A portion of all sales of The Mack will go to benefit Sergeant First Class Brian A. Mack's surviving family.
Some who've followed me on social media or watch forums may recall me mentioning my friend and mentor, Brian Mack. He was a Ranger Instructor at the Swamp Phase of the US Army's Ranger School, where I was medical cadre in the mid to late 90’s.
Professionally, I was going through a bit of a rough patch when I met him. Brian took me under his wing, requesting I be assigned to report to him, as he was preparing to coach our Battalion’s entrants in the upcoming Best Ranger Competition, and needed a medic to cover the dangerous training they were about to undertake.
For the next six months, I spent every workday with Brian and the guys preparing to compete in the Best Ranger contest. Brian and I even drove to and from work together, as we lived just a few doors apart on base. In that time, Brian taught me how to soldier, in every sense of the word, both with the things he said (which were often hilarious), and by his example, in true Ranger fashion.
My wife and I would also go out to dinner or the movies with Brian and his wife, Lisa. It was great for us to be able to socialize with people who weren’t part of my chain of command. And, Brian being Brian, with his quick wit, he always had us laughing.
The things I remember about him, and the things he taught me, would make for too many stories to tell. But even now, twenty-five years later, I can still hear his voice in my head, repeating his “Mackisms” - pearls of Ranger wisdom he passed onto me.
While “Doc” is a common nickname given to medics by infantry soldiers, I was part of a whole platoon of medics. We didn’t call each other “Doc”, because it wouldn’t make sense. The Ranger Instructors would call any of us “Doc” in passing, but it was Mack who made it clear to them that “Doc Vail” was squared away, like an older brother vouching for a younger brother. He put his personal stamp of approval on me when he had me assigned to the Best Ranger team.
Aside from his friendship and mentoring, what I remember most is how much he loved his family. His daughter, Ashley, meant the world to him. She was his sun, his moon, and his stars.
I left the Rangers before the advent of social media, smart phones, and everyone having a private email account. So when I left, I lost touch with Brian. It was a few years, in fact after I left the service, before I realized the impact he had on me. I’d be at the office, talking to colleagues, when suddenly, I’d hear myself saying something Brian said to me.
Years passed. I started my own family, and progressed in my career. But I never forgot Brian. Eventually, I tried to find him, to reconnect with my old friend, and thank him for being there for me, when I needed him most.
I was devastated to learn he’d been killed in combat, on 13 January, 2005, when an IED exploded near the Stryker vehicle he’d been in near Mosul, Iraq. My old friend was gone.
Read his obituary, here - https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/azcentral/name/brian-a-mack-obituary?pid=3098386
It took me a little while, but I was able to track down his surviving family, who will receive a portion of revenue from the sale of every watch we sell with his name on it, as a tribute to the man who inspired me and so many others to be and do more.
The following was provided by Mack’s family:
Brian A. Mack was born on February 23rd of 1968, a man that would succeed in inspiring change throughout his life and leave a legacy after his passing.
Brian grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, attending and playing football at Maryvale High School. His athleticism and competitive drive also led to his participation in weight-lifting, running, and softball.
At the age of 19, Brian enlisted in the US Army. The same leadership qualities he displayed in school athletics allowed him to quickly move up the ranks, and gave him multiple opportunities to mentor other soldiers, something he was passionate about.
As a non-commissioned officer, Brian had a unique way of combining humor and professionalism to motivate those around him, earning him the respect and admiration of peers, subordinates, and superiors. The highest honor Brian could bestow on someone was giving them a personalized nickname, a special sign that one had earned Brian’s respect and trust.
The full realization of Brian’s passion for mentoring soldiers and seeing others succeed came with being a Ranger Instructor at the Swamp Phase of Ranger School. In his inimitable way, Brian was always pushing those around him to be and do better.
At home, Brian was no different. Brian was the typical “tough but fair” father figure, yet with an obvious soft spot for his daughter. Ever the negotiator, Brian would agree to do the grocery shopping if it meant he could end the day golfing or weight training with daughter Ashley. Brian was her go-to for anything and everything, and her best friend. He continues to be an inspiration to his family and all those who knew him.