The second of Amanda and Gerard O’Brien’s four sons, Hugh ‘Obi’ Robert O’Brien was born in 1979 and grew up on the family sheep and wheat farm near Young in New South Wales. Obi attended Sydney boarding school St Joseph’s College, a rugby academy where old-school English customs and Dickensian group living honed his fast developing survival skills. His lacklustre performance in both sporting and academic endeavours ingrained a sense of underachievement that would fuel Obi’s later success in the Special Forces.
After high school, Obi attended university somewhat aimlessly. On the advice of his younger brother Phil, a member of the armed forces, Obi applied for the navy as a Clearance Diving candidate, and against all odds he found success and acceptance with these subaquatic supermen. With an unquenched thirst for adversity, Obi applied for Special Forces with the army’s counterterrorism unit, TAG (East), a secretive team of divers and commandos, tasked with defending the domestic population from harm post-9/11. Admittance to this unit – their failure rate is in the eightieth percentile – was the defining moment of his life, the chance to serve where angels fear to tread and maybe, just maybe, feel worthy of the path less travelled.
In 2011, Hugh left the Special Forces and has since pursued a career in private security. Currently he is stationed in Iraq.
Hugh continues to seek adventure wherever it may lie, be it pirate-hunting in the Red Sea or mentoring soldiers in Afghanistan. He believes you will only ever regret the things you do not do, and nobody wants to die without any scars.