Staff Sergeant William Lee Owen Brown was killed on February 10, 1968 when the C-130 aircraft he was a passenger on was hit by enemy fire as they approached the Khe Sanh airfield. The damaged plane was able to land but did not stop safely, running off the end of the runway, exploding in flames. Five of the ten passengers escaped the burning wreckage and received treatment at the US Army hospital.
Brown was born January 20, 1934 in DeLand, FL where he attended public schools. Brown joined the Marine Corps in June 1953. He attended military photography schools at Fort Monmouth, NJ and Tokyo, Japan. His many USMC roles included that of recruiter, a drill instructor at Parris Island, NC, and at the time of his death, he served as a non-commissioned officer in charge of the First Marine Air Wing Photo Lab.
During his career Sergeant Brown was awarded multiple decorations including the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Ribbon, was a six-time recipient of Expert Rifleman awards, the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat (V), Air Medal and Combat Aircrew Insignia with three stars.
At the time of his death, his wife Pauline (Kerr), son Hugh William, and daughter Karen Denise,
Sergeant Brown was survived by his wife Pauline (Kerr), son Hugh William, and daughter Karen Denise, all of whom lived in Albany, New York. His mother Emma Lee Brown lived in DeLand. He was predeceased by his father, Robert Owen Brown.
Sergeant Brown is buried in Oakdale Cemetery, in DeLand, FL.
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If you are interested in war time death, military burials located in Oakdale Cemetery, I invite you to read my blog post about Sergeant Adam Quinn, who perished while serving in Afghanistan.
To learn more about the C-130 Hercules, the plane that Sergeant Brown was flying in, I recommend Martin W. Bowman‘s book, C-130 Hercules: A History. To learn more about the siege of Khe Sanh, I recommend Khe Sanh: Siege in the Clouds written by Eric Hammel.
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