- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 13, 2003

Navy Capt. David M. Brown, 46, grew up in Arlington, became a doctor and learned to fly.
Yesterday, the astronaut who was killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia explosion was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.
Capt. Brown's parents, friends and other family members seated in the Old Post Chapel at Fort Myer frequently struggled with tears.
But there were smiles, too, especially as retired Navy Capt. Gordon Iiams, 47, a friend since the two men met on the first day at Eastern Virginia Medical School in 1978, recounted shared experiences.
"He had just read a book about the Lewis and Clark expedition," Dr. Iiams said, referring to the historical exploration in 1804-06 across America to the Pacific Ocean.
"He said, 'They were in outer space in their time. That's what I want to do,'" said Dr. Iiams, now an orthopedic surgeon in southeastern Virginia.
"David was out there for science, adventure and fun," he said. "All seven on that shuttle were wonderful, positive and upbeat people."
Another time, Dr. Iiams said he was riding in a slow Piper Cub piloted by Capt. Brown when they landed at Memphis, Tenn., and were invited to see the Royal Crown jewels on exhibit there.
"Naw, this is where Graceland is. Let's go there," Dr. Iiams recalled Capt. Brown as saying. They spent the day touring Elvis Presley's mansion.
Another time, after they had been standing outdoors in freezing weather for two hours, "David looked at me, smiled and said, 'Isn't this great?'" Dr. Iiams said.
After a brief service in chapel, most of the 300 mourners followed the Navy Band, Ceremonial Guard and six black horses pulling the flag-draped casket on a caisson along the winding road amid thousands of tombstones to the grave site.
A uniformed Navy officer pushed the wheelchair of Capt. Brown's father, Paul Brown, of Washington, Va. Another officer walked arm-in-arm with Capt. Brown's mother, Dorothy Brown.
Close behind were brother Doug, niece Casey, nephew Daniel, and former sister-in-law Diane Beatty.
As the horses stopped in front of the Arlington Amphitheater, four Marine F-18 fighters swooshed overhead. One abruptly zoomed straight up and was soon out of sight, the missing man formation honoring a fallen comrade.
After six uniformed sailors placed the casket on the grave surface, the family was seated with friends standing behind. Seven sailors fired rifles in a 21-gun salute, and another sailor played taps.
The band played "America the Beautiful" as the navy-blue uniformed pallbearers briskly folded the flag for Navy Surgeon General Michael L. Cowan to present to Mr. and Mrs. Brown.
Arlington Cemetery Chaplain Cmdr. Robert P. Beltram said Capt. Brown "had been a great inspiration and role model." People around the world who had known him sent messages of condolences.
Nearby are the graves of two other Columbia crew members and the memorial to the astronauts who died in 1986 on the Space Shuttle Challenger.
The burial returned Capt. Brown near his birthplace . He was born April 16, 1956, in Arlington. He graduated from Yorktown High School and was a varsity gymnast at the College of William and Mary, where he also performed as an acrobat, 7-foot unicyclist and stilt walker in Circus Kingdom.
Capt. Brown joined the Navy after an internship at the Medical University of South Carolina. He was director of medical services at Navy Branch Hospital in Adak, Alaska, and became the only flight surgeon in 10 years to be chosen for flight training.
Capt. Brown logged more than 1,700 flight hours, mostly in high-performance aircraft.
Before the funeral services, posthumous awards for Capt. Brown were presented privately to his family. The awards were the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, NASA Distinguished Service Medal, NASA Space Flight Medal, and a U.S. flag that has been flown at half-staff over Mission Control in Houston since Feb. 1, when Columbia disintegrated over the western part of the country during re-entry.

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