FORT KNOX, Ky. – Military families have long made sacrifices unique to them while supporting their loved ones in uniform. These sacrifices are sometimes compounded when both parents serve. Some of the challenges might include multiple moves, deployments, or long workdays.
The Brennan family is a dual-serving, 1st Theater Sustainment Command Army family with duties that include helping Soldiers connect to family support resources, helping Soldiers during a crisis, and ensuring they stay informed. They do this all while maintaining their own strength as a family unit.
1st Sgt. Robert Brennan, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Special Troops Battalion, met his wife, Staff Sgt. Amanda Brennan, sexual harassment response victim advocate, 1st TSC, while they were serving in the Army in 2007. They have four children – Bailey, Chloe, William, and Alexandra, who followed her mother’s lead last year and enlisted in the Army.
Pfc. Alexandra Brennan serves as a religious affairs specialist with the 1-29th Infantry, 316th Cavalry, at Fort Moore, Georgia.
She remembers moving a lot, but also making new friends with each new school. This helped build her resiliency and adaptability, leading her to become the third Brennan in her tight-knight family to enlist.
“My parents made it really easy for us to adjust,” Alexandra said.
“We were all involved in sports and many other activities,” she added. “As I look back on it now, I think it was part of what helped smooth over the constant changes that the Army dealt us.”
Both Brennans recall enlisting help from their extended family through six deployments, two rotations to Korea, countless temporary duty assignments, schools, and field rotations.
“Our families are the real superheroes and MVPs,” Amanda explained.
“They have been here for us through it all and continue to be our rocks as we progress in our dreams,” she added.
During Amanda’s first deployment, Robert embarked on his second.
“My in-laws, Kevin and Teresa Brennan took in our oldest two children for an entire year, all while running their business,” Amanda said.
“They ensured that the kids attended school and drove them to their sporting events and other activities. They did it so effortlessly that the kids just continued their ‘normal routines’ while they waited for us to return,” Amanda said.
Amanda also expressed how the Army has helped her family in many ways. It offers them stability with finances and insurance; it has made them resilient; and it allowed them to build strong bonds within their immediate family unit. Additionally, they’ve formed such close relationships with other Soldiers who Amanda describes as “adopted aunts and uncles.”
“These people were at one time just ‘battles’ to our left and right but are now family through and through,” she said.
“We weren’t always able to move on to our next assignments together, but the Army ensured that we were always cared for,” she added.
“They did this with all the programs provided along with the support we’ve received from amazing command teams at each duty station,” she applauded.
Robert doesn’t just ensure that his family is cared for and is connected to available programs and resources, but he shares the responsibility of connecting Soldiers and families to programs to support their needs.
The first sergeant does this by pushing out information with the help of the unit’s platoon sergeants during formations and by distributing flyers and communicating face to face.
“I also use the Soldier and Family Readiness Group Facebook page, our Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers representatives, as well as using Fort Knox Garrison information channels,” Robert said.
“It is very important to me, and our entire command team, that our Soldiers AND their families are cared for,” the first sergeant said. “This includes everything from Soldiers getting time to take care of medical appointments for their family members to support during significant life events,” he said.
Twenty years in the Army has taught the first sergeant that when families are taken care of at home with a great support network – the unit benefits.
The Brennan Family will continue serving together and celebrating their successes. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s been something they’ve both been able to share as a family.
|FORT KNOX, KY, US