Geroge Russell Brown was born on January 3, 1921 in Donora, Pennsylvania. He enlisted in the U.S. Army at Camp Wheeler, Georgia on June 18, 1942. Staff Sergeant Brown was in Company I, 3rd Battalion, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. He jumped into Normandy on June 6, 1944. The 507th and the 508th PIR’s were to be dropped near the west bank of the Merderet River. The objective of both regiments was to establish defensive positions in those areas and prepare to attack westward sealing off the Cotentin Peninsula. In the predawn hours of D-Day the sporadic jump patterns of the 507th and 508th PIR’s left troopers spread out over a twenty mile area. Some who overshot the Drop Zone dropped into the Merderet River and its adjoining marshes. Many troopers who jumped with heavy equipment were unable to swim free and drowned. Others roamed the countryside until they encountered other units and joined their effort. Throughout the confusion in the days and weeks following D-Day the 82nd Airborne were able to seize La Fiere bridge and push westward to cut off the Cotentin Peninsula. After 33 days of continuous combat the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions returned to England.
Staff Sergeant Brown also made a combat jump in Operation Varsity in the vicinity of Wesel, just north of the Ruhr, on March 24th, 1945. Operation Varsity would be the last full scale airborne drop of World War II and the assignment went to the 17th Airborne Division with the 507th spearheading the assault dropping at the southern edge of the Diersfordter Forest, three miles northwest of Wesel where Brown was wounded by a rifle bullet which caused a compound fracture of fibula shaft on March 24th 1945. After the war Brown worked for the Charleroi Post Office. George Russell Brown died at the age of 52 on March 13, 1973 in Donora, Pennsylvania. He is buried in Mon Valley Memorial Park, Carroll Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania.
Staff Sergeant Brown’s records were destroyed in the fire at the National Archives in St. Louis. Brown’s group was sold at a Good Will store in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. The group includes Staff Sergeant Brown’s privately engraved Purple Heart and his sterling silver jump wings with a jeweler made bronze arrowhead for participation in the Normandy invasion and two bronze stars for combat jumps in Normandy and Operation Varsity.