A new University of Central Florida Library exhibit honors Jesse Leroy Brown, the U.S. Navy’s first African-American aviator. Brown died during the Korean War and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal and Purple Heart.
“A Pilot Lights the Way: A Tribute to Jesse Leroy Brown: First African-American Aviator & Blacks in Aviation” is on display from Sept. 7 to 30 at the UCF Library on the main campus. The exhibit includes photographs, images and artifacts provided by the National Naval Aviation Museum located on the Naval Air Station Pensacola.
Ensign Jesse L. Brown was a Corsair pilot operating from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier Leyte during the Korean War. On Dec. 4, 1950, his plane was shot down in the Chosin Reservoir (Kobo-Ri) Area behind enemy lines. He sustained severe injuries and died in his aircraft, despite heroic efforts by Lt. Thomas Hudner Jr. and other aviators to save him. His body was not recovered.