The bottom row of the above pictures left to right are as follows:  

1 My daughter Brittany Brown (far right) & another Student Leadership University 201 student at the Laying of the Wreath Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D.C. the summer after the "Easy 40" 12 were buried at Arlington.

2 The grave marker listed as the Colonel Brian Duane Algood Group (Section 60, Grave 8051; Interment Date: 10/12/07; Located just north of the intersection of Bradley Drive & MacArthur Drive) at Arlington Cemetery for the unidentifiable remains of the 12 soldiers killed when the Blackhawk "Easy 40" that my brother Sgt. 1st Class John Gary Brown served on as Crew Chief was shot down outside Baghdad on January 20, 2007.  For more info on the Arlington ceremony:  http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/army-aircrew-iraq-01202007.htm

3 A painting of Gary & the other 2 Arkansas guys killed-Maj. Michael Taylor & Sgt. Maj. Thomas Warren.

4 My brother Gary's gravemarker at Camp Robinson in N. Little Rock, AR.

5 A sign at the Balad Air Base that Gary was based at while in Iraq.

6 My brother Larry Brown (Gary's twin) & myself in front of the Fallen Soldiers Memorial of Howard County in Nashville, AR, displaying Gary's name.



Here's the link to the speech I gave for the 2018 Arkansas Run for the Fallen at the AR State Capitalhttps://youtu.be/ksgyql-4KFM.  What a privilege it was to get to brag on my little brother, SFC John Gary Brown! 

It was so great to have Gov. Hutchinson speak as well.  He signed legislation this past year to have a Gold Star Family monument placed on the AR Capital grounds!  For more on the AR Run for the Fallen: https://www.facebook.com/arkansasrunforthefallen/



The Story of Easy 40


The following is a true story about what happened to my brother, Crew Chief - SFC John Gary Brown (10/24/63 - 01/20/07), and the crew and passengers with him on the Blackhawk Easy 40.   


