Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Army Sgt. Jeffery S. Brown

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Jeffery S. Brown, 25, of Trinity Center, Calif.

Sgt Brown was declared Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown on Aug. 8, 2006 when his UH-60 Black Hawk crashed into a lake in the vicinity of Korean Village in Rutbah, Iraq; his remains were recovered Aug. 10. Also killed was Sgt. Steven P. Mennemeyer; his remains were recovered Aug. 9.

Record Searchlight -- TRINITY CENTER -- Ed and Diane Brown were at their home in Trinity Center on Sunday, waiting for the return of their son Jeffery. The last they heard, he had been transported to Dover, Del.
Army Sgt. Jeffery S. Brown, 25, of Trinity Center had served his six years with the Army but officials extended his commitment. He was killed last week after his UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crashed into a lake in Rubtbah, Iraq.

With him was Sgt. Steven P. Mennemeyer, 26, of Granite City, Ill. Both men, assigned to the 82nd Medical Company Air Ambulance out of Fort Riley, Kan., had been declared Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown on Tuesday, according to the Department of Defense. Their remains were recovered Wednesday and Thursday.

Army officials told Jeff's family last week that the young soldier would receive a Bronze Star and an Air Medal for his work aboard the aircraft. They told his mother that an investigation into the circumstances of the crash led them to believe that Jeffery had made a heroic effort.

But Ed Brown, 58, doesn't believe it was right for the Army to have asked Jeff for more than he'd already given.

"He hated the Army," Ed Brown said Sunday. "He was home here not too long ago and he called us about four days before he died."

A retired fire captain with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and a Vietnam vet who came home from his tour of duty with wounds both physical and psychological, Ed Brown said he was having to work at controlling his anger. There was no way to stop the waves of sadness.

"I know these things happen, but dads are not supposed to bury their sons," he said.

He had been looking forward to the time when Jeff would be done with the Army and back in Trinity County with friends and family.

"He was one of the most trustworthy guys and he loved trucks," Brown said. "We were going to buy a Chevy when he got home."

Brown said he'd moved many times before having a family but his son Jeff never wanted to leave his friends. "That's just the kind of person he was."

All four of the Brown's children, Michael, 27, Jeffery, Timothy, 22, and Kathryn, 19, attended Trinity High School.

Jeff's father thinks he may be the first child from Trinity High School to die in Iraq.

"They've lived their whole lives here," he said.

Worry is now doubled for son Tim, who is in the Army and assigned to helicopters. Ed Brown said the two boys were as close as twins.

"He is stationed in Germany," said mother Diane Brown, 48, a nurse at Mercy Medical Center in Redding.

Members of the extended family are en route from places near and far to meet in Trinity Center and remember their loved one.

Ed and Diane Brown had been planning a trip before their lives were irrevocably changed.

"We got a trailer and we were going to go down to Mexico. It doesn't seem like traveling would be much fun now," Ed Brown said, his voiced strangled by tears. "It just hurts so bad."

Army Sgt. Jeffery S. Brown was killed in action on 8/8/06.

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