Battle Rattle

Wounded Silver Star Marine had unfortunate experience on domestic flight

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A wounded warrior who was awarded the nation’s third highest honor for valor last week is the same injured Marine Delta Airlines issued a public apology to in December after staff members embarrassed him on a flight.

Cpl. Christian Brown, a former squad leader with 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, was awarded the Silver Star aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., on Friday. He is credited with heroic actions during the unit’s 2011 deployment to Afghanistan.

Cpl. Christian Brown, a double amputee who sustained injuries in Afghanistan, was awarded the Silver Star on May 3 aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., for heroic actions during a 2011 deployment. In December, Delta Airlines issued a public apology to the Marine after humiliating him during a flight.
(Facebook)

On Dec. 7, Brown responded when a designated marksman was critically wounded in the head, calling in a medevac and leading his squad to where it was safe for the helicopter to land. Under heavy fire, he carried the wounded Marine on his back the final 300 meters to the landing zone, his citation states.

Brown said the morale of his young, inexperienced team members and the life of the wounded Marine, Lance Cpl. Christopher Levy, depended on him staying cool and thinking fast.

Levy died of his wounds a few days later in Germany. But Brown’s actions allowed Levy’s parents to see him one last time.

“At that point in time, I didn’t really have time to give a pep talk,” Brown said. “I called one of my junior guys over, I told him to hold my weapon, and I started moving. I was talking to Levy and telling him that we had him. … I just started running until I couldn’t run anymore. My legs were just on fire.”

Six days later, Brown lost his legs in an improvised explosive attack – one leg at the knee and the other at the hip. He’s now with Wounded Warrior Battalion East.

About a year later, the Washington Post reported that Brown was “humiliated” to the point of tears on a Delta flight from Atlanta to Washington after being clumsily wheeled to the back row of the plane, according to a complaint sent to the airline by an outraged fellow passenger. Other veterans on the plane offered to switch seats with Brown, the report states, but the flight attendant refused and wheeled Brown through the aircraft.

“Tears ran down his face, but he did not cry out loud,” an observer said.

A retired Army lieutenant colonel on the flight told the Post the Delta crew treated Brown worse than anyone should ever be treated.

“I have seen a lot of things and have seen a lot of guys die, but I have never seen a Marine cry,” he said.

Brown received the Silver Star aboard Camp Lejeune on May 3. (Facebook)

(Facebook)

During Friday’s Silver Star ceremony, the crowd gave Brown an ovation when he stood to receive his award, according to a Marine Corps news release.

“Brown had only been a squad leader for about a week at the time of the action,” said Brig. Gen. James Lukeman, commanding general of 2nd Marine Division. “He got the squad leader job by just being the guy — being  the one people naturally follow. He is a natural leader with physical courage and competence.”

A Facebook page dedicated to Brown’s recovery can be found here.

 

Staff writer Hope Hodge contributed to this report.

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Comments

  1. Laurie Says:
    May 9th, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    You know it’s bad if it brings a Marine to tears. It is very sad to see in American today the callousness and utter lack of consideration that our Military must deal with, simply because people have an absolute lack of respect for those who fight, are injured and often die for our freedom. I am disgusted by the actions of Delta Airlines. While they may have issued an apology to Cpl. Christian Brown, they cannot undo what has been done. I personally will never use Delta, or ever take a client who works for Delta. I wish Cpl. Christian Brown and his family the best and for a healthy recovery.

  2. Ike Oshana Says:
    May 9th, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    In my 77 years of life, I have t ravelled extensively, frequently using Delta Airlines as my travel provider of choice. After having read the attached article, and after having served 10 years in the Marine Corps myself, you can rest assured that I will never set foot on another Delta flight for as long as I live. And as a member of a 500 man strong Marine unit, men and women who have served in battles from World War II to the present day conflict, and as the editor of its newsletter, you may rest asssured that they will all hear about this incident and be advised to boycott Delta in the future. To Corporal Brown we say, “We’ve got your back, brother. Remember our mantra, Improvise, Adapt, Overcome. Semper Fi, Marine, and good luck with your recovery.”

