Army Spc. Brendan P. Neenan
Died June 07, 2010 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom
21, of Enterprise, Ala.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.; died June 7 in Jelawar, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device.
(The following was taken from www2.dothaneagle.com of June 8, 2010) Selfless.
That is how the family of Army Specialist Brendan Neenan remembered him Tuesday, one day after the 21-year-old Enterprise soldier was killed by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.
“He was always worried about his dad, worried about everybody,” said Lesa Neenan, his stepmother. “His job in life was to make everything amusing and lighten our loads.”
Neenan was a member of the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne. Neenan’s decision to join the Army dates back to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
“He was just a boy, but when he saw those towers go down, he made up his mind about what to do and pursued it,” said his father, Hugh Neenan.
The military is a tradition in the Neenan family, with Brendan Neenan’s father and grandfather both serving as infantry paratroopers. Hugh Neenan gave his son his grandfather’s wings after he graduated jump school.
Although Neenan’s service took him into danger, his first concern was always the welfare of his family and friends. When a cousin asked Neenan on Facebook what he needed, Neenan asked the cousin to keep in contact with his stepmother.
“He just had the sweetest heart,” Lesa Neenan said.
Neenan’s brother, Tim, remembers that Neenan would frequently call him asking about his work as a stand-up comic and comedy writer in Los Angeles.
“He would always ask if I was making it or if I was alright,” he said. “He would listen to me whining about all this stuff that didn’t really matter. He was worried about me struggling at this silly job that I could quit at any time.”
Neenan was just seven days from being pulled off the line in Afghanistan when he was killed.
“When he joined, I was terrified,” Hugh Neenan said. “I offered to give him a piggyback ride to the Air Force recruiter or the Coast Guard recruiter. He said there’s bad guys out there and he decided to go airborne to protect his country. He was absolutely on the tip of the spear—that’s rare.
The Neenan family has been touched by more than its share of tragedy. Brendan Neenan lost his mother to breast cancer more than a decade ago. His stepbrother Jeremy Jackson was killed in a car accident in 2006. Now they’re grieving for another loss, while also honoring his service and sacrifice.
“I was proud of him the day he was born, and I’ll be proud of him the rest of my life,” Hugh Neenan said.