NO. 17942 • 12 January 1928 – 22 September 1950
Killed in Action September 22, 1950 in Korea, aged 23 Years.
HOWARD GALLAWAY BROWN was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, on the 12th of January 1927, the third of four sons of Dr. and Mrs. George L. Brown. The days of his boyhood and youth were lived in his hometown, where he acquired the qualities of character and personality that made it a pleasure to know him as a man.
His high school days were spent at Tupelo in preparation for entrance to West Point. In High School he was an outstanding guard on the football team and played in the school band.
After high school he attended Mississippi State College for a year prior to entering the Military Academy in 1945.
He entered West Point determined to carry on the military tradition of his family. His grandfather fought with the Confederacy in the "War Between the States". His father fought in the Spanish American War and served as a medical officer in World War I. An uncle and two cousins are graduates of his Alma Mater.
Howard entered the Academy with the Class of 1949. His plebe days were interrupted when he received a knee injury playing football which resulted in his being awarded a large star to wear on his bathrobe. After a few months at home he joined the Class of 1950 as a member of Company L-2 In January 1947.
It was not long after his arrival in the company that Howard was tagged with the nicknames "Tupe" and "Brownie", both of which received equal usage. His sincere unselfness and friendliness, his sense of humor, and his winning smile immediately won the friendship of everyone in the company. Although those were the most apparent of his attributes, close association with him as a roommate for three years revealed his wholehearted application of effort to attain his goal of becoming a thoroughly competent officer.
His attitude was always wholesome, and he possesssed well-rounded capabilities of leadership. These attributes were bolstered by his steady personality and his knack for influencing others with good judgment and common sense. He never aspired to stars on his collar as a cadet, but he never lost sight of his goal of being the best officer possible, which might easily have resulted in his wearing stars on his shoulders as an officer.
The lighter side of his cadet days was devoted to frequent waving of the Confederate flag during discussions of whether or not the South would rise again. He played the harmonica both well and loud. He participated In intramural athletics, and was a sprinter on the Corps swimming team during his First Class year.
When graduation rolled around "Tupe" was commissioned in the Infantry.
His graduation leave was divided between home, a fishing trip to Canada, and a trip to Louisiana, before reporting to Camp Stoneman for shipment to Okinawa.
Instead of a boat to Okinawa, he took a plane to Japan and reached the front lines of Korea on September 3, 1950. He was assigned as 1st platoon leader of Company "A", 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Division. He joined his unit in the midst of a North Korean break-through during some of the roughest touch-and-go fighting of the Korean War. He weathered the last few days of the Pusan Perimeter, in which the enemy launched numerous attacks. In the allied offensive after the Inchon landing, he was killed by small arms fire on September 22 while attacking a heavily fortified enemy hill. Colonel Michaelis, his regimental commander, wrote his parents:
"As a member of this command your son was liked by all his associates. He was an excellent soldier performing all tasks assigned him in a cheerful and efficient manner, winning the commendation of his immediate superiors and the respect of his comrades. News of his death came as a real shock to all who knew him, and his loss will be felt keenly in the organization".
Details of his death were received in a letter from his Battalion Chaplain:
"You have every reason to be proud of your son. He died a hero's death. As platoon leader of the 1st platoon, Company "A", he gallantly led his men into action on the assigned mission of attacking a heavily fortified enemy hill. By his courageous personal example and the display of qualities of leadership in the finest traditions of the United States Army, the mission was successfully accomplished. Howard was instantly killed by enemy small arms fire. The few men left in Company "A" who were with him at the time still remember Howard as an exceptionally able officer and a very fine person. In the few days that he was a member of the company he succeeded in winning a warm place in the hearts of his comrades.
"Howard's body was brought by litter jeep to the regimental station where it was noted that his face had a reposed and peaceful appearance."
When his personal effects were sent home his class ring was not among his belongings. Months later his ring was found on the person of a dead North Korean and turned over to a classmate who sent it to his parents.
Howard now rests in the Tupelo Memorial Park Cemetery. In dedication to the memory of a gallant soldier, a chapel of the First Presbyterian Church in Tupelo has been named the Howard Gallaway Brown Memorial Chapel. Many of us who knew him may not have an opportunity to visit his memorial, but his friendship, his character, and his ability will be a living memorial in our hearts.
A fitting tribute to his memory is contained in something which Shakespeare wrote about another military leader:
"His life was gentle, and the elements
So mIx'd in him that nature might stand up
And say to all the world, This was a man".
- Alfred L. Griebling, First Lieut., C.E.