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Interview with Jerry Junior Brown []

Jerry Junior Brown:

(Singing) You can save that.

Heidi LaClair:

It's on there, don't worry.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Ok.

Heidi LaClair:

Ok, today is October 23, 2004 and we are at--what's your address?

Jerry Junior Brown:

1221 Nebraska Avenue, Norfolk, Nebraska.

Heidi LaClair:

Ok. And I am interviewing Jerry Junior Brown. His birth date is . . .

Jerry Junior Brown:

August the 20th, 1921.

Heidi LaClair:

Ok. And your current address . . .

Jerry Junior Brown:

Is 1221 Nebraska Avenue, Norfolk, Nebraska.

Heidi LaClair:

Ok. And I also have here, urn, Ruth, his wife, who is also in the room and Richard, his son. And, urn, my name is Heidi LaClair. I'm interviewing Mr. Brown. Urn, and I am his daughter-in-law. Urn, Mr. Brown served in which war?

Jerry Junior Brown:

World War II.

Heidi LaClair:

And in which branch of the service?

Jerry Junior Brown:

In the Army-Air Force.

Heidi LaClair:

Ok. And what was your rank?

Jerry Junior Brown:

I ended up a first lieutenant.

Heidi LaClair:

Ok. And where did you serve?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Well, I started my basic training in Florida and then went up to uh, ah to uh, what, what's that school I told you?

Ruth Brown:

In Wisconsin?

Heidi LaClair:

Yale University.

Ruth Brown:

Yale.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Yale University, at uh, Wisconsin, in Wisconsin, not Wisconsin. A F c Jerry Junior Brown

Heidi LaClair:

In urn...

Ruth Brown:

Connecticut.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Connecticut. Hmm, I don't think that.. Anyway, that school there. I took my training there, my basic training.

Heidi LaClair:

Officer training?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Yes, uh.

Heidi LaClair:

Basic training in Florida?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Yes, basic training in Florida and uh, officer training at the uh, school there, the college, the university.

Heidi LaClair:

Ok. And then you went on to several other places that you, that you worked in South Dakota and Colorado?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Yes uh, I, I took some additional training in South Dakota regarding some of the uh, equipment that uh, made the plane, finding planes and talking to the pilots from the ground in which we worked and then uh, after that I went to uh, Colorado, to uh, not Denver but to uh...

Ruth Brown:

Peterson Field.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Peterson Field, at what?

Ruth Brown:

Colorado Springs.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Heidi LaClair:

Ok. And did you go anywhere after that? JERRY BROWN^es, I went to quite a few places after that, by and large doing the same thing I did then, a, and as the war began to let down a little bit uh, I had some other evident, evi, some other things to do with the aviation and the, and the uh, uh flying of those planes with radios and this sort of thing.

Heidi LaClair:

Ok. Urn, were you drafted into the service or did you enlist?

Jerry Junior Brown:

I enlisted.

Heidi LaClair:

Ok. Urn, and where you were living at the time, that you enlisted?

Jerry Junior Brown:

l was down at Doane College at Crete, Nebraska at that time. It was, it came to the end of the uh, school year and it was after that then I went into service.

Heidi LaClair:

Ok. And why did you join the service?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Why did I join the service?

Heidi LaClair:

Why? What was your reason for joining?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Well, very basically I joined because I thought perhaps I could give our great country some help in, in uh, settling this war and getting it straightened out. Not that I was a great person but I wanted to give what capable efforts I could give them to help win the war. Jerry Junior Brown

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh. And why did you pick the branch that you did?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Well, uh, I had learned to fly, uh, at school and uh, I wasn't capable of flying uh, military aircraft but I knew enough about an airplane that I felt I could be helpful in that sense and so that's where I went.

Heidi LaClair:

Ok. And do you recall your first days in the service?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Oh yes, yeah, uh-huh, I do.

Heidi LaClair:

Is there, are there any stories you want to tell us about that or, or anything about basic training?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Well, I think the biggest point about that scene is that you have to learn to respect what an office tells you to do and it has words that apply to that particular action. And you've got to know that, so that when he tells you what he, what needs to be done, you've got to know what to do right away. You also go to learn to respect the, the voice and the authority of people above you because that makes the Army and the Air Force and the Navy and the Marines urn,--makes that system work. So you have to, you have to do that with that scene.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh. Urn, do you remember any of your instructors?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Oh, no ma'am, I do not. That's been quite a while ago and a lot of times we really didn't know their names very well.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh. Was it difficult to go through basic training?

Jerry Junior Brown:

(laugh) well (cough)...

