Hi guys. Sorry I haven’t written in a while, but I do want to let you know that your last chance to RSVP for Kevin’s Celebration of Life is this Sunday, June 4th. We have to provide a final count to Abenaqui the following day. The Celebration itself is Sunday, June 11.
RSVP by sending an email, subject line “RSVP”, with the number in your party, to [email protected].
Many people have RSVPed and I am looking forward to meeting you (them?) all. I will be sending out emails to the RSVPers in the next few days with details.
There will be future blog posts concerning a) the future of the blog, b) a scholarship that has been established in Kevin’s name, c) his unpublished material (there’s a lot of it!), d) his final resting place and e) anything else that comes up. I have ideas for all these things except e), which is an unknown unknown, as Donald Rumsfeld might say. I will be interested in your input!
Blogging was a full-time profession for Kevin, but I have an entirely different full-time job that requires a lot of attention, that’s why you haven’t heard a lot from me lately.
As always, thanks and love to the Weaponsman community.
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.
39 thoughts on “Last Chance to RSVP!”
I cannot be there but I and I am sure many others would appreciate any pictures or video from this tribute to Kevin. There is much in his life to celebrate so go for it. Larry
I’d love to see the eulogy, if nothing else.
Me too. I’m sure it was touching and did Kevin Justice
I’m also sorry I cannot attend, have enjoyed Kevin’s writing very much. Thoughts and prayers especially to those left behind, may we all meet on the sunlit uplands.
ex-pat from NH
Thanks for keeping us updated, any need for airport ride can get in touch with me,or,your in N.H. and car broken down ect.(I have lined up a backup car).I look forward to meeting those who can attend celebrating Kevin’s life and perhaps a group shot or something for those of you who can’t make it in person.
I am sorry that I will not be able to attend.
thank you for updating us and am looking forward to the answers to those questions.
I’ll be trumping through the woods on a National Guard exercise. Surely Hognose would understand. I’d like any information on the scholarship foundation in regards to Donations and such.
Thank you, Brendan.
FYI, the scholarship is the
Kevin O’Brien Memorial Scholarship
at Worcester State U. in Worcester, MA.
When funded, it will be an annual $1000 award to “a full-time undergraduate student who has demonstrated the ability to work hard to achieve goals”.
You can contact the Worcester State Foundation for further information at 888-972-2586.
There’s also a point of contact for estate planning for the university:
jane dot grant at Worcester dot edu
Wish I could. If i still lived in the DC area, I would be all about making the trip. bit harder when i live in Idaho. Thanks for the update Brendan.
Wishing you and your family the best for Kevin’s Celebration of Life.
I am sure that it will be a celebration of his life from many people who have met, either in person or online, and developed a friendship with Kevin.
I am sorry that I cannot attend, but he and your family are in our thoughts.
Bush in Oz.
Will be thinking of you and your family tomorrow, and raising a glass for the best of the best.
I regret that I couldn’t make it as my own Mother had a heart procedure scheduled the Monday after. My thoughts where in the events all weekend though.
Well, I went to the range today and fired a 100 round salute through my Czech made CZ452 rifle in honour of a good man. Shot some good groups, too. Now sipping some very old Glenmorangie, and reading some old WM, both of which are excellent.
I miss the daily WM posts more than I can say. Best wishes to Kevin’s family, and all WM readers and contributors.
I’m lurking on Shawn’s Looserounds and Aesops blog. Both are highly recommended.
Thinking of you all at the celebration – just like LSWCHP, I’m scrolling through some old posts. Struck by how much I came for the firearms, and stayed for the wit (both from Kevin and the regular commenters).
Was a very nice memorial,a good turnout of nice folks.I bolted after the meal and the tales of Kevins life both in the military and childhood,will let others who are better with the written word share the moments,if none want to will elaborate,some good laughs!I had to leave fairly quick as falling behind a bit on a job with renters due in a few weeks,as weather nicer can get back on schedule,will get back in a day or two,and lets all remember to keep Shawn’s moms in our thoughts for a quick and healthy recovery from this Mondays procedure.
