John William Brown – Technical Sergeant, United States Air Force

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 705-11
August 11, 2011

DOD Identifies Service Members Killed In CH-47 Crash

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of 30 servicemembers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.  They died August 6, 2011 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when their CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

The following sailors assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit were killed:

Lieutenant Commander (SEAL) Jonas B. Kelsall, 32, of Shreveport, Louisiana

  •  Special Warfare Operator Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Louis J. Langlais, 44, of Santa Barbara, California
  • Special Warfare Operator Senior Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Thomas A. Ratzlaff, 34, of Green Forest, Arkansas
  • Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Senior Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Kraig M. Vickers 36, of Kokomo, Hawaii,
  • Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Brian R. Bill, 31, of Stamford, Connecticut
  • Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) John W. Faas, 31, of Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Kevin A. Houston, 35, of West Hyannisport, Massachusetts
  • Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Matthew D. Mason, 37, of Kansas City, Missouri
  • Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Stephen M. Mills, 35, of Fort Worth, Texas,
  • Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist/Diver) Nicholas H. Null, 30, of Washington, West Virginia
  • Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Robert J. Reeves, 32, of Shreveport, Louisiana
  • Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Heath M. Robinson, 34, of Detroit, Michigan
  • Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Darrik C. Benson, 28, of Angwin, California
  • Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Parachutist) Christopher G. Campbell, 36, of Jacksonville, North Carolina
  • Information Systems Technician Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Jared W. Day, 28, of Taylorsville, Utah,
  • Master-at-Arms Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) John Douangdara, 26, of South Sioux City, Nebraska
  • Cryptologist Technician (Collection) Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) Michael J. Strange, 25, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist) Jon T. Tumilson, 35, of Rockford, Iowa,
  • Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Aaron C. Vaughn, 30, of Stuart, Florida, and
  • Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jason R. Workman, 32, of Blanding, Utah.

The following sailors assigned to a West Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit were killed:

  • Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jesse D. Pittman, 27, of Ukiah, California, and
  • Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 2nd Class (SEAL) Nicholas P. Spehar, 24, of Saint Paul, Minnesota

The soldiers killed were:

  • Chief Warrant Officer David R. Carter, 47, of Centennial, Colo.  He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), Aurora, Colorado
  • Chief Warrant Officer Bryan J. Nichols, 31, of Hays, Kan.  He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kansas
  • Staff Sgt. Patrick D. Hamburger, 30, of Lincoln, Neb.  He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), Grand Island, Nebraska
  • Sgt. Alexander J. Bennett, 24, of Tacoma, Wash.  He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kansas; and
  • Spc. Spencer C. Duncan, 21, of Olathe, Kan.  He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kansas

The airmen killed were:

  • Tech. Sgt. John W. Brown, 33, of Tallahassee, Florida
  • Staff Sgt. Andrew W. Harvell, 26, of Long Beach, California; and
  • Tech. Sgt. Daniel L. Zerbe, 28, of York, Pennsylvania

All three airmen were assigned to the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Field, North Carolina

UPDATE:  August 12, 2011 — Sergeant Hamburger was posthumously promoted to Staff Sergeant.


A Siloam Springs native is killed after his military helicopter is shot down in Afghanistan Saturday morning. Arkansas State Representative Jon Woods says his friend John Brown was the perfect soldier.

jwbrown-photo-01

“He was just an All-American G.I. Joe. Just a great guy who loved his country,” says Woods.

Woods says he and Brown grew up in Siloam Springs together.

“Everybody liked John in high school,” says Woods, “He was easy to get along with, great athlete, and great sense of humor.”

Saturday afternoon Woods got an email from Brown's mother Elizabeth Newlun stating Brown's Navy SEAL unit had been shot down in Afghanistan.

“Hearing the news that it was the Navy SEAL team, or a large group of the men that were killed this morning, it doesn't surprise me that John was more than likely part of that team,” says Woods.

He says Brown always loved a challenge.

“He loved to fight,” says Woods, “He loved his country. He likes doing the right thing and he really believed in what he was doing.”

Newlun says her son studied pre-med in Florida before deciding to become a Pararescueman in the United States Air Force. She says he was assigned to a Navy SEALS unit and was recently promoted to tech sergeant.

“His specific job is to be with them and to see to their medical needs and to see to their rescue in the situation that they'd been taken hostage or something like that,” says Newlun.

Newlun says the public outcry of support and knowing Brown was not only her hero, but an American hero has given her comfort during this difficult time.

“We all have a great comfort in that he died doing what he wanted to do and that he died with honor,” says Newlun.

According to Woods, losing Brown isn't only a tragic loss for friends and family, but also for our country.

“He was physically fit, mentally sharp, great sense of humor, and he was the perfect, you know, when I think of the perfect soldier, that was John Brown,” says Woods.

He says Brown is a soldier who will always be remembered.

“He died a hero's death and I'm very proud of him and proud to say I'm a friend of his, and I'm going to miss him tremendously,” says Woods.

Newlun says her son is best described in a letter written by Brown's uncle.

“John Brown was a rambo without the attitude,” reads Newlun, “He was a humble healer and service to his country, a Special Forces medic on a mission in Afghanistan. He was brave, but never arrogant, powerful but always gentle, a smart man who knew himself and chose his words carefully.”


Technical Sergeant John W. Brown, 33, of Siloam Springs, Arkansas, was assigned to the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Pope Field, North Carolina.

jwbrown-photo-02

He died August 6, 2011 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Sergeant Brown grew up in Siloam Springs and graduated in 1996.

He was a Pararescueman with the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, an Air Force special operations unit based at Fort Bragg's Pope Field. He wanted to go into the medical field but joined the military instead after seeing a video of a special tactical unit. He was a member of the United States Air Force and was aboard the helicopter that killed him and 29 other servicemen.

If Elizabeth Newlun wanted to have a serious conversation with her son, John, she had to shoot baskets with him. “There's nothing athletic about me, but I realized that you have to get into other people's comfort zone to get information,” said Newlun, explaining that her son, an Air Force Technical Sergeant, was a “gentle giant” who “just loved anything physical, anything athletic.”

Newlun said her son played football and basketball in high school and went to John Brown University on a swimming scholarship. He had wanted to go into the medical field and become a nurse anesthetist, but decided to join the military after seeing a video of a special tactical unit, she said. The airman was a Paramedic and ready to attend to the medical needs of anyone who was rescued, his mother said.

Arkansas state Representative Jon Woods went to high school with Brown in Siloam Springs and remembered playing basketball and watching “Saturday Night Live” on the weekends. “When you think of what the ideal model of a soldier would be, he would be it,” said Woods. “He could run all day.”

BROWN, JOHN WILLIAM
TSGT   US AIR FORCE
AFGHANISTAN, IRAQ

  • DATE OF BIRTH: 11/09/1977
  • DATE OF DEATH: 08/06/2011
  • BURIED AT: SECTION 60  SITE 9941
    ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

jwbrown-gravesite-photo-by-eileen-horan-november-2011-001

jwbrown-gravesite-photo-by-eileen-horan-november-2011-002

jwbrown-gravesite-photo-by-eileen-horan-november-2011-003

Read also our most popular topics on Arlington National Cemetery

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.