Heidi LaClair:

I mean physically difficult, or...

Jerry Junior Brown:

Uh, when I went into basic training to begin with I went down to Florida, Boca Raton, in the summertime. And more than once, when we went out to put the flag down some of the fellows would pass out. It was very hot. Getting all wet, marching out there and marching back, was not an uncommon thing. And many times during the day, in the, you ended up and you were just wringing wet, with whatever you did. Urn, other than that, the food was good, uh, the area was nice, but there was that problem: it was summer time and it was, it was a big problem for us.

Heidi LaClair:

There's a big difference in humidity between Nebraska and Florida.

Jerry Junior Brown:

(laugh) Yes there is, yeah.

Heidi LaClair:

Urn, how did you get through that? How did you, how did you adjust to the change in, in humidity, to the change in, urn, your activity level? What you were doing down there was very different from going to college.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Well, I think first of all that it was easy to make up your mind that you were going to do everything you could in a proper way to be, help the war be won. And that takes into a lot of different things. And so that, that was the thing that I think was pushing me and, and practically all the other fellows in it. The other thing is you get down there and there's a thousand or two thousand fellows that are all working the same way. They, they march hard and sweat and they clean their guns and they take orders well and, and so that the uh, the matter of being with people that are trying to do the best also helps a lot along that line.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh. Urn, so you said you served in WWII, were there any other wars that you served in? Jerry Junior Brown

Jerry Junior Brown:

Yes, I stayed uh, with my, I came out of WWII as a uh, first, uh, second, uh, first lieutenant. I was concerned about an aditional problem not too far after that, and I was still young enough that I knew if we had a severe war that I'd be back into the service, so rather than have to start out (laugh) making an officers position, I uh, stayed on with uh, with my second, uh, with my first lieutenant position and got to uh, work with the uh, uh, with the uh, what did I say the name of that outfit was down in Omaha? The, the, in the first place the air force became the air force, not the army-air force, but just the air force, and uh, I went down to Omaha to serve in that group down there, two days a month for two years, and uh, when that was up and the war had settled down there, I decided that I didn't need to be concerned about getting involved again, so I resigned my comission.

Heidi LaClair:

Ok. And that group in Omaha, was that SAC airforce?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Yeah, it's SAC headquarters now, well it was...

Ruth Brown:

Strategic Air Command.

Jerry Junior Brown:

It was what?

Ruth Brown:

Strategic Air Command.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Yeah, Strategic, at that time it was the Strategic Air Command, that's right, that's what that was, yeah.

Heidi LaClair:

Ok. Urn, and, and while you were in the service where exactly did you go, did you serve overseas?

Jerry Junior Brown:

No ma'am, I did not serve overseas at any time. I served uh, originally in Florida and then up in uh, in New Hampshire, there, uh, and then I started , and then in Wisconsin, and I suppose I was in probably six or eight different airports, uh, helping with this fighting control business, and that's primarily where I was at different spots like that.

Heidi LaClair:

Were you ever uh, I mean, I'm sure that joining the service you, you planned to go overseas at some point, urn, but you didn't, urn, was there ever a point where you really expected to?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Well, yes ma'am. Urn, there were four of us who were elected or advised to go to southern California and await some planes there that were to go over to uh, to the other direction there and get into the war, and while we were waiting there and I think it was only a problem of maybe two or three weeks that we were waiting there when word came in that the war was over, that the bombing had gone on in uh, China and, and, and in uh, Japan, rather and that the war was over, and of course we were very pleased with that, and it meant that uh, none of us would be going over into that war area.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh. Urn, do you remember urn, what was your job or assignment to do, you said you were working with, with airplanes and communication with the pilots?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Uh-huh. Well the major problem, the major, not the major problem, but the major action we had was to provide the fighter, the planes, the pilots of the fighter planes with the recognition of the help and control of ground uh, capabilities, uh, where there might be other dangers, planes around or air, or air shots at them and this sort of thing, or which way they were to go to get to do their particular assignment. Uh, sometimes you helped them, or brought back to the airline, I mean the airport so that they can get their wheels down properly, so it was that kind of thing that we were involved with.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh. Urn, and you never saw combat, you said? Jerry Junior Brown

Jerry Junior Brown:

