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Army 1st Lt. Thomas J. Brown

Died September 23, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

26, of Burke, Va.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Baumholder, Germany; died Sept. 23 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds sustained when his patrol came under small arms fire during dismounted operations.

Conn. native killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. — An Army lieutenant who grew up in Shelton died in Iraq after his patrol came under small-arms fire about 60 miles north of Baghdad, the Defense Department said.

Thomas J. Brown, 26, who lived Burke, Va., died Tuesday after the fighting in Salman Park, the military said. He was assigned to the Germany-based 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Armored Division.

He is the 41st member of the military from Connecticut to die in Iraq or Afghanistan since the wars started. Two civilians from the state have also died.

Brown was due to take a leave and come home in about three weeks to spend time with his family and girlfriend, relatives said.

“He just called me three days ago and said he couldn’t wait to get back,” his twin brother, Timothy Brown, said Thursday. “He wanted to make a difference. The Army was lucky to have him.”

After leaving Shelton, Thomas Brown graduated from George Mason University in 2004 with a degree in government and joined the Army in 2005. Timothy Brown said his brother went to Ranger school, Airborne school and officer’s candidate school.

“He took every opportunity that came his way,” Timothy Brown said.

Thomas Brown was a good moral person, his brother said. Everyone he met left with something from him, he said.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi ordered that all U.S. and state flags in Connecticut be flown at half-staff in honor of Brown.

“We must never lose sight of the sacrifices our military members make each and every day as they serve our great country,” Rell said in a statement. “We can best honor his selfless dedication to our freedoms by keeping Lieutenant Brown — and all our men and women overseas — in our thoughts and prayers.”

Lieutenant ‘led his life by example’

The Associated Press

While stationed at Fort Benning, 1st Lt. Thomas J. Brown found an abandoned cat that someone had apparently tossed out a window.

He adopted it as a pet, giving it a loving home, and named it Batman.

“That was Tom,” said his mother, Carol Brown. He always looked out for others, both people or animals. “He always seemed to be picking up abandoned animals,” she said.

Brown, 26, of Burke, Va., died Sept. 23 in Salman Pak of wounds from small-arms fire. He graduated from George Mason University in 2004 with degrees in government and international politics, and was assigned to Baumholder, Germany.

“He tried working, but he found life behind a desk was not for him,” Carol Brown said. So Brown applied for and was accepted to Army Officer Candidate School. In addition to earning an officer’s commission, he earned Airborne wings and a Ranger tab.

Brown wouldn’t ask his troops to do anything that he himself wouldn’t do, his brother Tim said. “He led his life by example and was always in front of the pack,” he said. “He always wanted to be the one with boots on the ground and in the front of the line.”

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