I’m sorry to have to tell you all that my brother Kevin O’Brien, host of this blog, passed away peacefully this morning at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Let me start with some housekeeping. First, the email address [email protected] remains active and you may get more and better updates there. I say this because frankly I’m having trouble posting here. I don’t know Kevin’s WordPress password and I’m afraid that if I restart his computer, I will not be able to post any more because the password will not autofill. Therefore I can’t guarantee I will be able to make more updates on the blog.
We are planning a celebration of Kevin’s life for all of his friends some time in early to mid-June, here in Seacoast NH. I will have details in a couple of days. All those who knew and loved Kevin, including all Weaponsman readers, are welcome, but we will need an RSVP. Again, I will make details available to those who write to [email protected]. This is not restricted to personal friends of Kevin, but space will be limited, and we will not be able to fit everyone. It will be a great opportunity to share memories of Kevin.
We will be looking for stories and pictures of Kevin! Please send to the email address.
I expect that some time after the celebration, I will be shutting down the blog. No one other than Kevin could do it justice.
Finally, you should know that Small Dog, whose real name is Zac, has found a home with other relatives of ours. Of course the poor guy has no idea what has happened to his beloved friend but his life will go on.
Now I’d like to tell you more about Kevin and how he lived and died. He was born in 1958 to Robert and Barbara O’Brien. We grew up in Westborough, Mass. Kevin graduated from high school in 1975 and joined the Army in (I believe) 1979. He learned Czech at DLI and became a Ranger and a member of Special Forces.
Kevin’s happiest times were in the Army. He loved the service and was deeply committed to it. We were so proud when he earned the Green Beret. He was active duty for eight years and then stayed in the Reserves and National Guard for many years, including a deployment to Afghanistan in 2003. He told me after that that Afghan tour was when he felt he had made his strongest contribution to the world.
Kevin worked for a number of companies after leaving active duty. He had always loved weapons, history, the military, and writing, and saw a chance to combine all of his interests by creating Weaponsman.com. I think the quality of the writing was what always brought people back. Honestly, for what it’s worth, I have no interest in firearms. Don’t love them, don’t hate them, just not interested. But Kevin’s knowledge and writing skill made them fascinating for me.
Kevin and I really became close friends after our childhood. We saw each other just about every day after he moved to a house just two miles away from mine. In the winter of 2015, we began building our airplane together. You could not ask for a better building partner.
Last Thursday night was our last “normal” night working on the airplane. I could not join him Friday night, but on Saturday morning I got a call from the Portsmouth Regional Hospital. He had called 911 on Friday afternoon and was taken to the ER with what turned out to be a massive heart attack. Evidently he was conscious when he was brought in, but his heart stopped and he was revived after 60 minutes of CPR. He never reawakened.
On Saturday, he was transported to Brigham and Women’s where the medical staff made absolutely heroic efforts to save his life. Our dad came up on Sunday and we visited him Sunday, Monday, and today. Each day his condition became worse.
As of last night, it was obvious to everyone that he had almost no chance of survival; and that if he did by some chance survive, he would have no quality of life. Kevin’s heart was damaged beyond repair, his kidneys were not functioning, he had not regained consciousness, and he had internal bleeding that could not be stopped. We made the decision this morning to terminate life support.
I’m not crying tonight. I got that out on Saturday. What I feel is a permanent alteration and a loss that I know can never be healed. I loved Kevin so much. He was brilliant, funny, helpful, kind, caring, and remarkably talented.
At dinner tonight, we agreed that there are probably many people who never “got” Kevin, but there could not be anyone who disliked him. Rest in Peace.
Please feel free to express your thoughts in the comments and to the [email protected] email address.
Kevin was a former Special Forces weapons man (MOS 18B, before the 18 series, 11B with Skill Qualification Indicator of S). His focus was on weapons: their history, effects and employment. He started WeaponsMan.com in 2011 and operated it until he passed away in 2017. His work is being preserved here at the request of his family.
250 thoughts on “Kevin O’Brien”
I’m so sorry for your loss. He will be missed. RIP, sir.
You have my deepest condolences.
May he Rest In Peace.
Speechless. Rest In Peace.
Very sorry to hear this news. Although a fellow New Hampshire man, I only ‘knew’ Kevin through this medium, but thought highly of him through his writing. My condolences to the family; we will miss him.
I am so sorry.
I feel a deep loss, and I only knew him through his writings.
Celebrate his life.
I’m so sorry for your terrible loss. He was far too young.
I will miss his writing, very much.
I’m very sorry for your loss, not the news I was expecting definitely. This blog has been a daily part of my life for so long. RIP Kevin, you’re only at the start of your journey.
My deepest condolences and sympathy for your family.
Your brother made a big difference in the world and will be missed beyond measure.
Very sad to have checked in today for an update and see this news.
Many condolences to you and your family.
He didn’t always write about things I was passionate about, but he always wrote well enough to make me interested in what HE had to say on the subject.
Many years ago I gave a eulogy for Don Williams Jr., the first of my friends to die in uniform. I closed with these lines. They aren’t mine, they’re by Tom Lea, a veteran of the Pacific during the Second World War. They seemed appropriate to me then and they seem appropriate to me now.
“I know of no way of walking past the end of the road.
nor of singing past the end of the song.
But to walk bravely, and to sing well,
There is the glory.”
Hand salute and hold.
Be at peace boss.
Well hell. This was a gift unasked and unrequited, for what it at all can be worth. Thank you.
May The Lord comfort you in this loss. Hognose ofen reminded readers at the end of WGAO posts to cherish loved ones because one never knows when one’s time is up; from what details he gave of frequent family time, he lived up to that. He will be terribly missed, and I’ll likely be one of many to be grateful we were blessed to have been part of his world, however distant. Rest in peace, Weaponsman.
Sorry for your family’s loss. Your brother’s writings entertained and informed. The community is lessened without him.
Such sad news. Deepest sympathies and condolences to your family. Kevin’s reporting has been an invaluable resource, he will be profoundly missed by all who have come to rely on this blog.
RIP. He wrote an informative and unique blog and allowed a noob to comment. Over a thousand miles separate us and we’ve never met but I always felt at ease on his site and enjoyed his wit, his openness, and his subject matter. You will be missed.
Rest in peace, Kevin. Thank you not only for sharing your knowledge of and infectious passion for all things that go bang or boom, but also for your humanity, wit, and ability to turn a memorable phrase. Thanks also for creating and serving as the lodestar of the remarkable WeaponsMan community, frequent commenters and silent majority alike.
Brendan and Bob, I am so very sorry for your loss. The decision to withdraw life support cannot have been easy, but given the circumstances was both courageous and absolutely correct. I hope you will find some small measure of comfort that you were there for him to the last, and when the shock and grief have, to some degree, washed through you, take much greater comfort in that you had such a brother, son, and friend.
Someone once told me that when an old man dies, somewhere a library burns. I believe that. All that came here were blessed that his library was always open. Now, we are diminished.
Concur. RIP Hognose, and thank you for everything you did for our nation.
So well said, I am sure I can do no better.
I shall add that his library was a grand and full one, indeed. We are lucky for having been given even just a glimpse into it.
I am so sorry for your loss. Never met Kevin, but enjoyed his spirit as manifest in his writings. You are all in my prayers.
This isn’t the first time that someone I’ve only known over the internet has passed but this one cuts the deepest. I’m going to miss his unmistakable voice.
We will all miss him dearly. May he rest in peace.
Please don’t take the blog down.
We’ve lost both the man and the blog before when Lex suddenly left us.
This. Please find a way to preserve the content somewhere, somehow. I have learned a lot at Weaponsman.
Ave atqe vale, Hognose. You go find Lex at the celestial bar-he tells a *good* story.
this blog, as much as anything else, is Hognose’ monument. It should be left standing. Otherwise, there’s quite a bit of it preserved @ ’s Wayback Machine – including archives. I feel much diminished by WM’s death…but much instructed by his life.
RIP, Kevin, and my condolences to the survivors.
Regarding the comment about not being able to access his passwords – if he wrote on a Windows machine, there might be an easy way to do this…..
In any case, he was a very good writer and historian. I enjoyed, immensely, reading his thoughts and coverage of his areas of expertise. If possible, please leave his blog work up – many of his writings will be of use for years to come, for those of us that are weapon historians and enthusiasts.
I am shocked and saddened. Kevin’s blog has been an absolute daily read of mine since I found it a year or two back. Unique, informative, and powered by an obviously high quality intelligence and wit. It was plain from the beginning that he was one of the “good guys,” the type of person that gave more to the world than he took.
It was an absolute privilege having had the chance to share in his knowledge and passions, and and I will deeply miss his voice in my daily readings.
My deepest sympathies.
As he was fond of saying on the passing of someone of importance, Ave Atque Vale Kevin.
Hail and Farewell.
You and your family will be in my prayers.
Well, shit. I’m normally one cold-hearted son of a bitch, but as crazy as it sounds, I’m deeply saddened over the loss of this man I never met and hardly ever communicated with. My deepest condolences to you and your family, Brendan.
