Fallen Heroes of Operation Enduring Freedom

Remembering the servicemembers who died in the service of their country.

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Stephen L. Bryson

35, of Montgomery, Alabama.
Bryson died as a result of the crash of a KC-130/R aircraft in Pakistan. He was assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 (VMGR-352), the "Raiders," Combined Task Force 58, Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar, California. Died on January 9, 2002.

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""To those who can’t help but remember…
Jan 9 2002 will never leave me.
There’s a good possibility that someone will die for your freedom today and everyday.

Please take comfort and understanding as I have in this poem as it has helped me to process those we have said farewell to. #thefinalhailandfarewell

The Final Hail and Farewell
MSgt (Ret) William “Bill” Cordes

Attention to orders
I thought I heard someone say

To welcome this veteran
Who has joined us today

Row upon row
of stones stand tall

Marking earlier members
Who had answered the call

On farms and in cities
They grew up fit

They had a job to do
And they did it

The silence was broken
As the procession went by

Stopping in place
Where the hero will lie

The flag was folded
And I felt a great pride

Believing those here
Welcomed another to their side

Unknowns will thank you
And I pray you were blessed

Now join fellow warriors
Who gave us their best

And oh the stories
They will tell

There at your final
Hail and Farewell""
USAF MSgt (Ret) William “Bill”Cordes of Hahira Ga

"Stephen, You will always be in my heart. I will never foreget the times we talked as men and when you were small we played as children. You came from a strong military family because all of your uncle's served, with one that gave his life to the military (CPT Raymond Bryson). Stephen you were my first nephhew and one day we will talk and laugh again."
David Bryson Retired Army of Columbia South Carolina

"To the families and friend of Gunnery Sergeant Bryson. I can promise you he will not be forgotten, he is in our hearts and in our prayers. He watches over our aircrews as an angel of concience. All the Marines of "Marine 7" will never be forgotten.

Alan Stinar of VMGR-252

"Gunnery Segeant "PEABO" Bryson and his family, Proud to have served with at VMGR-352, you you were always a true professional! I will never forget the Night TLZ bounces at Bike Lake and Yuma, AZ., I knew I could trust you and your judgement. We flew together so often I could tell by how shifted your position in the engineer's seat whether you liked my flying or not! Always counted on your concurrence on those difficult dirt strip landings. Couldn't believe that this had happened to you...I would have chosen you to fly at night in a tough spot! As the AMO I always knew where to find you and even where you ate lunch when we needed your help in maintenance at El Toro. I saw you at Miramar and you turned red when I congratulated you on your well-desrved promotion. I was and will always be a big fan, Peabo! I hope that your family knows that you are not forgotten! You will always be remembered!
Semper FI!"
LtCol "JohnnyB" Good of Seattle, WA

"Stephen "Peabo/Silky" Bryson, it was great to get to know you while you were here. I remember the fun times we had hanging out or partying in California, Hawaii, etc. You were a great Marine, great husband, great friend and great son. You always exhibited professionalism, patience, friendship and an always squared away demeanor. I wish I could be half the man you were. I learned a little bit from you about how to be a more patient husband and a calmer person in general. I looked up to you and admired the easy going way you interacted with the world around you. I wish I had taken the time to explain these things to you but, I guess God had other plans. You're gone but never forgotten.

RIP and Semper Fi!"
Eddie Bryant of Rancho Santa Margarita, CA - May,25, 2009

"Peabo, you were the ultimate dad,husband,friend,marine,client and soldier of god!I miss u man and i miss the conversations with u in my barbers chair.U was too good for this earth! signed: your barber and fellow devildog!"
Junie of Irvine,Ca

"Gunny Bryson,
I can say I still think about you and appreciate all that you gave. My funniest memory was the 70's party that Stacy and Eddie threw and you came as "Silky". I smile to this day. A great Man, Marine, and friend. You will never be forgotten. 7/2008"
James Edwards of Columbus, Oh

