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First Name: James

Last Name: Bryan

Birthplace: Washington, DC, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Edward

Date of Birth: 19 October 1940

Date of Death: 14 September 1977

Rank: Major

Years Served: 1965 - 1977
James Edward Bryan

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


James Edward 'Jamie' Bryan
Major, U.S. Army

James Edward 'Jamie' Bryan was born on 19 October 1940, the son of then-Major Blackshear Morrison Bryan, U.S. Army [Honoree Record ID 3265] and Catherine DeArmand Bryan. His father retired as a Lieutenant General.

An Army 'brat,' Jamie's travels all over the world developed a deep sense of pride in his country, and the military way of life. When his father (then a major general) became Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy in September 1954, it had a lasting impact on Jamie's life. His goal became to gain admission to West Point and to pursue a career in the Army as an Infantry officer. During this early stage of his life, he developed a deep love for the outdoors, and athletics, both of which became important foundations in his life. After graduation from Manlius School in 1960, Jamie attended Braden's Preparatory School and subsequently entered West Point with the Class of 1965.

As a cadet, Jamie gained the admiration and respect of his classmates, and others with whom he came in contact. He always adhered to the spirit, as well as the letter, of regulations. At West Point, Jamie displayed an uncommon devotion to duty while offering a warm and sincere friendship to his classmates. Despite several recurring injuries, he competed on corps squad hockey and lacrosse; earning a Major "A" in the latter during his first class year. Jamie's fellow cadets demonstrated their great confidence and trust in his character by electing him as a member of the cadet Honor Committee. However, his greatest thrill as a cadet was his selection as cadet captain and commander of Company A-1. As a company commander, Jamie exhibited the mature, no-nonsense approach to leadership that would serve him so well in his short, but shining, Army career.

Upon graduation in 1965, Jamie's lifelong dream was realized when he was commissioned into the Infantry as a Second Lieutenant. After completing Airborne and Ranger training at Fort Benning, GA, he requested assignment to an airborne unit. Jamie's request was granted and he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 325th Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC. While at Fort Bragg, he served as a leader of rifle, reconnaissance, and anti-tank platoons. Jamie's next assignment was as Aide-de-Camp to the Commandant of the Army War College at Carlisle, PA, where he served for one year.

In 1967, Jamie volunteered for duty in the Republic of Vietnam where he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry, 1st Air Cavalry Division as a Company Commander. Jamie was seriously wounded while leading his company and was awarded the Purple Heart and Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry. Upon release from Walter Reed Army Hospital, he was assigned as an instructor to the Jungle Operations Training Center at Fort Sherman, Canal Zone. It was here that he met his future wife, Barbara, whom he married in 1970.

After recovering from his wounds, in 1969 Jamie again volunteered for Vietnam. He returned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry, where he commanded another company, was wounded a second time, and received his second Silver Star for gallantry. Returning from Vietnam, he attended the Infantry Officers Advanced Course at Fort Benning and was then assigned to West Point for three years as a Tactical and Operations Officer. During this tour, he earned his master's degree in Business Administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He also spent many late nights trying to refine his fishing skills on the lakes of Camp Buckner. Following his West Point tour, Jamie attended Command and General Staff College where he continued his avid study of tactics . . . and bass fishing.

In 1975, Jamie reported to the 2d Battalion, 21st Infantry, 24th Infantry Division, at Fort Stewart, GA, where he served as the Operations Officer, and then as Battalion Executive Officer. Jamie quickly gained the respect and admiration of the men with whom he served in the 24th Infantry Division. In June 1977, he was selected to serve as the Battalion Operations Officer of the 1st Ranger Battalion at Fort Stewart. The demanding mission, arduous training, and hand-picked soldiers of this elite organization presented a very special challenge to which Jamie again responded superbly. Rangers of all ranks learned that Major Bryan was a winner, a real soldier!

On 14 September 1977 at 23:48 hours, Jamie was coordinating his unit's operations from aboard an Air Force Boeing EC-135K Command and Control aircraft that had just taken off from Kirtland Air Force Base, near Albuquerque, NM. Shortly after takeoff, the aircraft banked right and crashed into a mountain peak in the Manzano Mountain range, killing all 20 military crew members aboard. (Investigators said that fatigue may have played a part in the accident.) In the blink of an eye, this great man, soldier, and friend was gone at the young age of 36.


On 22 September 1977, numerous family members, friends, and classmates, gathered at the U.S. Military Academy Post Cemetery on a rainy afternoon to pay final respects to Jamie. It was a simple, yet moving ceremony. Taps played while the Ranger escort detail presented the national colors to Jamie's mother, Catherine, and to his wife, Barbara. It was a ceremony of which Jamie would have approved, for it epitomized the way of life he loved.

Jamie's return to West Point was most appropriate, for he had spent more years at West Point than any other place in his life - first as a son, then as a cadet, and finally as a Tactical Officer for the Corps of Cadets. For many of Jamie's friends, the most memorable part of that ceremony occurred when he was placed in his final resting place beside his father, Lieutenant General Blackshear M. Bryan, Jr., Class of 1922, and his brother, Major Blackshear M. Bryan, Jr., Class of 1954, who was also killed in an airplane crash (in the Republic of Vietnam) on 22 September 1967. [Honoree Record ID 213677]

It was a memorable day, for it brought so many fine people together who shared a common grief for a soldier, husband, classmate and friend, who was always willing to pay the ultimate price to defend our nation.

God speed and rest well, Jamie. You've epitomized the ethic: Duty, Honor, Country.

This bio was compiled with grateful assistance from West-Point.Org.


Honoree ID: 3266   Created by: MHOH




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