68 years ago last month Harold Brown, now a resident of Catawba Island, was 20 years old and in Moosburg P.O.W. camp in Germany. “I recall it very well,” said Brown last week on the anniversary of VE Day, “We had been in Nuremberg P.O.W. camp and were moved as the Allies advanced. 10,000 of us had walked the 12-13 days to Moosburg, where we joined 25,000 other P.O.W.’s.”
At the event last week at Liberty Aviation Museum to announce the return of the CAF Red Tail Squadron’s RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit, Brown talked of his plane being shot down on his 12th mission, of the crash of his P-51 after a bombing run on his 30th mission and his subsequent capture by German soldiers, of how grateful he was to the German soldier that protected him from being killed by angry civilians and soldiers, of General Patton’s triumphant and colorful arrival to liberate the camp at Moosburg, of the long journey home (it was another six weeks before he boarded a ship for the U.S.) and of his 23-year career in the Air Force as a pilot and flight instructor.
Brown, 88, is one of only 40 Tuskegee Airmen still living of the 450 who served in combat duty in World War 11. He plays golf several times a week, is fit, charming, engaging and an excellent raconteur.
At the Erie-Ottawa County Regional Airport from Aug. 29-Sept. 1, Dr. Brown will be hosting the return of the CAF Red Tail Squadron’s RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit. Brown and Jeff Sondles of the Liberty Aviation Museum are putting out the call for volunteers to enlist as corporate or private sponsors to help underwrite and defer the costs required to bring the exhibit to Port Clinton. “We are reaching out to the community for sponsors so we don’t lose this piece of history,” said Sondles.
For more information or to enlist as a sponsor, contact Liberty Aviation Museum at 419-732-0234 or www.libertyaviationmuseum.org.
About the exhibit:
The goal of the exhibit is to share with everyone the inspiring legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their crewmen. Their courage, determination and ability to triumph over adversity during World War II can serve to inspire others about how to succeed today. The exhibit teaches the six guiding principles of the Tuskegee Airmen. Every school student who visits the exhibit and watches the RISE ABOVE movie is given a free dog tag with these principles inscribed on it:
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
BE READY TO GO
USE YOUR BRAIN
EXPECT TO WIN
“I think it gives our kids a great boost, the sayings on the dog tags,” said Erie-Ottawa Regional Airport’s Stan Gebhardt.
This exhibit will offer the following:
A rare P-51C Mustang, one of only four like it still flying. It has a bright red tail and it is a key part of the mission to help people, particularly young people, understand and appreciate the history and legacy of the special group of black pilots who flew airplanes sporting bright red tails as they fought the Nazis during WWII.
The RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit is housed in a 53-foot-long semi rig. It contains a 30-seat temperature-controlled movie theater with a 160-degree panoramic screen. The RISE ABOVE movie highlights who the Tuskegee Airmen are, how they overcame obstacles to be allowed train and fight as U.S. Army Air Corps pilots, how more than 10,000 other black men and women also trained hard to support the pilots, and what the courage and determination they exhibited then still means to all Americans today. The movie will also give viewers a feel for what it’s like to pilot a Mustang.
This exhibit is free to the public.
Autographed commemorative Tuskegee Airmen merchandise is being sold in the museum’s gift shop with proceeds to support this mission. Raffle tickets to win a custom and autographed P-51C Mustang will also be sold throughout the summer season.