Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Special Agent Clifton Dewell Browning, Jr.

United States Department of Justice - Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Government

End of Watch Saturday, December 8, 1984

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Reflections for Special Agent Clifton Dewell Browning, Jr.

This tribute is long overdue and dedicated to my father’s memory. Each December 8th, I take time to reflect on a short well-lived life and the enduring impact of a man I knew as Dad.

It seems like yesterday that, as a young 15-year-old kid, I was staring, stunned, into the cold Colorado morning, trying to understand what had just happened. The word “fatality” still ringing in my ears, not fully understanding the crushing magnitude and implications on my life.

Dad was, well… Dad. Like many children, I looked up to him, his perceived infallibility, strength, and the omnipresent position in my life. Through the lens of a child, my dad was perfect. Oh, sure, we had our classic father-child moments, but I genuinely looked up to him; he was my hero.

Over the years, there haven’t been many days he’s not in my thoughts. His inspiration still drives me in many of my endeavors. His influence on my athletic career, my love of running, and the endless pursuit of lofty goals are all continuing impacts of his life on mine. He had an enduring commitment to service and love of country that he ultimately gave his life to defend.

Although certainly not perfect, an ideal I learned to accept and, more importantly, respect, I never doubted the love he held for his children. Dad’s legacy lives strong in all his children’s lives, and for me personally, acts as a guide to living up to the ideals he espoused.



#CAVU

Scott Browning
Son

December 9, 2020

I just found this page and I'm paying tribute to Coach Browning who was the Phys Ed coach for Newark High School in Delaware in 1962 and 63 (?) after he graduated from U of Delaware. First, he was a decent guy to us non jocks, showed us stuff like layups in basketball and kip ups. I saw him pole vault 13 feet with an aluminum pole that was laying around in the grass outside the gym. Just picked it up and up he went. He was amazing on the trampoline. The coaches at that school coddled the jocks except for Coach Browning who cared about everybody in his class. RIP.

Barry Griffiths
Attorney

February 28, 2020

I just found this page and I'm paying tribute to Coach Browning who was the Phys Ed coach for Newark High School in Delaware in 1962 and 63 (?) after he graduated from U of Delaware. First, he was a decent guy to us non jocks, showed us stuff like layups in basketball and kip ups. I saw him pole vault 13 feet with an aluminum pole that was laying around in the grass outside the gym. Just picked it up and up he went. He was amazing on the trampoline. The coaches at that school coddled the jocks except for Coach Browning who cared about everybody in his class. RIP.

Barry Griffiths
Attorney

February 28, 2020

Thank you SA Browning for your sacrifice. Neither your service, nor your memory have been forgotten.

Respectfully

Retired SA Anthony L. Zampogna
FBI

October 31, 2019

Rest in peace Special Agent Browning.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

February 18, 2019

Cliff helped me get into the FBI in 1972 ! My father owned a Sohio gas station in Toledo, Ohio as did his father.

I had learned from his father that Cliff was in the FBI and later as a Toledo Police Officer I called Cliff and asked him what the procedure was to become an FBI Agent. He informed me of the process and stated he would make a phone call to the Cleveland FBI office to tell them I was applying.

I joined the FBI in 1973 after Cliff's help and over the years kept in touch. The weekend after he was killed, I was going to have him over to my house in Va. for dinner as he was coming to the FBI Academy for training.

Checking over the years I have found his career to be awesome ! I was lucky enough to attend the presentation in Judge Webster's office of a plaque from President Reagan and the US.

There I met most of his family and found them to be awesome also.

I wish I could have met you, Roger Browning

Roger D. Browing
Special Agent FBI Cousin of Cliff

April 23, 2015

Dad - it's been 30 years and we will never forget your contribution to our lives and to our community.

There are days in life that, despite the passing of years, remain as fresh and clear as if it were yesterday. For me, it was December 9th, 1984. I was sixteen and I was awakened by pounding on my bedroom door that cold Sunday morning. My mother was irritated I was so slow in waking up, but it was five in the morning. When I opened the door, I realized something wasn’t right. She told me my father’s plane had gone missing. My father, Clifton Browning, was an FBI agent and, the day before, he had been asked to fly to Wyoming for a case (with his work covering remote and far-reaching areas, he piloted his own plane for FBI-related aerial monitoring and transportation). I went downstairs where there was a policeman in our kitchen and our phone was ringing. The FBI was on the line and they were instructing us to leave our home in Grand Junction, CO and go to Meeker where it was believed his plane had last been contacted. I remember that two-hour drive very clearly. It was only 2 months prior that my father had high-fived me outside of the DMV when I passed my driver’s license test, and here I was now driving that same car with my younger brother as my passenger, following the state patrol car that was carrying my mother to Meeker. I remember the music we played in the car and that we were pissed that the trooper was driving too slow. We never discussed my father and rode mostly without speaking. We stopped in Rifle where my older brother and sister met us as they had traveled from Denver that morning upon hearing the news. I remember laughing as my older brother told us that our father was likely standing around somewhere in the mountains pissed off about wrecking his plane. We arrived at the sheriff’s office in Meeker and were directed to a conference room. It wasn’t long before the sheriff came into the room and stated simply, “it was a fatality.” I didn’t comprehend the word “fatality”. For a moment, I thought my father was simply injured. But the realization that my life without a father was about to begin became sufficiently clear with my family’s reaction to that word.

