Pfc. Brian A. Browning, 20, of Astoria, Oregon, died Feb. 6 in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds suffered from enemy small arms fire while conducting security operations, when the guard tower he was manning came under fire. Browning was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.
Brian is remembered by his parents as a "smart-aleck" with a soft side who drifted until he was inspired to join the Army and turn his life into one with direction and purpose.
Brian dropped out of school in the 10th grade. He eventually enrolled at the Tongue Point Job Corps Center. He decided he wanted to join the military. When the recruiter informed him he could not get in without a high school diploma, he devoted himself to his studies, got his GED in March 2005 and enlisted three months later. Additionally, he had to loose weight and get in shape - but, he was dedicated to the goal that he set for himself.
"When he was home on leave, he was looking at pictures of himself from before, and he noticed how far he had come," his father said.
The war in Iraq had been going on for two years when Brian enlisted. he was fully aware he would likely be sent to Iraq when he signed up. But, he believed in the mission and wanted to support his country and the troops already there. He began his tour of duty in Iraq in August 2006.
Brian was home on leave in January. He told his family he was considering making the army a career, and possibly becoming a paratrooper.
Brian is survived by his parents, Paula and Perry Browning, a sister, Roiann of Portland and her daughter Kasey.
We keep PFC Brian Browning's family and friends in our hearts and prayers. May you rest in peace and walk with God.
Source material: The Daily Astorian, The Salem-News.com, the Oregonian.