Black Hawk Down Heroes By Pamela Hess Feb 16, 2007, 17:48 GMT
BAGHDAD, Iraq (UPI) -- Twelve U.S. soldiers died Jan. 20 when their Black Hawk helicopter was shot down northeast of Baghdad.
​ A U.S. Army press release details their names, hometowns and ages but it does not tell what happened that day. That is left to their friends, who protected and avenged them but in the end could not save them.
It was a day time flight for this National Guard unit, 1st Battalion, 131st Aviation Regiment of the 36th Combat Aviation Brigade. It was a dangerous but routine mission to ferry soldiers from one base to another. Black Hawks are the safest means of getting around Iraq. Vastly more soldiers are killed by roadside bombs than anything else in Iraq. Getting them up in the air is the easiest way to avoid them.
Black Hawks fly in pairs. On Jan. 20, Easy 71 was the lead aircraft in the formation.
'I remember we were doing an ordinary transit mission, a routine mission carrying passengers across Iraq,' said 1st Lt. Craig D. Neely, 25, the lead pilot on Easy 71.
Easy 40 was flying behind when it was hit by machine gun fire from three insurgents in the back of a truck below them.
'We heard (Maj. Michael Taylor, the company commander) talking to (his) aircraft. He yelled out he was hit; there was no question in his voice that they were hit. Myself and Sgt. Evans were able to see him and see his aircraft,' Neely said.
Sgt. Terry L. Evans, 33, is one of Easy 71`s gunners. 'We saw the aircraft get hit initially. I saw they were in trouble. I told (pilot-in command Chief Warrant Officer Max Timmons) -- I told him they were hit. I immediately started returning fire and Mr. Timmons banked left toward Easy 40.
'Easy 40 was on fire and we knew they were in trouble. We had moved into a position where we could possibly help them if they went down. The aircraft impacted the ground. That`s when I told Mr. Timmons and Lt. Neely to put our aircraft on the ground so we could go secure the aircraft,' Evans said.
They landed 75 yards from the burning helicopter but Evans and gunner Specialist David L. Carnahan, 33, jumped out before the bird was even on the ground. Armed with just pistols, the two raced to Easy 40 to rescue the wounded and protect their aircraft from ground attack.
But everyone on board - four crew and eight passengers -- was dead.
They ran around the aircraft to see if they could pull bodies out. They couldn`t. Evans went back to Easy 71 for his rifle and then returned to Carnahan and the burning helicopter.
'We were going to attempt to get (Maj.) Taylor`s body out,' he said. Unspeakable things happen to the bodies of dead American soldiers here if they are not protected on the battlefield. Evans and Carnahan would not allow that to happen. The two, with their rifles and pistols, set up a defensive perimeter.
It was instinct that drove them out of their helicopter and onto the killing ground.
'You don`t think about people shooting at you,' said Carnahan. 'For me it was a pretty traumatic experience -- to watch a helo go down with people from my unit. You don`t think about yourself at the moment. You think about the people on the other aircraft.'   By this time, two other Black Hawks flying had received Lt. Neely`s mayday call. They were overhead.
Easy 53, commanded by Chief Warrant Officer Jerry D. Sartin, 41, and flown by CW3 Michael Hodges, 37, was just a minute behind Easy 40 on the same flight path.
'We started to land to lend aid and assistance when we noticed a truck moving at a high speed,' said Sartin. 'We took off to engage that vehicle.' Black Hawks are not attack helicopters. The machine guns that protrude from either side are meant for self-defense.
'We practice aerial gunnery (on a range) at least once a year. The only difference is the targets at the range don`t shoot back,' said Staff Sgt. Gary L. Smith, 32.
Easy 53 made five passes around the truck which was now firing on them with the same weapon that brought down Easy 40. After the first pass, one of the insurgents pulled out a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. 'He was neutralized,' said Sartin.
This was one of Smith`s first combat engagements.
'It`s nothing that you really think about. It`s more of an instinct. We are there to protect our brothers. We will do anything it takes. If it means putting ourselves in the line of fire to attack them that`s part of what it means to be a soldier,' he said.
'When we started making our runs on the truck I really wasn`t thinking. It was more just acting out, engaging the truck, following up targets. When the weapon was out of ammo, the actions of reloading, getting the guns back out the window when it was your turn to fire again engage the enemy. There really wasn`t much time to think,' he said.   His first response was sadness at seeing Easy 40 hit and smoking, then anger when he heard the mayday call and realized it was an aircraft in his own battalion. Then adrenaline took over.
'Once we started engaging the truck all that flew out the window and we paid attention to engaging targets,' Smith said.
The Black Hawk gunners killed the three shooters during a 15-minute fight. Apache attack aircraft arrived just minutes into the battle, allowing the two Black Hawks in Easy 53`s flight to land with Easy 71.
'We had that place swarming. The enemy had nowhere to run,' Neely said. The crew and soldiers on board formed a defensive perimeter around the four helicopters now on the ground while Evans and Carnahan did what they could to put out the fire and pull their friends from Easy 40.
Ground forces were on their way to secure the scene, but it would take time to get there. The route in had been thoroughly booby trapped with improvised explosive devices, an Army official said this week.
The Black Hawks were running low on fuel. With Apaches overhead protecting the site and ground forces on their way, they decided to take off together, leaving the 12 men on Easy 40 in others` hands.
They flew together to the U.S. air base at Balad where they delivered their
passengers, completing their mission.
'The crew of Easy 40 was very brave and they did heroic things,' said Neely, naming and memorializing each of the downed crew. '(Maj.) Taylor was our company commander from Arkansas. I`m a pretty young pilot. I`ve only been flying for two years and we flew together quite often.'   'Capt. Sean Lyerly was at the controls,' he said. 'They made every effort to talk to us, to let us know what was going on. They were controlling that aircraft to the ground,' Neely said. 'We saw them smoking and burning and heard (Maj.) Taylor`s voice on the radio, talking to Capt. Lyerly, controlling that aircraft.'
​ '(Sgt. Maj.) Thomas Warren and Sgt. First Class Gary Brown, the crew members in the back, were doing all that they could as well,' he said. 'The crew of Easy 40 went down fighting. They are the true heroes in this. There is nothing we can do to bring them back. But we can make sure the world knows these guys were total professionals,' said 1/131 battalion commander Lt. Col. Zachary Maner.