Honestly, when I first found WeaponsMan I was convinced there was an entire staff writing for it. Your brother put out an incredible amount of work, all of which was of absolutely wonderfully written. Its obvious he was an extremely intelligent man and one who was willing to sacrifice his own comfort for others. There aren’t very many men like that. Cherish knowing your brother was one of them.
Oh Man. I am so sorry, I enjoyed the heck out of what was said here. RIP Hognose.
Sorry to hear it, all the best to you and your family. This blog was a part of my daily life and encouraged me to be a better writer and blogger myself. I also appreciated how he so seamlessly integrated his past, his experiences, and his knowledge into his posts. It was also clear that he loved you and his family very much. I think myself and many others got to know him a little bit through his writing, sort of like a pen pal. More than just losing content, I think we readers all lost a friend in a sense. For what it’s worth, thank you Hognose for your work and letting us get to know you.
Never thought I could feel so taken aback by the loss of someone I’ve never met or even knew really. His knowledge are writing were always amazingly impressive. I was constantly trying to get other people to read his blog (some people have their tv shows I had weaponsman). He certainly made an impression on the world and it feels just a little more empty without him. He will ne truly missed.
Well, nuts. I have been coming here for only the last few months, but have greatly enjoyed the blog. He will be mightily missed.
Even with what little of him we readers got to see, it was obvious he was an incredible man. May he rest in peace.
I’m very sorry for your loss. I only knew hognose through this blog but was so intrigued by his writing ,sense of humor and passion that it has been a site I would check several times a day waiting for the next story. I am sad that he has passed but I am grateful to have had the chance to to get to know him a little through his writing. My deepest condolences to you and your family. He will be missed.
Could not have said it better,
Goodbye Kevin, I will miss you. I will always be glad I got to know you for the short time I did. Thank you for the kind words you often spoke about me and the website . I hope there is a Heaven and you are in it with family and friends past and I hope we will all meet again when our time comes.
Thank you for giving the world this wonderful blog filled with your insight and perspective. Thanks to our creator whether God or Blind Chance of the universe for making a Man like you to walk this earth. We are all so diminished without you in our lives because you certainly touched all of our lives to lesser or greater degree through your blog and I think we are all better for it. May you rest in peace Kevin.
My Deepest Condolences to you and your Father and Family. I wish there was anything on this earth that could be done to ease your pain. If it does not intrude on your wishes please allow us to send flowers or some token to the location and time of any services.
Later when some time has passed please reconsider closing Kevin’s blog. it’s a small window into his thoughts and personality writ out and the only way many knew him. I understand if you still want it to shut down, I would gladly help pay for any hosting fee’s if you do reconsider shutting it down forever.
I realise that there are bigger concerns for Kevin’s family at the moment, but I’m hopeful that he means no more posts, not no more blog. If they are thinking of pulling it down, I too would beg them not to.
In any case, Kevin’s posts were (are) fantastically informative and entertaining, and his online presence will be sorely missed just as I’m certain that his real life one will be. I regularly passed on his posts for the use of colleagues here at the UK National Firearms Centre and in the UK military and law enforcement world. His material was THAT good.
My deepest condolences to the family. He will be missed, by all of us who knew him, if only through his writing and service. I regret I did not know him better.
Thank you, Hognose.
I am one of the silent majority, I guess. As a fellow veteran, as well as a practioner of the art of the spiral tube, I stumbled on Kevin’s blog a few years ago, and quickly saved it as a favorite. I learned quickly that he was a well rounded man, a true warrior scholar in every sense of the title. I made visiting the site a daily occurrence, or played complete catch up if I missed a day.
He obviously served his country well, and by that demonstration loved mankind. I appreciate the life he led. They say “example” is the language understood by all, and my exposure to his writings tell me he was a great example.
Take care sir, and perhaps we will meet on Fiddler’s Green someday.
Well shit. Ain’t that a bitch. Fuck. Fucketyfuck fuck fuck fuck. Gonna miss the sombitch. Please give my condolences to the family. Shit. Fuckety . Dammit. God bless his soul, and those who know and love him.
Mr. Brendan Sir,
My deep condolences. Thank you very much for taking the time to post here.
Very sad to learn of this but a moving tribute you have written.
At lost for words, but rest in peace Hognose.
Thanks ever so much for updating those of us connected to him only by electrons.
My deepest condolences to your family, one and all.
I’m a better person for having known Kevin, even so fleetingly just on this blog, and I will miss his sensibility and wit.
MAY HE BE SAFE IN HEAVEN HALF AN HOUR BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS HE’S DEAD!
Brendan: simple words cannot express how sorry I am for your loss.
The closeness of your brotherhood with Kevin was obvious both from his posts about you and your replies to some of them.
I ” discovered” Kevin after my father passed away over two years ago. He and his little community contributed greatly to pulling me out of a deep funk and for that I I’ll always be grateful.
IMO he was a true Renaissance man.
While our loss is much less than yours, please know that we all will miss his grace, charm, intelligence, dedication and above all kindness.
I’m sorry I never got to meet him, just been entertained by his writing over the years. He was obviously a talented multi faceted man. My condolences to his family and friends , he will be sadly missed.
Brendan, thank you so much for letting us know what happened. It’s better to hear the bad news than be left guessing. Know your brother was loved and will be sorely missed by his readers here. I hope the blog can be saved. I’d enjoy hearing, for example, when your plane is finished…. Aw man. Now I am crying. My heart goes out to you as well as all your family and friends. May we all greet one another someday on the other side.
James Bryan Jones
Brendan, sincerest condolences to you and yours. You are most fortunate to have someone of Kevin’s caliber as a brother. Although Kevin felt his biggest contribution was in Afghanistan, I respectfully believe his creation of the WeaponsMan community is an accomplishment without peer.
We are most fortunate to have had the likes of Hognose and his most-esteemed fellow SF brothers (and all who served as well) smiting America’s foes. Those will be some very big shoes to be filled by those in the future. A tall order indeed.
In creating the WeaponsMan community, he leaves an impressive legacy- both through his witful writing and an assembled body of knowledge created by many of the esteemed commenters I have had the privilege to read here.
To Aseop: I always look forward to your insight & wit. I need to follow your blog more often. This is where I first learned about it.
To Dyspeptic Gunsmith: Many thanks to your complete and thorough explanatory answers to questions posted here.
To The Ranting Novelist Known As Kirk: Your lengthy insights on problems at the
institutional level in our military is an eye-opening topic indeed.
To Max Popenker & Rostislav: You gentllemen are proof of my conviction that the best way to learn all things Russian are best done by real Russians. Thank you.
To Looserounds: Enjoy your blog and outlook regarding firearms. As with Aesop, I learned about you here as well.
To Tam: I definately enjoy the insights on your blog- no mystery where I learned about it.
Kevin, through the WeaponsMan community, has left a legacy we should all be thankful for.
My condolences to the family. Kevin’s writing kept me coming back for more on a daily basis. I’m gutted to hear of his passing. I never met him or knew him, but he’ll be missed by me. We are all diminished.
There’s a line from Macbeth that answers for this level of loss, from Act 5, scene 8:
“Your cause of sorrow must not be measured by his worth,
For then it hath no end.”
I’ve experienced a lit of sadness in my life, but few things have saddened me like Kevin’s passing. He made a foreign old-soldier feel welcome in his online home and I would come here several times a day, eager for more of his brilliant intellect and razor sharp wit. I was hoping one day to travel to the US, shake his hand and buy him a beer. Too late…too late….
I’m sure I’m not the only grizzled and gimpy ex-grunt shedding more than a few tears right now at the loss of a man we only ever knew through his writing.
Brendan, my deepest condolences to you and your family and friends at this terrible loss. And also to all the other members of the marvellous Weaponsman community. We are all diminished.
Geoff aka LSWCHP
Ecclesiastes 3:1, “For Every Time There Is A Season Under Heaven….”
Rest in Peace Kevin O’Brien.
I didn’t know Kevin at all, bit his blog has been a daily fixture in my life since 2013. His personality always came across clearly and I’m sure the whole family will feel his absence keenly.
I also really encourage you to keep his writing on line. It really means so much to a lot of us.
Vale Hognose, you provided more knowledge and enjoyment through this blog than you could ever know.
I’ve known Kevin since a little after the turn of the Century, first running into him at the Free Republic website, where he was known as Criminal Number 18F , a reference to his Special Forces MOS skill identifier. We had both been stationed with the 10th Special Forces Group at Bad Toelz, though at different times, but had a few of the same wild characters as common friends; we were also both in Afghanistan around the same time in 2003, though widely separated in-country and in very different jobs but sharing many of the same frustrations. We shared a strong interest in the fusion of design and use of weaponry and both of us had dipped our toes in the firearms industry. I had a few years on him, but he was, I think smarter, and wiser, and certainly was more focused.
I had feared a lengthy depressing hospital stay and convalescence for him that he would have despised; I’m glad he was spared that at least, and that he could be with his family as his life faded and the book of his life had its final chapter writ and was closed. Goodbye, Kevin, friend Hognose. De Oppresso Liber; you lived it and you made it happen.
