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The Paris Junior College History Department, in a continuing project, collects oral histories from Lamar County veterans of World War II. In recordings and transcripts, the veterans bring to life what it meant to serve 60 years ago.


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Aikin Home » Veterans Remember » Aud Brown

Aud Brown

Posted 08.28.06 at 11:06 AM

Transcript of Oral History

NAME: Aud Brown
ADDRESS: Maxey, Texas
BRANCH OF SERVICE: U.S. Army Air Corps, 321st Bomb Group, 446th Bomb Squadron
DATES IN SERVICE: 1941-1945
LOCATIONS SERVED: North Africa
INTERVIEWER: Allen Williams
DATE OF INTERVIEW: November 30, 2005

Williams: First of all Mr. Brown, I would like to ask you to tell us where you were living when World War II started?

Brown: I was living with my parents in the Maxey community. I knew I was going to be drafted so I decided I would volunteer for the Air Force and if I got washed out, of course I would be in some other service. I didn’t wash out though and I got my wings.

Williams: So you volunteered, enlisted in the Air Force?

Brown: Yes, I did.

Williams: Okay, do you know roughly when that was?

Brown: Yes, 1941. I don’t remember the date exactly but, 1941.

Williams: Was it before Pearl Harbor or after? Do you remember?

Brown: I don’t remember - I think it was after Pearl Harbor but, I’m not positive.

Williams: You joined the Air Corps. Do you remember where they sent you first for training?

Brown: Yes, I think so. I went to Victoria and then to San Antonio at Randolph Field and did my basic there. I got my wings there and then I went to South Carolina to check out in B-25’s. I wasn’t happy about it, but after I got there, after I realized the B-25 was a good, stable airplane. Naturally, I wanted to go to fighters, but they put you where they needed you at that time.

Williams: So you ended up getting lots of hours in a B-25, which is a twin engine bomber?

Brown: Yeah, there were a few crashes there but I think the guys that instructed us had very little time, as training was being sped up in order to get us overseas.

Williams: Do you have a guesstimate how much time you were in flight training until you shipped out overseas?

Brown: I don’t think we were there over three months. I didn’t go over as a pilot, I went as a co-pilot. You know the co-pilots came to be the pilots as the missions went along.

Williams: Did you have any aviation experience before you joined the Air Corps?

Brown: When I was going to Paris Junior College I went and got enough time to solo in a Piper Cub airplane. One of my cousins and one of my friends were also interested. In fact, I think one of my instructors went on and taught basic and then later flew for the airlines.

Williams: You went to PJC before going into the military?

Brown: Yes.

Williams: I’ve heard stories that PJC had a flying club. Do you remember that?

Brown: Yeah, that was after I left. They didn’t have one before. I know I talked to a guy that used to fly here some. I think I may have gotten a total of twelve or fifteen hours here. I don’t know, but I think that’s about all I got in the Cub.

Williams: Do you remember where the airfield was? I’ve heard it was somewhere on 19th Northwest, behind where Flex-O-Lite currently is.

Brown: Yes. I remember because I walked to it several times.

Williams: And so that is where you flew most of your time in the Piper Cub?

Brown: Yes, all of it.

Williams: So you probably already had dozens of hours when you went into the Air Corps?

Brown: No, I wasn’t able to fly a whole lot in the plane. I did buy a few hours in the plane, but I was going to school and had to have money for tuition.

Williams: After you went into Air Corps, how long did you spend in training before you were shipped overseas?

Brown: Probably six months or so, but I don’t remember. I have a log at home that I haven’t looked at it lately. It will have that information. Anyway, you either passed or you washed out. If you didn’t wash out, you went from primary to basic to advanced flight training. After advanced, you got your commission. We were then sent to a B-25 outfit. After a while, we were shipped out. Down to South America, then on across to the Ascension Islands, which were a little spot on the map. If you were to miss those islands, that would have been the end of it.

Williams: That’s when you hope the navigator was awake during this training!

Brown: Yes, we had a few commissioned navigators and they had good radios. So you weren’t likely to miss it.

Williams: Do you remember the time-frame when you got to North Africa?

Brown: I do not.

Williams: Sometime in 1943 or late 1942 perhaps?

Brown: Late 42 I think.

Williams: Were you placed in action quickly?

Brown: They didn’t want to waste any time. It seemed we began action soon. We were just out in the boondocks of North Africa -not close to any large places at all. That’s probably the way they wanted it.

Williams: Do you remember your first Combat Mission?

Brown: Yes, I remember that after we dropped the bombs, guys wanted to go every direction. You were to fly straight and level on the bomb run. When the man ahead began to open his bomb bay door, we did the same. Our bombardier quickly learned his job and, after we gained experience, we didn’t get so wild after we dropped our bombs. There was often flak near the target. Some flak hit close. You received a few small holes in your aircraft from the flak. We always had flak. We were fortunate enough that a P-38 fighter outfit often went with us and took care of the enemy fighters.

Williams: What was a typical target in North Africa that you were sent against?

Brown: Rail yards and bridges. We bombed quite a few rail yards. We carried five-hundred pound bombs as our biggest load. Bridges were important targets because the Germans needed them for supply lines. Our missions were some two hours long maybe two-and-a- half - not really long missions, and we never flew over maybe five or six thousand feet.

Williams: Being that close to the ground I bet the flak was pretty intense?

Brown: Well, we thought that the German flak was always after you! Williams: How many missions did you fly?

Brown: We flew fifty missions there because it wasn’t as intense as in England. Those guys flew a lot higher than we did and they went a lot further, too. Our missions were typically much shorter. Because of this, we flew fifty missions and then they sent us to the States.

Williams: You were in the 321st Bomb Group?

Brown: Yes, the 446th Bomb Squadron of the 321st.

Williams: Which Air Force was that?

Brown: That was the 12th Air Force, I believe.

Williams: All of your missions were in North Africa?

Brown: Yes.

Williams: After you flew fifty missions, you were sent out of there. You didn’t have to fly combat missions anymore?

Brown: They sent us to the States and they assigned me to the ferry command.

Williams: At that point, once you flew your 50th combat mission, did that release you from combat?

Brown: Right, they sent us to the States.

Williams:

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