Fallen Angels Memorial Service
The fallen shall not be forgotten…
This is a transcript of the Fallen Angels Memorial Service held Jan. 22, 2007, at Sustainer Theater, BALAD AIR BASE, IRAQ

The Mustang Leader - February 15, 2007

​Chaplain (Maj.) James Higgins
, 2nd Battalion, 155th Aviation Regiment
Please remain standing for our Invocation.
Let us pray:  eternal God we praise You for the great company of those who have finished their course in faith and now rest from their labor. We praise You for those dear to us who we name in our hearts before you. Especially we praise you for Tom Warren, Mike Taylor, Gary Brown, and Sean Lyerly, who You have graciously received into your presence. To all of these grant Your power, let perpetual light shine upon them, and help us so to believe where we have not seen that Your presence may lead us through our years, and bring us at last with them into the joy of Your home, not made with hands but eternally in the Heavens, for we ask this in Your most holy name, Amen. 
Please be seated.
Hear with me what words of comfort that Psalm 23 has for us today: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want, He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death: I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me. Thou prepareth a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou anoint my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me, all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

Col. Vernon A. Sevier
, Jr., 36th Combat Aviation Brigade Commander
For our distinguished guests, 36th CAB soldiers and especially to the soldiers of the 1—131st Aviation, I want to thank you for being here today.
Since last night, I have struggled with what I should say today, because this tragic event hurts so much.  I decided that I would tell you what I am feeling.  I wish that we were not here today, that Saturday, January 20, 2007 did not occur and that we did not receive a "Fallen Angel” call on Saturday afternoon.
Unfortunately,
Easy 40, Aircraft 984, with its crew, CPT Michael V. Taylor, CPT Sean E. Lyerly, 1SG William T. Warren and SFC John Gary Brown, died as a result of an engagement with the enemy. Despite the crews heroic efforts to land the aircraft and save the passengers on board, the crew was unsuccessful.  Despite their courage, their tenacity, their skill, their unwillingness to quit, they could not land the aircraft because it had sustained too much damage.
The crew of
Easy 40 and the crew of Easy 71 did nothing wrong. The crews did everything right.  Their planning was good, their flying was good and their execution exceeded the standard.  It was just not our day on Saturday.
I am sad — we have lost an extraordinary crew, of 4 soldiers, soldiers with families at home and with friends both here and back home.  I have to tell you that I have cried about this. I have tried to do this by myself but I have not been successful. I will probably continue to cry for a while.  Words cannot not describe the depth of my sadness at the loss of CPT Taylor, CPT Lyerly, First Sergeant Warren and SFC Brown.
I am sad because their young children will not know how special their Dads were and what great Patriots they were, and how brave and courageous they were.  I am sad because there are 4 soldiers that are not going to go home with us. We have lost 4 soldiers out of our formation.  I am sad because I did not get to say good bye to Sean, Mike, Tom or Gary.   I am proud of the soldiers of the 1-131st and all the soldiers of the 36th CAB. Our soldiers have and will continue to always place the mission first.
We are all doing our duty, to support our soldiers on the battlefield and to defend our country.  CPT Taylor, CPT Lyerly, ISG Warren and SFC Brown executed the mission because that’s what soldiers do.  They flew this mission, like all others, because it was the right thing to do.  Their mission was to fly passengers on January 20 — to safely move passengers across the battle field.  They did this with great skill until the aircraft was too damaged from enemy fire for anyone to recover.
This crew knew the mission came first.  I cannot tell you how proud I am of the 36th CAB soldiers today.  Despite the loss of these 4 very heroic soldiers on Saturday, C Company and the 1-131st and the soldiers of HHC, 36th CAB continued with the mission, executed their duties, kept fighting and never quit.
​In the BDE TOC, despite knowing that one of their battle captains had fallen, and despite the knowledge of the great loss we had suffered, the Mustang TOC executed its battle drill for a downed aircraft precisely, quickly and effectively.  I am proud of each unit for picking up missions, offering assistance and stepping forward without hesitation.  This is the mark of a great organization: the ability to win, to succeed despite adversity and temporary setbacks.  I am honored to serve with such impressive, heroic soldiers.  Soldiers who are unselfish, willing to do what is needed by their country, willing to place their lives at risk each and every day.
I am honored to be able to work with soldiers who will not quit, will not accept defeat and will ensure their comrades are safe and not alone.  I am humbled by the incredible heroism and sacrifice made by the soldiers of the 1-131st on 20 Jan 07.  UH-60 crews coming to the aid of fallen comrades, fighting to protect the crew, the passengers and the aircraft.
Door gunners on Easy 56 and 62 laying a steady stream of steel into the enemy to kill the enemy and to protect
Easy 40 and the crew and passengers.  Crew chiefs, SGT Evans and SPC Carnahan — quickly, without any concern for their safety, going to check on 984 and the soldiers onboard.
For CW2 Timmons and 1LT Nealy and the crew chiefs/gunners, for staying on station, despite low fuel, and despite an unsecured LZ. For making the right radio calls, remaining calm, for rendering aid and staying focused on the mission. The Easy 71 crew knew our soldiers were in harm’s way and the crew of Easy 71 would not leave their fellow soldiers.
These soldiers all loved their families, were dedicated to them. They loved you as comrades and fellow soldiers, as part of their family, and they respected you.
CPT Lyerly
and I flew together in Austin during our mobilization. He was a young and highly skilled aviator. He loved to fly. He was an outstanding leader. A great battle captain. He and I would sit in my office and talk about flying. 
CPT Taylor
and I flew the Charlie mission back in October. During that flight, he and l talked about flying and his love for flying and for doing this mission. He was an excellent company commander who cared deeply for his soldiers and was very proud of C Company. He was a highly skilled pilot.
1SG Warren
was a strong leader and NCO. He and I would see each other walking around the BDE area or in the chow hall. He always had a smile and positive words to say about his soldiers. He loved his soldiers and worked to protect them. He was not afraid to speak up for his soldiers.

