A memorial service for Maj. Ian Brinkley was held at the McCutcheon Memorial Chapel on Marine Corps Air Station New River, Dec. 2. Brinkley served in Okinawa, Iraq and Afghanistan and died Oct. 30, 2016 after a battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
Brinkley joined the Marine Corps in May of 1996 at the age of 21. Throughout his military career he met many people and changed lives across the globe. Brinkley connected with Marines of all ranks, led them and was what many would describe as the image of what a Marine should be.
"I think that no matter who you talk to, Maj. Brinkley meant a lot to everyone," said Maj. Peter Herrmann, executive officer for Marine Corps Air Station New River and Brinkley’s casualty assistance call officer. "He touched so many lives while serving. He served in multiple billets, on multiple combat tours and in multiple units. With each one of these, he was a consummate professional. His humility made him well liked and respected by junior and senior Marines, always. He epitomized what a Marine Officer should be."
Cathy Houghton, who was Brinkley’s human resource assistant and worked closely with him, attended the memorial to say her final farewells, praising his positive impact.
"It was such a shock to see him taken so soon," said Houghton. "We went to football games together. My daughter’s high school and his son’s high school were rivals and we always played each other. He would always come over and visit us at the games and we would come over and visit him. We had a lot of fun talking football and smack about the teams. He was there for everybody."
Throughout the ceremony, Brinkley was remembered as more than just a senior Marine to those below him, but also a unique connection to enlisted Marines.
"There are few officers that can connect with our young enlisted warrior corps like Moto could, he had pure unbridled pride and endearment for his Marines," said Brig. Gen. Thomas Weidley, commanding general Marine Corps Installations-East, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. "He was part teacher, mentor, counselor, father, brother and sometimes mother for his Marines. There was nothing he wouldn’t do for them; this was the hall mark of Ian Brinkley’s leadership style."
The memorial allowed everyone in attendance to reflect on who he was and how he led his life.
"The ceremony was a culmination of his life as a Marine. It honored Major Brinkley and gave Marines, at New River and around the world, the ability to honor him and his life," said Herrmann.
Brinkley will be remembered by many for his kind acts and his contribution to the Marine Corps.
"(He was a) great husband, a great father, a great Marine, someone you could emulate your life after. He didn’t order anybody around, he guided you, led you and that’s just the way he was," said Houghton. "He’s somebody you would want to be like, to see the good in everybody. He was a great man who will be forever missed, but never forgotten."