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thedrifter
03-11-06, 09:06 AM
SATURDAY, MARCH 11, 2006 12:00 AM
Mother reflects on son who was 'Marine' first

BY NOAH HAGLUND
The Post and Courier

James Bryson Jr.'s mother remembered him as someone who loved the U.S. Marine Corps above all.

The 27-year-old had served in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. Then he went to Iraq, supporting combat operations in the tumultuous city of Fallujah. He was promoted to staff sergeant Feb. 1 after volunteering to extend his tour of duty with the Marines another six months.

"They were his first family, I came second, and I understood that," said his mother, Alissa D. Bryson of North Charleston. "You may have a mother and a sister back here, but do what you want to do. Experience life."

Bryson survived war zones overseas. But he died March 3 from a close-range gunshot wound in Havelock, N.C., The Daily News of Jacksonville, N.C., reported. Authorities there are investigating his death as a homicide.

Bryson was a member of Marine Air Support Squadron-1. He had returned to the U.S. on Feb. 13, having served 13 months in Iraq, The Daily News reported.

Bryson graduated from Dreher High School in Columbia in 1997 and joined the Marine Corps almost immediately afterward.

In addition to his mother in North Charleston, he is survived by his father, James S. Bryson, and a sister, Marie Bryson, both of Columbia; and a brother Maurice Trapp of Fredericksburg, Va.

Funeral services will be today at New Hope Baptist Church in North Charleston and burial will be at noon Monday at the National Cemetery in Beaufort.

His awards include the Combat Action Ribbon, two Marine Corps Good Conduct Medals, the Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Meritorious Unit Citation, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and Iraqi Campaign Medal.

His mother said parents should make sure that the last thing children hear from them is pleasant.

"That's why the last thing I always said was 'I love you' because that's how I wanted him to remember me," she said.

Reach Noah Haglund at 937-5550 or at nhaglund@postandcourier.com

Rest In Peace

Ellie