Thomas H. Brown

Picture of Thomas Brown THOMAS H. BROWN, born June 25, 1917 at Bradford, Pennsylvania, graduated Bradford High School in 1935. Enlisted US Army Air Corps in 1939 and attained rank of S/Sgt. as a radio operator.

Entered Aviation Cadet training in 1942, graduating and commissioned at Napier Field, Dothan, Alabama, class of 43-B. First assignment Advanced Flight Instructor at Napier Field for fourteen months. Reassigned to P-47 training in Florida. Reassigned to European Theatre and assigned 37 3rd Fighter Group 412th Fighter Squadron.

He started flying missions on "D" Day covering the beach landings and close support dive bombing and strafing missions. On his 56th mission he was hit by ground fire through the main fuel tank flooding the cockpit with flaming fuel. An immediate bailout ensued with the good old Jug exploding and raining flaming debris all around during the parachute ride down.

Severe face burns were suffered and he was hospitalized in a German hospital prison camp and subsequently transferred to Stalag Luft I. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart and Air Medal with 9 Clusters.

Following liberation, returned stateside and assigned to Southeast Training Command ferrying aircraft to mothball bases. Reassigned to 368th Fighter Group at Straubing, Germany flying the Jug again. Base closed in 1947 and reassigned to 20th Fighter Group at Shaw AFB flying P-51 aircraft until conversion to F-84 Thunder. jets.

I also received credit for 1/2 ME-410 destroyed in Sept. 1944 shared with Col. Ingelido. Sustained severe injuries in a landing accident in 1948 and after a prolonged period of hospitalization regained flying status in 1952 at Bolling AFB and assigned as a multi-engined instructor pilot. Reassigned to USAF Liaison Office, Mexico City. Reassigned to Albrook AFB, CZ flying C-47 and C-54 aircraft throughout Central and South America.

Retired November 1959 as a Major he entered the FAA as an Airways Flight 1nspector in New England. Reassigned to Washington Headquarters Flight Standards Service in 1968. Retired from FAA in 1977 as an Aviation Safety Specialist after 38 years of combined Military Civil Service with over 12000 hours flying time in all types of Military /Civilian aircraft.

List of all p51 Pilots:
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Pilot Name Biography Summary
Asa A. Adair He returned to the States in August of 1944 after participating in the invasion "D" Day. He flew P-63's, P-51's, F-80's, T-33's, F-84's, T-38's, P-47's in numerous assignments during the following twenty years in in, Japan, U.S.A. and Europe before retiring after twenty-six years of Active Duty.
John C. Anderson After P-47 transition he was assigned to the 406th Fighter Group, 512th Fighter Squadron. (E.T .0.) He flew 56 missions through January, 1945 destroying supply routes, bridges, and railroads; he also flew close support missions with the ground forces, with attacks on tanks, artillery and enemy positions.
W.B. 'Tex' Badger Eight and Ninth Air Force in WWII. B-l7's, P-51's and P-47's. Fifth Air Force in Korea, F80's and F86's. WWII and Korea, Flew 156 missions. Tactical units served in with the USAAF and USAF were: 305th BG , 368th Fighter Group, 4th Fighter Group, 49th Fighter Group, 12th Fighter Wing, 506th Fighter Wing.
Robert T. (Bob) Bagby He trained in P47's at Cross City and Dale Mabry Fields, Florida and then joined the 341st FS Black Jack Squadron), 348th FG of the 5th AF in Brisbane, Australia in June 1943. Bob flew 78 combat missions in New Guinea (Port Moresby, Finchafen, Sador, Wakde and Biak) primarily as wingman to squadron CO's John Campbell and John Moore. Also privileged to fly wing to Neil Kirby on several occasions.
Frank Baker After brief stops at Stone and Atcham, England he joined the 313th Fighter Squadron of the 50th Fighter Group in France. He flew 90 missions through V.E. Day. Most of the missions were close support attacks on various ground targets with a few B-26 escort missions thrown in. All of the missions took place in eastern France and southern Germany. He was awarded the Air Medal with 11 oak leaf clusters.
John M. Balason To relieve the boredom, Balason went down on the deck and blew up a locomotive he had observed at altitude. A few seconds after making his strafing pass he received a hit in his left wing tank and a fire started immediately in the cockpit. The paralyzing effect of the intense heat made climbing out of the cockpit impossible.
Albert W. Barlow, Jr. He flew 69 escort and ground support missions. Destroyed one E/A (ME-I09). Was shot down on Sept. 8, 1944, and evaded enemy ground forces for 8 days. Was picked up by an American Recon. Unit behind the German lines. Was hospitalized until Feb. 1948, when he was medically retired with the rank of Capt. Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, and Purple Heart.
William T. Beckler In July, 1944 Beckler exchanged his P-40 for a P-47N Thunderbolt. Missions in the Jug covered Northern Italy and Southern France. These included escorting medium bombers. The Bombers, based in Southern Italy, would be escorted to France by Thunderbolts based on Corsica. Shortly before target the Jugs would pull ahead of the bombers and bomb the enemy gun positions. Beckler's activities while participation in three major campaigns earned him the DFC, two Air Medals and two Presidential citations.
Herbert R. Benson After training in P-47 Thunderbolts at bases in North Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware, he was assigned to the European Theatre of operations and joined the 48th Fighter Group 493rd Fighter Squadron at St. Trond, Belgium. After flying 44 combat missions, he was awarded the Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf clusters.
Marvin C. Bigelow Training in the Southeast Training Command with the class of 44C, he graduated and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant single engine pilot at Marianna, Florida with the class of 44D. After checking out in the P-40 at Marianna, he transitioned in the P-47 in the Northeast Defense Command and after gunnery at Dover, Delaware was shipped on the Queen Mary to England.
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