Gordon Brown was born on July 27, 1932, and raised in Aledo, Illinois. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on May 1, 1950, and completed basic training at NTC Great Lakes, Illinois, in July 1950. His first assignment was as a Personnelman aboard the destroyer USS Barton (DD-722) from August 1950 to January 1951, followed by Underwater Demolition Team Replacement training with Class 007 at NAB Little Creek, Virginia, from May to July 1951. He served with Underwater Demolition Team TWO (UDT-2, later redesignated UDT-21 in March 1954) at NAB Little Creek from July 1951 to February 1957, and then attended Basic Mineman training at the Naval School of Mine Warfare in Yorktown, Virginia, from January to April 1954, and Advanced Mineman training from September to December 1958. He also attended Salvage Diver training at the U.S. Naval School, Ship Salvage, in Bayonne, New Jersey, from August to October 1954, and October 1955 to January 1956. Petty Officer Brown then served aboard the high-speed transport USS Burdo (APD-133) from August 1956 to January 1957, and during this time he participated in the evacuation of U.S. and foreign nationals from Israel via the port of Haifa in October 1956 due to hostilities between Israel and Egypt. Petty Officer Brown was then stationed at Naval Ammunition Depot Earle in Red Bank, New Jersey, from February 1957 to September 1959, followed by service with UDT-11 at NAB Coronado, California, from November 1959 to January 1962, when he became a Plank Owner of SEAL Team ONE upon that unit’s formation on January 1, 1962. Petty Officer Brown served with SEAL Team ONE until he was killed in action in South Vietnam on May 19, 1968, having deployed to Southeast Asia from July 1963 to February 1964, from September 1964 to February 1965, from December 1965 to August 1966, from December 1966 to May 1967, and from December 1967 until his death in Kien Giang Province, South Vietnam, on May 19, 1968. Chief Petty Officer Brown was buried at Beverly National Cemetery in Beverly, New Jersey.
His Bronze Star Medal w/Valor Citation reads:
For meritorious service in connection with operations against the enemy while serving in the Republic of Vietnam from 11 December 1967 to 19 May 1968. As the only United States advisor to a Kien Giang Vietnamese military unit, Petty Officer BROWN provided advice and assistance in planning and conducting counterinsurgency combat operations, training of personnel, and organizational methods. He accompanied and advised numerous nighttime armed reconnaissance missions against the Viet Cong in Kien Giang Province, and was often subjected to intense enemy fire while participating in these hazardous evolutions. Petty Officer BROWN’s inspiring leadership and outstanding professionalism enabled him to mold the 100 irregular combatants of his unit into one of the most highly effective small military units in the province. On 19 May 1968, Petty Officer BROWN voluntarily participated in a particularly dangerous mission against a well-armed Viet Cong force and was killed in action while courageously leading an assault against strongly fortified enemy positions. Petty Officer BROWN’s devotion to duty, courage under fire and sense of responsibility were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Petty Officer BROWN is authorized to wear the Combat “V”.
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