Brown, Dale (Interview transcript and video), 2014


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Brown, Dale (Interview transcript and video), 2014



Smither, James (Interviewer)


Dale Brown was born in Lansing, Michigan on February 26, 1948. After graduating high school in 1966 he worked for General Motors before deciding to enlist since he thought he might be drafted to Vietnam anyway. Brown enlisted in the Air Force in May 1967 and went to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas for basic training. He then attended advanced training at Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Illinois, where he was trained in hydraulics for B-52’s and KC-135 aircraft. After training, he was shipped to K.I. Sawyer Air Base in Gwinn, Michigan, where he worked on maintaining hydraulic systems. In 1968 Brown was sent to Guam for four months to maintain aircraft, and the night he got back to the base in Michigan, he heard that he had orders to go to Vietnam. He began training for the F-100 fighter plane in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in March 1969, and that May he was flown to Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam to be shipped out to Tuy Hoa Air Base. There, he was assigned to the 31st Field Maintenance Squadron which was part of the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing. He mostly stayed on the base the whole time except for a few trips into the surrounding village to volunteer at an orphanage. Brown and two of his comrades also from Michigan visited Sydney, Australia for R&R. While on base in Vietnam, was aware of fighting going on in the surrounding areas and would see flares go up at night, although he never experienced it himself. However, some of the aircraft they sent out never returned, and even within his shop there were accidents with one worker accidentally getting shot by his teammates. After a year in Vietnam, he was shipped back home and returned to K.I. Sawyer Air Base to finish his enlistment. He was discharged in December 1970, after which he began taking automotive classes at Lansing Community College and returned to work at General Motors. He believes his service was a positive experience that gave him structure and discipline, helped him learn how to work with and rely on people, and made him realize that he can persevere through any problems that he may face. Cam Ranh Bay




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Grand Valley State University Libraries, Special Collections & University Archives, 1 Campus Drive, Allendale, MI, 49401.


Veterans History Project (U.S.)






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Brown, Dale, “Brown, Dale (Interview transcript and video), 2014,” Digital Collections, accessed June 12, 2024,
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