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, a Marine Corps veteran, and family members who served
our country honorably. His Blue Star family has members serving today.
Tony is one of the 4 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 also 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.
Dad later married Andrea, also a widow who also has 7 adult children, for a more wonderful step-family of his 14 siblings.
He attended Cardinal Spellman High School, Massasoit Community College, and Stonehill College. At Spellman, he was a member of the National Honor Society, participated in the theater program, and was a co-captain of the track & cross-country teams who ran 3 marathons (26.2 mi.) in his senior year. He worked his way through school as a Teamster warehouseman and in several other jobs and was active in his Church with his Dad.
In the Marines, he served at Camp Pendleton CA as a platoon commander with infantry
and reconnaissance units like his Uncle Richard, a retired Marine Colonel and past National Commandant of the Marine Corps League.
His recon unit served as extras in the Clint Eastwood movie Heartbreak Ridge.
Then he was assigned to the iconic USMC boot camp Parris Island SC as a series commander supervising drill instructors & as a battalion executive officer.
In the Marines, he attended Navy Diver School & Diving Supervisor Course in San Diego CA and Army Airborne (Jump) school & Army Jumpmaster Course 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 South Carolina.
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 in support of SEAL Teams THREE & EIGHT and operation Sea Angel in Bangladesh.
When next assigned to SDV Team ONE as a platoon commander (DDS), 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.
An accomplished skydiver, 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 Marine & SEAL units trained & operated throughout the U.S. (over 30 states) & 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 & Eglin AFB FL, 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.
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 & an 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.)
For a copy of his DD-214, contact him at NavySEALTonyOBrien@yahoo.com
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.