When a soldier is killed overseas, the community often rallies around their memory. Whether that be through memorial services or plaques or even statues, local communities know best how to honor their fallen.
However, a soldier from Northborough, Massachusetts got none of these things.
Rather, his memory was honored with something more his speed. With some teeth.
United States Army Specialist Brian Arsenault was a paratrooper who was killed by enemy fire in Ghazni, Afghanistan in 2014. Not only an avid shark enthusiast, but he also had plans to go swimming amongst the sea creature once he returned home.
“Brian was all about shark week,” his mother, Leslie, said. “That was his life.”
Almost immediately after receiving word of his death, Arsenault’s cousin contacted the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, whose educational director, Marianna Long, was known in the community.
That same day, the AWSC tagged a white shark off of Cape Cod and named it “SPC. Brian Arsenault.”
The AWSC regularly tags, names, and tracks sharks in the local area. This allows them to do comprehensive research on their migration patterns and population numbers.
According to a report by Stars & Stripes, Long regularly teaches lessons about sharks at Marguerite Elementary Peaslee School in Northborough, where Arsenault once attended. Using the data and information they have gathered on ‘Brian’, Long discusses the importance of marine animals and how to keep the ocean clean and safe.
“To have Brian live on in this way is incredible,” Long said. “To be able to come here and provide these kids with this story, and explain it to them so they understand and know this person who went to the same school they did is amazing.”