I’ve been fighting a hacked gmail address, an uncooperative laptop and spotty wifi hookup of late and it’s taken me about 2 hours to compose this reply and get it posted. I’m next going
to tryto get the notification made at Free Republic [got it done, about 0315 Wed.]
and let his pals and fellow correspondents there have the link to this post.
O Lord our God, in Thy goodness and love for mankind forgive all sins committed in word, deed or thought. Grant peaceful and undisturbed sleep. Send Thy guardian Angel to protect and preserve from all evil. For Thou art the Guardian of our souls and bodies, and unto Thee we ascribe glory, to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Very sad news in an already terrible year. Though, like many here, I never met Hognose, I felt – through his writing – some knowledge of the man. For that, I mourn.
My prayers for both him and his family, and my condolences to all here who visited to share a rare talent; an inspirational man.
Thank you, Brendan, for letting us know. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the rest of Kevin’s family.
I never knew the man personally, but i think I came to know him a bit through this blog. And if I can feel a sense of loss at his passing, I can only imagine the sense of loss for those who knew him well.
I loved this blog, and looked forward to each new post and the things I could learn from Hognose and the commenters.
Goodnight, Hognose, wherever you are. Semper Fidelis.
My deep condolences to whole Your family! I hope You all will be able to find some consolation in times to come. I also hope that God will grant Him another life as rich of events and full of fulfillment as this one.
His sudden death had greatly impoverished all of us, scattered throughout the world, who had the privilege to meet Him only in the internet.
“For all men to honour,
One standeth alone,
Of whom, o’er both oceans,
Both peoples may say:
“Our realm is diminished
With Great-Heart away.”
atque in perpetuum, frater, ave atque vale.
We will miss you Hognose!
Condolences to you, Brendan, and the rest of the family. Your brother was a great man.
Incredibly sad that he passed away so young.
We are diminished. RIP
Terrible news… I am so very sorry for all Kevin’s friends and family. My prayers go out to each and every one!
ive been afraid of this post since I first saw the other one several days ago. ive been preparing for it the best I can, but it seems in that, I have failed.
ive been a reader/commenter since late ’12 or early ’13, and in email contact with him for a few years as well. like many, I have enjoyed the thing he’s built here. this isn’t simply a blog. Kevin turned a small space of the internet into a rocking chair front porch, where a bunch of grumpy old men worldwide could congregate and discuss the topics. he turned it into a real community, not just a blog. the folks who posted here were frequent visitors, and really kind of gelled together. like many others, I request a reconsideration on taking down the blog. in this place, we still can find a bit of our friend, though he’s now silent on the keyboard. He will be greatly missed.
Brendan, no words can convey the sorrow I am sure you and your family feel, nor our gratitude to you for keeping us updated. Thank you.
I’ve only been following Hognose for about a year but I found in him and his writing much to admire. I am the richer for the interaction here and the poorer for his loss. My condolences and prayers are with Kevin’s family.
It was clear that Kevin’s hope was in the Lord and so I know we shall meet in heaven. Until that day, farewell Hognose.
While I am saddened by Kevin’s passing I can not imagine what it is like for his family. His blog was truly unique in both the quantity and quality of his writing. Thanks for everything Hognose
It you don’t mind my saying so, keeping the blog up is not a bad memorial to Kevin. Then, too, we’d agreed to do a work on idiotic firearms related mistakes writers make, and this would help. Your call, still.
Having served with men like him, I would like to think that I knew him. Rest in Peace SIR!
Everybody’s already said all the right things about Kevin’s life and offering comfort to the family, so I can’t add much to that, except to say, Kevin’s quality may be assessed by the way people thought about him, which was not inconsiderable.
But I also would join others in the hope that the family not take down Kevin’s blog. Although it is a tremendous resource well worth saving, perhaps it might better stand as a monument to the life well lived by a man become beloved by many who never knew him personally, as well as those who were blessed with his personal interaction in their daily lives.
We are diminished.
Thank you, Kevin, for your commitment and sacrifice you made in uniform, and for being the best of the best in Special Forces.
Thank you for sharing your passion for weapons with us in your blog.
Thank you for making me a better person through your insight… you are and will be be missed by us all.
I never had a chance to meet the man, but he was literally apart of my everyday life. God bless you guys and may you find strength in Christ.
You’ll be sorely missed, Kevin.
There is nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said. I pray Kevin’s family finds comfort and peace in this most difficult of times. I know both Kevin and He will be close to them, always. Grace is passing by us every moment of every day if only we stop to notice it.
I would check this blog often, several times a day to read new posts and from the commenters here. Things I thought I had no interest in I suddenly found fascinating. This was my daily routine for many years.
SD MkII, Zac as we know now, your buddy had to go on ahead to pick out the best recliner for those afternoon naps next to a sunny window. Don’t you worry, it’ll be a while, but you’ll see him as soon as you cross that bridge. Promise.
He gave better futures to people he never met, and we are all better for having “known” him.
Thank you for your details of his life and your friendship, too. His love for you,his father, and family shined through his little stories.
His frequent words of admonishment to always remember our time may be short ring oddly prescient now. I am so, so sad that this happened.
Rest well, Kevin.
Brendan, thank you for keeping us informed.
My deepest condolences to you Brendan and your family. I only knew Kevin through this site but he made a deep impact and I will always remember his knowledge, wit, and wordsmithing. His joy for life came through every word he wrote here and he will be missed. My deepest respect and sympathy to your family. Thank you for letting us know here in the blog community.
Brendan – Thank you for keeping us up to date and informing us of Kevin. I am deeply saddened by the news. Please accept my deepest condolences on your loss.
Kevin – Thank you for providing an extremely well-written, informative blog. I thoroughly enjoyed the articles and the intelligence and wit sprinkled throughout your writing. Your writing has enlightened me, and taught me many things on many occasions.
As a daily visitor and a frequent commenter, I sincerely appreciate, and am very thankful that you allowed a non-veteran to participate in your community. I’m especially grateful for the opportunity that your blog provided me. I am a daily visitor and the comment section provided an outlet where I could read, think deeply, and write about those thoughts in a forum that insulates those thoughts from the repercussions of airing them in my physical life.
All – Thanks for what you’ve shared in the comments. I’ve learned a great deal by reading and participating here. As has been said many times before, this blog is a beacon of light with regards to the readership and intelligence of those commenting. I’m not sure where to go to find a replacement for this community. Regardless, I am extremely thankful for the experience.
RIP Hognose. Take care, Brendan and those in the WeaponsMan community.
I don’t drink much anymore, but tonight will raise a glass to a man I never met.
Thank you, Brendan, for your updates, and my condolences to you and your family on your loss. Your brother’s blog reflects a breadth and depth of curiosity and knowledge approaching polymath status, leavened with humility and humor. Most of us likely came here for one thing and found ourselves exploring an expanding set of interests, drawn along by Kevin’s passion and personality, and the work he put into sharing. I don’t know when he slept.
Should anyone elect to undertake saving WM as a static resource (valuable IMO across many fields for its topics, research, links, communications, and comments), I can offer no technical help but am very willing to contribute time and finances. Contact info linked here and will also send to the new email.
Thanks again, Hognose. Rest well, we’ll share overwatch.
His was a life well lived, and we are diminished at his leaving.
Prayers for his friends and family.
I’m sorry for your family’s loss. Like many others here, I never met Kevin and only knew him through this blog but I feel immensely enriched having his writing in my life nonetheless. I was always in awe of his writing talents and this blog quickly become a must-see everyday for me.
Fair skies and following seas. RIP.
A terrible, untimely loss. He was an always interesting writer, across a huge sweep of interests, and most importantly by all accounts a good man.
Brendan, I wish you many good thoughts of him as you fly the airplane.
Mein Beileid. Godspeed Kevin.
“Those to whom we say farewell,are welcomed by others”
I am so sorry to hear of your family’s loss. I discovered Kevin’s writing on weaponsman about 2 years ago and I found myself visiting the blog site about 2-3 times per day. I very much enjoyed Kevin’s writing, his wit and his perspective on the world. I never met the guy, but from what I could tell based on the blog, I would have loved to have shared beers with him. May the Lord bless and keep your family. Kevin’s life will live on in your good memories.
Thank you for graciously keeping us informed. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. Thank you.
To the O’Briens
I’m sorry for your loss. Condolences in person can hardly touch the heart and this digital medium weakens the effect to nearly zero. That being said, if WeaponsMan was a just glimpse of Kevin, then what you have lost is truly staggering. Please let us know what can be done in remembrance of Kevin.
WeaponsMan has been a daily read for me. I have been reading his work for years and commenting only for a short while. I have spent countless hours reading Kevin’s intelligent writings and enjoying every second. What Kevin did through his blog was truly amazing. He created a space online where intelligence, whit, experience and keen observation melded. It permeated from the author and created a comment section that mirrored and, at times, matched his initial written work. He built something amazing, albeit online. Amazing, nonetheless.
