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Brown told the crowd about his capture after parachuting into Germany and how he was nearly killed by a mob. A local constable stepped in and delivered him to the German military. As a pilot, Brown said he had often strafed German trains from above. During his time as a POW, Brown now saw the other side when American pilots strafed a train he was traveling on.
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“There is nothing more terrifying than to be strafed,” Brown said.
When he arrived at a German POW camp, he was housed with fellow prisoners from all over the world.
“The joke was the first time I was integrated was in a POW camp,” Brown said.
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He was finally liberated by Gen. George Patton’s forces in 1945. After the war, Brown came home and continued in the Air Force fore more than 20 years, including serving in the Strategic Air Command. He eventually became interested in higher education.
Bordner, a former Clark State administrator, met Brown while they were both working in Springfield. She began recording his stories and is now promoting her book, “Keep Your Airspeed Up: The Story of a Tuskegee Airman.”
Brown grew up at a time when African Americans weren’t permitted to serve as pilots in the military but the Tuskegee Airmen proved they were more than capable of handling the missions they were assigned. They played a key role in the armed forces being desegregated in 1948, Bordner said.
“They laid the ground work for the Civil Rights movement,” Bordner said.