One of the last legendary WWII soldiers to make four combat jumps into Europe has died

| September 12, 2018

505British troops of the 6th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry chat with an American paratrooper of the 505th PIR in Avola, Sicily, July 11, 1943. (Wikimedia)

Sad news about one of America’s Greatest Generation, who has passed.

Former Staff Sgt. Russell Brown was one of the legendary paratroopers who made every combat jump during World War II, forever cementing his place in the history of the 82nd Airborne Division.

Brown passed away Aug. 31 at the age of 96 in Georgetown, Kentucky, according to an obituary. A spokesman for the 82nd Airborne confirmed the Purple Heart recipient had been one of the lauded soldiers who parachuted into Salerno and Sicily, Italy, as well as Normandy, France, and Njimegen, Holland.

His story was featured in “Four Stars of Valor: The Combat History of the 505th Parachute Infantry” and “All American, All the Way: The Combat History of the 82nd Airborne Division,” non-fiction accounts by Phil Nordyke, where he told the story of his time as a mortar squad leader with Brown, who had been a mortar squad leader with F Company.

After the Army, Brown went to work as an explosives technician at DuPont and Co. He is survived by two daughters, 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, according to his obituary.

Fair winds and following seas, SSgt. Brown

Army Times Link

Category: Army News, The Warrior Code

Comments (22)

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  1. Graybeard says:

    Another hero to look up to enshrined in the halls of valor.

    Until we meet in eternal peace, sir.

  2. Hondo says:

    . . . who made every combat jump during World War II, . . .

    Sheesh – you think that the freaking Army Times could get that part right. As that reads, it is dead wrong.

    The man very well may have made every combat jump that the 82nd Airborne and/or the 505th PIR made – but there were far more large-scale airborne operations than 4 during World War II. The US Army conducted 12 different large-scale combat jumps in World War II – 7 in the ETO, and 5 in the Pacific. They’re listed here:

    Not taking anything away from the guy; his record speaks for itself. I’m just expressing disgust at the quality of the writing in that Army Times article.

    FWIW: if you’re having trouble accessing the Army Times link above, try this one:

    • 2/17 Air Cav says:

      I thought maybe that the four jumps pertained only to jumps in the European Theater, but your link showed that not to be true.

      • Poetrooper says:

        Cav, maybe you are old enough that like me, when I reported in to Repo Depo at Fort Campbell for Airborne training in 1959, there were a lot of these WWII troopers around, most serving as first sergeants and sergeants major. The 101st Airborne Division Sergeant Major, Paul Huff, wore the MoH for service with the 509th PIR in Italy. The CG was Westmoreland, another WWII vet. One of my black hat tormentors in jump school was an SFC Cannon who had four combat stars on his wings. I ran into him years later at a Static Line conference in Atlanta and he was still a crusty old bastard. We also had a lot of the 187th NCO’s around who had jumped in Korea.

        My battalion commander in Vietnam was a WWII vet. Most folks don’t realize that we were in Vietnam less than twenty years after WWII. Our initial supplies in Nam were from WWII era depot materiéls, including our C-Rations which contained the old green packages of Lucky Strikes.

        • 2/17 Air Cav says:

          PT. The senior drill sergeant in my BCT company was a WW II Veteran. I don’t need to get the book out to see his face. I see it in my mind’s eye. He was neither ill tempered, loud nor rash, but when he spoke, no one had to be told to shut up and listen.

        • Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

          I used to see the wartime Lucky Strikes “green” during the 50’s. If we saw an empty pack on the sidewalk, we would try and beat each other to stomp on it . I think it meant good luck but I cannot remember.

    • Combat Historian says:

      The Army Times reporter Meghann Myers who wrote the story is a typical civvie San Franshitsco liberal loon who probably feels more at home hanging out with the antifas than with troops out in the field. Her specialty when it comes to reporting on the military is sexual harassment and assault of military females; it’s in her Linkedin profile…

      • Poetrooper says:

        All of the military “Times” publications are owned by a private equity holding company, Regent, L.P., based in Beverly Hills, headed by another gazillionaire, Left Coast lawyer named Reinstein. Like Time and Newsweek, the various military “Times” were slowly infiltrated by liberal editors and writers to the point I gave up on them about 20 years ago.

        • Comm Center Rat says:

          Poetrooper: I’ve been military “Times” free for six years. I find the TAH staff and commenters to be more informative and accurate so this site is now my primary source for military and cultural news.

      • jonp says:

        The story seemed to me to be from the right place and not done wrong deliberately. I cut some slack most of the time for civvies that have no idea what is going on in the military getting a few details wrong but this hero deserved to have everything correct.
        Those of us that have jumped at 0’dark thirty appreciate combat jumps. To have made as many as he did and lived to tell the tale is epic beyond belief.

    • Just lurking says:

      My favorite airborne joke: there was a convention of paratroopers where they were all bragging about how many jumps they had. “I’ve got 50 jumps,” one says. “Oh yeah, well ‘I’ve got a hundred,,” says another. “Big deal, I’ve got 200,” says a third. All this time this little old man just sits there and says bothing. Finally one of the others says to him “hey old timer, how many jumps do you have?” “Only five,” says the old man. They all laugh and shout “only five?!?” “Yes, only five,”. The old man explains, “North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Normandy and Belgium.”

  3. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    I like that he went to work as an explosives tech after the war. He put that mortar man training to good use in war and in peace.

  4. Sapper3307 says:

    Airborne, young man!

  5. Sparks says:

    Rest in peace Brother.

  6. Ex-PH2 says:

    Rest in Peace, Mr. Brown. There’s a cold one waiting for you….

  7. Green Thumb says:

    Rest well.

    Hunters from the Sky.

  8. RGR 4-78 says:

    Rest in Peace.

  9. Poetrooper says:

    Rest well, Old Trooper you’ve made your final jump, this time off into that Great Unknown.


  10. 5th/77thFA says:

    God Speed Troop. Open silk – All The Way!

  11. Deplorable B Woodman says:

    It’s a wonder he could get around with those Big Brass Ones he carried.

    Damn! It got dusty here.

  12. Skyjumper says:

    Lets see:

    1. Staff Sgt. Russell Brown was with the 82nd ABN.

    Skyjumper: Served with the “White Falcons” 2/325

    2. Staff Sgt. Russell Brown passed on Aug. 31

    Skyjumper was born on Aug. 31

    3. Staff Sgt. Russell Brown passed at the ripe old age of 96.

    Skyjumper just turned 70.

    Hey, there’s hope for me yet. I still got a shot at hanging a round longer and aggravating civilians for a bit longer! (smile)

    “Airborne & All The Way” to you, Staff Sgt. Russell Brown.