This is the ninth article in a Scroll series on Ricks College and BYU-Idaho alumni who lost their lives in the service of their country.

The following are profiles of two of the eleven alumni that died serving during the Vietnam War.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

1st Lt. Michael George Brown

Portrait of Mike Brown taken in 1962.

Portrait of Mike Brown taken in 1962. Photo credit: Courtesy of Sandra Brown

He who picks up one end of the stick, also picks up the other . . . He who chooses the beginning of the road chooses also its end . . .
When Michael George Brown joined the National Guard in October 1961, while he was still in high school, he picked up the stick, he chose the road.

Michael’s sister Mary Ann read those words at his funeral on March 18, 1969.

Mike was born on August 25, 1943, in Rexburg, Idaho, to George Brown and Ruth Ricks.

As a boy his family moved to a ranch where embraced the cowboy culture. He and his cousins built rodeo grounds in the front pasture and he spent his summers working with cattle for a man named Lowe Rudd at Jenny Lake near the Teton Mountains in Wyoming.

After graduating from the Idaho Military Academy, Mike received his commission in June 1966, the same month he married Lynda Briggs in the Idaho Falls Temple. Their son, Kent, was born in March 1967.

In the summer of 1968, Mike was getting ready to ship out with his unit to Vietnam. Once again, he worked for Lowe Rudd, this time spraying trees. He was trying to save up to buy a car for Lynda.

One day, Lowe’s brother Rudd, brought spray to Mike and Mike’s brother, Sid, with a pack horse. The horse, like it often did, went on the wrong side of the tree, broke the rope, and freed himself.

Earl angrily hopped off the horse so he could kick it. His pants were low, however, and his legs short, so the best he could do was hop and kick it lightly in the stomach. Mike laugh watching him. Earl kept trying to get a good kick but kept falling short so Mike couldn’t help but continue laughing at the spectacle. Decades passed and Sid could still see his laugh.

On March 7, 1969, just two days after Kent’s second birthday, Mike was in a bunker in B’sar, South Vietnam, with his engineer company when the enemy fired mortar at them, killing the 25-year-old.

In the evenings, he often went to chat
with the men at the guard towers. They would miss that. That day, like his
sister would say, he made it to the end of the road he selflessly chose.

Sp5. Allen Lee Faler

A portrait of Allen Faler in military uniform.

A portrait of Allen Faler in military uniform. Photo credit: Courtesy of Elizabeth Wyatt

Allen Faler was born on November 22, 1946, in Orange, California, to Elton Faler and Madalynne Frost. He graduated from Colorado Springs High School and attended Ricks College before entering the military. He trained at Fort Bliss, Texas and spent 18 months stationed in Korea. He was stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma before he volunteered to serve in Vietnam.

He was in Vietnam for a month when he was manning a radar site on May 4, 1968, and was hit by fragments from friendly rocket fire during combat succumbing to his wounds the same day.

Shortly after Allen’s death his mother told a magazine called “The Kinsman”:

“Needless to say, we are very proud of our son. Our hearts are broken, but we know that he died ‘unto the Lord.’ Our prayers are for those who yet serve and will serve in the future.”