Vietnam War 50th Anniversary: POW Charles Brown highlights Westover’s historic role at Great New England Air Show breakfast (Padgett)

For Charles A. Brown Jr., his story is less important than those of the people with whom he served at Westover Air Reserve Base.

“Everyone’s heard my story,” the now retired Air Reserve colonel says.

In a nutshell, Brown’s story goes something like this:

Young man from Greater Boston joins the Air Force in 1968; completes ROTC at Boston University and signs in as an officer at Westover Air Force Base in Chicopee in 1970; flies B-52 Stratofortress bombers with the 99th Bombardment Wing from Westover; on his 189th mission is shot down over Vietnam in the 1972 Christmas offensive; spends 101 days as prisoner of war, including time at the infamous Hanoi Hilton; becomes third member of his family to be awarded a Purple Heart; comes home to complete a nearly 40-year career in the military.

“I’ve talked about my story until I’m blue in the face,” Brown says. “People have heard it too many times.”

There are too many others, he says, both extraordinary and ordinary men and women, who contributed to Westover’s history and whose stories deserve to be shared. That will be his mission when he returns to the base this month as the keynote speaker for a Galaxy Community Council breakfast on May 15 to kick off the 2015 Great New England Air Show weekend. The air show will mark the base’s 75th anniversary.

Other Books You Might Be Interested In

Contact Us