Daniel Ryan

The Ryan Brothers
  • Rank: Unknown
  • Unit: Unknown
  • Decorations: Purple Heart
  • Hometown: Payton, Iowa
  • Parents: William and Margaret Ryan
  • Brothers: Peter, James and Sean

In 1942, the night before leaving for basic training, Daniel Ryan was fooling around with Alice Jardine in the hayloft of the Ryan's barn when he was discovered by his three younger brothers, Sean, Peter and James. Alice attempted to run out of the barn, but still had a shirt over her head and ended up knocking herself out after running into a wall. Angry at being caught, Daniel swung a shovel at Sean and knocked over a kerosene lantern which exploded and almost burned down the barn. This was the last time the four Ryan brothers were together.

Although the brothers entered military service with the Army and had originally been assigned to the same company in the 29th Infantry Division, they were split up following the deaths of the Sullivan brothers on U.S.S. Juneau in November of 1942.

Daniel Ryan was later killed on New Guinea during the week prior to the D-Day invasion of June 6, 1944.


A picture in the Ryan home shows what looks to be the four Ryan brothers in uniform. This does not match Private Ryan's statement that he and his brothers had last been together two years ago just before Daniel went off to basic training, and the fact that the four of them had supposedly served in the same company in the 29th Division.

Fact vs. Fiction

A valid point of criticism is the extremely short period of time it takes for the news of the deaths of the Ryan brothers to reach the U.S. It would have been impossible for telegrams to be sent to the Ryan household only days after their sons had been killed.