BAKERSFIELD, CA, USA U.S. Army SSG, HHC, 1ST BATTALION, 502D INFANTRY, 2 BCT, FORT CAMPBELL, KY BAGHDAD, IRAQ 04/29/2008
Army Staff Sergeant Bryan Eugene Bolander, 26, of Bakersfield, California, was raised in Huntington Beach and a 2000 graduate of San Jacinto Senior High School.
He was an awesome kid, said his dad, Greg Bolander. He played every sport, and he was a straight-A student. He was never in trouble.
He was drawn to military service since he was a boy. He wasted no time; he enlisted when he was 18, and he loved what he did. He loved to fish in the ocean, whether he caught anything or not.
He enlisted in the Army in April 2000 and arrived at Fort Campbell in November 2002. Bryan was hardheaded and tough. He hated whiny crybabies, but would watch “chick flicks” with his fiancée and only pretend to dislike them. He loved fishing and golf, Chuckie Cheese, Metallica, Adam Sandler and Bud Light in a bottle.
He disliked sweets, but loved Honey Buns. He was very good at hiding his emotions. Bryan was good at ticking people off, then making them fall in love with him again-all within a few minutes’ time. One thing he absolutely hated was his middle name, Eugene. He hated not having socks on and loved getting socks in care packages. Bryan put his country before everything, saying it was the toughest job anyone could have, but the most rewarding.
Bryan deployed to Iraq in November of 2007, his third tour of duty, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), based at Fort Campbell, and was due to be home at the end of May 2008 and was to be married then. He died in Baghdad on April 29, 2008, from wounds suffered when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device.
His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal with “V” Device; two Army Commendation medals; National Defense Service Medal; two Army Good Conduct medals; Iraqi Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; medals for his service in Kosovo, and numerous other Army service medals.
His future plans were to take his 4-year-old son Tyler to the water park when he returned.