Saturday, August 06, 2011

Navy Special Warfare Operator Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Brian R. Bill

Remember Our Heroes

Navy Special Warfare Operator Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Brian R. Bill, 31, of Stamford, Conn.

Navy Special Warfare Operator Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Brian R. Bill was assigned to an East Coast-based SEAL team; died Aug. 6, 2011 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter in which he was riding was shot down.

Fallen SEAL remembered as athletic, driven
Staff and wire reports

From his days as a student athlete at a Stamford, Conn., high school, Brian Bill was clear on his career goal: He wanted to join the SEALs.

Bill was remembered by friends and teachers as a dedicated young man who wanted to be the best at anything he pursued.

“He set his standards high. He was that kind of person,” said Kimberly Hess, a friend who graduated from Norwich University in Vermont with Bill in 2001. “He was remarkably gifted and very thoughtful. There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for you no matter the time or day.”

Bill’s family said he wanted to return to graduate school after completing his military service and hoped to become an astronaut. He was also a mountaineer, a skier, a pilot and triathlete.

“We are heartbroken in our loss,” his family said in a statement. “Brian was a remarkably gifted, thoughtful, and compassionate young man. We are incredibly proud of him. He was a treasured son, grandson, brother, uncle and cousin. He loved life; he loved a challenge; and he was passionate about being a SEAL.”

“We thank all the SEALS who gave their lives this week and share our sorrow with the families of those dedicated men who fought for our safety and freedom,” Bill’s mother and stepfather, Patricia and Michael Parry, and his father, Scott Bill, said in the statement.

Bill had been decorated many times for valor on deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

“His death is tragic and it’s really fitting that he was going to help others,” Hess said.

Diane Warzoha, who had Bill as a student in a language class at Trinity Catholic High School in Stamford, said he was in many ways a typical high school student who played hockey and soccer, but it was no surprise that he fulfilled his goal of joining the SEALs.

“Brian just wanted to do his best, to protect other people. Brian wanted to be the best at whatever he did. Challenge did not deter him ever,” said Warzoha, an assistant principal at the school.

“We’re deeply, deeply saddened. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family. It’s just so sad,” she said.

Bill enlisted in July 2001. He graduated from Naval Aviation Technical Training Command in Pensacola, Fla., in November 2001 and Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training in Coronado, Calif., in November 2002. He joined his East Coast-based SEAL team in June 2003.

Bill’s decorations include the Bronze Star with combat ‘V’ device for valor; Joint Service Commendation Medal with combat ‘V’ device for valor; Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal; Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal; Combat Action Ribbon; Presidential Unit Citation; Navy Unit Citation; Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Iraq Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Rifle Expert Medal and Pistol Expert Medal.

‘All-around stand-up guy’ is remembered
The Associated Press

STAMFORD, Conn. — Family and friends of a Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan earlier this month gathered Aug. 19 in Connecticut for his funeral, praising him for his courage and love of country.

Navy Special Warfare Operator Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Brian R. Bill, 31, was honored and remembered by hundreds during a service in his hometown. Bill was one of 30 Americans and eight Afghans killed Aug. 6 when the Taliban shot down their helicopter.

“Today we mourn the loss of our son, brother, friend, and hero,” his mother, Patricia Parry, and stepfather, Michael Parry, said in a statement released to the media that thanked family, friends, the community and Navy for the support they have received. “We also celebrate Brian’s life and honor his courage and his service to our country. He died alongside his friends, his teammates, some of the bravest men this world has ever known.”

Bill joined the Navy because he loved his country and its freedoms, his family said.

“He was incredibly brave and determined, with a fierce sense of humor and had amazing opportunities in life because of his strengths and talents,” his parents said. “He was truly special, not only to our family, but to this country. Brian meant the world to us, and there will always be an emptiness in our hearts and souls.”

Stamford firefighter Patrick Sasser, who attended Trinity Catholic High School with Bill, called him an “all-around stand-up guy” in an interview before the funeral. He said Bill, an Eagle Scout, was interested in the military in high school and talked about joining the Navy Seals.

“Anything he did he put 110 percent effort into it,” Sasser said. “Things just came very natural to him. No fear.”

Classmates held a candlelight vigil in Bill’s honor. Flags were flown at half-staff in his memory in Connecticut and Vermont, where he graduated from Norwich University.

August 19, 2011
Traveling north on High Ridge Road this afternoon I passed your son's funeral procession. I paused in honor of a man who made the ultimate sacrafice for my freedom. I am forever thankful to him and all the others who serve our country.~Leslie J., Stamford, Connecticut

August 16, 2011
I knew Brian through my granddaughter Amy. They spent a couple of days in my home and what a joy he was to those around him! His wonderful smile still lingers with me. Brian had a tremendous goal to give his all to his country and that he accomplished with zeal and desire. My heart and prayers go out to his family, especially his mother. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.~Robin P., Winchester, Virginia

August 16, 2011
I had the honor and privilege of being Brian's history and writing teacher at Trinity Catholic. A number of the boys in his class took an interest in my military background. I shared many stories with them. All of the students loved history and they inspired me to a better teacher. Although I have not been in touch for a long time, I want to extend my deepest sympathy to Brian's family. May God bless you and watch over you in your sorrow.~Kevin S., Smithtown, New York

August 14, 2011
Pat & Mike Parry, Christian, Amy and entire Parry & Bill families my deepest condolences on your lost.I will always have good memories working with him in Boys Scouts @ Stamford Museum he volunteered his time to help another scout earn Eagle scout, The Klondike sleep out in 5 degree weather and he never complained! While working at your house Brian told me he was going to become a Navy Seal just like that and he did.I did not see him much after this but every time I asked Mike or Pat they told me that Brian was doing what he loves! God bless you Brian for understanding that there is a need for Brave young men like you to be our Wolf dog as we are sheep and there are wolves out there.You have made a lot of people proud to have known you.Thank you Mike and Pat my prayers and thoughts for all of your family. Jim M.

August 11, 2011
We love you Brian. We always will. You lived life so well. We are so proud of you. You leave a void in this world and many people who mourn the loss of your incredibly special life. God Bless You.~Patricia and Stephen B.

August 11, 2011
I had only recently met Brian here in Afghanistan and I wanted his family to know that his days here were filled with laughter and new friends. After just getting here, Brian was out running and had somehow gotten turned around and didn't know where his camp was. I smile thinking about seeing that boyish grin and his laughter that he was lost... although his buddy John joked he did it on purpose, I am so glad that I "found" him that day and was able to spend a few weeks in his presence. I will miss my new friend and sharing coffee with him...My prayers of comfort to his family and all those who loved him.

Navy Special Warfare Operator Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Brian R. Bill was killed in action on 8/6/11.

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