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Sam Brown, a Wounded Army Vet Profiled by GQ, is Running for the Texas House

Sam Brown, in Baghdad three months after his injury.
Sam Brown, in Baghdad three months after his injury.

Here's how The Dallas Morning News' Gromer Jeffers Jr. introduced the new candidate for North Texas' state House District 102 in a blog post this afternoon:

Retired Army Capt. Samuel Brown announced Wednesday that he's seeking the GOP nomination to replace Stefani Carter in the Texas House.

And here's how Jay Kirk introduced him in a February 2012 GQ profile:

At will and sometimes against his will, Sam Brown can return in his mind to that hour in the Kandahar desert when he knelt at the edge of a blast crater and raised his flaming arms to the Afghanistan sky. He'd already run through the macabre slapstick routine of a man on fire, trying to put himself out by rolling on the ground. He'd resorted to pelting his face with fistfuls of sand. That failing, he'd run in helpless circles. Finally he'd dropped to his knees, lifted his arms, and screamed Jesus, save me. Each scream drew fire deeper into his lungs. Behind him his Humvee was a twisted inferno. Bullets whizzed around him. His men were scattering, taking cover, moving dreamily in clouds of so-called moondust, that weird powdery talc, which hung in the air and gave the soldiers the appearance of snowmen. It was going on dusk, and in the fading light the enemy gunfire blazed behind the walls of the village.

It probably goes without saying that a bid for a seat in the state Legislature is pedestrian by comparison.

Brown, a 29-year-old West Point graduate, was on patrol his first deployment in southern Afghanistan in September 2008 when his Humvee was struck by an improvised explosive device. The vehicle's driver was killed in the blast and in the chaos that followed, Brown assumed he would die too. But he didn't. He escaped missing an index finger and with third-degree burns to the 30 percent of his body that wasn't covered by body armor. His face was an unrecognizable mass of burned flesh.

Five days later, he was at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio beginning his recovery. There were more than a dozen surgeries and skin grafts. The Associated Press checked on his progress a year after the explosion for a piece on wounded vets. A year later, the Army's news service chronicled his whirlwind hospital romance with his dietician, who's now his wife. Then came the GQ piece with its indelible portrait of Brown sitting rigidly upright in full dress uniform, joystick in his hand. That's what the article was ostensibly about: how a special video game helped quiet the excruciating pain that still lingered. In December, Stars and Stripes caught up with him as he returned to Afghanistan for the first time since his injury.

Since receiving a medical discharge from the Army, Brown and his wife have settled in Dallas.

"As a father of two small children who will go to public school in a few years, and as the owner of a small business based in this community, I'm invested here and feel a strong responsibility to focus my leadership abilities on creating an environment of success for our families," he told the Morning News.

First, he'll have to get past former Dallas City Council member Linda Koop, who has the advantage of name recognition and two decades in public service. Then again, she's never been wounded in battle or profiled by GQ. We'll call it a draw.


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