A young man in his twenties joins the Army and is informed he will be fighting in Iraq. He leaves behind a new wife, who is pregnant. He returns from Iraq on leave to be a husband and father for the first time, only to face the war zone again all too soon. His rare opportunity to call home to his wife are met with silence or harshness. His wife claims that while he is “away”, she is faced with raising their daughter on her own. When he tries to share his struggles with her, she cuts him off so she can go about her busy day of shopping.
Once he returns from war, suffering from PTSD, and adjusting to a family he’s barely gotten to know, he is faced with his wife kidnapping his child, demanding he sign his rights away and agree to a divorce if he ever wants to see his daughter again. This same soldier is later sent to Iraq again, only to return, PTSD worse than before, remarried due to loneliness, to an alcoholic who ends up trying to kill him in a drunken rage until he finally fled with only the clothes on his back.
Contrast that to the young man who joined the Navy to become a Navy SEAL. His wife doing all she could for him to make sure he succeeded. Picking him up and dropping him off every single time he could be home. She birthed their first child without him, even through complications, not once placing her burdens on him. There was a hot meal waiting for him each morning. She made sure he was fueled for his training. There was a hot meal waiting for him at night to refuel him from a grueling new day. Every night before bed, she drew him a bath so that his body could recuperate and rest before the next day’s training. When her husband was injured, she nursed him. When he had setbacks, she bent over backwards to get him back up on his feet. She prayed for him daily. She was his rock, his one and only.
The young man in the Army will be revealed at the end. However the young man in the Navy was Adam Brown. His wife Kelley saw him through the hardest parts of his life. He was successful because Kelley was obedient to God and He was able to use her in Adam’s life. You can read up on Adam Brown in the article posted last week: From the Crack House to SEAL Team SIX or the whole story can be read in Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown by Eric Blehm
As referenced in the article, Adam and Kelley dated, Adam struggled with relapse after relapse of his drug addiction to cocaine. His parents Told Kelley she should break up with him, that he would only bring her down. But she never abandoned him. “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Prov 3:5-6 “You just have to trust God and don’t give in,” Kelley would say.
As he relapsed, which also placed her in danger, she spent nights worrying and crying over him, and she simply prayed; prayed for his safety. She prayed, “Lord, if you have something in mind for Adam, maybe you could nudge him a little, because he’s having a real hard time finding that path on his own.” Kelley would remind Adam, “You have so much more to offer than this, and you know it, you are so much better than this.”
Adam left her and everyone to protect them from his behavior. Yet Kelley tracked him down across the country in Texas. With the advice from a friend, Adam decided to join the Navy to become a SEAL. He shared with Kelley why he left her and her reply was “Adam, God has not told me to leave. I love you. My heart says stay and see this through.”
Adam responded with, “You are stubborn. How can I argue against that? I love you – am always thanking God for placing an angel in my heart. I’ve wanted to be a SEAL. Do you think I can do it? The only way I’m going to do it is if you marry me, I want you with me. Will you marry me?”
“Of course you can,” responded Kelley. “God never told me to leave – not once. Okay, Adam, I’ll marry you.”
Every time the idea of failure weaseled it’s way into (Kelley’s) mind, she prayed for Adam to have strength against his addiction. Adam’s parents called Kelley “an angel sent from Heaven. There was no question that she was going to stand by Adam’s side no matter what.”
Once he made it through boot camp, Adam was off to A-school. Kelley would have coffee and breakfast made for him daily, and a hot dinner when he returned. After dinner she helped him study, quizzing him with flash cards. To end the evening she would draw him a bath with mounds of bubbles as he liked. “I babied him. I wanted to give him every advantage because I knew, with that drug calling his name, he was fighting something none of the other guys were…he never took it for granted.”
While Adam was in the first phase of BUD/S. Kelley would pick him up daily, waiting for him for hours to be done with training for the day. When they got home, she washed his clothes, made his dinner and while he slept, she would starch and iron his uniform, shine his boots, tend to his gear, and “only after laying out his boots and still-warm-from-the-dryer PT clothes – long pants, T-shirt, and socks – would she crawl into bed next to him. At 3:30am Kelley would rise and make a breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, and bacon or ham and wake Adam up at 3:45 with a cup of coffee. He’d wolf down the food, pull his clothes on, and they’d be on the road by 4:00, Adam snoozing with his head on Kelley’s shoulder. She’d wake him up when they arrived at the gate between 4:30 and 4:45, and he’d push her nose like a button, kiss her on the lips and forehead, and say, ‘Bye, Itty Bitty.’ Saturdays they’d sleep in late and watch movies, and on Sunday they’d regain their spiritual strength for the upcoming week by attending church.”
Kelley found out she was pregnant during Adam’s Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training (BUD/S). And even through the tiring first trimester of pregnancy, and Hell Week for Adam, she made sure she had Adam bathed, fed and put to bed. Towards the end of training, Kelley had been put on bed rest, and ended up having to give birth to their son Nathan immediately after a checkup. She never let on to Adam the complications she had. Adam had a weapons test that day and she specified to his instructor not to let him know he was a father until after he passed the test. This kept Adam from being distracted so that he could concentrate.
