BLACKSHEAR M. BRYAN, JR. was one
of the tall, young men entering West Point
in July of 1950 to begin his journey toward
a military career. e 28 “flankers” in Company
A-1 developed a spirit of camaraderie,
loyalty, and friendship upon which they built
their dedication to God and Country.
“Babe,” as he was known by his classmates,
was born at the West Point Hospital. His father,
a member of the Class of 1922, was assigned
to USMA at the time to help coach the
Army football team. Thirty-three years later,
in 1955, his dad was Superintendent of the
Academy. During his father’s tenure as Superintendent,
2LT Morrie Bryan married his
sweetheart Catherine at the Cadet Chapel.
(Catherine preferred the nickname “Morrie”
Influenced by Air Force orientations,
Morrie sought an Air Force commission.
After flight school, he qualified as an F-86D
pilot and then joined the 323rd Fighter Interceptor
Squadron at Truax AFB, WI, where
his family began to grow. Morrie was a very
devoted and loving husband and father. He
was soon transferred to Japan, where the
members of his young family experienced
one of the happiest periods of their lives.
He taught conversational English to their
neighbors and Japanese to his family. Their
son Morrison went to Japanese school, while
his younger sister Claudia stayed home with
Mom, enjoying their Japanese community.
Morrie was then assigned to Germany, and
while living there, the family took countless
excursions to explore sights Dad had spotted
from the cockpit.
In 1963, as a captain, Morrie made an
unusual but not unique request for a transfer
to the Army. Assigned to the Transportation
Corps, he completed
flight transition and was
ordered to the Army
and Engineering Command
at Ft. Eustis, VA,
where his daughter Catherine
Anne was born. In
1967, as he was rounding
out a tour in Viet Nam,
he was killed in a crash
during a U-21A training
mission while avoiding
trespassers on the runway.
MAJ Bryan was
cited for heroism twice
during his tour.
Morrie’s family—his widow and children,
father and mother, brothers and sister— were
all comforted with the knowledge that his
dedicated service and sacrifice brought great
credit to him and his country. They shared
their grief for this man who was a quiet hero,
husband, father, son, and sibling.
When called, Morrie willingly joined the
Long Gray Line, paying the ultimate price
for “Duty, Honor, Country.” He is buried
at the West Point Cemetery beside his father
and his younger brother, Jamie, who, after
two valorous tours in Viet Nam, died in a
military aircraft accident in 1977. Morrie is
survived by his widow Catherine, their three
children—B. Morrison Bryan III, Claudia C.
Bryan, Catherine Anne Bryan Brown—and