Capt. Brian Brennan, a soldier who was awaken from a three-week coma by Gen. David Petraeus four years ago, has been assigned to Headquarters Company at Fort Benning’s Maneuver Center of Excellence.
“It’s an honor to be here,” Brennan told members of the Rotary Club of Columbus during the group’s weekly meeting Wednesday at the Columbus Convention & Trade Center. He was accompanied by his wife, Stephane, and his helper dog, Rocky, a black Labrador retriever.
Brennan’s recovery has been described as miraculous after losing both of his legs and sustaining a traumatic brain injury to a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in May 2008.
Brennan was serving with Delta Company, 506th Infantry Division, 101st Airborne, when 44 pounds of explosive hit his Humvee near the village of Zambar. The blast killed three others in the vehicle and left Brennan and another soldier critically injured.
At Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Brennan was in a coma for 22 days when Petraeus, then commander of U.S. Central Command, was visiting wounded warriors at the hospital. Brennan was among the last soldier during his visit.
The general tried to encourage Brennan with words like “get back out there trooper” but nothing happened. “It was absolutely no response whatsoever,” Petraeus said in a television interview.
Petraeus, who once commanded the 101st Airborne, was about to leave when he decided to try once again to get a response from Brennan. The general shouted the “currahee,” a Cherokee Indian word used as a motto by the unit. It means “stand alone.”
The word “currahee” was shouted once again, prompting Brennan to sit up and move his head and his stumps in the bed.
Jim Brennan, the soldier’s father, said he started to improve daily. Less than a year later, Brennan was walking on his new prosthetic legs at the New Jersey Hall of Fame where he was presented an award.
Brennan was not available to comment Wednesday on his new assignment at Fort Benning. He is expected to start duties in early September, a public affairs spokeswoman said.