"Gysgt bryson.
This was a Soldier of great whit and patients. I served under peabo as a young seargent in 352 in 1994 and 1995 as a first mech. What I learned from him as a young man was very benificial to me as an adult and as a Marine. I was fortunate enough to spend ten days on Wake island while on an av-8b trans pac. Those ten days were some of my fondest memories of my marine corps adventures, and still tell stories to my freinds today. I have more than one fond memory of Peobo, like 60 shots in 60 minutes in Fallon Nv. during top gun. Peabo you are greatly missed and always remembered. marines don't die in combat missions, it immortalizes them so they can live on forever. To the family of Stephen Bryson, Your son will live on foerever in the minds and hearts of the men that had the honor of serving beside him in the global arena. He is and will continue to be greatly missed. Thank you for giving this great country one UNITED STATES MARINE KC-130 FLIGHT ENGINEER who gave his life in order to protect the freedoms we hold that make this country the greatest on the face of the globe."
frmr Sgt Paul Weichert of Franklin Tx. USA

"May 4, 2007
To the family of Stephen L. Bryson. He gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"You are in our hearts, thoughts, and prayers.

Semper Fi"
The Hanson's of Layton, Utah

"I miss you Peabo. You gave me crap because I was "having another kid" at my age, right before you left. I can't look at her without thinking of you. Your mom held her at the memorial. Take care, Bro. I hope I am good enough to see you again."
Tony V of Lexington Park, MD

"This is my beloved son in whom I'm well pleased.Stephen I love you and miss you so very much!!!!!!!"
DELORIS BRYSON of Montgomery,Al.

"To the Family and friends of “Marine 7”, Your Marine will be forever in my memory. Our unit set up the base/tents/fuel system in late Sep. 2001. The Sep 11 attacks were still fresh on our minds. The day your Marines deployed to our forward location. I was asked to help set up the grounding wires for their aircraft on the parking ramp. As an Air Force member I was amused and impressed by the rock “sidewalks” around the Marine tents. On Jan 9th I had flags flown on a KC-135 for my Family and friends. The next day I found out a Marine plane had been lost. I sat down on a fuel bladder, saddened by the news. I wondered if I knew any of them or if they had come to listen to country music cd’s we played down by the beach. I can’t say I knew them, but they were ours for a short time. Everyone mourned their death. A “Soldiers cross” memorial service was held at the theater. Later when I presented my flags to Family and friends, I told them of the sacrifice your loved ones made and how they should always remember our “Freedom isn’t Free”. Thomas Jefferson 1787 "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

Our Military isn’t for everyone, but some do more than just volunteer and show up. They go to the tip of the spear, where the fight is. God Bless you for raising a Marine that did more.

MSgt William “Bill” Cordes (USAF Retired)
Moody AFB Ga.

"I remember a young hard charging Marine that I had as a student at Chanute AFB, and later as a Mech working for me at MCAS Cherry Point In the Powerline Shop. You will always live on in my memory. Your sacrifice will not be forgotten. Thank you and may God bless you and your family. Semper Fi Fellow Gunny."
Ron Deckard Gysgt USMC (ret) of White Heath IL

"Thank you for your service to our country.. Semper Fi!!!"
Nicole of Ft. Worth

"Anyone who had the opportunity to spend some time with Stephen Bryson knows what a good Marine he was. He was always ready to help when needed. He was a friendly to all and a role model for Marines. He will be missed by those who have worked with him. Thanks for the opportunity to have known you Gunny. SEMPER FI"
A former Marine and fellow Raider of Faribault, MN, USA

I would like to say thank you to you and the other Marines who were on that KC-130 with you. And to your family, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Semper Fi Gunny!"

"As of today I am wearing a bracelet with gysgt Bryson's picture and date of death to honor him.An old Marine"
Jack Tatham of irvine ca. U.S.A.

"To Gunnery Sgt. Bryson,

You will never be forgotten.

