MAY 26, 2014 — In 2001, Travis Manion and Brendan Looney met at the United States Naval Academy where they quickly became best friends.
They were roommates and they were inseparable up until Travis was first deployed in Iraq in 2005.
Two years after Travis began his first tour, he was pierced and killed by a sniper while trying to draw fire away from two injured marines as they received treatment.
He was 26-years-old.
Brendan was in the middle of Navy SEAL training in San Diego when he learned of his best friend’s death.
Brendan was unable to attend Travis’s funeral, and he threw himself harder into his military preparation.
When Brendan married his long-time girlfriend in 2008, Travis’s dad stood in his place as Brendan’s best man.
Two days after Brendan wed, he finished his SEAL training, and he was deployed to Iraq and then Afghanistan.
In September 2010, Brendan had one more mission before his return home.
However, while he was en route to the mission, his helicopter crashed, killing him and eight other service members.
When reality sunk in for Brendan’s family, they were plagued by an insistent thought, Travis and Brendan needed to be reunited in Arlington National Cemetery.
Travis’s parents had buried him near their Pennsylvania home three years earlier, but when they were approached by Brendan’s family they realized they needed to move their son so he could be reunited with Brendan.
On September 27, three days before Brendan was laid to rest, Travis’s body was disinterred and moved 150 miles to Arlington National Cemetery.
The following May, President Obama singled them out in his Memorial Day address.
“The friendship between 1st Lt. Travis Manion and Lt. Brendan Looney reflects the meaning of Memorial Day,” he said during a visit to their graves. “Brotherhood. Sacrifice. Love of country.”