CTM3 Matthew J. O’Bryant, KIA Southwest Asia
10 May 1986 – 20 September 2008
A 22-year-old sailor and an Air Force officer were among the more than 50 people killed in Saturday’s suicide bombing at a luxury hotel popular with foreigners in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Cryptologic Technician 3rd Class (Maintenance) Matthew J. O’Bryant, 22, of Duluth, Ga., was killed at the Marriott Hotel, according to the Defense Department. O’Bryant was assigned to Navy Information Operations Command Maryland at Fort Meade.
Lt. Cmdr. Doug Gabos, spokesman for Navy Network Warfare Command on Little Creek, said O’Bryant had been in Pakistan for two months on temporary assignment to the Office of the Defense Representative, Pakistan, headed by Rear Adm. Michael LeFever. It is not clear if O’Bryant was living at the hotel while on assignment and how long he was to be in Pakistan.
Cryptologic Technicians with a maintenance specialty install and repair computer and network systems.
LeFever’s posting to Pakistan follows an earlier stay following the 2005 earthquake there when he went ashore as the commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 1 and ran the U.S. contributions to the disaster relief effort.
Air Force Maj. Rodolfo I. Rodriquez, 34, of El Paso, Texas, also was killed from injuries sustained in the bombing, according to DoD. Rodriquez served with the 86th Construction and Training Squadron based at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
“He was in the area assisting with the training of Pakistani forces,” said Ramstein spokesman Aaron Schoenfeld.
The deaths led to confusion after scores of news agencies reported Monday that the two dead U.S. service members were Marines. Some publications reported the bombing was targeting Marines, although a spokesman for the Corps said no Marines were killed in the attack. A suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into the upscale hotel on Saturday, killing at least 53 and injuring more than 200. The hotel is one of the primary meeting points for foreigners in Pakistan.
In a country accustomed to a rash of suicide bombings in the past several years, the toll of the blast had commentators referring to it as Pakistan’s 9/11.
The bombing of the posh American hotel occurred just days after the U.S. military’s top officer, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Pakistan following confirmation from U.S. officials that military units in Afghanistan had targeted militants in Pakistan.
The bombing occurred as State Department officials recover from the brazen attack on the embassy in the capital of Yemen last week. At least 18 people, including an American, were killed when terrorists attacked the embassy on Sept. 17.
Navy 3rd Class Petty Officer Matthew J. O’Bryant remembered
The Associated Press
Matthew J. O’Bryant was known for his ability to make people smile.
“He was the nicest person you’d ever know. He got along with everybody. He was friendly; he was a real good person,” said Roger O’Bryant, Matthew’s uncle.
O’Bryant, 22, of Duluth, Ga., died Sept. 20 in a bombing in Islamabad, Pakistan. He was a 2004 high school graduate and was assigned to Fort Meade.
O’Bryant’s commanding officer, Capt. Richard Bodziak, said, “He was exactly the kind of sailor we want in the Navy.”
O’Bryant, who was a cryptologic technician, was “first in his class,” Bodziak said. He said the sailor exhibited “honor, courage and commitment.”
Just before a funeral service, Lawrence O’Bryant told everyone who came up to him how proud he was of his brother. He noted that four members of the family — the two brothers and two of their cousins — were all serving in the Navy at the same time.
“There were four of us in the Navy,” he said. “Well, there’s three now.” He paused, then added, “I guess there will always be four of us because he will always be in the Navy.”
He is survived by his wife, Bridgette