KIA August 6, 2011
Operation Enduring Freedom
Assigned to an East Coast-based SEAL team
On August 6, 2011, a CH-47 Chinook military helicopter, call sign Extortion 17, was shot down while transporting a Quick Reaction Force team attempting to reinforce an engaged unit of Army Rangers. The resulting crash killed all 38 people on board — 22 Navy SEALs and Naval Special Warfare support personnel, three Air Force Special Operations forces, five Army National Guard and Army Reserve crewmen, seven Afghan commandos, and one Afghan interpreter — as well as a U.S. military working dog. This is considered the worst loss of U.S Military life in the Afghanistan campaign, surpassing Operation Red Wings in 2005.
From his days as a student athlete in high school, Brian was clear on his career goal: He wanted to join the SEALs. “Brian just wanted to do his best, to protect other people. Brian wanted to be the best at whatever he did. Challenge did not deter him ever,” said his former assistant principal, Diane Warzoha. His family recalled Brian as a “remarkably gifted, thoughtful, and compassionate young man. We are incredibly proud of him. He was a treasured son, grandson, brother, uncle and cousin. There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for you no matter the time or day.” His family said he wanted to return to graduate school after completing his military service and hoped to become an astronaut. He was also a mountaineer, a skier, a pilot and triathlete. Brian’s sister, Amy Kutney, said, “Brian loved life; he loved a challenge; and he was passionate about being a SEAL. Brian was incredibly brave and determined, and through hard work, developed skills and talents that offered him amazing opportunities.” Bishop William Lori of Stamford recalled that “Brian was one of the few young persons on whom older people put their hopes.”
Brian enlisted in July 2001 and graduated from Naval Aviation Technical Training Command in November 2001, Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL Training in November 2002, and joined and East Coast-based SEAL team in June 2003. Among numerous others accommodations, Bill was awarded the Bronze Star with combat ‘V’ device for Valor, the Joint Service Commendation Medal with combat ‘V’ device for Valor, and the Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal.
Chief Special Warfare Operator Brian R. Bill was 31 years old from Stamford, Connecticut
Original portrait was presented July 31, 2012 to his parents and brother during a special memorial ceremony at the Reno-Tahoe Open Military Appreciation Luncheon in Reno, Nevada