THOMAS FRANK BROWN
born May 5, 1920 in Meridian, MS.
Earned private pilot’s license prior to enlisting in USAAC April 1942. Entered training as an aircraft engine mechanic with 394th Technical School Squadron, Keesler Field, MS. Appointed aviation cadet in June 1942 while a Pvt in tech training. Entered 8th. Army Air Forces Flying Detachment Primary Flight Training at Sequoia Field, Visalia, CA. Flying Ryan PT-22 aircraft, he soloed at 14:25 on January 14, 1943. Arthur S. Cooper was the instructor of record. Completed course of instruction on February 6, 1943.
He began Advanced Flying Training at Stockton Field, CA. assigned to Squadron 1, flying Vultee BT-13A aircraft. On June 18, 1943 he graduated with Class 43F and received his commission and silver wings. His future co-pilot in the 705 BS, Clarence Cornelius, was a classmate and close friend.
Transferred to Clovis Field, NM, for multi-engine training, and then to Lowry Field, Denver, CO. for B-24 training and to form a combat crew.
Upon completion of this advanced training, he signed for a B-24 aircraft at the Ford assembly plant, Willow Run, MI and flew with his squadron in late October 1943 via the southeastern route to Natal, Brazil, through Africa, and on to his assignment at Bungay.
Eighth Air Force 20 Bomb Wing 446 Bomb Group 705 Bomb Squadron
Flixton Estate Airfield Bungay, Suffolk, England
Aircraft 297 (?)
Combat missions flown - 30: December 30, 31, 1943, January 5, 21, 28, February 5, 8, 25, 28, March 6, 8, 11,15, 18, 21, 23, 24, April 1, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 18, 19, 22, 24, 27, 29, May 1 1944, and one other.
Decorations for combat service include the Distinguished Flying Cross (citation signed by Gen. Doolittle), the Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the European Theater of Operations ribbon with combat star, and the American Theater of Operations ribbon.
After his combat tour, he was a flight instructor on the B-29 in Savanna, GA. until his discharge from active duty. He was supply officer and maintenance officer, and flew the B-26C with the ANG in Meridian, MS. Upon retirement as Commander of the ANG unit at Jackson, MS, he flew as company pilot for Larco Drilling Company, and chief pilot for Masonite Corp. before retiring from flying.
Information compiled from documents acquired after the death of my uncle, Thomas Frank Brown, January 2, 2001 following a minor vehicle accident near his home in Madison, MS.
Submitted by his nephew, Joseph Brown.