|Jesse L. Brown became the
U.S. Navy's first black aviator in October 1948. He was killed when his plane
was shot down during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. He was
unable to eject from his crippled F4U Corsair and crash-landed successfully.
His injuries and damage to his aircraft prevented him from leaving the plane.
A white squadron mate crash-landed his F4U Corsair near Brown and attempted
to extricate Brown but could not and Brown died of his injuries. The U.S.
Navy honored Jesse Brown by naming an escort ship after him — the U.S.S. Jesse
|The Vietnam War saw many
great accomplishments by many African Americans, including twenty who
received the Medal of Honor for their actions.
|In 1967, President Lyndon B.
Johnson presented the Medal of Honor to U.S. Army Specialist Five Lawrence
Joel, for a "very special kind of courage — the unarmed heroism of
compassion and service to others." Joel was the first living African
American to receive the Medal of Honor since the Mexican–American War. He was
a medic who in 1965 saved the lives of U.S. troops under ambush in Vietnam
and defied direct orders to stay to the ground, walking through Viet Cong
gunfire and tending to the troops despite being shot twice himself. The
Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, North Carolina is
dedicated to his honor.
|On August 21, 1968, with the
posthumous award of the Medal of Honor, U.S. Marine James Anderson, Jr.
became the first African-American U.S. Marine recipient of the Medal of Honor
for his heroic actions and sacrifice of life.
|On December 10, 1968, U.S.
Army Captain Riley Leroy Pitts became the first African American commissioned
officer to be awarded the Medal of Honor. His medal was presented
posthumously to his wife, Mrs. Eula Pitts, by President Lyndon B. Johnson.