Richard Rynearson grew up in Washington State as a military dependent. After completing an undergraduate degree he entered the military himself. He spent twenty years as a pilot in a time of war flying a variety of aircraft including the AC-130U Gunship and the MQ-9 Reaper for Air Force Special Operations Command. Rynearson amassed more than 1000 combat flight hours in operations in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. For a mission on the first night of the Iraq invasion he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism. Rynearson is married. His wife is a Harvard graduate, Air Force JAG, and former law clerk for a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
...has a good work ethic and holds very strong views and opinions, which he readily expresses. [Maj Rynearson] has particularly strong views about the Constitution...
Major Rynearson's retirement after twenty years elicited similar comments from his superiors,
peers, and subordinates. One stated,
"I always had great respect for you because you
are not afraid to challenge the things that are wrong in society." Another described Rynearson
as "a great American" and another dubbed him
"one of [the] finest military officers to have ever served." Another individual stated:
Rick, I mean this with all sincerity. You are truly an unsung hero and more courageous than anyone I know.
Major Rynearson's service outside the cockpit was further testament to his fidelity to the oath of office and included a lawsuit he filed against the Border Patrol for its near-border practices. Rynearson lost the suit against the federal government, with a single dissent from Judge Jennifer Elrod Walker who wrote:
Firm assertions of one’s rights are far from 'unorthodox' in a Republic that insists constitutional rights are worth insisting upon and that tasks the courts with protecting those rights.
At great personal expense, Rynearson appealed the
decision to the United States Supreme Court, but that body
declined to hear his case.
In December of 2017, the
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) flew Rynearson to Washington DC to give testimony
before Congress. There Representative Juan Vargas of California apologized to
Rynearson "on behalf of the federal
for the actions of the Border Patrol. Rynearson later penned an op-ed with DACA recipient, Jesus Daniel Mendez Carbajal, about their
experiences with checkpoints in border communities.
Clarence Moriwaki characterized Rynearson's lawsuit against the Border Patrol to Judge Sara McCulloch as further evidence that Rynearson should be censored and excluded, painting him as "anti-government."
After retiring from the military and moving to Bainbridge Island, Rynearson and his wife joined the Cedars Unitarian Universalist Church, and Rynearson joined the William Renton Lodge No. 29 of Free and Accepted Masons. Rynearson and his wife became full time college students in nearby Seattle, utilizing the GI Bill, until he was forced to leave the island by the order from Judge Sara McCulloch that was later ruled a violation of the Constitution.
|Rynearson would find that his hopes of retiring to a quiet principled community, and leaving constitutional conflict to others, would prove unachievable. He and his wife found themselves yet again engaged in the defense of basic Constitutional rights against those of low character, who falsely represent themselves as models of liberal values, integrity, and community.|
Rynearson was victorious in Moriwaki v. Rynearson and Judge Sara McCulloch's order was vacated and ruled "unconstitutional" for violating the First Amendment's free speech protections. Rynearson also succesfully sued in federal court and got our State's cyberstalking law knocked down as unconstitutional in the federal suit Rynearson v. Ferguson which was supported by the ACLU of Washington and the Electronic Frontier Foundation and argued pro bono by UCLA law professor, and First Amendment scholar, Eugene Volokh. Still Rynearson and his wife face an uphill battle in our community which is far from a courtroom with rules of evidence.
Rynearson's victory is briefed to service members at McChord AFB
Rynearson and his wife continue to face death threats and an intolerant and hateful mob in their efforts to move back to their home on Bainbridge Island.