U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 705-11
August 11, 2011
DOD Identifies Service Members Killed In CH-47 Crash
The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of 30 servicemembers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died August 6, 2011 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when their CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.
The following sailors assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit were killed:
- Lieutenant Commander (SEAL) Jonas B. Kelsall, 32, of Shreveport, Louisiana
- Special Warfare Operator Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Louis J. Langlais, 44, of Santa Barbara, California
- Special Warfare Operator Senior Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Thomas A. Ratzlaff, 34, of Green Forest, Arkansas
- Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Senior Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Kraig M. Vickers 36, of Kokomo, Hawaii,
- Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Brian R. Bill, 31, of Stamford, Connecticut
- Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) John W. Faas, 31, of Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Kevin A. Houston, 35, of West Hyannisport, Massachusetts
- Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Matthew D. Mason, 37, of Kansas City, Missouri
- Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Stephen M. Mills, 35, of Fort Worth, Texas,
- Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist/Diver) Nicholas H. Null, 30, of Washington, West Virginia
- Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Robert J. Reeves, 32, of Shreveport, Louisiana
- Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Heath M. Robinson, 34, of Detroit, Michigan
- Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Darrik C. Benson, 28, of Angwin, California
- Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Parachutist) Christopher G. Campbell, 36, of Jacksonville, North Carolina
- Information Systems Technician Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Jared W. Day, 28, of Taylorsville, Utah,
- Master-at-Arms Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) John Douangdara, 26, of South Sioux City, Nebraska
- Cryptologist Technician (Collection) Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) Michael J. Strange, 25, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist) Jon T. Tumilson, 35, of Rockford, Iowa,
- Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Aaron C. Vaughn, 30, of Stuart, Florida, and
- Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jason R. Workman, 32, of Blanding, Utah.
The following sailors assigned to a West Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit were killed:
- Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jesse D. Pittman, 27, of Ukiah, California, and
- Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 2nd Class (SEAL) Nicholas P. Spehar, 24, of Saint Paul, Minnesota
The soldiers killed were:
- Chief Warrant Officer David R. Carter, 47, of Centennial, Colo. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), Aurora, Colorado
- Chief Warrant Officer Bryan J. Nichols, 31, of Hays, Kan. He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kansas
- Staff Sgt. Patrick D. Hamburger, 30, of Lincoln, Neb. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), Grand Island, Nebraska
- Sgt. Alexander J. Bennett, 24, of Tacoma, Wash. He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kansas; and
- Spc. Spencer C. Duncan, 21, of Olathe, Kan. He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kansas
The airmen killed were:
- Tech. Sgt. John W. Brown, 33, of Tallahassee, Florida
- Staff Sgt. Andrew W. Harvell, 26, of Long Beach, California; and
- Tech. Sgt. Daniel L. Zerbe, 28, of York, Pennsylvania
All three airmen were assigned to the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Field, North Carolina
UPDATE: August 12, 2011 — Sergeant Hamburger was posthumously promoted to Staff Sergeant.
Chief Petty Officer Brian Robert Bill, 31 of Virginia Beach, Virginia was killed in action on August 6th, 2011 in Wardak province, eastern Afghanistan.
Born August 23, 1979 in Stamford, Connecticut. He was the son of Dr. Michael and Patricia Parry of Stamford, and Scott Bill of Sarasota, Florida.
Chief Special Warfare Operator Bill was an Eagle Scout, graduated from Trinity Catholic High School, Stamford and Norwich University, Norwich, VT with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering.
In June, 2001 he enlisted in the United States Navy to pursue his life-long dream of becoming a U.S. Navy SEAL. After Basic Training in Great Lakes, Illinois he attended Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training in Coronado, California. In 2003 he was designated as a SEAL and assigned to an east coast SEAL Team based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. During his career he was decorated with the following personal awards: three Bronze Stars with Valor, Joint Service Commendation Medal with Valor, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, two Combat Action Ribbons and three Good Conduct Medals.
Brian was a skilled fly-fisherman, skier and skydiver. He was an accomplished mountaineer with successful summits of Aconcagua in Argentina and Mount Elbrus in Russia. He had completed several marathons and obtained his commercial pilot's license. He independently studied Russian and became fluent in French.
In addition to his parents he is survived by his grandmother Betty Hardiman, brother Christian Bill, sister Amy Kutney, her husband Chad and their daughter Ryder, sister Andrea Sholes, her husband Christopher and their daughter Kyra, sister Kerry Welch, sister Tessa Bill, brother Morgan Bill, Aunt Anne Goebel and her husband James, Aunt Sharon Davis, Uncle Thomas Davis and his wife Joanne; Aunt Maureen Corcoran; Aunt Mary Sikes and her husband John; Uncle Jeffrey Davis, 10 cousins; Jay Goebel, Kate Noell and her husband Hunter, Martha Goebel, Molly Goebel, Gregory Davis, Julia Davis, Sophia Davis, Johnny Sikes, Bennett Sikes, Kitt Sikes, Uncle Stephen Parry & his wife Sue, Great Uncle Monsignor William Nagle, Great Uncle Dr. & Mrs. John Nagle, their children, John, Jeffrey, Brian, Kathleen, Kerry and their families.
A mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Saint Cecilia Church, 1184 Newfield Avenue on Friday August 19, 2011 at 11 A.M. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.
From his days as a student athlete at a Stamford, Connecticut, 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.
STAMFORD, Connecticut — A Navy SEAL resident who was among the 30 U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan last week was remembered August 13 as hard-working, quiet and determined.
Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer Brian R. Bill was recalled by the Rev. Richard Futie as reserved due partly to his military training.
Religious and political leaders gathered at Trinity Catholic High School to remember Bill, who was killed when a rocket-propelled grenade fired by the Taliban downed a Chinook helicopter, according to The Advocate of Stamford. Bill graduated from Trinity in 1997.
Cletus Burke, a Franciscan brother who taught at Trinity, recalled Bill as determined and focused.
And Diocese of Bridgeport Bishop William Lori said Bill was one of the few young persons on whom older people put their hopes.
STAMFORD, Connecticut — 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.
STAMFORD, Connecticut — A Navy SEAL who was killed in an August 2011 in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan has been honored at his high school in Stamford.
Navy Special Warfare Operator Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Brian Bill, who was one of 30 Americans and eight Afghans killed on Aug. 6 when the Taliban shot down their helicopter, was remembered Feb. 4 when the North Stamford Exchange Club unveiled a Freedom Shrine. The memorial is a series of historical U.S. documents and texts mounted on plaques, in the hallway wall off of Trinity Catholic High School's front lobby.
The club dedicated the shrine to Bill, a Stamford native who died at age 31, according to The (Stamford) Advocate.
The exhibit includes national texts ranging from the Declaration of Independence to Martin Luther King's “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.
BILL, BRIAN R
SOC US NAVY
- DATE OF BIRTH: 08/23/1979
- DATE OF DEATH: 08/06/2011
- BURIED AT: SECTION 60 SITE 9930
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard