William Theodore Brown

Sergeant First Class
Army of the United States
20 February 1945 - 08 January 1979
La Habra, California
Panel 16W Line 022



Purple Heart, Good Conduct, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign


The database page for William Theodore Brown

13 Feb 2001

I have a bracelet with SFC Brown's name on it. I got it at the Wall in D.C. Even though I have never known him, and there is no real connection between us, I feel he has affected my life. In a good way...

A memorial from one who wears his MIA bracelet,
Fernando Gomes
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5 Mar 2004

I also wear a bracelet with SFC Brown's name on it. It is stainless steel. I bought it at the PX at Fort McClellan, Ala, while I was attending Boot Camp and AIT (Military Police Academy) in June 1993.This Bracelet has been everywhere with me for the last 11 years of my life. It qualified on the rifle range with me, it went through the "Disco Hut" with me (vets will know), it's been on leave with me, it's been out of an airplane at 13,000 feet with me. it has been all over the world with me (Panama-'94, Haiti '95 and Bosnia '96-97). This bracelet has been a part of my life every day. It walked down the aisle with me. It has lived with me. It has also been through all the hard times of my life with me, and any time I felt down or like life was just not fair, I thought about SFC Brown and how he had it far worse than I could ever imagine. Through all the places I went I carried SFC Brown with me, maybe a little piece of him lives in the bracelet and he's been with me for all these things in my life. SFC Brown's courage and sacrifice is an inspiration to me. It will also be with me when the flag is draped over my coffin and the lid is closed. I salute you, SFC Brown, for making the ultimate sacrifice for God and Country. Your Bracelet shall stay with me forever and I shall wear it proudly, and and after reading this web page, when people ask me about my bracelet I can tell them who you were.

From one who wears his MIA Bracelet,
Justin Thompson

8 May 2004

I have had William's MIA bracelet since the early 1970's when I was in the Marine Corps. We have a bookcase that displays the military history of our family and William's photo and bracelet hold a special place in the display. I look at him often and think of the things I've done and places I've been that he was never able to experience. The connection is closer than I ever knew - it was just today that I learned that William and I share February 20th as a birthday. I'm sure his brothers are telling his story to their children and grandchildren.

Linda V. Gipson

17 Jun 2004

I, too, wear Bill's bracelet.

It was given me by my husband as an engagement 'ring'.

He couldn't afford a diamond and I knew how much that bracelet meant to him, so it showed just how much our relationship meant to him as well. I have drawn on the strength I find in that simple bracelet countless times, including the day I said goodbye to my beloved Army and the day I brought our child into the world. Bill is a part of our family, and we are going to visit him this week at the Moving Wall and again at the end of July in DC. Our son will know him, just as we do.

Angela and Jason Leach
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30 May 2005

I too have the bracelet of William Theodore Brown. It came with the synopsis of his mission that eventually lead to his disappearence. Every Memorial Day and Veterans' Day I take it out and read it as reminder of those who fought and paid the ultimate price for freedom.

Laura Croce
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

06 Nov 2005

I am now the point of contact for William T. Brown's family. My uncle's health is not so good any more so I've stepped up and will always be there for whatever it takes to bring Billy home again. I have always worn Bill's bracelet and will contine to do so until the day I can remove it from my arm and hand it to him directly. If there is anyone out there who would like to contact me, please, PLEASE, feel free. We're all in this TOGETHER.

From a cousin,
Jan Trueblood

02 Nov 2006

I have had William's bracelet since 1972. I wore it every day all throughout junior high and high school. I have thought of him often over the years. I plan on making a trip to Washington to view the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial. I am bringing my children with me, as they have heard about William all their lives. William serves as a reminder to all of my family of how we must not hasten into war. I finally get to say ... "Thank you William, for your service, honor and bravery". Wearing his bracelet has left a mark on my life and has forever changed the person I am today. Thank you!

From a proud MIA bracelet wearer,
Heather Nicholls

A Note from The Virtual Wall

William (Bill) T. Brown joined the Army in 1965 and earned his Beret and paratrooper badge. He was sent to Vietnam on December 14, 1967. He was a demolitions expert and fluent in the Vietnamese language. In Vietnam, he helped train Montagnard tribesmen, and was so drawn to them that he reenlisted after his tour and returned to Vietnam in May 1969.

On his second tour, Bill was attached to MACV-SOG, Command and Control North. MACV-SOG (Military Assistance Command Vietnam Studies and Observation Group) was a joint service high command unconventional warfare task force engaged in highly classified operations throughout Southeast Asia. The teams performed deep penetration missions of strategic reconnaissance and interdiction which were called, depending on the time frame, "Shining Brass" or "Prairie Fire" missions.

It was on such a mission that then-SSgt. Brown, SSgt. Gunther Wald, SP4 Donald Shue , and two of the six Montagnards went missing. The Americans and Montagnards were members of a patrol operating in Laos. The patrol team was attacked by a numerically superior force 30 miles inside Laos near Ban Chakevy Tai in Saravane Province. Four of the Montangards escaped and returned to camp to report the ambush and capture of their comrades.

When last seen, Brown had been wounded by a gunshot just below the rib cage. He was lying on the ground as the attackers shouted, "Capture the Americans". SSgt. Wald and SP4 Shue were also seen to receive numerous shrapnel wounds from a fragmentation grenade. The other team members were forced to withdraw leaving them behind.

Due to bad weather, a recovery team could not reenter the area until November 11. They searched the entire area, but could only find some web gear which was identified as belonging to three of the indigenous team members and SP4 Shue. There was no trace of any graves, or of the three missing Americans. They were classified as Missing In Action.

On 08 January 1979 the Secretary of the Army approved a Presumptive Finding of Death for SFC William Brown, changing his status to Died while Missing/Body not Recovered. As of 18 Nov 2006 his remains have not been repatriated.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
one who wears his MIA bracelet,
Fernando Gomes
E-Mail may be forwarded via the

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 13 Feb 2001
Last updated 11/18/2006