HARRISBURG – State Rep. Camille “Bud” George, D-74 of Houtzdale said Clearfield County native Melvin L. Brown, a Medal-of-Honor recipient killed in action in Korea in 1950, will have a bridge in Mahaffey renamed in his honor.
“Governor Rendell signed into law my legislation renaming the Market Street Bridge in Mahaffey as the Pfc. Melvin L. Brown Memorial Bridge,” George said. “It is a fitting tribute as the incredible heroism displayed by this 19-year-old soldier deserves recognition today, tomorrow and forever.”
George said Mahaffey is planning to honor Pfc. Brown with Melvin L. Brown Day on June 21 in the borough. Members of Pfc. Brown’s family are expected to attend.
According to the U.S. Army, Pfc. Brown, a member of the 8th Engineer Combat Battalion, was helping to secure Kasan, a walled city that occupied valuable high ground in what is now the Republic of South Korea, on Sept. 4, 1950.
As the North Korean attack began, Pfc. Brown manned a 50-foot-high wall and rained rifle fire on the enemy. After running out of rifle ammunition, Pfc. Brown threw his grenades on the enemy troops scaling the wall. He then braved automatic and small-arms fire to retrieve grenades that his comrades had relayed to him from their foxholes.
When the supply of grenades ran out, Pfc. Brown used his short-handled shovel to knock up to a dozen attackers from the wall. Pfc. Brown was mortally wounded, but his daring action so inspired his platoon that it repelled the attack. The Medal of Honor citation cites “Pfc. Brown’s extraordinary heroism, gallantry, and intrepidity.”
A 1951 U.S. Savings Bond appeal featured Pfc. Brown’s picture and exploits, and Life Magazine published his photograph in its January 29, 1951, edition. The 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas, dedicated a Korean War Memorial Park in honor of Pfc. Brown, as well as the parade ground at Camp Howze, South Korea.