From the Crack House to SEAL Team SIX

Posted: June 14, 2014 in Military, Never Forget
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Adam Brown was born on February 5, 1974.

He came out injured… The doctor discovered he was breech. So they had to dislocate his shoulder in order to get him out. He barely cried. The doctor put his shoulder back in place… Adam was quiet, sort of curious, looking around, like he was saying ‘okay, what else you got for me?’

Growing up, Adam was fearless, earning the nickname “Psycho” by going up against football players larger than him. He was a protector, shielding his twin sister, or the student with Down’s Syndrome, from bullies. He naturally abided by what his dad had always told him “If you don’t help, you’re no better than the bully.”

In high school, Adam and his buddies saw a trailer for the movie “Navy Seals,” with Charlie Sheen, which not only inspired him to perform the stunts, but to eventually join the Navy to become a SEAL.

When danger is its own reward, there are men who will go anywhere, dare anything. They’re Navy SEALs, a unique fighting force who doesn’t know how to lose… Navy SEALs get paid to take risks; they’re paid to die if necessary… Together they are America’s designated hitters against terrorism. Born to risk, trained to win… Navy SEALs.

Adam’s high school football coach, Steve Anderson, even saw the potential saying “He did things a Navy SEAL would do long before he was a SEAL.

Once in college though, Adam began to slip. According to his family and friends, he appeared lost. He began drinking heavily and one night at a party, his then girlfriend introduced him to drugs. He started with marijuana, then onto crystal meth, and lastly, his girlfriend’s drug of choice – crack cocaine. She insisted that shooting each other up with drugs was the only way for them to bond.

The first time I did it I knew I had sold my soul“, said Adam.

After losing his job, sleeping in filthy crack houses, stealing from his parents and friends for drug money, Adam landed in jail. He did a short stint in rehab and slipped back into his old ways shortly after. His parents did the hardest thing any parent can do with respect to one of their children and had him arrested again and placed in a rehab facility a few states away after he had nearly killed himself due to “crack bugs”.

After rehab and dedicating his life to Jesus, Adam met his future wife Kelley, but during their courtship, he slipped back into drug use. Once again he went to rehab and when released, realized that the drugs would always call his name and he needed to stay busy and focused to avoid slipping again. He decided he would join the Navy with the goal of becoming a Navy SEAL. He and Kelley were married in 1998 and he enlisted as an older recruit, at age 24, into the Navy.

When the recruiter heard of his past felonies, jail time and drug use, he thought Adan’s desires were a joke. However Captain Roger Buschmann, Commodore of the US Navy Recruiting Command Area Three, the highest ranking officer in all of Navy recruiting districts in southeastern USA, just happened to be the father of Adam’s friend in high school. He knew Adam’s character. Adam saw his picture on the recruiting office wall and asked the recruiter to call Captain Buschmann.

Buschmann replied with, “I’ll vouch for him…Use whatever waiver he needs. Treat him like he is my own son.”

Adam sailed through all the way to the elite SEAL Team SIX.

His ace in the hole was his faith, which gave him a refuge to go to and a shield of strength…If innate mental and physical toughness was his armor and faith his ace in the hole, Kelley was Adam’s secret weapon. 

Before joining SEAL Team SIX, Adam was assigned to SEAL Team TWO and FOUR. Adam had one slip up while in SEAL Team FOUR. He passed an old crack house while back home and couldn’t fight the calling of the drug. After hiding away in shame for days, he faced not only his wife and children, but his brothers in arms. He vowed to never ever slip again.  And he didn’t.

During one of his trainings to earn a spot in SEAL Team SIX, he was hit by a simulation round, basically a paintball on steroids. It slipped through his eye protection’s side guard and hit his right eye, his dominant eye. He lost sight in that eye, and eventually had to have it removed, wearing a prosthetic eye. Having limited visibility kept Adam from being permitted to perform missions in Iraq. He was given support roles that later earned him commendation from his commanding offers:

His techniques were used to positively identify follow-on targets within 24-48 hours and facilitated an accelerated targeting cycle that resulted in the capture of 36 known anti-coalition fighters in less than two months of combat operations.

Adam felt strongly about the military’s role in Iraq, remembering a “photo of a Kurdish girl lying dead on the street, eyes open, after Saddam Hussein had gassed her whole town. All this argument about whether or not they had weapons of mass destruction – that was proof enough for Adam that they not only had them but that Saddam Hussein had used them against his own people. He was evil, he was a bully, and to stand by and watch that and not do something about it was unacceptable to Adam.”

Adam believed in a spiritual battle between good and evil. Reading the Bible  was part of his training, really. Just like what was going on in Iraq and Afghanistan, with good people vs bad people, there was good and bad in a spiritual sense, and he wanted to be educated. So he read and read and read – books, the classified reports he could get his hands on – and he watched the news. But more than anything, he couldn’t wait to get over there and see for himself, try and do some good wherever he was.

In a journal entry to his children, after the Abu Ghraib incident:

I want you to know, as you read opinions and history in school about 2004, that going to this war was right. No matter what you hear 20 years from now by elite media and historians, things get distorted… Just like Vietnam, I fear OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) will be abused in the same way, just as you hear more about American soldiers in Vietnam raping women and children and shooting unarmed men, today the media is focused about this detainee debacle for two weeks solid, in contrast to American soldiers being dragged in the streets and dismembered, which was covered for less than 72 hours.

I am part of the Special Operations Forces Elite. Our detention center is for the sole purpose of obtaining evidence as quickly as possible for rounding up more terrorists. We are harder than anyone at these detention centers and let me tell you, we treat these guys with the utmost professionalism. We do not hit them, we don’t humiliate them or cause them any bodily harm for the purpose of entertainment. This is WAR and treated very seriously. People are being killed and it is our job to get information.

