Austin Marine dedicates lounge to fallen friend


by ANDREW CHUNG / KVUE News and Photojournalist JOHN FISHER

Bio | Email | Follow: @AndrewC_KVUE

Posted on May 23, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Updated Thursday, May 23 at 5:43 PM

AUSTIN -- From the lounge chairs to the chandeliers to the music stage, the Brass House is a place for people to socialize in downtown Austin.

The jazz and blues lounge is the product of Marine Staff Sergeant Jason White who opened it in February. 

"We really wanted to create a place that people could just come in and enjoy the environment, enjoy the scenery, listen to great music," he explained.

White joined the Marine Corps in late 2004 and will complete his service in three weeks before returning to Austin.

"Every Marine dreams of owning a bar. We'll sit around hours and hours in some combat zone on watch or on ship, talking about what we can do with our lives after the Marine Corps, and I would say about every time it always comes back to owning a bar," he said.

White also opened the Brass House in memory of his fellow Marine -- 21-year-old Lance Corporal Joshua Twigg.

"He was the kind of Marine that everybody wanted to go talk to because he never had a bad word to say about anybody, and nobody ever had a bad word to say about him," said White.

In September of 2010 while in Afghanistan, their unit set out on an operation against the Taliban. The Marines came under fire, pinned down, with many wounded. 

"And so, one way or the other, we were gonna go out and pull those Marines back into that compound," said White.

Twigg got to high ground and took out enough of the Taliban to allow fellow Marines to recover their wounded.

"If it hadn't been for Josh Twigg, then we would probably had four or five more casualties in that trench line," explained White.

That act of bravery cost Twigg his own life. White received the Bronze Star -- the fourth highest military honor for that battle. Twigg received the same award posthumously. 

White gives all the credit to his fallen friend.

"I wanted the Marines there that day (at the medal ceremony) to really understand that awards like that are often, they're often earned with their lives, with the Marines' lives.”

This Sunday the Brass House will hold a Memorial Day barbecue to honor those who gave their lives for this country.

When asked about the meaning of Memorial Day, White became choked up.

"Those of us that have survived the combat deployments and whatnot, we tend to try to live everyday for those that didn't make it home. So it does mean a lot for we just make the best of it, and just live each day the best we can.”

By opening the jazz and blues lounge, White is realizing his dream and honoring his fallen friend.

White believes strongly in the Wounded Warrior Project, which assists injured service members. For more information, click here.

For more information on the Brass House, click here.


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