William Brown was born on December 18, 1923, in Lovely, Texas. He enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Navy on September 5, 1942, and was commissioned a 2d Lt in the U.S. Marine Corps on November 16, 1943. Lt Brown was designated a Naval Aviator on December 7, 1943, and then attended F4U Corsair Combat Marine Fighter Operation Training at NAS Jacksonville, Florida, from December 1943 to February 1944. His first assignment was as an F4U pilot with VMF-462 at MCAS El Centro, California, from April to November 1944, and then deployed to the Pacific Theater, where he joined VMF-224 on Okinawa in February 1945. Lt Brown transferred to VMF-311 in Okinawa in late April 1945, and he was credited with the destruction of 7 enemy aircraft in aerial combat between April and June 1945. His next assignment was as an F4U pilot with VMF-122 on Peleliu from August to September 1945, followed by service as a flight instructor with VT-5N at NAS Pensacola, Florida, from December 1945 to September 1947. Capt Brown served as an F4U pilot with VMF-214 at MCAS El Toro from September 1947 to January 1950, and then as a flight instructor with VMT-2 at MCAS El Toro from January to March 1950. He attended the Landing Signal Officer course at NAS Pensacola from March to July 1950, followed by All Weather Flight School at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, from July to September 1950. His next assignment was as an instrument flight instructor with VMT-2 at MCAS El Toro from September to October 1950, and then as an F4U pilot with VMF-235 at MCAS El Toro from October to December 1950. He attended the Test Pilot Training School at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, from January to July 1951, and then the Second Special Junior Course at MCS Quantico, Virginia, from July to November 1951. Capt Brown served with the 17th Replacement Draft at MCAS El Toro from December 1951 to February 1952, and during this time he participated in Cold Weather Training at Pickel Meadows, California, for his deployment to Korea. He was assigned to Headquarters Squadron 12, Marine Aircraft Group 12, of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in South Korea on February 15, 1952, and was killed in action while on temporary assignment to VMF-323 flying the F4U Corsair on a ground-attack mission 9 days later on February 24, 1952. Capt Brown's remains were never recovered, but he has a cenotaph at both Evergreen Cemetery in Lovely, Texas, and at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, California. His widow, Gladys Patricia May Brown (1919-2013) is buried at his cenotaph marker at Fort Rosecrans.
His 2nd Navy Cross Citation reads:
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Captain William Perry Brown, Jr., United States Marine Corps Reserve, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving as Pilot of a Plane temporarily attached to Marine Fighting Squadron THREE HUNDRED TWENTY-THREE (VMF-323), in action against enemy aggressor forces in the Republic of Korea on 24 February 1952. Volunteering to participate in an eight-plane strike against heavily defended rail and bridge installations along a main enemy supply route at Sariwon, Captain Brown fearlessly pressed home his attack in the face of an intense barrage of hostile anti-aircraft fire and scored a direct hit on a rail line with a 1,000-pound bomb. Spotting a convoy of enemy trucks entering a well-fortified supply center while he was recovering from his initial dive, he immediately launched a low-level strafing run on the objective despite damage to his plane from continuous hostile ground fire. Although his aircraft burst into flames, Captain Brown bravely continued to dive on the vehicles with his guns blazing until his plane crashed and exploded amid the convoy. His outstanding courage, superb airmanship and valiant devotion to duty in the face of overwhelming odds reflect the highest credit upon Captain Brown and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.