Thanks for the update, James.
Ok,have gotten to a mental place were can give a little more about the remembrance of Kevin.Am dog tired as last night thought what I had to wear would not cut it for today and drove back home over a 100 miles for the one outfit I have to look a little well dressed,got few hours sleep and 100 miles to service.The country club located in Rye is a beautiful spot about a 1/3 mile from the coast of Atlantic,really nice place.I within 10 minutes of arriving was able to meet with Brendan who made me feel welcome and at home(thanks again).While fancy I was definitely overdressed,my long travels unnecessary but better safe then sorry.We had a welcome speech,a posting/placing of the flag by a honor gaurd made up of current special forces folks,with then a reading of I Am The American Flag and a pledge of allegiance.
We then had a buffet meal,good chow and as I had not eaten in a day and a half as caught no fish where I am working fasted a bit,good food!Oh,and complimentary beer and wine for those who wished.Oh,seems Kevin had a affinity to say the least for Diet Dr. Pepper,as a lot at his home that was in theory also a available beverage choice,not sure if any took up that challenge!
With the eating done the speakers started with first Kevins dad.Mr Obrien told many stories but the one that hit home for me was when Kevin was first in day care at 2 years/9 months,he was speaking in full sentences and could read at this point.The day care run by nuns who called Kevins dad first day,seems a phone was ringing a long time at day care and Kevin(probably in frustration)spouted out” For Christ sake,would someone answer the god damned phone”,thus ending his stint there in day care!This set the tone for the rest of tales,which,will leave be for moment as others when have time may want to share.
I will mention there was a memorial table,a single chair/glass turned upside down/a rose/a lemon/salt,look up memorial table as don’t want to screw up all the symbols but in short is a table to remember those that cannot be with us.
As I said before,a nice memorial and will give others a chance to share some stories and will put up a few more in a day or two.
On a side note,think I was the only guy there not SF,know not true but a good number of SF folks from 3 generation.,Given I look like I fell off the back of a 70’s Tull or Zeppelin album cover definitely felt a little out of place, yet still welcome.
Oh gosh. I put in a link to the Wikipedia “Memorial Table” page and hung up the accompanying photo in moderation. Sorry, Brendan.
Here’s the Memorial Table.
I’ll add a few words to James’ fine account. First, I must concur that it was a lovely memorial attended by great people. Much praise to Julie and Brendan (in that order 😉 for pulling it off with such style and grace. Yesterday’s gathering at Brendan and Julie’s house was smaller in number of attendees, but also very nice. For those of you wanting photos and video I’m going to have to disappoint you. Have a few horrible (backlit, flare-y) snaps of Kevin’s uniform and the like, which I will post later if there is interest (work deadline rapidly approaching; can’t do tonight). I actually showed up with three camera bodies, a bag of glass (lenses) and two tripods, but it just felt wrong to be recording. So you lot are SOL video-wise, but not forgotten: Brendan explicitly mentioned the Weaponsman community in his talk.
Okay. June 11 was a beautiful, bright and almost painfully sunny day, and atypically warm for coastal New England, as it supposedly hit 91degF. (You metric people figure it out, ’cause Murrica! Damnit.) The Abenaqui Country Club is a beautiful verdant venue in the pretty and woodsy town of Rye, NH. Once free of the soul-less interstate, you get there on a two-lane blacktop road lined with fine homes, pink, red and purple riots of azaleas in bloom, and the odd lovely old stone church or two. At the club golfers were happily golfing away, bless their plaid and argyle little hearts; Kevin’s event was indoors (thank God) in the main hall. There were at least eight round tables of 8-10 people each, including a large SF contingent; civilian family and friends; non-SF work friends; and we few WM people, we happy few, we band of bloggers ;-). By fortunate happenstance I ended up sitting next to Aesop (who I had never met before and thus didn’t recognize). Included at our table was one of Kevin’s former commanders (LTC (Ret); and now an orthopedic surgeon!), his former team sergeant (and his wife who is an accomplished person in her own right), and a very interesting and articulate work-friend of Kevin’s. The next table over had an LTG friend, so Hognose clearly got around, rank be damned.