After graduating from BUD/S and being assigned to SEAL Team FOUR on the east coast, Adam felt a relapse coming on. Kelley immediately moved to be closer to him, staying in a one bedroom cabin on base. She made sure his close friends kept watch over him. When Adam wasn’t in a class, in an airplane or jumping from one, he was with his family. “I put Nathan in his arms every chance I got. While he was studying, when we ate dinner. I knew holding Nathan made him strong, reminded him he was a father and why he couldn’t give in.”
“I still felt that deep, almost nervous love I felt in the beginning. The military life pulls a lot of couples apart, but for me, it kept it new. Every time he’d leave, I couldn’t get enough of him – I could never get enough of my Adam.”
Kelley was pregnant with their second child, Savannah, when Adam left for his first deployment, a little over six months after 9/11. Once he returned and settled back into family life, Adam relapsed. After Kelley was sure the drugs cleared his system, she left him alone with their children for the weekend, so that he could experience being without a spouse like she would be if he continued. His friend and confidant told him “we all have weaknesses and that makes people real, and controlling those weaknesses makes people strong…Kelley is an Angel putting up with this. What the hell! I have to be able to trust that you’ve got my back, and if you’re thinking about doing something else, thinking about doing crack and not protecting me or anybody when we’re doing our job…I need to know where your mind is when we go into a room and we need to shoot and make decisions.”
“That’s it. I swear I’m never going to do it again.”
“All right then. I trust you, we’re done here.”
Kelley warned Adam if it happened again, she and the children would be gone. “It was tough talk. He believed it…I can’t honestly say I really would have left him if he did it again. We prayed that night, we read the Bible, the verses on strength…”
Adam never touched drugs again.
After the relapse, Adam faced his life changing injuries and Kelley was there through it all, nursing him back to health, supporting him as he adjusted to his injuries, and enduring the deployments and trainings. One particular sweltering summer of training, Kelley and the kids went to be with Adam in Virginia Beach. “I’ll do anything to be there with you. We’ll camp if we have to until we find a place.” She made the trip, after purchasing the cheapest camping equipment from Walmart, and they camped as a family on the on-base campground in the middle of summer.
For a week…“I do not know what I was thinking. We were slipping and sliding in our own sweat, the sheets were soaking wet, and that was at night, when it was only in the nineties, with 90 percent humidity. During the day it topped a hundred. Both kids had heat rash, and little Savannah was getting potty trained, so you can imagine changing diapers with a flashlight in what felt like a steam bath inside that tent.”
Kelley always packed up the kids, regardless of time of day, to pick Adam up from deployments. “In the military they’d teach the men how to assimilate back home. They’re supposed to go to their wives before they hold their babies, that kind of thing. But Adam didn’t need any schooling. He’d just wrap us all up. Falling into his arms then watching him lift up the kids was like a blanket. Like I’d been cold while he was away and he warmed me up.”
Yet, Kelley knew when to give him space, while assuring him that she was always there for him. “I know you do some things that I’m sure are very hard to deal with and I know you’ll talk about what you can when you’re ready. If you never do, that’s fine, but I want you to know that I know there are things going on in your head. I’m here for you.” She would run him a bath like she used to do in his training days. “That was our routine and I loved it. So I got the water just right, poured in the bubbles, lit a candle, and then I did my own thing while waiting for him to ask, real sweet, for a towel… We prayed together and…whatever had been eating at him he worked out.”
Adam would tell Kelley often, especially before deploying, “Don’t worry about me. You’ve got the toughest job. Mine’s easy.”
After Adam was killed in action in Afghanistan, Kelley drew strength from the Lord, and even from Adam to this day. Adam had written her a letter with scripture in it that she found after he died, and it has sustained Kelley.
“You are the greatest, purest, sweetest, and most beautiful woman I have ever met… I am so blessed, it makes my blood burn with a completeness and happiness I have never had. You are so precious. Although I miss you dearly, the Word says ‘This is the day The Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.’ With Love and Through Eternity, Adam.”
1 Peter 5:10: “May the God of all grace, who called us to eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”
Kelley honors Adam by being the best mom she can be to their children. “I have good days and bad days, but I’ve changed: I don’t cook like I used to, and the house gets messy sometimes. I always return to that verse Adam left me, that I will suffer for a while and then God will direct my path. I’m being patient, waiting for God to lead me.”
Adam once stated that one of his reasons for wanting to become a SEAL was “to serve this country in the highest possible manner. To do things that others cannot.” Adam has done this successfully and Kelley contributed by being the best wife she could be to one of our elite warriors, seeing him through all the trials.
In the first story of this article, about the soldier who joined the Army, that was my brother-in-law. Our family shed many tears over his situation. As a woman, I had a deep seated grudge against the women who let my brother-in-law down. Spouses of military personnel need to be strong and supportive . They need to take the job seriously – their spouse’s and theirs to their spouse. One thing I always believed was the saying that behind every good man is a good woman.
When Adam and Kelley met, the exchange went like this:
Adam: “You smell so good, Kelley. What kind of perfume are you wearing?”
Kelley: “That’s funny. I have on three types of perfume tonight.”
“Yeah? What are they?”
“Heaven, Pleasures, and Forever.”
“Hmm. That is funny. That’s exactly how I picture us: Heaven, pleasures, and forever.”
Watch this moving video about Adam Brown and an interview with Kelley on CBT TV.
RIP, Adam Brown. You and Kelley will reunite in Heaven with pleasures forever…
May God bless our warriors, and their families who support them as they defend our country.
All quotes were taken from Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown by Eric Blehm