FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla., – William Hall “Bill” Brown passed away peacefully at the age of 94 Christmas Day, December 25, 2008, at his Westwood apartment in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. He was born May 14, 1914, in Sumter, South Carolina, the eldest of eight children of Robert Tillman and Mildred Hall Brown. Bill Brown served in World War II as an Army Air Corps Flight Officer glider pilot. He was injured when his CG-4A Waco glider crashed during the Normandy D-Day invasion, earning him the award of the Purple Heart. After recovering from his injuries, he took part in the “Market Garden” Holland invasion, where his glider was hit by ground fire before landing. In his third major assault operation, Bill Brown took part in the “Varsity” Germany invasion, where his glider was hit by machine gun fire and forced down deep inside Germany. He and the 101 Airborne troopers carried in the glider fought their way through German lines to rejoin the American assault group, with Bill and his fellow glider pilot carrying a seriously wounded airborne soldier on a makeshift litter. During this invasion, he earned the award of the Bronze Star when he and his fellow glider pilots fought off a German infantry and panzer tank assault in the famous battle of “Burp Gun Corner.” After World War II he remained in the Air Force as an aircraft crew chief and squadron line chief and was involved in the Japanese occupation, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He retired from the United States Air Force with 30 years of service and the rank of Chief Master Sergeant, one of the first non-commissioned officers to achieve this rank.
Bill was married to Linnette Lindler for almost 65 years, who preceded him in death August 2, 2001. He is survived by his son, Robert L. Brown, and daughter, Billie Brown Chappell; three grandchildren, Sharolynn Brown Kucera, Robert L. Brown, Jr. and Sunnie G. Chappell; four great-grandchildren, Kimberly Brown Clark, Shannon M. Kucera, Caitlyn A. Kucera and Nathan E. Kucera; and great-great-grandchild, Riley J. Clark. Also surviving are two brothers, Robert T. Brown, Jr. and Murr H. Brown; and three sisters, Mildred Brown Shaw, Alice Brown Beatty and Jane Brown Jeffress. He was preceded in death by his brother, Tom Brown, and sister, Betty Brown Cain.
Funeral services will be held at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Fort Walton Beach, at 11:00 a.m. Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. Interment with military honors will be held at Beal Memorial Cemetery following the service for the immediate family. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made to the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church “Build The Vision” fund, 363 Miracle Strip Parkway SW, Ft. Walton Beach, FL 3254