S1c Leland Howard Bryan

Brothers Leland Howard Bryan and Jimmie B. Bryan were on battleships at Pearl Harbor the morning of Dec. 7, 1941.

Jimmie was standing on the main deck of the U.S.S. Nevada “when machine gun bullets started rattling all around me,” he recalled 50 years later.

Leland was on the U.S.S. Arizona, which was moored right behind the Nevada.

As Japanese bombs dropped, the Nevada was able to get underway, but when Jimmie looked back, he saw a bomb hit the Arizona, blowing up the forward magazine. The ship turned into an inferno and sank. Leland, a seaman first class, was one of 1,177 sailors and marines killed on the Arizona.

The Nevada was crippled by bombs and torpedoes as well, and 60 men died. But Jimmie survived and the ship was repaired. He served throughout the war, including on the Nevada at Iwo Jima. He made the Navy his career for more than 20 years.

The brothers were the sons of William Howard Bryan, a laborer at an oil company, and Zesta Hampton Bryan, a homemaker. They lived near Gorman, Texas 100 miles west-southwest of Fort Worth.

Leland, born March 10, 1923, enlisted first, in April 1940. Jimmie, born Jan. 13, 1921, enlisted in August 1940.

Jimmie Bryan died at age 79. His ashes were scattered over the Arizona at Pearl Harbor. Leland Bryan’s body was never recovered and also remains there.

Sources: The New York Times; the DeLeon (Texas) Free Press; the Comanche (Texas) Chief; Census; Navy muster rolls; grave markers; Texas birth record. Photograph from Leland Bryan’s niece via Ancestry.com. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.
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