicated and professional member" of its team.
"At tragic times like these, we are reminded that we can never take for granted the sacrifices of L-3 MPRI employees worldwide," said Kiernan. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Almryde family during this difficult time."
Pamela said her husband was working as a mechanic at the base and was teaching Afghan troops how to repair their vehicles. Paul had served in the military for 21 years — with 12 years of active service in the Army and 9 years in the National Guard — before retiring in 2010 as a Master Sergeant. Paul joined MPRI last May. He was scheduled to come back to Barstow in June and was planning to sign another year-long contract with MPRI, said Pamela.
One of Paul's neighbors, Jim Osbourn, is helping to organize the memorial on Friday because he wants to honor Paul's memory as a service member. Osbourn said those wishing to honor his memory should get to Dana Park around 8:00 p.m., although the procession could be delayed because of traffic.
Paul was born and raised in San Diego before moving to Barstow about 15 years ago, said Pamela. The Almrydes would have been married for 10 years in June and were going to renew their vows once he returned.
Paul and Pamela each had two children from previous marriages and one of his sons will soon be stationed at Fort Irwin. Paul also had three grandchildren, whom Pamela said he doted on.
"He loved his grandkids to death and spent as much time with them as possible," said Pamela.
One of the favorite things the couple would do together was simply sit outside in the summertime and talk, said Pamela.
"I'm very proud of him," said Pamela. "He was my hero. I even have a license plate frame that says my husband, my hero."
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Honoring Paul Almryde
• Law enforcement officials will be escorting Paul Almryde's remains down Barstow Road to Mead Mortuary.
• The public is invited to honor Paul Almryde's memory by gathering at Dana Park, 841 Barstow Road, Friday, around 8-9 p.m. (dependent on traffic)
• Tuesday, April 26
• Visitation at 10:00 a.m.
• Services begin at 11:00 a.m.
• First Baptist Church, 1320 Barstow Road