Vietnam vet from Upper St. Clair to be honored by VFW
Rushed from the front lines with severe wounds from an enemy hand grenade during the Vietnam War, Army 1st Lt. Neil Brown resolved to return to the battlefield.
Within a day, he reunited with his reconnaissance platoon, the stitches across the left side of his body fresh, despite warnings from field surgeons.
“I just wanted to be back out in the field with the guys,” Brown, 66, of Upper St. Clair recalled. He was referring to his platoon, part of the 101st Airborne Division, which would overcome the enemy in four consecutive days of close-quarters combat shortly after his return.
His exploits during that episode, in the A Shau Valley in northeast Vietnam in 1969, earned him the Silver Star, among the military's most prestigious awards. He was awarded the Purple Heart.
In a ceremony scheduled for Sunday, a plaque bearing his portrait and a description of his actions is to join nearly three dozen others on the dining room wall of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 764 in the McMurray section of Peters.
“I think once you've been in a war zone, it never leaves you,” said Bob Donnan, 63, of Peters, chairman of the post's committee that maintains the wall. He served in Vietnam, for less than a year, as a clerk responsible for compiling military awards.
“It's not something you take lightly,” said 1st Lt. Dan O'Neill, a longtime friend of Brown's — he referred to him as “Brownie” — who underwent training with him before the two were deployed by the same aircraft to Vietnam. They returned to the states together, too, after serving in the same division for about a year.
For Brown, a longtime executive vice president of a nationwide insurance company who is undergoing treatment for pneumonia, the June 8 ceremony is significant.
“That's your peers, saying, ‘Thank you,' ” Brown said.
Jake Flannick is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.