Korean War Legacy Project

Arthur Leroy Brown


Arthur Leroy Brown enlisted in the United States Army and served in the 24th Division 21st Regiment K Company prior to being captured somewhere near the 38th Parallel on July 7th, 1950. Initially, his family was told he was considered missing in action, but it was later confirmed that he was being held as a prisoner-of-war at Camp 5 near Pyoktong, North Korea. It was soon discovered he died on his 21st birthday in January 1951. Some of the returning soldiers told his family the tragic news that he had suffered from complications due to Beriberi likely caused by a deficiency in Vitamin B1. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency lists Arthur L. Brown as unaccounted for. Arthur is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Cemetery of the Pacific.

Video Clips

Family Hears News of Their Son's Death

Arthur L. Brown was captured and initially identified as Missing in Action on July 7, 1950. Later it was learned he was being held as a Prisoner of War at Camp 5 in Pyoktong, North Korea. He died on January 31, 1951, on what would have been his twenty-first birthday. His family later learned he died from complications due to Beriberi.

Tags: Living conditions,North Koreans,POW

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Family Hit Hard by the News of Death

Arthur L. Brown's family was hit hard by the news of his death. His mother was pregnant with his first sister, and he excitedly shared the news with his comrades. Prior to his enlistment and ultimate deployment to Korea, Arthur and his father got into a disagreement over Arthur quitting school to join the Army.

Tags: Home front

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How His Brother Was Buried at the POW Camp

Arthur L. Brown died during freezing cold weather in North Korea. As a result, he was buried in a grave dug as deep as could be dug near Camp 5. This was devastating news to his family.

Tags: Cold winters,Living conditions,North Koreans,Personal Loss,POW

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Video Transcript

0:00  Hi George very nice meeting you nice meeting you

0:03 here is  Louisville Kentucky

0:07 and why are you here

0:10 I’m here to uh it’s the

0:14 39th POW reunion of the Korean War

0:18 so are you Korean War veteran no I’m not a Korean War veteran

0:22 my brother Arthur L Brown was captured

0:27 in Korea  July 7th 1950

0:39 and your brothers middle name Leroy

0:43 Lee  L so you are here to represent

0:48 your old brother yes sir where are you from I’m from

0:53 Mount Gilead Ohio just north of Columbus Ohio

1:00 I see tell me

1:04 about your brother Arthur when was

1:08 he born um, well not exactly the date and the month

1:17 the month was January

1:20 31st 1932 maybe something like that

1:24 how about you

1:32 when were you born I was born

1:35 1943 September 2nd

1:38 September the 2nd

1:42 what do you remember about your brother when

1:45 you were growing

1:46 up I remember

1:50 playing baseball, playing football uh yeah

2:00 just uh kicking it around with my brother

2:04 you know just like all brothers do

2:06 you know I was the youngest and they always picked on me

2:07 I see but I  got the best of them

2:09 so you were  good with

2:13 them yeah, yeah wouldn’t have any better brothers

2:17 did you go to school together yeah we all went to

2:20 same schools what school well we started out at the

2:28 California elementary school so you move to California

2:32 no California, Ohio oh ok

2:37 just down by Coney Island River Downs

2:40 that’s high school no that’s a grade school

2:45 grade school how about  high school

2:53 high school junior high

2:57 I went to Mount Washington Junior

3:00 High School  and I went to three years at

3:06 central vocational high school which is in lower part of Cincinnati

3:16 your brother too no he didn’t graduate from high school he

3:22 went to the same schools I went to

3:27 but he wanted to quit

3:28 high school and join the Army I see

3:33 where were you born actually  I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio Cincinnati

3:42 so do you remember when you’re old  brother Arthur

3:45 joined the military he joined in

3:49 49 1949

3:52 he enlisted

3:55 right yes

4:04 anything you know well him after that mean

4:11 grown up for after he joined the military

4:15 uh no I just remember

4:19 taking him to the airport

4:24 so he could fly off to Korea

4:28 he did fly off to Korea  I guess they took a boat

4:32 someplace on airplane I’m not sure where but then I

4:35 see um they either flew or took a boat

4:39 probably a boat because that were most were transportation was but so

4:48 so did you hear from Arthur when he went to korea

4:52 yeah got all letters and so forth

4:55 ah he wrote the letter to you not me no

4:58 mom and dad the whole family actually so

5:04 we all read them what did he say in the letter

5:09 just that he had arrived and what unit he was in

5:13 you know the country wasn’t what he expected

5:18 what division did he belong

5:21 he was with the 24th the 24th division 21/24

5:25 yeah and regiment K Company

5:30 and regiment

5:33 21st regiment so 24th

5:37 division and 21st regiment K Company

5:41 what was it doing there rifleman or what

5:44 apparently yeah

5:50 infantry or engineer or Cigna Corp infantry so yeah you know

5:55 he played baseball

5:58 for um the 24th so you know which he was very good

6:03 at he was a pitcher so um he was on his way

6:11 but you said that he was captured on July 4

6:16 July the 7th  7th  yes 1950

6:21 1950 do you know how he was captured

6:27 and where wherever they sent

6:31 em in you know at the 38th parallel

6:38 so I mean you know I wasn’t there so I could just hear

6:42 what people talk and so

6:44 forth so wherever they were in when it

6:47 first started so I have no idea where it was so did US military

6:53 notify you that your brother was captured first

6:57 off it was Missing In Action and then we got confirmation

7:02 that it he’d been captured so you don’t know where he was

7:09 in the camp or not he was in he’d wound up

7:13 at Camp 5 Camp 5 oh how did you know

7:17 well that’s what people said when they

7:22 got out you know oh okay

7:25 he died uh 51

7:30 January 51

7:33 on his 21st birthday so

7:38 and then um the armistice was signed and everyone was coming

7:43 back home they apparently asked people

7:47 who they knew and you know people who had died

7:53 and so forth and so on and um that’s how we found out that mom and dad

7:57 got a telegram from the Army stating that you know he’d been captured and um had died in prison camp

