Marine Sgt. Brandon Morgan lived in Oakdale, California as a self-described “fanatical Christian.” He joined the Marines as a distraction from his mundane life as a deli clerk, and also because he felt he wanted to be a voice for God in the armed services. He describes his marital situation as a big mistake that was based on his faith and beliefs, mistaking a friendship for love, which it turned out not to be. He’d later say that it took a lot of courage to finally face who he was and to admit to himself that he was a gay man.
After joining the Marines on April 1st of 2007, he was based at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. There, he met a Windward Oahu artist who worked on the base named Dalan Wells and who helped him through the emotions involved with the divorce. Sgt. Morgan related later, "I honestly knew I was in love with him from the first moment I met him."
Trouble began brewing for the two star-crossed men almost immediately. When Brandon asked Dalan out, Dalan said no and had some fairly good reasons, the first of which was their age difference – Sgt. Morgan is now 25 and Wells is 38. Also with the ax over Brandon’s neck back in 2007 with the “Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell” (DADT) gay witch hunts of the Bush era, Wells wasn’t willing to risk ruining the marine’s budding military career. With that much discouragement, neither completely told each other just how they felt, and they began a four-year close friendship instead that went no further.
Morgan would go on to tell an interviewer recently that, tragically, that meant that neither actually knew just how much in love each was with the other.
Brandon was already a month into his third deployment to Afghanistan when DADT was repealed in September of 2011. He was proudly serving his country with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363, “The Lucky Red Lions.” They were the company that lost six fellow marines to a crash in Helmand Province just last January.
With the restrictions abolished by President Obama, and the backing of the Pentagon, Sgt. Morgan began coming out of the closet to his fellow marines serving at Camp Leatherneck and was surprised to discover that the very Marines who supposedly had resisted the most concerning gays in the military accepted him as an equal soldier and a trusted friend. He was quoted as saying later, “I was a little worried, to be honest. I was afraid that some people’s views of me might change. But that was just my own personal misgiving, a fear I had to overcome. I should have had more faith in my Marines than that. I’m not always right, and I was very glad I was wrong about that.”