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Old 01-26-2009, 08:43 PM
GyBill GyBill is offline
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L/Cpl Julian T. Brennan USMC, 25, Brooklyn, NY (Afghanistan)

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Julian T. Brennan, 25, of Brooklyn, N.Y., died Jan. 24 while supporting combat operations in Farah province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

For additional background information on this Marine, news media representatives may contact the 2nd Marine Division public affairs office at(910) 450-6575.

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Old 01-29-2009, 04:59 PM
GyBill GyBill is offline
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Brooklyn native became Marine because of grandfather's influence
Thursday, January 29th 2009, 4:31 AM

The photo shows Julian Brennan kissing his grandfather's coffin at Arlington National Cemetery, a young actor of uncommon talent making a gesture of tender respect for a brave, old Marine.

Even as his lips brushed the smooth wooden coffin that day in 2005, the grandson had begun a transformation. The family would mark Lt. Col. James Brennan's burial as the moment Julian Brennan began to become a Marine.

"That was the transformative event for Jules," Bill Brennan of Brooklyn, son of James and father of Julian, said yesterday.

But where James Brennan survived Iwo Jima against all odds, Lance Cpl. Julian Brennan was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on Saturday.

In the days ahead, the family plans to return to Section 66, Grave 284 at Arlington and perhaps place a portion of the grandson's ashes with the grandfather who roused him.

The grandfather received the nation's second-highest medal in World War II, but Julian Brennan did not enlist daydreaming of getting a Navy Cross to frame.

What the grandson most admired of the grandfather was the understated and unadorned spirit of determined decency that is at the core of the Corps; a spirit James Brennan lived by to the day he lay in that polished coffin.

"Quiet, sure and clear," Bill Brennan said. "Julian said my dad made him want to be a better man."

The grandson briefly considered enlisting after 9/11, but instead followed a passion for theater to the American Academy of Dramatic Art. He became a fine and talented actor, but in his father's words, "He had to move beyond that in a sense."

At the grandfather's burial, Julian Brennan was as filled with the Marine spirit as if it had been passed to him with the kiss of the coffin.

"He found a spiritual path with the Marines," Bill Brennan said.

"Paying attention to your loved ones and also paying attention to your own vision of the way to live your life."

One way Julian Brennan paid attention to his loved ones was secretly marrying his fiancée, actor Bettina Beard, before he headed into harm's way so she would receive a widow's benefits should the worst happen.

One indicator of his new vision of life was a change in his Facebook profile, which had reported him working a struggling actor's job as a carpenter for "The Martha Stewart Show."

Employer: USMC

Position: Machine gunner

Description: I fire a M19 fully automatic grenade launcher from the turret of a Humvee.

One Facebook photo showed him in a smiling embrace with Beard. "I'm so lucky," read the caption.

Bill Brennan took some comfort that his son was not in the senseless war in Iraq but instead was in Afghanistan, going after the forces that attacked the World Trade Center the way James Brennan went after the forces that attacked Pearl Harbor.

The father got a reminder every time he drove by Ground Zero.

"That's what Julian was doing, responding to that," he said.

Julian Brennan was a supporter of President Obama and he telephoned his mother on Inauguration Day, when more than a million people waved the American flag in the National Mall.

He spoke with compassion of the Afghans who scrape by in such a desolate, unforgiving land.

Bill Brennan was born after World War II, and neither he nor Julian would have ever existed had his father not been so lucky on Iwo Jima. The odds are much, much better for a Marine in Afghanistan.

But the family's luck gave out on Saturday. He was cremated Wednesday. The memorial is sure to embrace the full circle of his friends.

"Marines and drama queens," Bill Brennan said.

The family plans to divide the ashes between two places close to Julian Brennan's heart, the land of his ancestors and the resting place of the grandfather whose coffin he so tenderly kissed on that transformative day four years ago.

"Ireland and Arlington," Bill Brennan said.
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