No ma'am, no. I was in the United States at all times and saw no combat.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh. Did you ever see any casualties, from the war?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Yes. I saw three. I saw the two that were involved in that water situation which I, in basic training which I mentioned before,(see note) and then at one time when I was in the air control system in urn, in Cali, in (sigh) Colorado, urn, one of the fi-fighter planes was beginning to come in to a landing and a bomber got right behind ahead of it and I don't know what happened except that I did see the, the driver, the uh, fighter plane clip the back end of the, of the bomber. It, it destroyed the control of the fighter plane completely and it just came squaring down. The fighter plane, uh, the, the uh bomber plane was able to return to its base which was not there, but the fighter plane was totally destroyed when it hit the ground.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh. Ok. Urn, do you have any really me-memoriable experiences that you remember? Urn, that you want to talk about?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Well, oh, not a lot. No, it was, it was rather exciting work in a way, and, and uh, I happened to be with the fellas in what I was doing who were very positive and, and wanted to give it the best shot they had. Uh, I do remember one time, and this was again in, in uh, Colorado, uh, when uh, we were at our control area which was built up above the landing area. And uh, suddenly a big, a big bunch of clouds moved in and it was very difficult to see. There were two fighter planes out and while we were beginning to get those planes where they belonged, a, a, a general came up, a one-star general came up and said, "Get those planes down." Well, it wasn't quite that simple because they couldn't see where they were. They had to be directed. And so we began to direct them, finding out where they were and tell them where to go. And uh, one plane w-went south where he could easily get on to another field without any trouble. And then the oth, and the other guy was coming around and saying, "I cant fly very fly, I've got to, uh,(laugh) fly very far. I've got to get down on the ground." And so we got him around to the south side of the, uh, lining, uh position and got him down and advised him how to begin to come down. And pretty soon he said, "I can see the ground. I'm alright." He landed safely and so, but that was really one of the few interest, uh, the few elements, or experiences that I had in, in close part problems. The rest of the time, if sometimes if, if planes would get out and we'd have problems of, uh seeing and where to go, we'd send them to other airports. But that was really one of the closest, uh, to accidents that I was associated with.

Heidi LaClair:

Wow. And, urn, you, you mentioned before that it was urn, the the process you were using was triangulation where you would set up three communication things and they would be able to locate a plane inside of that?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Yeah. Uh-huh. And then, then, then they would call into the uh, control plat uh, organization uh, group which had an, a, uh, uh map in front of them. And each of these posts would be indicated there on the map. Then each group would call in their directions and so the three lines would make one place where you could tell that plane was.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh. And was, was this before they had, urn, the controls that told you altitude, you know, location and everything in the plane?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Oh yeah, that, yeah. There was some of that but not like now of couse at all. Uh-huh. Yeah.

Heidi LaClair:

So the planes were more privitive than what we have now, and didnt have the equipment to locate or find a location by themselves.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Oh, yes, yes, I'm sure.. Much less capable than now, my. I don't know what, how har they can go with that now but at their new speed and the planes they have, they'd have to know more by quite a bit. Jerry Junior Brown

Heidi LaClair:

Right. Did you ever, um, were you ever awarded any medals or citations?

Jerry Junior Brown:

No. No. I went from a first, or from a second lieutenant to a first lieutenant. That's the only thing I was involved with.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Oh, I did get another, oh boy, another flower about something or another, (laugh) but I can't remember what it was. It was not an increase of, uh, standard but a, a complimentary blue thing or something.. I cant even remember exactly what the darn thing was. It was something I didn't wear because it didn't look good on my suit, (laugh)

Heidi LaClair:

Ok! (laugh) Um, how did you stay in touch with your family while you were in the service?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Well, uh, we, there were still a some telephone facilities although I very s, very uh, few times tried to talk to my parents. We, we did write a letter, probably once a week at least, most of the time, uh so that we could hear from them, and, and I could, they could hear from me. I had a, a brother who was a physican and he was in England fighting the war that way and I wanted to know how he was doing so the folks would write me about him. But mostly it was just letters that kept us going.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh. Um, did you miss your family?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Oh, yes ma'am. Yes, I did.

Heidi LaClair:

What was the food like in the service?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Well, (cough) most of the food was pretty good. Uh, you kinda got to where you didn't pay a lot of attention to that. If, if it was, if it was edible it was ok. 1,1 would never say it was bad but sometimes it wasn't quite as good as other times. So, so it was all right. Uh, it was pretty good.

Heidi LaClair:

Did you have enough supplies?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Oh yes, we had, we had supplies, yeah. We, uh, we had to get some special ones, uh on, on making our maps and, and this sort of thing but the uh, people in, in the air base, where, where we set this up were very helpful with it and we had no trouble getting our maps made up there so that we could look at them from around it and this sort of thing. We did all right on that.

