Colonel Burnell V. Bryant was born in Houlton, ME, graduated from the New York Military Academy in 1923, and received his Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of New Hampshire in 1927. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army Infantry-Reserve. Burnell Bryant was popularly known as Bunny Bryant.
From 1927 to 1941, he served in various secondary educational institutions as Assistant Commandant at the New York Military Academy, Commandant at the Freehold Military School, and Superintendent at the Florida Military Academy. Later in that period, he served as Assistant Professor of Military Science and Tactics at Staunton Military Academy and at the University of New Hampshire ROTC program
At the beginning of World War II, Colonel Bryant was integrated into the Regular Army at the grade of major. He attended the Infantry School at Fort Benning, GA, the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS, and became a member of the 326th Glider Infantry that later formed part of the 13th Airborne Division at Camp MacKall and Fort Bragg, NC. Later in the war, he was assigned to the G3 Sections of the HQ Army Ground Forces at Fort McNair, Washington DC, as Chief of the Manpower Branch. Subsequently, he was assigned to the Army Forces Western Pacific, Manila, in the Philippines. As Chief of the PW Rehabilitation Branch, Colonel Bryant was given staff responsibility for the repatriation of 300,000 Japanese Prisoners of War to Japan. Much of his post war activity from 1945 to 1955 was spent in the Far East including an assignment as Deputy Provost Marshall, US Army Forces, Far East-Eighth Army from 1952-1953. His last assignment in that area was as Chief of Operations and Training, Branch G3, Camp Zama, Japan 1953-1955. Colonel Bryant’s last major assignment was as Provost Marshall, Headquarters First US Army, Governors Island, NY, from 1955-1957. He retired as Professor of Military Science at the University of Maine, Orono, in 1959.
Bunny Bryant then began a second career as UNH Director of Alumni Affairs. In this position, he successfully built alumni loyalty and alumni fund capability. Even after his retirement in 1969, he remained a supporter, fundraiser, coordinator, and greatest of all…friend. He was awarded the UNH Alumni Meritorious Service Award and the Granite State Award for outstanding public service to the State of New Hampshire.
Among Colonel Bryant’s other honors are the US Army Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Honorary Chairman of the Board of the New York Military Academy Regiment of Graduates, a Band Scholarship in his name at the University of New Hampshire, and the rallying point for the Alumni Association of the Florida Military Academy. Colonel Bryant died on December 25, 1990. He was buried with full Military Honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
For meritorious service to the United States Army and the University of New Hampshire, Colonel Burnell V. Bryant is inducted into the ROTC Hall of Fame.