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Brownlee, Richard

Document Type

Oral History

Date of Interview



Dick Brownlee was born on 11 July 1925 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. An only child, his parents moved to St. Paul, Minnesota when he was young, and he grew up there, graduating from Central High School in 1943. Immediately thereafter Dick was inducted into the Army Air Corps. Dick had Basic Training at Amarillo, Texas, gunnery training at Kingman, Arizona, and crew training for B-17 heavy bombers at Rapid City, South Dakota. In mid-1944 his crew was shipped to England and attached to the 410th Squadron, 94th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, at Bury St. Edmonds. Personnel requirements led to Dick being assigned to a replacement pool, but he soon was posted to a crew, as a tail gunner. On his third mission with this crew, on 6 October 1944, their B-17 was shot down by enemy aircraft, and Dick bailed out over Germany. Dick was held briefly at an interrogation facility, Dulag Luft, then moved to a POW camp, Stalag Luft III at Sagan, southeastern Germany (present day Poland), where he remained until 27 January 1945. As the Soviet Red Army advanced, prisoners were evacuated that day by the Germans, and after a rail journey Dick ended up at Stalag XIII-B, in Nuremburg. In April this camp too was evacuated, and thus Dick was on a forced march in southern Bavaria with other POWs when liberated by the Americans in late April. He spent time at Camp Lucky Strike, Le Havre, France, before being returned to the United States. Dick was discharged in October 1945 with the rank of sergeant. Again a civilian, Dick returned to the Twin Cities area, and used GI Bill benefits to obtain a business degree from the University of Minnesota; he subsequently worked many years for the 3M Company, retiring in 1985. Dick was married in 1949 (wife Barbara), and raised a family of six children. At the time of this interview (July 2003) he lived in White Bear Township, Minnesota.


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Dick Brownlee - Transcript.pdf (731 kB)
PDF Transcript of Interview with Dick Brownlee