I had hoped to meet the man someday. I had no reason to do so other than being a member of his vast readership. On this earth, such a meeting is no longer possible. However, I have gathered through his writings that Hognose was sure of his Salvation. So with that in mind, I know that I’ll meet him in Heaven someday.
The thought of the blog going way simply does not seem to be a fitting a tribute. However, the blog was Hognose, and who better to manage it than the man himself? Yet, he is gone on to Glory, so that option is not available. I support Brendan in whatever decision he chooses.
Kirk, Aesop, Boat Guy, Gray, Scott, John M., John Distai, Tom Stone, Tam, Quill&Blade, LSWCHP, staghounds, jim h, Daniel E. Watters, looserounds, and everybody who has carefully commented,
Thank you! I have learned so much from all of you.
Thank you, sir.
Words seldom fail me, but at this point, they have. So my ‘Amen’ here will have to do.
So say we all.
A gentleman and a scholar .
Words do not do the man justice. He was a fine fellow. Generous with his time and whit.
Thank you Brendan for the update.
I can only suppose that there was an urgent need for a Weapons Sergeant, perhaps in preparation for Meggadio.
The world’s a little smaller and sadder today.
My deepest condolences to the O’Brien family. There is no balm to offer, except to know that Kevin was loved and respected by those of us here.
Until again, Hognose.
My sincerest condolences. His content was much beloved by all. 人生自古誰無死,留取丹心照汗青. Truly a man for the history books. I was enlightened by his thoughtful and accurate content. He will be sorely missed.
He has been a daily part of my life for years and I will truly miss him. Rest in peace.
I am heartbroken and crying over someone I have never met. I too have been coming to this site for years and have enjoyed Kevin’s writing, wit and knowledge. I don’t know a thing about guns, but have still enjoyed reading all of his articles. I have also enjoyed reading the comments.
This hits so close to home for me. My husband also died suddenly (from a stroke) April 28, 2016. I too came here everyday to see what ‘was going on’. This has always been a bright spot in my day and even more so after losing Mike.
I see that some other commenters have blogs of their own. I would appreciate links to their blogs if possible.
So many others have expressed themselves better than I can. I feel like I have lost a best friend. Thank you for the updates Brendan. Your family will be in my prayers.
Me too, Elaine.
This truly sucks. Words fail me.
I have been a daily visitor of this blog for the last three years now.
I shall miss his deep knowledge, his acerbic wit, his magnificent eloquence and above all his humanity.
Rest in Peace, Kevin and thank you for sharing your writing.
To the O’briens
My deepest condolences.
Today is my 71st birthday. It will not be a happy day with the passing of this Blog’s author. With 50+ years of firearms experience behind me I thought I was a fountain of knowledge about guns. The discovery of “Hogs Blog” made me realize that I was still in Elementary School in my learning curve.
My oldest grandson is now 21. Our family will add another child early in May to bring our two daughters total up to a dozen. I have a special external hard drive created specifically for Guns & Training & History that I mean to leave for them after my death. Several of Hog’s Articles (Land Navigation, 3 parts), is one that has been preserved to teach them how to find their way in our New Hampshire woods.
I’m sure Hog’s family knows what a special person he was. When my Marine twin brother was killed in an auto accident near 29 Palms in the mid sixties, I was in school at Great Lakes Navel Training Center at one of the many Service schools I was able to attend. I still remember the grief our family and friends went through with my brothers death and I am saddened to know that Hog’s family and friends must experience those feelings. When my brother passed I was told that grief was a form of selfishness. Selfish because we we won’t be able to enjoy the wonders and pleasures of that relationship with another person.
I will also miss the comments from the rest of the Blog Family as I learned so much from them as well. Perhaps I can find you on other Blogs. I hope so!
Damn it. Just damn it.
We’ll miss you Hognose. Never met you, but felt like I knew you well. Your writings over the years have taught me volumes; I doubt there’s another source on the entire net that compares to your accurate insight. Thank you.
Condolences to all of Kevin’s family and friends…to say this is a tough loss is the biggest understatment ever. I knew him, like most here, only by reading this wonderful blog, which I found captivating. But even those of us on the extreme outer periphery is his life feel this loss too. No doubt, there will be much to celebrate and remember for a life so well lived.
My deepest sympathy to all of Kevin’s family, friends and brothers in arms.
I have learned much from his writing here.
What a loss. My condolences. Godspeed, Kevin.
Around 2014, google brought me here and I remember the first article I read: about .25ACP Brownings. Since that time, I became a regular reader, enjoying also the history and/or non-war articles and occasionally fixing quite good Czech wording here and there.
Farewell Hognose, I shall miss it all.
I too loved the blog and was a daily , even hourly reader. I read some of the archived posts but not all of them. Hell, all the time in the world, right? Now I am hoping that the archive can be saved in some way so that I can read it all in chronological order. Perhaps it can be moved to some other site. I will contribute to any costs involved. It would be a double loss to the world to lose Hognose and an important part of his work as well. It is rainy and gloomy here. But it would be gloomy even if the sun was shining.
I am so sorry for your loss. Please accept my condolences. He will be missed by people all around the world.
You and your family have my condolences, for whatever they’re worth. I only knew your brother through his writings and comments here, but he made this useless IT weenie feel welcome. While we shared many common interests, our backgrounds were very dissimilar, but, on the gripping hand, as he was fond of saying, his was a very catholic community. I’ll miss the history, the insight, and the sci-fi references.
I wish I’d known him better. Celebrate his life, if you can – I think he’d like that.
Brendan, Our condolences to you and your family with the sudden passing of your brother, Kevin. This blog and the heartfelt comments by many people from around the world are evidence of the high regard your brother was held by many many people.
I am deeply saddened by your brother’s passing, I only knew him via this blog, but this blog was a daily must visit for me, and also for many other readers.
It would be fantastic if there were some way that you could leave the blog up for historical purposes as there is so much technical firearms information on this blog it would be a shame if this were lost.
You are probably not considering this at the moment, but I am sure that the many readers do wish you all the best with the continuing construction of your plane and future flight endeavours.
I always wondered why he had such a interest in Czech firearms, but I now assume that it was from his time learning czech at the DLI.
Thank you for writing what must have been an incredibly hard update.
Rest in peace, Hognose / Kevin.
We are truly lessened. Kevin’s contributions to this world are immeasurable. May he rest in peace.
Rest in peace sir.
Brendan please accept my condolences.
Kevin had an incredible prose in his writing. I as many have stated, only knew him through his blog. Topics were varied and many. He kept you coming back for MORE! The commenters are good too!
I think the thing I liked about him best was – he actually was very good at showing the human condition, and revealing the things that happen in everyday life just trying to get by from day to day – i.e. wrong rivet in wing box, “we caught it”, fixed , move on….
This man projected energy to me and he will be greatly missed!
Brendan: Wishing the family peace and healing. There is solace in the reality that the great Hognose was 100% quality. Thanks much for the update, sir.
Though mere words seem inadequate, I nonetheless offer my sincere condolences for your loss.
Kevin brought the light of his hard-won knowledge, and wisdom, to the world through this blog. It’s been a daily read for me since I discovered it several years ago, and I still have difficulty accepting that I will never again experience the wit, clarity, and insight provided by the writings of “Hognose.”
Weaponsman also attracted a community of individuals with an unmatched breadth of knowledge and experience, a group whose conversations and commentary added immeasurably to the value of the site. As others have said above, the loss of your brother will be mourned around the world.
Rest in peace, Kevin, and thank you.
No words suffice…Kevin was an extraordinary person and a world class writer and a walking encyclopedia on the world of weapons — something rare in this world.
Kevin, I truly enjoyed our correspondence over the years.
You will be missed…
Go with God, my friend.
Brendan, thank you for taking the time to let us know of Kevin’s passing. My heartfelt condolences and prayers for all his family and loved ones.
I checked in multiple times each day. Always ready to be shown again how much there was in life I still didn’t know. Kevin was an incredible wordsmith. Charming, witty and welcoming. I am grateful he was so willing to share his life with all of us. A far ranging and mostly well behaved group of opinionated folks.
Brendan & Mr. O’Brien,
I am truly sorry and saddened by your loss of your brother, son, and friend. I enjoyed checking in here numerous times during the day, waiting for Kevin’s next post. The man had a deep passion for many things, and his writing, was well, great! Even after “officially” hanging up the uniform, Kevin, with Weaponsman.com website still lived the Green Beret Motto: “De oppresso liber”.
In his honor, I made a small donation to the Green Beret Foundation.
Again, I am sorry for your loss, he will be missed by many.
Like others have said We have suffered a great loss…Rest In Peace Brother…You will be missed… Condolences to your family and friends…I will keep them in prayer…
Hognose – until Valhalla! *raises glass*
Condolences to your family, friends, teammates, and readers.
Requiescat in Pace
I will shoot all of my Czech guns in your honor and have a requiem Mass said for you.
My heart goes out to your family. The world was a better place because of Hognose.
Brendan,thank you for taking the time to let all here know and you,your family and friends have my condolences,sorry for the loss.