Heidi LaClair:

Um, did you ever feel, uh, under alot of pressure or stress to, to perform your job?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Well, there was a few times when the didn't feel the pressure, well, I guess you'd call it pressure, but sometimes when these fi uh, pilots would be out learning to fly the fighter planes and we had weather come up in a hurry, uh we had to get those fellows in just as quickly as we could and we needed alot of times to tell them how to fly in, what directions and how high and this sort of thing, and so there were a few of those that uh, that went pretty fast, but we were lucky at that. The only, the only one I really remember is when, when uh, the two that just couldn't see a dog-gone thing were coming in to the uh, into the uh airpport and one guy was able to turn south and get down to do it and the other guy fortunately was able to follow us so that we could get him down to where he could see the ground which wasn't very high about it, but other than that, uh, we were able to handle it. Of course another thing, we would watch the weather strongly. If from what bad weather was coming in and there was guys out we would of course immediately call them back to the base.

Heidi LaClair:

uh-huh. Um, was there anything special you did for good luck? Jerry Junior Brown

Jerry Junior Brown:

(laugh) well, I wasn't in the danger that alot of these people were. I was, the only good luck I wanted was good luck in helping these guys fly and knowing where to come and this sort of thing, so I guess I, I prayed every day uh, but uh, it was just a regular prayer, i wasn't asking the lord to give me any (laugh) great power but just lead me on in the correct way.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh. Urn, how did people in the service entertain themselves? What, what did you do for entertainment?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Well the uh, the offices, uh, or the place for officers was, was pretty wide open. Now you could go in and get some high ball drinks and they usually had a machine that played music around there. Uh, sometimes they had dances, for the areas, and uh, some fellows would have dates, uh, I wasn't very good at that, uh. But other than that uh, I don't know, it, it seemed like time went by so fast that you didn't worry about being entertained by anything.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh. Urn, how about going on leave, what did you do when you went on leave?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Well, let me see. I think I, boy that's a good one. I think I came back to Nebraska once, and I can't remember exactly what year that was in. Course there wasn't, I wasn't in that long, but I did have some time of when I, Oh, I, I knew some fellows that were going to fly into Omaha, so I was able to ride with them and then my folks living in Norfolk, uh, I believe came down and picked me up at that time and then I went back to that airbase in, in Omaha again and flewback to the station where I was.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh. Ok. Urn, and you said you did alot of traveling around the United States while you were in the service?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Oh, yes, yeah. I was at, uh, five different uh, airports to set up this fighter control thing, I was at two different ports learning how to do it, I did go back once, uh, to Washington with some of the leaders of the, of the uh, airport, uh, uh, to talk about money and talk about what was needed. I didn't, I didn't get involved with, with answering machines to the guys at uh, (sigh) answering the questions from the fellows running the show but I was there just to, to help out if they needed any help. So that's, that's really about all I did on that.

Ruth Brown:

That was during the Korean War.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Well I did some on the other, too.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh. Urn, do you recall anything particularly humorous or unusual that happened to you while you were in the service?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Oh my, I really, no (laugh), I didn't have a bad time. I enjoyed most of the fellows I was working with. Uh, I cant recall any particular incidents that would be highly held, except that when it, when you had your fighter control area, we had this big map of the local area, and you'd have three or four uh, men working in there who were not officers and they would help you put up the line to get the, to get the location pinned down and some of those fellows, we just had more good fun with them and, and they would work hard and do an excellent job of, of helping us know where the planes were, so that's about the main part of that scene.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh. Urn, so you didn't play any pranks on anybody?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Pranks? No! No! No, not, not, not in that field you don't! No. Nut-huh.

Heidi LaClair:

It was pretty serious work?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Yep. Yeah. Jerry Junior Brown

Heidi LaClair:

Do you have any pictures of, of yourself or your friends while you were in the service?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Oh, I have a few. Yeah, uh-huh, yeah, a few. I haven't...

Ruth Brown:

..in on the piano.

Jerry Junior Brown:

..I haven't looked at them lately, but we have, I had a few. We didn't take alot of pictures at those times, though, you know, when, when you were working it was just kind of a common scene and didn't think about it.

Heidi LaClair:

And, did you keep a diary?

Jerry Junior Brown:

No, I didn't keep a diary.

Heidi LaClair:

Or a journal or anything?

Jerry Junior Brown:

No. uh-uh, no.

Heidi LaClair:

Ok. Urn, do you remember where you were, urn, when the war started?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Yes, I was at Doane College, in, in uh, where in Nebraska?