​SFC Brown
was an excellent flight instructor for C Company. A very dedicated crew chief, highly skilled and technically expert. He was conscientious and committed to the mission. He was quiet, but very effective.


​What we have to do is to make sure that we honor these great soldiers, these great American heroes, these great fathers and husbands.  That we take care of their families, now and in the future.  That we make sure their wives and children know how special these soldiers were.  That we let our families and friends know how honored we are to have served with these incredible pilots and crew chiefs.  I ask that as you work your way through this very sad event, that you stay focused on the mission, on your fellow soldiers. You know that CPT Taylor, CPT Lyerly, lSG Warren and SFC Brown would expect nothing less.
I have great confidence in the soldiers of the 1-131st, and of the 36th CAB.  Our soldiers will always place the mission first, will not quit, will never accept defeat, and most important, will never leave a fallen comrade.  We saw this on Saturday.
I ask that you keep these fallen heroes and especially their families in your thoughts and prayers.  Know and take comfort that these 4 soldiers are indeed in a better place now, among heroes.  I have great confidence in every one of you!

​TAKE CHARGE

Lt. Col. Zachary Maner
, 1st Battalion, 131st Aviation Regiment Commander
MG Simmons, BG Terry, COL Sevier, Soldiers of the 36”‘ CAB and 1 — 131st Aviation.
I stand before you today in tremendous awe of the heroes represented before us. It’s a distinct honor to be in the presence of such Soldiers, as with the rest of the Soldiers and the families of the 1-131st Aviation and the 6th CAB, the suffering is great, and the hurt runs very deep.
I first met CPT Mike Taylor in Mobile, Alabama, during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He struck me immediately as a true professional, quiet, knowledgeable, confident. At that time, he was already aware of this pending mobilization, and together, with many of you in this room, was preparing Charlie Company for the trials that lay ahead. As our battalion assembled at Fort Hood, I was struck with that same feeling as I got to know the rest of Charlie Company. What I had noticed in him permeated this entire company. 

As 1SG Warren moved into the company at Fort Hood, it was immediately evident that his constant upbeat attitude and professional experience was a perfect fit on this team. He truly loved these Soldiers. He always had a cheerful greeting that was always, always ready to serve his Soldiers.

When I first met SFC Brown, I felt I was yet again in the presence of greatness. And then later, I learned he had been around army aviation since before I had graduated from high school. He was noticeably professional, quiet, and like the rest of these great Soldiers, totally dedicated to the mission.


