Paintings presented during museum remembrance of Jesse Brown

Paintings presented during museum remembrance of Jesse Brown
Photo Credit WDAM
Photo Credit WDAM

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The presentation of several pieces of original art highlighted an event in Hattiesburg Tuesday morning remembering a Hub City native who was also the nation's first African-American naval aviator.

A painting titled, "Wingmen to the End" was unveiled during a ceremony at the African-American Military History Museum honoring Ensign Jesse Brown.

Brown, of Hattiesburg, was killed when his plane was shot down during the Korean War in December of 1950.

The painting depicts Brown and his wingman, Thomas Hudner, flying together.

Hudner was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor after intentionally crash-landing his plane in an attempt to rescue Brown.

The 40" x 24" painting was done by Gareth Hector and is featured in the book, "Devotion," by Adam Makos.

The book details the friendship of Hudner and Brown.

Three smaller copies of the painting were presented to the city of Hattiesburg, Forrest County and Pamela Knight, Jesse Brown's daughter.

The museum also hosted two other events honoring Brown this year.

The first was in October, celebrating Brown's 90th birthday, and the second was held on Dec. 4, when the city of Hattiesburg declared that day as Jesse Leroy Brown Day.

"I think he would be very appreciative and humbled by all the accolades he's receiving in regards to the courage and the fortitude and the aptitude he had to do what he did do," said Pamela Knight.

Brown's accomplishments also served as an inspiration for another Hattiesburg native, Timmy Brown, a retired Navy Lieutenant, who served in the late '70's and '80's. Brown isn't related to Jesse Brown, but he served as a featured speaker at the event.

"The thing that inspired me more than anything else about him, was just he came from Hattiesburg and he was such as small-town guy and it made me believe it was possible for us to do the same thing," he said.