A Ronin is a Samurai who has no master, making Brawny a master of Ronin in his own right. Few men that walk this earth possess all of the numerous traits that comprise a warrior like Brawny.
Brawny arrived at our unit in a cohort just in front of mine, along with his roommate Hughes. Part of the other M-60 team in Somalia, first as the AG, then as the gunner, Brawny was also “Behind the Gun”.
Much like his roommate, Brawny was not someone we would have expected to see serving all these years later, sharing much of the same cynicism as his roommate. Not long after Somalia, he exited the service and returned home to Vermont.
Though much shorter than me (who isn’t?), Brawny was (and still is) incredibly strong. I was more than impressed by his strength when we’d occasionally get time to lift weights during some rare downtime in Somalia. We were, without question, the pack-mules of our platoon. Aside from genuinely liking him, I maintained a healthy respect for my co-rooster. Swift and violent in action, he is one rooster that I was glad had my back at all times. I trust him with my life to this very day.
On April Fool’s Day, 1998, to the surprise and delight of the Army, Brawny pulled the best prank in history by re-entering the US Army. After serving in the 1st Ranger Battalion (he said our battalion was tougher) as one of just a handful of Rangers who wore the coveted Combat Infantryman’s Badge, he then went to Special Forces Selection where he was chosen to attend the Special Forces Qualification Course. He graduated and became a Green Beret pre 9-11.
After being assigned to the 1st Special Forces Group in February of 2000, he then went on to be the SFARTAETC CQB NCOIC (Special Forces Advanced Reconnaissance Target Analysis and Exploitation) and then the Assault Troop SGM for AFRICOM CIF with the 10th Special Forces second CIF. He is still currently assigned to the 10th Special Forces with the title “Plank Holder” as he awaits retirement after an astounding 27 combat rotations around the world including Somalia and Iraq.
Brawny is one of the most dependable and tough warriors I have ever encountered, if not the most on both counts. Earl Almighty and Brawny had a few adventures together stateside that included miles of hitchhiking between our base and Vermont, a story Earl promises to post here on the blog. The three of us also got in a fight with the infamous Jim Beem (no relation to Earl) after a trip to a college town near our base. Still undecided on who “won” that fight.
Brawny is one of the first 16 Americans to directly face the Al Shabaab, in the form of their predecessor Ali Tahid, along with Earl, J’Dub, Hughes and myself just to name a few. He has over 20 years of our platoon’s collective 240 years of service in defense of this country, and is the epitome of the warrior ethos in every regard.
Read about Brawny and other amazing warriors in “Behind the Gun”!
Copyright© Bravo Charles & Behind the Gun 2016