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home : columnists : betsy reason August 23, 2017


6/17/2017 4:00:00 AM
Vietnam veteran sacrifice honored
Noblesville’s Peggy Beaver and her daughter, Emily Brooks, are attending a Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund In Memory program today to honor Emily’s father, the late John Allen Brooks, a Vietnam War veteran, who died as a result from exposure to Agent Orange.
Noblesville’s Peggy Beaver and her daughter, Emily Brooks, are attending a Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund In Memory program today to honor Emily’s father, the late John Allen Brooks, a Vietnam War veteran, who died as a result from exposure to Agent Orange.
Photos providedNavy Corpsman serving in the Marines John Allen Brooks, a medic, died 35 years ago, as a result from exposure to Agent Orange.
Photos provided

Navy Corpsman serving in the Marines John Allen Brooks, a medic, died 35 years ago, as a result from exposure to Agent Orange.


By Betsy Reason
Editor


A sailor from Noblesville, who died 35 years ago, is being honored today in Washington, D.C.

John Allen Brooks was a husband, a father and a Navy Corpsman serving with the U.S. Marines in the Vietnam War. He died as a result from exposure to Agent Orange.

His daughter, Emily Brooks, and her mother, Peggy Beaver, Brooks' widow, are attending the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund In Memory ceremony this morning.

Beaver shared the news with us about the Honor Roll, which recognizes those who served in the Vietnam War and later died as a result of their service. There is a special plaque that honors these Vietnam veterans and was dedicated as part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 2004. The In Memory program started in 1999 and has since honored more than 2,800 veterans, she said.

John Brooks was a Noblesville resident and graduated in 1966 from Noblesville High School. He was ordered to active duty in October 1968 and served two years in Vietnam. In 1982, he died of a "very rare type of lung cancer." But he was not awarded a service-connected death until 1994. Beaver said, "I filed a claim with the VA in 1982 because of his exposure to Agent Orange, but it took 12 years for them to award the service-connected death."

She said, "Emily was 6 at the time, and now (age 41) works at Riverview Hospital in dietary, and her sister, Jennifer Brooks, was 9," and now (age 44) lives in Portland, Ore., and has a son, Orion, 10. John Brooks has two brothers, Bill and Mike, and a sister, Peggy. His parents, Charles R. Brooks and Edna M. Brooks, are deceased.

During his tour overseas, John Brooks was awarded many medals, one being the Bronze Star Medal with Combat V, for his heroic actions. The Hospital Corpsman Third Class John A. Brooks was with Company I, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division. The Bronze Star Medal citation states that on Sept. 20, 1970, after completing a search-and-clear operation, Company I was subjected to intense sniper fire, with two radio operators seriously wounded. "Petty Officer Brooks unhesitatingly left his relatively secure rear position and, seemingly oblivious to the rounds impacting around him, rushed across 100 meters of open rice paddy to treat the casualties." As more Marines were wounded, Brooks, a medic, "braving the withering fire," treated the men and prepared them for medical evacuation. He rushed across the rice paddy a third time, "despite being a target for concentrated hostile fire, fearlessly remained at the side of the casualties to treat them and comfort them....Petty Officer Brooks' courage, selfless concern for his fellowmen and steadfast devotion to duty at great personal risk inspired all who observed him...."

The late John Brooks will be among more than 400 Vietnam veterans being recognized this weekend at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. On Friday, Peggy Beaver and Emily Brooks attended an In Memory Family Reception at the Crystal City Ballroom in the Double Tree Hotel. "This reception is held for all of the veterans' families and gives us all an opportunity to meet others who have shared many of the same experiences," she said.

Peggy (Baldwin) Beaver, a 1972 NHS grad, met John Brooks the summer before her senior year, after he returned from Vietnam. They were married for 10 years. "We were still married at the time he died." He was 33, and she was 27. After his death, Peggy Beaver stayed single for nearly 10 years, until marrying Tim Beaver in 1991.

Today, Peggy Beaver will watch as Emily Brooks will read her dad's name aloud at the podium during the ceremony, which begins at 10 a.m. and will continue until the last veteran's name is read, approximately three hours. John Brooks' name with the others will be added to the Virtual Honor Roll online at www.vvmf.org/honor-roll. The ceremony will be live streamed on Facebook @VietnamVeteransMemorialFund.

Beaver said that John Brooks "may be the first Noblesville veteran to receive the honor." She hopes that more Vietnam veteran families become aware of this honor to get their loved ones' their earned recognition.

-Contact me at betsy@thetimes24-7.com







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