GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (May 24, 2014) — A west Michigan Vietnam veteran was awarded the Bronze Star after saving lives while under heavy fire in the 1960’s.
Bishop Robert Brown was drafted into the US Army a few years after high school, and has finally been awarded with the honor after those who knew him sent in letters to Senator Carl Levin.
Brown was drafted in 1965, and on November 13th of 1966, his life would change forever. That’s when Brown’s battalion came under heavy fire, becoming quickly outnumbered. Several men lost their lives.
Despite his own wounds, Brown ran from one injured soldier to the next, pulling them to safety.
“The injuries that I had were in my face, my back an my arm. I didn’t get hit in the leg, but I did get the wounds in there,” said Brown.
With a limitted supply of morphine, Brown said that he didn’t administer any to himself to treat his wounds, and instead used what he had to administer to others.
Brown survived his stint in Vietnam without ever carrying a gun as a conscientious objector, meaning his religious beliefs prohibited him from carrying a weapon.
“I don’t believe in killing. I didn’t believe in killing, but I was willing to serve my country whatever way I could,” said Brown.
US Senator Carl Levin present the Broze Star, and said that it’s men like Brown who allowed so many other soldiers to return home to their families.
“It’s a very inspiring story that you can believe that you should not kill, but you also can show bravery in combat to help people who are there to win a war,” said Levin.
Those who knew Brown started a letter campaign urging levin to help issue the award.
“It means a lot to me that I haven’t been forgotten and the guys that died out there. They are not forgotten. They are in my heart and in my mind always, and for Jimmy to bring it out like this, I just thought I was doing my job,” said Brown.
Brown had prevously been awarded the Purple Heart.
On Saturday night, Brown was also awarded with the American Legion Certificate of Honor.