Ruth Brown:

Crete, Nebraska.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Crete, Nebraska. Yeah. I was in college at the time.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Uh-huh. And, uh, I had a date that went to a movie with me that evening and we came back, and as we came back I noticed all these cars parked in front of the men's d-dorm, and I wondered, "Well, what in the world is going on here." So I asked this young lady I was with, "Well, let's just go in and see?" And we went in and sure enohgh here alot of the young people who had heard about it were still sitting around the main room in there just listening to the announcement about it.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh. And, how did you feel? How did it make you feel learning about Pearl Harbor?

Jerry Junior Brown:

(cough) Well that's a very hard question to answer. In the first place, l-l wasn't really strongly aware that we would be getting into war, and I guess I hadn't thought alot in depth about that scene. I was aware that it might happen. And I, it, it, it's really hard to, to define, you know, to, to go, to come in from seeing a nice movie, and ride up with a nice girl, and go into this nice place, and hear this terrible news. Uh, boy, you just kind of stop, and, and I dont think that I kne-knew anything at that time, about anything. It's just stopping, and what is the world going on, what's going to happen? After that, when you begin to learn, uh the critical elements of it, why, and what you're going to do, why, it became a different scene then. Made plans to get in the service, and that sort of thing, but the first, first night learning about it, it just uh, it just floored me, I know that.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh. Hmmm. And, you said you were in California when you heard that the war was over?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Uhm, yes, uh-huh.

Heidi LaClair:

And what, how, how did that make you feel?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Well, (cough) I happened to be with about five or six other fellows. We were scheduled to go on to the ocean and get over to the Europe, or the, uh the Japanese area in about three days. Jerry Junior Brown Ufrm, oh, I don't remember alot of it, except that every one of us was just, just unbelievable with it, and the only thing I do really remember is one of the big guys pulled up his fist and stuck his wall right through a, uh, the uh, stuck his, uh, fi-uh...

Ruth Brown:

Fist.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Fist (laugh) right through a wall! And uh, we were, we were all that way! There was about six of us. We, uh, I don't know why we'd been there, but we were in a little room and visiting and stuff. And I think, I think it was such a sudden positive element that you don't really deal with it right, you didnt think about it, it just, you know, it just was, "Thank God," that it happened, and, and that's about as far as you go with the darn thing!

Heidi LaClair:

Was it, urn, did you have a sense of relief, that it was over? That you didn't have to go over there and...?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Oh, l-l don't think there's any question but there was a hare, a ter, a huge re, uh release eff uh, feeling about, involved with it. But I, I also think that when you're in two, three, four years of being in war, and then the announcement comes all of a sudden, "No, you're not in war anymore", Huh! Well it takes a little while to adjust to that, because you'd been so tied up with the other side of the thing.

Heidi LaClair:

Hmmm. Urn, what did you do after, after the war ended? What did you do? Were you still in the service for a while?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Oh yes, I was in service for a while, and then, because I hadn't been in service earlier I had some time to just kind of serve, and uh, I went to several airports and helped shut down their air, uh, their airplane control items, and that sort of thing. And then finally I was released from service, and...

Heidi LaClair:

Ok. And what was the, uh, what day did you enter the service?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Well, you, huhm...

Heidi LaClair:

Do you remember the date that you entered the service?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Ahh, oh, I, I can't, I'd, I'd have to see it. I don't, do not remember the exact date.

Heidi LaClair:

July 10,1942?

Jerry Junior Brown:

uh-huh. yeah.

Heidi LaClair:

And, and you left, uh, on March 29, 1946? So, you spent that last year going around to different airports and closing down...?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Yeah, uh-huh, yeah.

Heidi LaClair:

(cough) What did you do after you were finally released from the service? Did you go back to school?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Yes, after the war was over and I got out, (cough) I went back to college for a year, uh-huh.

Heidi LaClair:

And, was your education supported by the Gl bill?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Yes it was. Uh-huh. Jerry Junior Brown

Heidi LaClair:

What did you study?

Jerry Junior Brown:

(cough) Well, when I got out, when I got out of high school I was, uh, looking to become a uh, lawyer. And I'd just finished my four years of, uh, college when I got into the war, scene. Uh, and then after that being in the war scene, and really, or, and realizing I would need another three years of education to become a lawyer, I decided that I would not become a lawyer. Uhm, my father lived here in Norfolk, Nebraska. He was in the real estate business and had some land, and he said, uh, "Jerry, if, if you want to join me, I'd be glad to have you." So, the summer I got out I worked on a farm, that summer, to get a little better feeling of the scene, and then the next year I went to a year of, of uh, learning down at the Nebraska University, uh, well, uh, in the Nebraska College of, of, of uh, farming and stuff.

