By SUSANNE KAPPLER, Fort Jackson LeaderFebruary 11, 2010
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Family, friends and co-workers bid an emotional farewell to the late Capt. Tony Brannon during a memorial service Feb. 4 at the Post Theater.
Brannon, the commander of Company E, 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, was portrayed as a dedicated family man, Soldier and athlete.
Brannon, 38, died in a car accident Jan. 30.
Lt. Col. Bryan Hernandez, commander of the 3-34th, described Brannon as an outstanding company commander with a passion for command.
"It was evident in all that he said and did," Hernandez said. "That made my job easy, because I knew he was down in the trenches with his company, ensuring that his Soldiers were preparing for war. I could ask for no better commander, and I will miss his determination and that passion for command."
Brannon's enthusiasm and commitment was evident in all areas of his life, said Capt. Nichole Propes, Directorate of Basic Combat Training, who commanded Company A, 3-34th while Brannon was the unit's executive officer.
"If there was one word that I could use to describe Capt. Brannon, it would be 'passionate,'" she said. "He was passionate about taking care of his family and spending time with them. During football season, he would quietly pass me a copy of his son's game schedule, so he could be there to coach. He would take the time to attend recitals or make sure that his daughters had what they needed for dance and for school."
Chaplain (Capt.) Charles Scott, 3-34th battalion chaplain, said that Brannon was well-loved by his company and known for taking care of his Soldiers.
"One of the things Tony loved to do for his company was an end-of-cycle celebration at his home," Scott said. "He loved to cook steaks on the grill and just hang out and enjoy everyone else's company."
Brannon also had a reputation for being a fierce competitor in sports.
"If you were on the field, you had better been ready to play. If you were on the court, you'd better get out of his way, because he was coming at you," said Cindi Keene, intramural sports director, who has known Brannon since he was stationed on Fort Jackson as an enlisted Soldier in 2002.
Scott said that Brannon's competitive nature brought out the best in those who played against him.
"It didn't matter if it was fantasy football, officer (physical training) or intramurals -- Tony wanted to win and hated to lose. But that was OK. Because if you ever won against Tony, you know that you earned it," Scott said. "But it was his competitive spirit that made you want to try harder - Tony's desire and skill ... made you better."
Propes summed up what was expressed by all who spoke during the service.
"I consider myself truly blessed to have served alongside him, and I'm also a better officer and better person for that," she said.