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About Lt. Col. Charlie Brown

About Lt. Col. Charlie Brown: A Lifetime of Service

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Lt. Charlie Brown (far left) and crew the day they were decorated for bravery at the Mayaguez Incident

Integrity, Duty, Honor and Responsibility aren’t just words to Charlie Brown. They are the guiding principles of an officer and a true patriot who has devoted his life to serving his country.


Charlie was born in 1949. Raised in rural Iowa, he developed his hard work ethic and strong mid-western values early on. He was an avid hunter, who worked on his grandfather’s cattle farm and took his first job while in middle school--unloading railroad cars at the local farm service plant.

As the son of a decorated World War II veteran, Charlie has always understood the importance of defending America. At age 13, he read an article about the Air Force in the Saturday Evening Post, and knew immediately that he wanted to be a pilot. He dedicated himself to that goal, and the hard work paid off. Charlie received a Congressional appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1968.

After graduating in 1972, he began a distinguished 26-year Air Force career during which he was involved in every U.S. military conflict from Vietnam to Desert Storm.

As a rescue helicopter pilot based in Thailand at the end of the Vietnam War, Charlie participated in the evacuations of Saigon, Phnom Penh, and the infamous Mayaguez Incident—for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. In Vietnam, he saw the human cost of faulty equipment and bad intelligence up close. It’s a lesson he’s never forgotten.

After the war, Charlie transitioned to fixed wing aircraft and working with intelligence collection assets. He piloted reconnaissance missions in support of combat operations in Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, and Libya, and flew Cold War related missions around the world. After the first Gulf War, Charlie served two rotations in Saudi Arabia, where he coordinated surveillance flights over Iraq’s “No Fly Zones.”

Whenever or wherever duty has called, Charlie has always been there. He’s served as a flight instructor, flight examiner, budget officer, safety officer, military magistrate, and been responsible for presentations to ambassadors, members of Congress, and foreign officials during his distinguished military career. He also earned his Master’s Degree in Aviation Management from Embry Riddle University in 1985.

Click here to view Charlie's Military Service Record.

Charlie retired from the Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1998, but he’s never stopped living the oath he gave when his career began: to lead with honor and integrity, to defend the constitution, to fight for the freedom and security of every American, and most importantly, to “leave no one behind.”

He’s remained true to his values. In 1996, Charlie was elected Chair of the Supervisory Committee of a local Credit Union.  Responsible for fiscal oversight of an institution rife with waste and abuse, Charlie didn’t turn a blind eye. He stood up for the fiscal responsibility that his members deserved.

Charlie continues to serve. He’s earned his California Teaching credential, spent the past 8 years on the Professional Staff of the Roseville Police Department, was elected to two terms as Vice President of the Roseville Police Association, and has been a tireless advocate for veterans rights, seniors, middle class families, and the environment.

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Stacey, Charlie, Jan and Jeff Brown

In 2006, Charlie was the Democratic nominee for California’s historically conservative 4th Congressional District, where he came within 3 points (just 9,000 votes) of upsetting 8 term incumbent John Doolittle. Despite the loss, Brown’s strong campaign was credited with helping the Democratic party regain the majority in both houses of Congress, and launching an unprecedented grassroots movement that has forever changed the electoral dynamics of the 4th CD. Brown is making a second run for Congress in 2008.

Charlie’s wife of 35 years, Jan, also served in the Air Force as a nurse. His son Jeff is an Air Force Captain, who just returned from his fourth rotation in Iraq. His daughter Stacey just finished up her degree at UC Irvine. Stacey and Jeff both attended Public Schools, and the Brown’s have lived in Roseville, California for the past 16 years. Charlie is an avid runner, bicycler, and kayaker.


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