The Arrowhead Club

Lenard Leroy Bryant, Update

Lenard Leroy Bryant, photo courtesy of Derral Bryant

A new search has provided me with some new information regarding one of the original waist gunners, Lenard Leroy Bryant, of the John Oliver Buslee crew of the 544th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group in World War II.

To view my original post and other information about Lenard Leroy Bryant, please see the links at the end of this post.

Bryant Family

Lenard Leroy Bryant was born 7 March 1919 in Alex, Grady County, Oklahoma. Lenard was the youngest of the ten children of Fannie Lenora Drake (1879 – 1961) and John Gilbert Bryant (1878 – 1938).

According to the 1930 Federal census, the Bryant family lived in Justice Precinct 6 of Hockley County, Texas. Nine members of the extended family were listed at the family’s address. Along with John and Fannie were four of their children including Jewel, John, Lester, and Lenard, and Fannie’s mother (Florence Drake), sister (Birdie Wadkins), and sister’s daughter (Daisey Wadkins).

John Bryant was born in Georgia, as were both of his parents. Fannie Drake Bryant was born in Texas, her father was born in Tennessee, and her mother was born in Alabama. John’s occupation was farmer.

The ten children of John and Fannie Bryant were:

  • James Clyde Bryant (1900 – 1986)
  • Ralph Hubert Bryant (1901 – 1989)
  • Earl Alfred Bryant (1903 – 1991)
  • William Marion Bryant (1906 – 1975)
  • Jewel L. Bryant (1908 – 1978)
  • Letha Murel Bryant (1910 – 1994)
  • Lettie Mae Bryant (1912 – 1982)
  • John Bryant (1914 – 1969)
  • Lester Marvin Bryant (1917 – 1968)
  • Lenard Leroy Bryant (1919 – 1944)

Lenard Leroy Bryant married Ruby Maudene Baisden on 21 October 1939. Maudine was born 2 June 1923 in Gasoline, Briscoe County, Texas to Ottie and Virgie Baisden, and died 16 February 2004 in Littlefield, Lamb County, Texas.

The 1940 census records Lenard (age 21) and Maudene (age 16) as living as a married couple in Justice Precinct 4 of Hockley County, Texas. Lenard’s occupation was laborer and Maudene’s occupation was housewife.

Entry into WWII 

Lenard registered for the draft on 16 October 1940. He was 21 years old, born on 7 March 1919 in Grady County, Oklahoma, and currently lived at Route 2, Littlefield, Hockley County, Texas.

The name of the person who would always know his address was his wife, Mrs. Ruby Maudene Bryant of the same address.

His employer’s name was Otte Baisden (which I believe was his father-in-law) of the same address.

Lenard listed his height as 5 ft. 10 in. and his weight as 145 pounds. He had blue eyes, blonde hair and a light complexion.

I do not find an enlistment record for Lenard in the NARA online files, but did find a form titled “Certification by Uniformed Services” of the Department of Health and Human Services SSA in his NPRC record which notes Lenard’s Date of Entry into Active Service as 18 May 1943.

Left to right: George Edwin Farrar, Lenard Leroy Bryant, Erwin V. Foster, and Sebastiano Joseph Peluso at Grafton Underwood.

WWII Service – Morning Reports and other military documents of the 384th Bombardment Group indicate the following for Lenard Leroy Bryant:

  • On 22 JULY 1944, Lenard Leroy Bryant was assigned to the 544th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), per AAF Station 106 Special Orders #144 dated 22 July 1944 as a waist gunner (classification AAEG, Aerial Gunner, with the MOS, military operational specialty, of 611), for the John Oliver Buslee crew. His pay per month was $140.40. His rank when assigned was Corporal. He listed his home address as Mrs. Ruby Maudene Bryant, Rt #2, Littlefield, Tex.
  • On 6 AUGUST 1944, Lenard Bryant was promoted to Sergeant on AAF Station 106 Special Orders #158.
  • On the 9 AUGUST 1944 mission to Erding, Germany, Lenard Bryant was reassigned to the position of Engineer/Top Turret Gunner with the Buslee crew. Clarence Seeley, the crew’s original Engineer, was seriously wounded on the 5 AUGUST mission and did not return to duty for two months. This enabled both of the waist gunners of the Buslee crew, Lenard Bryant and George Farrar, to remain with their original crew. Farrar remained the crew’s waist gunner while Bryant took over the top turret position. If Seeley had not been seriously wounded and unable to participate in combat missions, either Bryant or Farrar would have been moved to another crew, or possibly even another bombardment group.
  • On 9 SEPTEMBER 1944, Lenard Bryant was promoted to Staff Sergeant on AAF Station 106 Special Orders #180.
  • On 28 SEPTEMBER 1944, Lenard Bryant went from duty to MIA (Missing in Action). He was subsequently declared KIA (Killed in Action) on that date.

Lenard Bryant was credited with 16 completed combat missions with the 384th Bomb Group.

Medals and Decorations

Lenard Leroy Bryant earned the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and also received the Purple Heart.

Casualty of War

Lenard Leroy Bryant died 28 September 1944 at the age of 25, leaving his young wife, Ruby Maudene, a widow at the age of 21. Lenard is buried at Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial, Margraten, Eijsden-Margraten Municipality, Limburg, Netherlands, Plot G, Row 7, Grave 22. Maudene lived to the age of 80 and never remarried.

Lenard and Maudene Bryant, 1939, photo courtesy of Derral Bryant

Notes

Previous post, Lenard Leroy Bryant, Top Turret Gunner for the Buslee Crew

Lenard Leroy Bryant’s Personnel Record courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group

MOS means Military Occupational Specialty

Previous post, Assigned Military Operational Specialties of the Buslee and Brodie Crews

Previous post, Timeline for Buslee Crewmembers and Substitutes, 545th Bomb Squadron

Thank you to the 384th Bomb Group and especially Fred Preller and Keith Ellefson for their research and obtaining and presenting records of the servicemen of the Group.

Thank you to Derral Bryant, Lenard’s great-nephew, for family information and photos.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022


1 Comment

  1. Wow! A widow at that young age and never remarried. That’s devotion!

    Liked by 1 person

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