Sgt. Charlie Brown, a Data Network Specialist with 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward), stands in his office aboard Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, Dec. 8,
2011. Brown previously deployed to Iraq four times and was awarded two Purple Heart Medals for wounds received in action on the same day during his third deployment. U.S. Marine Cops photo by Cpl. Katherine M. Solano
CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan (MCN - 12/11/2011) — The end of his
first deployment with 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit brought a lot
of tumultuous times for Sgt. Charlie Brown, a Data Network
Specialist with 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward). The September
11 attacks happened, prompting Brown's unit to pull him off of leave
and send him to Iraq.
Continued action in Iraq kept Brown
deployed for the better part of five years. The Memphis native did
four tours in Iraq, his third being the most memorable.
Originally a machine gunner with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment,
Brown's squads were accustomed to days filled with patrols and
security operations throughout Iraq. When the Kilo Company Marines
found a rock quarry that needed to be secured, and subsequently
patrolled, they went through their routine of setting up a squad
“Five minutes after we got ready and the schedule
was set and everything, I was on rest time,” began Brown. “I heard
three thumps. I looked at the [Marine on post] and yelled ‘what does
that sound like?!'
“As soon as he put his arms up to say he
didn't know, three mortars landed inside the rock quarry. I took
shrapnel on my left arm and left leg. A gunny took shrapnel in the
neck. We loaded everyone up, and did the evacuation.”
than five hours later, the shrapnel was removed and those who could
return to work did.
“We were back at the Delta Iraqi
National Guard Compound,” the 10-year Marine began again. “I was
simply walking in between two barriers and a
frog missile landed inside the compound and I took shrapnel to my
right leg. I didn't know it, though.”
The perpetual leader didn't notice his own injuries
because he was concerned with the other casualties who had
been playing recreational football when the missile landed.
“I ran out there, and the first Marine I came across
had shrapnel pretty bad - a sucking chest wound, some big
eviscerations,” he recalled. “I started first aid on him,
then the corpsmen showed up and they took over. [Someone]
came up behind me and grabbed my leg and yanked it out from
under me and said, ‘You're bleeding!'”
The two then
did what most people would call reckless: they ripped open
Brown's trousers, found a large piece of metal protruding
from his leg, and proceeded to pull it out with multi-tool
they had handy.
“People always laugh when they hear
that part,” Brown said with a chuckle, admitting that it
wasn't the smartest thing to do, but adding that, “I had
just been blown up again, so I wasn't really thinking
Needless to say, it was back to the
medical facility for Brown. He laughed again when he
remembered the medical personnel were thrown off when they
saw him, asking, “Didn't we just see you?”
stitched [my leg] up and I ended up putting super glue on it
for the next two weeks to keep it from opening up,” he
concluded, as if it were nothing more than a paper cut.
Sgt. Charlie Brown (seated on the truck third from right), a Data Network Specialist with 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward), deployed to Iraq with the Marines of Weapons Platoon, Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, who took time to pose for a photo during their 2005 deployment in Iraq. Brown is currently serving in Afghanistan on his sixth deployment. (Courtesy Photo)
Before the end of that tour in Iraq, Brown was awarded
two Purple Heart Medals.
“By definition, it's an
award for wounds received in action,” the self-proclaimed
competition-junkie explained. “I never put that much stock
into a Purple Heart, because people have just gotten them
for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but both of
mine were direct from the round.”
While he admits
that he hadn't given much thought to the medals until he was
actually awarded them, Brown says he couldn't be more proud
“My Purple Hearts mean a lot to me, because
I know during the time I got those, I was doing something I
believed in and that I knew was right,” Brown continued,
following the statement with an anecdote about his father.
“One of the things my dad taught me at a young age
was to leave the world a better place than when you come in,
and that's something that has stuck with me.
“Anytime people award me for things I've done, that's just
kind of an affirmation that they notice that I am doing good
- I was doing good when I got injured,” he said.
Brown wrapped up his recollection by admitting that he often
uses his story to get others to open up to him.
tell this story very often, because people think Purple
Hearts are very serious, but mine allows me to open up a
lighter side,” Brown concluded. “I use my awards to inspire
By USMC Cpl. Katherine M. Solano
2nd Marine Logistics Group
Marine Corps News
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