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. Brown became the first African-American to be trained by the Navy as an aviator. After attending pre-flight school and flight training, he was designated a Naval Aviator in October 1948. Midshipman Brown was then assigned to Fighter Squadron 32. He received his commission as Ensign in April 1949.

During the Korean War, Brown also became the first African-American Naval Aviator to see combat when 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.

This page features images of Jesse L. Brown.


Click the photograph for a larger image.

Photo #: 80-G-706531

Midshipman Jesse L. Brown, USN


Photographed at Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida, October 1948, while serving as a Naval Aviation Cadet.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives.

Online Image: 49KB; 575 x 765

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives.

 
Photo #: 80-G-707201

Ensign Jesse L. Brown, USN


Takes the oath of office on board USS Leyte (CV-32), 26 April 1949.
Administering the oath is the ship's Commanding Officer, Captain William L. Erdmann. Lieutenant Commander E.D. Williams (center) is witnessing the ceremony.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives.

Online Image: 59KB; 580 x 765

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives.

 
Photo #: 80-G-708014

Ensign Jesse L. Brown, USN


Photograph dated September 1949.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives.

Online Image: 33KB; 475 x 765

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives.

 
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 to be trained by the Navy as a Naval Aviator, and such, became the first African-American Naval Aviator to see combat. Brown flew with Fighter Squadron 32 (VF-32) from USS Leyte (CV-32).

Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

Online Image: 85KB; 740 x 620

Reproductions may be available through the National Archives.

 
Photo #: NH 94599-KN (Color)

"Black History" Poster


Featuring Ensign Jesse L. Brown, the first African-American trained by the Navy as an aviator, and such, became the first African-American Naval Aviator to see combat. USS Jesse L. Brown (FF-1089) was named in his honor.
The original artwork was created circa 1976 by William M. Moser, of the Navy Recruiting Command.

U.S. NHHC Photograph.

Online Image: 83KB; 740 x 605

 


For higher resolution images see: Obtaining Photographic Reproductions





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