Over the years have enjoyed the articles/wit/and knowledge passed here by Hognose and fellow readers and always laughed at the Monty Python references,was a good way to start a day.
Space permitting hope to meet some of the other readers here as Hognose intentionally or not created a sort of quirky/dysfunctional family with this site and would like to perhaps meet some of you,either way,you folks are also in me thoughts in this sad time.
Hognose,enjoy the next chapter in life and may the sun be at your back and perhaps we will someday meet there,till then,take care,from the midlands of Hampster,James
Never met in person , but felt like I knew him, you will be missed ,a fellow army vet.
I’m saddened to hear of the passing of my friend and fellow SF Soldier, Kevin O’Brien. I first met him on a listserve group called the SF-List, which was a group of vetted ex-Special Forces soldiers almost 20 years ago. Though we never met face to face, we were contemporaries, serving on active duty and in the former 11th Special Forces Group in the 1980’s. I’ve always appreciated his intelligence, sense of humor, and devotion to all things SF.
Today, I grieve for the loss of my friend. See you at the final formation, Hognose…
Manuel Torres, Jr.
SSG 18D B211SFGA
A great loss
I was another daily visitor to his blog
He will be missed
Condolences to the family
Pet the dog for me
Our prayers are with your family.
Until we can rally up in Valhalla, blessings and thanks for everything you did for all of us in this life.
May his soul, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Brendan, and your family,
Please accept my condolences, I am truly sorry for your, and our loss. As one with a beloved brother, I can only imagine the grief that you are experiencing.
By his own words, Kevin has a Savior, and in this I am comforted, and hope that the following will provide a resting place for you as well:
“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep…Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep…And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
Thank you to all who gathered at this place.
Fight the good fight. Keep the faith.
I think that Kevin would want us to.
Brendan, I am so sorry for your loss and please accept my condolences.
Your brother touched many people through his excellent blog and writing, which I discovered a few years ago and was a daily stop, though I seldom made any comments. I am sad that I never met him, as I had always expected to do so at trade show or one of the other places us “gun people” gravitate towards. His blog was and is an excellent resource on a number of topics related to arms and their use, and your brother’s writing pointed me towards many other things that were useful professionally and were intriguing and entertaining personally.
We are all diminished by the passing of such a great man.
Words alone cannot express……….
My deepest condolences.
Brendan & the O’Briens,
I never met Hognose, but his voice was a part of my daily life for about a year and a half. He made my little slice of planet Earth brighter when I found this blog, and that little slice is now dimmer with his passing. I can’t imagine what he must have meant to you and how you must be hit by his death. He was a special man, one for the ages. You have my greatest condolences.
Brendan, so very sorry for the loss of your brother.
I’d implore you to keep this blog active, even if you don’t post anything more. This blog has a LOT of great information that is useful to a lot of people. I think Kevin would want that.
My condolences to Brendan and Kevin’s entire family. He will be missed.
I still remember the first post I read here, The Big Lie About Wanat. I’ve been a daily reader since. Thank you, Kevin.
I came back here this morning half hoping it was a bad dream. I wish it had been.
After reading the comments I now realize I mourn the loss of the community of the comment section almost as much as I mourn the world’s loss of Kevin.
I have posted some words about Kevin over at my website, I would send a link but I think Kevin’s blog holds comments with links. You can find it on the top first page. I know its a poor dim substitute but I do offer it’s comment section for any of Kevin’s readers to come to comment on weaponsman and Hog if you feel the need or if this site goes offline. Or even if you just want to have one place where you can all touch base with one another in the future.
If any of you with or without your own website , want to write some words of tribute to Kevin I welcome them. Comment or please send me a link to any posts you make on your own websites or blogs so I can add it in. I will add any comments to the main post as well.. I would like to keep it up as a permanent tribute to our friend regardless of the future of weaponsman staying live. Feel free to also click on my name above to email me directly.
That offer is open to all commenters here, email me anytime for any reason
Take care my friends, if we don’t interact again. Thanks to all of you for making this comment section great and thanks to Kevin for facilitating it.
Amen; this is an awesome (in the current and original senses of the word) community. Thank you for making and offering a space, Shawn.
(Ironically, I am blocked on this work computer “Web Page Blocked. Category: weapons” while Weaponsman.com sails right through. Will try later.)
I’m so sorry to hear this Brendan. Kevin’s blog was always a daily must read for me. Rest In Peace Hog Nose. I’m sure he has a seat at the table in Valhalla.
Thank you Brendan for handling this with such grace. This is deeply saddening to the many who are better for your brother’s enthusiasm, sardonic wit and candor. If a man be judged by what he’s left behind then the Hognose legacy is secure. (I specifically enjoyed following the aircraft build, from first rivet & his enthusiasm for all things historic aviation related.)
I am certain he has hit the softest of final DZ’s and we will all meet someday.
God bless & comfort you and yours at this time.
My condolences and heartfelt prayers for the bereaved.
For Mr. Kevin O’Brien, my prayers for the repose of his immortal soul.
May we all gather again at the river that flows by the throne of God.
I had feared the worst and hoped for the best. My sincerest thanks and condolences to Kevin’s family for keeping us informed.
As other have mentioned, this blog was only one of his many accomplishments, written with intelligence and wit. This has created a special community.
Perhaps best said by GEN Patton “let us thank God that such men lived.”
My thoughts are with the family and friends of our late host.
Little, very little to add. I’m one of the “only-through-electrons” crowd. Captured instantly by Hog’s writing, expanding curiosity and top-notch content, I find myself now devastated by the loss of a man I have never met, whose face I don’t know, and has never been closer to me than a few thousand miles. I can’t think of a better indication of true greatness.
About the blog, it is absolutely your call, Brendan, but as many others have already said, keeping it online, even without new content and with comments closed, would be a true monument and testament to the many virtues of your brother. The Ancient Greeks said that there were only three ways of becoming inmortal. To do something people will still talk about after one is no longer was one of them. The humor and the knowledge in this blog will be talked about long long after. I’m sure of that.
I’ll miss the daily rutine of “gathering-speed” while taking breakfast and reading this blog (comments included).
Take care, everybody.
We love you Hognose
I always thought that Hognose best exemplified the SF tradition of bringing knowledge to others in furtherance of their goals. I was in tears this morning reading about a man I don’t know, but whom I’ll surely miss.
I’ve always eschewed sports and found that my heroes were the learned people I’ve come across. I always felt that Hognose was a superstar in my book.
Brendan, you were blessed by a truly remarkable brother and I’m sorry for your heartache.
Goodbye teacher, I’ll miss you.
Brendan, you and your family have my deepest condolences for your loss.
I very much enjoyed Kevin’s writing and perspective on the world, as well as his knowledge of firearms. He will be missed.
Please, will the commenters here that have blogs of their own, posts links to them? We’ve lost Hognose, I would like to at least continue to read similar material and still feel ‘connected’ to Hognose. Thank you.
Sad, sad day.
The link is to hover over my name, above. Takes you straight to my site.
Same for anyone who puts a website in their signature.
clicking over our names will usually be a way to see a link to any websites. If memory serves, Kevin’s comment section will put any comment with a link, into a moderation that he approved before it would show up. Attempted posting of a direct link now would certainly be fruitless as BlogBrother will probably not know how to approve it or likely the time and interest in doing so most understandably.
+1. Looserounds dot com offered to host this function/community for now. As weaponsman has to moderate links, you’re best served to have this convo at another forum. I too am very interested in this.
My blog is largely defunct (link in name, as with Aesop) but I think I’ll be taking up the pen again after this, even if to write on somewhat different topics than Hognose usually did.
Crap, how can losing someone I’ve only ever talked to on the internet sting so badly?
Yes, I feel likewise. This blog was expertly curated on the content front, but the editorial commentary cannot be replaced… All too often, I’d learn something elsewhere on the interwebs and come directly here to get the Hognose truth.
While we can’t replace Kevin, I think we could could pull together something that aggregates similar content and allows the community to continue to interact.
Truly, the community that Hognose cultivated was as much if not more of a testament to his quality than the actual content itself.
Well, I usually go by a nickname and I try to keep these separate, but regulars can probably identify me by my convoluted style anyway.
My short tribute is linked above. In German, which would not be any trouble for Kevin to understand. 😉
I guess there is not much I can add to the comments here. Hognose, we already miss you, and I will miss the community here. Since I see a risk of this page going dark or no more comments being possible, anyone that finds themselves in Austria (that is the place in Europe that does NOT have Kangaroos) should please drop me a line at simon-fowler AT hotmail dot com. I can’t pretend to the knowledge or experience that our host here displayed, but I can at least offer a welcome and a beer.
i was afraid it was something like this…
To Absent Comrades
I was saddened to hear of Kevin’s untimely death. He was a great resource and I thoroughly enjoyed his writing. Even had a few conversations with him about the Alaska Territorial Guard of WW2 and Muktuk Marston. You never know how long you or your friends and family will be around, so you value them, as they become part of who you are.
I also want to say that I appreciate you, Mr. O’Brien his brother, that despite your loss, kept Kevin’s blog going to inform all of us of his passing.
