Thomas L. Brown, born July 30, 1946 in Lawrence, KS joined the Navy July 30, 1963 on his 17th birthday. After basic in San Diego, spent most of his first hitch on the USS Ticonderoga (CV-14) and USS Ranger (CVA-61).
Re-enlisted in 1967 and volunteered for duty in Vietnam. After completing training he joined RIVDIV 593, Iron Butterfly, in September 1968 at Nha Be. First, saw action in the Rung Sat and then operation Giant Slingshot.
He was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in action on January 19, 1969. The division was back patrolling the Rung Sat again when on April 9, 1969 Petty Officer Brown's patrol came under heavy automatic weapons and rocket fire on the Dong Tranh River seven and one-half miles east of Nha Be. During the action, he was mortally wounded when the forward gun tub on PBR-756, that he was manning, was hit by enemy rocket fire.
Petty Officer Tom Brown had been with the Iron Butterfly for seven months and had made over 100 combat patrols and engaged in many firefights. A true shipmate that could always be depended on in the action. He was an excellent gunner and crewman and is missed by all his friends who served with him as well as his family. He was posthumously advanced to GMG2, awarded a Bronze Star and another Purple Heart.
Tom was proceeded in death by his brother and parents. He left behind a young wife, Fay, and brothers George and James. Fay Brown is in contact with members of Iron Butterfly.
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