Earlier today, many national sports and news media outlets published a story regarding former Marine and Montana State University Northern football player Brandon O’Brien as returning to the Marines following the Boston bombings. After speaking with O’Brien over the phone on April 16th at 7:29 PM, O’Brien outright denies those reports as being truthful.
This past March 8th-10th, O’Brien was a participant in the Beyond Sports Network Collegiate Showcase in Akron, Ohio.
On October 22, 2011, Brandon O’Brien was awarded the Navy and Marine Corp Medal. The following is a summary of the incident as stated on the award certificate:
Corporal O’Brien risked his life on June 9, 2009 when he swam more than 70 meters in heavy rip currents and six-foot swells to save two fellow Marines struggling in the rip currents off shore. After reaching the two victims and calming them, he then pulled both Marines to knee-deep water where another Marine assisted in bringing them ashore. One victim then required a Life Flight to a regional medical center but survived. Thanks to O’Brien, both Marines were able to survive the life threatening incident.
As stated above, reports have surfaced today that, following the events at the Boston Marathon, O’Brien is reenlisting in the Marines. According to him, those reports are not true.
“Those reports are absolutely false. First off, me deciding to go back into the military has nothing to do with the Boston bombings and, furthermore, I have not yet reenlisted in the Marines,” said O’Brien. In fact, O’Brien has yet to reenlist at all. He explained to me that he will be doing so soon.
On April 2nd, 2013, O’Brien returned to his home in Florida following extensive football training with Athlete Performance in Dallas, Texas. Upon returning to Florida, he, his family, and his agent began going through the draft process. According to O’Brien, there were a number of teams interested in the wide receiver and punt returner.
While in Florida, O’Brien was able to clear his head some and did a little bit of soul searching as well. He came to the realization that professional football was not the route his heart felt he should take in life.
“I did some soul searching and realized that I was put here to help people and not play professional football. The military is a passion of mine and it is something I hold close to my heart and love to be a part of,” said O’Brien.
“While I have not yet enlisted in the Air Force, I’ve been looking hard at the Air Force Para-Rescue team. I know that it will be a very difficult task to become a part of that special forces unit, but it is something that I will give 100% to so I can be a part of that team,” said O’Brien.
The reason O’Brien is trying to get into the Para-Rescue team is the motto: ‘So others can live’. That is something that rings true to his heart. O’Brien assured me multiple times during our interview that this is something he does not take lightly. He plans to train intensively and extensively so he can pass the conditioning tests and get back into action.
“I am very thankful for the people that helped me to get to this position in both my football career and life. I truly believe that this is Gods plan for me in life and this is my choice to go back into the military,” said O’Brien.
One thing that O’Brien wants to make clear is his deep regret for letting this go public. After speaking with Brandon over the phone, it became quite clear that this story has gotten to be bigger than what he ever intended.
“Those that truly know me understand that I’m not getting back into the military for the media attention, the public fame, or the recognition. I don’t want the pat on the back. We [military personnel] don’t join the military for the recognition or the fame. I just want people to know that all the attention I have received because of these false reports is not wanted at all,” said O’Brien. For O’Brien, deciding to return to the military was a personal choice that was never meant to go public.
To summarize, Brandon O’Brien plans on returning to the military in the very near future. As of right now, he has not reenlisted in the marines, contrary to multiple reports. O’Brien simply plans to reenlist in the military not for the fame and recognition, but for the personal source of pride that he gets out of protecting his country.
“I’ve heard that a lot of veterans think that this is a publicity stunt and this is the complete opposite. I don’t want the media attention for my decision to go back into the military. It’s not about that. It’s about doing what I feel is right and that is to follow my heart and protect my country,” said O’Brien.