Thomas Brennan

Founder and Executive Director, The War Horse News

I served as a U.S. Marine who fought during the Second Battle of Fallujah and suffered a traumatic brain injury on a foot patrol in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. Throughout my recovery, I wrote publicly about my mental health and moral injury in a series of award-winning reflections for The New York Times. After being medically retired, I pursued investigative reporting and founded The War Horse, a renowned nonprofit newsroom exploring war and its impact — and through the stories of others, began my recovery and inspired others to do the same.

I believe that my story is one of overcoming hardship and helping others to do so, through storytelling, reporting and advocacy. Under my leadership, The War Horse has published groundbreaking reporting, forged partnerships with Ivy League universities and Fortune 50 corporations, and has become a renowned distribution portal considered not just important to the veterans and their families, but vital by prominent journalists and military officials.

My investigations into government sequestration and sexual exploitation in uniform have resulted in nearly-immediate changes to federal policy and law, and have been highlighted on the front page of The New York Times and Esquire. I have frequently appeared on international and national news broadcasts to discuss military issues, and have served as a public speaker for numerous military organizations, including the Defense Information School at Fort Meade, Md.

Throughout my career, I have also held top fellowships in journalism and national security and my feature writing has been awarded by the Society for Features Journalism and the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. My investigative reporting has earned me both a national and regional Edward R. Murrow and two Fourth Estate Awards. In 2021, I was awarded the Military Reporters and Editors Award and testified to the DOD’s Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military where I proposed radical changes to federal policy on accountability and transparency. The same year, my reporting earned the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Journalism Award.

Location: Washington, District of Columbia, United States

Military Branch: U.S.Marine Corps