Unit: 160th Special Operations Regiment
Home Town: North Little Rock, AR
Died On: 10/03/1993
As a child growing up in North Little Rock, Ark., CW3 Donovan L. Briley, 33, always wanted to climb higher. If he wasn't in a tree or atop a roof, he was looking for one, says his widow, Sharri Briley.
As an adult, he wouldn't have been happy doing anything other than flying. Donovan Briley graduated from flight school in 1985 and joined the Army Reserve, Later that year, he was piloting Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents and state troopers on a marijuana detection mission when the helicopter crashed. Three DEA agents were killed, and Donovan Briley sustained burns and back injuries. But within four months, he was back flying.
“He never wanted to stop flying,” Sharri Briley said. “He was a better pilot from that experience.”
In December 1987, Donovan Briley went on active duty a month after his daughter, Jordan, was born. One of four brothers, he was proud of his uncommon dedication to his work, Sharri Briley said. “His main interest was always studying for how he could better himself. He was always trying to be a better pilot.”
He deployed to Somalia with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, and was killed Oct. 3 while serving with Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu.
During his career, Donovan Briley was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, two Air Medals with “V” devices, two Air Medals, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and Army Service Ribbon.