Honestly, it is the hardest thing I have ever done. I fight for people’s freedoms, not to take (them) away. The humanity in me wants to warm them, tell them their family is okay, feed them. And even embrace them in a loving way. As a Christian, one assumes great compassion. Most, even in my stature, feel the same way. This is the American Soldier.

As for the punks that have humiliated our country and our sovereignty, I show them no pity and insist they are in the deepest minority of American professionals. What they did was not to gain intel, only to elevate their weak and pathetic lives to a status for some reason they have only dreamed of…

If your mom and I ever teach you anything, I pray it is at least to show all people courtesy and respect. The truly courageous and powerful never have to prove it. It is always shown in their actions…

Adam and his brothers often talked about their line of work and what they believed. “The Bible says thou shalt not murder; it does not say thou shalt not kill. There is a time to kill, to protect your home, your family, your freedom.”

During a convoy accident, Adam had severed his fingers on his right hand, his dominant hand. He had them surgically replaced, but it severely set him back on the path to becoming part of SEAL Team SIX.

Adam had to rewire his brain to react ‘left’ when his whole life he’d reacted ‘right’, in a course where half of the very best guys who have two good eyes and two good hands still fail.

Adam passed his requirements in 2006 and was continuing to proudly serve our country as a Navy SEAL, this time in SEAL Team SIX. He was cleared to perform missions, proving he was effective even with his disabilities.

On his missions, he was known for his compassion, packing extra MREs to hand out to the Afghani children, playing with them, and even allowing them to ride with him on his ATV.

Those kids who he put up front and let them drive down the road, they probably don’t remember too many of the Americans, but I bet they remember Adam because of those rides. He played with them. That’s important. When some AQ (al Qaeda) recruiter tries to tell them Americans are evil and they should be killed, they might think twice because of Adam.

Another act of compassion Adam was known for was the shoes. There would be hail and snow on the ground in Afghanistan and he would see the children with no shoes or just sandals. He requested his care packages be filled with children’s shoes so that he could provide those children with protection for their feet.

Here we are, packing extra ammo and grenades when we went outside the wire, and Adam was stuffing his ruck with shoes, knocking on doors in the villages, keeping track of their sizes on a notepad and telling them all that more were on the way. He’s got his weapon slung and he’s on his knees in the dirt, helping kids who have never tied a shoe in their life. This is a war zone and he’s passing out shoes.

Adam had seen to it that 500 pairs of shoes and socks were handed out to the children of Kunar Province.

Adam and many of his fellow soldiers were known for their compassion. “The fury they release upon the enemy is rivaled only by the humanity they display for innocents caught in the crossfire.”

In 2010, Adam was part of a mission called Objective Lake James.

Think of it like they infiltrated a hornet’s nest, which is way gnarlier than just kicking it. That whole area was swarming with hard-core Taliban, so they snuck into that valley like it was the entrance to the nest, crept past all these hornets who were asleep, and went straight for the queen that was James. And then went ahead and kicked him right in the head, knowing the entire swarm was there on top of them and they still had to get out of the nest. Crazy thing is, these guys were okay with that.

During this mission, March 17, 2010, Adam was severely wounded by enemy fire and died shortly after.

Nearly every SEAL had done his part to carry, talk to, breathe for, or encourage Adam to hold on.

Psalm 56:1-4 was read for Adam:

Save me, O God, by your name; vindicate me by your might. Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth.

Arrogant foes are attacking me; ruthless people are trying to kill me, people without regard for God.

Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.

And it was 1 Peter 5:10, written in a letter by Adam, nine years earlier, to his wife Kelley, in which she found during her darkest hours of grief, that helped her get through his passing:

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

On his CACO form, Adam’s final wishes were that his complete story be told, including “my life before I met Jesus and Kelley.” The author of his book, Fearless, interviewed Adam’s friends, family and warrior family. Adam and his team worked tirelessly to fight the war on terror, and his efforts helped his team seek and destroy Osama bin Laden. Shortly after he had finished interviewing ten of Adam’s fellow SEALs, seven of those ten died in what is now known as Extortion 17.

From the crack houses of Arkansas, to the jail cell where he accepted Jesus Christ into his heart, to the sands of Iraq and Afghanistan as a Navy SEAL, Adam wanted to share his story so that others would see the light of Jesus, the love of family and friends, and the love for this country.

Graffiti on the wall of where Adam was staying in Afghanistan read:

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worm out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘wow…what a ride.’

Adam wrote in his journal for his children: “I’m not afraid of anything that might happen to me on this Earth because I know no matter what, nothing can take my spirit from me…

Another thing that Adam shares with us is a letter that he kept pinned up, a letter that should always be a reminder to us of our military:

…For any of you out there who doubt the validity of this war and the evil that resides in our enemy I ask you to study your history again… While American media strives daily to erase the memory of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and paint this war as an unjust occupation of a sovereign nation, men…are out here hunting down and destroying the enemies of the very freedom that allows our media to try and discredit us. Terrorism is real, evil is real, this war is real and real men and women are in this fight because righteousness and freedom are worth fighting for….. Sincerely, the Angry American

I cried buckets while reading Adam’s story. I encourage everyone to read what he so desperately wanted to share with everyone. It was his devotion to God, his fierce determination, and the unfailing love and support from his wife, family, and friends that could only be called a gift from God Himself. Adam lived his life as a testimony of God. Many sought God because of that, including his parents, his friends, and even his warrior brothers. Adam was a true Christian American warrior.

For the love of God, family and country…

Soldier on…

All quotes, except scripture passage translations, were taken from Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown by Eric Blehm

Scripture passages taken from Bible Gateway, New International Version translation

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