Plymouth County

Capt. Ralph O. Brown

Born 09 Jul 1918
Died 29 Apr 1944



Former Morningside Student Visits Here After 15 Months in South Pacific

“For extraordinary achievement” while participating in 200 hours of operational flight missions in the southwest Pacific, including the sinking of two enemy merchant ships, Capt. Ralph O. Brown, Morningside college graduate now home on leave, has been awarded the distinguished flying cross and the air medal.

Capt. Brown, who has completed the required number of operational hours, has returned to the United States and is now awaiting assignment in this country.

He is visiting his wife, the former Betty Lou Saunderson, at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. J.M. Saunderson, 1505 Sioux trail, and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Clyde L. Brown, Hinton, Iowa.

Capt. Brown’s operational flight missions included bombing missions against enemy airdromes and installations and attacks on hostile naval vessels and shipping’s. Throughout these operations, his citation stated, he demonstrated outstanding ability, courage and devotion to duty.

He was a member of a bombardment squadron of the Fifth air Force which is playing a major role in Gen. MacArthur’s offensive against the Japanese in the south and southwest Pacific. Capt. Brown stated that among the campaigns in which he took part were the Papuan campaign and the battle of the Bismarck Sea.

Capt. Brown, who was graduated from Morningside in 1941, has been in the air corps since September, 1941, and served over-seas nearly 15 months.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, November 29, 1943

Capt. Brown, Flier, Killed
Morningside Graduate Meets Death at Lakeland, Fla.

Capt. Ralph O. Brown in the army air corps was killed this morning in or near his present camp, Lakeland, Fla., his mother-in-law, Mrs. J. M. Saunderson, 1505 Sioux Trail, was informed by telephone by her daughter.

Mrs. Saunderson did not learn whether or not the casualty occurred during army maneuvers. The Captain had been overseas on army duty over New Guinea. He returned last November.

He was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Brown of Hinton and was graduated from Morningside College.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, May 4, 1944

Former Hinton Youth Killed While On Service   

Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Brown of Hinton received word Thursday that their son, Capt. Ralph O. Brown, had been killed that morning at the air base at Lakeland Park, Florida.  No particulars of the accident were contained in the telegram.  Capt. Brown was an officer in the engineer group at the air base since returning from active service overseas.  He enlisted in the Army in October, 1941, in the aviation corps.  He was the holder of a number of decorations for valor and was awarded the distinguished flying cross, the air medal and given a citation by his superior officers.

“Captain Ralph O. Brown received his commission at Victorville, Calif., April, 1942.  Picking up his plane at the Sacramento depot he went overseas in the summer of 1942, with the 20th Bombardment group, later named the Jolly Rogers.  Piloting a B-24, the only type air craft he flew in combat, Capt. Brown spent several months on patrol duty over the Hawaiian and Fiji Islands and New Caledonia, October, 1942,  he flew to Port Moresby, New Guinea, joining the Fifth air force under the command of Lt. Gen. George Kenney, who was at that time, and still is, directing large scale operations against the Japanese.  Capt. Brown was stationed there until November, 1943.  During which time he flew his Liberator, the “Falcon” on 37 bombing missions over Rabaul and Weewak.  Most of these raids consisted of low level attacks by medium bombers which preceded or immediately followed high altitude precision bombings by B-24’s.  He participated in the battle of the Bismark sea and the Papuan campaign, and was officially credited with the sinking of a Japanese tanker and a cargo transport.

The fact that his ship has had a total of 16 engines testifies that everything does not run smoothly, especially on combat flights.”

Ralph Oliver Brown was born July 9, 1918, in LeMars, and lived here when a child, his parents moving to Hinton.  He was educated at Morningside college and received his B.S. degree there and later attended Iowa State University in 1941.  Following his graduation, he volunteered for service.  He was married to Betty Saunderson, of Freeport, La., May 30, 1942.  Besides his wife, he leaves his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Brown and three sisters, Mrs. R. W. Bennett, Corvallis, Oregon; Mrs. R. W. Plummer of Hinton and Mrs. Ernest Reed, of Sioux City.

Source:  LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel, May 5, 1944