Lifestyles
Amazing local veteran to speak to DAR chapter
By Martha Jefferson Randolph Chapter NSDAR
Oct 9, 2018
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Martha Jefferson Randolph Chapter NSDAR will have the privilege of having a local Korean War veteran with an amazing life and career as the speaker at the October Meeting.

 Charles Lee Brown was born on August 8, 1932, in Dallas, Texas, the oldest child of Lois and Omas Lee Brown.  After spending most summers on his grandfather’s farm in Lamar County, Charlie worked during his school years as a carrier at the Dallas Morning News and as a soda clerk/delivery boy at a local pharmacy.

Upon graduation from Sunset High School in 1950, Charlie studied at Rice University until his enlistment in the Army in 1951 sent him to  Schofield Barracks in Hawaii for infantry training.  On his nineteenth birthday, he left on a troop ship, first stopping in Japan for a few days, then eight months on the front in Korea. 

After returning to the States, he was stationed at Camp Polk, LA, where he was promoted to Sergeant and served as Supply Sergeant. After the Korean Armistice, he obtained an early release, remained in the Reserves for about a year, and began studies at SMU.  On June 16, 1955, Charlie was discharged from the Army and the next day enlisted in the Air Force with the intent to complete Flight School at Carswell AFB.  However, a severe auto accident disqualified him from the program.  It was at this time when his mother, sister, and his sister’s classmate came to visit—Charlie met his future wife, the former Donna Ussery.  He transferred to Pepperell AFB, Newfoundland, without his fiancé, but returned shortly to marry her.

Charlie and Donna left Newfoundland in April 1958 for Lackland AFB, TX to the newly-formed USAF Marksmanship Training Center, a special unit formed by Gen. Cutis LeMay. He was first assigned to the rifle instructor phase of the Marksmanship school.  He helped develop the M-16 rifle for the Air Force and wrote the first manual for it.  The manual is still on display at the Lackland Museum.  Charlie liked to shoot competitively and was the third highest International Marksman in the Air Force.

After five years at Lackland, Charlie was reassigned to Perrin AFB, Texas, where he was the small arms instructor for the base until problems developed with his ear.  This prevented him from continuing in this job, so with two years of college as a pre-med student, he was sent to Pharmacy Tech School at Sheppard and made E-6.  He worked in the Air Force Hospital in Turkey from 1968-1970 and finished his career at Perrin as a Pharmacy Tech and retired in 1972 as a Master Sergeant.

But Charlie wasn’t through.  He was applying for the Physicians Assistant School at the University of Texas Southwest Medical School but was told they were taking only college graduates.  So instead he went to nursing school.  He received his BS in nursing in May, 1975, as an honor graduate. He immediately went to work at Parkland and then at an emergency room in Mesquite.  He then graduated from anesthesia school in 1976 with a 96 overall average and a master’s degree. He worked as a nurse anesthetist until his retirement in 1992.

Since this last retirement, Charlie has remained active with military organizations such as the Perrin AFB Museum where he has served in all capacities, the Military Vehicle Preservation Association, and the DOD Korean War Commemoration Program. He has made three return trips to Korea for commemoration ceremonies, the last being in September 2016. He arranges for displays for schools and also participates in parades with his military vehicles.  He is a member of the Denison Planning Council.

Charlie’s two sons, Howell and Carlton, reside close by in Denison, where Charlie and Donna have recently celebrated their 60th anniversary.