Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Brian Robert Bill was killed on August 6, 2011, participating with his SEAL teammates in a daring nighttime mission in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, when the Chinook helicopter they were flying was shot down by enemy fire.
Brian was born on August 23, 1979 in Stamford, Connecticut. He was the son of Dr. Michael and Patricia Parry of Stamford, CT, and Scott Bill of Sarasota, Florida. Brian was the best of the best - a Navy SEAL, special forces warrior, loving son and brother. Brian died doing what he did well and doing what he believed was right, fighting to protect our freedom. Brian grew up with his brother Christian and sister Amy in Stamford. He was gifted, fearless, and had boundless energy. Brian was an avid outdoorsman, participating from an early age in swimming, tennis, water polo, diving, little league, soccer, and ice hockey. Aside from organized team sports, he also enjoyed Boy Scouts (earning the rank of Eagle Scout), fly-fishing, and golf. In addition to activities and school, Brian worked at Springdale Florists. He attended Trinity Catholic High School, graduating in 1997.
Brian embraced life with passion from early childhood. He was blessed to have so many people and experiences during his youth that helped him to grow into the person he was. Newfield Swim Club where Brian grew from a small child playing sharks and minnows to a young man training for his quest to become a Navy SEAL; Scouting, and the men who helped to teach the meaning of honor and duty; the Springdale Florists family who welcomed him into their inner circle and loved him; and the teachers at Trinity Catholic High School, who inspired and guided him.
After TCHS, Brian attended Norwich University in VT, as a member of the Corps of Cadets where he choose electrical engineering because it was the toughest major. While at Norwich , Brian joined Mountain Cold Weather Rescue, worked as an EMT with the Norwich Ambulance Corps, and swam on the swim team. He graduated in 2001; one of only 11 EE majors in the class! Norwich University helped Brian to learn the importance of self-discipline and hard work.
In June, 2001 he enlisted in the United States Navy to pursue his dream of becoming a U.S. Navy SEAL. Brian was the only one in his BUDS class (241) to complete every test in the dive phase first time every time . In 2003 he was awarded his SEAL Trident and assigned to an East Coast Team based in Virginia Beach, VA. In 2007, he began a rigorous training course and selection process with Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU). Nine months after beginning this training process, Brian was selected to be a DEVGRU Operator. Brian completed many deployments around the globe in support of the Global War on Terrorism. He was known for his bravery, equanimity and leadership skills.
Brian was a skilled fly-fisherman, skier and skydiver. He was an accomplished mountaineer with successful summits of Aconcagua in Argentina and Mount Elbrus in Russia. He had completed several marathons and obtained his commercial pilot’s license. He independently studied Russian and became fluent in French. He taught himself to play the piano and guitar. He was different from most of us – he was a man of dreams and he made his dreams reality.
Brian was a highly decorated combat veteran with numerous awards, including the Bronze Star Medal with Valor (4),including one for extraordinary heroism, Purple Heart Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal with Valor, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon (2), Presidential Unit Citation (2), Navy Unit Commendation, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and numerous other personal and unit decorations.
Brian was a man of courage and passion. He was confident, daring and skilled, yet compassionate and loving. He was also a man of faith, a devout Catholic. He was driven to excel for personal pride and his love of family, God, and country. He was a private and humble man who never sought personal embellishments or recognition. The extent of his military prowess and the numerous decorations he received for heroism were known to few, even in his own family. He was among America’s finest men; a son for whom pride has no limit. His SEAL colleagues remember most vividly his courage and his constant smile. He lived life to the fullest.
A note of condolence after Brian was killed included this quote from Thucydides, “The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them – glory and danger alike – and notwithstanding, go on to meet it.” A Lieutenant in the Navy said, “He’s like no one I ever met before and probably will ever meet again in my lifetime.” A teammate wrote: “I knew him as an unassuming SEAL with an insatiable appetite for new horizons. He epitomized the quiet professional. “ Those who knew Brian mention his energy, charm, gentle strength, humor, and dedication to his dream. What most remember about Brian was his smile. When he turned to speak to you it was clear that you were the center of his world……and he was always smiling.
If you'd like to make a donation, Please make checks payable to: Brian Bill Memorial Fund
and mail to: P.O. Box 4276 Stamford, CT 06907
Raise the Bar Inc. is the Sponsoring Non-profit Organization