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

Died August 6, 2011 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom

31, of Stamford, Conn.; assigned to an East Coast-based SEAL team; died Aug. 6 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.

SEAL remembered in service at alma mater

The Associated Press

STAMFORD, Conn. — A Navy SEAL resident who was among the 30 U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan last week was remembered Aug. 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.

‘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.

Former high school honors fallen SEAL

The Associated Press

STAMFORD, Conn. — 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.

Officials honor Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan

By The Associated Press

STAMFORD, Conn. — Connecticut's governor and other elected officials are gathering to commemorate a Navy SEAL from Stamford who was killed last summer in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

Chief Petty Officer Brian Bill was one of 30 Americans and eight Afghans killed Aug. 6 when the Taliban shot down their helicopter. The Norwich University graduate was 31.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was joining Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia and other officials for the commemoration Wednesday afternoon.

Officials also are launching efforts to build a memorial in Stamford to all veterans involved in the U.S. fight against terrorism.

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