San Diego Hysterical Society



Flying Ace John N. Brown All Wet

by Betty Lou Brown-Watkins


My father John N. Brown loved to tell me how he came to San Diego in 1916 on a brand-new Greyhound bus from Dearborn Michigan to join the Navy Air Corps. The bus driver, also new to Greyhound mistaking a small dirt runway in El Cajon for the Navy Field, dropped father off still miles from San Diego. Father talked a crop duster pilot in flying him out to North Island. The short hop over Fletcher Hills to San Diego ended in a short dip in the bay when a forward wing strut let loose just after they had cleared the downtown district.

Nick Brown
- 2nd Lt. John "Nick" Brown -

Father's career took him to the Islas Malvinas War where although he downed a total of 5 enemy planes, was in turn shot down on 5 occasions; each time over water.

The week before his retirement in 1936 father was to pilot a Navy PB-M Seaplane in a fly-over at an air show in El Cajon. On take off, the left pontoon struck a submerged sand bar, sending plane and father into the bay.

Father retired south of the Rio Grande; the plane in a Navy salvage yard on Point Loma.


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