He played Lt. Dan in the Oscar winning movie "Forrest Gump."
In November, the Lt. Dan Band, led by actor Gary Sinise, will be performing a benefit concert in Memphis for Marine Cpl. Christian Brown, who was seriously injured from an improvised explosive device Dec. 13, 2011 in Afghanistan.
Many dream of owning a custom home but for Cpl. Brown, of Munford, Tenn., who was attached to the 1st Battalion 6th Marines, it's becoming a reality.
Cpl. Brown enlisted in the Marines in 2009 following in the footsteps of his grandfather, a high ranking Navy officer.
"Never got the opportunity to meet him but I always saw the pictures and what he looked like in uniform and how proud he looked," he said. "I saw his swords and stuff he had and as a kid you're like, 'Whoah, this is cool.'"
Cpl., Brown eagerly left the Mid-South for Parris Island in South Carolina. There, he says, the rigorous training and countless missions day in and day out prepared him as a squad leader on the battlefield.
"The 13th guy being the squad leader. He has 12 people under his charge. And under his charge he has teams of three to four men," Cpl. Brown said. "He is the shot caller when the moment happens."
That moment came late November 2011 when he came under fire leaving one of his men shot.
"He caught a round to the head," the Marine veteran said. "When he did, we cradled him off the roof. I prayed for him. First thing that came to mind was, 'Jesus you got to handle this situation. This is out of my control.'"
With what little control Brown had, given the extreme circumstance of gunfire and a injured soldier he couldn't leave behind, Cpl. Brown carried his fellow serviceman more than 1,000 feet to their helicopter. The injured Marine lived long enough to see his mother once more before passing away.
Days later on the same mission, Cpl. Brown suffered his own tragedy when he stepped on 28 pounds of explosives hidden in the ground. He was conscious during the entire ordeal.
"When I got hit I went up and I came down," the wounded warrior said. "I didn't know where I came down at. Smoke's everywhere. Couldn't find my way out of where I was at. But someone grabbed me and I knew once someone had eyes on me I'd be taken care of. And that's why I'm here today."
He lost both of his legs to the IED, one above the knee and the other below his hip. He also lost part of his right index finger.
Sinise named his band after his "Forrest Gump" character to pay homage to the amputee vets for whom he raises money for.
Thursday afternoon Cpl. Brown and his family appeared outside the Cook Convention Center in Downtown Memphis to announce a benefit concert with the Lt. Dan Band in his honor. The Nov. 1 benefit concert will help raise money to build a Smart House for Cpl. Brown.
Tickets to the Nov. 1 concert can be purchased through OperationCB.com.
Support Cpl. Brown Facebook page:
Lt. Dan Band website: http://www.ltdanband.com/
Gary Sinise Foundation Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GarySiniseFoundation
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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