He attended Washington State University and joined Army ROTC. After two years of hard work, he was offered the choice of a two-year scholarship or an appointment to West Point. He chose West Point and graduated in May, 1999.
Brian loved the Army and lived his life by the code, “Duty, Honor, Country,” and, “A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.” Concepts that are sorely lacking today at the national level in our country.
His Army career was spent as a tank commander. He cared for and supported the young men serving under him. He was known for hosting Thanksgiving dinners for those who had no nearby family. In 2002 he visited us in Utah to attend a family reunion and attend the first women’s bobsled competition.
He found a new passion and pursued joining the Army World Class Athlete program. He competed first in skeleton then as a pusher in bobsled. Alas, he was not going to be an Olympian so, at the end of his five years, he separated from the Army and became part of the inactive reserves.
He had found a new love, Charlotte, and they married in 2004. Their first child, Gunnar, was born. In September of 2005 he was called back to the Army. His only request was that his report date be delayed so that he could be home for the birth of his second child, Ingrid.
Brian became a civil affairs officer in Iraq, working with the governor of Karbala Provence. While he did not support the war, he served with honor. He told us that if he had to go, he would try to help the Iraqis. He explored beekeeping business opportunities and small-scale water filtration in an effort to help.
His greatest achievement was helping a young boy received life saving heart surgery in the United States. The last photo taken of him was with the boy’s father when notice was received that everything was in place for the surgery to be performed in New York.
Brian was one of four soldiers captured and executed as part of the Jan. 20, 2007, raid on the Karbala government compound.
This is not the story of a sucker, a loser, but the story of a brave, honorable, loving man who served his country and family with all his heart.
Unfortunately, I have learned a sad lesson from his legacy. I and my family are a part of the military story that this country only wants to acknowledge on Memorial Day. Gold Star Families make Americans uncomfortable. We are not asked to stand at sporting events, our president disparages us every time he denigrates military service.
We stand tall. We believe in Duty, Honor, Country.
Kathleen Snyder is a gold star mother and a proud grandmother who lives in Logan.