Potomac News Online | Dale City soldier dies in Iraq

A 23-year-old who married his high school sweetheart was killed by improvised explosive device Saturday in Muqdadiyah, Iraq, according to the Department of Defense.

Sgt. Jack Bryant Jr., a member of the 3rd Brigade Fire Support Team and Dale City native, made daily runs to drop off food and supplies to remote offensive camps, said his father, Jack Bryant.

When Bryant Jr. was making a convoy run 70 miles northeast of Baghdad on Saturday, an improvised explosive device detonated and was followed by an enemy rocket propelled grenade attack, according to a Department of Defense release.

“Words cannot describe the situation,” his father said. “For us it is a very numbing thing, but we have the blessing of his memory.”

Bryant Jr. was killed two days after he returned from a two-week visit to his wife Kiona, 22, and their two-year-old son, who live in Germany.

They toured Paris and had an early Thanksgiving dinner, Bryant said.

Funeral arrangements would be made when his son arrives in the country, he said.

The service will be held at Star of Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church, said his father, an associate minister there.

Bryant Jr. was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Infantry Division and was stationed in Vilseck, Germany.

He is one of three Virginia servicemen killed in Iraq over the weekend.

Marine Cpl. Bradley Thomas Arms, 20, of Charlottesville, and fellow Marine Lance Cpl. Demarkus D. Brown, 22, of Martinsville, died as the result of enemy action Friday in Al Anbar Province, which includes Fallujah, according to the Pentagon.

The Rev. Charles Ervin from Star of Bethlehem said he would remember Bryant Jr., or “Little Jack” as a kid who was bothered by nothing — “regardless of what was happening, he always had a smile on his face.”

Ervin said the 23-year-old was active in the church’s youth choir and in Bible study groups before he joined the military in 2000.

Like her husband, Kiona Bryant graduated from Hylton High School. They were married the same month she graduated.

“He loved the Lord Jesus and if anything were to happen to him, he knew where he would end up, which is in heaven,” Ervin said. “Not often these days do you find a young man like Jack. He’s respectable and tried to do the right thing by everybody.”

Bryant Jr., whom family members called “Jay” was always one to crack a joke, they said.

He was outgoing, talkative and wrote songs that he would rap for his friends and family.

“Little Jack” also had a knack for free styling, a method of rapping unrehearsed, coherent rhymes.

He had pet names for everyone, said his father, whom “Jay” would call and ask, “what’s up, old man?” Bryant recalled with a laugh.

Bryant said his son’s death is painful, but their religion helps them cope.

“If we didn’t have our faith, if we didn’t have our relationship with Jesus Christ, I don’t know how we would deal with it,” Bryant said. “Hearing the news was paralyzing.”

He said his son is in heaven and that comforts his wife and their two daughters, Jennifer, 20, and Denie, 28.

“I have a vision of Jay telling his corn ball jokes to Jesus,” his father said.

Bryant is the third service member from Prince William County killed in Iraq.

Army Capt. Humayun S.M. Khan, 27, was killed in Baqouba, in June, after a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden car into the gate he was guarding at a military base there. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in late June.

Marine Lance Cpl. Brian Medina, 26, of Dale City, was ambushed and shot dead in house-to-house fighting in Fallujah on Nov. 12. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday.

And Sgt. Morgan Strader, the 23-year-old son of a Montclair woman was killed-in-action in Fallujah on Nov. 12. Strader lived in Indiana and Crossville, Tenn.

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