Jay Brown

Editor’s note: World War II officially ended Sept. 2, 1945, when the Japanese signed surrender terms. We’re honoring the war’s area veterans over the next several months with these brief profiles.

Jay Brown
Date of birth: Dec. 15, 1922
Dates of service: March 1943 to February 1946
Hometown: Portales
Lives in: Portales
Theater and location of service: England
Branch: Army Air Corps
Rank: Staff Sergeant
Unit and specialty: 8th Air Force, 489th Bomb group; gunner

In his words: A student at Eastern New Mexico University, Brown knew he would be drafted soon. The draft, as he recalled, had started with the older boys in their 20s, and as an 18-year-old, he knew his turn was coming.

Flying in the skies over Germany and France, Brown served as a gunner on a B-24 bomber. The fighting in Europe was drawing to a close when Brown arrived. Brown flew five missions.

“As soon as the bombs were dropped it was a real relief and (we) headed back. By then the danger was pretty well over.”

Unable to send up their fighter jets due to a fuel shortage, the Germans resorted to using anti-air craft fire against the bombers. Just as they would begin to cross the English Channel, returning to England from their missions, Brown said the Germans would fire at them.

Based in England, Brown said they were able to travel and go sight-seeing in their spare time.

“We were fortunate. While there was tension, war was something of an adventure. When you’re young, you’re foolish and you just don’t know better.”

World War II profiles are compiled by CNJ staff writer Sharna Johnson. Contact her at 763-6991 or by e-mail:
sharna_johnson@link.freedom.com