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Maj. John A. Brow, 39, Marine pilot, instructor


Maj. John A. Brow, a Marine Corps pilot and St. Mary's County resident, was killed Saturday when the MV-22 tiltrotor Osprey he was aboard crashed at Marana Northwest Regional Airport in Arizona. He was 39.

Major Brow, a career Marine Corps officer, and 18 other Marines lost their lives when the Osprey crashed during a nighttime training mission at the airport about 30 miles northwest of Tucson.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Stationed at Patuxent River Naval Air Station and a resident of California, St. Mary's County, since 1997, Major Brow had left for training in Arizona in mid-February.

"He was one of the best pilots. He was good," said retired Marine Corps pilot and friend Russell Bell of Cherry Point, N.C.

"He was intense but a good planner. His aeronautical ability and decision-making were outstanding. He was a very strong aviator. He was the kind of man you could give a mission to and know that it would be accomplished," he said.

Described as easygoing by friends and family, according to Mr. Bell, Major Brow was "highly regarded throughout the Marine Corps as a pilot and instructor."

Born at Malstrom Air Force Base in Montana, the son of an Air Force warrant officer, Major Brow was raised in Montgomery, Ala., where he graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in 1979.

A lifelong dream to become a pilot led him to earn a bachelor's degree in aviation management in 1984 from Auburn University, where he also had been a member of Navy ROTC.

He completed his pilot's training at Pensacola, Fla., Naval Air Station, where he became proficient in flying KC-130s.

He completed assignments in Cherry Point and Okinawa and, in 1990, was assigned to the Amphibious Warfare School at Quantico, Va. From 1991 to 1994, he was stationed at Cherry Point. He was assigned to VMGRT 253, where he was an instructor and operations officer.

He was a KC-130 MAWTS instructor at the Yuma, Ariz., Aviation Training School from 1994 to 1997, when he was assigned to Patuxent River Naval Air Station.

Major Brow had been scheduled for promotion to lieutenant colonel this year. His decorations included the Navy Commendation Medal, National Defense Ribbon and the Humanitarian Service Award.

He was married in 1986 to Trisha Thatcher, who survives him.

He enjoyed fishing and coaching his two sons' recreation council teams.

Plans for funeral services were incomplete yesterday.

He also is survived by his two sons, Michael Patrick Brow and John Matthew Brow, both of California; his parents, Robert J. Brow and Karen L. Brow of Montgomery, Ala.; four sisters, Constance Marie Miller of Pensacola, Christina Louise Brow of Montgomery, Cynthia Ann Moriarty of Centreville, Va., and Catherine Ada Brow of Atlanta; his maternal grandmother, Myrtle Kleaver of Waverly, Minn.; a niece; and three nephews.

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