Seven decades after a secret World War II mission claimed his life, Main Line native Malvin L. Brown and other fallen members the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion will be honored with an official marker in Oregon, writes Anthony R. Wood for Philly.com.
The honor comes two years after the mystery of Brown’s final resting place was solved when a tombstone was discovered in a heavily weeded cemetery outside Baltimore. He was a member of the first all-black paratroop unit, also known as the Triple Nickels.
Brown died during the top-secret “Operation Firefly” mission while parachuting into an Oregon forest. His family was barely told anything about his death, said his niece, Vernell Brown.
The newly formed unit was dispatched to the Northwest to join the Forest Service’s smoke jumpers, known as the parachuting firefighters. They dealt with fires caused by the Japanese bombing of the U.S. with primitive intercontinental ballistic missiles. The attacks were kept a secret to avoid nationwide panic.
“We didn’t know any of that,” said Vernell Brown. “They told us he was killed when he jumped into a tree. We knew he was fighting forest fires.”
Read more about Brown at Philly.com by clicking here.