A toast to a life well lived.
Damn. Fare thee well Brother.
I had the privilege of email contact with Brendan so I’ve been able to express my condolences; but only partially have been able to express the profound sense of loss we all are expressing here. I do hope that we as a “community” – in the best sense of the word – can somehow carry on a small part of Kevin’s work; I for one would feel that it would be something to salvage out of this terrible loss.
I would also add my plea to keep the site up if at all possible; this place is a treasure.
He will be missed greatly.
Been coming here for a long time, part of my daily activities since 2012. I didn’t know him personally, but did converse with Hognose on occasion. I loved his writing and sly humor and he was a wealth of knowledge that is now lost. Not gonna lie, it sucks that he’s gone. God Bless you Kevin, you will be sorely missed by all.
Brendan, thanks for the update and my condolences to you and your family.
Rest in Peace WeaponsMan, you’ve earned it.
Concur on the preservation of WM blog in perpetuity as a memorial.
As a contingency plan, in case Brendan O’Brien chooses to discontinue, perhaps because of password lockout, could the blogtech savvy amongst us immediately seek to mirror this site in total. Multiple copies couldn’t hurt! We can sort out the details later; just save it all. The family are likely hit harder than all us visitors combined, and will have plenty to do as well, so let’s look after a fallen leader and giant among men as he deserves and do the best for his loved ones as well….by not burdening them or seeming to steal Hognose’s intellectual property. Copyright it all in his name: Kevin R. C. O’Brien (he commented under that name over at Forgotten Weapons spot kom).
Also, to maintain comms in case or when this thread closes, could we choose a WM centric location to keep the WM location alive, to settle the details and let his work stand, and for his blogfolk to continue a fellowship?
Working on Blog capture as I type. I concur that multiple copies would be nice if others wish to help out.
I’m at a loss for words on Kevin’s passing. Tears are now dry, but I still have a heavy heart over the loss. Condolences to all who knew him personally and digitally, especially his Father and BlogBrother. I’m certain Small Dog Mk.I and Mk. II will miss him much, but none of us gets out of this alive. I hope to meet the man that I came to respect so much over the years of reading his fantastic blog when my time is up as well.
Brendan, if you need any help with technical aspects of things regarding Kevin’s passwords or systems, please don’t hesitate to ask as I’m sure I’m not the only geek that comes here. I too came here multiple times daily and looked forward to reading this site like no other site I visited, to read what ol’ Hognose had to say! As others have stated, he was definitely a Renaissance Man!
He will be GREATLY missed!
RIP Warrior! I’ll raise more than one glass to you this evening.
I don’t know what I can add here, because so many others have expressed exactly how I feel. I think it is a real testimony to Kevin as a person that all of us feel a deep sense of loss at his passing, even if we knew him only through his WeaponsMan blog. I visited the site 2 or 3 times a day, looking for his latest post and knowing it would always entertain and enlighten. His opinions were strong, well-reasoned, well-stated, consistent and well-defended. He did not suffer fools, criminals, government incompetence (but perhaps I repeat myself) and those who would take away our rights. His sense of humor was dark and delicious. He was the best type of teacher, always conveying information – even some very technical information – in a way that was entertaining and memorable. I really liked the man I came to know through his writings on this page, and wish I could’ve enjoyed a cold one with him after a day spent shooting.
Thank you for your service, Kevin, both in the Army and after. To your family, I can only offer my humblest condolences.
I believe there is a heaven, and I will make it a point to meet up with Kevin if I make it there myself someday.
Thank you Hognose, and Rest In Peace. Mission accomplished.
To the family and friends, my condolences. He was truly a bright light in a world often in shadow, and will be missed by many.
A great mind is gone, and the world is a little bit of a lesser place because of his passing.
Rest in Peace
Like so many here, this blog was part of my daily routine. And in an internet spilling over with bleating sheep, what higher tribute could we offer to the man?
Some get off the train early, and some ride to the end of the line. But eventually we all reach our stop.
My condolences, the world is a poorer place, and heaven now richer. I hope you finish the plane, I think he’d like that.
I am going to miss the daily writings of this great guy, Hognose. Never met the man, but happened upon his web site about six months ago, and loved it ever since.
My condolences to the Hognose family. RIP, Hognose.
I have been reading since nearly day one and can honestly say I wouldn’t be the same man I am today without this blog. Kevin’s writing has influenced every aspect of my life.
Hognose, thru his incredible ability to write, made me feel as though we have been enjoying a long friendship. I am sad at this passing. I am sure he is over the “rainbow bridge” playing with all the animals on his way to a seat at the table in Valhalla.
My sincerest condolences to his family.
I never met him and only knew him from his writing on this blog but I am absolutely saddened by this news. My deepest condolences to his family. The world lost a good man.
Nothing I can utter will do justice to the pain which Mr. O’Briens family is enduring. May he rest in the loving arms of God. I will sincerely miss his wit, and writ. Semper Fidelis from a Marine who enjoyed this page and the information, knowledge, humor, stories, and tales told here.
I served with your brother in 10th SFG. When I heard the news I took the children to Church to pray for the repose of his immortal soul. It is said that God loves a solider. And your brother was certainly a very, very good one.
Richard W Comerford
I can’t add anything to the eloquent and heartfelt comments above. We won’t see his like again.
My deepest sympathy to Kevin’s family and friends.
I am so sorry for you and your family’s loss. I truly enjoyed his sharing and kindness.
My deepest condolences to the family. I enjoyed his writing and his humor immensely. I will miss him, and I never even met him. Some people can leave a mark without a physical presence. Kevin O”Brien was such a person.
I second What others have said about keeping the blog up…
I know the family is much preoccupied at the moment but if the more tech savvy among us could figure out a way to save the blog that would be wonderful…
I really do feel like I have lost a friend even though I never met him.
You have my sincere sympathy for your sudden loss. I checked his blog daily for at least 2 years now and enjoyed his writing and variety of topics. A fellow New Englander. Im sorry for your loss.
Please accept my condolences for the loss of a brother, true patriot, scholar, and amazing wordsmith.
I just wanted to check back in and to say I would be honored to contribute to the cost of sustaining Hogs Blog on the web. The content and quality of his prose is too valuable to our kind of folks to lose forever.
If Brendan wants to crowdfund I’ll be there; though I’d need some authentication somehow. Unfortunately there are carrion everywhere.
I will miss reading Weaponsman. The loss of Hognose makes the internet, and the world, poorer.
I pray that he is now happily at home with the Lord.
I am so sorry for your loss. I only knew his writing, but read daily – he brought unconventional insight and expertise to guns, movies and politics. I will miss him.
May God rest his soul.
The comments reflect so clearly what a man Hognose was. My condolences to his family , and thank you for keeping us posted . This blog has been a daily read for me, there was always something new to learn from a man who had wit and intellect.
My condolences to you and your family Brendan. Thank you for keeping us up to date with everything you must be going through.
Kevin was a good and gracious host with an amazing energy to make wonderful things, despite our imperfect world, and share them with complete strangers. I’m glad to have met him, if only virtually. He, and his example, will be sorely missed.
I never met Kevin, i only knew him through this blog. His writing and the community he built up were the highlight of my day. Every day. When i first discovered this blog several years ago i went from the very beginning and read every article, until about half way when i realised the comments were as valuable and interesting as the posts. It was not a chore to go back to the start and begin again, this time not so half assed.
The quality of writing, knowledge and mastery of snark shone through in nearly all of Hognose’s articles, as another commenter phrased it, he didn’t always write about things i was interested in, but i was always interested in what he had to say.
To the O’Brien’s, i am so sorry for your loss. If those of us who only knew Hognose from his blog are so deeply affected by his loss, I can barely imagine what the family is going through. I feel the world is diminished, Hognose….. I salute you, and thank you for having had such an effect on my life. I mourn someone i knew only through his writing, and yet still, i mourn.
I’m so sorry for your loss. I did not know Kevin personally, but loved this blog – by far the greatest weapons blog on the internet. I will miss his take on current events, weapons related and otherwise. Rest in peace, Hognose.
From the Havamal,
Cattle die, kinsmen die,
one day you die yourself;
but the words of praise will not perish
when a man wins fair fame.
I think Mr. Kevin O’Brien accomplished that.
RIP Kevin, and thank you.
RIP Kevin O’Brien
De Oppresso Liber
My condolences. We have lost someone magnificent.
– Murphy Magnet
Deepest condolences to you and your family.
I only knew your brother through this blog.
It was a daily read for me for quite sometime.
Your brother’s humor and knowledge kept me entertained and taught me many things.
I know he will be missed by your family and his his brothers in arms.
Men like Kevin are encountered far too infrequently and lost far too soon. Thank you, for everything. RIP.
Brendan, thank you for taking the time to share with us about your brother.
To the entire O’Brien family, and Kevin’s friends I give my condolences for your loss.
I too only knew Hognose through his writings here, and I remain deeply humbled at both the breadth and depth of the knowledge that he so freely shared. Our time here is limited and for him to give so freely of his to share with us is a gift I’ll always be grateful of. I truly considered him a mentor.