I share the personal story of his death not to garner personal sympathies but to reflect on the profound sacrifice individuals like my father have made to serve their country in the field of law enforcement. It wasn’t the just the sacrifice of his life; he led a life filled with sacrifices for service. He started his career outside of law enforcement after serving in the Army and test-driving a corporate job. Seeking a greater purpose for his life, he decided to apply to the FBI based upon his passion and desire to serve his country. I have a copy of his hand-written note to J. Edgar Hoover expressing his desire to be an FBI agent – on it, J. Edgar himself noted that my father should be contracted for consideration. After a lengthy and thorough background check, he was accepted into the academy and thus began his 21-year career which crossed over some of the most fascinating periods in modern American history in the 1960s. His saying in life was “God, family and the FBI.” The reality for us was that really it was the FBI first and foremost and a casualty of his sacrifice wasn’t just in the eventual end of his life but how much the work took him from his family.

The highlights of his career were impressive. In the South, he was in the middle of civil rights protests – he met Martin Luther King, Jr. and he was profoundly impacted by the injustice of racial segregation. He met JFK the day before he was assassinated and was involved in investigating his murder. In New York, he investigated organized crime – mob informants would call the house to speak with him. He was involved in anti-hijacking of airliners and was eventually asked to serve in the FBI headquarters in Washington, DC. In the interest of his own family’s future, he decided to sacrifice his high-profile career path and elected to be a Special Agent in Charge for the Glenwood Springs, CO office in 1972. He believed it would provide his family with a different set of opportunities that an urban environment wouldn’t be able to provide. In his tenure in Glenwood, his focus was mostly on narcotics trafficking and he remained very busy despite being in a much smaller community (Glenwood Springs isn’t far from Aspen, which had a surprising amount of drug-related activity in the ‘70s).

Glenwood was where his community service took a stronger hold. My father would be there supporting the setup of sporting events and was seen as a leader in the community. He was known among state troopers as Superman as he always seemed to be everywhere and always willing to help others. My favorite memory of my father was his organization of an annual event called “Clown Diving” at the Hot Springs Pool during the Strawberry Days celebration. He would assemble a group of diving friends to dress as clowns and he would recruit a few of the younger divers in town to be the model divers. The model divers would perform a dive followed by a variation from one of the clowns. An announcer would provide the necessary comedic overview. It was simple, sweet, and frankly hilarious and it was a highlight of our summers in that valley.

We buried my father in Glenwood Springs on a Thursday and the impact of his legacy to the community was clear on that snowy morning as thousands gathered to say farewell. A further testament to this impact was the various letters our family received after his death from individuals deeply impacted by my father’s kindness; many of these people suffered from substance abuse or other issues and told us about my father and how he helped them. In the end, my father’s devout dedication to his country, community, and family provided me with an understanding of the importance of service and of the sacrifices that are born from it. We honor not only Clifton Browning today but so many who have sacrificed for a better community.

William Browning
Son

December 8, 2014

Cliff,
I still think of you often. May you never be forgotten. I was devastated when I heard of you death.
I looked toward you as a role model for a police officer, and always hoped to be as honorable of a man as you still are to me. I looked forward to you visits to the Rio Blanco County Sheriff's Office while I was there.

Don Brossow, Deputy Sheriff retired
friend

August 8, 2014

Hello,

First of all thank you for your service.
My name is Franchesca Caraballo and I am married to your grandson Blake Caraballo who is active duty with the US Coast Guard. Your daughter Tamara who is my mom-in-law has show Blake pictures of you and a album that she has of your life, career, family, etc. Blake is proud of you and share a beautiful article that was dedicated to you. I wish you were here to see all your grandchildren and your first great grandduaghter Monica Caraballo. Blake sure has inherited some genes of ou, he is a great husband and friend. I know you are watching us from heaven and we love you very much and keep our memory alive.

Franchesca Caraballo

March 8, 2013

I just shared a story about Cliff dating back thirty years ago when I was a young clerk for the FBI. Whenever he came to Denver or I happen to go to Glenwood Springs, he always treated me like family. He was a true gentleman and still brings back fond memories.

Dave Walcher, Undersheriff
Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office, Centennial, CO

December 3, 2012

My friend..........we shared our childhood and then our ways parted but you are always in my heart. I do not know your children and grandchildren but I am sure that the great person that you were and your strength of character lives on in them. God bless your memory and your family.

Bob Marohn
Friend

December 27, 2011

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 27th anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

I pray for solace for all those who love and miss you for I know both the pride and pain are forever.

Rest In Peace

Phyllis Loya
mother of fallen officer Larry Lasater, PPD, eow 4/24/05

December 8, 2011

Dad,

Always in my heart, I miss you.

