News: Local Jacksonville journalist receives long-overdue retirement from Marine Corps
Story by Cpl. Cameron Payne
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Joined by family and friends, one Marine veteran was recognized for his Marine Corps service during a ceremony at Wounded Warrior Battalion-East aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, July 8.
Thomas Brennan, a reporter with the Jacksonville Daily News, typically covers all things Marine Corps related for the publication and had the opportunity the be recognized for his own personal contributions.
From retirement ceremonies of installation commanders to the first female Marines to complete the Infantry Training Battalion curriculum, Brennan was there, pen in hand, to document these historic occasions.
“I’ve wanted this ceremony since I (medically) retired in November 2012, and it has been hanging over my head since then,” said Brennan. “This retirement means closure for me.”
A member of Brennan’s last unit he served with attended the ceremony in support.
“It was great to see my brother and witness a lot of the things he has accomplished,” said Matthew Brown, a Marine veteran who served with Brennan in Fallujah. “It is phenomenal to see him doing well, and his retirement brings his Marine Corps career full circle.”
From the literal blood, sweat and tears given during his deployment in Fallujah serving with 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, to the long nights and early mornings with the JD News team, Brennan has always epitomized what it truly means to be a Marine.
“Thomas Brennan has been a friend to all units,” said Lt. Col. Leland Suttee, Wounded Warrior Battalion-East commanding officer. “After hearing his story, I immediately asked him to take part and be a member of our unit. Thomas was a part of many of our events.”
Also in attendance were members of the JD News team.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Brennan and everything he has accomplished," said Chris Thomas, a reporter with JD News. “He is a gentleman and now a scholar. He has taught me a lot, and he has been an inspiration. I was in high school when I learned about the push into Fallujah, which was like our generation’s Tet Offensive, but to know his story, and to know he was actually there is amazing.”
With his retirement ceremony also comes changes for Brennan as he prepares for the next phase of his life.
Brennan plans to attend Columbia University to get his degree in investigative journalism, and from there, on to any publication that would have him, said Brennan.
Brennan also gave some advice for Marines looking to step away from the Marine Corps.
“To all Marines, I would say take full advantage of all of your opportunities. Whether you served two, 20 or 30 years, use the opportunity to start over and pursue whatever it is you are passionate about. Pursue what makes you happiest.”
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