James Francis Ryan
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

James Francis Ryan

Saving Private Ryan

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About Him

Grew Up… in Iowa as the youngest of four brothers. James Ryan is still a young man, but has left Iowa behind to serve as a paratrooper in the European theatre of WWII. But when all three of Ryan’s biological brothers are killed within the span of a few days, the U.S. Army makes it a priority to bring at least one boy home to Mrs. Ryan.

Living… behind enemy lines. While parachuting in on D-Day, Ryan’s platoon was blown off course, leaving him stranded somewhere in German territory. Whether he’s K.I.A. or M.I.A. is a mystery – one that Captain John Miller and his men will have to solve if they want to go home.

Profession… Private First Class in the 101st Airborne. Ryan is able to find a small group of friendly forces after he became separated from his squad. Surrounded by enemies, and determined to prevent a German counter-attack, Private Ryan has placed himself at the disposal of Captain Jennings. Jennings has been tasked with defending the strategic chokepoint of Ramelle against an imminent German assault.

Interests… horsing around with his brothers on the farm back home. Now, under the constant hail of artillery shells and machine gun fire, Ryan’s only interest is keeping himself – and his brothers-in-arms – alive.

Relationship Status… single. But he’s young enough to have a long string of girlfriends and flings ahead of him.

Challenge… staying alive. High-command might have authorized Private Ryan to go home, but after watching friends and comrades give their lives fighting the Nazis, he can’t just abandon his post. Immune to appeals to think of his mother, Private Ryan insists that, “You can tell her that when you found me, I was with the only brothers I had left.”

Personality… affable, kind, and dutiful. Private Ryan possess a good sense of humor and is difficult to dislike. He’s young, loyal, and idealistic – traits that simultaneously make it harder, and more important, for him to be saved.

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