MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Worldwide, Marines are as known for their ability to adapt and overcome as they are for their tenacity in combat.
Under the leadership of one 45-year-old Little Compton, R.I. native, one battalion of cannon cockers traded their field artillery pieces for rifles and small machineguns during their deployment to Iraq from Sept. 2004 to March 2005.
Lieutenant Colonel Terence P. Brennan, then commanding officer for 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, was presented the Bronze Star Medal here Nov. 1 for his success in training and implementing his artillery personnel as basic infantrymen throughout the turbulent Al Anbar province.
The Bronze Star is the nation’s fourth highest award given for heroic or meritorious achievement.
Brennan, a 1984 San Diego State University graduate, said he was honored to receive this distinction. But while the attention and praise was lavished on him, Brennan thought only to credit his Marines.
“Had they (Marines) not been successful during their daily missions, I wouldn’t have been recognized,” said Brennan, who currently commands Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division. “The Staff NCOs (non-commissioned officers) and NCOs were the leaders. All the trust and confidence was placed on them.”
Brennan said his small unit leaders played a pivotal role in organizing more than 1,000 battalion personnel in conducting daily security and stability operations.
While in Iraq, 2nd Battalion, 10th Marines batteries spread out over four separate regions in Al Anbar, providing security for various forward operating bases, conducting counterinsurgency patrols through villages, and helping the local community build their infrastructure.
Additionally, the battalion worked closely with Iraqi Security Forces and other Marine units to retake Fallujah from the insurgents in Nov. 2004.
Brennan also coordinated to have rations and water distributed to the city’s displaced
residents, as well as acquiring tents and thousands of liters of diesel fuel for them to use.
Later on, his battalion’s personnel guarded more than 1,200 Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq officials, as well as provided for personnel bound to several polling sites.
Nevertheless, Brennan said that his former battalion’s success in Iraq and as a provisional infantry unit stemmed from the day-to-day decisions junior Marines made on the ground.
“They were out on their own most of the time,” he continued. “By day, they were helping rebuild the community. By night, they were patrolling the streets and going after the insurgency.”