Trumbull native, U.S. Marine returns home for middle school event (UPDATE)

Editor's Note: This event has been cancelled.

Students at Madison Middle School, Hillcrest Middle School and Christian Heritage School will get the privilege of seeing a static U.S. Marine Corps Cobra Helicopter Wednesday, Nov. 4.

The event, which is being held in conjunction with the Veterans Day program at Christian Heritage School, will begin with the first display at 8:30 a.m. at Madison. Later in the morning, eighth grade students from both CHS and Hillcrest will see a second display, around 9 a.m.

Pilot Brian Stempien, a major in the United States Marine Corps Reserve and a 1995 graduate of Christian Heritage School, will be one of two pilots setting up the display.

Stempien is the son of Bruce and Dianne Stempien of Trumbull. He graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1999 with a bachelor of engineering degree.

Upon graduation, Stempien was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. In June 1999, he reported to the Marine Officer Basic School (TBS), completing that course in December 1999. Before beginning flight training, Stempien was given the opportunity to attend the Infantry Officer Course (IOC), from which he graduated in April 2000.

Top of the class

Stempien later finished at the top of his class from flight school and was designated a naval aviator in September 2001. Upon completion of initial training in the AH-1W attack helicopter, he was assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367 in Camp Pendleton, Calif.

While with HMLA-367, Stempien was selected to serve as a primary night systems instructor and weapons and tactics instructor for the squadron. Stempien completed an extended deployment to Japan as well as two deployments to Al Anbar Province, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom II.

In 2007, Stempien left active duty to attend law school at the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville, but he has not stopped flying.

Continuing to fly

Since leaving active duty, Stempien has continued to fly the AH-1W Cobra as part of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 773. He is currently the HMLA-773 Detachment B executive officer. His personal awards include the Air Medal (Strike/Flight Award, with numeral 13), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards) and various unit and campaign ribbons.

Stempien received his juris doctorate in 2010. He is currently an attorney with Travis & Herbert Attorneys in Louisville. He and his wife, Sarah, live in Louisville and have four children, Joshua, Hannah, Sophia, and Olivia.