Sean Ryan

Sean Ryan
  • Rank: Unidentified
  • Occupational Specialty: Unidentified
  • Unit: 29th Infantry Division?
  • Hometown: Payton, Iowa
  • Parents: William and Margaret Ryan
  • Brothers: Peter, Daniel and James

Although the four Ryan brothers—Sean, Peter, Daniel and James—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. Sean Ryan was later killed on Omaha Beach on 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

The markings on Sean Ryan's haversack are not standard, and cannot be seen on any other character in the film. Obviously this was done as a means of visually identifying the body. In reality, Ryan's entrenching tool cover would have been marked on the inside flap with only the last four digits of his Army serial number.

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.


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