Film helps renew search for 1st Black Navy pilot’s remains

Jan 10, 2023, 6:41 PM | Updated: Jan 11, 2023, 8:50 am
FILE - This circa 1950 photo provided by the U.S. Navy shows Jesse Brown in the cockpit of an F4U-4...

FILE - This circa 1950 photo provided by the U.S. Navy shows Jesse Brown in the cockpit of an F4U-4 Corsair fighter at an unidentified location. In December 2022, FedEx founder Fred Smith gifted the proceeds from the film “Devotion,” which he financed, that tells the story of groundbreaking Naval aviators Brown and Thomas Hudner. The proceeds will fund in part scholarships for the children of Navy service members studying STEM. (U.S Navy via AP, File)

(U.S Navy via AP, File)

The film “Devotion” reignited efforts to repatriate the remains of Jesse Brown, America’s first Black Navy pilot, who died in 1950 after having to crash land his damaged plane during the Korean War.

Fred Smith, the founder of Memphis-based FedEx, financed the film about Brown because he thought Brown deserved wider recognition, a feeling his surviving relatives share, and lobbied the Trump administration to support the search efforts after consulting with Brown’s daughter, Pamela.

“I’m still determined to try to get Jesse Brown home and put him where he ought to be in Arlington (National Cemetery),” Smith said. “Among the other heroes of the republic next to his wingman, Tom Hudner.”

Smith’s daughters, Rachel and Molly, who produced the film, met members of Brown’s family at the 2018 funeral of Hudner, who received the Medal of Honor after attempting to rescue Brown. Hudner returned to North Korea in 2013 in an attempt to locate Brown’s remains, but was unsuccessful.

Jessica Knight Henry, Brown’s granddaughter, said attending Hudner’s funeral at Arlington solidified her grandmother’s desire to have her husband’s remains interred in Arlington.

“He’s never had a full sort of burial with that with the pomp and circumstance that that we think is worthy of what his contribution is to this country” Knight Henry said, speaking from Washington.

Brown grew up in Mississippi, the son of sharecroppers, and succeeded in qualifying to be a pilot in the Navy, despite his training officer refusing to pin on his wings — just one of many racist insults and hurdles he overcame.

Smith has donated “Devotion”‘s proceeds, in part, to endow a new scholarship fund, the Brown Hudner Navy Scholarship Foundation, for the children of Navy service members pursuing studies in STEM.

“Mr. Smith spent an incredible amount of money imaging the area where we think that my grandfather’s remains are,” said Knight Henry, adding that her family has worked with different agencies and groups to maximize any potential opportunity to get answers.

More than 7,500 American military personnel remain unaccounted for in the Korean War, according to the government agency that tracks prisoners of war and those missing in action.

___

Associated Press coverage of philanthropy and nonprofits receives support through the AP’s collaboration with The Conversation US, with funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. The AP is solely responsible for this content. For all of AP’s philanthropy coverage, visit https://apnews.com/hub/philanthropy.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Bryan Kohberger, who is accused of killing four University of Idaho students in Nov. 2022, a...
Associated Press

News groups ask Idaho Supreme Court to reject University slayer gag order

Thirty news organizations have asked the Idaho Supreme Court to overturn a gag order in a case against a man accused of stabbing four students to death.
14 hours ago
Nathan Chasing Horse stands in court. Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, in North Las Vegas, Nev. Nathan Chasing...
Associated Press

‘Dances With Wolves’ actor charged in 2018 rape in PNW

Canadian police confirmed Tuesday they are pursuing a criminal case against a former "Dances With Wolves" actor who was arrested last week and charged in Nevada with sexually abusing and trafficking Indigenous women and girls.
14 hours ago
Associated Press

Oregon governor: Agency leaders used jobs for personal gain

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek on Wednesday asked the board of commissioners of the state’s marijuana and alcohol regulating authority to remove its executive director and other leaders, alleging they “abused their position for personal gain.” “This behavior is wholly unacceptable. I will not tolerate wrongful violations of our government ethics laws,” […]
2 days ago
FILE - North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein speaks in front of the Supreme Court in Washingto...
Associated Press

Appeals court backs North Carolina AG Stein on libel law

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A federal appeals court sided again with North Carolina’s attorney general on Wednesday, saying a 1931 libel law is most likely unconstitutional. Josh Stein has sought to block a fellow Democrat from using the law to prosecute him over a 2020 campaign commercial. In a unanimous result, the three-judge panel of […]
2 days ago
FILE - A cursor moves over Google's search engine page on Aug. 28, 2018, in Portland, Ore. The comp...
Associated Press

Investors’ query: Can Google answer Microsoft’s AI threat?

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google, a company built on finding quick answers to people’s questions, suddenly finds itself grappling for a response to a potential threat to its internet empire — a form of artificial intelligence that long-time rival Microsoft is now deploying to attack its dominant search engine. Microsoft’s assault combined with concerns about […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

Chipotle, Capri fall; New Relic, CVS Health rise

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks that traded heavily or had substantial price changes Wednesday: Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., down $85.45 to $1,637.41. The Mexican food chain’s fourth-quarter profit and revenue fell short of Wall Street forecasts. Fortinet Inc., up $5.86 to $59.64. The network security company gave investors an encouraging financial forecast. Capri Holdings Ltd., […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Film helps renew search for 1st Black Navy pilot’s remains