Roy Donald Bratton
AFROTC 1, 2, 3, 4; American Society of Mechanical Engineers 4; Union County Clemson Club 1, 2, 3, 4, President 4; Weightlifting Club 1, 2, 3, 4
Adamsburg, South Carolina
Air Force, First Lieutenant
421st Tactical Fighter Squadron, 366th Tactical Fighter Wing, Da Nang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam
Distinguished Flying Cross with one Oak Leaf Cluster; Purple Heart; Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
Nov 3, 1944
Aug 4, 1969
Killed in Action. Lost in F-4 fighter aircraft crash resulting from enemy fire in Quang Nam Province, Republic of South Vietnam while flying a support mission for ground operations.
Lt Bratton’s remains were recovered and buried in the cemetery at the Phillippi Baptist Church, Union, South Carolina.
Personal remembrances and tributes:
"It has been over 40 years since my brother Roy Donald Bratton was taken from our family and the pain of losing him doesn’t seem to subside. Over the years I’ve so often wondered what kind of impact he would have made on my family. My children and grandchildren have truly missed out on him not being a part of their lives. Even though I was the older, he was always very protective of me and readily gave his ‘brotherly” advice. Roy was a very loving, caring people person and would give you the shirt off his back, not giving it another thought – you needed it more than he did, was always his attitude. I remember a conversation he and our Dad had about the dangers of going into a war zone. You see, Roy was the last to carry on the Bratton name and from what we were told he did not have to put himself in this kind of situation. Roy’s response was, “Pop, if there are 100 of us going over, 99 were guaranteed to return and I was that one that didn’t, I would still go.” He loved speed and truly loved flying. At a recent high school reunion, many people spoke so fondly and highly of him mentioning some little something he did or said. My "little" brother was truly a blessing in my life and is missed tremendously. I love him dearly. Always, Sis"
Sister of 1LT Bratton
November 11, 2009
"Uncle Roy, I never had the pleasure to know you since I was the youngest of Ruth's kids but I take great pride in what you did for our family and country. I personally will never forget the day I pulled your blanket out of the chest that came home from the war and I still sleep with it every night. It was an honor to cherish your accomplishments and put them in a shadow box for your sister to admire everyday. Every time I see something about NASA and space shuttle flights I envision that you would have been one of the ones that went to the moon and beyond. I take great comfort that you are in Heaven with grandma watching over all of us. Much love and admiration, your niece, Tasha :)"
Niece of 1Lt Bratton
November 9, 2009
"To My Uncle Roy:
I was not quite two years old when you were taken from our family, so I may not have actual memories, but what I do have is the joy and happiness in the memories and stories of you from the people’s lives you touched. It continues to be a blessing to see how many lives you impacted during your short time with us. You are an inspiring, amazing person and I can only hope to have a small part of you walking around in me, as you lived life to the fullest, with integrity, vigor and sacrifice. I am truly honored to be called your niece. Love Always, Tonya"
Niece of 1LT Bratton
November 9, 2009
"Sadly I only have a few memories of my uncle Roy Donald Bratton. The earliest memory I have is sitting at my grandmother's kitchen at the table. I had a red airplane and I was making what I thought was a great airplane sound. But my uncle told me I had a jet and that a jet made a different sound. Being three years old I didn't want to believe him. The fondest memory I have is riding in his red Ford Fairlane. I loved that car, it had those cool hood pins with the cable attached. I remember seeing those red white and blue envelopes that made my grandmother so happy. I remember the recliner that he bought her. I wish I had more memories, he was taken way too soon. I guess God needed a pilot, that's what my grandmother use to say. We love you, we miss you and we thank you for your courage and your patriotism. Because of you and great people like you we are free. God bless you Roy Donald Bratton."
November 20, 2009
"In honor of my classmate and friend. Roy and I went through Clemson University together, learned to fly in the ROTC there and both entered the Air Force. He was about the nicest person you could know, always ready to help and easy to be around. When I heard that he had been lost, I was really saddened. I never dreamed that I would return to live in his hometown. I felt it ironic that I knew Roy Bratton in ROTC at Clemson and then arrived in Union, his home county, to live. Shortly after I got here, a monument to Vietnam Conflict losses was erected - minus his name. I noticed it, and I guess some others did too. I was honored to subsequently watch when his name was added to the granite. The things about Roy I most remember is his grin - it was kinda a wiry crooked grin - much like Indiana Jones would give in those movie closeups, and the fact that he was such a nice and likeable person. Knowing him has been a positive influence on me and the shame is that he was here so short of a time. I often wonder how much he might have achieved given more time. Roy, you are not forgotten in my lifetime."
James M. Stepp ‘66
October 26, 2009
"I knew and remember Roy Bratton. I learned only a few years ago that his plane was shot down. Roy was a happy and upbeat guy who always had a joke (some that I remember to this day!). Roy did not get upset about anything. I cannot remember the name of his roommate but do remember the face and that they were both from the Lockhart area. I do think of Roy and his fate frequently."
W. Harold Allen, ’66, PhD
November 16, 2009
"Roy Bratton lived down the dormitory hall from us and I was shocked to learn his fate many years ago. When I was in Washington, DC about 10 years ago I went to the Vietnam Wall and found his name. It was a sobering moment. I have thought about Roy many times over the last forty years. I remember Roy as being a very cheerful guy who was always upbeat and greeted everyone with a smile. Because of his personality, he had lots of friends at Clemson. I will keep his memory alive for as long as I live. He was a great guy."
Allen M. Hobbs
San Diego, CA
November 18, 2009
The following tributes were copied with the approval and provided courtesy of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall Page, www.thewall-usa.com.