As we completed our transfer of authority here on Balad, we began to infuse crew members from staff and other brigade elements into our formation. I was afforded a small glimpse into the way this company had built its team by watching the progression of others that came to fly with them, such as CPT Sean Lyerly. He was already a skilled pilot and was immediately welcomed into this team and integrated well into the company’s flying program. His experience and ability as a brigade battle captain added a different perspective for Charlie Company, and his abilities as a pilot made him a solid asset to them. As the 1-131st progressed through training at Fort Hood, and mission transfer here in Balad, each flight company learned a slightly different technique from the previous units that they RIP/TOA with, and we tended to operate as three flight companies doing similar missions.
However, what happened here, on Saturday, was much different. When the AH-64 support from the 25th CAB responded to the May Day call, they were overwhelmingly impressed by the actions of
Easy 40’s sister ship Easy 71, and the second team, the Bravo Company mission set, that provided critical covering fire on the enemy until they made accurate target handover to Wolf pack element, and collectively made their egress back here to Balad.
This was definitely not the act of separate companies. This was brothers in arms, coming to each other's aid, on the battlefield. I know that CPT Taylor's desire for this company was to always excel. His desire I believe, the true mark of a leader, that a leader wants to know that the unit is prepared to accomplish the mission without him being there. Charlie Company is prepared. Your new leadership will serve you well. Through our pain throughout this battalion and the 36th CAB, we should seek the resolve to march forward with our mission as a stronger, closer team, leaning on one another, to pay constant honor and tribute to these great Soldiers by our dedication to uphold the principles and mission success that they represent.  In my faith’s tradition I know that these fallen Soldiers, that I will see them again. CPT Taylor, CPT Lyerly, 1SG Warren, and SFC Brown, we will not forget you, and we will take care of your families.
I’ll see you all on the other side.  

​Chief Warrant Officer Collin Bailey
, Company C, 1st Battalion, 131st Aviation Regiment
General Simmons, General Terry, COL Sevier, and other distinguished guests,
Mike Taylor
was my friend, as was Tom Warren, Gary Brown, and albeit that I didn't know Sean Lyerly very long, he was part of our company family, and he shall too be remembered the same way, as my friend. Words cannot convey the feelings and emotions that I have felt over the last two days, for I naively did not feel this would be an honor that would have to take on during this deployment. I expect the weight of mourning to hit me when I find the time to grasp the finality of 20 Jan 2007.
Mike
is a name that I very rarely used. Even at my home, at cookouts, and bonfires, he was the captain and he was our commander, and that’s how I addressed him.  Not for respect of rank, but for respect of that person. Mike did everything right every day, and he did on 20 Jan also. Many people in this theater had great memories of Mike. One of the first and most vivid memories of mine was a younger lieutenant with a real shiner of a black eye. I’m not going to tell that whole story today, but along with his brother, had self-described mischievous demeanors growing up through Air Force transfers with his family.  And I can say unequivocally, based on the procured trophies that adorned Mike’s office in Little Rock, Arkansas, that he never really grew out of that mischievousness. Mike took a break from the Guard not long after that first memory I have of him, to support his wife Wendy, his son Justin, and their little baby girl Meredith, a civilian career all of which he was focused on at the time. I thought we had seen the last of him. I ’m not sure he even knew if he would be back, but in his words, missing the Guard family, flying helicopters, and the military environment that he felt so at home in being the Air Force brat that he was led him back to the Guard family, of which he had already done a deployment and tour in Iraq in Operation Desert Storm in 1991, as an enlisted Soldier.
You can always pick out the officer that was first raised by NCOs — they are very strong-willed, and that explains the professionalism that was CPT Taylor; strong-willed, but right, with the research and planning to back up his point. He taught me the art of low-intensity conflict resolution, or diplomacy, not a natural Chief Warrant Officer 4 trait. And I provided him with the references and the training conduit to back his vision. His vision simply stated was Soldier care, Soldier safety and Soldier preparedness. He took care of us, most of which was filtering by him which we will never know the extent of, while simultaneously mentoring his junior branch officers, which is almost a forgotten implied task of a commander.
When Mike and I joined up as a team in a previous run as Charlie Company, 1 Bn-131st Aviation, I saw it. I found an energetic officer that made me rethink myself, status of a workaholic. Each day I would leave the Aviation Support Facility an hour-plus late, and walk to the last car in the parking lot, only to see his vehicle in the parking lot across the street at the Armory. And by the way, his work schedule was supposed to take him home about two hours prior to my leave time. He was there later and later each month prior to this deployment. I used to call him as I pulled out of the facility in an effort to shame him into going home, only to have him pretend to be an answering machine on the other side of the telephone.  

