Stories Lived

Veterans in Blue: Brian Shirley

In November of 2016, the Air Force Public Affairs Agency (AFPAA) launched Volume VII of “Veterans in Blue,” a portrait collection showcasing the men and women that have contributed to the legacy of the Air Force. The Airmen highlighted have aided in making the Air Force what it is today–the best in the world. Through the Veterans in Blue project, these service members share their personal stories of how the Air Force has made a difference in their lives. These stories supported in operations from World War II to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Portraits are displayed in the Pentagon 5th floor, A ring between the 8th and 9th corridor.

This episode is focused on A1C (Honorably discharged in 1995) Brian T Shirley and how the USAF impacted his career as a stand-up comedian. Brian has toured the USA, Canada, The Bahamas and Japan for 25 years. Brian’s stand-up focuses on his childhood, coming from a divorced family and growing up poor. He also talks about relationships and w wide array of other topics.

Brian was chosen for this project because he also talks about his experiences in the USAF in his show as well. He brings all of the branches of the service into his show and has built more military themed material into his act as he has grown as a performer. Since this film was made, Brian has picked up a lot of military gigs. Not only has Brian toured the Marine bases in Japan at Fuji & Okinawa, but he’s done the 50th reunion of the USS Wainwright, The Fleet Reserve in Goose Creek, SC twice among many others.

Brian’s father left Brian, his Mother & Brother when Brian was around 6 years old. This was devastating to the family as they lost their house and were left without reliable transportation. Brian’s Mother worked 2 jobs as she raised an infant and young son. They moved around a lot, one time even sleeping in Brian’s grandparents basement, and Brian attended several different elementary schools. It was hard making friends with all the moving.

Later on in Brian’s life he reconnected with his father when he was 18. It was a rough reunion at the beginning and Brian had no direction in his life. The one thing his Mother and Father did agree on was Brian going into the service to get some direction and it worked.


About the Filmmaker
Submitted by Andrew Fox

Andrew Fox is the director and the one who was handpicked Brian for this project.

He is from Marshall, Michigan, currently living in Charleston, SC.

Graduated 2011 from Adrian College with a degree in Media Arts. Joined the Air Force in March 2013 as a Broadcast Journalist. He was stationed with the 1st Combat Camera Squadron in Charleston, SC.

Married to Andrea Fox in October 2015. He plans on attending the Citadel Graduate College in the Fall of 2017 to study a Master’s of Education in Counselor Education for Secondary School. He is continuing his career in the Air Force as a broadcast journalist in the Air Force Reserves.

His hobbies include hunting and fishing in South Carolina, Michigan and Iowa. He is a Michigan State sports fan and follows college football intensely.