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North Dakota Army National Guard Spc. Philip D. Brown

Died May 8, 2004 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

21, of Jamestown, N.D.; assigned to Company B, 141st Engineer Combat Battalion, Army National Guard, Jamestown, N.D.; died May 8 in Balad, Iraq, from injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device went off west of Samarra, Iraq.

Jamestown remembers slain soldier

Associated Press

JAMESTOWN, N.D. — The father of soldier who died of wounds suffered in Iraq says he’s grateful for the hundreds of people who have stopped by to offer sympathy and tell stories about his son’s life.

“It helps us take away the pain,” said Richard Brown.

Philip Brown, 21, was a specialist with the North Dakota National Guard’s 141st Engineer Combat Battalion. He and Spc. James Holmes, 28, of East Grand Forks, Minn., another member of the 141st, died May 8 of wounds suffered in separate attacks.

Richard Brown said his son’s body had been returned to the United States on May 9.

Holmes’ family lives in Arizona. His funeral is tentatively scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday in National Memorial Cemetery in Phoenix, said Patty Fusco, a close friend and a spokeswoman for the family.

Jamestown Mayor Charlie Kourajian said he would order flags in Jamestown at half-staff from the time Brown’s body arrives home until after the funeral.

“Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family,” he said. “We certainly are thinking about them.”

On Monday, the Brown’s home was filled with friends and family. The yard and inside of the home were decorated with photos, flags and other reminders of his life.

“My son is a brave, strong, courageous man who believed in duty, honor and country more than I can express,” Diedra Brown said.

“We’re sorry that God took him away from us but we don’t question why things happen,” the elder Brown said, in tears. “And we are grateful to have had him on this earth for 21 years and four months.”

Philip Brown was injured by a bomb while on foot patrol, officials said.

“The wounds were just too much for his strong young body to overcome,” his father said.

Jamestown High School Principal Larry Ukestad and Bill Nold, assistant principal, said Brown played football, basketball and baseball. He also was the disc jockey for some school dances.

“He enjoyed life in general,” Ukestad said.

“He had kind of a magnetism, charisma about him,” Nold said.

Many people knew him from Jack Brown Stadium, which is named after his grandfather.

“He was always a fixture,” Nold said. “If it wasn’t chasing a fly ball it was selling a hot dog.”

Jamestown College students wore yellow ribbons and observed a moment of silence to remember Brown on the weekend of their commencement.

“We unfortunately lost a terrific student,” College President Bob Badal said at Sunday’s ceremony.

Guard commander says soldiers’ deaths may hurt support for war in Iraq

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The commander of the North Dakota National Guard says he worries that the death of two soldiers in one day will hurt support among state residents for the war in Iraq.

“I hope it deepens resolve, rather than make everybody think we’ve got to get out of there,” Maj. Gen. Michael Haugen said Sunday. “Every time the terrorists succeed, I think they will deepen their resolve and they hope to lessen ours. It’s war, and that’s what happens in a war.”

The Guard on Sunday confirmed the death of Pvt. Philip Brown, 21, of Jamestown, who died Saturday after suffering a chest wound and having his legs amputated below the knees. Brown was wounded by a bomb while on foot patrol, authorities said.

Spc. James Holmes, 28, of East Grand Forks, Minn., also died Saturday, in a hospital in Germany. He had been wounded earlier in the week by a roadside bomb while he was on a vehicle patrol in Iraq.

Brown and Holmes were the first members of the North Dakota Guard’s 141st Engineer Combat Battalion, which is based in Valley City, to die of injuries in Iraq. The unit has about 475 members serving in Iraq.

Richard Brown said his son’s body had been flown to Dover, Del., on Sunday night.

Jamestown College students wore yellow ribbons at Sunday’s commencement ceremonies in Philip Brown’s memory. College President Robert Badal said Brown was the third generation to attend Jamestown College.

“We unfortunately lost a terrific student this weekend,” Badal said.

Holmes, who grew up in Arizona, was a former University of North Dakota student and was working at the Valley Petroleum company in Grand Forks when he volunteered to serve with the 141st.

Neither Brown nor Holmes was married.

A total of five North Dakota National Guard soldiers have died of injuries suffered in Iraq. The other three were with the Bismarck-based 957th Multi-Role Bridge Company.

“It’s a terrible loss for the families, a loss for the Guard family, a loss for North Dakota,” Haugen said.

Gov. John Hoeven said all North Dakotans were grieving, and he hoped that would be a source of comfort for the families. Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., said the deaths of Holmes and Brown were “a tragic loss.”

“Both young men are heroes and represent the highest caliber of Americans whose lives are on the line every day in the effort to rebuild Iraq,” Pomeroy said.

Haugen said the terrorist threat seems to be increasing in Iraq, and the positive things that soldiers are doing there are being overshadowed by television pictures of people opposed to the American presence.

“All we ever see is chanting crowds,” he said.

“It is so important for the people of Iraq to have us there, and 99 percent of them are thrilled,” Haugen said. “We’re doing a lot of good stuff over there, and what we really need to do is get a handle on this terrorism stuff.”

— Associated Press

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