Mike was not in line for this combat command. He already had his right shoulder credibility patch.  He has as we now too, had to see the passing of friends through combat. He has had to mourn, as we now, do. He’s already experienced the pain of long-term family separation. But still, he was here. So why was he here? Well that was because he could not see anyone but himself commanding B Company, 1'‘ 331- talion, l85“‘ Aviation. His Soldiers. His training. And I could not imagine embarking on this deployment with anyone else as pilot in command on the controls. 
Mike expressed to me that he had seen the need for good leadership in his first deployment. He felt a true calling to this endeavor. He asked with that strong-willed character for the job and made the sale, thanks to some enlightened leadership at home.  We were blessed once more with a perfect leader at the right time. I regularly asked Mike in the midst of Unit Status Reports, Officer Evaluation Reports, 1352 Maintenance Reports, Quad charts, and often, right after a dual-mentorship of he and I by an 0-5 or art 0-6, that had a steering correction for us, so tell me again how being a commander is so rewarding?  Last week he answered, “When I get to reenlist a Soldier behind the palace at Washington, or when I get to give you a SOG multi-tool,” which he rewarded me almost two years ago after we barely survived JRTC.  
Mike provided more equipment for the care, safety and training of his Soldiers than any commander of my 20 years. Even though Mike’s favorite joke and quote was "lt’s not about you, it’s about me,” refreshingly, self-importance was not a command character trait of his.  Everyone who knew Mike could see his good fortune in his eyes lay in the pride of his family that he loved and drew strength and inspiration. He cherished beyond words Wendy, Justin and little Meredith. Mike was richly blessed with the time spent with his family, and they may draw comfort in knowing that love was eternal. He will always be watching over them. Wendy, Justin and Meredith can never be repaid the price of supporting Mike’s calling to this company command. Our prayers are with them today, as mine will be with them for years. 
Mike was a patriot. He knew that freedom is precious, but that it comes at a cost. Today we say goodbye to a great man. How fitting that it would be Mike’s legacy to be remembered as a husband, a father, a leader, a military officer, and for so many people here today, a noble friend that we loved. Farewell, Mike. With you, the passing of two very important characteristics of a great commander shall too leave, honor and principle. I will miss my friend. God be with us all.  

​Staff Sgt. Clint Sweeden
, Company C, 1st Battalion, 131st Aviation Regiment
I want to thank everybody for coming.  
1SG Tom Warren
. For all you guys who knew him, you knew him as a jokester. The guy’s been around forever it seems like. He’s a technician back in Arkansas. He was our head TI, and he was the guy that you loved to come to work to mess with, try to rile him up. You could argue with him for 20 minutes sitting in the TI shop about some little stupid something on the aircraft that you thought was right, and he knew you was wrong. Ten minutes later you would be outside in the smoking area having a cigarette thinking, “Nothing’s wrong, we’d never got into an argument before, you know.” 
Tom was a guy that when things started getting crazy at work, he would come up and he’d go, “Clint, these people are getting a little bit nuts over here, why don’t we take off about two or three hours and go play golf.” So we’d run to the house at lunchtime, grab our clubs, come back to work, and sign a little bit of annual leave. Sometimes our supervisors and COL Cooley didn’t like that a whole lot. But we’d go ahead and go. We’d go shoot nine holes of golf, have a couple of beers, and everything was miraculously better. We’d try to solve the world’s problems.
I’ve known Tom since 1987. Think he got in in ’77. He was one of the guys, he was one of your friends that you could always depend on, he was the guy that when you had something you needed some help with, and you couldn’t find anybody else to help you, all you had to do was say "Hey Tom, can you give me a hand?” And he was always there. It didn’t make any difference what it was, what time of the day it was. I spent a Christmas Eve with him. I had recently been divorced. He called me up to say, “Hi Clint, why don’t you come over, I know you don’t have your kids tonight.” So I went over to his house and him and Doris and Zack were there, and we ate Christmas Eve dinner, and ended up watching the movie “The Patriot” and getting iced in. It got iced over that night; it took me like six hours to drive 15 miles. 
He was calling every 20 minutes to make sure I was making it home. Tom was married for 24 years. He just had his 24th wedding anniversary. He had four kids; I lost count of the grandkids at 10. He was a good first sergeant, he got threw into this deployment right at the last minute, a couple of weeks, three weeks before we left Ft. Hood. I think he was our latest guy coming in. He took charge, and we was in g it, we was doing good. Torn, you are going to be missed. God be with us.  

