Home » Veterans Fighting for Sgt. David Brown’s Posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor

Veterans Fighting for Sgt. David Brown’s Posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor

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Despite repeated issues that have delayed the Sgt. David H. Brown memorial project over the years, work is ongoing and progress is being made.

Per Sgt. Brown’s family’s sworn account, David Brown was born in a tent at the Ross Creek Inlet on the Tennessee River, which is located within the Clifton Riverfront Park. In his early years, David Brown attended Frank Hughes School in Clifton and was known throughout northern Wayne and Hardin County.

On September 10, 2022, the new pavilion in Clifton, TN was dedicated in David’s honor, along with a bronze and brick memorial plaque overlooking the beautiful Tennessee River.

A new book featuring Sgt. Brown has been written by his one-time commanding officer. Maj. Frank McCarthy served as David’s commanding officer a short time before David’s untimely death at ConThien, Vietnam  on September 10, 1967. The book “Lima 3 and the Mustang Grunt,” is available through Barnes & Noble book distributors. It is a must have book for anyone who served in Vietnam and anyone interested in history and the Marine Corps. Maj. McCarthy came to Clifton from New Hampshire for the pavilion dedication and served as the guest speaker at this ceremony.

Sgt. Brown’s platoon commander, Maj. Frank McCarthy, USMC (ret), the guest speaker at the event, wrote a book called “LIMA 3.” The book recounts Maj. McCarthy’s military history with Lima Company, which Brown was part of. Below is an excerpt from the book:

“Sgt. Brown was at Dong Ha getting ready for his transfer back to the States when he learned that the battalion had become heavily engaged with a division-minus-size NVA army unit thought to be part of the 324-B Division. The action erupted just south of Con Tien. According to Cpl. Schneider—and he should know; he was Sgt. Brown’s M79 grenadier—Brown had already turned in his equipment and weapon in preparation for his departure home. However, when he learned that the battalion was really catching hell at what became known as Ambush Valley, he returned to supply and calmly and coolly redrew his equipment and a weapon. Then he reported back to Lima Company, which had just completed another mission and was preparing to join the remainder of the battalion in the field.

“The worst news that I could possibly hear was that Sgt. David H. Brown, the barefoot warrior from Tennessee, my lead squad leader, and one of the finest young men I have ever met in my life, had been killed a few days earlier. Neither Cpl. Schneider nor I were able to control our emotions. I’ll admit I didn’t just shed a tear, I sobbed uncontrollably.”

David’s sister, Shellie Harrison, has been working with the people at the Wayne County Bank and has set up an account. Donations to this account will be used to purchase a life-sized bronze statue of Sgt. Brown, to be located at the park in Clifton near the site of the existing plaque. The statue is to depict Sgt. Brown barefoot, carrying a box of rations on his shoulder and a bag of grenades in his hand. Anyone may donate to this account online or in person at the Wayne County Bank, or to P.O. Box 247, Waynesboro, TN 38485.

Ms. Paula “Sunny” Barnhart, herself a Marine, continues her long-standing quest for Sgt. David Brown, an American hero, to be posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Sgt. Brown was commended for the medal by his then commanding officer, Col. Dick Camp. Throughout the Vietnam War and the ever-changing commanding officers, paperwork was misplaced and at times poorly prepared. David was awarded the Navy Cross, the second highest medal awarded by the United States for uncommon valor in the face of insurmountable odds. Ms. Barnhart has made it her goal to see this medal brought home to Wayne County and David’s family. Davis was also awarded two Purple Heart Medals, one for being wounded earlier and the second one for the battle that took his young life. David was killed on his birthday, September 10, 1967.

“We Marines have an oath to leave no fallen Marine behind,” said Ms. Barnhart. “It is my mission to bring that medal home, not leave it behind, buried under a mountain of paperwork and the passage of time.”

Recently lending his position to the quest of the Congressional Medal of Honor is Lt. General Charles Chiarotti, President and CEO of the Marine Corps Association, P.O. Box 1775, Quantico, VA. Several of our local and state leaders have also thrown their weight behind both the medal and the statue.

Ms. Barnhart said more information will be forthcoming as available. “For now, let’s get this statue project up and running!”

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