Thursday, December 31, 2009

Remembering a Mass. native and GW grad killed in Afghanistan

Bolton mother recalls son killed in Afghanistan terror attack

December 31, 2009 02:37 PM

The mother of a Bolton native killed in a terrorist attack in Afghanistan that claimed the lives of seven CIA agents today mourned the loss of her youngest child, but also spoke proudly of his devotion to his family and his country.
Harold Brown Jr., 37, was in the US base in Khost, Afghanistan Wednesday when a terrorist evaded security and detonated a suicide attack, killing eight Americans. Today, the CIA and President Obama acknowledged that seven of those killed were CIA agents. No one would say who employed the eighth American.

Brown's mother, Barbara Brown, said in a telephone interview today that her son told her he worked for the State Department. She said he had been deployed to Afghanistan since April, and that he was formerly an Army officer who specialized in intelligence work for the military.

"He was a wonderful, caring person that wanted to help make things good for the world,'' said Barbara Brown, whose husband, Harold Brown Sr., is the director of public works for Bolton. "I want the world to know my son was a good man.''

Her son was a graduate of Nashoba Regional Valley High School in 1990 and from George Washington University four years later. While at GW, Brown met his wife, Janet, whom he married at St. John the Evangelist Church in Clinton in 1994. Brown was the father of three children, ranging in ages 12 to two. He and his wife lived in Fairfax, Va.

After graduating from college, Brown became an officer in the US Army and spent most of his four year enlistment at the Army's top post for intelligence work in Arizona. After completing his enlistment, Brown joined the Army Reserve and was reactivated in 2003. Before that, he worked for in Maynard and then left to work for SAIC, a private defense contractor.

His mother said he was then encouraged by an acquaintance to join the State Department and was working for that agency when he was killed. A State Department spokesman today would neither confirm nor deny Brown worked for the diplomatic service.

Barbara Brown is a former reserve police officer in Bolton, is active in the town's Council on Aging and still works as a volunteer for ambulance service in the community. In addition to leading the DPW, she said, her husband is a Bolton native who was once a selectman and worked as a reserve police officer.

She said her son seemed to have absorbed the concept of helping your neighbor from his family while growing up – but chose to display it on a much larger stage, the world stage.

"I'm very proud of him and I love him dearly,'' she said."He did what he wanted to do to make a better world. How could anyone not want that? Do I wish he lived to be an old man? Of course. What mother doesn't want that for her son?''

She added, "There's a time to be born and a time to die. We don't pick when. God has the answer to that.''