​Staff Sgt. Jason Hyde
, Company C, 1st Battalion, 131st Aviation Regiment
Distinguished Guests, Soldiers of the 36th, thank you.
When I was asked to speak on John Gary Brown’s behalf, I didn’t know l could do it. I knew what to say, but I didn’t think there was enough time in the day to say it. I could stand here all day to speak of Gary. He was a great guy. He was a man of few words. You just couldn’t describe him in a few words — I’m going to try. He was a Christian man, he was a family man, a Soldier and a friend. As a Christian folks, the last I saw of John G., I left him in the room. Sure enough, he had his Bible out, and his notebook, his highlighter, and his pen. I joked with him before and said, “John G., we need to just get you a can of spray paint or highlight paint because you are highlighting everything.” There wasn’t nothing l didn’t read more than once, more than twice, more than three times. And he always had that Good Book with him. I know he is in Heaven right now, looking down on us, and he’s going to always be with us, he's gonna always be with us.
He was a family man, he loved his family. His wife — if you saw the two of them together, he was doting over that lady, he was always with her, making sure she was alright and she had everything she would need. The kids — they were his grandchildren, but they were his kids and he treated them like they were his kids. Anytime you talked to him about his kids, it was always “the rug rats”, or his favorite, “little crumb snatchers.” I loved hearing his stories about his crumb snatchers. Never failed to crack me up. I was so glad he got to go home and take his presents to them kids and his wife, who he was so proud of, that he got over here, he was so proud, showing everybody.
As a Soldier, there’s none better. A true professional. It was funny — you would always see his RL progression books, he always had them, he had a bag full of them. If there was ever a question about them, he’d pull them out. Money says they were highlighted and underlined. He knew what was right, and he acted on it, he knew the right thing to do, and he always did it, he set the example, was the example. When it ever came to his Soldiers, he never asked someone to do something he wasn't willing to do and it’s probably because he didn’t have time to do it himself if he was asking somebody because he was the first one to jump up in there and get it done. If it was something he had never done before, he would be the first one, change a hydraulic pump, anything. He’d jump right in there, he was an example.
As a friend, he was always there. He was always there, he’d listen to you, he’d help you if he could. If he couldn’t, he’d pray for you. He prayed a lot for me. He was a great man. He was a believer in “there was a time to work, and work hard, and then there was a time to, as he would say, to relax.” Our NCODP will never be the same without him. And I do mean our NCODP, a little bit unique. And a crawdad hole back home will never be the same without him. That day when he left us, my world, our world grew a little dimmer.


