COMBAT OUTPOST RAWAH, Iraq -- Many Marines sign up for four years of service, complete one or two tours, then get out and take the knowledge the Marine Corps has taught them into the civilian world to prosper and flourish. Others stay in for 20 years, lead thousands of Marines, and serve upward of a dozen tours of duty.
There is a special breed which fits neither category. The warrior who has served his four years, completed his tours, and although he plans to get out, will carry the Corps with him forever; he just isn’t ready to do it yet. He feels he has more time left in him, so he extends his commitment, and shoulders his pack one last time for the Marines to his left and right.
Sgt. David M. Breen, a vehicle commander and squad leader with Company D, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 2, is one of these special warriors.
“I love America, I love the Corps, and I believe in the cause,” said the Kansas City, Kan., native. “I just didn’t feel like I was done and it wasn’t my time yet, so I decided to come over (to Iraq) again, play my part and do whatever I could in order to help out.”
The 25-year-old decided near the beginning of the year to extend his contract 10 months, so he could serve a third deployment in Iraq.
“The extension is a testament to Sergeant Breen’s character, it shows you what type of person, what type of leader, he really is,” said Cpl. Chris J. Pumroy, a light armored vehicle gunner in Breen’s platoon. “He did it just for us, his Marines, and it proves that he isn’t just a hard worker, he doesn’t just keep morale high, and he doesn’t just accomplish missions. He has the whole package. He is the epitome of a great Marine.”
Cpl. Thomas C. Dunn, also a LAV gunner with the platoon, agreed, “He felt like he needed to be here for us and that just proves what he is like. Words can’t describe his character nearly as well as his actions have.”
Breen, who joined the Corps right out of high school, said he feels like he is helping the country by being in Iraq.
“We all know it is a slow, ongoing process, but we are making a big difference. The Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police are stepping up, taking charge and following our example. And even though the locals like us here and feel safer, I think they would also like to see us go home, so they can resume their normal lives and continue on a better path,” Breen said.
Dunn, an Austin, Texas, native, said he learned a lot about leadership and personal responsibility from Breen.
“He truly feels for the cause. He is a great Marine and an asset not only to the Corps, but also to Iraq and its citizens. No matter where you put him, he is going to do, and has done, a great job,” said Dunn.
The Marines who look up to Breen said his commitment inspired them, and for many of the ones who have never deployed, it gave them the strength and courage to face the hardships of an overseas tour.
“He deserves to be honored for this, like so many others, and it just doesn’t happen enough. People need to understand this isn’t his job anymore, he could be at home in Kansas right now,” said Pumroy, a native of Tri-cities, Wash. “He’s not here for the money, it’s not because he plans on re-enlisting, and it’s not because he likes Iraq. He did it for his Marines, to make sure the mission gets accomplished and we all come home alive.”