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Caesar Bryant
Caesar Bryant

BY CHRIS GRAHAM

There are countless members of the military who often go unrecognized, and for the longest time many had not heard of the heroics of Ceasar Bryant, who was killed in action in December 1966.

With just three weeks left in his tour, Bryant, who was 24 at the time, was killed in combat.

Bryant always had a desire to join the military, asking their mother if he could join before his 18th birthday.

Jim Haslitt, a retired Army helicopter pilot from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who often inserted Bryant and his troops into landing zones, wrote about Bryant’s final moments:

“Sgt. Bryant was a squad leader in the Blue Platoon of Apache Troop, 1st Squadron, 9th Cav, 1st Cav Division. His platoon was inserted as part of a blocking force in support of the 1st Brigade. They immediately ran into heavy contact and Sgt. Bryant rallied his men, led them in an intense battle and was killed while organizing the defense. The platoon fought on until the next day…he was a fine example of an infantry squad leader. I also flew his body out of his last landing zone and I’ll never forget the loss of such a man.”

Bryant was awarded the Silver Star — the third-highest military decoration for valor in combat. He was also awarded the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Marksmanship Badge, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, an Army Presidential Unit Citation, the Vietnam Gallantry Cross and the Army Good Conduct Medal.

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