December 8, 2011

Scott Browning
Son

December 8, 2011

Cliff's last operation took place out of the small airport in Laramie, WY where I was working. Cliff and the other agents showed up and let us know they would be staging air operations out of our FBO for several days or weeks. During that time we came to respect Cliff so much. What a fine gentleman he was. If he got bored...I would find him sweeping out the hangar just to help us out. Or chipping in with pushing planes around the hanger. He became a good friend. One rainy night the weather had grounded all flights out and I had in my pilots lounge 3 FBI agents with sidearms, a 5 piece string ensemble, 5 Strippers from Denver, and 25 or so very shady looking musicians from Ray Charles Band wearing long overcoats, dark glasses, and very nervous about being near the armed agents. It was a very interesting sight watching each of the groups reaction to the others......eyes moving from the agents to the strippers etc.
I well remember Dec. 8th. Cliff flew into Laramie and about the time he landed events unfolded that ended their mission in Laramie. However the weather was deteriorating for a trip home. I was so impressed at his professionalism as he patiently spend the afternoon making several trips to the Flight Service station to check the weather conditions, then coming back and working on his flight planning. He was very careful and methodical....all a pilot should be. When the weather finally broke, we talked as he did a through preflight and said our good-byes. A hand shake and he was off.
The next day when we heard the news we were all truly devastated, having lost a friend and someone of such great character who commanded respect and yet was so kind. It was a pleasure to know him for those few weeks. God Bless his family.

Thomas Bartlett
Maranatha Aviation FBO Laramie, WY

March 23, 2011

Uncle Cliff, It has been 25 years now since you passed. I just completed 25 years in Law Enforcement. A few months ago I saw one of your grandsons. I had not seen the boy since he was four. He is now 19 and in the Coast Guard. You never knew him but your genes have surely been passed down. He was a spitting image of you. When I mentioned to him that he looked like his grandfather, he replied "I have heard that before". Also, I wanted to mention that they are closing Libbey High School in Toledo. The school that you starred at in Football and Track. Rest in Peace!

Sgt. Ron Parton
Toledo Police Department & Nephew

June 2, 2010

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

Your sacrifice has made us all safer, as pilots of the FBI.

The Pilots of FBI Detroit Division
FBI-Detroit Division

November 20, 2008

"The Badge"
He starts his shift each day
To respond to calls unknown.
He drives a marked patrol car.
A police officer he is known.
He's paid by the citizens' taxes
To make it safe on the streets.
But he usually has a second job
'Cause a waitress has his salary beat.
Now he doesn't know a holiday
'Cause he works all year round.
And when Thanksgiving and Christmas finally arrive
At his home he cannot be found.
He's cursed and assaulted often,
The one whos blood runs blue.
He seldom ever gets a thanks,
To some he's just a fool.
His friends are always other cops
'Cause people just don't understand
That underneath his badge and gun,
He's just another man.
He knows there might not be a tomorrow
In this world of drugs and crime.
And he gets so mad at the court system
'Cause the crooks don't get any time.
And each day when he leaves for work,
He prays to God above.
Please bring me home after my shift
So I can see the ones I love.
But tonight he stops a speeding car,
He's alone down this ole' highway.
It's just a little traffic infraction.
He does it everyday.
Well, he walks up to the driver's window,
And his badge is shining bright.
He asked the guy for a driver's license,
When a shot rang through the night.
Yes, the bullet hit its mark,
Striking the officer in the chest.
But the Department's budget didn't buy
Each officer a bullet-proof vest.
So he lay on the ground bleeding.
His blood wasn't blue - His blood was red.
And briefly he thought of his loved ones
'Cause in a moment the officer was dead.
In the news they told the story
Of how this officer had died.
And some who listened cared less,
But those who loved him cried.
Well, they buried him in uniform
With his badge pinned on his chest.
He even had his revolver,
He died doing his best.
Written By:
David L. Bell
Sergeant
Richland County Sheriff's Department
Columbia, South Carolina
Used with Special Permission of the Author
Copyright © 1993 - All Rights Reserved
and may not be duplicated without permission

Investigator David L Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Dept., Columbia, SC

March 20, 2008

May your memories and code of conduct never be forgotten by everyone that ever met you and was guided by your actions. You were the best!

Rod Barksdale Retired
Friend mentor and the best role model

December 21, 2007

You are remembered today and thank you Sir for your service

Pat Van Den Berghe, Manchester, NH
Neighbors for a Better Manchester, NH

December 5, 2007

MY BROTHER, MAY GOD BLESS YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE AND SACRIFICE. A HERO FOR SURE. MAY YOU REST IN PEACE AND MAY YOU NEVER BE FORGOTTEN. YOU HAVE SERVED WELL. GOD BLESS.

CHIEF RONNIE WATFORD-RET.
JEFFERSON POLICE DEPT,S.C.

July 14, 2007

thank you for your services.r.i.p.

deputy
fairfield county so lancater,ohio

December 6, 2006

On the anniversary of your death, I salute you for your service and honor you for your sacrifice.

Rest in peace.

December 8, 2004

You are not forgotten! Rest in peace.

Chief Deputy Tim Schaffer
Wells County Sheriffs Dept. Indiana

December 29, 2003

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