Tuskegee Airman Roscoe Brown Jr.
Tuskegee Airman Roscoe Brown was squadron commander of the 100th Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group. During combat, he served as a flight leader and operations officer. He had graduated from the Tuskegee Flight School on March 12, 1944 as member of class 44-C-SE.
The 100th Fighter Squadron deployed to the war in Europe as a part of the 332nd Fighter Group. Capt. Brown flew 68 combat missions, a combination of strafing runs and escort missions for heavy bombers and P-38 reconnaissance flights. During this period, Capt. Brown shot down an advanced German Me 262 jet fighter and a FW-190 fighter. For these actions, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
The Jet Kill
On March 24, 1945 the 332nd flew their longest mission of the war escorting heavy bombers to Berlin (which was farther from their base in Italy than from American airfields in England). Over the German capital, they encountered Messerschmitt Me 262 jets.
To confront the bombers and fighters, the Luftwaffe had launched 30 Me 262s from Brandenburg Briest near Berlin. The Me 262s were 100 mph faster than the American’s P-51s. This gave the P-51s a great disadvantage in the air battles with the jets.
Capt. Brown stated in his mission report, “As we got over the outskirts of Berlin, I first saw these streaks, which I knew were jets. . . . And they were coming up to attack the bombers,”. I ordered, “Drop your tanks and follow me.” to the other P-51 pilots.
Capt. Brown spotted one jet climbing toward the bombers. He had to do something fast.
“He didn’t see me,” Capt. Brown said. “And then I turned into his blind spot, put on my electronic gun sight, and there he was.
“I pulled up at him in a fifteen degree climb and fired three long bursts at him from 2,000 feet at eight o’clock to him. Almost immediately, the pilot bailed out from about 24,500 feet. I saw flames burst from the jet engines of the enemy aircraft. The attack on the bombers was ineffective because of the prompt action of my flight in breaking up the attack.”
The pilot of the 262 was ten-kill air ace Oberleutnant Franz Kulp. During his bail-out, Kulp sustained severe wounds but survived. By the time he had recovered, the war was over.