8:10 how

8:11 he die apparently it was

8:14 Beriberi so huh Beriberi what is that when

8:25 when you swell up uh hu and your stomach swells up and you

8:30 die so

8:37 so your family came to know of his death

8:40 when the armistice was signed

8:44 yeah after everybody came home yeah

8:47 did he write a letter to you from the camp

8:51 not that I know of then

8:55 did you or your parents write a letter to him not

9:01 that I know of  I got

9:06 all the letters at home that he’s written you know you got you have it yeah I

9:12 letters that he’d written from the time he’d got over there

9:15 if you can

9:19 share that with me because I have more than 6,000 memorabilia

9:24 and here at the top these are the letters

9:27 the Korean War veterans who back wrote to their family so if you share those

9:32 with me I can publish in the website okay

9:38 yes just letters from

9:42 whatever you have about him photographs or anything

9:47 discharged whatever you have about

9:51 Arthur if you send it I will

9:54 scan it and I will return it to you when did you know

9:57 for the first time your brother was captured VFW

10:00 okay there were in a little town I

10:04 lived in

10:07 they notified um this guy named

10:11 Jack they wanted him to notify my mom and dad that

10:14 he’d been captured when was it

10:18 that was after the um

10:22 armistice was signed yeah so before armistice was signed

10:25 you didn’t know I really didn’t know

10:27 no there were guys in there with him that wrote to

10:35 my dad after they came back

10:39 you know stating what had happened and so forth and so on so do you have that

10:46 letter too no I don’t I haven’t really looked at

10:51 what else is in there so when your parents

10:54 came to know that your brother died of

10:58 Beriberi again in Camp 5

11:01 how your parent react to it mom took it real

11:05 bad real bad she uh and dad he

11:11 took bad too because him and my brother

11:17 had a little disagreement when they let him join the

11:24 service oh so your

11:27 your father didn’t like that join the army well he didn’t like the idea that

11:31 quitting school and joining the Army he only had

11:35 another year to go

11:42 oh I see so he said you know if that’s what you won’t you can go

11:48 you know they had a little scuffle my

11:51 dad won so and he felt bad about that but

12:02 mom took it real bad

12:07 my mother was pregnant in 49 and uh she uh with my

12:19 sister you know born after he was in Korea

12:24 and he never got to see her he talked about her all the time to George Bingham

12:29 and other guys that uh he had

12:33 a sister and uh he was very proud

12:37 there was uh girl in the family instead of all boys now

12:46 what do you think about the loss of your brother well

12:52 I was six-years-old at the time so um i knew he was gone and

13:01 wouldn’t be back probably never seen

13:07 him again we would never put him in

13:10 the ground yeah you know so after we

13:15 found out what they’d done with the bodies afterwards so he died

13:20 in the freezing weather

13:23 and they couldn’t really dig

13:27 a grave they just dug as far as they could put him in that and cover him up so apparently

13:34 that’s what I hear so it’s just kind of devastating you know that he’d

13:44 never you know came back so that’s very sad yeah hit my other brothers harder than it

13:56 did me so they were closer to him that I was so

14:02 I was the youngest you know like I said I got

14:04 tossed around a lot

14:10 do you know anything about Korea now uh

14:14 what I’ve heard

14:18 from talking to these gentlemen here it’s

14:22 the best experience I’ve had since I’ve been

14:27 coming to these reunions that they hear what they went through

14:34 and how they survived

14:35 and um the hardships they

14:39 had in there and afterwards yeah so

14:46 my brother

14:50 my other brother joined the Army uh

14:53 in 54 55 and he went to Korea

14:57 after the Korean War was over

15:00 he had the experience to see what had happened what’s his name

15:09 uh his name was David Brown

15:19 so what is doing now please David

15:24 no longer with us he passed away a couple

15:27 years ago so you know

15:31 Korea has tremendous economy now

15:35 and democracy well I know they’re better off

15:38 than they were before right so what do you

15:42 think about that uh I really have no thought about it

15:52 your brother died for the nation he didn’t know  

15:56 but now that nation is much better than before right it’s better because we helped them

16:04 anything else you wanna say to this interview

16:08 no just uh

16:12 I’m kinda sad that this is the last one

16:15 you know I feel that I really haven’t

16:19 mingled enough

16:22 with all the people that come you know I mean

16:31 I love all them for their sacrifice

16:35 that they made for us yeah and

16:39 Korean people so it’s uh it’s just sad it has to come to an end

16:47 never will come to an end but

16:49 you know these will these proceedings will but

16:56 behalf of Korean nation I am so sorry about the loss

17:00 your brother your loving brother Arthur

17:03 Brown but because

17:06 this interview and you send me the picture of

17:09 your brother or anything the letters I’ll

17:13 posted it into the website so that it will be

17:16 remembered permanently ok alright

17:20 that’s how we want to remember them

17:24 that’s how we want honor them

17:27 and that’s how we educate want to educate

17:31 your own descendants anybody that knew him could

17:35 not a whole that we found out that

17:38 people knew him but uh who we found out

17:42 you know and everything was

17:44 the main thing