I’ll also continue blatantly stealing and using some of his excellent turns of phrase in conversation, so as to appear more eloquent than I actually are in actuality.
I would also be remiss not mention that the contributions of the regular posters added even more to the content here.
Here’s to Hognose!!! (including, but not limited to this small portion of a life lived large that touched so many.)
RIP Hognose. I will raise a glass to you tonight and keep you in my prayers . For a man I never met, I sure will miss him.
Brendan: my deepest sympathy and condolences to you and your family.
Another good man gone.
Before we go our separate ways, let us take leave of our brother/sister. May our farewell express our affection for him/her; may it ease our sadness and strengthen our hope. One day we shall joyfully greet him/her again when the love of Christ, which conquers all things, destroys even death itself.
Thank you Kevin. Praying that The Kid makes it through ok. My own Dad isn’t much older than you. Guess I’ll have to do my own Gerald Bull research now.
Brendan, if you figure out a way to keep an archive of this site, I’ll gladly contribute what I can to make that happen. There’s too much here to let fade away.
I was so, so sad to hear about Kevin’s passing. Even though I only knew him through his blog postings and the occasional personal email correspondence, I felt like he was a part of my life and it was a blow to know that he’s now gone. I always saved his blog posts until the evening to read because I wanted to be able to enjoy them at leisure and really give them the attention and focus they deserved.
His intellect and wit and sheer breadth of knowledge about well….*everything* were simply amazing. Even in areas where I thought I knew a lot and and was at least aware of all there was to know he could still surprise me and point me in completely new directions. Even his little throw-away comments had jokes and obscure references embedded in them.
I truly enjoyed his writing along with his little reveals of his daily life and hints at his past exploits. He had the ability to make nearly everything he wrote about – no matter how obscure or mundane – interesting and insightful in some way. Now his interests overlapped quite a bit with my own but he was simply gifted and could make even the details of aluminum corrosion and the trials and tribulations of riveting airplane struts interesting and educational and just fun to read. I especially enjoyed his deep dives into esoteric subjects that I knew almost nothing about beforehand. Not only was it an educational exploration of the unknown but his passion and deep knowledge about the subject made it a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I’d like to think my many links to his posts from Ace of Spades over the years helped in some small way to introduce his great talent to a wider audience.
There are some people who you feel had a specific purpose in life, achieved it, and then passed on with certain sense of completeness and resolution to their lives. Not so with Kevin – I feel like he still had so many adventures and wonderful surprises left within him to share with us all as well as further contributions to his country and comrades ahead of him. So his loss hurts. And I say this as someone who only knew him via a few electrons and characters displayed on a screen.
Brendan, thank you for giving us all this chance to remember Kevin. I know it must be a difficult time for you and you’ve probably got a lot of things on your plate, so I do appreciate your taking a moment to give all his blog friends this opportunity. It would be a shame for all his knowledge, wit and research to be eventually lost to the internet so if you need any assistance at all in maintaining his blog in some form, please do not be shy about asking us for it.
When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have the sudden death of your favorite writer.
I will miss his writing. But others who knew him outside his online presence will miss him more.
My heartfelt condolences to you all. I too have a deep sense of loss at his passing.
I have only recently become familiar with his efforts but they are superb. Kevin’s passing leaves a void that cannot be easily filled, but might be eased somewhat by preserving and publishing selected essays ( or ALL of them) in hard copy or downloadable files.
This is not the time, I know, but something to think about as a memorial to his life’s work and a great benefit to those of us who were blessed to have read him, greater even for those who have not yet.
Bless all your family. May peace ease your loss.
Did anyone happen to download and keep a copy of the Hognose – Mother’s Brother podcast from back in May of last year? It’s no longer hosted at the original source online, but was available for download at the time I listened. Was a great chat, and I was wanting to give it another listen. Thank you.
From Aero News Dot Net intro bio in 2004:
Kevin O’Brien (otherwise known for various sordid reasons as “Hognose”), is a multi-talented individual who grew up in a flying family. Medically disqualified from flying in the military, he wound up jumping out of planes instead and qualified for Special Forces by the simple expedient of dating the gal that ran the opthalmology lab. Yeah, there was training and stuff, but the hardest part was getting a guy for whom the big “E” was a blur, certified at 20/20. It’s typical of Hognose that his solution was unconventional, contravened numerous regulations (he thought Tony Kern’s Darker Shades of Blue: the Rogue Pilot was a bio of him), and was plenty of fun at the same time.
After leaving the Army in 1987, he stayed in the Reserves and Guard while having a number of entertaining professions. He taught school, wrote manuals and designed interfaces for a machine tool company, learned network engineering, participated in a few startups, made and lost a fortune. He sits on corporate boards and still is hanging on in the Guard, which rewarded him with an all-expenses-almost-paid trip to Afghanistan in 2002/2003. “One weekend a month, my eye,” he says… The deployment drove a stake in the heart of his own network design company, so now he’s trying to decide what to do when he grows up. Until then, working with ANN will just have to do…
Rest in peace, brother. You have earned it.
My prayers and condolences for family, friends and those whose lives Kevin touched.
His wit and wisdom will be sorely missed.rest in peace sir
We are diminished
It wasn’t just what he wrote, it was how he wrote it. He appears to be a man of many gifts. I’ve learned a lot, and enjoyed it tremendously. From one veteran to another, thank you, Brother, and Godspeed.
To Brendan O’Brien and the rest of the family: my deepest condolences. I’m shocked how saddened I am at the loss of a man I never actually met. I can’t imagine your pain. You will all be in my prayers and the prayers of my family.
I found this blog three years ago and I found that I couldn’t stop reading: his own special combination of erudition, insightful humor and snappy prose was addictive to people who love words. The subject didn’t matter because it was always interesting. His humanity was icing on the cake.
Some pseudo-intellectuals seek to pose and make themselves look like the smartest man in the room. Weaponsman couldn’t be more different than those phonies and bore the mark of a truly great intellect: Reading him always made me feel smarter.
My condolences to your family. No words can ever heal that wound, only time can.
Thank you. I have learned much from you. You will be missed.
the internet has void at the loss of hognose. he was truly a renaissance man, he posts were always extremely well done and informative. this blog is blog I looked most forward to every day for last 3 years. his combination of engineering, history, and weapons had no match. The comments were also very educational.
i know I will miss him, I pray that he may find his home with the lord.
May the Lord reward you for your valiant service and deeds hognose.
May God treasure his soul. He was a daily read for me and a great one. I was US Army before him, but his breadth of experience was outstanding. He will be prayed for as well as missed.
BTW – thanks for the update on Small Dog Mk II (aka Zac). Glad to hear he is living with folks who will love him.
So shocked. My deepest condolences to the O’Brien family and all of those loves he touched. Nothing is tougher than an unexpected death.
His words and knowledge of warfare, weapons, and wisdom are frankly unmatched anywhere else I’ve seen online. They will life on and through that many people have been educated, entertained and enlightened.
God bless. To all the Rangers in the sky.
I hope you don’t mind but here is a picture of Kevin for those of the group that have never met him. Hopefully it doesnt get trapped in moderation…
De Opresso Liber
Thanks very much for finally letting me see the guy I never met.
Like a lot of his colleagues, he definitely put the “Special” in Special Forces.
Thank you for posting this. Somehow it helps to have a better image of him reclining with SD Mk II, puttering around Hog Manor, tak-takking at the keyboard and working on his Ghost Gunner.
A good honest smile.
The smile, and the kind of squinty eyes. Yep, this was one of us. Maybe the best one.
Thank you for this picture. It’s nice to put a face. To our missing friend
RIP Kevin. May his family friends find comfort. His sharp intellect and the manner in which he was able to share it will be sorely missed. Peace.
The world is a smaller place without Hognose.
Long ago, in the comments section, I joked with Hognose saying ‘If we ever meet in person, I have a strong strange feeling that we’ll both say ‘Oh, it’s YOU”. 🙂
Almost certain of it now, it’s a damn shame I never got to the NE with free time to track him down.
‘If only I’d known’…in 2003 I was carrying a fairly rare French (Manhurin) short barreled .357 (a gift from French SOF) in a nonstandard location and fashion. I know he eyed it more than once, if I’d known his mind at the time I’d have been tempted to let him have it. It sounds crazy, but it isn’t.
And I ‘got him’ perfectly. Escaped from the same asylum apparently.
Not Army SF nor nor Army Ranger, so can’t rightly send him off with ‘DOL’ or ‘RLTW’.
I’ll just say ‘See you on the beach’.
RIP, Kevin O’Brien…
I don’t comment here very often, but read every word. I am very saddened by this, and wish his family well. His character really shone through in his writing, and seeing as he and I were the same age, it was fun to hear the stories of his adventures (and frustrations) as he (and I) grew older. More to the point, I shall really miss the Great Tome that he was putting together on Czech arms. I’m not into them particularly, but he really sparked my interest!
His passing is a great loss to us all, I’m afraid, and he shall be greatly missed.
