|Date of birth||Pine Bluff|
|Education||Stanford University, United States Army Command and General Staff College, United States Military Academy at West Point|
Albert "Al" Bryant, Jr. (born February 22, 1952) is a retired United States Army brigadier general, best known for service as the Chief of Western Hemisphere Operations during and in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks and for his tenure as the Assistant Division Commander of the 4th Infantry Division at the time of the division's detection and capture of deposed Iraqi president Sadaam Hussein. Bryant also served as the Deputy Commander of Fort Knox, Kentucky, and the United States Army's Armor School.
As Chief of Staff of NATO's Kosovo Force (KFOR), Bryant was the highest ranking American general on the KFOR leadership team, supervising an international staff of more than 450 from 39 nations, in the lead up to Kosovo independence. He has frequently appeared in military and civilian media (in various interviews, as well as educational and safety spots), and has been a regular speaker on military history, leadership, and diversity issues at military, civilian, and academic events.
Early life and education
Bryant was born on February 22, 1952 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and is of African, Chinese, and Irish-Scottish Celtic ancestry. His parents are retired U.S. Army Reserve Brigadier General and Congressional Gold Medal recipient, Albert Bryant, Sr., an original Montford Point Marine (the elder Bryant transferred branches prior to returning to service as a commissioned officer in the Army Reserve), and Mable Bryant (née Lun), a nurse.
The eldest of four siblings, including Emmy-winning writer and novelist Lori Bryant-Woolridge, Bryant was reared in the San Francisco Bay Area. He attended Newark High School in Newark, California, where he served as captain of the school's varsity football and soccer teams, and president of the student body. Voted "Most Likely to Succeed" by his classmates, Bryant graduated in 1970 with an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Bryant earned an undergraduate degree in General Engineering from West Point, and holds a master's degree in Operations Analysis from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. He holds an additional graduate degree from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS), in addition to various military and professional certificates.
Bryant was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, Armor Branch, from the U.S. Military Academy in 1974. (West Point Class of 1974 classmates include former CIA director and Iraq Multi-National Force Commander David Petraeus, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, retired Major General and Iraq-war objector John Batiste and astronaut Michael R. Clifford.) After graduation, he attended the Armor Officer Basic Course and then assigned to 3d Squadron, 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment, Amberg, Germany as platoon leader and troop executive officer. Following the Armor Officer’s Advanced Course, he was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 67th Armor, 2nd Armored Division, Fort Hood, Texas, as S3 (Air) and then as Commander, Company A.
Bryant then attended graduate school at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California (where, among others, he was instructed by future Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice), receiving his Masters of Science Degree in Operations Research and Systems Analysis in 1983.
In 1986, Bryant attended the United States Army's Command and General Staff College and the Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies receiving a Masters of Military Arts and Sciences. Subsequently he was assigned as Chief, Plans and Exercises G3, 5th Infantry Division, Fort Polk, Louisiana, and then as Executive Officer, 1st Battalion 70th Armor, and then as S3 for the 1st Raider Brigade.
In 1991, Bryant joined the Army Staff and the Directorate of Program Analysis and Evaluation as a Combat Systems Analyst. In 1993, he assumed command of the 4th Battalion, 67th Armor “Bandits”, 1st Armored Division, Friedberg, Hesse Germany (the current designation of former soldier Elvis Presley's unit).
Upon completion of command he was reassigned as Chief of Plans, G3, V Corps and served as Chief Planner for Operation Joint Endeavor, IFOR operations in Bosnia. Interviews with Bryant and a description of his planning efforts in support of Operation Joint Endeavor are featured in the 2005 book Armed Peacekeepers in Bosnia.
In 1996, Bryant returned from deployment attending the Army War College’s Operational Warfighting Fellowship at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. In April 1998 he assumed command of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Riley, Kansas. Departing the “Bulldog Brigade” in 2000 he assumed duties as Chief, Western Hemisphere Operations, J3, the Joint Staff in Washington, D.C., serving as Chief of Western Hemisphere Operations during and in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.
