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This profile was last updated on 2/16/09  and contains information from public web pages.
 
Background

Employment History

Web References
hockey.htm
www.lynnclassical.org, 16 Feb 2009 [cached]
E.J. Breen will take over as the Classical High hockey coach, replacing Jim Dakin, who has stepped down.
...
That's my profession," Breen said."I teach the game of hockey.I coached three years at Swampscott High a short time back, and I've been the assistant coach at Classical for four years.I know the kids well, and I know the school well."Breen, a Melrose native, is a St. John's Prep graduate (1961) who lives in Nahant.He played college hockey at BC, traveling to two Final Fours (1963, 1965) and graduating in 1965.He saw two and a half tours of duty in Vietnam as part of six years of active duty as a Navy pilot.He has been a math teacher at Classical for five years, and has also worked at Breed Middle School and Lynn Tech.
...
Of his coaching promotion, Breen said, "I look at it as significantly larger responsibilities with the situation within the school system and Classical in particular."The new coach will have some challenges, namely those pertaining to Classical's plans to repair its building."I look forward to this transition as an opportunity to see smaller classes for a short time; as far as I'm concerned, it translates into higher quality," Breen said.However, he also called the potential impact on his roster "an obvious concern.""I don't fear it when the analysis is done by parents," Breen said."When they take a look at the quality of education that's transpired over at Classical and look at the situation pretty closely, they'll realize that people who stay at Classical are pretty fortunate.They'll more than likely have smaller classes when they do split the school up."Breen added, "As a teacher, I look at it and say this is a terrific opportunity for kids who choose Classical.
...
"Jim Dakin's been a very close friend of mine for years," Breen said.
The Daily Item of Lynn: More Coverage > Breen to coach Classical hockey
www.thedailyitemoflynn.com, 28 April 2006 [cached]
Breen to coach Classical hockey
...
E.J. Breen will take over as the Classical High hockey coach, replacing Jim Dakin, who has stepped down.
...
That's my profession," Breen said.
...
Breen, a Melrose native, is a St. John's Prep graduate (1961) who lives in Nahant.He played college hockey at BC, traveling to two Final Fours (1963, 1965) and graduating in 1965.He saw two and a half tours of duty in Vietnam as part of six years of active duty as a Navy pilot.He has been a math teacher at Classical for five years, and has also worked at Breed Middle School and Lynn Tech.
...
Of his coaching promotion, Breen said, "I look at it as significantly larger responsibilities with the situation within the school system and Classical in particular."
The new coach will have some challenges, namely those pertaining to Classical's plans to repair its building.
"I look forward to this transition as an opportunity to see smaller classes for a short time; as far as I'm concerned, it translates into higher quality," Breen said.
However, he also called the potential impact on his roster "an obvious concern."
"I don't fear it when the analysis is done by parents," Breen said."When they take a look at the quality of education that's transpired over at Classical and look at the situation pretty closely, they'll realize that people who stay at Classical are pretty fortunate.They'll more than likely have smaller classes when they do split the school up."
Breen added, "As a teacher, I look at it and say this is a terrific opportunity for kids who choose Classical.
...
"Jim Dakin's been a very close friend of mine for years," Breen said.
Hockey Team Archives 2007-09
www.lynnclassical.org, 1 Jan 2006 [cached]
E.J. Breen will take over as the Classical High hockey coach, replacing Jim Dakin, who has stepped down.
...
That's my profession," Breen said. "I teach the game of hockey. I coached three years at Swampscott High a short time back, and I've been the assistant coach at Classical for four years. I know the kids well, and I know the school well." Breen, a Melrose native, is a St. John's Prep graduate (1961) who lives in Nahant. He played college hockey at BC, traveling to two Final Fours (1963, 1965) and graduating in 1965. He saw two and a half tours of duty in Vietnam as part of six years of active duty as a Navy pilot. He has been a math teacher at Classical for five years, and has also worked at Breed Middle School and Lynn Tech.
...
Of his coaching promotion, Breen said, "I look at it as significantly larger responsibilities with the situation within the school system and Classical in particular." The new coach will have some challenges, namely those pertaining to Classical's plans to repair its building. "I look forward to this transition as an opportunity to see smaller classes for a short time; as far as I'm concerned, it translates into higher quality," Breen said. However, he also called the potential impact on his roster "an obvious concern." "I don't fear it when the analysis is done by parents," Breen said. "When they take a look at the quality of education that's transpired over at Classical and look at the situation pretty closely, they'll realize that people who stay at Classical are pretty fortunate. They'll more than likely have smaller classes when they do split the school up." Breen added, "As a teacher, I look at it and say this is a terrific opportunity for kids who choose Classical.
