BRYAN D. BERKY
U.S. AIR FORCE
Bryan D. Berky
"Around the Air Force" News
Staff Sergeant Berky brought home
Wife Erin and Bryan
Bryan wearing bomb disposal suit
Bryan and Harrison
Staff Sergeant Bryan D. Berky was assigned to the 28th Civil Engineer Squadron of the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. Sergeant Berky was an EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) technician trained to protect military personnel and property from unexploded bombs. Bryan was considered an elite member of the military’s bomb squads because of his ability and experience. He had already served in Kuwait and Afghanistan when he was redeployed to Afghanistan with Army forces in 2009 to serve a six-month tour of duty.
In the December 16, 2008 edition of Air Force Times, Berky said he loved his work protecting people and property from unexploded bombs. "I get back and feel like I contributed because I can immediately see the end result of my work," Berky told the military paper. He also acknowledged the danger involved in the work he was doing. "A lot of terrorists are gunning for EOD operators because they know we're capable of disarming their main weapons.”
On September 12, 2009, Sergeant Berky, 25, was one three U.S. troops and seven Afghan troops killed in an ambush near Bala Baluk in the western province of Farah.
Bryan was born in Tampa, Florida, and was raised in Melrose, Florida. He graduated from Bradford High School in 2002. Shortly before joining the Air Force, Bryan married his high school sweetheart, Erin Williams, on July 25, 2003. Their son, Harrison, was born on December 18, 2008.
A former teacher, Christie Torode, said Berky always kept busy and focused, so it didn’t surprise her that he became a detonation specialist. “He was good at paying attention to detail, but he didn’t like to sit too long.”
“He was a really charismatic person who got away with quite a bit,” said former classmate John Moore. “We were taking a video recording class together and he would take the camera and jump right into the middle of another class and interrupt the lessons and tell the teacher we needed to do it for our video class.”
Bryan was honored to be a member of an elite team of EOD technicians and held great pride in protecting lives through his work. Bryan made a huge impact during his 25 years. All who knew him were captivated by his passionate spirit, huge smile, and infectious laughter. Bryan was a devoted husband, a proud father, a loving son, a great brother, and loyal friend. He deeply touched countless lives and will live forever in the hearts of many.