Portrait of a True American Hero

June 16, 2013 at 5:00 am / by

About Ann-Marie Murrell

Ann-Marie Murrell is the original PolitiChick anchor and is the CEO/Editor-in-Chief of, which was nominated at CPAC 2013 as the “People’s Choice Blogger of the Year”. In 2013, Ann-Marie recei… More
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Chief Petty Officer Gene Paul Brown, had a childhood that most of us cannot even begin to fathom.

Born in 1935 in rural Indiana, Gene was the oldest of three boys.  When his parents divorced in the 40’s (rare in those days) he had to help raise his brothers while his mother worked cleaning houses.

From then on, Gene never had what you’d call a “carefree childhood” with toys and games to play with.  He also rarely had new clothes or shoes and for his eighth grade graduation he had to wear an old, oversized suit that his father had left behind.  When the kids laughed at him and ridiculed his clothing, Gene says he left right after the graduation program and never went back to school again.

Unfortunately Gene didn’t have much time to attend school anyway.  In addition to taking care of his 6 year old baby brother, he also worked dozens of odd jobs including setting pins in a bowling alley, bagging and restocking in grocery stores and “pitching tents” for a carnival.  After struggling several years to survive, at 17 Gene followed in his beloved uncle’s footsteps and enlisted in the Navy.  (His mother had to sign for him because he was underage.)

Despite all of his hardships, Gene Brown was never resentful and never complained about his childhood.  “Why would I?” he tells me.  “That’s just life.  We were never promised it would be easy or fair and you just do what you have to do and get on with it.”

Gene says he was “always fascinated with airplanes” so he tested high enough to enroll in Naval Aviation school in Hutchison, Kansas, studying Airplane Mechanics.  From there he went to Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego, California, serving on Naval ships The Bon Homme Richard and The Ranger.  He was then stationed in Whidbey Island, Washington working on Early Warning Bombers.

Throughout his twenty years of duty, Gene was sometimes aboard ships and sometimes on land but he says it was “always about keeping those planes in the air.”  During the Korean and Vietnam wars, he did two tours of sea duty to Japan and the Philippines where he also did Shore Patrol.  He says being onboard Naval ships–sometimes up to 6 months at a time—“was exciting.”

“They kept us busy and we had three meals a day. The only thing is you had to be really careful on the flight deck when those planes were taking off.  Those suckers can get you if you’re not paying attention,” Gene says with a chuckle.

Because many of his twenty years were aboard ships, he did not experience armed combat but says he was “always making sure that the planes were ready to go.”

Gene’s final station was in Corpus Christi, Texas where he worked on attack aircraft aboard the Naval ship The Boxer.  It was in Texas where he finally earned his GED and became a Chief Petty Officer—and Texas is also where Gene Brown met and married my mother, a widow with two young girls.  All our lives changed for the better that day.

My father has little patience with the entitlement mentality of the world today and how young people are being raised to believe things should be handed to them without earning it.

“There’s no way around it, you just have to work,” he says.  “You can’t sit around and wait for someone else to take care of you.  It makes you lazy.”

I ask how he escaped being angry or bitter about his difficult childhood–being raised by a single mom and having to leave home at such an early age.  Typical of my father, he just laughs and again says, “Why would I?  No matter how bad things were, I always knew I was loved by my family.”

As for being a military veteran, he is exceptionally proud.  Every Veteran’s Day, my dad (and all the veterans in our home town) wear their uniforms to church.

“I believe America is a place to fight for, and it has never let me down.  As I retired after twenty years, I am proud of my service,” he says.

Chief Petty Officer Gene Brown is the very definition of an “American hero.”  Despite all the obstacles and challenges thrown his way, he has made the very best out of every situation.  He is a master mechanic and can fix everything from cars to airplanes.  He taught himself how to build houses and was one of the first in America to design and build an underground home almost entirely by himself–from digging out the hillside, pouring the concrete, and installing the plumbing and electrical work.  If something ever broke in our house—from can openers to washing machines—my Dad knew how to fix it.  And when the economy tanked during the Carter administration and my dad lost his chain saw/lawn mower repair shop, he immediately created another business by tricking out an old motor home and selling ice cream and funnel cakes at state fairs and car racing events.

Basically, my father has had a successful life in every way possible.

