Brigadier General Mark W. Brennan
MARK W. BRENNAN
I remember being a little intimidated by the original members of the unit. After all, they had already been through Recondo School, and they all seemed confident and professional. Over the next several months, although we didn’t have enough men to form permanent teams, I pulled a number of missions with Mark and got to know him fairly well, or as well as guys let others come to know them. Working with Mark engendered trust and confidence. He was a good teammate and friend.
Mark was instrumental in helping the unit get off the ground. He and Vic Valeriano teamed up on a legendary scrounging mission to Saigon, where, literally, they used taxicabs to spirit away all their acquisitions. Without the much-needed gear they managed to divert to our unit, it could not have become operational as quickly as it did. Mark recorded the unit’s first “kill’’, and he participated in the unit’s earliest foray into Cambodia, a mission that ended up being the focus of a story on the front page of the New York Times.
After being a stalwart on those early LRRP teams, Mark returned home at the conclusion of his tour, and reentered civilian life. But about a year later, he was approached by Nick Rowe and Ben Aiken, who offered Mark a challenge that he couldn’t resist – reenlist, go to Special Forces School, and receive a commission. Mark graduated and quickly returned to Southeast Asia, where he was commissioned a 1LT, and where he remained for several years, active in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. Upon his return to the US, Mark became involved with the SERE program. Mark left active duty in 1974, but remained active in the reserves first as a battalion commander and later brigade commander of the 11th Special Forces Group (Reserve). During his active career from 1965 to 1974, Mark received, among other awards, the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars w/V Device, the Army Commendation Medal w/V Device, three Purple Hearts, eight Air Medals and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry w/Palms.
I’m now proud to report that Mark W. Brennan - one of my teammates and friends from those early LRRP days – one of our own - was promoted, on July 12, 2001, to Brigadier General. Other officers that commanded LRRP or Ranger units in Vietnam may have achieved general officer level, but I’m fairly confident when I say that Mark is no doubt the first actual member of a LRRP team to do so. He is certainly the only one of us to do so. And so, on behalf of the members of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade LRRP Detachment with whom he served, and the members of this Association, I would like to offer our collective congratulations to Brigadier General Mark W. Brennan. Congratulations Mark! Well done!