The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


The way we were: 1970

While stationed in Vietnam, Capt. Merle D. Brown, an American Lutheran Church chaplain, uses a C-ration box as an altar while reading from the Bible. The men—members of the 11th Infantry Brigade’s 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry—took this time on Oct. 21, 1970, to observe the National Day of Prayer proclaimed by President Richard Nixon. Brown was killed in action Easter Sunday, April 11, 1971, when his helicopter crashed during an evacuation mission.


Jeff Wollberg

Jeff Wollberg

Posted at 8:32 pm (U.S. Eastern) 4/7/2008

I met the soldier who pulled CH Brown's body out of the helicopter. I helped him discover his name.  As part of his therapy this veteran was supposed to learn the identity of this chaplain.  This happened in 2004.  Now in 2008 things keep unfolding about that day. Soldiers who were there are talking and getting support. Because of this incident soldier who were saved that day may get to thank the man whose lives he saved.

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