Bill Brown was a United States Air Force Pararescueman from 1969 to 1972. He entered the AF in 1968, and due to reductions in the training of Pararescueman, was accepted into the first class that began training in 1969; class 70-3.
During his Air Force career he attended the following courses:
- Pararescue indoctrination: May/June 1969. Physical and mental fitness preparation for the Pararescue career field. Fundamentally it was strenuous physical requirements and mental harassment.
- U.S. Army Airborne School: July 1969. Learning how to parachute to land; a 3-week course in basic parachuting including completion of 5 static line jumps.
- U.S. Naval Underwater Swimmers School: August 1969. Learning the physiology of SCUBA, dive training including underwater compass swims, deep sea diving, and much physical and pool harassment.
- U.S. Air Force Medical School: September 1969. Basic emergency medical care.
- U.S. Air Force Air Crewmember Survival School: October 1969. Survival techniques on land including prisoner of war survival techniques and overland navigation skills.
- U.S. Army Ranger Mountain Climbing School: December 1969. Basic and advanced mountain climbing skills including medical rescue. This course was taught by Pararescueman.
- U.S. Air Force Pararescue School: November 1969-March 1970. Twenty-one parachute experiences into open land, trees, and ocean waters. Incorporated advanced medical education, survival skills, long term care of the survival patient, Apollo Space Capsule flotation collar placement at night or in the daytime, deep sea diving, and much physical and mental harassment.
- U.S. Force Helicopter Firefighting School. April 1969. Firefighting techniques used to rescue pilots from burning jet fighters that crashed due to maintenance or in combat conditions that were burning but not destroyed.
Tours of Duty/Action
- Bill spent ten months stationed at Osan Air Base, South Korea.
- Via a commander’s call with the Commanding General of Air Rescue, Bill requested transfer from Korea into the Viet Nam War. The following month, Bill was stationed at Udorn Air Base, Thailand with the 40 ARRS. That summer, in 1971, the 40 ARRS was transferred to NKP Air Base, Thailand.
One of the most defining moments in Bill’s military career as well as his life, occurred in December of that same year when he rescued two pilots shot down by SAM missiles over North Viet Nam, many miles behind enemy lines. As a result of his heroic efforts, Bill was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for Heroism for his efforts during this rescue. Read articles about this rescue:
During his time in Viet Nam, Bill “walked among heroes.” Out of his four roommates, one was killed during a combat rescue support mission, and two received Silver Stars as a result of their roles in rescue missions. In his 70-3 class, ten Pararescueman served during the Viet Nam War. The 70-3 class accumulated four Silver Stars, two Purple Hearts and 27 Distinguished Flying Crosses.
The motto of the Air Rescue services is “That Others May Live.” Pararescue taught Bill the development of mental tenacity, excitement of adventures, and the skill of decision-making in extremis conditions. Bill attributes his personal and professional successes to these skills, and his life revolved around the rescue motto “That Others May Live.”