William Maud Bryant
Rank and Organization:
Sergeant First Class, U.S. Army, Company A, 5th Special
Forces Group, 1st Special Forces.
Place and Date: Long
Khanh Province, Republic of Vietnam, 24 March 1969.
Entered Service At: Detroit, Mich.
Born: 16 February 1933,
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and
intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the
call of duty. Sfc. Bryant, assigned to Company A, distinguished
himself while serving as commanding officer of Civilian Irregular
Defense Group Company 321, 2d Battalion, 3d Mobile Strike
Force Command, during combat operations. The battalion
came under heavy fire and became surrounded by the elements
of 3 enemy regiments. Sfc. 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
re-supply the beleaguered force, Sfc. 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, Sfc.
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. Sfc. Bryant
single-handedly repulsed 1 enemy attack on his small force and
by his heroic action inspired his men to fight off other assaults.
Seeing a wounded enemy soldier some distance from the patrol
location, Sfc. Bryant crawled forward alone under heavy fire to
retrieve the soldier for intelligence purposes. Finding that the
enemy soldier had expired, Sfc. 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,
Sfc. 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 Sfc. 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,
Sfc. Bryant fearlessly charged an enemy automatic weapons
position, overrunning it, and single-handedly destroying its 3
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, Sfc. Bryant
fell mortally wounded by an enemy rocket. Sfc. Bryant's
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.
Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Civilian Personnel Policy.
Black Americans in Defense of Our Nation.
Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1985.