  3. Matt Taylor Says:
    May 9th, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    I used to frequently fly with Delta. As a Marine, I know what it takes to make one cry. Rest assured I will never fly on another Delta flight.

  4. Clint Rohatinsky Says:
    May 9th, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    Absolutely disgusted to hear about this. I am an active duty Gunnery Sergeant and an Administrative Chief. I found an email address for the CEO of Delta, Richard Anderson, and am about to send him an email (his email address is richard.anderson@delta.com btw…) to voice my thoughts & intentions on this matter. Cpl Brown served us our freedom at the cost of his legs & he’s treated this way? Delta will pay, I assure you this much. Harsh consequences will come if you mess with a Marine, this should be well known, often said & loudly reminded. The rest is certainly better left for actions and not words…

  5. Claudia Fuller Says:
    May 10th, 2013 at 12:18 am

    Thank you for your service and God Bless you Cpl. Christian Brown.

  6. James Lawson Says:
    May 10th, 2013 at 6:19 am

    As a former A.F. SSgt and Viet Nam Vet I also USE to fly delta when traveling but after reading this article there is no way I will EVER fly Delta Airlines again. I truly think this flight att. should be fired as soon as possible. A person like her has NO IDEA what our Military has to go thru for this country. Simper Fi Cpl Brown and THANK YOU!

  7. MSGT R Brown Says:
    May 10th, 2013 at 7:48 am

    USMC got you sir. Delta you have cross the line on this one, Marines only knows one way to fight and that is to win.

  8. Eileen Sukitch Says:
    May 10th, 2013 at 9:11 am

    How do you sleep at night….Sham,Sham on your crew. I think someone needs sensitivity training.Such a rude and ungrateful b ****. I used to love to fly Delta it was my airline of choice NOT ANYMORE. I will make sure this article is circulated to as many people I can. Sorry Delta that is no way to treat someone who is fighting for you to keep your freedom. Jackass.

  9. Sgt English, 2D CIVDIV Says:
    May 10th, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Another new ex-Delta passenger here. Gonna send Mr. Anderson a piece of my mind here shortly after I finish up my last final for the semester.

    You fuck with one, you fuck with all. S/F

  10. naseem Says:
    May 10th, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Not one for these boycotts generally, but in this case I just cancelled and re-booked a flight from Delta to AA. Rest assured, they are not getting my money ever again.

  11. PO2 Mitchell Says:
    May 10th, 2013 at 10:58 am

    I won’t set foot on a Delta aircraft after reading about this disgrace. No one should be treated like this, and that it happened to a veteran makes this an unforgivable act. Sayonara Delta, Hoorah Cpl. Brown. You’ve got my support.

  12. VNVet Says:
    May 10th, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    I have never flown Delta anyway. This is a disgrace that should not be tolerated and I am glad my fellow Marines are boycotting Delta, no not boycotting. Just do not use them PERIOD. I will make sure others read this article. Thanks for your service Cpl. Brown, you make the rest of us very humble and thankful for Marines like you.

  13. Collette Ellsworth Says:
    May 10th, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    I will never give Delta my $ if this is how they treat a wounded soldier! If I had been on the plane and offered my seat to him, and told “no” by some idiot staff person, my demeanor is just that, “mean” – as I would stand up, stop the employee, help the soldier into my seat, and tell the employee “we’ll meet when this plane lands, and, you better have security to protect you as I’m a Mama Bear!!!

  14. Bill Browne Says:
    May 10th, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Delta Flight Attendant, I pray for your soul as the Marines that stand guard at the gates of Heaven surely will not let you pass. Enjoy your trip to Hell and I hope as you cry, the memory of what you did to that Marine haunts you for eternity.

  15. Elly Keithley Says:
    May 10th, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Yes, to previous post, I too, would do the same thing if I was on that flight! If I witnessed that from the employee I would stand up and say “NO” you do not treat this man that way-right there! It may have meant trouble but we need to stand united! This is disgraceful for Delta and I, too will never use this airlines again!

  16. Laurie Slawson Says:
    May 10th, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    My father was a Marine in the WWII Southern Pacific Theater. I will never fly Delta again after reading this. What horrible treatment!

