Woodbury County

S. Sgt. Oliver E. Brown, Jr.




Private First Class Oliver Earl Brown, 18, was graduated recently from an armament school at Lowry field, Colorado.  He is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Oliver E. Brown.

Source:  The Sioux City Journal, October 12, 1943

A total of 30 missions as ball gunner of a Flying Fortress over France and Germany before, during and after the Normandy invasion did not destroy the engaging smile of S/Sgt. Oliver E. Brown, Jr. son of Mr. and Mrs. Oliver E. Brown, 4505 Fourth avenue.  Sgt. Brown was over Berlin three times and also took part in bombing Cherbourg, Kiel, Tours, Leipsig and Munich.

Sgt. Oliver Brown Back Home After 30 Combat Missions

S/Sgt. Oliver E. Brown, jr., 20-year-old ball turret gunner of a Flying Fortress, which completed 30 bombing missions over France and Germany, is reluctant to talk about his experiences or his numerous decorations.

As a matter of fact, he doesn’t even wear his decorations.  He admits under questioning, however, that he was awarded the silver star medal with three clusters, the distinguished flying cross and a presidential citation as a result of his services overseas since last April.

“The one I missed was the purple heart medal for wounds suffered in action,” he says.  “That’s one I can get along without, although there were several times when I thought I was going to get it.  The gunner in the belly blister of a Flying Fortress is quite vulnerable to flak.”

Flak is Heavy.
There were times, he says, particularly on missions over Germany’s large industrial cities, when antiaircraft fire was so intense that he seemed a certain candidate for the purple heart.

There were plenty of other dangers.  On one high altitude mission, his feet were frozen.  On another, his oxygen mask was damaged or lost and he had to be hauled out of his cramped position in the ball turret by other crew members.  He regained consciousness in a short time and went back to duty—with another mask.

Sgt. Brown’s plane took part in three missions to Berlin and two to Hamburg.  Other targets included Cherbourg, Kiel, Tours, Munich and Leipsig.

The day the allied invasion of Normandy began, his ship was assigned to bomb Cherbourg, and crew members obtained an unforgettable picture of the mighty allied armada which crossed the channel, and of the long lines of men and supplies which moved inland.

Sgt. Brown is a native Sioux Cityan and a graduate of East high school.  He entered the Army in March, 1943.  A brother, T. Sgt. Leonard S. Brown, is in the infantry with the 34th division, and took part in the African and Italian campaigns.

The young machine gunner has been assigned to an Army air base in California.

Source:  The Sioux City Journal, January 14, 1945