In Memory of
Seaman Second Class
Gordon Ernest Brown
Vermillion, South Dakota
November 23, 1924 – November 24, 1943
Killed in action aboard the Liscombe Bay South Pacific Theatre/Gilbert
On November 23, 1924 Freeman and Eva
Brown of Vermillion, South Dakota welcomed a son, Gordon Ernest Brown. Brown
spent all of his youth and adolescence in Vermillion with his parents Freeman
and Eva, and his many siblings, Eva Berniece, G. Irene, Ivan, Lowell, Maurice,
L. Manferd, and Max. Brown attended Vermillion Public Schools from kindergarten
through twelfth grade. Mr. Brown was very athletic. In 1942, he was the
co-captain of the Vermillion High School football team. He also lettered in
basketball and track. Mr. Brown held various part time jobs before his
graduation in mid-semester of his senior year in 1942.
Then just a couple of months after Mr.
Brown graduated from high school, h e entered the Navy. On March 11, 1943 Mr.
Brown started to receive boot training in Farragut, Idaho and radar training in
Farragut as well s in Point Loma, San Diego, California. He then earned the
rank of Seaman Second Class. Seaman Brown’s first assignment was the South
Pacific Theatre of action, the Gilbert Island Campaign. Some may say that he
was a very patriotic person. Particularly those who knew him well, like his
family, friends, and those from the Pacific Fleet and the Northern Attack force
divisions who knew Seaman Brown. However, on his last letter home on November
1, 1943, he stated that he felt very much alone because no one from ‘home’ was
On November 23, 1943 Seaman Brown
celebrated his nineteenth birthday. A day later, on November 23, 1943 Seaman
Brown’s ship, the USS Liscombe Bay CVE 56, was hit and sunk by the torpedo of a
Japanese submarine. Unfortunately, the battle of Gilbert Island Campaign would
be his first and last battle. His brother, Max E. Brown, remembers this:
I, his brother, recall
the day that my parents heard on the radio that the ship
Liscombe Bay CVE 56 had been sunk with few survivors. This was my brother’s
ship. Somehow, the ship’s loss was reported prior to the notifications to the
next-of-kin. From Thanksgiving to beyond Christmas, they waited and finally
informed that Gordon was missing at sea and presumed to be dead.
Gordon Ernest Brown gave up something
very dear to him so that we could live in peace and harmony. Seaman Brown gave
his life. We have stopped and appreciated Seaman Brown’s courage, strength, and
patriotism for what he sacrificed for us. We have also acknowledged the other
lives lost in World War II. We ask you to do the same.
Seaman Brown’s ship
This entry was respectfully submitted by Jennie Bellis, Molly Woodard, and
Ryan Eichelberg of the 8th Grade, Vermillion Middle School,
Vermillion, South Dakota. Mr. Max E. Brown of Austin, Minnesota, brother of
Seaman Gordon Ernest Brown, provided information for this entry.