DVIDS – News – Army Veteran, Soldier For Life, Celebrates 90th Birthday


Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois – Fred Allen Brown celebrated his 90th birthday with family and friends in East Moline, Illinois on March 26. Born in Beaverton, Alabama on March 30, 1932 to a family that loved to serve the United States of America, Brown is proud of his “Soldier For Life” story.

Although he attended Sulligent High School in Alabama, he began his civilian career in the military in May 1951 at Rock Island Arsenal, before graduating. Years later, as a husband and father of three, he earned his Iowa State General Education Diploma while employed at the RIA in 1971 at the age of 39 years old. “It’s one of my most cherished accomplishments; to think after all these years, I’ve done it,” Brown said.

Brown and his first wife Cathy were married in July 1952, just before he was drafted into the United States Army in December 1952. Together they had three children; Veronica (born in 1954 at New York Naval Hospital), John (born in 1959 at Moline Public Hospital, Illinois) and Terry (born in 1966 at Arab Hospital, Alabama). Brown served for two years at Fort Tilden, New York before being honorably discharged in 1954. After his discharge, Brown went on to serve another six years as an Army Reservist at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. “Serving our country as a soldier is one of my greatest joys in life,” Brown said. “The Army has taught me so many life skills, given me incredible career opportunities, and allowed me to work as a soldier and Army civilian serving my country for over 35 years. .”

A career highlight for Brown was being selected to work at the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama from 1965 to 1966. He was a trained gold plating expert, put to work on the Saturn rocket, applying gold plating to out-of-space probes to prevent corrosion. “The best part of this job was meeting Wernher Von Braun,” Brown said. Braun was a German-American aerospace engineer and space architect, and pioneer of rocket and space technology in the United States.

Later in life (1987), Brown remarried and had two stepchildren, Tim and Tracy. Together, he and his wife Karen “Sue” Brown have five grandchildren. “I have to brag about my family for a minute,” Brown said. His great-grandfather served in the 36th Alabama Infantry, his son John served in the 82nd Airborne, his father and grandfather were Army civilians, his wife’s three brothers were all soldiers of the army and his step-grandson served as a marine. He also had two brothers, Billy Joe and Carl, who served in the Korean conflict.

“The list of family members who served is endless; uncles and cousins ​​also served as soldiers or civilians in the army,” his wife said. “We both come from a long line in the military and couldn’t be prouder.” Brown beamed as he shared the story of his father and grandfather joining him at Rock Island Arsenal. Once back at Rock Island Arsenal as an Army civilian, he encouraged his father and grandfather to join him. “The military offers a really good life; I wanted them to experience it with me,” Brown said. Tucked away with Brown’s military service papers is a letter of appreciation from Battery Commander D Francis A. Pommett SR, (Fort Hamilton, December 1954) and two letters of recommendation from Fort Tilden commanders, Edward Winter (September 1954) and Leo Ziegler (December 1954).

Brown enjoys traveling, gardening, watching NASCAR races and renovating homes. He and his wife bought, remodeled and sold nine homes in several states. He is also passionate about being a member of Scottish Rite (32nd Degree) Freemasonry for over 60 years, the Mason Fellowship for over 60 years, the Kaaba Shrine for over 50 years, and the American Legion at East Moline for 45 years.

“I’m so proud to be his daughter,” his daughter Veronica said. “His love for his family and our country is so admirable and I am grateful that we can all be together on his 90th birthday to shower him with love and warm birthday wishes.”

Speaking of all he’s accomplished in 90 years, “I don’t feel any different than I did when I was 50 or 70,” Brown said. He went on to say, “Coming May, I will have been retired for as many years as I served as a private and a civilian in the army, and that’s damn cool.”

Brown retired from Rock Island Arsenal in 1987. He and his wife reside in Moline, Illinois and take great pride in honoring their country, placing flags at graves across the country of deceased members of their family who served and lived truly a “soldier for life story.

Date taken: 15.04.2022
Date posted: 15.04.2022 18:59
Story ID: 418634
Location: ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Illinois, USA

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