An honor guard of five men from Fifth Group (who came all the way from Ft Campbell), lead by their Master Sergeant, presented the colors. After a reading by Dr. LTC (not sure whether I should be giving out names) and a blessing by a Cantor, to our delight Kevin’s nearest and dearest began with the stories. Lots of stories. Suffice it to say they were funny, sometimes touching, but mostly funny. It was clear that Kevin was a man of many interests and many talents, but also a wiseass and an eccentric. In short, my favorite kind of person. Also apparently not obsessed with sartorial splendor. Heh.
Anyway, as James apparently also felt, I am still chuckling over the nursery story. So the background is that infant Kevin was often babysat by his grandparents who came direct from t’ auld sod. In particular Grandpa O’Brien was given to colorful language, including frequent use of “G-D!” (though apparently he didn’t actually curse around baby Kevin and really said “G-D”). Anyway, around 2.5 years of age, the Blogfather and Blogmother decided that Kevin should be around children of his own age for at least part of the day. They found a nice Catholic nursery run by nuns and sent future-Hognose off. Less than three hours after dropping him off, for the first time ever mind you, they got a call from Mother Superior to come and pick up Kevin as “there is no place here for your son.” The decision was not up for appeal. On arrival, they learned that all had been going well, until a phone started ringing. For some reason no one picked up the phone. After numerous rings, toddler-Kevin suddenly bellowed “Jesus H. Christ! Will someone answer the G-D phone?” So that was that. And a harbinger of things to come.
After the Blogfather, Brendan spoke next, followed by SF friends and former team mates. I saw Aesop chatting with a few of those men during the mingling/circulating phase; apparently he encouraged them to post some of the stories, so I won’t steal (and mangle) their stories in this comment, in the hopes that we’ll hear the real thing here, and soon. But suffice it to say that we heard (among many):
The Consequences of sneaking pussy into your room at DLI story;
the How to make friends outside a German discotheque story;
the Qualifying on the M79 with panache (Panache, damnit!) story;
the Hognose Way of preparing for SF Qualification (or maybe it was SFAS, I forget) story;
and many more besides.
Well, it finally wound down, and at the formal end we toasted the following toasts, which you lot may elect to join retroactively, particularly the final toast. I also want to make clear that being the sort of high-class scum that we are, at our table we were classy enough to toast with Diet Dr Pepper from Kevin’s own stash, brought by Brendan to the Abenaqui CC (in part because he can’t stand the beastly stuff, but couldn’t bear the thought of just pouring it out, as the emminently practical Blogniece suggested). So we indeed raised a glass of the pure quill for you, Geoff — your request at Aesop’s place did not go unnoticed!
1. To the United States Army: May it always be a beacon of liberty to the oppressed!
2. To the United States of America: Land of the free and home of the brave!
3. To our family and friends: May we always be surrounded by their love!
4. To Kevin O’Brien: May his spirit be with us always!
Amen to all that.
I wish you lot could have been with us physically as well, and not only in spirit. Thanks to all.
Thanks for sharing with those of us who couldn’t be there, Mike. (And likewise, James, for your second comment as well.)
Two Hognoseisms came to mind while reading your comment:
1. People from countries who have never put anyone on the moon are welcome to convert temperatures into anything they like.
2. The past is a different country. Can you imagine anyone kicking a toddler out of preschool for half-cussing in 2017?
Prayers for Kevin’s family continue. I still miss him, so I can’t imagine the hole in their lives.