Bryant was then assigned to the United States Army Command and General Staff College as the Director, Center for Army Tactics and selected for promotion to Brigadier General in March 2003. In June 2003, Bryant was assigned as Assistant Division Commander (Support), 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) and Task Force Ironhorse conducting combat operations as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It was during this time that the 4th ID played the primary role in the location and capture of fugitive deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
In April 2004, the Division redeployed to Fort Hood, Texas to refit in preparation for future operations, and Bryant reported to duty at Fort Knox, Kentucky, to serve as the Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Armor Center and Fort Knox, and head the Unit of Action Maneuver Battle Lab, or UAMBL.
The following year, Bryant was selected to represent the United States as Chief of Staff of NATO's internationally staffed Kosovo Force, KFOR, and relocated to Kosovo. He assumed his position at a NATO installation ceremony on June 27, 2005, becoming the senior American official on the KFOR HQ command leadership team. As Chief of Staff, Bryant supervised an international staff of more than 450 personal from 39 nations.
Bryant's final military assignment was as the Director of Integration, Headquarters, Department of the Army, G8, at the Pentagon, where he supervised the planning and direction of equipment systems worldwide for the U.S. Army, synchronizing equipment deliveries with manning and training requirements. During this time, Bryant served as chairman of the Army Reset Task Force.
- Operation Joint Endeavor, assigned as Chief of Plans, G3, V Corps, serving as Chief Planner, IFOR operations in Bosnia; 1995–1996
- Operation Iraqi Freedom, assigned as Assistant Division Commander (Support), 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized), and Task Force Ironhorse, based in Tikrit, Iraq; 2003–2004
- NATO Operation, Kosovo Force, KFOR Chief of Staff, Kosovo; 2006–2007
- Armed Peacekeepers in Bosnia Robert F. Baumann, George W. Gawrych, and Walter E. Kretchik (Authors)
- DoD General Officer Announcements March 2003
- DoD General Officer Assignments May 2006
Since retiring from active duty service, Bryant has served as an international civilian consultant on military, diversity, and executive management matters, primarily based alternately in the United Arab Emirates and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
Bryant has been married since 1975 to the former Renée Saxton, daughter of retired Army and Illinois National Guard Brigadier General Richard Saxton. Renee Bryant is the recipient of the Order of St. Joan D'Arc Medallion, a member of the Honorable Order of Molly Pitcher, and recipient of two of the Department of the Army's highest Civilian Honors, the Outstanding Civilian Service Award and Commander's Award for Public Service.
Albert and Renee Bryant have four biological children, including Major Albert-Francis "Paco" Bryant, a U.S. Army Ranger, Bronze Star Medal with 'V' Device and ARCOM with 'V' Device awardee, and veteran of multiple OIF/OEF tours; and are grandparents to three, one son by Major Bryant and two sons by daughter Gillian Bryant Toellner, a military historian and Air Force spouse. Their eldest son is broadcaster and writer Benjamin Bryant, who is best known in military circles as the lead editor of the 2010 DoD reports recommending the repeal of the 1993 Don't Ask, Don't Tell law for Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and managing editor of the official DoD report on the 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas. The Bryants also have a foster-parent like relationship with Stephanie Davis Price, who resided with the family for a number of years, and who has, at times, been referred to as "daughter" by both Bryants, in various official speeches, and written programs/biographies.
In 2016, youngest daughter, Veronica Bryant, graduated from the United States Military Academy, becoming the first of Bryant's children to follow him in the West Point tradition.
Awards and decorations
Medals and ribbons
- Defense Distinguished Service Medal
- Defense Superior Service Medal
- Legion of Merit (2 Oak Leaf Clusters)
- Bronze Star
- Defense Meritorious Service Medal
- Meritorious Service Medal (7 Oak Leaf Clusters)
- Army Commendation Medal (2 Oak Leaf Clusters)
- Army Achievement Medal (Oak Leaf Cluster)
- Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
- Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
- National Defense Service Medal (2 Stars)
- Meritorious Public Service Medal
- NATO Non-Article 5 Medal
- Combat Action Badge
- Parachutist Badge
Honors and decorations bestowed on Bryant by foreign governments include:
- German Cross of Honour of the Bundeswehr in Gold
- Italian Commemorative Cross for Peace Operations
Bryant is also a 1998 recipient of the Draper Armor Leadership Award for Excellence in Leadership from the Draper Combat Leadership Trust Fund Council, and has named to the U.S. Cavalry and Armor Association's Order of St. George, in addition to various community and professional recognitions and honors.