Fallen Warrior: Ensign Jesse L. Brown

  • Published
  • By 81st Training Wing Public Affairs
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

For our Fallen Warrior commemoration this week, we remember U.S. Navy Ensign Jesse Brown, Strike Fighter Squadron 32 section lead.

Native to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Brown was born on Oct. 13, 1926, and is the first African American aviator to have completed the Navy’s basic flight program.

During the Korean War, Brown's squadron operated from USS Leyte (CV-32), flying fighters in support of United Nations’ forces.

Brown flew 20 combat missions before his Vought F4U Corsair came under fire on Dec. 4, 1950. On the way to Chosin Reservoir, North Korea, Brown was flying with his squadron when his aircraft was hit.

Losing oil pressure, he was forced to crash land his aircraft on the side of a snowy mountain.  Brown survived the initial impact of the crash but was trapped in the aircraft by a damaged instrument panel and passed due to injuries.

To honor Brown, his shipmate conducted a warrior's funeral on Dec. 7, 1950. Seven Aircraft, loaded with napalm, flew several low passes over the downed Vought F4U Corsair. While dropping the napalm over the aircraft they recited a prayer.

Editor's note: The Fallen Warrior series highlights Fallen Warriors who exemplify our core values and paid the ultimate sacrifice. Take a moment to honor this week’s hero.