On June 20, 1994, Dean A. Mellberg, a former US Air Force airman returned to Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, with a rifle. He specifically targeted Major Thomas Brigham, M.D., and Captain Alan Landon, Ph.D. After entering the base hospital and killing his intended targets, Mellberg continued to shoot and kill everyone he could including eight year old Christin McCarron. Mellberg’s mass murder attack was stopped only when he was shot and killed by Senior Airman Andy Brown, a security police officer assigned to the 92nd Security Police Squadron at Fairchild.
Then on June 24, 1994, a U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress crashed at Fairchild Air Force Base while rehearsing maneuvers for an annual air show. The B-52 was piloted by Lieutenant Colonel Arthur “Bud” Holland. The crash killed Holland and three other crew members.
Aside from geographic coincidence, the two incidents had something else in common: There had been many credible warnings that both Dean Mellberg and Bud Holland represented a serious, likely life-threatening danger to their fellow airmen. The warnings had gone unheeded.
In his just-released book Warnings Unheeded: Twin Tragedies at Fairchild Air Force Base, (WU Press, Spokane, Washington, (c)2016 Andy Brown, ISBN 978-0-9978634-0-6,) author Andy Brown explains the unheeded warnings in a remarkably well-researched and very readable book. If his book stopped there, it would be worth reading by every supervisor at every level of public service and private industry. But Mr. Brown went further and revealed the personal challenges he faced in his own journey from Trauma to Recovery. His revelation elevates the importance of his book to an entirely new level.
Andy Brown’s book has not received much national attention. It should. Warnings like the ones unheeded at Fairchild Air Force Base leading up to the events of June 1994 are not restricted to any particular institution or by geographic location.
Warnings Unheeded: Twin Tragedies at Fairchild Air Force Base is available from Amazon.com. It is also available from the Hayden Branch of the Community Library Network of Kootenai and Shoshone Counties in Idaho.
Author Andy Brown is scheduled to appear on Saturday, December 10, 2016, from noon until 2 p.m. at a book signing at Center Target Sports, 3295 E. Mullan Avenue, Post Falls, ID 83854.