Happy Father’s Day and God bless you, Dad.  You and Mom are the reasons I have discipline, strong principles and such a deep love and respect for my country.  And thank you to all our American veterans, retired and active; thank you for your service to this country and for your undying love for God, country and family.  No matter what happens to America, because of your examples of true sacrifice I will never complain about defending my country in every way I possibly can here on the home front.

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Ann-Marie Murrell

Ann-Marie Murrell is the original PolitiChick anchor and is the CEO/Editor-in-Chief of, which was nominated at CPAC 2013 as the “People’s Choice Blogger of the Year”. In 2013, Ann-Marie received Front Page Magazine’s Glazov Gang Ronald Reagan Award. Ann-Marie writes for dozens of respected Conservative websites including TownHall, Daily Caller, Front Page Magazine, The Blaze and more. Ann-Marie is often a guest speaker at rallies across the US and is a frequent guest on radio and TV shows, including a 2013 appearance on the Dr. Phil Show in which she represented the conservative viewpoint. She has been featured on dozens of radio and television shows, including Fox News, BlazeTV, the Dennis Prager Show, the Janine Turner Show and she is a regular commentator and guest host on One America’s Rick Amato Show, Front Page Magazine’s Glazov Gang and the Mark Isler Show on 870/The Answer. Ann-Marie is one of the go-to conservative reporters in Los Angeles and has covered multiple political events throughout the United States. Ann-Marie has conducted hundreds of interviews with conservative leaders including Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Lt. Col. Allen West, Dr. Ben Carson, and she was one of the last reporters to interview the late Andrew Breitbart. Ann-Marie speaks at various Conservative rallies and 2nd Amendment events across the country, from California to Texas and many cities in between, and was the exclusive reporter for the David Horowitz Freedom Center West Coast retreat. You can find Ann-Marie Murrell on Facebook and Twitter (@PolitichickAM). (@PolitichickAM).

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  1. What a beautiful story Ann Marie, Your father sounds like an amazing man! We Thank him for his service to our great nation!

  2. Lainie Sloane, CA PoltiChick says:

    Love this! Your dad is a fellow Hoosier, Ann-Marie. Excellent tribute!

  3. Gary Sollner says:

    Great story, great man, great daughter!

  4. mwl says:

    The “Chief” is the strong hold of the Navy. Your father has taken his life and stood the test of time and faith. People admire him for his actions and his soul. People use his wisdom as a guide. They share in his spiritualism for God. He takes a event and made it into an enterprise, he struggled but never quit. He was knocked down but stood back up. And stands, sometimes alone.
    obama and his regime are cowards, congress has nothing but disdaine for the American people. We are drones to supply our money for their lavish lifestyle. WE THE PEOPLE will have to defend our nation, its coming soon.
    Mike in Afghanistan.
    Master Chief USN Ret. Currently stationed on COP Carwile.

  5. A wonderful story Anne Marie. As a veteran, a son of a veteran and the father of two veterans, I salute Your service for honoring those who served and keeping our veterans in the consciousness of the American narrative currently under assault from so many sides. God Bless you, your Dad and yours. To your Dad, Bravo Zulu! (ask your dad, when a naval ship flies the B and Z signal flags it is code for “Well Done”)

  6. Ali Whiting says:

    What a wonderful story! Your Dad is resilient, uncomplaining and to be commended. Thank you for sharing a glimpse of true American values.

    Happy Fathers Day …

  7. Wow. Thank you Ann-Marie for sharing your awesome dad!!!

    Happy Fathers’ Day to all Dads!

  8. boccagalupe says:

    Whatta guy!!! Whatta Daughter!!!….Such lucky people.

  9. raygun says:

    A true American success story. Relates to the Audie Murphy story. As good as it gets. My brother and I came off of a working family farm in the late 1940s and 1950s. We learned early about sharing the work load. My father and his brothers were from Americas Greatest Generation, yet, we didn’t hear much about it. One thing, though, we didn’t talk back to them. My father was in Burma on “the road” and witnessed the Allied POW liberation from the Empire and an uncle as with Patton in N. Africa and Italy and witnessed the Allied POW liberation from the Nazi camps. These guys were extremely tough. We were taught all about the American values in school and passed those values on to our kids. US Navy vet, 1966-1969, HM, Corpsman “Doc”, Pharmacist Mate; the “Big E” (CVN-65), USS Repose (AH-16), USS Lexington (CV-16); God Bless America; FREEDOM IS NOT FREE.

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