In honor of Veteran’s Day, First Security Bank is hosting a series on our veteran employees. We appreciate Melvin Brown for his service and sacrifice for our country. And for exhibiting Bank Better service for our customers every day!
Statewide Supplies, Searcy
Dates of Military Service: June 1962 – July 1966 and February 1977 – December 2003
US Navy SK3 USS Terrell County LST-1157 and Arkansas Army National Guard Staff Sargeant
Melvin Brown served in the US Navy from June 1962 to July 1966. He said, “My first trip to the Tonkin Gulf was aboard the USS Noble APA-218, an attack troop transport that carried around 1200 Marines where we married up with a Task Force and made a show of strength off the coast of Vietnam. In May of 1964 I was assigned to the USS Terrell County LST-1157, home ported in Yokosuka, Japan. The next trip was to DaNang in March of 1965 with 300 tons of ammo in support of the 9th Marine Expedition Force. We operated up and down the coast of Vietnam delivering supplies – tanks, trucks, Jeeps, ammo and whatever else was needed. Okinawa was a staging area for Vietnam and we made many trips back and forth. The Terrell carried 6,000 line items (nuclear sub at the time carried 9,000 line items). I was a Storekeeper and there were three of us keeping up with the daily grind, a Supply Officer LTJG, one striker and me (an SK3). In November 1965 the Terrell was shipwrecked while making a beaching in heavy weather trying to deliver around 500 troops not far from Tuy Hoa. A destroyer shelled the shore to keep the Viet Cong from attacking us. We stayed on the beach two nights. The third day, two fleet tugs pulled us off the beach with a 15-degree list and towed us to Nha Trang to unload the ship. Another tug towed us to Tokyo where we spent Christmas in one of the largest dry docks that the Japanese used in WW2. Three months later we were back on our way to Vietnam.”
About his military service, Melvin said, “I’m Black Dutch and Irish and I was always drawn to the sea, so the Navy was a perfect match for me. I enjoyed going to different places like Hong Kong, Formosa (now Taiwan), all over Japan, Okinawa, and the Philippines. We were always going somewhere. I joined the Arkansas National Guard in 1977 and retired in December 2003 after 26 years.”
He added, “I’ve been working for First Security since January 2004, which is similar to Battalion Supply in the Army. There’s a lot of Marines and Navy that joined the National Guard because of the home life. That changed since Desert Storm. America now depends on the Guard more than ever. I married a wonderful Batesville girl in 1968 and she’s taken care of me. She’s retired now and keeping the home fires burning. We have one daughter and a grandson.”