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First Name: Melvin

Last Name: Brown

Birthplace: Mahaffey, PA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Louis

Date of Birth: 22 February 1931

Date of Death: 05 September 1950 (Official)

Rank: Private First Class

Years Served: 1948-1950
Melvin Louis Brown

•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Melvin Louis Brown
Private First Class, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
Korean War

Melvin Louis Brown was born and raised in Mahaffey, PA. Melvin was one of ten children of Edward D. and Rhoda V. Brown (nee Jones).

Brown enjoyed skiing, ice skating, swimming, and fishing. He worked as a mechanic before dropping out of high school and enlisting in the Army at age seventeen in October 1948. He was inspired by his older brother Donald, who had joined the military earlier and was stationed in Japan; two other Brown brothers would also serve in the military. Melvin was sent to Japan and remained there for eighteen months. In late July 1950, he was deployed to Korea during the first weeks of the war.

In Korea, Brown served as a Private First Class in Company D of the 8th Engineer Combat Battalion. On 4 September 1950, his platoon was taking a hill when they came under enemy attack. Brown took up a position near a wall and, although he was wounded and eventually ran out of ammunition, maintained his position throughout the battle. The attack was successfully held off, but Brown was declared missing in action the next day.

In October, his family received a telegram stating that he was missing. On 6 January 1951, four months after the battle, an Army representative arrived at his parents' home and informed them that he had been declared dead. His parents and some of his siblings attended a Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House later that month where President Harry Truman presented Brown's family with his Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company D, 8th Engineer Combat Battalion

Place and date: Near Kasan, Korea, 4 September 1950


Pfc. Brown, Company D distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. While his platoon was securing Hill 755 (the Walled City), the enemy, using heavy automatic weapons and small arms, counterattacked. Taking a position on a 50-foot-high wall he delivered heavy rifle fire on the enemy. His ammunition was soon expended and although wounded, he remained at his post and threw his few grenades into the attackers causing many casualties. When his supply of grenades was exhausted his comrades from nearby foxholes tossed others to him and he left his position, braving a hail of fire, to retrieve and throw them at the enemy. The attackers continued to assault his position and Pfc. Brown weaponless, drew his entrenching tool from his pack and calmly waited until they 1 by 1 peered over the wall, delivering each a crushing blow upon the head. Knocking 10 or 12 enemy from the wall, his daring action so inspired his platoon that they repelled the attack and held their position. Pfc. Brown's extraordinary heroism, gallantry, and intrepidity reflect the highest credit upon himself and was in keeping with the honored traditions of the military service. Reportedly missing in action and officially killed in action, 5 September 1950.

He was also awarded the Purple Heart.


Melvin Louis Brown was buried in Mahaffey Cemetery, which is within sight of his childhood home.

Other Honors

Several locations have been named in Melvin L. Brown's honor. They include:

A Korean War Memorial Park in Fort Hood, TX.

A parade ground at Camp Howze, South Korea.

A building at the Army engineering school in Fort Leonard Wood, MO.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Mahaffey.

An Army Reserve Center in Clearfield, PA.

On 26 February 2008, the Army opened a new 26,000-square-foot vehicle maintenance facility named after Brown in Camp Carroll, South Korea. Brown was chosen as the namesake of the facility because he was an engineer and because Camp Carroll is not far from the hill where he earned the Medal of Honor and was killed. The ribbon cutting ceremony was attended by his sister, Sylvia Brown Rich.

The town of Mahaffey celebrated the first "Pfc. Melvin L. Brown Day" on 21 June 2008. A bridge over the West Branch Susquehanna River was renamed "Pfc. Melvin L. Brown Memorial Bridge" and a monument to Brown in front of the Community Volunteer Fire Company hall was dedicated on that day. The second annual Melvin Brown Day was held in June 2009.

Honoree ID: 1134   Created by: MHOH




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