Don’t sell Little Hognose short: he was full-on cussing, and used the words properly, in context, and in grammatically correct full sentences!
‘Twas a wonderful occasion, and over far too soon.
A bare few hours was hardly enough to do justice to his memory, but what time left short, enthusiasm supplied in surplus. We should all live our lives so as to be as well-regarded as Hognose once we’re gone.
And I did pitch hard to get some of the speakers to commit their recollections to print in the near future, for posting on this site. I hope it happens.
And my thanks to Mike C. for helping out a traveler in untoward straits.
My visit to New Hampster only whetted my appetite to return to the area, to do it proper justice.
Thanks for the update, Aesop. I still can’t imagine a two year old getting kicked out of day care for that in 2017. 🙂
Summer is nice on the seacoast as long as the weather cooperates, but the rest of New England just waits for October.
Thank you gentlemen. I was there in spirit!
Thank you James and Mike- It means a lot for those of us who couldn’t make it.
I actually like Diet Dr Pepper, so will have one in remembrance. After which, I have some 111 Proof Bourbon I’ve been saving for something, and now I know what for.
And just one last time- Godspeed Kevin.
I had no idea that Hognose loved the Diet Dr. Pepper so much — I had one in his honour today. I wish I could have made the trip from Canada to honour a man who had given so much.
>I had no idea that Hognose loved the Diet Dr. Pepper so much
While I may make fun of the obsession, I must admit that when eating at a Five Guys (a “premium” burger chain, for you furriners) that has one of those fancy soda machines (that mix the syrup/flavoring and carbonated water on-the-fly) I always get a fake-sugar “Mr Pibb”. Mr Pibb is imitation Dr Pepper, not even the real thing. IIRC Mr Pibb started as Dr Pibb, but his bogus medical credentials were brought to light by a lawsuit from the Dr Pepper people, and Pibb had to revert to being a Mister. But I digress.
Anyway, the obsession seems to have been longstanding, and clearly well known to his comrades [see photo in point]. Some details redacted, though I seriously doubt any of them are sensitive information at this point.
Thanks for the pictures and details. It is greatly appreciated.
Five Guys is a fine establishment indeed.
I made the trip down from Montreal to attend. I actually left from work Saturday night and drove on down. Tried to sleep in a beach parking lot to wake up at sunrise, which didn’t work.
Popo showed up and asked me to leave at around 0100H. Not all that bad, considering that in the car 25 feet to my left I actually saw the guy get off his girlfriend while the officer looked on…
On to the Walmart parking lot we go! I slept there until about 0800H at which point I started cooking some breakfast (still in a Walmart parking lot here) on the Coleman. At 0900H I figured I’d go to the venue, maybe give a hand setting things up. I went inside dressed in running shorts, T-shirt and slacks when I encountered the Honor Guard, all dressed up. Not knowing at the time they were an actual Honor Guard and thinking they were guests I figured I was hugely under dressed, tucked my tail between my legs and bolted out the door.
I had planned for such an eventuality with a pair of dress pants and white shirt. The issue was the stiffling heat. It was about 29C (heh, I’m Canadian) and that’s outside. Inside my overstuffed Chevy Cobalt it must have been approaching 35C. Back to Walmart we go, toiletries in hand. After a highly unsatisfying towel ”shower” I went back to attend the main event. When I got there it was mostly cargo pants, Hawaiian shirts and slacks. Guess I bamboozled myself.
I was lucky enough to meet a wonderful gentleman who was also a Weaponsman reader. He provided for great conversation while we enjoyed our brunch and waited for things to get going.
After the Honor Guard and the Cantor came the stories. For me, the best moment was when his father spoke. He got behind the stand and loudly said ” WHEN YOU’RE DEAD, YOU’RE DEAD”. Everyone is a bit surprised at this point. ”YOU DON’T KNOW IT, BUT YOUR FRIENDS DO”. I expected him to show some kind of emotion at this point, but then he said: ”It’s the same when you’re stupid”.
