Death of a ClassMate - CHRISTOPHER HOWARD BROWN - 10th Co.


February 6, 1932 – March 10, 2015


            Christopher Brown was born in Denver, Colorado in 1932 and moved to California with his family at an early age. He is a graduate of Bell High School in Bell, California. He attended the U. S. Naval Academy and was commissioned an Ensign in June, 1954.

            After a one and one half year tour on USS Montague (AKA98) and decommissioning of the ship, Chris reported to Basic Officers Submarine School. After graduation in June 1956, LTJG Brown served two and one half years on USS Wahoo (SS565) before being selected for advanced nuclear power training.

            Upon completion of a year's training, Lt Brown served as an instructor at Nuclear Power School, Mare Island, California. In January, 1960, he commenced over three years service on USS Sargo (SSN583). This tour included eventual assignment as Engineer Officer. During this time Sargo was awarded two Navy Unit Commendations.

            From Sargo, in March, 1964, LCDR Brown reported to Charleston, South Carolina and participated in the formation of Submarine Squadron Eighteen as Staff Material Officer. After two years LCDR Brown reported to USS Shark (SSN591) as Executive Offices via Submarine School PCO/PXO Course.

            In November, 1968, CDR Brown was detached from Shark. Following attendance at the PCO Course at Submarine School, he reported to the Division of Naval Reactors, AEC for three months of duty under instruction. In April, 1969, CDR Brown reported to Mare Island Naval Shipyard where he assumed duties as Prospective Commanding Officer of USS Hawkbill (SSN666). The Hawkbill was commissioned on February 4, 1971. Captain Brown served as the submarine's first Commanding Officer, and moved with the submarine to San Diego. Hawkbill worked extensively with the DSRV-1 (Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle).

            In 1973, Captain Brown was assigned to the Naval Technical Training Command at Millington NAS, Tennessee where he was in charge of submarine training. He retired from the Navy on September  1, 1974. During his naval service, Chris was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Unit Commendation with the Bronze Star, Navy Expeditionary Medal for SSN Special Operations, National Defense Service Medal with the Bronze Star and the Vietnam Service Medal with the Bronze Star.

            After his naval service, Chris went to work in commercial nuclear power, notably at N reactor in Hanford, Washington. Chris culminated his working career at Trojan Nuclear Power Plant with Portland General Electric in Portland, Oregon in 1991. While retired in Beaverton, Oregon, Chris continued to travel, attend U. S. Naval Academy reunions and visit his daughters' families. In the northwest, he enjoyed an occasional fishing trip and boating, and adopted the regional pro sports teams as his to follow. Chris was an avid reader, well informed, and managed his affairs up until his death. The family recalls many an interesting story about his submarine life, patrols and time at sea.

            Chris married Roylene Skinner of Cudahy, California in 1955. They had two daughters, Christy Durant (David), of Granbury, Texas, and Sandra Walheim (Mark) of Healdsburg, California. Chris is preceded in death by his wife Roylene, and his two younger brothers, Robert and Richard, both of whom were also in the U. S. Navy. He is also survived by nieces and nephews Jim, Karie, Lynn, Karen and Richard. The family extends sincere and deep thanks to Chris's caregiver, Araceli Gaitan, who provided invaluable help as his health declined. Chris's beloved cat, Bubba, will miss him greatly.

            In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the United States Naval Academy Annual Fund (http://www.usna.com).

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