Sunday, May 09, 2010

Army Spc. Jeremy L. Brown

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Jeremy L. Brown, 20, of McMinnville, Tenn.

Spc. Brown was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died May 9 at Forward Operating Base Orgun-E, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.

He liked to throw baseball in the backyard with his dad. He enjoyed playing football and wrestling for the Pioneers. And he was determined to follow in the footsteps of his family members and join the military after graduation. On Sunday, 20-year-old Jeremy Lynn Brown gave his life for his country, killed in Afghanistan while serving in the U.S. Army. Spc. Brown, a Warren County native, was killed while on foot patrol near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border when his unit was attacked by insurgents. Four other soldiers were wounded.

Brown is the first soldier, and second Warren County resident, killed in action since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began. Jim Cantrell, a former Marine working for Blackwater Security Consulting as a civilian, was killed near Baghdad in March
2005. Brown graduated from Warren County High School in May, 2007. He joined the Army less than a month later on June 11 and was stationed out of Ft. Campbell. His parents, Mac and Rhonda Brown, learned of his death Sunday night.

“He hadn’t called me on Mother’s Day and that wasn’t like him at all,” said Rhonda. “If he had to sneak a phone from his sergeant, I figured he would call me on Mother’s Day, even if he was in Afghanistan. So I went to work and my boss came to tell me to get my purse because I had some visitors. I wasn’t really sure what it was about until I stepped out and saw my pastor. That’s when I knew it was my baby.”

Mac fought through tears yesterday as he remembered his son for his pranks and his persistence. He said once Jeremy set his mind to accomplish a goal, there was no stopping him. “I can’t tell you how many coaches told me how good a ball player he was for his size,” said Mac. “He only weighed 130 pounds but that didn’t stop him. He always wanted to bang heads with somebody who was bigger than he was. And he didn’t ever back down. That’s what scared me about him going to Afghanistan. He wasn’t afraid of anything. I just never expected it to turn out like this. There are 30,000 soldiers over there and he’s the one who gets killed. We’re going to miss him so bad.”

Spc. Brown comes from a military family. His father Mac comes from a family of five boys and all five served in the Army. That includes uncle Bernie Brown who served three tours in Vietnam and is current quartermaster at VFW Post 5064. Both of Brown’s grandfathers, Willard Brown and William “Pee Wee” Reed, served in World War II. He has two cousins, Will Brown and Matthew Brown, who are enlisted, with Will currently deployed in Iraq.

“This is our first loss,” said uncle Pat Brown. “He was so young, it’s just been devastating. With all of us being in the military and with all of our deployments, I guess you start thinking the family is bullet proof. Maybe that’s why we’re all so shocked.”

Spc. Brown died at Contingency Outpost Zerok in Afghanistan. He was a fire support specialist who arrived at Fort Campbell in May, 2009 and had been deployed for four months. His awards and decorations include: Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal w/ Oak Leaf Cluster; Army Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Overseas Service Ribbon; NATO Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Army Service Ribbon and Weapons Qualification, M4, expert.

His family members say it was always his dream to join the Army. His father says he talked about how the Army would be easier than life at home in the Mt. Leo community. “He told me he was going into the Army to get out from under my rule,” said Mac. “He told me I was too strict on him. I told him, ‘Son, I think the military is going to be just a little bit tougher than I am.’ And it wasn’t too long after that he told me I was right.”

Mac says his son never backed down from competition, whether on the baseball field or racing his brother in the backyard. “He worked until he could be first. That was the way he was,” said Mac. “It tickled him to death when he could finally outrun his brother. He was so proud of McMinnville and so proud of being from here. He would want his hometown to be proud of him.” His mother said the military is continuing its investigation of the attack to more accurately determine what happened. She said the military will also provide them counseling with other people who have lost a family member in war. “They’ve told us we can even talk to some of the people who were with him during the attack and we’re looking forward to finding out more of what happened,” said Rhonda.

Spc. Brown would have turned 21 this weekend.

A memorial service will be held in Afghanistan.

Army Spc. Jeremy L. Brown was killed in action 5/9/10.

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