RIP, Kevin O’Brien. God bless your family at this time. Learned a lot from you here, we are diminished by your passing.
I first encountered Kevin’s writings on rec.aviation.homebuilt on Usenet back in the 90s. The world is simply a lesser place without him.
Blue Skies Kevin.
You will be missed but never forgotten.
See you in Valhalla!
I’m thunderstuck. Crushed. I’ve been coming here every day for years. A renaissance man indeed. He was ever-mindful that all people are mortal, including himself-it was only about a week ago that he gave me pause by reminding everyone that every gun in our collection will one day be owned by someone else-but I thought it was Small Dog Mk. II we had to worry about, not Hognose.
Ave atque vale. The world sucks more without you.
Wednesday Weapons Website Of The Week posted at my site, with deepest respect.
(This post was a whisker late for the Wednesday time hack. Which Hognose, of all people, would certainly understand.)
I have been accumulating bookmarks from those in the comments who have websites. I have been getting error messages with respect to your address.
I thought it was just a case of having a www in front of the URL which is a subdomain.blogspot and should therefore have an http followed by :// before the subdomain part of the URL. But it’s not coming up on another browser either, not even by searching for ” raconteur report blogspot ” (sans quotes) and then clicking on the links. Several URL’s pop up when searching, but none have lead to a functioning website.
Here’s what works for me:
http colonslashslash raconteurreport dot blogspot dot com
That’s the site, exactly.
Darn it. Sorry to hear of his passing. This is place is on the short list of web sites that I visited that actually add some value, and are worth my time. As a retired Marine I can say that during my many tours over in Iraq and Afghanistan I worked with a lot of SOF dudes in various capacities. I was always most impressed with the Special Forces operators. They had a level of intelligence, realism, and maturity that was hard to beat. Those traits were definitely evident in this blog.
Aesop, Bayou Rennaissance Man, Looserounds and others have covered better than I ever could the loss of this incredible man. Most of us only knew him electronically, yet his writing drew you in and you felt you knew him. Beyond his breadth of knowledge and superb writing, he was both kind and patient. I can only imagine the loss his family feels. My condolences.
I also feel the loss of community; I visited Hognose’s site at least twice a day, and read all the comments. I hope someone can keep this community and blog alive as a monument to Hognose.
My sincere condolences to Mr. O’Brien’s family and close friends. I enjoyed every minute I spent on his site, and the world is poorer for his absence.
RIP. I cannot add much to what has already been said. Condolences to the family.
I too will miss him. Blue skies and tailwinds Kevin.
He will be missed by people who never met him and never knew his name, that takes some doing. You have to be a good man for that to happen.
I think no one will mind me saying but we all hope Small Dog (sorry I can not bring myself to use his real name) has a very long and happy life ahead of him.
Your writing reminds me of Kevin’s. You have some skills yourself.
Prayers out to you and your family.
I will miss my daily visits here, sometimes several times per day, looking for new pearls from Kevin. he truly was a master of writing, knowledge (of a plethora of topics), and humanity (witness Small Dog Mk II’s rescue and treatment, including last week’s. Each post was well crafted and remarkable.
If there is a way to save this site, I believe that it would be a fitting memorial to his too brief time on this planet and a great source to future readers. I would encourage you to do so.
Godspeed, Kevin O’Brien. Thank you for your service and your sacrifice. You will not be forgotten.
“Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees.”
De Oppresso Liber.
The outpouring of support and condolences from the community here speak volumes about the man who hosted this community.
Brendan and Mr. O’Brien, may you find comfort in this time of bereavement and beyond as well. Now you know what an impact Kevin had, as the expressions here are only partial. I’m sure that he touched lives in many ways beyond the pages of this blog as well.
How can a man feel such sadness and loss, due to the loss of a man only known through his writings?
Once again, I learn something new from Hognose at WeaponsMan.
Condolences to his family and many friends and readers.
RIP, Kevin. Enjoy that seat at the table in Valhalla — you earned it.
Very sorry to hear of the loss. My condolences to the family. He will be missed. This was/is one of my favorite sites
I hardly knew you but ave atque vale to a true Renaissance Gentleman, you will be sorely missed
Hognose will be deeply missed. This blog has been a constant in my daily life over the last few years and, even though I never met Kevin, I will deeply miss him. My deepest condolences to Kevin’s family and personal friends.
I confess that I am still in shock at Brendan’s news. It now seems clear that Hognose was ever conscious of the fleeting nature of this life, and his examinations of various aspects of his mortality gave much to consider. His recent article on what to do with one’s guns after one’s death, and of course the regular examples of how the most innocent things can result in one’s demise, made me suspect he was giving serious consideration to this most common experience.
The eloquence and clarity of the entries here have left very little unsaid that is needful. I will only add that I will regret this loss for the balance of my own days, even as I had not the honour of meeting the man in person. I will miss the clear, well-defined and -organised writing, the sheer volume of interesting information, and the oft-repeated reminders to say what you need to say, for tomorrow might be too late.
You just never know.
My condolences to the family are heartfelt. Blessings to you all in this time of sorrow.
Brendan, I can’t add much to all that has been said. I only knew your brother through this site, despite growing up just up the road from him on the NH Seacoast. I found Weaponsman during a slow deployment to Guantanamo Bay in 2015, and never missed a post over the following two years. This was a special place. Your brother’s erudition, wit, and humanity shone through in every post. From what he told us and from what you have written, he lived a full life, even though cut short. My prayers are with him, you, and his family and friends. If you can keep this place up in perpetuity, I would be honored to contribute. This site is an incredible resource and a monument to your brother. I hope future soldiers, historians, gunsmiths, and backyard plinkers can have access to it.
Very very sorry for your loss. Only knew Kevin through the blog, but he always responded to comments and in that I feel like I got to know the man just a tiny bit.
He will be missed.
Pray for healing for the family.
It has taken me this long to comment. Surprising that the passing of a man I never met has affected me so strongly. Rest in peace, Kevin. You are truly missed.
I too have typed and retyped words of condolence to Hognose’s family and friends… However, they continue to fall short.
Regardless, sending my sincerest sympathies and condolences for your loss. Both online and off, Kevin was a giant — a true servant leader in so many roles.
What finally prompted this comment was a single sentence in Jack Donovan’s “The Way of Men” (1st paperback edition, page 79) that succinctly describes the significance of his loss that so many of us feel: “Men of ideas and men of action have much to learn from each other, and the truly great are men of both action and abstraction.”
Hognose was truly one of those great men.
Dammit. There goes a man I really liked.
I’m sorry for your loss, Brendan.
But just look how many people just got together here to pay their respects. He did something right, didn’t he?
I agree with what everyone else has said (which just WEIRD). Got the news after I missed a very important connecting flight in the airport, I went back to the beginning of the blog and started the whole thing in order. Instead of an excruciating 6 hour wait I had the pleasure of a hilarious and brilliant read, crackling with wit and references I felt no one else would get, and and read close to try to spot the ones I’m sure I missed.
I can only imagine how people who actually knew him must feel.
I too echo many of the sentiments expressed here. I never met your brother. But I feel his absence as a great loss to this planet. I’m a retired spook – not military. But they are somewhat similar clubs in that they force you to live in the realist of worlds. His voice spoke from that space with extreme wit, pathos, eloquentness and brilliant, coded humor. I have many times used his blog posts to bring naïve friends and relatives to more rational political and philosophical positions.
I am strongly moved. I am sad. But one day I hope to shake his hand and thank him personally. Prayers for your family.
I also am surprised at how much the passing of a man whom I’d never met affects me. Brendan, I’m sorry for your family’s loss. This blog was not only a wealth of knowledge to me, but a frequent, if not daily part of my life. The conversations amongst the commenters here were a uniquely civil and informed slice of the internet.
I would happily make a contribution to keep the blog up and accessible.
And in the nights of winter,
When the cold north winds blow,
And the long howling of the wolves
Is heard amidst the snow;
When round the lonely cottage
Roars loud the tempest’s din,
And the good logs of Algidus
Roar louder yet within;
When the oldest cask is opened,
And the largest lamp is lit;
When the chestnuts glow in the embers,
And the kid turns on the spit;
When young and old in circle
Around the firebrands close;
When the girls are weaving baskets,
And the lads are shaping bows;
When the goodman mends his armor,
And trims his helmet’s plume;
When the goodwife’s shuttle merrily
Goes flashing through the loom;
With weeping and with laughter
Still is the story told,
How well Horatius kept the bridge
In the brave days of old.’
My heart sank when I heard. I only knew of this good man through his writing on this blog and I saw wisdom, genuineness and a level head. It is the only blog I ever cared to read, even the comments, and respond at times. It was primarily about weapons, but for me, that provided a context and circumstance. Kevin created something much deeper that draws from a unique and very small blend of men in our country…those who are often forgotten by the masses yet so necessary. I prayerfully hope someone like-minded will pick up the mantel.
May the peace of Lord give comfort and grace to his family and friends through this terrible loss. My prayer are with you.
Brendan, my condolences to the family and family friends.
Goodbye, Hognose, my FRiend. I’ll keep up the fight.