With today being Memorial Day, I thought I would write an article highlighting some of those to which this day is dedicated. We live in an age where sports stars are idolized by the masses and Hollywood celebrities are revered for no other reason than that they are famous, worshipped by the masses. The word hero gets tossed around more than in a Marvel comic book and often this title bestowed on those who fall far short of such an accolade. The true heroes of our time many times remain anonymous, the names only revered by their family and those few who witnessed their greatness and lived to tell of it. Below are just a few, relatively unknown heroes from a war hardly spoken of in the decades since it raged in the mountains and hills of Korea.
PFC Melvin L. Brown – U.S. Army
PFC Melvin Brown was part of the 8th Engineer Combat Battalion, Delta Company. His platoon was securing Hill 755, also called the Walled City in September of 1950 when enemy forces counterattacked with heavy automatic weapons as well as small arms fire. PFC Brown, a mere 19 years old, took the initiative and exposing himself on a 50-foot wall, he returned fire, pinning the enemy down until he exhausted his ammunition. Though wounded, PFC Brown continued to stay in the fight, lobbing grenade after grenade which were being supplied to him by his fellow battle buddies in nearby foxholes, even dismounting to retrieve additional grenades and returning to his position atop the wall, all while under intense enemy fire. Soon, he exhausted his supply and though weaponless, PFC Brown refused to accept defeat. He drew his entrenching tool and waiting patiently until the enemy advanced, peering over the wall, then using his tool, struck them, 1 by 1, knocking nearly a dozen enemy off the wall. His courageous actions inspired the men of his platoon and they repelled this enemy force and held their position. No doubt, if it wasn’t for the extraordinary actions of PFC Brown, dozens of American men would have been added to the mounting casualty list. PFC Melvin Brown was killed in action on September 5th, 1950. For this he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in February of 1951.
CPT Emil J. Kapaun – U.S. Army