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Marine paints the town for incoming battalion

6 Aug 2006 | Lance Cpl. Erik Villagran

Cpl. Justin J. Brendan’s skills with a brush and paint earned him a measure of praise from Marines just arriving.

The 23-year-old Marine from Arlington, Wash., assigned to 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment painted a mural for 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment. The painting was drawn as a welcome sign to 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment.  It features the battalion’s logo, a spearhead derived from their 2nd Marine Division heritage, with a Ka-Bar fighting across the front. 

Brendan said the idea was to make the incoming battalion feel right at home as soon as they arrived.

“The mural was the first thing I saw when I got to Camp Fallujah,” said Maj. Sean M. Riordan, a 36-year-old battalion executive officer from Emerald Isle, N.C. “It really impressed me that a Marine from another unit worked so hard on it.  It’s motivating for us; a daily reminder that we’re in charge of this area of operations now.” 

The work was impressive enough for Sgt. Maj. David A. Carter to personally thank Brendan for his work.  He presented Brendan with a 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment unit coin.

The project took Brendan 16 hours to complete. He worked on the project for two days, sometimes working through chow, Brendan said.

“I think he’s one skilled artist,” said Lance Cpl. Peter J. Weckenmann a 27-year-old rifleman from Bloomfield, N.J. “I thought it was done by a professional, not a Marine.”

Brendan did have a helping hand, though.  His fellow Marines would bring him snacks, soda and water when he missed chow, he said. They would also jokingly give him a hard time for making a mural for another battalion.

The unit marker isn’t the first time Brendan’s artisan skills were called to duty.  He painted a memorial for the Marines killed in action from his battalion during the deployment and a sign for South Camp. He is also working on making his battalion a shirt design.

All the extra-duty jobs have caused Brendan to brush on his drawing skill.  In fact, he said he’s thinking he might have a future with something for mass audiences or even for personal designs.  Brendan holds hopes of becoming a comic book artist or maybe even take his turn with a needle designing tattoos.

He hasn’t reached his goals yet, so for now he can enjoy the praise he’s getting from 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment.

“It is beautiful,” Weckenmann said. “It shows a lot of respect by Cpl. Brendan to paint the mural.”