By Mr. Gayland Putnam (AMC)March 28, 2008
Camp Carroll, known as the "Crown Jewel" of Area IV, or Korea's Southern Region, added a new gem to its collection Feb. 26, as a new maintenance facility was dedicated in honor of a Korean War Medal of Honor recipient.
The U.S. Army Field Support Battalion - North East Asia conducted a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony for its new $15 million, 51,000 square-foot maintenance facility named for Pfc. Melvin L. Brown, who was killed in hand-to-hand combat near Daegu in the early weeks of the conflict.
The facility boasts 16 maintenance bays, four 30-ton overhead cranes, eight 50-ton floor lifts, centralized lubrication and compressed air.
"Opening this maintenance facility is a proud moment in the history of this battalion," Lt. Col. Karl Bopp, AFSBn-NEA battalion commander, said to the crowd of distinguished visitors, guests and employees gathered for the event. "This state-of-the-art facility provides capabilities that are commensurate with our world-class workforce. This facility will enable us to continue to maintain Army Prepositioned Stocks-4 at the highest level of readiness and ensure our equipment is ready to fight tonight."
Namesake of the facility, Pfc. Melvin L. Brown, Company D, 8th Engineer Combat Battalion, was awarded the Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism and gallantry above and beyond the call of duty in action against enemy forces near Kasan (just north of Daegu), Korea Sept. 4, 1950.
"Pfc. Brown was in Korea for only about a month, but while here, he gave his all - literally. He made the ultimate sacrifice for his friends and fellow Soldiers, for his country, for the Republic of Korea and for freedom," Bopp said. "While his heroics are, indeed, the stuff of legend, Pfc. Brown was selected from among many very fitting candidates - in part because he is one of us - he was a combat engineer and diesel mechanic. How fitting is that' In addition, he died just a few miles away from here near Daegu. It is truly fitting that Pfc. Brown be memorialized, as we dedicate this facility in his honor."
Brown's sister, Sylvia Rich of Moline, Ill., was guest of honor at the ceremony.
"Yesterday, we visited the battle site where Melvin was killed. The area is now a park - a quiet, peaceful park. I can hardly imagine what it was like so many years ago when Melvin and his friends were fighting for their lives," she said. "Over the years I have often thought about the sacrifice that so many young Soldiers like my brother made in the name of freedom. It is still painful to think about it after all of these years, but it helps to know that what they did helped lead to such a prosperous nation and freedom for millions of Koreans."
Rich was particularly pleased the building bearing her brother's name is a maintenance facility.
"Who would imagine such a beautiful maintenance facility being named after my brother," she said. "It is fitting though, if you think about it because he really was quite the mechanic. If he had a place like this to tinker as a boy, I'll bet he never would have come back out!"
"It was a complete coincidence that Sylvia Rich happened to live in Moline," said Robert Foster, logistics management specialist, APS-4 Team - Far East, Headquarters, U.S. Army Sustainment Command. "When we selected Pfc. Brown, all we knew was that he was originally from Mahaffey, Penn. We were surprised to learn there was next of kin living in the local area. We were pleased that she was able to attend the ceremony. That really added an extra element to the event."
"I'm not much of a traveler, but I'm so glad I went. Everybody made me feel right at home." she said after returning to the Quad Cities. "I wondered for years what the people at the Arsenal did and now I've met some of them and met Soldiers in Korea too. It feels like I've been welcomed into a new family. Who would have thought that we could live side-by-side like this for so long only to have my brother who died so long ago bring us all together'"
AFSBn-NEA's mission is to receive, maintain accountability, perform care of supplies in storage and maintenance for APS-4 stored throughout Korea, Japan and Hawaii and, on order, to issue APS-4 equipment and supplies.