By Pablo James Earlier this month, 38-year-old Air Force veteran, Michelle...
Brian Stann was born on September 24, 1980 at Yakota Air Base in Japan before moving to the United States and growing up in Scranton, Pennsylvania. From an early age Brian played organized football and excelled quickly. He was the leader of Scranton Prep’s football team, setting school records by a quarterback for career passing yards and rushing. His achievements on the field mirrored his academic accomplishments and he was selected with the honor of being accepted to one of the most prestigious scholastic institutions in the country, the United States Naval Academy in 1999.
While at the Naval Academy, Brian quickly excelled in his new position as linebacker, helping them beat their arch-rival Army in three of his four meeting. He followed up that honor earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics, before continuing his service to his country by accepting a commission as an Officer in the United States Marine Corps in 2003.
As a football player, Brian took with him the lessons he learned on how to complete a mission with a team, one that quickly came in handy for him in the Corps. He was only with his men for a few months before they deployed to Iraq.
Brian was the 2nd Mobile Assault Platoon leader with Weapons Company when everything started happening during his very first operation. From May 8-14, 2005, he led his men into battle, where their mission was to seize a bridge near Karabilah, Iraq. Three different times, he negotiated four kilometers to maintain their position from enemy attacks. However, on the third time through, the enemy had set up an ambush for the Marines.
Although ambushed, Brian called in close-air support and direct fire from tanks while taking on over 30 rocket-propelled grenade attacks, multiple machine guns firing, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) detonating.
Brian was in a 360-degree fight and was setting up casualty evacuation points after they were hit by suicide IEDs. All of this would not have been possible if it were not for the hard work of his men in the sheer face of danger, explained Brian.
“He [Brian] has great strength of character and endurance, which was shown when everything happened over a week and he kept on going,” explained Major General Richard Huck, 2nd Marine Division’s Commanding General, shortly after presenting Brian with the Silver Star. “It doesn’t even capture all that happened.”
Brian stated afterwards, “This award represents my guys. It’s an insight to what my men did over there. There were a lot of our guys who received awards from our group when we were out there, not just me. You can forget all the other medals. I just wanted the award that said 42 out of 42 men came home safely,” he further explained. “And we all came home, so mission accomplished.”
And what a homecoming for Brian it was. He married his college sweetheart, Teressa, who he met while back home visiting his family in Scranton. Teressa is a graduate of Mary wood University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Human Services and a former Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader.
During Brian’s next tour in Iraq, he called a fight promoter and clamored for a shot at the mixed-martial arts world. The promoter took a chance on him and Brian did not disappoint earning a first round knockout in his very first fight. Another promoter took notice and quickly signed him to a deal with World Extreme Cagefighting. During his first fight under their banner, he earned another first round knockout, this time in just 16 seconds, the fastest knockout in WEC history. He has since remained undefeated by defeating another previously undefeated opponent via another first round knockout!
Brian continues to serve on active duty as a United States Marine Corps Officer at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. However, he still finds time to train every day and is quickly being recognized as the future of MMA in the light heavyweight division. He has even begun training with UFC legend and Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture. Expect Brian to continue making his mark on this sport.
Speaking of other marks Brian has recently made, he and Teressa will be welcoming another champion in less than nine months as they are both excited and happy to announce her pregnancy. Brian is looking forward to seeing his future sparring partner.