  17. Kim McCulley-Burgoon Says:
    May 10th, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    I am truly ashamed of Delta Airlines. I will never use them, they truly are not proud of our military. If it were not for the military, they wouldn’t be on that plane in the first place. Every man in our family is military, Army, Airforce and Marines. May God Bless them all.

  18. 1SG Richard A Smith Says:
    May 10th, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    The way a fellow Soldier was treated is very disgraceful but we cannot get caught up with the idea that one employee represents the way Delta airline treats Soldiers. I say this because I hate when people judge the military because a current or past Soldier does something that disgraces the uniform and we all get blamed for it. Remember one bad person does not represent all the awesome Soldiers who serve in uniform so one bad attendant does not represent Delta.

  19. in_awe Says:
    May 10th, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    @1SG Richard A Smith

    In 2011 Delta was highlighted for charging excess baggage fees for 34 soldiers returning home from a year long deployment to Afghanistan. Despite being shown military orders stating the right of each soldier to have free transit for 4 pieces of luggage, Delta refused to allow the troops to check-in until almost $3000 was collected from them as they pooled their cash to pay $200 each for the weapons bags they were trying to check.

    In an era of non-stop sensitivity training, it seems like Delta’s corporate culture fell woefully short of the mark when it comes to those who serve and sacrifice for our nation.

  20. Katrina A. Says:
    May 10th, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    I cannot believe that this hero was treated that way. My heart aches with pain knowing that he, after selflessly serving to protect our freedoms and liberties was handled this way. People like that employee always get theirs in the end, even if we aren’t around to see it. Just imagine how sad of a person they are, when they lay down in their bed at night they can’t be happy about who they are or how the treat people. I bet when Cpl. Brown lies down at night he is full of pride knowing that he has done much more than most ever will. Thank you all who serve, have served, or will serve. Cpl. Brown and the other wounded warriors deserve more then they will ever be given! God Bless you all, from my military family to yours.

  21. LtCol D K Says:
    May 10th, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    1SG Richard A Smith, I disagree with your opinion. Just as each of us are representatives to our nation and considered – individually – to represent our service, so do the employees of a major international airline. Furthermore, when one of our own violates that trust, we are quick to take action which may adversely affect their career. From our POV, Delta should take action, be it individual or a company policy, and publicly report (to the extent allowable) the action taken. Personally, I dread when DTS assigns me a Delta flight, and I often go so far as to adjust my TDY plans to avoid that airline. I do not expect (or desire) special treatment, but they seem to have the worst of the hubs, deliberately overburdened connections, and perhaps worst of all, “factory-mentality’ flight attendants.

  22. FMF Corpsman Says:
    May 10th, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    I wish I could say I wouldn’t have to step foot on a Delta flight again…but sadly the military is still using them for our PCS purposes…all my time in Okinawa I have flown UA, and now for PCS back to the states I have to use Delta, because that’s what was available…makes me sick to my stomach. However, NEVER will I fly with them again, especially after hearing this. Semper Fi Cpl Brown, and I wish you a speedy recovery!

  23. Armymomx3 Says:
    May 10th, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    I had filed a complaint and wrote emails to Delta after they charged my son, flying in uniform, for his baggage. My 3 kids, all who have served in the US army, have flown on many different airlines and have always been treated with the up- most respect. I don’t know why Delta does not get it. Shortly after my encounter, it was made public that employees had to take classes on how to better serve their customers. I thought maybe this should be conducted in Afghanistan, then maybe they would actually get it.

  24. CAHummingbird Says:
    May 11th, 2013 at 1:06 am

    Another Delta disaster! When my daughter graduated from boot camp @ Parris Island, our flight from Atlanta back to Orange County was on Delta. Due to snow storms in the Northeast, our flight from Savannah to Atlanta was delayed to where the last flight to Orange County already left. We were stranded in Atlanta.

    Delta REFUSED to even try to get my daughter’s pack with clothes other than her civilian uniform. So, after finding out all of the 24 hour food places in the airport were CLOSED, I ended up sleeping on the floor while my husband & daughter managed to snooze a bit in the uncomfortable airport seating.

