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Long Island native dies in Afghanistan

Tara Jacobs Brown, an Air Force master sergeant

Tara Jacobs Brown, an Air Force master sergeant from Long Island, died just days before Osama bin Laden was killed in Afghanistan while on duty.

A Long Island native who died in the war on terror just days before Osama bin Laden was killed will be buried Tuesday in Maryland.

Tara Jacobs Brown, 33, formerly of Hempstead, was an Air Force master sergeant who was one of nine Americans killed April 27 when an Afghan pilot opened fire during a meeting at the Kabul airport in the deadliest attack on U.S. forces in Afghanistan since 2005.

"She's one of those daughters any father would want," her father, Jim Jacobs of Orlando, Fla., said Friday as he thumbed through the scrapbooks that he keeps on each of his four children.

"She was always a go-getter. She was always good in school, always smart. She had that smile and that attitude. She was just full of life," he said.

Jacobs said he was "overwhelmed" when he learned of the death of bin Laden, just four days after his daughter's death. "I was overjoyed," he said.

Brown's mother, Gladys Vereen of Ronkonkoma, said she was angry at the circumstances under which her daughter died.

"She was training the Afghans to stand up for their own country. In the meantime, they are the ones who took her life because there was an argument going on. It doesn't sit right with me," Vereen said.

Brown, who married Army Sgt. Ernest Brown last year, was part of a team from the 438th Air Expeditionary Wing that was training their Afghan counterparts in computer use. Her home base was Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. She lived in nearby Bowie, Md.

She was born in Mineola Hospital, grew up in Hempstead, attended William L. Buck School in Valley Stream and was in the church choir at the Free & Independent Church in Roosevelt, where her father was a deacon.

Her father said she briefly attended Memorial Junior High School in Valley Stream before he gained sole custody of all five of his children and moved to Deltona, Fla., in 1992. He moved to Orlando in 2001.

Brown is survived by three brothers: Jim Jr. of Kissimmee, Fla., Dominic of Baldwin, Fla., and Michael of Deltona; and a sister, Laguanda Jacobs of Severn, Md., her father said.

A service will be held 10 a.m. Tuesday at The People's Community Baptist Church in Silver Spring, Md. Burial will follow at Parklawn Memorial Park in Rockville, Md.

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