Memorial Day program to honor Tuskegee Airman

May 24, 2019 GMT

Larry Ernest Brown Jr. was only 17 when he entered the Aviation Cadets to train as a U.S. Army Air Corps pilot in 1945 to serve in World War II and become a Tuskegee Airman.

Brown, who died at his Katy home on Feb. 15 at the age of 91, lived a life that included a number of firsts: He was the first African-American elected vice president of the Southeastern Region of the National Federation of Catholic College Students; and he was one of the first African-American cadet officers elected as flight commander while in Office Candidate School, according to a biography from Schmidt Funeral Home of Katy.


Then-President George W. Bush presented in March 2007 a Congressional Gold Medal to Brown as part of a ceremony to honor each of the Tuskegee Airmen over 60 years “after these brave and pioneering men served flying in the skies over Europe defending our country all the while fighting the battle against racial segregation.”

Brown will be honored at the May 27 Memorial Day Program organized by Katy Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9182 at Magnolia Cemetery in Katy. The program will begin at 10 a.m. and include a presentation to Mrs. Delores Brown, his widow, of a documented original Tuskegee Airman Certificate.

After entering the Aviation Cadets, Brown logged many hours flying and learned to fly the P-51 Mustang, a premier U.S. fighter plane. He developed a lifelong passion for flying and the P-51 Mustang. As the war ended, he entered the U.S. Reserves and continued his education at Xavier University in New Orleans. Chosen at president of the student body, Brown also served as chairman of the national committee for the National Student Association.

After graduating with a bachelor of science degree from Xavier University in 1951, he entered the U.S. Air Force and was accepted for Officer’s Candidate School. His assignments include pharmacy officer at South Ruislip Air Force Base in England and medical executive officer at the Sidi Slimane AFB in Morocco. He served as administrator of several medical facilities while serving in the U.S. Air Force and rose to the rank of major in 1967. Four years later, he retired. He then served for 20 years with private health-care facilities until he retired in 1991.

His family said he loved speaking to young people in his later years. “He wanted to encourage them ‘to always do your best’ and offer a message that they could do whatever they want to do.”

The Katy VFW is assisted and supported in the Memorial Day Program by Katy American Legion Post 164 and the Katy Fire and Police departments. Magnolia Cemetery is located at 6801 Franz Road in Katy.


The program will include posting of colors and a 21-gun salute by the Katy VFW 9182 Honor Guard.

Chris Harris, at-large Katy City councilman, will be the guest speaker. Poet Laureate Hubert E. Cormier II of Katy Elks Lodge and American Legion Post 164, will recite a poem.

Following a memorial service, there will be a tolling of the bell for deceased comrades and emergency service members.