HARRISBURG – State Rep. Camille “Bud” George, D-74 of Houtzdale, said the state House of Representatives unanimously approved a measure that would rename a local bridge to honor Mahaffey native Melvin L. Brown, a Medal-of-Honor recipient killed in action in Korea in 1950.
“The House graciously allowed me to proceed with an amendment that would rename the Route 36 bridge over the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in Mahaffey as the Pfc. Melvin L. Brown Memorial Bridge,” George said. “The measure still must be approved in the state Senate, but I do not anticipate any problems or delays.”
On Sept. 4, 1950, Brown, 19, was helping to secure Kasan, an ancient walled city that occupied valuable high ground in what is now the Republic of South Korea, as part of the U.S. Army’s 8th Engineer Combat Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division.
According to the Army, Brown manned a wall and rained rifle fire on attacking North Korean troops. After running out of rifle ammunition, Brown threw his grenades on the enemy troops and then braved heavy fire to retrieve and toss grenades that his comrades had relayed to him.
When the supply of grenades ran out, Brown used his short-handled shovel to knock up to a dozen attackers from the wall. Pfc. Brown was mortally wounded but he so inspired his platoon that it repelled the attack. The Medal of Honor citation cites “Pfc. Brown’s extraordinary heroism, gallantry, and intrepidity.”
George said the bridge-renaming legislation should be signed into law in time for the Pfc. Melvin Brown Day scheduled for June 21 in Mahaffey.