Gerald Brown was born on December 2, 1917, in Globe, Arizona. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on February 25, 1941, and entered the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Forces on June 17, 1942. Brown was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his pilot wings at Williams Field, Arizona, on March 10, 1943, and then joined the 38th Fighter Squadron of the 55th Fighter Group, flying the P-38 Lightning. Lt Brown deployed with his unit to England in September 1943 and was credited with the destruction of 5 enemy aircraft in aerial combat plus 1 damaged before returning to the U.S. and serving with a P-38 Replacement Training Group. Capt Brown joined the 334th Fighter Squadron of the 4th Fighter Group in England in June 1944, and served as commander of the squadron from July to November 1944. Col Brown left active duty and served in the reserves from January 8 to July 6, 1947. His first assignment was with the 12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group at March Field, California, from July 1947 to January 1949, followed by service as Assistant Operations Officer for the 35th Fighter Group in Japan from January to March 1949. Col Brown served as commander of the 39th Fighter Squadron of the 35th Fighter Group in Japan and then out of South Korea from March 1949 until he was shot down and taken as a Prisoner of War on November 30, 1950. After spending 1,012 days in captivity he was released during Operation Big Switch on September 6, 1953. Col Brown was hospitalized to recover from his injuries from September to December 1953, and then went back on flying status with the 3525th Pilot Training Group at Williams AFB, Arizona, where he served as Executive Officer until August 1954. His next assignment was as commander of the 3526th Pilot Training Squadron at Williams AFB from August to November 1954, followed by service as Executive Officer of the 3525th Pilot Training Group (later renamed 3525th Combat Crew Training Group) until March 1956. Col Brown served on the staff of Air Training Command at Scott AFB, Illinois, and then at Randolph AFB, Texas, from March 1956 to August 1959, and then served as Director of Operations for the 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Laon AB, France, from August 1959 to August 1962. He served with the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington, D.C., from August 1962 to June 1965, followed by service on the staff of Headquarters Tactical Air Command at Langley AFB, Virginia, from June 1965 to August 1966. Col Brown's final assignment was as Vice Commander and then Commander of the 4510th Combat Crew Training Wing at Luke AFB, Arizona, where he served from September 1966 until his retirement from the Air Force on November 1, 1967. Gerald Brown died on December 8, 2007, and was buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona in Phoenix, Arizona.
His Distinguished Service Medal Citation reads:
Lieutenant Colonel Gerald Brown distinguished himself by exceptionally outstanding service to the United States from 30 November 1950 to 6 September 1953 while a prisoner of war in North Korea. In full knowledge of the great personal risk involved as Senior United Nations officer at the Pingchong-Ni Prisoner of War Camp, Colonel Brown, in the latter part of 1951, despite anticipated punishment by torture, starvation, deprivation and probable execution, organized and directed a secret resistance movement of all prisoners in opposition to the indoctrination program of the Chinese Communist Forces. Colonel Brown's objective was attained when the enforced study program of the enemy eventually collapsed due to the organized resistance inspired by this movement. In late December 1951, Colonel Brown, immediately recognizing the need for positive leadership to defeat the enemy's psychological design, personally countermanded the orders issued by the Chinese Camp Commander that all United Nations prisoners of war would join in sending New Year's Day greetings to the Commander of the Chinese Communist Forces in Korea. The outstanding leadership, exceptional fortitude and selfless devotion to duty consistently displayed by Colonel Brown during his thirty-three months of captivity, reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.