PFC John Riley Brown
Killed in Action 9 March, 1945
near Luzon, Manilla
-- Nancy Johnson --
In January of 1999, I was reading the February issue of Readers Digest. As I came to the story about "Finding My Father" written by Susan Hadler, it really caught my attention.
With the name of the story and a picture of a Young Man in Uniform, I could relate to it even before I read it.
My Father was John Riley Brown. He was born August 24, 1919 at home in Florence, Montana. He was the 9th of 13 children. He went to school in the Stevensville area and as a young lad
he worked for many of the prominent Bitterroot families on their ranches. I am fortunate to have a small black coin pocket wallet that one of the families gave him for Christmas one year.
I am also fortunate to have the casket flag that was sent to his mother when he was re-buried at Ft. Snelling in Minneapolis, Minnesota on March 7, 1949. After my father's mother passed
away, his youngest sister gave me the flag and some pictures and knick knacks that my father had given to his mother through the years. Originally he was buried at the American Cemetery
He married my mother Hazel McCune on June 5, 1941 shortly after she graduated from high school. He worked for the Milwaukee Railroad and the Anaconda Smelter before he entered the Army.
He was drafted in July of 1944 and left from Butte, Montana for basic training as my parents were living in Deer Lodge, Montana at the time. He did his basic training at Camp Roberts in
California. My mother and older sister went to California on the train in November of 1944 for his graduation from basic training. He was last home on leave from December 29, 1944 until
January 11, 1945. He was shipped overseas to the Philippine Islands and arrived there on February 28, 1945. Shortly after their arrival he was in a counter attack with the Japanese in
the Antopolo Hills of Luzon. He was killed in action March 9, 1945. My mother received the inevitable yellow telegram on April 3, 1945 which was delivered to her in Victor, where she was
living with her mother, by the mailman. He was PFC in the 12th Calvary of the Army and was a replacement.
I was not born until September 28, 1945 so I never knew him. One of the songs I
remember from my childhood was "My Daddy Is Only A Picture" and I remember hiding in the closet and crying every time I heard that song. I have shared many wonderful stories with other
AWON Siblings and made a lot of new friends. I also recently had a nice phone conversation with one of his fellow soldiers that lives not far from me here in Montana. I was fortunate to
get to meet Glen Kennedy and his wife Betty at a University of Montana Homecoming game in 2000 and we had a five hour lunch the next day and he told me a lot about my father and their
time together and how hard it was on him when he received word that my father had been killed.
AWON is a wonderful way for all of us to get to know each other and to share our stories with others.
In Memory of All who have served and sacrificed . . . . .