In 2004, Travis Manion and his roommate and best friend, Brendan Looney, had just graduated from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were demanding and both men were expecting to be deployed soon.
They had met each other at the Naval Academy and became fast friends – brothers, really. They had so much in common: they were both athletes, both fun-loving and outgoing, and both from close-knit families. Brendan had 2 younger brothers who attended the Naval Academy with him, and Travis’s dad was was a retired Marine Colonel. Clearly, they both understood duty, honor, love of country, and sacrifice.
Travis was the first of the two to deploy. In 2005, he went to Iraq and then back again in 2007, where he went to Fallujah. While out on patrol, his team was surrounded by the enemy. When two Marines were shot, Travis moved into harm’s way in an attempt to draw fire away from them so that they could receive care. While loading his grenade launcher, a sniper shot Travis. First aid was rendered on site, but he couldn’t be saved. Travis was 26 years old. He was buried at a cemetery near his family’s home in Pennsylvania.
Fast forward to June 2008.
Brendan has just finished his SEAL training and was planning to marry his longtime girl, Amy, on July 12th. Two days after their wedding, he was deployed to Iraq and then Afghanistan. Brendan wore a bracelet with Travis’s name on it — he couldn’t think of anyone else he’d rather be next to in battle.
Brendan went on 58 combat missions while in the Taliban stronghold of Zabul Province, Afghanistan. In September 2010, while observing an operation taking place in the village of Ayatalah, Brendan and eight others were killed when their helo crashed en route.
As Amy, Brendan’s wife, began to face the reality of his death, she couldn’t get it out of her mind that Brendan and Travis should be together at Arlington National Cemetery. She contacted Travis’ family.
On Sept. 27, 2010 – three days before Brendan was laid to rest – Travis’s body was disinterred and moved 150 miles to Arlington National Cemetery. Brendan was then buried next to him, side by side, brothers in arms.
This Memorial Day, there’s a newly released book called “Brothers Forever” which is co-authored by Travis’s dad, Colonel Tom Manion, (Ret.), with the Forward by General John Allen. I’m really anxious to read it! At their website, you can see more pictures of Travis and Brendan, and you can also read an excerpt of the book. Below is the book cover.
Travis Manion and Brendan Looney were warriors for freedom and are now brothers forever. Their sacrifice, our gratitude this Memorial Day weekend.
Our “Weekend Links” are below the fold!