Dallas Brown was born to Larkin Brown and Polly Jenkins on January 15th, 1945 in Hartford, Tennessee. He was a laborer at the shipyard in Newport News Virginia in 1942 when at age 21 he registered for the draft.

Upon entering the US Navy he became an Aviation Ordnanceman charged with managing all types of ammunition carried on Navy aircraft. And was stationed aboard the U.S.S. Franklin, nicknamed Big Ben, one of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers built during World War II. The Franklin served in several campaigns in the Pacific War, earning four battle stars.

Before dawn on 19 March 1945, the USS Franklin maneuvered to within 50 miles of the Japanese mainland, closer than any other U.S. carrier during the war. The carrier launched fighters against Honshū and shipping in Kure Harbor. As the Franklin was about halfway through launching a second wave of strike aircraft, a Japanese bomber pierced the cloud cover and dropped two semi-armor-piercing bombs.

One bomb struck the flight deck centerline, penetrating to the hangar deck. The second hit aft, tearing through two decks. The Franklin had 31 armed and fueled aircraft warming up on her flight deck, these planes caught fire almost immediately. The 13 to 16 tons of high explosives aboard these planes soon began detonating.

The explosion on the hangar deck ignited the fuel tanks on the aircraft, and a gasoline vapor explosion devastated the deck. The rockets aboard these planes ricocheted around the hangar deck until their warheads detonated. Only two crewmen survived the fire.

Total casualty figures amounted to 924 killed in action, the worst for any surviving U.S. warship and second only to that of battleship USS Arizona.

Aviation Ordnanceman 2c Dallas Brown was among the dead. For his valiant sacrifice in the service of his country he was awarded a Purple Heart and is remembered with a marker at Arlington National Cemetery.

He is listed on the Tablets of the Missing, Honolulu Memorial, Hawaii.

  • Rank: Aviation Ordnanceman Second Class
  • Date of birth:
  • 15 January 1922
  • Date of death: 19 March 1945
  • County: Cocke
  • Hometown: Hartford
  • Service Branch: Navy
  • Division/Assignment: U.S.S. Franklin (CV-13)
  • Theater: Pacific
  • Conflict: World War II
  • Awards: Purple Heart
  • Burial/Memorial Location: Honolulu Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Location In Memorial: Pillar VIII, Middle Panel
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