Rep. Brown must report to Iraq
The call to serve his country has come once again for
State Rep. Jason Brown of Platte City.
Brown, a member of the United States Army Reserves, told
The Landmark on Wednesday morning that he has been called
to fulfill a one year tour of duty in Iraq. He will leave
next Thursday, March 2 for Fort Bragg, North Carolina
where he will receive pre-deployment and specialized training.
From a political point of view, the call didn't exactly
come at the best time for the 30th District state representative,
as Brown is up for reelection later this year. His state
office and his reelection campaign will have to be run
while he is performing his military duties in Iraq.
But Brown says the political impact is not his first
"My immediate thoughts are about my wife and kids,
having to separate from them," he said.
Brown emphasized he will file for reelection prior to
leaving. Filing for state office opens next Tuesday.
"I'm going to serve my country and come back and
continue to serve the 30th District," he remarked.
Brown is currently completing his second term as state
representative. He has an announced Democratic opponent,
Jared Welch of Platte City, ready to challenge him in
November's general election.
Notification of his call to duty came via e-mail, followed
by a hard copy notification in the mail, Brown said. After
getting the word, he and his family have spent private
time absorbing the impact of the situation and preparing
for his departure in a variety of ways.
"My wife is obviously worried about a whole bunch
of things right now. We have a long checklist of things
we need to do before I leave," he explained.
He said he and his wife are doing their best to explain
the situation to their two young children, Alayna, 7,
and Caleb, 4.
"I have my faith and my discipline and will do the
right thing. I plan to do my job and come home,"
Brown told The Landmark.
"It's necessary for our country. There have been
a lot of people that have gone before me and it's part
of living in America. The price of freedom is not free.
Brown will serve as a civil affairs soldier. He will
serve as a liaison and work with the host nation, United
Nations organizations, and other types of non-governmental
"I'll work a lot on roads, water lines, sewer lines,
electricity, hospitals, helping establish a government,
working with local elected officials," he explained.
It will be the type of work with which Brown is extremely
familiar, having formerly served as public works director
for the City of Platte City.
Brown, 35, said it's unclear where exactly in Iraq he'll
"I have no idea if it will be in a more dangerous
part of the country. You never know. We may not find out
until we get to Iraq.
Much will be learned in the pre-deployment time to be
spent at Fort Bragg.
"Once I get to Fort Bragg I'll get a better idea
of when we go. We could be there (Fort Bragg) from 10
days to three or four weeks before going to Iraq,"
As far as keeping in touch while he's away, Brown says
he'll be helped tremendously by today's technology. He
anticipates having Internet access that will allow him
to stay in touch with his family and with his state office.
"I sat down with my legislative assistant. We're
putting things in place," for the communication link
to allow his office to run as smoothly as possible in
his absence, he explained.
Brown's office in Jefferson City will remain open during
his deployment to address all constituent needs and questions,
he said. Lisa Machon, legislative assistant, will manage
"This tour of duty presents unique challenges I
didn't face last time I served overseas, but I am ready
for these challenges," he explained.
In 2000, Brown was called to active duty and was deployed
Sometime during his one year tour, Brown anticipates
a two week leave of absence that will allow him the opportunity
to come back home to get caught up with family and his
elected responsibilities. But he has no idea when that
two weeks may come.
"I'll be a team sergeant and will probably have
lower rank and younger soldiers that I'll be responsible
for. I'll try to help my younger soldiers get the time
off they desire before worrying about which two weeks
I'll take. Everybody will get their two weeks. We'll coordinate
that when we get there," he stated.
He says he's ready to face the challenges head-on.
"Everybody can see that our country is currently
involved in a war on terror. This is a long conflict that
our nation has to win and all kinds of folks are doing
their duty and coming home. Many peopleteachers,
police officers, and even elected officialsare serving
America. I'm honored to be among them," he said Wednesday.