"Air Force 1st Lt Roy Bratton, 25, of Adamsburg, S.C., was shot down while piloting his plane over enemy territory. He had been stationed in Danang Air Base, Vietnam four months when he was lost. After being commissioned in the ROTC Program at Clemson, he reported for active duty in February 1967. He received his pilot wings after a year of intense training. He was a member of the 421st Tactical Fighter Squadron and had flown over 100 missions. He was a 1962 graduate of Lockhart School, where he was a member of the basketball, football and baseball teams, and a graduate of Clemson University."
Vietnam Veteran-Air Force Pilot
Aug 4, 2007
"Roy-I've thought about what you sacrificed for us and I am so grateful. Your sister misses you so much. I know you were happy to see your Mom and Dad when they came Home. You have two nephews and two nieces. You also have two great-nephews and a great-niece. We showed them your picture and told them what you did."
Lance, Ashley, Alex, Dallas, & Morgan Sweatt
Mar 9, 2007
"Roy was our squadron commander in Air Force ROTC at Clemson 1965-66. He was not fake or flashy, just quiet and very human. He graduated in Industrial Engineering, I believe. Our paths next crossed in 1969 at Da Nang AB at the Base Post office of all places. We talked briefly - he was mailing a package to his girl. He invited me to come to his squadron area to see him later. Busy with my assignment, I did not go right away. When I finally went by, I learned he had been lost. In 1974 when the US finally pulled out of VN, I immediately thought of Roy, his sacrifice and the sacrifice of hundreds like him."
Clemson grad, fellow officer
January 10, 2006
Citation to Accompany the Distinguished Flying Cross awarded posthumously to Roy D. Bratton: First Lieutenant Roy D. Bratton distinguished himself by heroism while participating in aerial flight as an F-4D pilot in the Republic of Vietnam on 10 May 1969. On that date, Lieutenant Bratton disregarded his own personal safety and made repeated low level ordnance deliveries that silenced intense hostile ground fire. His courage, determination, and aerial skill resulted in the rescue of a reconnaissance team without injury. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Lieutenant Bratton reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Citation to Accompany the Distinguished Flying Cross (First Oak Leaf Cluster) awarded posthumously to Roy D. Bratton: First Lieutenant Roy D. Bratton distinguished himself by extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as an F-4D pilot at DaNang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam on 21 June 1969. On that date, he was directed against a vital military supply link in an extremely heavily defended area. Although hampered by exceptionally marginal weather and visibility, he succeeded in destroying the facility and denying its use to unfriendly forces. The professional competence, aerial skill and devotion to duty displayed by Lieutenant Bratton reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Citation to accompany the Air Medal awarded posthumously to Roy D. Bratton: First Lieutenant Roy D. Bratton distinguished himself by meritorious achievement while participating in sustained aerial flight as a combat crew member in Southeast Asia from 12 April 1969 to 2 May 1969. During this period, Lieutenant Bratton displayed outstanding airmanship and courage in the successful accomplishment of important missions under extremely hazardous conditions, including the possibility of hostile ground fire. His highly professional efforts contributed materially to the mission of the United States Air Force in Southeast Asia. The professional ability and outstanding aerial accomplishments of Lieutenant Bratton reflect great credit upon himself and the United Stated Air Force.
Citation to accompany the Air Medal (First thru Fourth Oak Leaf Cluster) awarded posthumously to Roy D. Bratton: First Lieutenant Roy D. Bratton distinguished himself by meritorious achievement while participating in sustained aerial flight as a combat crew member in Southeast Asia from 3 May 1969 to 30 July 1969. During this period, Lieutenant Bratton participated superbly in accomplishing highly intricate missions to support Free World Forces that were combating aggression. The energetic application of his knowledge and skill were significant factors that contributed greatly to furthering United States goals in Southeast Asia. The professional ability and outstanding aerial accomplishments of Lieutenant Bratton reflect great credit upon himself and the United Stated Air Force.
Lt Roy Bratton’s name is listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall on Panel 20W, Line 94; His name is also listed on a Vietnam Conflict Memorial to Union County natives in Union, SC.
The following was taken from an obituary article printed in the Union Daily Times, Union, SC on August 7, 1969, and researched and provided courtesy of the staff of the Union County Carnegie Library on 29 October 2009.
Union County Native Killed in Vietnam
Air Force 1st Lt Roy Bratton of Adamsburg has been reported killed in action in Vietnam. He was shot down while piloting a plane over enemy territory. He was the son of Mrs. Sadie Adams Bratton and the late Horace Bratton.
The family was notified Monday by an Air Force major and a chaplain from Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter that Lt Bratton’s plane was missing. Officials then confirmed Tuesday that Bratton’s body had been found in the wreckage of his aircraft.
Bratton was graduated from Lockhart High School in 1962, where he was a member of the school’s basketball, football and baseball teams. In 1966, he was graduated from Clemson University, where he also received his commission. He had been a member of the college’s Air Force Reserve Officers Training Course and had managed the Clemson Tigers football team for a brief period.
Bratton reported for active duty in February, 1967, and received a year’s flight training. He had been stationed in DaNang, Vietnam, exactly four months when his death was reported. He was a member of the 421st Tactical Fighter Squadron and, at last report, had flown over 100 missions.
Born in Union County, Nov 3, 1944, he was a member of Phillipi Baptist Church. Other survivors are one sister, Mrs. Ruth B. Sweatt of Union; and paternal grandmother, Mrs. Addie Bratton of Rt. 3; also two nephews and one niece.