Brown, Richard J. (661st)

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Biography:  Richard John Brown was born on January 19, 1924, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the son of George Brown and Veronica Bloom. He attended local primary schools and then two years at Olney High School. He then went to work for the Cramp Shipbuilding Corporation as a machine operator manufacturing air conditioners.

Service Time:  Richard entered the service on May 3, 1943, at Philadelphia. After his basic training, he was assigned to Company A of the 661st Tank Destroyer Battalion. 

The unit trained at a number of facilities including Camp Hood, Texas, Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, Camp Swift, TX, Camp Bowie, TX and Camp Chaffee, Arkansas.

On December 22, they moved to Camp Shanks, New York, for final preparations before shipment overseas. They shipped out from the New York port on January 10, 1945, and arrived at Le Havre, France, on January 21st. They were equipped with M18 tank destroyers and received a hurried two weeks of preparations before marching hundreds of miles into the interior of France. They were committed to battle at Rocherath-Krinkelt, Belgium, on February, 16th.

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On left, Richard displays a few swords he picked up along the way. On right, Richard is shown on top of his “Adelphia” tank destroyer with two other men from his crew.

Fighting along the Siegfried Line near Helenthal, Germany, in March, they then crossed the Rhine on the 27th. They advanced across Germany to Leipzig by April 17th, where the men saw their last fighting. In only a three month period, the 661st had taken 727 prisoners, destroyed many anti-aircraft guns, machine gun nests, and strongpoints and marched over 1200 miles. They received credit for the campaigns of Rhineland and Central Europe. Richard left the service at the rank of Sergeant.

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After the war, Richard went to work for the Western Electric Company and was a member of the Communications Workers of America union. In his spare time, he enjoyed outdoor activities, such as fishing, golf and metal detecting. He was also fond of puzzles. In the late 40’s, Richard married the former Kathryn Kurtz, who was the daughter of Fred Arthur Kurtz and Anna Mary Doettger. The couple would have 7 children, Kathleen, Michael, Richard Jr., Stephan, Kenneth, David and Thomas. 

Richard J. Brown 5Richard passed away on October 5, 2020, and was buried in the Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Cheltenham, PA. I want to thank the Brown family for the use of the photos and to Gary Paulachok for his assistance.