A hero is laid to rest

Lt. Col. Robert 'Muck' Brown leaves a lasting legacy
Mar 26, 2014

Those bidding Lt. Col. Robert “Muck” Brown farewell on Monday used words that far surpassed “American hero,” something his long list of military accolades proved was true.

“He was one of the few people you could consider a national treasure,” said Col. David Torres-Laboy, who was stationed with Brown in Germany in the 1990s and served with him during the Iraqi Freedom campaign.

Torres-Laboy was one of Brown’s many military friends attending his funeral held at the First Baptist Church in Waynesville, with burial in Garrett-Hillcrest Memorial Park. He also was one of many who helped arrange a flyover by two U.S. Air Force A-10s during Brown’s interment, something that’s a rarity during tight budget times and is likely the first ever to occur in Haywood County.

Brown, who at age 56, lost a three-year long battle to cancer, was widely considered one of the best A-10 pilots and instructors ever produced by the Air Force, Torres-Laboy said.

During the service, Brown, a 1975 Tuscola High School graduate, was remembered as a multi-talented person who loved his family, cherished his friends, was a lifelong faithful disciple of Christ, an accomplished drummer, a beloved instructor, both in the military and the Tuscola ROTC program, and a man who lived his life with honor and excellence.

“Robert was a true hero who influenced an incredible number of people to live in a way that was meaningful and good,” said the Rev. Robert Prince. “While his life was shortened by illness, who’s to say that Robert didn’t complete that race? …When measured by accomplishments, Robert won the race.”

Brown’s brother, Bill, said Robert was happy with his life and leaves behind a huge legacy that will long be remembered by those lives he touched.

It was Joe Andrews who explained how his oldest Air Force friend got the nickname “Muck.”

“We bonded as Southerners surrounded by Yankees,” he said. “He’d say something was as fine as frog’s hair and I understood, but the others never got it. … He became known as Muck for falling into some of it while turtle hunting in Louisiana, and it followed him throughout his career.”

The Rev. Chuck Wilson called Brown a man of honor and excellence who is more alive now than he ever has been because “he is with God and God is with us.”

Wilson shared a story of Brown’s strength and hope through his illness, a story that was so poignant Wilson said he felt he had experienced the wonder of God in hearing it.

Brown’s “God story” can be seen here and click on "Robert's God Story."