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Marine Lance Cpl. Demarkus D. Brown

Died November 19, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

22, of Martinsville, Va.; assigned to 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; killed Nov. 19 by enemy action in Anbar province, Iraq.

Marine killed in Iraq was ‘outstanding young man’

By Tom Patterson

Martinsville Bulletin / Associated Press

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Lance Cpl. Demarkus D. Brown will be remembered as always having a smile on his face and proud of his service to his country.

And, of course, as “Chicken.”

Brown, 22, who was killed Nov. 19 while serving in Iraq’s Anbar province, earned his nickname as a two-sport athlete at the former Laurel Park High School, according to his wrestling coach, Curtis Gore.

“I gave him the nickname his first practice in the ninth grade,” Gore said. “Everything he did, he would just flop around like a chicken with his head cut off.”

Some people might have tried to shrug off the name, but Brown added it to his trademark grin to form an immutable identity.

“I recall that when he first introduced himself he referred to himself by his nickname, ‘Chicken.’ We would kid about that,” said former Laurel Park Principal Ben Gravely.

“No one will ever forget that he was ‘Chicken,”’ said former Laurel Park Booster Club President Ardys Winslow. “I had to look up in an annual to find out that he was Demarkus Brown.”

But Brown’s actions, not his nickname, are what people remember most about him.

“He was always a person you could turn to to make a gray day bright. He was an outstanding young man — someone you could count on,” Winslow said.

Winslow and Frank Scott, Brown’s former track coach at Laurel Park, said Brown was the type of man any mother and father would be proud to call their son.

“First of all, I’m devastated. He’s one of the finest student-athletes I had the opportunity to coach,” Scott said.

“He always wanted to please you. He’d take on any event or any challenge. Even though he was short, he took on distance running where he had to work extra hard. I can see him right now hitting the last turn on a final lap running hard to the finish. That’s the type of kid he was,” Scott said.

His inauspicious start in wrestling aside, Brown blossomed into a crowd favorite by his senior year, Gore said.

“He could constantly roll people” whenever he was on his back, Gore said, and the crowd would cheer for him to do it.

Brown also won the Ironman Wrestling Tournament his senior year, which is one of the more prestigious awards in the area, he added.

“He came out of nowhere and beat everybody,” Gore said.

Brown enlisted in the Marines after graduating from Laurel Park in 2000, and was enthusiastic about his chosen profession.

“I saw him right before he enlisted. He was very excited about joining the military,” Scott said.

“It was something he was proud to do. He always gave it his all,” Winslow said. “ ... This makes this war even more a reality. It hits our community — it hits our home. They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, we were a village at Laurel Park. It’s a great loss.”

Local Marine recruiter Sgt. Kathy Perdue said Brown was the epitome of what a Marine is and loved his job.

“He chose to be in the infantry,” Perdue said. “I talked to him two weeks ago because he requested to come home to do recruiter’s assistance. He was in good spirits. He was glad to have been over there but was ready to come home.”

Brown previously had worked with Perdue as a recruiter’s assistant, she said, and he always came by the recruiter’s office when he was home.

Being a recruiter’s assistant was “a way for him to stay at home longer and talk about being a Marine,” Perdue said. “He enjoyed talking about the Marines. He came in quite often on the weekends to help me any way that he could.

“He’s definitely going to be missed,” she added. “He was the type of person you wanted to be around. He was very positive, never sad and had a great smile. He will be missed by friends, family and the Marine Corps.”

Hundreds honor Martinsville native slain in Iraq

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Hundreds of friends, relatives and former classmates turned out Sunday to remember Lance Cpl. Demarkus Brown.

“He brought hope, loyalty and friendship to all who knew him,” the Rev. William Lowery said at Brown’s funeral at Greater International Pentecostal Holiness Church. “To Lance Corporal Demarkus Brown, I say, ‘Semper Fi.”’

A machine gunner with the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Brown, 22, was killed Nov. 19 as the result of enemy action in Iraq’s Anbar province, according to the Department of Defense. Anbar province includes the city of Fallujah, where more than 100 American soldiers have been killed in fighting since the beginning of November.

At a graveside service, a military honor guard presented Chynita Belcher with the two Purple Hearts awarded to her son posthumously for combat wounds suffered the day he died.

Brown was remembered by his coaches and teachers at Laurel Park High School, where he wrestled, ran track and cross country, played football and participated in the ROTC program before graduating in 2000.

“He always wanted to please you. He’d take on any event or any challenge. Even though he was short, he took on distance running where he had to work extra hard,” said Brown’s track coach, Frank Scott. “I can see him right now hitting the last turn on a final lap running hard to the finish. That’s the type of kid he was.”

Brown was stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C., before being deployed to Iraq in June. Family members said they feared for his safety when he left, but at his going-away party, they recalled Brown was calm and eager to serve his country.

His other medals included the Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.

“He was such an inspiration to people,” said Ardys Winslow, Laurel Park High’s former booster club president. “Demarkus will be remembered for his love, laughter and great personality.”

— Associated Press

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