Charles Henry "Brother" Brown

Chief Master Sergeant

“Charlie Brown”

Chief Master Sergeant Charles Henry" Brother" Brown, USAF Ret, 87, passed away on Sunday, July 10, 2011 at the VA Medical Center Nursing Home in  Martinsburg.   Born June 3, 1924 in Kitzmiller, MD.  Charles was the son of the late John and Mary Sprague Brown.  He was preceded in death by a sister, Marion and two brothers, John and Robert.  


Following graduation from Kitzmiller High School in 1942, Charles enlisted in the Army  Air Corp, and following stateside training he became a top-turret gunner/armorer on a B-17  Bomber, "Our Baby", flying out of Bury St. Edmunds, Rougham airfield, in England, as a member of the 331st Squadron, 94th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force. August 5, 1944, on their 23rd mission they were forced to ditch in the North Sea after losing 3 engines on a bombing run to Berlin.  One man was lost, then on August 6,1944 the remaining crew members were captured as prisoners of war by the Germans. All of the captured nine crew members were liberated on April 26,1945 by US Army Gen. Alien's 104th Division, 415th Regiment, the “Timberwolves.”  Chief Brown and his crew were participants in the infamous European death march, in which as many as 6000 prisoners were forced to walk 600 miles from Poland to Northwestern Germany in the winter of 1944-45. Following World War II, Charles made the Air Force his career, serving in the Presidential Wing at Andrews Air Force Base as well as a number of other duty station locations including Vietnam and Greenland. He retired with the top enlisted rank of Chief Master Sergeant. Following his retirement, he and his wife and best friend Helen located in Bunker Hill WV and he worked at the Winchester Airport for eight years before retiring again to spend more time on the golf course and travel with Helen.


Charles is survived by his wife of 62 years Helen his biggest fan, an aunt, Mary Sprague, and several cousins, nephews, and nieces. Charles was loved and admired by all who knew him.  He was a true patriot, a proud American, and the last surviving member of his B-17 captured crew.  He will be missed. 


Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, July 14,2011 at 10:OOAM at the St. Leo Catholic Church with Father Brian Shoda celebrant.. Military graveside services will be held in St. Leo Cemetery. Family will receive friends on Wednesday July 13, 2011 from 6:OOPM to 9.-OOPM at the Brown Funeral Home South Berkeley Chapel in Inwood.


Memorial contributions may be made to St. Leo Catholic Church Building Fund, PO Box 93, Inwood, WV 25428.