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    Keeping it in the Family - Part 1: Lt. Col. Keith C. Brenize



    Story by Sgt. Courtney White 

    1st Marine Division

    Throughout the celebrated legacy of the Marine Corps, there have been leaders whose commitment to the Corps has inspired generations of Marines. Those leaders have strived to set the example and instill discipline to ensure the success of their units. Among those leaders is Lt. Col. Keith C. Brenize, the outgoing commanding officer of 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, who has served the Corps for nearly three decades.

    Brenize enlisted into the Marine Corps in 1994 and served in the Select Marine Corps Reserves as an infantry rifleman, where he supported numerous operations including Joint Task Force-6 in Arizona, Battle Griffin in Norway and Partnership for Peace in Lithuania.

    Upon graduation from Shippensburg University, he attended the Officer Candidates School in October 2000 and accepted his commission in December 2000.

    As an Assault Amphibious Vehicle Officer, Brenize has served in many capacities including platoon commander, executive officer and company commander, and has deployed in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and Operation INHERENT RESOLVE.

    In over 26 years of service, Brenize admits that his favorite thing about the Marine Corps is what others consider the hardest part.

    “It’s the deployments; it’s when you’re in the field in the middle of the night and it’s freezing cold; the best times are when you’re miserable,” he said. “That’s where you come together as a team. Those are the memories of the Marine Corps you are going to remember at the end.”

    You don’t look back on the times when nothing happened and it was boring, continued Brenize.

    “I think looking back, those were my favorite parts,” he said. “Being with the Marines and enduring those hardships together.”

    The uncomfortable times were also times when he learned the biggest lessons. Brenize recalls being a junior Marine and being chewed out once for subpar work. His squad leader took him to the side and lectured him on the importance of hard work.

    “He told me to never accept mediocrity and always strive for more,” he said. “You have to rise above being mediocre and that always stuck with me. It is now a fear of mine to be considered soft or to have not put my best foot forward.”

    Brenize is also a part of the small percentage of Marines to have broken service. He transitioned from active duty to the Individual Ready Reserves in 2004 and moved back home to Pennsylvania to work as an estimator project manager for a commercial roofing company. Within the first year of being out, he knew he wanted to return to active duty.

    “Nobody cared,” he said. “No one cared if I did well or if I succeeded. It was always just get your job done and move along. There was no one there to pick me up when I was in a bad spot. At the end of the day, no one cared.”

    According to Brenize, the relationships created in the Marine Corps, including friends and mentors, help to make the Marine Corps great.

    “I was out for a little over a year,” said Brenize. “The longer I was out the more miserable I became. I said to my wife one day, I think I need to go back and she was somewhat reluctant, but after a couple of months of seeing me become more and more miserable, she agreed that I needed to go back.”

    Now, after nearly 15 years since returning to active duty, Brenize is now discussing the next steps in his career.

    “I don’t know how long the Marine Corps is going to allow me to stick around,” said Brenize. “I would like to try to pick up [Colonel]. If the Marine Corps is willing and my body holds up, I’ll stick around as long as I can.”



    Date Taken: 06.11.2020
    Date Posted: 06.16.2020 20:26
    Story ID: 372251
    Location: CAMP PENDLETON, CA, US 

    Web Views: 495
    Downloads: 0