Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is U.S. Army Veteran Joseph Edward Brown. Joseph served for three months in 1945 during World War II and again from 1950 to 1957 during the Korean War.

In an interview with the Veterans History Project, Joseph discussed his life and military career. He was born in Washington D.C. in November 1926 and grew up in Bladensburg, Maryland. He credits his maternal great-grandfather, a relative of Frederick Douglass, and grandmother with raising and instilling his strong values and principles of love after his mother died in childbirth. Joseph graduated high school in June 1945 and was drafted into the Army the following month. He was sworn into the service at Fort Meade, Maryland and trained as a pilot in Sheppard Field, Texas.

Joseph was discharged in October after the end of the war and enrolled at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. He graduated as a pre-med student in 1950 and was again drafted into the Army in June. Joseph was assigned to one of the first integrated basic training units at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Though he faced racial discrimination during his first term in the Army, he was selected to attend advanced training and leadership school due to his educational background.

After his training, Joseph was assigned to Korea and served in the medical detachment of the 74th Engineer Combat Battalion before being promoted to supervisor of the unit. While supervisor, he chose to give medical treatment to native civilians in enemy territory. He was once separated from his unit for two days and was forced to hide in bunkers and foxholes, but largely credits his training at leadership school and his upbringing for surviving.

After his discharge, Joseph wrote a memoir entitled Black Soldier of Mercy.

Joseph passed away on July 2, 2013.

We honor your service, Joseph.

Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? You’re in luck! VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.

Veterans History Project

This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at

Graphic By Lilian Vo: Lilian Vo is an undergraduate senior at George Mason University studying Global Affairs and Intelligence Analysis.

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Published on Feb. 7, 2018

Estimated reading time is 2.4 min.

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