BROWN, CHARLES L. Scientist, Inventor, World War II hero and Air Force Cross recipient Charles L. Brown, Lt. Col USAF, (ret) 86, passed away Nov. 24, 2008. He was a Miami resident since 1972. Col. Brown was the loving father of Carol Dawn (Warner) and Kimberly Elaine (Arnspiger), the father-in-law of Michael Arnspiger and the late Andrew Warner, grandfather of Christopher, Dallas, and Charles (Michael). He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 58 years, Delores (Jackie) Brown on March 24, 2007. For extraordinary heroism in military operations in WWII he was awarded the Air Force Cross our nations award for valor second only to the Medal of Honor. He flew 29 combat missions as a B-17 pilot. His many other military decorations included the Purple Heart for wounds received in combat. Upon being offered a position with the United States Department of State he took early retirement from the Air Force and continued to serve his nation as a senior Foreign Service Officer spending six years in Southeast Asia (1965-71) as Inspector-In- Charge, Agency for International Development, U.S. Dept. of State. During his diplomatic career he received several U.S. and foreign decorations, awards and citations, ending his career in 1972 with 30 years of government service. In 1974 Charlie founded an energy and environmental research center and received national and international recognition in the field of "smokeless diesel" engines. In 1987 he was named National Inventor of the Year by the Palm Beach Society of American Inventors and in March 1980 was named as one of six top energy inventors in the U.S. by the research staff affiliated with NBC News "Today Show." In 1992 he was the recipient of the Distinguished West Virginian Award by the Governor. In 2007 during the annual Military Appreciation Day, he was honored by the Florida House of Representatives for his service in W.W. II. At age 21 on his first mission as pilot in command, his plane was badly damaged by German fighters and flack; he and six of his crew were wounded. Upon limping back to England they were intercepted by yet another enemy fighter over Germany. Recognizing their helpless state, the German pilot did not shoot them down but signaled Charlie to land, surrender and be taken prisoner. In the face of certain death Charlie refused two such demands because his crew needed critical medical care. The chivalrous German pilot, recognizing the courage of his fellow airman, escorted the crippled bomber to the coast, pointed a compass heading to England and saluted his adversary. Forty five years later the two pilots were re-united and became as close as brothers. Their story continues to receive international acclaim. The chivalrous German pilot, Luftwaffe Ace Franz Stigler passed away on March 22, 2008. The family will receive friends on Friday evening Dec. 12, 6-9 p.m., at Van Orsdel Funeral Home 11220 North Kendall Drive. Burial with full military honors will take place on Saturday Dec. 13, at 1 p.m. at Woodlawn Park South, 11655 SW 117 Avenue in Kendall. To visit this Guest Book Online, go to www.MiamiHerald.com/obituaries.
Published in The Miami Herald on Dec. 7, 2008