KIA March 15, 2008
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Assigned to 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas
Army CPL William O’Brien died March 15, 2008, from wounds sustained when he was attacked by small arms fire during combat operations in Baghdad, Iraq.
From a patriotic family with a history of service, Will was the third son in the family to join the Army. Being home-schooled as a teenager, he was able to finish high school early. At the age of 17, he and his older brother, John, joined together after asking his parents to sign the early release so he could join. His desire was to serve his country then go to college to find what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. When he wasn’t working or attending school, Will enjoyed golf and was a junior PGA player.
Will was a source of joy and strength to his family and friends. “He was a goofball, a very unique individual,” his brother, John said, grinning at the memory. “He was very brilliant. He’d come off as a kind of joker, he liked to make people laugh, but down inside he was a very insightful person and very wise for his years.”
While the brothers were sent to different units, one day in Baghdad, they got a rare chance to be together. “It was crazy,” John said. “We got pictures, amazed to see each other. We hadn’t seen each other in over a year.”
“As hard as it is for our family, I can’t say enough good words about my brother- a great man, a great American, a true hero. He’s a good Christian man and he’s with our God, Jesus,” said John O’Brien, “And I know he’s in a better place now.”
CPL William O’Brien was 19 years old from Rice, Texas
Original portrait was presented January 18, 2014, to his family during a special Military Appreciation Night hosted by the Texas Legends basketball club in Frisco, Texas.