Special Operations Memorial Foundation

William M. Bryant

William M. Bryant

U.S. Army

SERGEANT FIRST CLASS WILLIAM M. BRYANT, UNITED STATES ARMY, distinguished himself on 24 March 1969, as Commanding Officer of Civilian Irregular Defense Group Company 321, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Mobile Strike Force during combat operations in Long Khanh Province, Republic of Vietnam. The battalion came under heavy fire and became surrounded by the elements of three enemy regiments. Sergeant First Class Bryant displayed extraordinary heroism throughout the succeeding 34 hours of incessant attack as he moved throughout the company position heedless of the intense hostile fire, while establishing and improving the defensive perimeter, directing fire during critical phases of the battle, distributing ammunition, assisting the wounded, and providing the leadership and inspirational example of courage to his men. When a helicopter drop of ammunition was made to resupply the beleaguered force, Sergeant First Class Bryant with complete disregard for his safety ran through the heavy enemy fire to retrieve the scattered ammunition boxes and distributed needed ammunition to his men. During a lull in the intense fighting, Sergeant First Class Bryant led a patrol outside the perimeter to obtain information of the enemy. The patrol came under intense automatic weapons fire and was pinned down. Sergeant First Class Bryant singlehandedly repulsed one enemy attack on his small force and by his heroic action inspired his men to fight off the other assaults. Seeing a wounded enemy soldier some distance from the patrol location, Sergeant First Class Bryant crawled forward alone under heavy fire to retrieve the soldier for intelligence purposes. Finding that the enemy soldier had expired, Sergeant First Class Bryant crawled back to his patrol and led his men back to the company position where he again took command of the defense. As the siege continued, Sergeant First Class Bryant organized and led a patrol in a daring attempt to break through the enemy encirclement. The patrol had advanced some 200 meters by heavy fighting when it was pinned down by the intense automatic weapons fire from heavily fortified bunkers and Sergeant First Class Bryant was severely wounded. Despite his wounds he rallied his men, called for helicopter gunship support, and directed heavy suppressive fire upon the enemy positions. Following the last gunship attack, Sergeant First Class Bryant fearlessly charged an enemy automatic weapons position, overrunning it, and singlehandedly destroying its three defenders. Inspired by his heroic example, his men renewed their attack on the entrenched enemy. While regrouping his small force for the final assault against the enemy, Sergeant First Class Bryant fell mortally wounded by an enemy rocket. Sergeant First Class Bryant selfless concern for his comrades, at the cost of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

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