Richard James Brown

United States Marine Corps
27 June 1944 - 26 October 1967
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Panel 28E Line 073

Silver Star

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
Richard J Brown
High School yearbook photo courtesy of
Fred Zimmermann

The database page for Richard James Brown

20 Feb 2003

I was friends with his brother Bobby but met Richard ("Skip") several times when he was home on leave. He was on his second tour in Nam and if I recall correctly he was going to make the Corps a career.

I was on active duty myself and just about to deploy with my squadron to Vung Tau when I got word of his death. Pine Beach is a small town and thankfully he was the town's only casualty ... but as I recall his death devastated his mother.

I felt a need to recognize him on this great website for his sacrifice.

Loren MacIver ... ATN2/AC USN 1965-1969

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Shortly before dawn on 04 Sep 1967 NVA and VC troops attacked US Marines in the Que Son Valley, beginning Operation Swift. As the battle escalated, both sides introduced additional forces. On 6 September two battalions of the 1st VC Regiment attacked the lead company of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines. Bravo Company was isolated and nearly overrun before artillery-delivered tear gas drove the enemy back. The nearby 3rd Battalion was heavily engaged a few hours later. When India 3/5 was dispatched to attack an enemy held hill, it was isolated and nearly overrun by the 1st VC Regiment's previously uncommitted 3rd Battalion. Kilo 3/5 was sent to relieve India and, though it eventually fought through, the two-company force couldn't move because of the many casualties. That night, two assaults were repulsed. In a night attack of their own Mike 3/5 broke through to the encircled companies, completing the disruption of the enemy force. By dawn on the 7th the NVA/VC had withdrawn into the surrounding mountains.

The following men from India and Kilo 3/5 died in the fight for Hill 43:

  • I Co, 3rd Bn, 5th Marines
    • SSgt Richard B. Jackson, Philadelphia, PA
    • Cpl William R. France, Garfield Heights, OH
    • Cpl Dale A. Gunnell, Winston-Salem, NC
    • LCpl Harold S. Bern, Powers, OR
    • LCpl Richard W. Crawford, Wallkill, NY
    • LCpl Sam T. Curiel, Abilene, TX
    • LCpl Patrick Herron, Sugar Notch, PA
    • LCpl Joseph S. Hume, Hamilton, OH
    • LCpl Reginald A. Jordan, Philadelphia, PA
    • LCpl Michael L. Langerio, Hershey, PA
    • LCpl George S. Spak, Akron, OH
    • LCpl Gregory L. Yeager, St Paul, MN
    • Pfc Robert D. Evans, Grand Prairie, TX
    • Pfc Jerry H. Heizer, Staunton, VA
    • Pfc Gary E. Hibbard, Dimock, PA
    • Pfc James B. Miller, Fernandina Beach, FL
    • Pfc James T. Pepper, Elk River, MN
    • Pfc Lewis H. Proudfoot, Elverson, PA
    • Pfc Jerry C. Royal, Oklahoma City, OK
    • Pfc Robert W. Swafford, O'Fallon, MO
    • Pfc Frank L. Swinford, Sweeny, TX
    • Pfc Jerry L. Thomas, Sherman, TX
    • Pfc Ralph P. Villegas, San Pedro, CA
    • Pfc Robert C. Wallace, Plattsburgh, NY

  • K Co, 3rd Bn, 5th Marines
    • Sgt John T. Carota, Milton, MA
    • Cpl Reid C. Arnold, Largo, FL
    • Pfc James H. Rust, Malone, NY
    • Pfc Robert G. Willow, Johnsonburg, PA
Operation Swift continued through 15 Sep 1967 as the Marines and an ARVN force pursued the withdrawing VC. On termination, one hundred twenty-eight US Marines and sailors were dead. The intensity of the fighting can be judged by the fact that three Medals of Honor and three Navy Crosses were awarded posthumously to Marines and sailors who died in the battle.

Sergeant Richard J. Brown wasn't killed in this battle, but he did receive the Silver Star for his actions. Almost 6 weeks later, he was leading a squad patrol about 7 kilometers west-northwest of Dien Ban a boobytrapped 60mm mortar shell was tripped. The 5th Marines Command Chronology for October 1967 contains the following entry for 26 Oct:

"261215H: K CO 3/5 S&D at 995610 detonated 1 booby trap believed to be 60mm [mortar] round. Searched area with negative results. 4 USMC WIA."
Two of the four men died from their injuries - Sergeant Brown and Corporal Converse R. Lewis of College Station, Texas.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a friend,
Loren MacIver

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 20 Feb 2003
Last updated 01/10/2008