Friday, October 3, 2008

Fallen Shipmate - CTM3 Matthew J. O'Bryant

Cryptologic Technician Maintenance (CTM) Third Class Petty Officer Matthew J. O'Bryant, 22, of Duluth, Ga., left this earth on September 20 in the bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan. Matthew was a valued member of the Navy Information Operations Command Maryland, Fort Meade, Md.

Rear Admiral William Leigher (OPNAV N3IO) had the sad but proud responsibility to meet this young man's remains in Dover, Delaware as he returned to American soil.

Our deepest sympathies and debt of unbounded gratitude go out to this patriot's family. This Sailor now 'rests his oars'. He has given this great Navy and our country the gift of his unselfish service. We are forever in your debt Shipmate. Rest easy, your NIOC Maryland Shipmates have the watch.

From the Alabama Post Register:

Tommy O'Bryant said that the officers did not confirm his son's death until nearly noon Monday.

"The hardest thing was not knowing what's going on," he said. "But the officers finally came straight to the point and said our son was killed in the war."

O'Bryant graduated from Theodore High School in 2004, his father said. "He didn't play any sports, but he was in the ROTC and he graduated from there as full corporal." Before arriving in Pakistan, O'Bryant was assigned to the Navy Information Operations Command Maryland, Fort Meade, Md. He was the only Alabama sailor who was killed in the blast, Lt. Cmdr. Doug Gabos, a spokesman for the Navy Network Warfare Command in Norfolk, Va., said in a Tuesday night phone interview.

Today would have marked the 30th day that the young man had served overseas, said his father, Tommy O'Bryant.

As a cryptologic technician, O'Bryant would have been "involved in the installation, configuration, diagnosis and repair of state-of-the-art electronic computers and network hardware and software systems,"

Officials declined Tuesday to say why O'Bryant was at the Marriott Hotel, but Gabos said that he "may have just been staying at that hotel. I can't confirm that but I believe that to be a fact."

O'Bryant had attended the Art Institute of Atlanta before joining the Navy in March 2007, his father said. He was married to his wife, Bridgett, nearly two years ago.

"He called his wife Saturday morning, an hour before the bomb would have gone off," Tommy O'Bryant said. "She was the last one to speak to him."

Bridgett O'Bryant had been living in Buckatana, Miss., with her parents since her husband's deployment, Tommy O'Bryant said. Naval officers "came to her house Saturday night, and she called us about midnight," he said. "They told her he was missing."

From MSNBC Wire Services

Navy 3rd Class Petty Officer Matthew J. O'Bryant

Matthew J. O'Bryant was known for his ability to make people smile.

"He was the nicest person you'd ever know. He got along with everybody. He was friendly, he was a real good person," said Roger O'Bryant, Matthew's uncle.

O'Bryant, 22, of Duluth, Ga., died Sept. 20 in a bombing in Islamabad, Pakistan. He was a 2004 high school graduate and was assigned to Fort Meade.

O'Bryant's commanding officer, Capt. Richard Bodziak said, "He was exactly the kind of sailor we want in the Navy."

O'Bryant, who was a cryptologic technician, was "first in his class," Bodziak said. He said the sailor exhibited "honor, courage and commitment."

Just prior to a funeral service, Lawrence O'Bryant told everyone who came up to him how proud he was of his brother. He noted that four members of the family — the two brothers and two of their cousins — were all serving in the Navy at the same time.

"There were four of us in the Navy," he said. "Well, there's three now." He paused, then added, "I guess there will always be four of us because he will always be in the Navy."

He is survived by his wife, Bridgette.


Alabama sailor killed in Pakistan laid to rest
Sep 30, 2008 12:20 PM (3 days ago) AP

MOBILE, Ala. (Map, News) - Some 700 mourners attended a funeral in Mobile for an Alabama sailor killed Sept. 20 in a terrorist bomb blast outside a hotel in Pakistan.

At Monday's service, Calvary Assembly of God pastor Dave Edwards said Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew O'Bryant, 22, a Theodore High School graduate, was "a brave young man who made the ultimate sacrifice."

The bomb blast at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad took at least 60 lives.

A cryptologic technician, O'Bryant was based at Fort Meade, Md. His commanding officer, Capt. Richard Bodziak, said O'Bryant "was exactly the kind of sailor we want in the Navy."

Bodziak told the Press-Register that O'Bryant, who was serving in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, had been nominated to receive the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Combat Action Ribbon, posthumously.

A large image of O'Bryant was projected onto a screen on a wall of the sanctuary as his brother, Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Lawrence O'Bryant, called his brother "a hero" and "a patriot" in his emotional address. The two brothers and two of their cousins were all serving in the Navy at the same time.

"There were four of us in the Navy," he said. "Well, there's three now." He paused, then added, "I guess there will always be four of us because he will always be in the Navy."

During the funeral, representatives of various veterans organizations presented plaques, certificates and other honors to O'Bryant's family.

State Sen. Ben Brooks, R-Mobile, brought a certificate of commendation from Gov. Bob Riley. The flag-draped coffin was flanked by large stands of flowers, including one in the shape of an anchor.

Besides his brother, O'Bryant is survived by his parents, Tommy and Barbara O'Bryant of Theodore; his wife, Bridgette O'Bryant of Buckatunna, Miss.; and two sisters, Janet O'Bryant and Nancy O'Bryant, both of Theodore.

2 comments:

CTMCM(SS/SW) Marcantel said...

Captain Lambert, it has been a long time! I had a friend forward a link to your blog without knowing that I knew you. I am stationed at the Ceremonial Guard and was the Commander of Troops for the arrival of CTM3 OBryants body back into the states. I normally help prep the transfer case during these ceremonies, but found special significance in making sure that a CTM was part of the first group, along with the Admirals EA, to carry CTM3 OBryants body off the aircraft. My Ceremonial Casket Bearers carried it the rest of the way. Admiral Leigher, Captain Bodziak and CMDCM Miller oversaw the event from behind us on the plane. It was a sad event, but I am glad that fate had us all placed in such a way that we could take direct control of honors for this young man. "Dignified transfers" are a normal part of our job at the Ceremonial Guard and are something that we all take deeply personal, but to command this particular one is something I'll never forget.

CTMCM(SS/SW) Marcantel
U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard
kmarcan@att.net

David said...

Thank you for the wonderful compilation of articles on Matt. For two consecutive years in High school, he was one of my students in the Computer Maintenance and networking class I taught. The young man always made a positive impression on everyone. He was a positive role model when there are very few in high school. I was stunned and saddened when I heard the news and I still think of him often.