Well worth the trip.
Thanks so much for the updates! I had RSVP’d and hoped to attend, but the temperature rising certainly cooled my plans. Heh.
As our nation’s workforce has become service orientated (the short, fancy way of saying we don’t manufacture anything anymore) so has our electrical grid. As the heat waves roll in, I’m required to do my job and make electricity. On the weekends. Long story short, I missed this gracious glimpse into Hognose’s life so kindly offered by the O’Brien’s.
Brendan, I’m very sorry for the late cancellation. I certainly hope it did not cause any issues, waste, or undue expense.
I’m so glad the readership was represented.
I look forward to whatever Brendan may find time to post. I have found myself spending less time online, as I have found no replacement for the unique, knowledgeable perspectives of the man we knew as Hognose.
I hoisted a fine glass of Woodford Reserve last night and wished Kevin Godspeed. Will have to plan a range day for the rest of the celebration.
Thanks for all of the stories and the memories.
Special thanks to Brendan for treating us like family and to the attendees as well for keeping us in the loop.
Farewell, hermano. See you on the other side.
Some of you will know all too well, having like Kevin, paid retail for the experience that it’s downright peculiar what kind of craves will done get flung on you during overseas service. I came back from Viet Nam with a powerful lust for Dr. Pepper, which was not available where I was. 40-odd years on, and that crave still continues.
Several years ago I switched to Diet Dr. Pepper to help keep the middle-aged spread at bay. So I’ll be thinking of Weaponsman every time I take a swig of that elixir of youth from now on.
So long, Kevin. I’m sorry it was just too far, and finances just too strained, for me to make the trip considering I only knew you thru your blog. And I’m doubly sorry I didn’t do it anyway.
t’was sunday evening over here and at the apiary there was me telling them bees about those five years with the weaponsman.
thank you, kevin.
Thanks for filling us in on the event. I’ve been hitting the site daily hoping for an update and it wasn’t ’til today that my dim brain realized the reply count was going up on this particular post. Life and distance did not allow for participation in this event, but it’s great to live through it vicariously. Thank you to all who are sharing with those of us who were unable to attend.
Now to see if I can find some Dr. Pepper here in Coffee Country…
I was glad I was able to attend; and I only got lost once. I couldn’t stay for the whole ceremony but it was nice to pay my respects to a man who always had something interesting to write. that was the surprising thing about WM: how did he come up with so much material? ….and no Dr. P for me!
my best wishes for family and friends…
Mike,thanks for the pictures,I will say didn’t notice the Dr Pepper part in Queen Of The Dive award,this Dr Pepper is taking on a life of it’s own!.On a side note,I hope your mentioning of 5 guys as “Premium Burger”was in jest.Come up to Gilford N.H. on a Monday night burger deal at local eatery,will introduce you to what I consider a “Premium Burger”As Mike mentioned there some good stories not yet here,hopefully the originators that were there tell em at some point,also,no one with better understanding/written word covers the challenge coin for Mr Obrien will write about it,a very nice and classy honor needless to say.
I knew it would happen. I would see items in the news and wish that I could read Weaponsmans take on them. It was not all bad because I would often find myself smiling just thinking what he could do with some of the better ones. Today was the prize. According to the local paper a couple of crooks broke into a house and when the lady of the house yelled at them they ran. The guy in front shot back over his shoulder and hit his companyero right in the head. Alls well that ends well!
“When Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Rank Stupidity.”
It was very gracious of you to hold a remembrance ceremony and invite blog readers. Although I couldn’t attend, I’m glad several attended Kevin’s remembrance and provided details for those who couldn’t make it. Thank you to those who went and provided details here on the blog.
The internet is a much less interesting place without Kevin. I miss Kevin’s writing, and have kind of lost interest in the whole internet thing now. I’ll drink a Diet Dr. Pepper in honor and remembrance.