Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Brian Anthony Browning

Astoria, Oregon

February 6, 2007

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
20 Army Pfc

4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division

Fort Drum, New York

 Killed in Baghdad, Iraq, by enemy small arms fire while conducting security operations.

For memorial service snapshots, click image below.

February, 16, 2007

From Clatsop County Oregon 02/15/07:

Thursday, February 15, 2007

COUNTY HONORS FALLEN SOLDIER SPC. BRIAN BROWNING

The Clatsop County Board of Commissioners dedicated the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of its meeting on Feb. 14 to Spc. Brian Anthony Browning, who was killed Feb. 6 in Iraq. Ken Rislow, chaplain for the local American Legion, led the commission and audience in reciting the pledge. Rislow also read a poem written by and found on a fallen soldier in World War Board recites Pledge of Allegiance in honor of Pfc. Brian BrowningII.

Browning’s death “is a great loss to his family and to our community,” Chairperson Richard Lee said. “The Clatsop County Board of Commissioners wishes to express our condolences to his family – his father Perry, his mother Paula and his sister Roi Ann.”

Lee noted that Roi Ann is a casual kennel worker at the Animal Shelter and, therefore, is part of the County family.

“We, the Board and the employees of Clatsop County, would like to honor Brian Browning and his dedication to his country with our Pledge of Allegiance, which will be followed by a few moments of silence, which will also honor all of our fallen heroes from Clatsop County.

County staff checked with Perry Browning to make sure the dedication had the family’s approval. He told staff that the family would be “very honored.” The family was busy with funeral arrangements and unable to attend the board meeting.

Chairperson Lee shared this comment from Perry Browning: “Brian stood up and did the honorable thing and paid the price for it. We are very proud of him. Our hearts are there for all the other kids who are over there.”

“I would like to say that we, too, are very proud of Brian,” Chairperson Lee said.

Perry Browning asked the commission to relay the family’s invitation to the public to attend his son’s funeral on Friday at 1 p.m. at Camp Rilea in Warrior Hall.

From The Oregonian oregonlive.com 02/08/07:

Astorian who strove to enlist dies in war
Iraq - For Pfc. Brian Browning, 20, serving in the Army "was doing the right thing," his aunt says
Thursday, February 08, 2007
MARK LARABEE

When Brian Browning joined the Army in June 2005 at age 18, it was a big turnaround for the young Astoria man who dropped out of school before completing the 10th grade.

He tried to join the military soon after he quit Astoria High School but was rejected. Recruiters told him he needed to earn a diploma and lose weight. Undeterred, he joined a job corps program doing masonry work, earning credit toward a GED.

"He worked at this," said his aunt, Robyn Carson of Portland. "He had a goal for the first time in his life. The Army helped him find focus."
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Pfc. Brian Browning, 20, was killed Tuesday south of Baghdad when a guard tower he was in came under fire. Since August, he had been serving in Iraq as an infantryman with the 10th Mountain Division. It was his first tour there. The military has not released details about the incident.

Browning was the 89th member of the military from Oregon or Southwest Washington to die since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began.

When officers notified his family Wednesday, Carson said, Browning's mother, Paula, asked them if they could be making a mistake.

"Everybody must ask that," Carson said. "That's what you want. We all just want this to be a bad nightmare that we'll wake up from."

It's hard, she said, given that Browning seemed to find something he was good at doing.

"When he came home from boot camp, he was telling us stuff about guys in his unit -- why are they going out drinking, why are they doing stuff they're not supposed to?" she said. "Six or eight weeks before, that would have been Brian. He really grew up."

Carson said her nephew came home for two weeks' leave last month to visit his family, including his parents, Perry and Paula Browning, sister Roiann and 2-year-old niece Kasey.

"He told us then that he was glad he made the decision to enlist," Carson said. "He told us that there were times that he was scared, but he said he believed in what he was doing."

More than that, he wanted to be a paratrooper and was thinking about making a career of the Army, she said.

"I think he really felt that this was where he needed to be," Carson said. "He knew he was doing the right thing, and he felt important."

That was no surprise to anyone. One of Browning's grandfathers is retired Navy. His father was also in the Navy, and an uncle retired from the Army. And a cousin just came home from Iraq after a tour with the Oregon National Guard.

On the last night of his leave, Carson said, they went to a Hooters restaurant in Portland.

"The gave him quite a sendoff," she said. "A lot of the customers came up and thanked him for what he was doing." 

From The Oregonian oregonlive.com 02/17/07:

Young man who buckled down to make the Army is mourned
Spc. Brian Browning turned rejection into a reason to finish high school and slim down
Saturday, February 17, 2007
KATHLEEN GORMAN
The Oregonian

WARRENTON W ith flags and firetrucks, tears and hugs, a community turned out Friday to mourn a soldier who turned his life around before it ended abruptly on an Iraqi battlefield.

Hundreds of people poured into Warrior Hall at Camp Rilea to remember Spc. Brian A. Browning, 20, of the Olney area near Astoria. He was killed Feb. 6 south of Baghdad when a guard tower he was in came under fire.

