Robert Bryan was born on October 18, 1949, in Colon. He graduated from Colon High School in 1967, and entered the Army on January 3, 1968, serving with Company E, 75th Infantry Regiment (Ranger). He was killed in combat in Vietnam on July 13, 1970. Sergeant Bryan received the Army Commendation Medal for Valor, for actions as a team leader on January 10, 1970, when he quickly exposed himself to hostile fire to kill an enemy soldier to protect his team on a night ambush. Sergeant Bryan received the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, for actions as a team leader on January 27, 1970, when he initiated an attack during a night ambush, killing the lead enemy soldier and then crawling over fifteen meters to eliminate another enemy soldier trying to escape.
Sergeant Bryan received the Silver Star Medal for actions as a team leader on April 30, 1970, when he exposed himself to enemy fire multiple times to kill enemy soldiers and direct the efforts of his team, effectively employing rifle fire and hand grenades. On the final action of this firefight, with his team still in grave danger, he reacted instantly by charging an enemy soldier hiding in the brush and eliminated him at point-blank range. Sergeant Bryan received a second Silver Star for actions as team leader on June 11, 1970, when, without regard to his personal safety, he repeatedly put himself in grave danger from enemy fire to charge the enemy and kill five enemy soldiers. When a booby trap detonated and several team members were injured, Sergeant Bryan, without hesitation, applied first aid, and then directed a helicopter to pick up the wounded. Sergeant Bryan, having served with distinction in the 75th Ranger Regiment in combat, earned Combat Infantryman Badge, and was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame in 2006.