I was both blessed and honored to serve this great nation of ours as a member of the United States Armed Forces for 30 years – 20 years active United States Naval service, and 10 years United States Naval Fleet Reserve service. During my time of active duty service I had many accolades bestowed upon me to include: Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy Achievement Medal (3 Stars), Navy Good Conduct Medal (Silver Star), Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (2 Stars), Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon, Navy E Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal (2 Stars), Navy and Marine Overseas Service Ribbon (3 Stars). I was also recognized as a Distinguished Instructor. I was honorably retired from the United States Armed Forces on 1 September 2010, and my name was officially added to the United States Navy Retirement List.
Although the awards and medals that I received seem impressive, I did not serve this nation merely for the recognition. First of all, I realize that I would not have survived such a lengthy term of service, nor would I have received such honors had it not been for a Loving Heavenly Father who watched over me every step of the way. Second, I served for so many years because I love and honor my homeland, and I am always willing to do my part to make sure that her shores are always protected, and that we will always be “the land of the free, and the home of the brave.” I respect the flag which represents this nation, for it is not just a piece of cloth, but it is a representation of the men and women who have valiantly given their lives in defense of the country that they also loved. I also humbly salute all the men and women who are currently serving in our Armed Forces. They truly know and understand that freedom is not free – it carries with it a hefty price tag, that price often being paid with the spilled blood of fallen comrades in arms, those who give their last full measure of devotion. May God bless, guide, and protect each of them, and may God’s blessings always be upon the United States of America. Semper Fidelis!
~ Keith Lionel Brown, USN Retired