Thomas J. Brennan

Thomas is a father, husband, and the founder of The War Horse — his passion is writing about war, trauma, and loss.

Prior to studying at Columbia University, he was a sergeant in the Marine Corps and served as an infantryman in Iraq and Afghanistan with the First Battalion, Eighth Marines. Thomas is the co-author of Shooting GhostsA U.S. Marine, a Combat Photographer, and Their Journey Back from War.

Listen to Thomas on NPR's Fresh Air.

Awards and recognition

Thomas has held fellowships with the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, the Center for a New American Security, the Atlantic Council, the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism, and the Carey Institute for Global Good. Thomas' feature writing has been awarded by the Society for Features Journalism and the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. His investigative reporting has earned him the regional Edward R. Murrow and two Fourth Estate Awards.

Speaking Engagements

 Thomas supports equal access to cannabis and has been interviewed about sexual exploitation, gender discrimination, and other wrongdoing across the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs on NPR, ABC, and NBC, and in the Washington PostEsquire, and The New York Times. Thomas has also been a guest lecturer about feature writing, adversarial journalism, and Post-Traumatic Growth at Amherst College, U.C. Berkeley, Duke, Harvard, Yale, and Columbia University.

Literary Reviews Of Shooting Ghosts

Wall Street Journal  |  Kirkus Reviews  |  Publisher's Weekly  |  Independent |  Men's Journal  | Military Times

Media Engagements


2015 — MS Investigative Journalism, Columbia University

2014 — BA Journalism, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

2012 — AS Business Management, Park University

2003 — MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina

Published work

The New York Times — The Opinion Pages:

Make Cannabis Legal For Veterans - September 1, 2017

Center for investigative reporting:

An Attack From Within: Male Marines Ambush Women in Uniform - March 4, 2017

Vanity Fair: 

The Painstaking Recovery of a Medal of Honor Marine - November 11, 2016

The New York TimeS:

Unsettled at Home, Veterans Volunteer to Fight ISIS - March 11, 2015
The Curious Draw of the Battlefield - March 11, 2015
Marines Remember Falluja, 10 Years Later - November 10, 2014
Coping With Retirement - February 20, 2014
My Suicide Attempt and My Struggle To Get Help - November 5, 2013
Should Gun Restrictions Be Placed on Veterans With PTSD? - April 26, 2013
Remembering a Silent Success in Afghanistan - March 1, 2013
Women In Combat? Some Marines React - January 29, 2013
A Veteran's Plea to President Obama - January 22, 2013
Ending a Life, and a Part of Yourself, for the First Time - December 14, 2012
The Brotherhood of Combat - December 6, 2012
From Battlefield Injury Into a Functioning Disability System - November 20, 2012
Returning From War to a Checkup Full of Holes - October 9, 2012
In the Military, The Drinking Can Start on Day 1 - October 1, 2012
Going Back to War, Trading a Gun for a Pen - September 24, 2012
Writing to Calm and Compose the Injured Brain - August 24, 2012
A Year on, Marines Divided on Don't Ask, Don't Tell - August 6, 2012
Living With P.T.S.D, and Allowing Myself to Get Help - June 22, 2012
From a Marine's Side of the Lens - December 29, 2011