Others paid tribute as Browning's body was carried down U.S. 101. Local firefighters hung flags from ladder trucks, and Oregon State Police troopers led the solemn procession.

"We're all blown away with the show of support," said Doug Carson of Tigard, one of Browning's uncles.

He described his nephew as a kid who got into trouble and then got it together.

"We were joking today," Carson said. "The police are out, and he wasn't in trouble."

As his parents, Perry and Paula Browning, wept quietly, Brian Browning was remembered as a youth without direction who found his purpose in the U.S. Army.

After being rejected because he didn't have a high school diploma, Browning finished his education at the Tongue Point Job Corps site, lost 40 pounds and enlisted in June 2005. He was stationed with the 10th Mountain Infantry Division at Fort Drum, N.Y., following boot camp at Fort Benning, Ga.

When he enlisted, Browning joined a military tradition that runs like a steel rod through his family. One grandfather retired from the Navy, his father served in the Navy, and uncle Doug Carson retired from the Army. A cousin is serving in the Oregon National Guard and recently completed a tour in Iraq.

"Brian stood up for what's out there and what's right," his father said before the funeral. "He went there knowing full well what he was facing."

During a two-week leave in January, Browning's family took him to Hooters in Beaverton. Many laughed Friday as scenes of that final sendoff were projected in the auditorium.

The parents of one member of what Browning proudly called his "Band of Brothers" came from Los Angeles to help Browning's friends and family shoulder their grief. Scott and Jane Harmon's son Patrick was Browning's assistant gunner. He is still in Iraq.

After arriving in Oregon, they tried to get to know a little about Browning, whom they never met, Scott Harmon said. It turned out that a woman working at their hotel was the sister of one of his best friends. Astoria, it seemed to Harmon, is a place of not six but two degrees of separation.

"Our community partly defines who we are," Harmon said, before reading from an e-mail from his son.

The e-mail described Browning as not only a jokester who kidded about playing "I Spy" from the rooftops in Baghdad, but also a very good soldier who cared about the other members of his squad.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski paid tribute to Browning, saying that "this beautiful corner of Oregon is a place of rain and rainbows" and that he suspected growing up in the shadow of Camp Rilea inspired Browning to get his life on track.

"The darkness of this day and the grief we feel will lift," Kulongoski said.

After the funeral, Browning's mother said she couldn't believe the outpouring of support.

"This is overwhelming," Paula Browning said. "How Brian touched so many people's lives." 

Soldier from Astoria killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

ASTORIA, Ore. — A soldier from Astoria has been killed in Iraq, apparently when a guard tower he was in came under fire, his father said Feb. 7.

His father, Perry Browning, told The Daily Astorian newspaper that Brian Browning, 20, was killed Feb. 6 south of Baghdad but that few other details had been made available.

Brian Browning was serving his first tour in Iraq and was assigned to the Army’s 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y.

He recently had been in Astoria on leave, his father said. He said Browning was born in Florida but lived most of his life in Astoria.

He enjoyed driving and “working on things,” as well as playing computer games, his father told the newspaper.

He joined the Army about three years ago. “He wanted to do something for his country,” Perry Browning said. “He wanted to support the guys who were already there, and he believed in the mission.”

According to a list maintained by the Oregon governor’s office, Browning was the 80th soldier from Oregon to die in the Iraq war.
Fallen Ore. soldier found purpose in military

The Associated Press

ASTORIA, Ore. — Army Pfc. Brian Browning found direction and purpose in military service, his parents say.

Perry and Paula Browning were informed of his death Feb. 6, but have received few details from the military, other than the fact that Browning, a member of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division, was apparently on duty in a guard tower that came under enemy fire.

On a special flag pole that his father had installed in the front yard of the family’s home in Olney, the American flag flew at half-staff, along with the flags of the Army and Navy, Perry Browning’s former service.

“I put this up for all four of us, but now it’s dedicated to Brian — it’s Brian’s flagpole,” he said.

His son loved to tinker with computers and electronics, taking them apart and reassembling them, Perry Browning said. When he entered Astoria High School, though, Brian struggled with what his father called the “hierarchy” within the school.

He quit after two years and was at loose ends until he enrolled at the Tongue Point Job Corps Center. Browning had long considered joining the military, but when he found he wouldn’t get in without a high school diploma, he buckled down and devoted himself to his studies.

He entered Tongue Point’s masonry program and earned his GED in March 2005. Three months later he enlisted.

Browning’s father, grandfather and uncle all served in the military, but the decision to sign up was his own, they said.

His uncle, Doug Carson of Portland, said he warned his nephew about the hard work that would be required, but became impressed with the dedication Browning showed in joining.

“At the time he was just drifting, but he caught a hold of his idea, his dream,” Carson said.

The U.S. had already been in Iraq two years when Browning enlisted and he was fully aware he would likely be sent to the war-torn country when he signed up, his family said. But he believed in the mission and wanted to support his country and the troops already there.

He began his first tour of duty in Iraq in August, serving as the light-machine gunner for his infantry squad. When he came home on a two-week leave last month, Browning told his family he was considering making the Army a career.

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