Tony O'Brien served in the Marines & was selected to try out for the SEALs. A Gulf War veteran, IRONMAN Triathlon finisher & Dad, he followed in the footsteps of his father & family members who served
our country honorably. His Blue Star family has members serving today.
Tony is the first of four children of Donald & Marigold O'Brien and a native of Brockton, Mass. His heroic Mom (age 28) & brother (age 1) died in a home fire when Tony was age 5. His Dad "Deacon Don" of St. Edward Church later married Lorraine, also a widow with 3 young children, and he grew up in a wonderful step-family with 7 siblings. Years later we lost our beloved Lorraine to cancer and Dad married Andrea, also a widow who also had 7 adult children, for a more wonderful step-family of 14 siblings. He attended Cardinal Spellman High School, Massasoit Community College, and Stonehill College. He worked his way through school as a Teamster warehouseman and in several other jobs.
In the Marines, he served at Camp Pendleton CA as a platoon leader with infantry
and reconnaissance units like his Uncle Richard, a retired Marine Colonel.
His recon unit served as extras in the Clint Eastwood movie Heartbreak Ridge.
Then he was assigned to iconic boot camp Parris Island SC as a supervisor of drill instructors & battalion executive officer.
While in the Marines, he attended Navy Diver School & Diving Supervisor Course in San Diego CA and Army Airborne & Army Jumpmaster Schools at Ft. Benning GA, competed in military marksmanship matches, and was a military rock climbing & skiing instructor and a competitive triathlete; and received the Navy Diver insignia, Army Parachutist wings, Navy parachutist wings, French Fourragere Award (5th Regiment), Navy Achievement Medals (1st Marine Division & Parris Island), National Defense Service Medal & Meritorious Unit Citation. He earned his FAA pilot license while stationed in SC.
He & his family are honored to be part of the Marine Corps legacy and grateful for unsurpassed leadership training from outstanding Marine leaders.
He was selected for transfer to the Navy, graduated from basic SEAL training (class 156), assigned to SEAL Team FIVE as a platoon commander, and participated in operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm & Provide Comfort throughout the middle east and operation Sea Angel in Bangladesh in support of SEAL Team THREE.
When next assigned to SDV Team ONE as a DDS platoon commander, he was selected for promotion to Lieutenant Commander; and then assigned as the USCINCPAC Maritime Operations Counterterrorism Chief for the Pacific theater headquartered in Honolulu HI.
He was a member of the PACFEST Pacific Armed Forces Exhibition Skydiving Team serving military public relations that jumped into DARE events hosted by Hawaii Police & schools and charity & sports events incl. college football games & NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium.
He was later assigned as NavSpecWar Group Training Officer in Norfolk VA, then as Maritime Operations Officer for a USSOCOM Task Force in Ft. Bragg NC, and also as Commander of Special Operations Detachment Kosovo in Europe in support of SEAL Team TWO participating in operation Joint Guardian.
His SEAL units trained & operated throughout the U.S. & overseas with numerous federal, state, and local intelligence & law enforcement agencies including operation Long Fuse & Secret Service details for 3 U.S. Presidents; and made several deployments to over 30 countries throughout Asia, the middle east & Europe including Kuwait, Kosovo & Iraq.
The Association of the U.S. Navy recognized him as the National Officer of the Year in 1997.
His deployments included onboard several ships & submarines incl. USS Peleliu (LHA-5), USS Blueback (SS-581), USS Tarawa (LHA-1), USS Okinawa (LPH-3) & USS Tunny (SSN-682).
In the Navy, besides BUD/S & SERE school, he attended Army HALO School at Ft. Bragg NC & Yuma AZ (course challenge) and Army Ranger School (class 11-00) at Ft. Benning GA, finished 15 marathons & IRONMAN triathlon Hawaii (1993), and was a competitive boxer and certified as a law enforcement firearms instructor.
He completed Command & Staff College in Quantico VA with studies in Strategic Planning & Policy.
While in the Navy, he received the Navy SEAL insignia, Army Ranger tab, military freefall parachute badge (HALO), Defense Meritorious Service Medal (USCINCPAC), Meritorious Service Medal (NSWG-2), Navy Commendation Medal (SEAL Team FIVE), Joint Service Achievement Medal (JSOC), Army Achievement Medal (Kosovo Task Force Falcon), Combat Action Ribbon, Battle Effectiveness Award, Humanitarian Service Medal, other unit & campaign awards, and received the SEAL basic training (BUD/S) Top Shooter award, Army Ranger School Leadership Honor-man award, and a U.S Presidential Commendation.
(Note: One of the most challenging & respected small-unit infantry leadership training courses in the world, Ranger School attendance is open to all military branches like the other Army schools he attended: Airborne, Jumpmaster & HALO. Tony attended Ranger School while a member of the Navy. His classmates included 3 Marines & 1 Air Force member. To serve as an Army Ranger, one must be a member of the Army, graduate from Ranger School and be assigned to a Ranger Battalion. All other graduates return to their command that gave them orders to the school as Tony did. Only 2% of the entire Army are Ranger graduates & the large majority of them never serve as a Ranger. Tony never served as a Ranger & any source that says so is inaccurate. He is proud to be a graduate of Ranger School.)
He and his family are forever thankful to many teammates & fellow service members that kept him & his units safe and humbled by too many that made the ultimate sacrifice. Their Gold Star families are always in our hearts & prayers.
He has also served in leadership and staff positions in local government and nonprofit charities including many that serve veterans. He serves as DAV Hospital Service Coordinator for VA Healthcare Boston.