A witty man with a serious expression
Willing to help without reservation
A believer in defending of the weak
Not with brute force, but with manner very meek
The quality exist only in the strongest of characters
You’ve touched lives and made the world better
Thank you Gunny and God bless your family
The memory of you, forgotten will never be

I’m proud to have known you. Thank you."
Sgt. Paul Nguyen USMCR VMGR-234 of San Jose, CA

"GySgt Bryson, Thanks for being there when you were needed the most. The ultimate contribution that you made will never be forgotten. You are truly a hero and one of the world's finest. Semper Fi and may God bless you and the family you left behind."
MGySgt Ernest Williams of Marianna, Arkansas (Camp Pendleton, CA.)

"Thanks for stepping forward when America needed you. To the family - Thank you for your contribution to our liberty and freedom. I'm sorry for your tremendous loss."
Ronald Carlson of Montrose, MN

""GySgt Bryson was always positive, always treated everyone with respect, and could make light out of any situation. Peabo, thank you for your honor, courage, and commitment to our Corps and nation...you are a true hero and will NEVER be forgotten.""
SSgt Oscar Martinez USMC of NROTC UC Berkeley

"Thank you brave soldier for sacrificing your today for my children's safer tomorrow. You have our utmost respect and gratitude. May God provide your family with comfort in their time of sorrow. May you forever rest in Heavenly peace. Neither you nor your sacrifice will be forgotten. For the family/friends: May time provide happy loving memories in place of present sorrows. Look to the sky for in the infinite meadows of Heaven the bright shining stars bloom....the forget-me-nots of angels. God bless you and thank you."
a grateful family in Phoenix, AZ

"Semper Fi and RIP Gunny/brother!"
Mike (USMC) of Indianapolis Indiana

"They wear the uniform
Proud and true
They protect our Nation
For me and you.

They give of themselves
So unselfishly
They leave their homes
And their families

They are on foreign soil
In a foreign land
Our men and women
Who are taking a stand

They are on guard
Day and night
They are weary for sleep
But prepared to fight

They see death and destruction
In this war torn place
But its all worth the effort
When they see a smiling face

They remember why they are there
Through all the sadness and sorrow
Its to ensure for the children
A better tomorrow

May god keep and protect the men and women who have chosen to protect us and our nation...""
Sgt Wes Campbell USMC 3/2 of decatur alabama

"Sergeant Bryson, goodbye soldier and thank you. You are my hero."
Bill of Houston, Texas

"When you think of how much service Gunny Bryson gave his country, you have to feel a debt. May we all live as better citizens in our own small way of paying that back. Thank you Gunny..."
The Estes Family of Phoenix, AZ

"you are our hero and you will always be."
Brittany Duncan of hickory US NC

"In honor of my favorite cousin in the entire world, I give you thanks for protecting your country and doing what you loved. I looked up to you from as early as I can remember. I miss you terribly!"
Andria Sumpter of Atlanta, GA USA

"Peabo was a good friend to everyone who knew him. He never had an unkind word. I miss him."
SSgt H. Scott Marks USMC of Ft. Worth, Tx

"Your son will not be forgotten for answering the call to stand up for America in the wake of 9-11.You should be very proud of his service and sacrifice.God bless him."
Rob Lucyk of Youngstown,Ohio USA

"Pebo was one of the best. He always had a smile on his face and was always willing to lend a hand. He will be missed. I am sorry for you loss."
Sgt. Hirtler Former Raider of St. Joseph mo

"Thank you Stephen Bryson, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"To the family and friends of Gunnery Sgt. Stephen Bryson:
May God's grace be with you during your time of grief. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and we feel your loss and share in your sorrow. Bless Stephen for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of Gunnery Sgt. Stephen Bryson:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. He will always be remembered as a hero for fighting for freedom. I hope that this website will be a source of comfort and encouragement for you during this difficult time, and in the future as you recall the memories of Stephen, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera of Powder Springs, Georgia

Honor them by remembering... Freedom - is their gift to us But his soul goes marching on