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Marine stands post armed with rifle and a smile

28 May 2004 | Cpl. Paula M. Fitzgerald

Cpl. Charles A. Brown, of Victorville, Calif., wants people to know that he was not named after the famous "Peanuts" cartoon character, but that doesn't mean he's not funny.

The 22-year-old topographic analyst with 1st Marine Division spends two hours of his workday standing duty outside the main entrance of the command operations center here.
From 8 to 10 a.m. everyday, he keeps a vigilant watch over the building and makes sure to greet everyone from private to general.

It's one of those mundane, everyday duties, but Brown didn't look at it as a chore, but a chance to see people smile.

"I actually enjoy coming to work in the morning," said Maj. Doug G. Luccio, assistant fire support coordinator. "I know Corporal Brown is going to be here with a smile on his face, and he'll greet me with an 'oorah or good morning.'"

Brown uses his quirky sense of humor to "brighten everyone's day."

"I know this place seems bleak, and there's a lot of bad stuff that happens," he explained. "I try to help people look at the bright side of things."

His good friend Lance Cpl. Dwight E. Maynard II described Brown as a pretty funny guy and remembers their first meeting.

"Right before we came out here Corporal Brown was running around our barracks with a cowboy hat on his head," said Maynard, of Manassas, Va. "He's crazy sometimes. I can't really describe him in normal terms."

The corporal's unusual approach to life began prior to his time as a Marine.

Brown, an avid sports enthusiast, joined the Marine Corps in May 2000 after graduating a year early from Victor Valley High School.

"I was bored. I found out that there was nothing to fill my time in between watching Matlock reruns and cartoons," explained Brown, who now hates to watch television.

His mother quickly "got tired" of watching her grown son spend his time watching Bugs Bunny when she knew he could do much more with his life.

"That's when I decided to go into the Marine Corps," he said. "To be honest, I really didn't know too much about it when I signed up."

After boot camp, he went on to become a topographic analyst specializing in tactical maps. He was stationed in Okinawa, Japan. After his time in the Far East, he checked in to 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Over the years, Brown's sense of humor flourished even without Bugs Bunny. He's also found time to accomplish some of his dreams.

"I actually was named the Chicken McNugget-eating champion at a contest at McDonald's before I came to Iraq," he said with a smile.

It only took 53 McNuggets to claim the coveted title.

"There were only five contestants, but I like to excel in everything I do," Brown added.

One dream he is still working to achieve is to keep the 1980's alive. His fascination with the decade began a few years ago.

"Everyone knows how much this guy loves the eighties," said Maynard.

Brown loves it all - the music, clothes, movies and television shows. In fact, he said his favorite show is "Diff'rent Strokes."

"I love Gary Coleman. He is a short, black man just like me," said Brown, standing 5-feet, 7-inches tall.

Both Coleman and Brown use their humor to entertain anyone within earshot, but Brown is quick to remember why he's here.

"People need a little light humor sometimes, especially out here," he said. "But if any bad guys try any funny stuff while I'm on duty, I'll be all over them like a rat on a Cheeto."