Dr. Roscoe C. Brown, Jr. served as squadron commander of
the 100th Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group – the
famed Tuskegee Airmen – leaving military service in
1945 as a Captain.
He trained at the Tuskegee Army Air base in Alabama, Selfridge
Field in Michigan and Walterboro Air Base in South Carolina
in 1943 and 1944. Brown flew his first combat mission, escorting
B-24 bombers over the Ploesti oil fields in Romania in August
1944. In all, Brown completed 68 combat missions in the P-51
Mustang, escorting bombers over Germany, Austria and the
Balkan islands and conducting low altitude strafing missions
over enemy airfields and rail yards.
The highlight of his combat career came when he was the
first 15th Air Force fighter pilot to shoot down a German
Me-262 jet fighter. During that same mission, the 332nd Fighter
Group was selected to receive the highest honor given to
a combat unit, the Presidential Unit Citation.
The 332nd successful combat record, including downing 111
enemy aircraft and damaging another 150 on the ground, was
a principal factor in President Truman’s decision to
integrate the armed forces in 1948.
For his achievements in combat, Brown was awarded the Distinguished
Flying Cross and the Air Medal with eight Oak Leaf Clusters.
In civilian life, Dr. Brown earned his Ph.D. from New York
University (NYU) and has pursued a successful career in higher
education. He was a full professor at NYU for over 25 years
and was Founding Director of the university’s Institute
of Afro-American Affairs.
When he retired at the end of a 16-year tenure as President
of Bronx Community College of the City University of New
York (CUNY), Dr. Brown created the Center for Urban Education
Policy at the CUNY Graduate School and University Center
and has served as its Director since 1993.