Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ensign Jesse LeRoy Brown, USN, (1926-1950)

Jesse LeRoy Brown was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, on 13 October 1926. He enlisted in the Naval Reserve in 1946 and was appointed a Midshipman, USN, the following year. After attending Navy pre-flight school and flight training, he was designated a Naval Aviator in October 1948, the first African-American to achieve this status. Midshipman Brown was then assigned to Fighter Squadron 32. He received his commission as Ensign in April 1949.

During the Korean War, his squadron operated from USS Leyte (CV-32), flying F4U-4 Corsair fighters in support of United Nations forces. On 4 December 1950, while on a close air support mission near the Chosin Reservoir, Ensign Brown's plane was hit by enemy fire and crashed. Despite heroic efforts by other aviators, he could not be rescued and died in his aircraft. Ensign Jesse L. Brown was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his Korean War combat service.

USS Jesse L. Brown (DE-1089) was named in honor of Ensign Jesse LeRoy Brown.

Ensign Jesse LeRoy Brown, USN, (1926-1950)Photo #: USN 1146845. Ensign Jesse L. Brown, USN. In the cockpit of an F4U-4 Corsair fighter, circa 1950. He was the first African-American Naval Aviator, and flew with Fighter Squadron 32 (VF-32) from USS Leyte (CV-32). Official U.S. Navy Photograph.
Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system as Photo # 428-N-1146845.
Photo #: NH 94599-KN (Color), "Black History" Poster, Featuring Ensign Jesse L. Brown, the first African-American Naval Aviator, and the ship named in his honor, USS Jesse L. Brown (FF-1089). The original artwork was created circa 1976 by William M. Moser, of the Navy Recruiting Command. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.Ensign Jesse LeRoy Brown, USN, (1926-1950)

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