On August 7, Purple Heart Day, the nation pauses to acknowledge and remember the sacrifices made by brave people in the military.
The Purple Heart medal is presented to service members who have been wounded or killed as a result of enemy action while serving in the U.S. military. A Purple Heart is a solemn distinction and means a service member has greatly sacrificed themselves, or paid the ultimate price, while in the line of duty.
In honor of Purple Heart Day, we would like you to meet one of our heroes who has received a Purple Heart.
First Sergeant, Earl Douglas Brown, affectionately known as Doug, was born to a military family in Cherokee, North Carolina. He is proud of his Cherokee and Irish ancestry, but he is a true American through and through. Doug’s father and brothers were all military men, so at the age of 19 he enlisted in the U.S Marine Corps, which would lead to a decorated military career.
Doug served in Vietnam from 64’-65’ and again in 67’, 68’ and 69’. In Vietnam he served in a special unit called the “Force Recon Rangers.” he would assist with secret patrols across the border and special operations while stationed in Vietnam.
In 1962, before his 1964 descent to Vietnam, Doug was a Presidential Honor guard to President John F. Kennedy. He would guard the oval office and make sure no one got to the president. “Every morning I would open those big oak doors to the oval office for the president.” When asked what he thought of President Kennedy, he spoke fondly of memories of him. “I thought he was a great guy” “His children- Bobby and Caroline- use to roll across our shoes with their strollers”
Doug recalls the first time he was sent overseas. “I was afraid” he stated, but that fear soon disappeared. On March 8th 1965- by order of President Johnson, his company was sent to guard a U.S air force base. “It was 112°. It was hot! The mosquitoes could pick you up and fly away with you” he accounted.
Doug has received many accolades and awards during his military service. 2 bronze stars, 4 purple hearts, combat action ribbon, Navy achievement award, P.U.C- presidential union citation, N.U.C Navy unit citation and 5 South Vietnam awards.
After the war Doug applied to be a firefighter, he took a written test and then was sent to school in Pine Bluff Arkansas. While stationed in billings Montana, he flew airplanes during forest fire outbreaks. He eventually was transferred to Governors Island where he remained for 15 years until his retirement at Fort Hamilton in December of 2004.
Doug married Mary (Marie) Mea in August of 1964. He had met her while he was working at the White House and she was a college student on tour. They have one daughter whom Doug loves with all his heart. He also has 1 grandson and 2 granddaughters, ages 16, 14 and 6. Doug has lived a tremendous life, full of heroism and devotion to his country. Doug enjoys the quieter pace of life now, while residing at The Arbors at Islandia West. He is active in our veteran affairs, and was even in combat with Pat our veteran liaison, in Vietnam. Doug also enjoys chatting with friends, and sharing his experiences with staff.
Meet More of Our Heroes