...
"Jim Dakin's been a very close friend of mine for years," Breen said.
In The News
www.lynnclassical.org, 6 June 2007 [cached]
Duggan was a two-time Northeastern Conference All-Star at Classical under coaches Jim Dakin and E.J. Breen.
Awards and Recognition 2007
www.lynnclassical.org, 1 Jan 2007 [cached]
"What I came home to in 1969 was so disheartening," E.J. Breen recalled.
...
"My father came to hear me," Breen said.
...
Breen never talked about it again, keeping those memories to himself, until last Monday morning.
...
Breen, 64, sitting at his desk in Lynn English High School, waiting for his sophomore history class to arrive, was thumbing through the Herald when he came upon that piece.
"It absolutely floored me," he said.
That's because he was one of those VO-67 heroes.
"As the kids began filing in, one asked, ‘What's the matter, Mr. Breen?Is everything OK?' "
He waited for the class to settle down.
"As a teacher," he said, "I wanted them to have a feeling for our history, to feel a connection to it.So I said, ‘I have something I'd like to read to you.' "
He had almost reached the end of that column when he began to choke up and had to excuse himself.
"As soon as I stepped back into the classroom," he said, "they were all over me: ‘Are you going to the ceremony?You've got to go!' I wasn't planning on going, but they kept insisting I had to be there."
An adage holds that when the student is ready the teacher will appear, which is pretty much what happened last Monday in the sophomore history class at Lynn English.
Breen flew to Washington to participate in Wednesday's ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial.
"It was the first time I'd seen those guys in 40 years," he said.
...
Lynn English teacher E.J. Breen with his 10th grade U.S. History class.
...
Breen gave no clues of his involvement with the VO-67 Observation Team, known as the "ghost squadron" because technically it never existed, even after a 30-year military enforced gag order expired in 1998.
It was not until Breen himself learned that the squadron would be receiving the prestigious Presidential Unit Citation earlier this month for "extraordinary heroism" in Khe Sanh that he decided to share a piece of his experience with his class at LEHS.
To understand the significance of the honor, one must first understand the significance of VO-67's top-secret mission, carried out between February 1967 and July 1968, and the powerful effect it had on Breen's life.
As 20,000 North Vietnamese surrounded 1,800 U.S. Marines on a hill near Khe Sanh, Breen and his fellow squadron members buzzed over the heavily settled jungle, flying as low as 500 feet, close enough to risk being hit by ground fire.
Their goal was to drop sensor fields or eavesdropping devices to the Marines below to alert the soldiers to the movements of enemy troops.
The VO-67 Squadron lost 20 men during this mission, but managed to cut the amount of American casualties in half and aid in an eventual rescue mission for those troops.
"Because it was a secret mission, to us it was just a Marine outpost.We had no idea we were at Khe Sanh," said Breen."We were originally based in Thailand and we were going on flying missions over Laos."
After the confidential mission was complete, Breen and the remaining members of his squadron returned to Camranh Bay where, among other things, he helped build an orphanage for children affected by the war.
His efforts both at the orphanage and in the air have had an equally strong effect on Breen, who says he still thinks about those children to this day and hopes that they were able to escape their war-torn homeland and come to the United States to start over.
"Every time I see an Asian kid come in to a classroom I think 'It has to be the blood of some of those kids,'" he said."I hope that they got out of there."
Breen returned home after six years of active duty to work as a pilot for Eastern Airlines for the next two decades.After a brief stint owning a nightclub, he decided to follow his dream and become a teacher/hockey coach.
Now 64, Breen had kept quiet about his experiences in Vietnam for 40 years, until the news of the Presidential Citation surfaced earlier this month.
Breen learned of the honor by chance, thumbing the pages of a Boston newspaper, which had printed a story honoring local members of VO-67, as he waited for a class of sophomores to arrive for the day's lesson.
Shocked and filled with emotion, Breen decided to share the story with his class, explaining the mission and the significance of the honor.
"I wanted to give the kids a feeling of history, so I decided I was going to read the article to them.I got near the end and I started to get kind of choked up, and I had to walk out of the class," he said."When I came back in they started asking me if I was going to go (to Washington to receive the citation).They told me I had to go, they even offered to take up a collection for me if I couldn't afford to make the trip."
On the advice of his students, Breen made that trip and met with his brothers in arms May 14 at the U.S. Navy Memorial.While he has seen some of his squadron mates in the past, Breen said this trip was different - more meaningful even - as the sole purpose was to receive this prestigious citation.
"I went down to Washington and I met with 45 of my buddies that I hadn't seen in probably 5 years," he said.
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