People of Lockheed Martin: Meet Brandon

Years at Lockheed Martin: 1

Aeronautics Location: Fort Worth

Current Title: Subcontract Management Sr.

Day-to-Day Responsibilities: Provide warfighter support and work as a buyer, ensuring that purchase orders and intra-Lockheed Martin work transfer agreements (IWTA) are created and provided to the supplier, Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems

Three months before 9/11, I enlisted in the Marine Corps. I had just graduated from high school, and my brothers – one a Marine, two in the Army – encouraged me to join the military. Three years later, I deployed to Iraq for an eight-month tour in Ramadi as a squad leader in the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, Golf Company. There, my battalion sustained the highest number (at that time) of casualties and wounded in a single battalion since the Vietnam War: 34 Marines and sailors dead, 255 wounded.

Upon returning from this deployment, I (along with a lot of other Marines) got out of the military. My transition back to civilian life, though, proved more challenging than I had expected. In Iraq, I had been in combat quite often, and I was used to having my closest friends at my side at all times. Reentering the civilian world, I was surrounded by people who couldn’t relate to what I had been through, and I felt a crushing sense of isolation. I couldn’t connect with people who didn’t understand the life I had been immersed in for four years. So, I decided to go back to the military, where I didn’t feel the least bit out of place.

This time, I enlisted in the Army. I ended up in the 82nd Airborne Division, served for four years, deploying to Afghanistan twice, then left the Army in 2010 to become a family man. My wife had just given birth to our first child, our son Brady, and I wanted to be there for him as he grew up. I enrolled at the University of Texas at Dallas, and after graduation, took a job providing diplomatic security. Several years later, I shifted gears entirely and joined Aeronautics to work in supply chain management, which is what I do today.

I still keep in touch with my brothers from the Marine Corps. Every year, on Memorial Day, we reunite in the hometown of one of the servicemen we lost in Iraq and visit his gravesite and family. We camp out together during our stay, sometimes joined by family members of the fallen hero, and learn about what our fierce warrior was like in his pre-Marine days as a kid. Amazingly, whenever we reconnect, there’s a surreal sense of continuity. It’s as though we were all together just the day before like no time had passed, and we simply pick up where we left off.

My first reunion was in 2012, but the battalion members started doing this in 2006, two years after our tour in Ramadi. In 2017 our tradition became a 501(c)(19) military charity, the Golf 2/4 Memorial Day Foundation. The foundation helps veterans from the war in Iraq participate in these annual reunions. Staff members are all volunteers, so 100% of each donation is committed to the foundation’s mission. These reunions, and that kind of selfless devotion from foundation members ensures that warfighters are never forgotten.