Heidi LaClair:

Agriculture?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Yeah, agriculture, thank you, yes agriculture, yeah. I spent a year down there. Then I came back and, and worked with dad and we had some land and some businessess and that sort of thing.

Heidi LaClair:

So you got into real estate then?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Yes, I got into real estate then, yeah. And into the life insurance, and...

Heidi LaClair:

Ahh, ok. Urn, did you make any close friendships while you were in the service, that you've kept up with?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Oh, I haven't, no sir. I had some very good friends. Uh, one of the first control shops we put up, the guy I worked with was just exquisite! We, we were the first ones that were putting them up that way, and uh, he and I worked hard and, and did such a good job, but uh, no, l-l sure, I don't know anybody anymore that, that I did business with while I was in the military. Of course that's been quite a while ago, too, now.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh. Right. Um, did you join a veterans group, a veterans organization?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Yes, yeah, yeah, uh-huh.

Heidi LaClair:

Ok. Do you do any activities with them?

Jerry Junior Brown:

No, I haven't been doing any of that. Uh-uh. I belong to several other clubs, and that was just... I do belong to the association and we go out there occasionally, but I'm not active in their unit, uh in their, active, I'm not doing alot of things at all.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh. Ok. Um, did your military experience influence your thinking about war, or about the military in general?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Well I don't think my experience made me think about it as much as the way that things started. When we were attacked by the Japanese, when, when the Russians and the French were attacked by the Germans, it meant that the world was made so that at times you have to have a war. I guess, you know, what else. And, in that sense I just felt that going to the war was, was the only thing that I could do to help the whole world out.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh. Um, so how did your service, and experiences in the service affect your life?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Well, the only thing that affected, affected me on the scene was the number of people who were killed. And of course, to me, the people of our own country who were killed were paying the highest price for the winning of this thing. I realize that for helping others, sometimes you have to pay a very high price, and because you do, it doesn't mean you die every time, but it means that you Jerry Junior Brown gotta make an effort to be helpful, to do the things that are correct, and so in that sense I think it helped me. And of course the other thing, part of the scene, is that I think of all those guys that died, and I just have to thank them from my heart for doing that. Because had they not died, I could have died, a million of our own folks here in this country could have died, and those fellows did it to save us. So I just, it just kind of makes me quiver to, to think of them.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh. Is there anything else you'd like to add that we've not covered in this interview?

Jerry Junior Brown:

(laugh) I think we've covered quite a bit young lady! (laughing)

Heidi LaClair:

Ok.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Ok. (laughing)

Heidi LaClair:

Alright. Urn, let's see..I don't think there's anything else I need to ask you. Urn.. (tape VOX setting, shuts down recorder, interviewer did not understand why)

Jerry Junior Brown:

(maybe it) didn't get any of it.

Heidi LaClair:

Oops, now it started again!

Jerry Junior Brown:

Huh?

Heidi LaClair:

(laugh) Now it's started again! (laugh)

Jerry Junior Brown:

Shall I sing?

Heidi LaClair:

It just paused! (laugh) Maybe we're waiting for you to sing! (laugh)

Jerry Junior Brown:

(singing) Ba ba ba, On top of old smoky, all covered with show,...

Heidi LaClair:

(laughing) Ok. Urn, thank you so much for sharing this information with us, urn, this is going to the Library of Congress, this interview, and it will be available to people who uh, want to do research on war and get a veterans perspective, so, urn, uh... (VOX) Oh, now it's working again!

Jerry Junior Brown:

I didn't say anything!

Heidi LaClair:

I don't know what's wrong with this.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Shall I sing? That'll stop it!

Heidi LaClair:

(laugh) I, I guess you can sing if you want to.

Jerry Junior Brown:

(laugh) On top of old smoky...

Ruth Brown:

Do you have it, have it on the camera?

Heidi LaClair:

Yeah, the camera is recording, I think, but this, it just, the tape just slows down and, and almost stops. It does stop, once in a while. I don't know if there's something inside that's catching or not. I don't know. (VOX) Oh, it did it again!

Jerry Junior Brown:

(laugh) Am I happy about what happened? Well, no...(laughing) Who do I sue?

Heidi LaClair:

(laugh) Ok, I think I'm just going to turn this tape off because I don't think there are any more questions that I need to ask you. Jerry Junior Brown

Jerry Junior Brown:

Ok.

Ruth Brown:

Do you want his picture, when he was in the service?

