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Army Pfc. Oliver J. Brown

Died September 28, 2005 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

19, of Athens, Pa.; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 109th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania Army National Guard, New Milford, Pa.; killed Sept. 28 when his M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle was attacked by enemy forces using indirect fire in Ramadi, Iraq. Also killed were: Staff Sgt. George A. Pugliese; Staff Sgt. Daniel L. Arnold; Sgt. Eric W. Slebodnik, and Spc. Lee A. Wiegand.

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Soldier’s death splits ‘brothers’ apart

Associated Press

From kindergarten on, Oliver J. Brown and Brandon Johnson were more like brothers than friends.

They played Little League together, graduated from the same high school in 2004, biked and hunted together, and enlisted together. They planned to be each other’s best man.

Brown, 19, of Carbondale, Pa., was killed Sept. 28 in Ramadi when his vehicle came under attack. He was assigned to New Milford.

The news stunned Johnson. “Physically he is OK,” said Lisa Johnson, Brandon’s mother. “Emotionally he is a wreck. ‘I lost my best friend. I lost my brother,’ he told me.”

Brandon’s father, Robert Johnson, remembers when the two signed up for the National Guard.

“Oliver joined and Brandon said, ‘I want to go with you.’ They joined together because they didn’t want to be alone. They even asked the recruiter to make sure they were placed in the same unit.”

He is survived by his mother, Sue Orchard, and father, Bob Brown.

Before he died, Brown asked his mother to send him his childhood baseball mitt so he and Johnson could play catch. He wanted it to be a surprise.

It was sent before she heard the news.

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