    Since that flight fiasco, I’ve never taken a Delta flight. After reading about how Cpl Brown was treated, that solidified my hatred towards them to where I will never fly on their planes again!

    Corporal Brown, Sir, thank you for your service. This Marine Mom LOVES all of our Marines and prays daily for you all.

    God bless!

  25. Silver Star-recipient Marine was at center of Delta firestorm — Off Duty Plus Says:
    May 11th, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    [...] Click here to read more. [...]

  26. Nancy Pew Says:
    May 11th, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    I’m glad to know that this is the kind of crew members Delta has. I will avoid them and be glad to continue with Southwest where I’ve seen flight attendants announce the presence of military members on flights and lead the passengers in a round of applause. Much more fitting.

    Perhaps Delta needs to make a contribution to the Wounded Warriors Project. Thank you to Cpl Brown for your service and thank you to all the rest of our service members.

    I remain a proud Marine Mom.

  27. CWOP Says:
    May 12th, 2013 at 5:26 am

    Unacceptable! How dare anyone treat a service member like that? Walk one day in his shoes Delta……just one day.
    I guarantee no one on the Delta Crew ever served this great nation in the military.
    It doesnt matter that now that he has received the Silver Star, Delta is apologetic. Everyone should be treated equally and with the same respect we expect to be treated with. It’s just plain being human. That is why the world is so messed up. So many feel “entitled” to the freedom that they enjoy everyday and have yet to do one thing to guarantee this freedom. Think about so many other countries where there is no freedom, hell, there’s no running water. Think about how you, as an American, just happened to be born in a country full of opportunity AND freedom. Whoever this stewardess was, needs to be relieved of her duties.
    Thank you for all you do everyday Cpl Brown. It is my absolute honor to serve with you.
    Semper Fidelis….

  28. Doug Lincoln Says:
    May 13th, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Sorry to hear that Delta has turned into a “take your money” and run organization. They came through at Christmas 1968 for a bunch of us Marines (and soldiers) trying to get home from Atlanta to Dallas. All of the flights to Dallas were full and there were still hundreds of GI’s with standby tickets waiting for a flight to Big D. Delta brought out some extra planes from the hangars and boarded all of us. Many of us got to sit in first class. They served us free booze all of the way home. I could barely walk by the time we landed. C’mon Delta – get your act together.

  29. Robert Hall Says:
    May 21st, 2013 at 11:42 am

    it is a Sad Day Indeed while this Brave soldier was fighting for freedom so the assholes of Delta could enjoy it and on his Return they Totally Abuse this Man Cpl. Brown i Salute your Bravery and I have Nothing But Respect for you i have Relatives that have gone to war and not returnd and i also have friends going off to war I sure hope they make it back, But in your case Sir If Delta had one ounce of integrity they will Fire those Assholes with Extreme Prejudice and they would make Dam sure they would never work again in the airline Industry From Me to you Cpl. Brown God speed and whatever you find yourself doing good luck Brother you are a true Hero

  30. Michael S Says:
    May 27th, 2013 at 9:23 am

    I could care less what airline you fly but blaming an entire corporation for the act of one un-compassionate moron is not fair or reasonable.

  31. blacksunbird4211 Says:
    June 25th, 2013 at 6:22 am

    To Corporal Brown…thank you for your heroic deeds, and many congrats on receiving the Silver Star. As a native Washingtonian and Atlantan transplant, let me apologize to you for the ignorance of the ignoramuses over at Delta Airlines…this ain’t the first time they “screwed the pooch”…but it’s the last time they’ll screw over another Marine…the Corps has got your back…always. To Delta Airlines: The last time I took a flight with you guys was 2 weeks after I returned from Desert Storm….the service was sub-par then, and probably is now, and I will NEVER fly Delta EVER AGAIN, even if my life depends on it. How DARE you treat this man of honor as a second-class citizen, a man who withstood multiple injuries in defense of our country and our way of life?! And you have the audacity to humiliate him?? I GUARANTEE to you, Delta Airlines, if it is the last thing in life I do, I’ll see to it that not another Marine in our Corps will ever give your airline another red cent of their hard-earned money in return for poor service and piss-poor treatment; I don’t care how profusely you apologize.