Heidi LaClair:

Picture! Yeah. Do you have a picture of yourself?

Jerry Junior Brown:

I don't.

Ruth Brown:

Yeah, it's in on the piano. Want me to get it?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Well you can't, she can't take that, honey! I

Heidi LaClair:

I, we won't take the picture, but, urn, if, we'll just, maybe the camera can get a record of it. A picture of you holding a picture of yourself.

Jerry Junior Brown:

(laughing) Yeah! I don't think your camera's getting ahold of anything! (laughing)

Heidi LaClair:

(laugh) I don't know! It might be working, it might not!

Jerry Junior Brown:

All you can do is try. Oh yeah...

Heidi LaClair:

Oh yeah. And it says on here, "First lieutenant", "Now a first lieutenant. This was taken in the field. December, '45".

Jerry Junior Brown:

Yep.

Heidi LaClair:

You look pretty young.

Jerry Junior Brown:

(laugh) Oh yes! You bet!

Ruth Brown:

Isn't he good looking?

Heidi LaClair:

Yeah!

Jerry Junior Brown:

Just a kid!

Heidi LaClair:

Nice glasses, too!

Jerry Junior Brown:

(laughing) Oh, thank you!

Heidi LaClair:

Alright, I'm going to turn this off.

Jerry Junior Brown:

I should get more glasses. (later)

Heidi LaClair:

Ok, so tell me about your urn, tell me about your time in the Korean War.

Jerry Junior Brown:

(cough) Well, I'd finished WWII, and urn, had become a first lieutenant, and having, having seen what I thought I knew and was aware of, I felt that this country would be in, involved in another war before very long. Now I, I was an officer in, in WWII and if I gave that up and the other war came along I would have to start out at the very bottom again. So I thought, well I, I, I don't want to do that. I, I, I'm concerned about getting back into war, and uh, how can I do it? So I went down to Omaha. At that time, the air force had become the army, or not the army-air force, but just the plain air force, they were no longer directly associated with the army, as such. So I went down to the air force office, eh, or the headquarters in Omaha, and talked with the fellows down there and urn, they Jerry Junior Brown of course couldn't tell whether I'd be recalled or not but he said, "Well now, if you want to keep your status here, uh, you'll have to come down here two days a week and work with us, and uh, then that retains your status and if, if the war comes then you'll come back in that way." So I signed up for that, and uh, I, I went down there for two days a week for a year and a half. Wasn't that right, honey?

Heidi LaClair:

Two days a week? Or two days a month?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Two days, two days a month, yeah, excuse me. Two days a month. And, by this time, a year and a half later, I was (laugh) convinced more certainly that we were not going to get into war right away, so then I resigned my commission as I left that service time.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh. So, and that was, according to this, this was May 1st, 1951 through January 31st, 1953?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Uh-huh. Yes. Yeah.

Heidi LaClair:

So that, during that time you were doing two days a month...

Jerry Junior Brown:

Yeah.

Heidi LaClair:

And that was, where did you say that was?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Down at SAC headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska.

Heidi LaClair:

SAC, ok.

Jerry Junior Brown:

At the, at the uh, headquarters of the...

Ruth Brown:

Strategic Air Command.

Jerry Junior Brown:

..of the Strategic Air Command. Yeah, that's right.

Heidi LaClair:

Ok. And, urn, you said that you lived there for a while?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Yeah, we moved down, uh-huh.

Heidi LaClair:

You moved to Omaha.

Ruth Brown:

Well, actually, we moved to Plattsmouth.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Well, that was when we were called.

Ruth Brown:

Yeah.

Heidi LaClair:

Yeah, uh-huh, yeah.

Heidi LaClair:

Ok, so when you were called back into active duty, then you moved down to Plattsmouth?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Uh-uh, no, not Plattsmouth, is it?

Ruth Brown:

Yeah, we moved to Plattsmouth...

Jerry Junior Brown:

Well, Ok. Jerry Junior Brown

Ruth Brown:

..because there was no housing on the base. But by the time we left, there was, uh, Wary (sp) housing, it was on the base. (VOX)

Jerry Junior Brown:

..how long?

Ruth Brown:

..units.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Do you remember? Four or five..

Ruth Brown:

A year, I think.

Jerry Junior Brown:

a year, was it? Ok, a year, yeah. They had an opening in those quarters then. Uh-huh. Yeah.

Heidi LaClair:

So you actually lived on the base for a year.

Ruth Brown:

Yeah.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Uh-huh.

Heidi LaClair:

In Omaha. Ok. And, and, ok so then were you working for them more that two days a month, when you were living on the base?

