This month on Inside the VMM/Episode 4, I want to share the story of U.S. Navy Ensign Jesse Leroy Brown of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. This past June marked the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War. Ensign Brown, who served in the Korean War, became a significant figure in U.S. military history, as he was the very first African American Naval aviator. Unfortunately, he also holds the distinction of being the very first African American officer to be killed in the Korean War.
On December 4, 1950, Ensign Brown and his wing man from VF-32, Lt. Thomas Hudner become legendary figures in Naval Aviation at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. The story of friendship and dedication serves as an example for all generations that transcends regional, socio-economic, and racial barriers of the time, and today can serve as an excellent example of "Love thy neighbor as thyself". Ensign Jessie Brown was a pioneer, opening the door for future generations of Naval aviators, and the devotion that grew from his friendship with Tom Hudner continued until the latter's death in 2017.
I strongly encourage you to scroll down and read the CNN article about Ensign Jessie Brown and Lt. Tom Hudner...and PLEASE take a minute and watch the video of Jessie Brown's daughter reading a letter he wrote to her on the day before his death. They will touch your heart and give you a glimpse at the kind of man Jesse L. Brown was.
We hope you enjoy this story! Please leave a comment and I encourage you to share the legacy of Ensign Jesse Brown and Lt. Tom Hudner with others.
Until next month...
HOST & AUTHOR
Jeff Weber is the Website Administrator of the Veterans Memorial Museum. He is the son of a career U.S. Army officer/ Vietnam War veteran, and has served as a VMM volunteer for 4 years.