Hattiesburg museum celebrates 90th birthday of local war hero

Hattiesburg museum celebrates 90th birthday of local war hero
Ensign Jesse L. Brown
Ensign Jesse L. Brown

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg's African-American Military History Museum Thursday celebrated the 90th birthday of a local Korean War hero who was also the nation's first African-American Naval aviator.

Several dozen people gathered to mark the birthday of Ensign Jesse L. Brown.

He was born on Oct. 13, 1926 in the Kelly Settlement near Hattiesburg.

In 1948, Brown became the country's first black Naval aviator.

He was killed in action in 1950 in Korea when his plane crashed on a hillside after being hit by enemy fire. 

A large exhibit at the museum tells the story of Brown's life and military service.