Jerry Junior Brown:

No. Oh, yes, yes, yes. I was full time. Yeah, I was in active duty.

Ruth Brown:

Yeah, you were there...

Jerry Junior Brown:

Yeah, I was in active duty. Uh-huh.

Heidi LaClair:

Ok, so you didn't have another job that you did.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Oh, no, no, no. Uh-uh.

Ruth Brown:

That was a full time job.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Yeah.

Heidi LaClair:

Yeah, and did you have children?

Ruth Brown:

No, we had our first child, was Jim, (VOX) ..had I think, when we went in, (VOX) (Janet) was bom on the base, in January of 1952.

Heidi LaClair:

Ok, so you said you had Jim when you went down and then Janet was bom on the base in, in '52?

Ruth Brown:

Yeah, uh-huh. January of '52.

Heidi LaClair:

January of '52. Ok, and those are the only two children that you had when you left the base.

Ruth Brown:

Yeah.

Heidi LaClair:

Ok. Urn,... (VOX) It just... Jerry Junior Brown

Jerry Junior Brown:

You want me to sing? (laughing)

Heidi LaClair:

They're going to laugh at this tape because it just stops. I don't know what's wrong with it. Ok, so then you, you urn, got out of the service in 1953?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Mm...Yes, I believe it was then. Uh-huh, yeah.

Heidi LaClair:

Ok, and you didn't serve again after that.

Jerry Junior Brown:

No, uh, no other serving. Uh-uh.

Heidi LaClair:

Ok. Alright. I think that's all the questions I have about that.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Alright.

Heidi LaClair:

Urn, anything else, that you want to talk about?

Jerry Junior Brown:

I sing a pretty good song, (laugh) Oh, I don't, I don't think so. I think we've covered the water during that time pretty well.

Heidi LaClair:

Ok. Alright. Well then I'm going to turn this off.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Well I might, I might add though, that serving your military gives you uh, a pretty proud idea about helping your country out. Even, even if you have a business that's reasonably successful it's good, but it's different than, than uh, serving in, in the uh, military of the country, because you're not making alot of money. You're doing alright, but you're not gaining any place except keeping the country better, so it's, it's a different thing, and I think uh, anybody that gets into that position should be very proud of what they're doing.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh. So you have alot of, urn, alot of, of pride in your service.

Jerry Junior Brown:

I have alot of proud in my service and I have alot of pride in all the service of the, that the guys have been in. For all the, now and all the years. Both now and before and after.

Heidi LaClair:

Was it an important phase of your life?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Oh, I, no question about that. Yeah. Sure was. You bet. Cause it, it made me give what I could to the country, without getting paid extra for it, you know.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh. And, how about your brother, how did he feel about it?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Well, my brother was a very excellent serv, uh, uh, seargent (surgeon), and uh, he, he had a terrible time in Lon, in England, because he did brain surgery, and he used to tell me how long he worked. He never complained about it, he too wanted to give what he could to our country to win the war.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh. And his name was what?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Carroll, C-a-r-r-o-l-l, A. Brown.

Heidi LaClair:

Carroll A. Brown.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Uh-huh. Jerry Junior Brown

Heidi LaClair:

What did the A stand for?

Jerry Junior Brown:

Adkins.

Ruth Brown:

Arthur.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Arth-Adka-Arthur?

Ruth Brown:

Carroll Arthur is what it...

Jerry Junior Brown:

Ca- that's right, I beg your pardon, Carroll Arthur Brown, yeah.

Heidi LaClair:

Ok. And, he was older than you?

Jerry Junior Brown:

He was nine years older than I was.

Heidi LaClair:

Ok, so he had been in the service for a while before you joined.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Yeah, he'd been in the service for a while before I got in. Yeah. Uh-huh.

Heidi LaClair:

Uh-huh. Ok. (VOX) I think I've got this tape recorder figured out.

Jerry Junior Brown:

(laugh) May I tell you something very sweet? If you don't have this recorded, who's your officer, and your lawyer? (laughing)

Ruth Brown:

Your instructor!

Jerry Junior Brown:

Yeah, Oh dear.

Heidi LaClair:

Oh well.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Oh, well. If it doesn't work, why, I can do it again, or whatever.

Heidi LaClair:

I think it will work, uh, it'll just be a very interesting transcript, when I get down to writing it out.

Jerry Junior Brown:

(laugh) Ok.

Heidi LaClair:

Alright, I think I'm going to turn this off.

Jerry Junior Brown:

Alrighty.

 
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