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Sergeant Major Brendan W. O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

"Like all Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsman, I understand the importance of being fully prepared for whatever the task at hand may be. My career both in the military and in the construction trades has made it crystal clear that having the right gear makes all the difference in being able to do the job...versus doing the job with precision and efficiency.

As a veteran of the US Army Special Forces, where precision and efficiency offsets your combat elements’ smaller numerical strength, what I’ve especially learned to appreciate is having the tools I need at hand and ready to employ.

Spec Ops Tool Gear equipment places it’s wearer at an advantage over the  equipment that tradesmen have traditionally worn. Precision and efficiency is now within easy and ergonomic grasp, at less fatigue to the craftsman.

The admirable culture and mission of Spec Ops Tool Gear – to help American tradesmen and to give back to our Veterans and their families – through synchrony with the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, is something I fully support and of which am proud to bring awareness."

Brendan W. O'Connor was born at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, the fifth of six children, to LTC Mortimer O'Connor and Elizabeth O'Connor in June 1960. After his father died leading the 1st Battalion, 2d Infantry Regiment of the First Infantry Division in April 1968 in Vietnam, the family settled in Moorestown Township, New Jersey. Brendan enlisted in the United States Army Reserves (USAR) and enrolled in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps at Valley Forge Military Junior College at Wayne, Pennsylvania in 1978. He was commissioned in 1980 and served as the Executive Officer of a Special Forces Operational Detachment A-Team (ODA) in the 11th Special Forces Group. He later commanded a Rifle Platoon and Rifle Company Commander in the 18th Inf, Rgt. 187th Separate Infantry Brigade. O’Connor then returned to the 11th Special Forces Group as a Detachment A-Team Commander for ODA 1125.

In 1994, he resigned his commission in the Reserves and enlisted in the Active Army to become a Special Forces medical sergeant. He served in the Seventh Special Forces Group at Ft. Bragg, NC. After a tour as a Medical Instructor at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, he subsequently returned to the Seventh Group and ODA 765 in 2005. He deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom as a medical sergeant.

Over three days in June, 2006, O'Connor and his team were surrounded and assaulted by over 250 Taliban fighters in southern Afghanistan. During the ensuing 17½ hours of intense combat, on 24 June, 2006, two soldiers were seriously wounded. The Afghan translator with the team radioed for permission to kill the two wounded soldiers and himself to prevent the Taliban from capturing, then torturing, mutilating and executing them, but he was informed of O’Connor’s efforts to reach the cut-off group.

O'Connor began to crawl out to assist the two wounded soldiers but found he couldn't get low enough to avoid detection and started drawing Taliban fire. He returned to cover, removed his body armor and resumed crawling toward the two soldiers. He crawled 100 yards, while machine gun bullets passed close enough to cut down the grass around him. Eventually reaching the wounded, O'Connor gave them first aid, exchanged rifle fire and then with Taliban fighters closing in, was able to extract the wounded to a more secure position. He eventually reunited the dispersed elements of the ODA. During this action the Team Sergeant, MSG Thom Maholic was killed, at which point O'Connor took command of the team.

Covered by a United States Air Force plane, the team was able to withdraw. They suffered two dead and one seriously wounded but had killed over 120 Taliban fighters.

In a ceremony at Fort Bragg, O'Connor was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Four other teammates were awarded Silver Stars (one posthumously).

O’Connor later served as a Sergeant Major in the Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group from which he retired, having served the Army for nearly 38 years.

He is married to Margaret Elizabeth (née Garvey); they have three sons, Ryan, Colin and Dillon and a daughter, Darby.