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Harold Brown (Tuskegee Airman)

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Dec 15, 2021

Harold H. Brown (born August 19, 1924) is a retired U.S. Army Air Force officer who served during World War II as a combat fighter pilot with the 332nd Fighter Group, best known as the Tuskegee Airmen.[1][2] Brown’s P-51C aircraft was shot down in the European Theatre of World War II and he became a prisoner of war.[3][4]

Fighter pilot and Tuskegee Airmen POW

Harold Brown
Birth name Harold Brown
Born (1924-08-19) August 19, 1924 (age 97)
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army Air Force
Years of service 1944–1965
Rank Lieutenant Colonel
Unit 332nd Fighter Group
Awards
Alma mater Ohio State University , Bachelor’s, Masters and PhD
Spouse(s) Marsha S. Bordner
Other work
  • College Administrator

. . . Harold Brown (Tuskegee Airman) . . .

Brown was born August 19, 1924 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.[5] In his autobiography Keep your Airpseed Up Brown says he developed a passion for flying as a teen. Brown claims to have read everything he could at the local library, about airplanes. He claims that two major influences on his passion for flying were the book The Life of an Army Corps Cadet: Randolph field, west Point of the Air, and a 1938 movie called The Daw patrol. He saved up $35 for flying lessons in a Piper J-3 Cub and at $7 a lesson he ran out of money before completing the program.[6]

Brown graduated from high school In June of 1942, at just seventeen years old, he graduated from North High School (Minneapolis).[5][6]

Brown developed an interest in becoming a pilot in his youth.[7] After graduating from high school and he applied to the military to become a pilot. He was underweight so he was instructed to gain weight. After gaining weight to reach the 128.75 pound threshold he was accepted to the Tuskegee Institute for flight training.[1] While he had experienced some racial discrimination in Minnesota, Brown was upset by having to abide by Jim Crow segregation practices when off-base in Alabama. He limited his exposure to racism by spending most of his time in local black communities.[7]

At 19 years old, on May 23, 1944, Brown graduated from flight school as a 2nd Lieutenant.[1]

During a strafing mission over Germany he encountered a German Messerschmitt Me 262 and pursued it, attempting to shoot it down.[7] Brown was flying a P-51C east of Bruck, Austria.[4] His flight path took him over anti-aircraft emplacements that shot his plane down. He was surrounded by German citizens who then attempted to lynch him, before a German constable intervened and took him to a prisoner of war camp.[7] He was one of 32 of the Tuskegee Airmen to be captured during the war.[7][8]

. . . Harold Brown (Tuskegee Airman) . . .

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. . . Harold Brown (Tuskegee Airman) . . .