U.S. Navy Special Warfare Operator Chief (SEAL) Brian Robert Bill was born on August 23, 1979, in Stamford, Connecticut. He attended Catholic schools and was an avid boy scout, achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. Brian played little league, and youth ice hockey and soccer in both house and travel leagues. He played tennis, soccer and ice hockey for Trinity Catholic High School, serving as ice hockey co-captain in his senior year. During summers, Brian swam, dove and played water polo and tennis. He used swimming to train for scouting and wilderness trips and as part of his rigorous SEAL preparation. Even with his many school and extracurricular activities Brian found time to work part time at a local florist where his infectious charm is still vividly remembered.
After completing high school, Brian obtained a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy after graduation on May 9, 2001 and completed BUD/s and SEAL Qualification training in June 2003. In the dive phase of this training he was recognized for passing each test “first time, every time”. After BUD/s his first assignment was with SEAL Team 8, followed by service with Naval Special Warfare Development Group. He was killed in action when the CH-47 Chinook helicopter he was aboard, call sign Extortion 17, was shot down in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011. Brian was awarded 4 bronze stars with valor, including one for extreme heroism, along with many other combat awards.
Brian was a skilled fly-fisherman, golfer, 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 played the piano and guitar. He became fluent in French and independently studied Russian. Brian’s long-term goal was to become an NASA astronaut.
Brian was a devout Catholic, who 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. He was among America’s finest men. He was confident, daring and skilled, yet compassionate, loving and playful. His SEAL colleagues remember most vividly his courage and his equanimity. All remember his constant smile. He died at peace with himself and with God, doing what he did best, and living life to the fullest.
Brian is survived by a large and devoted family. He is buried with his SEAL brothers at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA.