June 10, 2012 - Command Master Chief Shawn Isbell and Petty
Officer Lawrence O'Bryant pose with the ensign and certificate that
O'Bryant plans to present to his parents. Photo by Navy Second Class Petty Officer John Dodson
Lawrence O'Bryant (left) and Matthew O'Bryant pose for their high school JROTC photo in Theodore, Ala, 2001. Photo courtesy of Petty Officer Lawrence O'Bryant
CAMP SABALU-HARRISON, Afghanistan (10/31/2012) – For Lawrence and
Matthew O'Bryant, the call to serve in the Navy was a family affair.
They grew up in a rural Alabama town where the ideas of love
and service to country were instilled at a young age. Both brothers
joined ROTC in high school where Lawrence, the elder by three years,
was hard pressed to keep up with his younger brother.
“Things came easily to Matthew. He had a quirky, witty personality
which made people naturally drawn to him,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence joined the Navy shortly after high school while Matthew
pursued college for a couple years before making the Navy
commitment. Both brothers loved each other and the Navy deeply.
Petty Officer Third Class Matthew O'Bryant's promising
career in the Navy was cut short while serving in Pakistan.
A suicide bomber detonated a truck packed with explosives at
the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, a well-known spot for
Westerners, taking the life of Matthew.
devastated, his only brother was gone so young; he was only
Lawrence personally said the benediction at
Matthew's funeral, where he referred to his brother as “a
hero” and “a patriot”.
The call to serve in a
forward deployed position was strong after his brother's
death. In a sense, Lawrence wanted to pick up the mission
where his brother left off.
The opportunity came
with a mission to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan attached to
Task Group Trident (TGT).
“Petty Officer O'Bryant
has been a huge asset to have on this deployment-,” said TGT
Command Master Chief Shawn Isbell. “His can-do spirit and
willingness to raise his hand once again and volunteer to go
into a warzone after what happened to his brother goes above
and beyond the call of duty. He epitomizes the Navy core
values of honor, courage, and commitment.”
command did not want the anniversary of Matthew O'Bryant's
death to go un-noted.
In homage to the young Sailor
who gave his life for his country, the TGT Commanding
Officer, Stanfield Chien, presented Lawrence with an ensign
that was flown over Task Group Trident headquarters. The
certificate which accompanied the ensign boasts of
“...democracy prevailing over terrorist forces that threaten
the freedom of the United States.”
Lawrence can rest
assured that he is completing his brother's mission and
bringing honor to his family and country. He will present
his mother and father with the ensign upon returning to the
Courtesy of U.S. Navy
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