Brown, Charles W.



Brown, Charles W.


Charles W. Brown


William Vollano


Charlie Brown entered the Service shortly after completing high school in Ann Arbor. He was working at the A&P at the time. After his Basic Training, he was sent overseas. It wasn't too long before he was involved in the Battle of the Bulge. There was a great deal of mud that the trucks that he worked with had to get through. Charlie and his group had to cut trees, so that the trucks could avoid it. There were no power saws, so everything was done by hand. At one point, Charlie was asked to drive one of the trucks, because the regular driver was not available. They hit a landmine and the truck was blown up. The two men next to him received shrapnel wounds. Three men in the back were blown out of the truck, and although they were bruised, they survived. Charlie received minor bruises. After taking a pounding from the Germans, his Colonel decided to surrender. The Colonel told the Unit that they had a choice. They could surrender to the Germans or try to find a way to escape. Charlie and a group of about 50 G.I. 's decided to try the latter. The 50 plus group spent a total of 4 days behind the German lines. During this time, the group tried to avoid detection. Charlie reported that one time he was so close to a German soldier who was looking for his buddy, that he could have tripped the German. Of course, he didn't. Another time, the exhausted group took a nap. One of the other soldiers woke Charlie, because they were in the middle of a German tank assembly area. For all 4 days, Charlie only had one candy bar to eat. When the group finally got back to the American lines, they all ate much better, but since they had not eaten for so long, the food did not stay with them. Charlie was still in Belgium when V-E Day was declared. Afterwards, they were packed up and prepared to go to the Pacific. Everyone was relieved when V-J Day was declared. He then started his trip home. While awaiting his discharge, Charlie was in Indiana, near enough to his relatives to visit. On one occasion he was taking a shortcut through a cemetery. There was an empty grave that he jumped into, to see how it felt. His cousin told him to get out. The gravestone was for CHARLE W. BROWN. He used the G.I. Bill to get an Associate’s Degree from Cleary College. He then went to work for the State of Michigan, and finally worked up to Assistant Business Manager at the local State Hospital. Charlie was married for 50 years before his wife died. His second wife was a widow after 40 years of marriage. They have been married for seven years. Charlie said that he has been married for 97 years.

Date Span

Dates of Service


Drafted; United States Army; 423rd Infantry Regiment, 103rd Infantry Division; World War, 1939-1945; Second World War - European Theater; Sergeant


Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Collection Location


Spatial Coverage

Second World War - European Theater

Item sets