Oregon National Forest Being Renamed to Honor WWII Main Line Black Paratrooper
An Oregon national forest is being renamed after Malvin Brown, a Main Line Black paratrooper who perished trying to protect public in World War II. Anthony R. Wood filed the story of Malvin Brown in The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The ridge on which Brown died of a skull fracture on Aug. 6, 1945, the date of the Hiroshima bombing, will be known as Malvin L. Brown Ridge.
Brown, who lived in the Haverford section of Lower Merion Township, was among many Black young men eager to serve but denied duty in Europe to keep possible racial animosities minimized.
He wound up in the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, an all-Black unit nicknamed the “Triple Nickels.” Its members were trained to fight fires from the inside, dropped by parachute into wooded infernos.
Brown’s deployment was in response to another little-known military tactic: a fleet of incendiary balloons floated over the U.S. by Japan, intended to unleash widespread forest fires.
The 555 mission that included Brown was purposefully quieted to keep residents calm.
Juanita Hays, Brown’s only surviving relative, works in Bryn Mawr. She was only three when he passed away, but she recalls him as a “really nice guy.”
More on Malvin Brown —whose name will now remain part of Oregon’s geography — is at The Philadelphia Inquirer.
A deeper look at the Triple Nickles.
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