PRESS RELEASE — Wednesday, October 17, 2012
For Information Call Anne Peterson at 208-373-7368
or Bob Evancho at 373-7369
It’s been more than eight years since Idaho resident Tom Titus’ son was killed in Iraq. But the passage of time has done little to mitigate his sadness. “My son was not supposed to die before me,” he said. “Now I know what some parents go through.”
Titus is a former Army Ranger and decorated veteran who served two tours in Vietnam in the early 1970s. He received two Purple Hearts, two Bronze Stars, a Silver Star and the South Vietnamese equivalent of the Medal of Honor. The Boise resident is also one of several Vietnam veterans featured in the documentary “MY VIETNAM YOUR IRAQ”, which airs Monday, October 22, at 10:00 p.m. MT/PT on Idaho Public Television.
The film focuses on the personal stories of nine Vietnam veterans whose own children have served in Iraq. Some of those veterans’ sons and daughters returned; Titus’ son did not.
Spc. Brandon Titus, assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), was killed when an improvised explosive device detonated near his checkpoint in Baghdad in August 2004. He was a lead gunner on a Humvee. Brandon Titus, a 2002 Borah High School graduate, was 20.
Eight years after his son’s death and more than two years after he met with “MY VIETNAM YOUR IRAQ” producer/director Ron Osgood and his film crew, Tom Titus still struggles to process how he survived his war while his son paid the ultimate price.
“I survived in Vietnam, but barely,” he said. “I almost died there and almost didn’t make it home. When I survived the war and later became a dad, it was the ultimate joy. I did my best to teach Brandon the right things — loyalty, trust, honesty. It’s hard to accept that I survived, but lost my son in combat.
“He was the boy that a girl could take home to [her] parents. He was a young man who had a need and not knowing what his destiny was, he would step up and do the right thing. And it showed when he joined the military. He did what he felt was right — what he needed to do in his life.”
Tom Titus’ story in “MY VIETNAM YOUR IRAQ” is just one segment of a film that examines the pride, fear, and myriad of emotions and challenges that parents and their children face during deployment, each with their own perspective and expectation. The stories in Osgood’s documentary describe how common themes resonate as older servicemen and woman reflect on their own service and the thoughts they have about their children’s service.
Tom Titus, 62, established the Brandon Titus Memorial Fund, a nonprofit association, to honor his son’s memory and service to his country. Donations to the Boise-based memorial fund are used to aid and assist other families of military men and women who have been killed in action and also families of active military currently deployed.
Meanwhile, Titus continues seeks ways to deal with the loss of his son. His pride in the valor he and Brandon shared as soldiers in different wars during different eras helps ease the pain, but not a lot. “Brandon once called me a hero,” Titus recalled. “But I told him, ‘Don’t call me a hero, just call me Dad.’ He’s my hero. This memorial fund in his honor is part of my way of surviving.”