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Sgt Rhodes Lewis "Lewis" Brown
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Birth: Dec. 2, 1920
Shreveport
Caddo Parish
Louisiana, USA
Death: Aug. 25, 1944
Rechlin
Mecklenburgische Seenplattener Landkreis
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany

Staff Sergeant Rhodes Lewis Brown, Army serial number 20445218, was born at Shreveport, Caddo Parish, Louisiana on December 2, 1920. His family and crew mates called him 'Lewis'. His parents were Jesse McConnell Brown (18 Nov 1882 12 Jul 1946) and Martha (Holladay) Brown (1 Apr 1892 Aug 1979), who were born at Altus, Franklin County, Arkansas. They married at Altus, Arkansas, on 3 Sep 1911. He had seven siblings: Dora Mae Brown (abt 1913 unk), Clyde Brown (abt 1914 unk), Lloyd Finis 'Finis' Brown (1916 1986), Martha Imogene 'Imogene' Brown (abt 1918 ), Glynn M. Brown (abt 1926 ), Robert Doyle 'Bob' Brown (Jan 1931 ), and a brother who died in childhood.

In 1940, the family lived at 3001 DeSoto Street, Shreveport, Louisiana, and his father worked as a billing clerk at a petroleum refinery. He completed four years of high school, and worked as a truck driver for a wholesale electric store. He was single, without dependents, when he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps at Camp Hulen, Texas, on July 25, 1941.

He completed Army Air Forces aerial gunnery and flight engineer training, and was assigned to the heavy bomber crew of Second Lieutenant Robert O. Shacklett in the 839th Bomb Squadron of the 487th Bomb Group. The Shacklett crew completed B-24 combat crew training with the 487th Bomb Group at Alamogordo Army Air Base, New Mexico, and deployed with the Group to England in March-April 1944. There is a photo of S/Sgt Brown and the Robert O. Shacklett crew posted on the 487th Bomb Group website. This was taken at Herington, Kansas, during the overseas deployment. The Shacklett crew flew B-24H 42-52618 'Chief Wapello' overseas via the southern Atlantic ferry route. The 487th Bomb Group was based at Army Air Forces Station 137, near the village of Lavenham, Suffolk, England, and was part of the 8th U.S. Army Air Force in Europe.

By August 1944, the 487th Bomb Group transitioned to flying the B-17 'Flying Fortress', and S/Sgt Rhodes L. Brown was assigned to the crew of Lt Joseph A. Duncan in the 839th Bomb Squadron. On August 25, 1944, the Duncan crew took off from Lavenham Airfield in B-17G 43-37980 on a mission to bomb the German airfield at Rechlin, Germany. Captain Winston S. Rogers flew in the copilot's position as Air Leader. Copilot Lt James Hood Jr moved to the tail gunner's position as Officer Tail Gunner and formation observer. S/Sgt Rhodes Brown and eight of his crew mates were killed in action when their aircraft was hit by flak just after bombs away over Rechlin, Germany. The right outer wing was lost, and the burning aircraft went into a spin, exploded, and crashed in Muritz Lake near Boek, Germany, north of the target. Two crew members, 1/Lt Joseph Anderson Duncan and S/Sgt Monroe Stanley Wolyn, survived. Lt Hood's body was never found. He probably went to the bottom of Muritz Lake with the aircraft wreckage.

The bodies of S/Sgt Rhodes L. Brown and seven of his crew mates were buried at the Retzow Cemetery in Retzow, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany, a short distance north of Rechlin Airfield. After the war, S/Sgt Brown's remains were returned to the United States and reinterred at Greenwood Cemetery in Shreveport, Caddo Parish, Louisiana. He is buried in Section 78, Lot 8.

Sources:
1. 49 Squadron Association. Retzow Cemetery in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany
2. 487th Bomb Group Association
3. 487th Bomb Group Formation Diagram for 25 Aug 1944
4. 1900 US Census; Arkansas; Franklin County; Hogan Township; Altus. Brown, John M. 25 Jun 1900 (grandfather of Rhodes Lewis Brown)
5. 1920 US Census; Arkansas; Franklin County. Brown, Jessie M [sic]. Jan 1920 (father of Rhodes Lewis Brown)
6. 1930 US Census; Louisiana; Caddo Parish; Shreveport. Brown, Jesse M. Apr 1930 (father of Rhodes Lewis Brown)
7. 1940 US Census; Louisiana; Caddo County; Shreveport; 3001 Desoto Street. Brown, Jessie M [sic]. 13 Apr 1940 (father of Rhodes Lewis Brown)
8. Arkansas, County Marriages, 1837-1957: Jesse M. Brown and Martha Holladay married at Altus, Franklin County, Arkansas, on 3 Sep 1911 (parents of Rhodes L. Brown)
9. Brown, Jim M. Personal Communication. July 2013 (nephew of Rhodes Lewis Brown)
10. Brown Sr, Robert D. Personal Communication. May 2011 (brother of Rhodes Lewis Brown)
11. Cemetery records of Greenwood Cemetery, 130 Stoner Avenue, Shreveport, LA 71101
12. de Jong, Ivo. The History of the 487th Bomb Group (H). Paducah KY: Turner Publishing, Oct 2004
13. Enlistment Record of Rhodes L. Brown
14. HQ, 359th Combat Crew Training School, Alamogordo Army Air Base, New Mexico. Special Orders Number 71. 10 March 1944 (487th Bomb Group flight echelon order to proceed from Alamogordo, New Mexico, to Herington, Kansas, during the deployment to England)
15. Louisiana Deaths Index, 1894-1956: Jessie McConnell Brown died at Shreveport, Caddo Parish, Louisiana on 12 Jul 1946.
16. Social Security Death Index
17. Spaulding, Sharon. Partial Transcription of Greenwood Cemetery: B
18. U.S. Army Air Forces Missing Air Crew Report 8470
19. U.S. War Department. World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing Army and Army Air Forces Personnel. Washington, D.C., June 1946
20. World War I Draft Registration of Jesse McConnell Brown. 12 Sep 1918 (father of Rhodes Lewis Brown) 
 
Inscription:
       RHODES L BROWN
           LOUISIANA
STAFF SGT  839 AAF BOMB SQ
        WORLD WAR II
  DEC 2 1920  AUG 25 1944
 
Burial:
Greenwood Cemetery
Shreveport
Caddo Parish
Louisiana, USA
Plot: Section 78, Lot 8
 
Created by: Paul Webber
Record added: Mar 26, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 87384228
Sgt Rhodes Lewis Lewis Brown
Added by: Paul Webber
 
Sgt Rhodes Lewis Lewis Brown
Added by: Paul Webber
 
Sgt Rhodes Lewis Lewis Brown
Added by: mark edmonson
 
 
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Thank you for your services to our country Sgt. Rhodes Lewis Brown.
- A Veteran
 Added: Mar. 26, 2012
 
 
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