RUTHERFORD, N.J. – A former graduate student and baseball player at Felician College was killed on Wednesday when his Marine helicopter crashed in the Helmand Provice of Afghanistan, according to local news reports citing the U.S. Department of Defense.
Marine First Lt. Ryan Iannelli, 27, was a helicopter pilot who had entered the USMC in 2009. He was assigned to Marine Corp Air Station New River in North Carolina. According to the Department of Defense, he was involved in combat operations at the time of his death.
Iannelli played one season of baseball at Felician in 2007 after receiving his bachelor's degree in public relations and advertising from Oral Roberts University.
"We are extremely saddened by Ryan's death," said ninth-year Felician baseball coach Chris Langan. "We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends. While he was only with us for a short time, we are honored that a member of the Golden Falcon family would serve his country so honorably."
A native of Clarksboro, N.J., Iannelli was a 2002 graduate of Kingsway Regional of Woolwich. After graduating from Oral Roberts with one year of baseball eligibility remaining, he enrolled in Felician's MBA program in the spring of 2007. An outfielder, he hit .208 with a .333 on-base percentage in 29 games that season with 18 runs scored, six runs batted in, and 13 stolen bases, helping the Golden Falcons to a tie for second place in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference.
According to the Star-Ledger, the Department of Defense has not released details of the crash that killed Iannelli, but said it was under investigation.
Following are local news accounts of Iannelli's Death: