I just submitted this to the NY Times. -Brandon

It’s a strange place I find myself these days, in my late thirties, and faced with the reality of friends, SEAL brothers, lost and gone from my life. The most recent of which is my friend Chris Kyle, and Glen Doherty six months earlier. I find myself often re-reading saved emails from the guys, it gives me comfort and the occasional much needed laugh or cry, and I’m not afraid to admit the latter.  Real men cry, and there’s no shame in it.

I’ve spent a decade in the SEAL Teams and made some of my closest friendships there. It can be argued that my generation of Navy SEALs has suffered the greatest losses since the Vietnam War. This has affected me, and I struggle to explain it to people.  Put yourself in my shoes for a second. I’d ask you to think about six close friends and imagine them all dead and gone in the span of a few years. It’s a strange exercise to say the least but will give you some insight into what it’s like. We all know that close friendships take years to establish. These guys are irreplaceable, and I have a huge hole in my life that will not be filled anytime soon.

My only comfort is that each of them lived life on their own terms. These men, like most in the Spec Ops community, disregarded the naysayers, saw failure as a learning gift, and made a habit out of setting and achieving goals in their lives.  And these are lessons we can all learn from, and pass on to our own children.