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Army 2nd Lt. Todd J. Bryant

Died October 31, 2003 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

23, of Riverside, Calif.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; killed while on patrol Oct. 31 when an improvised explosive device exploded in Fallujah, Iraq.

War hits home for students after teacher’s husband killed

Associated Press

ABILENE, Kan. — When the Army officers marched into Abilene High School on Friday, the war in Iraq suddenly hit a personal note for students.

The soldiers brought the news that first-year teacher Jenifer Bryant’s husband of less than two months, 2nd Lt. Todd Bryant, had been killed while on patrol in Al Fallujah when an improvised explosive device detonated. He was 23.

“Knowing someone who was over there gave a little connection to the students,” Principal Jason Webb said. “It really hit home for the kids the last couple of days. This took some of those things we talk about in an educational setting and put it in terms of what it means in real people’s lives.”

Webb said Jenifer and Todd Bryant met in college. Todd Bryant, who originally was from Riverside, Calif., graduated from West Point and was commissioned in the Army in 2002. In January, he was sent to Fort Riley.

Webb said Bryant joined her husband at Fort Riley after she graduated in May. The two were married in September, two weeks before his deployment to Iraq. He was a tank platoon leader assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 34th Armor, 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.

“He was a wonderfully charismatic young man,” Webb said. “He was only 23, but a West Point graduate and a platoon leader and an officer. He was young-looking, but very good at what he did.”

A memorial service was Wednesday at Fort Riley, and Webb said Bryant will be buried next week at Arlington National Cemetery, Va.

Bryant was the 11th Fort Riley soldier to be killed while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. About 6,500 of the 10,000 troops assigned to For Riley have been deployed to Iraq, post officials said.

Webb said some classes have discussed buying books for the school library in Todd Bryant’s name, and students have talked about collecting such items as magazines, puzzle books and lip balm and sending them to soldiers in Iraq.

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