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Citizen-Soldier Loss Felt Across Force, Community

Citizen-Soldier Loss Felt Across Force, Community

U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Robert Dwayne Bryant Jr.

PHOENIX - An Arizona National Guard member died yesterday after collapsing during an early morning physical fitness test at Tempe Town Lake Tuesday.

The Citizen-Soldier was 23-year-old U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Robert Dwayne Bryant Jr., from the East Valley, who was taking the test in preparation for the Basic Officer Leader Course when he fell down during the run portion of the test.

A medic and support staff were on-hand to respond when Bryant went down. Paramedics arrived shortly after and took him to Tempe St. Luke's Hospital where he died 24-hours later. The cause of death remains under investigation.

"Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Lieutenant Bryant," said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Joseph R. Baldwin, Land Component Commander of the Arizona Army National Guard. "It is always painful to lose one of our own because we are not just Soldiers, but members of the community, so when we hurt the whole community hurts."

Bryant was a traditional Guard member and assigned to the 850th Military Police Battalion of the Arizona National Guard located at Papago Park Military Reservation. As a civilian, Bryant was a proud member of the Phoenix Police Department.

"Lieutenant Bryant was a well-respected officer," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Noel Chun, 850th MP Battalion Commander. "He always wanted to be a police officer and an MP, and it showed in his actions. He was a very motivated Soldier, and we will miss him."

Bryant commissioned through Arizona State University's Reserve Officer Training Course in 2019. He was the recipient of the Minuteman scholarship through the National Guard. Prior to commissioning he enlisted six years prior at the age of 17 serving as an MP and becoming a Phoenix police officer in 2017.

Bryant is the recipient of the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Army Service Ribbon.

Johanna Eubank is a digital producer for the Arizona Daily Star and tucson.com. She has been with the Star in various capacities since 1991. Contact her at jeubank@tucson.com

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