On Memorial Day, son remembers command master chief who served at NAS Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Harley Brown Jr. served as the first Black command master chief of the U.S. Navy’s largest shore command in the Southeastern Region at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. He was in the Navy for more than 30 years before retiring.

His son, Darian, followed in his father’s footsteps and is now a veteran himself. Every Memorial Day, he flies an American flag in his front yard, honoring his father.

“We’re very proud of my dad’s navy service,” Brown’s son said.

He said his father joined the Navy right out of high school and moved down to Jacksonville, where his father met his mother at Cecil Field.

The younger Brown said his father was a great role model.

In 2016, Brown died from cancer. His son believes it happened from his time in the Vietnam War and an exposure to Agent Orange -- a chemical compound.

His son says his father’s memory lives on.

“In life and death. For sure,” he said.

Brown was 71 when he died. Funeral services were held at the Jacksonville National Cemetery.

According to an article by Jacksonville.com, Brown earned numerous awards including the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, two Navy Achievement Medals, the Navy Unit Commendation, two Meritorious Unit Commendations, seven Good Conduct Medals, two National Defense Service Medals, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, three Sea Service Deployment Ribbons and the Overseas Deployment Ribbon.

About the Author:

Brie Isom joined the News4JAX team in January 2021 after spending three years covering news in South Bend, Indiana.