Faces From the Front for April 4, 2011 - Master Sgt. Richard Bryant and Spc. Avian Bryant
Name: Master Sgt. Richard Bryant
Current Unit: 1st Theatre Sustainment Command
Current Position: Operations Sgt. Maj.
Current Location: Kuwait
Hometown: Elizabethtown, N.C.
Years of Service: 22
Name: Specialist Avian Bryant
Current Unit: 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment
Current Position: Supply Specialist
Current Location: Afghanistan
Hometown: Hope Mills, N.C.
Years of Service: 2
Over the course of five deployments and a 22-year career in the U.S. Army, Master Sgt. Richard Bryant thought he had seen it all. In Desert Storm, he participated in the largest tank battle in history with the 3rd Armor Division and during Operation Iraqi Freedom; he engaged enemy forces in the streets of Baghdad receiving a Bronze Star Medal for his actions and an Army Commendation Medal with Valor Device for saving the lives of six fellow service members. But when his daughter, Spc. Avian Bryant enlisted in the Army, he faced an entirely new experience when they were both deployed to the Middle East in 2010.
Spc. Bryant joined the Army more than two years ago and is now serving as a supply specialist with 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment in Kandahar, where she is responsible for managing and processing paperwork that helps units throughout Afghanistan receive the supplies they need.
“We handle anything the squadron needs on the forward operating bases, and we try our best to get it for them,” she explained.
In his current deployment, Master Sgt. Bryant is stationed in Kuwait with the 1st Theatre Sustainment Command as an Operations Sgt. Maj. And just like his daughter; he handles many of the supply and logistical needs of the forces on the front lines.
“My day-to-day duties keep me in the heart of our fight,” he explained. “As a logistical command, this allows me to closely monitor situations and more effectively resolve operational issues that might impact Soldiers.”
Master Sgt. Bryant’s command is one of the main supply and logistical units for U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their operations are crucial in providing the necessary materials to Army personnel on the battlefront.
“Our unit is the hub for theatre logistics,” he explained. “We are the Army’s version of a Walmart distribution center on steroids.”
Master Sgt. Bryant is also responsible for monitoring his Soldiers’ quality of life and mentoring and leading younger Soldiers—a skill that came in handy while helping to prepare his daughter for her deployment.
“As her dad, I let her know how proud of her I am,” he explained. “As a Soldier I encouraged her to trust her leadership, and when times get hard, to ‘Soldier Up.’”
Although Spc. Bryant is the only one of Master Sgt. Bryant’s five children currently serving in the Army, the two come from a strong military background. Master Sgt. Bryant was raised by his grandparents who were strong advocates for the military.
“I always wanted to be a Soldier,” said Master Sgt. Bryant. “My Grandfather—whom I was named after—raised me from birth. Growing up in his household I heard numerous stories on how the service was an honorable profession.”
Master Sgt. Bryant has three brothers and one sister who served in the military. With a family history of service, he was supportive of his daughter’s decision to enlist.
“He told me he wanted me to have options in life. He didn’t want me to procrastinate in the choices I set for myself, and he wanted me to grow up,” Spc. Bryant said. “The Army made me grow up quick.”
Despite being stationed in separate locations, the two keep in touch through Facebook and were even able to spend time together during Christmas.
“I don’t know many people that have been deployed at the same time as their mother or father, and gotten to see each other during deployment,” Spc. Bryant said. “It was a cool experience.”
“Serving a deployment with my daughter has been one of my most rewarding deployment experiences,” said Master Sgt. Bryant. “It is nice to know that I will be able read history books on Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn and know that my child and I played a role in these events.”
Master Sgt. Bryant is slated to return in early 2011, and after 22 years of service, plans to retire and enjoy time with his wife.
“You talk about medals and heroes. That who is truly deserving of praises is my wife of 21 years,” said Master Sgt. Bryant. “She has managed to raise four children, send her daughter and husband off to combat, work fulltime--and never once complained. The only words that I can think of are, “I love you. You are truly my best friend and I could not have been blessed with a better partner than you.’”
Spc. Bryant will remain in Afghanistan until the middle of 2012. She plans to begin classes at the University of Pembroke upon her return to the U.S.