A native of Louisville, Ky., Rear Admiral O’Bryan graduated from the University of Louisville, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree and was commissioned May 13, 1978 through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program. Additionally, he completed the Navy Command and Staff curriculum in May 1992 at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., and earned a Master's degree in National Security and Strategic Study.
His previous sea duty assignments include: repair division officer and repairs officer in USS Saratoga (CV 60); engineer officer in USS Gallery (FFG 26); engineer officer in USS Tattnall (DDG 19); commanding officer of USS Excel (MSO 439); commanding officer of USS Esteem (MSO 438) forward-deployed to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Earnest Will; commanding officer of USS Gallant (MSO 489); commanding officer of USS Cole (DDG 67); and commander Destroyer Squadron 22, forward-deployed as Sea Combat commander for Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, and as commander Task Group 55.6 in the Red Sea in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom; and chief of staff, U.S. 6th Fleet, homeported in Gaeta, Italy. O’Bryan served as commander, Carrier Strike Group 3 and commander, John C. Stennis Strike Group from September 2007 to September 2008.
O’Bryan’s previous shore assignments include: Navy recruiter officer programs in Naval District 4; Export Control and National Defense Policy action officer in the Joint Staff J-5, Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate; executive assistant for the Joint Staff deputy director for International Negotiations; executive assistant for the deputy and chief of staff, commander in chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; requirements officer Theater Air Warfare Branch (N765J), Surface Warfare Directorate, chief of Naval Operations; Requirements branch head (N00M1), assistant chief of Naval Operations for Missile Defense; executive assistant to the commander Naval Forces Europe in Naples, Italy; director, Standing Joint Force Headquarters, U.S. Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va.; and director, Navy Maritime Domain Awareness, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington, D.C., from October 2008 to January 2010.
In January 2010 assigned as commander, Navy Air and Missile Defense Command, Dahlgren, Va.