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    Keeping it in the Family - Part 3



    Story by Sgt. Courtney White 

    1st Marine Division

    Unique to the Marine Corps, “Semper Fidelis” is a motto that expresses the Marines’ pride, loyalty and camaraderie; meaning “Always Faithful,” it represents their commitment to each other and to any given mission. To the world, the Marine Corps is known as a brotherhood unlike any other, but for two Marines, that brotherhood is two-fold.

    Lt. Col. Keith Brenize and Lt. Col. Wilson Moore met when they were both assigned to 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion as lieutenants in 2003.

    “When I checked in, we had a new battalion commander,” said Moore. “He wanted us to be a very close-knit unit and there were quite a few battalion functions. Plus, the lieutenants have a tendency to stick together.”

    While serving in different companies, Brenize and Wilson met while discussing corrections for confirmation briefs, recalls Moore.

    “The first lieutenant to brief was basically the lamb to slaughter,” he said. “After him, we all traded notes, and, going second, I faired a little better. I knew what the battalion commander was doing, he wanted things done a certain way and he was trying to get his point across. But, I survived that confirmation brief and [Brenize] was next.”

    Brenize questioned Moore about the entire process, said Moore.

    “He asked how it went and what was asked,” said Moore. “He asked what kind of mood he was in and what he picked on. That’s where it started. We just started sharing notes. After that, we would see each other at functions and the lieutenants would have get togethers.”

    Fast forward a few months, Brenize took over as company commander for Bravo Company.

    “He was actually my company commander,” said Moore. “One Friday afternoon, he asked what I was doing that weekend and asked if I wanted to go golfing. I agreed and we went to Paradise Point Golf Course on Camp Lejeune.”

    After an afternoon of golfing, Brenize invited Moore to his house for a barbeque with his family.

    “I got invited over for dinner, and I mean, hey, it was a free meal,” said Moore. “I knew his in-laws were in town, but no one told me it would be more than his mother and father-in-law. On that visit, [Brenize’s wife] Angela’s younger sister Kara was there. That’s when I met Kara, my wife.”

    According to Brenize, Moore and Kara started with a long-distance relationship and it grew incredibly strong. Soon, he was excited to learn that Moore would join the family. Brenize was even a groomsman in Moore’s wedding.

    “He is one of the best men I know,” said Brenize. “He is kind, giving and he cares. A lot. He would do anything for you, bend over backwards, even if he barely knows you. He has such a love for his friends, his family and his Marines.”

    On June 19, 2020, Brenize handed over command of 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion to Moore.

    “I don’t know if this has ever happened before—that family changes command with family,” said Brenize. “But for us, this change of command is a big deal. Prior to COVID, the entire extended family had plans to come and celebrate with us.”

    Due to COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing guidelines, only the two immediate families were able to attend the ceremony.

    “This is a historic moment in our family,” said Brenize. “It is a little unnerving for me though. The moment itself is great and I am super thrilled that Wilson is going to take over the command and make things better, but the unnerving part is whatever I screwed up over the last two years, I am never going to live down.”

    It goes both ways, added Moore.

    “When we talk about the command and any issues that may arise, he can say, hey man, I didn’t have that problem when I was there,” joked Moore.

    The two-week turnover process was sun up to sun down for the two brothers.

    “He got a house just up the street from us,” said Brenize. “We did our staff turnover briefs during the day, and at night, we were also able to have chow together and talk about the challenges I’ve faced, that he will also have to face.”

    The Assault Amphibian community is a small knit community and it’s even smaller when you know your predecessor well, noted Moore.

    “When you’re doing a change over, you want to know if you’re asking the right questions,” said Moore. “I didn’t have to worry about asking right or wrong questions, he told me what I needed to know. There’s trust there. I trust him. We think about things similarly in regards to this job and how to do it, because we were trained by some of the same officers.”

    While the turnover may be over, both families are excited to be able to spend some time together before the Brenize family moves to the East Coast.

    “It’s a bittersweet moment,” said Brenize. “We are excited to spend these next few weeks together, but we are also excited to be going back home to the East Coast and to be closer to our family in south central Pennsylvania.”

    Unfortunately, the way that things have worked out, the two families have spent less than a year together at the same installation since becoming a family.

    “While we aren’t always stationed together, there’s one great thing about the family that I married into and that is how close knit they are,” said Moore. “I thought my family was close until I married into their family. They love to do things together and no matter how far apart they are, they are always there for each other; fortunately, we are able to spend holidays together and that’s always a good time.”



    Date Taken: 06.11.2020
    Date Posted: 06.23.2020 18:27
    Story ID: 372697
    Location: CAMP PENDLETON, CA, US 

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