Brandon L. Crusha
U.S. Marine Corps
Brandon grew up in between Yukon and Mustang Oklahoma. He grew up with several different life styles ranging from living on farms and in the country to a small acre of land where his grandfather ran an automotive body shop. You could say that Brandon was fortunate in that he grew up being able to learn several different trades from his family. Brandon enlisted in the United States Marine Corps during his senior year of high school and upon graduation in 2004 headed off for boot camp.
Upon completion of boot camp and School of Infantry, Brandon was assigned to 2nd Platoon Kilo Company 3rd Battalion 7th Marine Regiment 1st Marine Division in 29 Palms, CA. From the time Brandon left for boot camp until he was in Iraq was less than 1 year. In September of 2005 Brandon was deployed to AR Ramadi Iraq. At this time during the war, Ramadi was known as the deadliest city in Iraq just as Route Michigan was known as the deadliest road in Iraq. On September 29th 2005 Brandon was hit by his 1st ever IED. He was serving as the gunner in the rear HMMWV of a split mobile patrol. 3 155mm Shells exploded under the engine of his gun truck and Brandon was nearly ejected from the vehicle, luckily for him he was pulled back in by another Marine. Brandon received some shrapnel from this blast and had a concussion, but due to their placement in the city, Brandon and the team from the truck were required to provide over watch on the vehicle until the Quick Reaction Force could make it to their location. By the time Brandon and the others were back at base and able to receive medical treatment, many of them were just anxious to continue on and denied any injuries, just as Brandon did. During the course of this deployment Brandon was personally involved in 22 more IED attacks, some while on Mobile Patrols and some while on foot patrols. Numerous times these resulted in concussions and small pieces of shrapnel, but due to the already low man power Brandon’s platoon was using, each time Brandon denied medical attention in order to stay with is Marines and fulfill the mission. Brandon made it back from this deployment seemingly unharmed and even went on to complete another deployment a year later back to AR Ramadi, during his second deployment it was much quieter and received far less contact with the insurgency.
Years later in 2010 Brandon was serving as a Mountain Warfare instructor at Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport CA. One day while on liberty Brandon bent over to pick up his child and suddenly everything hit. His back that had been badly injured during the first IED and ultimately continued to be hammered on until this point had finally hit it’s max. Brandon started undergoing several treatments for his lower back and was re-stationed at 29 Palms California. Brandon’s boss and best friend committed suicide in July of 2012 where shortly after Brandon received a DUI. This DUI was the culminating point of Brandon’s career and at this point all of his medical issues were brought to light to his command and they ultimately decided he would be medically retired.
In October of 2013 Brandon was medically retired and now lives back in his hometown with his wife Kayla and their 3 children: Josie (8), Jamey (7) and Lucas (3 months), just a block away from where his grandparents helped to raise him and they also still live in the same place. Brandon and his wife Kayla own and operate Brotherhood Garage, a mechanic shop they started and it is now on Main Street in Yukon, Oklahoma. Brandon is 100% disabled for multiple reasons, the top reasons being his back, PTSD, TBI, Knees, and Shoulders.
Brandon was awarded the Purple Heart, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, 2 Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, The Combat Action Ribbon, among other personal and unit awards.