- Lieutenant Junior Grade
- WW II
Leroy Horton Brown Jr. was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1923. He was the oldest of four children of Mary P. and Leroy H. Brown Sr. He was a 1941 graduate of Warwick High School, Warwick, Rhode Island where he was an outstanding scholar and athlete. Leroy entered Rhode Island State College (RISC) in September 1941 with the class of 1945. He participated in the Army ROTC program while attending college. Leroy, like so many of his classmates, left RISC after two years and enlisted in the United States Navy Officer V-7 Program.
The V-7 United States Naval Reserve Midshipmen’s School program was a short course of eight months. The first month was spent at Indoctrination School, a “Boot Camp” for Officer Candidates that had Marine Corps drill instructors. Pre-Midshipmen’s School was a preparatory four-month course teaching military skills such as seamanship, navigation, ordnance, and officer training. Midshipmen’s School itself taught academic skills and was three months long. Graduates were commissioned as ensigns in the U.S. Naval Reserve, and the majority entered into active duty with the U.S. fleet.
Lt. (j.g.) Brown was assigned to the destroyer escort USS Frederick C. Davis. On 24 April 1945, the USS Davis was participating in operation “Teardrop” which was a hunt for snorkel-equipped German U-Boats in the Western Atlantic. The crew knew the U-Boat was in close proximity and was preparing for the attack when they received a direct hit on the port side of the ship, and the USS Frederick C. Davis broke in two. The ship sank quickly with the bow and stern both rising into the air. Some of the crew were able to abandon ship and were picked up by other destroyers. 113 crew members including Lieutenant Leroy H. Brown were killed or reported missing.
Lieutenant (junior grade) Leroy H. Brown was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart Medal; and his name is on the Tablets of the Missing at East Coast Memorial, New York City. Lieutenant Brown’s courage and devotion to duty contributed to the success of our forces in defeating the Germans and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He was a son of Rhode Island State College who answered the call to service during World War II and gave his life in service to the State of Rhode Island and our country. He was another member of the “Greatest Generation.”