Less than two months into his tour of duty in Afghanistan, Army 1st Lt. Brian Brennan, three other soldiers and a civilian were the victims of two improvised explosive device (IED) attacks.

Brennan, 23, and the Humvee driver, Spc. Ryan Price of California, were the only two to survive.

When officials found Brennan, a decorated Citadel graduate, he was bleeding severely and in cardiac arrest, said his mother, Joanne Brennan.

He was revived and taken to a hospital in a nearby safe zone where his legs were amputated, one above the knee and one below.

In total, the Howell High School graduate had suffered an acute brain injury, a fractured left shoulder blade and pelvic bone, a collapsed lung, internal bleeding from a ruptured spleen, multiple compound fractures to his left arm and a shattered femur. Brennan needed 10 units of blood as well as 20 units of platelets, a need answered by fellow soldiers who needed to immediately return to the field for combat, his mother said.


"I remember his dirty blue right hand," Joanne Brennan said of the soot that remained from the explosion. "This filthy dirty blue hand was all I could touch and hold and all I could kiss, but I didn't care."

Brian Brennan had to undergo three surgeries a week in order for doctors to keep infection away from his legs, all the while conducting other operations to repair the broken bones. Brennan fought multiple infections and bouts with pneumonia.

Brian Brennan remained unresponsive, but there were smalls signs of progress. But soon a visit from a high-ranking official sparked a cognitive response.

On Day 23, Gen. David H. Patraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, visited Brennan.

Although he conversed at length with Brennan, it was not until the general uttered "currahee," a Cherokee Indian word meaning "we stand alone," that Brennan's condition changed, his mother said.

506th Airborne Infantry Regiment Association (Airmobile – Air Assault) Currahees


"Suddenly Brian sat up, at attention, and became extremely emotional," Joanne Brennan said.

Almost one week later, Brennan was transfered to the James A. Haley Veterans Administration Hospital's Polytrauma Unit in Tampa, Fla., where physical rehabilitation and cognitive therapies are being conducted.

"He's doing very well medically," Brennan's father said. "He's a hundred percent medically, but with a traumatic brain injury, it just takes time."





  1. God bless you Lt. Brennan and may He continue to heal you. Thanks MP for letting your readers know about this American hero.

  2. Amazing….he is just one of the many heros that make this country a safe place! May God bless him and his family. I hope he recovers as much as one can in his situation. And thank you for sharing this story, it really makes me (and others) aware of the sacrifices our troops make each day to protect our rights and our lives!

  3. Thank you for the post Major.
    Salute to 1st Lt. Brian Brennan, to those that were with him when he was injured, his family and the families of those that were with him and the General. The General is a humble man not afraid to listen to his inner voice and use it not caring what others thought when he called out “currahee”. I stand in awe of that bond that connects Warrior to Warrior. The courage of our wounded in their recovery is a life lesson for those of us that have never faced what they are going through. God Bless them one and all. Prayers out.

  4. Its to bad that Gates had to act like a sob and get on the news while our men in action get nothing….. and to bad that Obama cant get as irate over this as he did over gates… a month a go one soldier got murdered and what did we hear from the president..??

  5. I like this information: “The General is a humble man not afraid to listen to his inner voice and use it not caring what others thought when he called out “currahee”. I stand in awe of that bond that connects Warrior to Warrior.. is very interesting!”

  6. And what of the other soldiers killed in this incident on that day. Why do they remain nameless and faceless? What of their families who daily endure the devastation of a permanent loss and emptiness in their lives. What of their children, wives, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters?
    Surely we need to be the voices for these dead soldiers-these American heroes: SSG Kevin Casey Roberts, SPC Jeremy Gullett- NEVER FORGET

  7. There’s certainly a gap between what serious people think and what Robert Peston thinks. Why is he the BBC’s Business Editor again? Anyone would think they didn’t want properly informed business commentary.

  8. Your courage and determination inspires me daily. Thank you and your family, you are what America means to me, Jackie

  9. David, don’t forget Mr. Michael Bhatia who was killed in the same vehicle as SSG Roberts and SPC Gullett. Though he was a civilian, he still served and gave all.
    Perhaps you should do a follow up story on CPT Brennan. Your readers would be interested.

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