February 13, 1926 (unknown place of birth) – May 4, 1945; 19 years old
Last local address: Fairfield County Home for Children, Westport Avenue
Enlisted on February 13, 1943 (17th birthday)
Service number: 6431411
USS Shea (DM-30)
Unknown family information. Next of kin was listed as Anna B. Lucas of 326 Hamilton Street, Bridgeport. He is listed in the 1940 census at 14 years old in the Fairfield County Temporary Home For Children in Norwalk. He enlisted on his 17th birthday.
BROWN, John V, SC2, 6431411, USS Shea (DM-30), assault and Occupation of Okinawa Gunto, May 4, 1945, (CasCode121) killed in combat, dd May 4, 1945 (bp5) + BROWN, John Victor, Ship’s Cook 2c, USNR. Mother, Mrs. Anna Lucas, 326 Hamilton St., Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Served on the USS Hudson (DD-475) in 1943, and the USS Alcor (AK-259) and the USS Shea (DM-30) from January 4, 1945 until his death in May of that year.
From destroyers.org: On the morning of 4 May 1945, the USS Shea was enroute to radar picket station Number 14, fifty miles northwest of Okinawa. Her radar screens were showing more enemy contacts at one time than they had thus far seen. The report of the approach of large Japanese air formations sent the Shea’s crew to general quarters. Shortly thereafter, a “considerable smoke haze blew over the ship from the beaches of Hagushi. At 0854, the Shea’s radar picked up a single enemy Betty six miles distant and four minutes later, the destroyer’s radar crew directed Combat Air Patrol planes in bringing it down.” Then, at 0859, five minutes after the initial sighting, a lookout spotted a Japanese human-piloted baka bomb on the Shea’s starboard beam closing on the ship at better than 450 knots. SC2c John V. Brown, a watch captain in the galley, was manning a .50-caliber machine gun. He saw the deadly baka moments before it struck and was the only one to fire at it with a few short bursts before it came down on him. The baka struck the Shea, plowing into the starboard side of her bridge, “entering the sonar room, traversing the chart house, passageway, and hatch” and exploding over the water on the port side of the ship. “Fire broke out in the mess hall, CIC, chart house, division commander’s stateroom, No. 2 handling room, and compartment A-304-L.” One officer and thirty-four men were killed by concussion, shrapnel, burns, and shock.
From The Norwalk Hour October 14, 1944
October birthdays at the Fairfield County Temporary Home were observed yesterday with a party and four of the youngsters blew out candles that had been lit in their honor. Reverend George V. Hamilton, superintendent of the Home, said today that John Victor Brown, formerly “one of my boys”, recently paid him a visit, having just returned from a tour of duty in the Pacific area where he had been for about 18 months. He was wearing five silver stars. His chevrons showed he had a rating of “Cook 1st Class, USN.” The service flag of the Home, Mr. Hamilton pointed out, now has 45 stars. Some of the boys went into the fighting forces from that place and others from individual temporary homes while under the jurisdiction of the County Board.
From The Norwalk Hour May 11, 1945
John Victor Brown, Seaman First Class, US Navy, who was a resident at the Fairfield County Temporary Home for Children for five years before he enlisted 18 months ago, was killed in action in the Pacific area recently, according to word received by the House Commissioners. No details are available but Seaman Brown had been stationed on the USS Hudson. He will be the first gold star on the home honor roll. He had been on a brief furlough about six months ago when he came to this country for hospitalization for shrapnel-shot injuries and had visited at the home. When the news of his death came, the County Home children reserved a period of silence in tribute to his memory, and Reverend George V. Hamilton, superintendent of the home, offered prayers for Seaman Brown, the other County Home boys in service and for the coming of V-J Day in the near future. Reverend Mr. Hamilton said the children were deeply affected as “John has been loved by all and was an outstanding character.” Seaman Brown who enlisted on his 17th birthday was a graduate of Center Junior High School where he was active in athletics, was captain of the home baseball team, assistant leader of the Home Band in which he was a bugler, and was a patrol leader of Boy Scout Troop 54.
Buried at Lakeview Cemetery, 885 Boston Avenue, Bridgeport, Connecticut; Section 20V, Grave 42. Photo by webmaster.