Maj. James Deal
, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 36th Combat Aviation Brigade
General Simmons, General Terry, COL Sevier, Guests.
I’ve been asked to come and speak to you today on behalf of CPT Sean Lyerly.  I got to know Sean at Fort Hood when we first began this deployment. I’d seen him around before then, I knew he was a fellow Aggie, but there we got to be friends and roommates, and we got to know each other. Sean was a husband, a father, a fellow pilot, a fellow officer, and a good friend. He was a good Soldier, a great father and a decent human being. He loved his wife, and he loved his son very much. He didn’t go a day without talking to them or talking about them. He enjoyed a good laugh, and he loved to make others smile. Those who knew Sean would tell you he was always upbeat, he was energetic. He was considerate of others. He constantly worked hard to make things better than he found them. He never left the things that he found the same as they were. When many of us allowed ourselves to become down or despondent, have a bad day, Sean was always there, light-hearted, easy-going; he could always be counted on to do the right thing and to try to put a smile on your face. In the brigade TOC, no one did more to help out our operations, to make us more efficient, to see that things ran well, than Sean did. He was constantly a source of good ideas, with solutions to daily problems, helping us organize, always to be in the right place at the right time. Additionally, Sean was always the first to volunteer for projects, things like running the unit FRG fund, being the FRG leader for the unit. Many times during our deployment, he took his own time, his money to go purchase items, flags, t-shirts, patches, things that supported the unit, just to help do things that he thought would make a difference. He always was trying to do things that he thought would make a difference.
One of the things I will always remember about Sean is that he was always optimistic, he was always upbeat. He had this little patch of ground in front of his hooch that he was always trying to grow a lawn on. The first time he tried to grow the grass out there, he didn’t grow any grass, but he did attract a large number of birds. They all came and ate his grass seeds. We found that quite humorous and we gave him a hard time about it, but he didn’t give up. He came back, he got him some screen and he covered that little patch of ground up, put his grass seeds back in the ground, and he replanted them again. That’s about two months ago, and he still hasn’t grown a blade of grass in there. But Sean watered that ground everyday, and I have complete faith that by the end of this deployment, he would have the only green lawn in this camp. That’s just the way he was. He never gave up. He always had in mind what he intended to do, and he always followed through with it.
In addition to being a dedicated officer and a good person, Sean loved to fly. He was a good aviator, and he was extremely proud to be associated with Charlie Company, 1-131st. He felt welcome there; he felt that 1-131st had made him a part of their team. He worked hard to participate in missions in every opportunity we gave him. He really believed that he had a duty to be a part of this operation as an aviator, to help move as many Soldiers around the battlefield as possible, and he believed by doing so, he was truly saving the lives of others, and doing his part in this operation.
Of all the things I can say about Sean, I think most of all, he’d want me to tell you that he was proud. He was proud to be a husband, he was proud to be a father, he was proud to be a Soldier and an officer with this unit, in this brigade. He believed in the role that he fulfilled here as a pilot and a leader. He believed that his service amounted to something more than just the sum of his daily actions. For all this, and so much more, I salute you Sean as a fellow Aggie, as a fellow Soldier. I’m proud to have known him and to have him touch my life as a friend, as a comrade, and it’s a privilege to know and serve with him. 

Thank you. At this time that completes our tribute to our Soldiers, if we could I would like to have everyone stand in a moment of silent tribute.

Moment of Silence
conducted.

Thank you, you may be seated.

Amazing Grace Sung By
: Sgt. Jennifer Rockmore, 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment

Chaplain (1st Lt.) Anthony Wilkins
, 1st Battalion, 149th Aviation Regiment (Attack) I would like for you to pray in your tradition as I pray in mine. Precious heavenly Father we bring the broken pieces of what we thought our lives were to you today, but we ask for the missing piece that will make us all right again. We ask, and beseech you for the answers to the questions in our hearts, we look for something to fill the emptiness of our hearts and we come up with one question to you Lord.  Why? Why do we look at these symbols where these Soldiers, our friends, should be? We ask why do these Soldiers have to die. And you tell us Lord to be still, and know that you are our Shepherd. We ask why couldn’t the aircraft have held together just long enough to get to the ground. And you answered I will lead you to still waters.
We ask why, why was it them and not me and you answer: I will lead you to green pastures. Because I am your loving Father, and Lord as we come with all these questions, seeking, praying, hoping beyond hope to find wholeness again, you tell us: stand on My promise that I will comfort you. So Lord we call upon You, ease our pain, give us life where there is numbness, and give us your promise to comfort us today, in Jesus’ name, Amen.  
If you would now please rise for the last roll call. 

Last Roll Call
: Conducted by lst Sgt. Joseph Fleming

21-Gun Salute
: Conducted by 1st Battalion, 108*‘ Aviation Regiment Honor Guard

Taps
: Conducted by Spc. Keslosky, bugler

Chaplain (Maj.) James Higgins

Following the benediction you are invited to come forward and to offer final respects to these fallen heroes.

Receive this blessing:  May the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you, may the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.  Amen.

Phil Brown  

Phil (1:20) 

Student

Ministry

​Trainer &

Coach

In memory of SFC John Gary Brown (10/24/63 - 01/20/07)

Phil (1:20)  Brown

It is my deep desire and hope that I will never fail my Lord, and that at all times, but especially right now, that I will be full of courage, so that Christ will be exalted in my whole being,

in everything I do or say, whether I live or die.  Philippians 1:20