Thomas F. Brown
Staff Sergeant
U. S. Army Air Corps
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 10/19/1942 - 09/29/1945
P-47 Crew Chief, 386 Fighter Squadron

"I don't ever remember trying to get some part and not have it," Tom says recalling some of the conditions during his service as a P-47 mechanic. Born as the son of a printer in Palestine, Texas, he entered the military a day after his birthday in 1942. He was assigned to the 386th Fighter Squadron, 365th Fighter Group, and with them sailed on the Queen Elizabeth to England, arriving in December of 1943. He was stationed at Braintree, where the 386th flew escort missions for bombers. Between missions, Tom re-fueled, changed oil and filters, and pulled other necessary maintenance on the aircraft named "Pee Wee," his wife's nickname. "They assigned you to a plane and you were responsible for it," he says. "If you thought that plane couldn't fly, all you do was put a red X on the flight book in the cockpit." Tom accompanied one echelon of the squadron when it relocated operations from England to France. He landed on the continent on D plus twenty (twenty days after D-Day, June 6, 1944). He followed his squadron to temporary air bases as the Allies advanced into Germany. He says when pilots couldn't fly, they all watched films of the planes in action. "Every time you'd pull the trigger it records in the camera," he says of the P-47s. Tom says he rode in a P-47 only once. He returned to America after the war, landing in Boston on September 20, 1945, and was discharged as a staff sergeant nine days later at Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Tom earned the Bronze Star, among other medals. He worked for the Shreveport Times for forty-five years.