Private Ryan was loosely based on the story of the Niland Brothers - Robert, Edward, Preston, and Frederick. The US military believed that all the brothers except for Frederick "Fritz" Niland had been killed in action, and ordered Fritz to be returned home under the Sole Survivor Policy. Like Matt Damon's Private Ryan in the movie, Sgt. Niland refused to go home and wanted to fight alongside his "family" in battle. Fritz was convinced to return home, where he and his mother received great news: the oldest brother Edward was actually alive. After his plane was shot down in Burma, Edward walked through the jungle until being captured by the Japanese. He was released after almost a year in captivity.