BOZEMAN — “I know what I served for, and for twenty years we kept terrorists at bay and away from home,” Brian Gilman said, “We fought for the legacy of our service and our units that we’re in, and we youth to maintain security for the Afghan people. Regardless how it ended, that made it worthwhile.”
Serving our country for 27-years in the United States Marine Corps, deployed twice to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan, and continuing to serve his country through nonprofit work, veteran Brian Gilman is all too familiar with our nation's history in Afghanistan.
Following the devastating attack on 9/11, United States forces jumped into action and pursued Al-Qaeda and its’ allies, such as the Taliban. Leading to the U.S. entering Afghanistan, Gilman said.
“I deployed my first time to Afghanistan as a member of the First Marine Division Staff in 2011. I spent a year in Afghanistan on that deployment…it was a very kinetic time in Afghanistan,” Gilman said.
Recounting the fallen and wounded Marines as well as Afghan and partner allies, Gilman goes on to explain the ‘bubble of security’ that US forces were able to create for the local Afghans of the Helmand Province.
“It’s been very hard watching the events of the last month roll out the way that it did in Afghanistan and our withdrawal,” Gilman said.
13 service members gave the ultimate sacrifice during an attack in Kabul, a feeling that Gilman is too familiar with. The anger, angst, anguish, and sorrow felt by the families of the fallen when they receive knocks at the door cannot be described, Gilman said.
“The requirement of our leaders to put them in the best position to execute their duties, and I’m not sure it had to happen that way…The knock on the door outhouse families, unless you’ve been through it, you can’t imagine what that’s like,” Gilman said.
Brian Gilman now works as a Chief Executive Officer for Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation, a nonprofit organization to assist veterans in healing through fly fishing. Gilman continues his passion for service by helping those that have served and their loved ones.