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Navajo CodeTalker passes away...

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  • Navajo CodeTalker passes away...

    Everyone who knew John Brown Jr. knew a different John Brown Jr.
    Or so it seemed at the 88-year-old Navajo Code Talker's funeral at the LDS Church here Tuesday. Brown died May 20 of natural causes.
    His son-in-law, Ed McCombs, described him as "tough" and "gruff," but Brown's grandson, Scott Preston McCombs, remembered a "gentle" man who once let his granddaughter, who was just learning to drive a stick-shift vehicle, lurch her way into Gallup in his truck.
    Some never heard him talk about his war experiences on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Tinian and Saipan. Others said he was full of stories.
    Former Navajo Tribal Council Chairman Peter MacDonald Sr., who was sometimes at odds with Brown when he served as a council delegate, recalled a slick political strategist.
    Ed McCombs saw a simple man who always maintained a sheep herd on his ranch in the mountains near Crystal, N.M.
    After a trip to Rome, for example, Brown reported to McCombs that the Eternal City was "something like Gallup."
    When the Daughters of the American Revolution invited Brown to Atlanta so he could be presented the key to the city, he said, "I have animals to feed. Can't you just drop it in the mail?"
    At the premier of the movie "Windtalkers" in the U.S. Capitol rotunda, Brown held up a room full of dignitaries and movie stars while he shopped for a souvenir for his beloved wife Loncie.
    As a Marine, Brown had fought in the bloodiest battles of the Pacific theater, yet in his later years, he disciplined his dog for going after a crow.
    His celebrity came from his military service, but he once confided to a friend, "War is what Hell must be like."
    A devout Mormon, Brown nonetheless clung to many Diné rituals, like getting up before sunrise to pray.
    No matter which John Brown people knew, however, one word that kept coming up was "hero."
    Whether as a Marine, a chapter president or a council delegate, or later in life as a counselor for the tribe's Division of Social Services, "He helped a lot of his people," said his friend and fellow code talker Jimmy Begay.
    Flags flew at half-staff both in the Navajo Nation and the state of New Mexico to honor Brown, who had been one of five remaining members of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers.




    Between the funeral in Chinle and the reception at the Crystal Chapter House, more than 250 people showed up to pay their last respects.
    Shortly after the last shovelful of earth was placed over Brown's casket, a light rain began to fall.
    A tearful Begay opined that the family should have laid Brown's body to rest in a military cemetery, but it was hard to imagine a more idyllic spot to spend eternity than the family plot high in the Chuskas, where the clacking of the cicadas competed with a 21-gun salute and a bugle playing "Taps."
    Brown was born Dec. 24, 1921, near Canyon de Chelly to Nonabah and John Brown Sr. He attended Chinle Boarding School and graduated from Albuquerque Indian School in 1940, where he was recruited as a code talker.
    He served in the Marine Corps from 1942 to 1945.
    Along with the other Navajo Code Talkers, he was honored by three U.S. presidents - Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.
    Brown is survived by his wife, Loncie Polacca Brown of Crystal, and five of their seven children, Dorothy Whidden, Preston Brown, Everett Brown, Virgil Brown and Frank Brown. Two children, Dale Brown and Ruth Ann McCombs, preceded him in death.
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    ...And shephards we shall be. For thee my lord, for thee. Power hath descended forth from thy hand. That our feet may swiftly carry out thy command. So we shall flow a river forth to thee. And teeming with souls shall it ever be. E Nomini Patri, E Fili, E Spiritu Sancti.

  • #2
    Semper Fi Marine...
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    ...And shephards we shall be. For thee my lord, for thee. Power hath descended forth from thy hand. That our feet may swiftly carry out thy command. So we shall flow a river forth to thee. And teeming with souls shall it ever be. E Nomini Patri, E Fili, E Spiritu Sancti.

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    • #3
      Semper Fi...See you on the high ground.

      Whiskey Echo Bravo, out.
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      R.I.P. my Bros from the 1st MAR DIV, 3rd MAR DIV, 25th I.D., 10th MTN DIV, V Corps, 170th IBCT who gave their lives in the Cold War, Marines we lost in Korea during Team Spirit '89 & Okinawa '89- bodies never recovered, Panama, 1st Gulf War, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq...





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