The Hunt for Jimmie Browne
An MIA Pilot in World War II China
Robert L. Willett
Potomac Books, Lincoln, Nebraska, 2020, 256 pages
Book Review published on: March 6, 2020
Robert Willett opens The Hunt for Jimmie Browne: An MIA Pilot in World War II China by giving a brief background of his older cousin, Jimmie Browne, and Browne’s upbringing. He then ventures into Browne’s early contributions to the Allied war efforts in England with the Air Transport Auxiliary between May 1941 and March 1942. Browne was the copilot of China National Aviation Corporation (CNAC) No. 60, which went missing on 17 November 1942, almost a year after the United States declared war on Japan. Willett uses the search for his cousin as a way of sharing the history of the United States support to China during World War II in the India-Burma-China theater. CNAC was an airline jointly owned by the Republic of China and Pan American World Airways and flown under contract with the U.S. Army Air Corps. CNAC started flying the treacherous Hump routes over the Himalayan Mountains in April 1942, delivering ammunition, weapons, fuel, and other supplies desperately need to support the Chinese war efforts. The Allies needed to keep China in the war in order to keep over a million Japanese fighters occupied and unavailable for commitment elsewhere in the Pacific theater. Browne’s final flight departed Kunming, China, en route for Dinjan, India, for supplies. Willett provides a detailed chronicle of his and his family’s efforts to locate the wreckage of CNAC No. 60 and to repatriate Browne’s remains to the United States. The location of the wreckage of CNAC No. 60 was discovered in 2012, only a few miles from the city of Dali in Yunnan Province, China. Willett spends the final five chapters of the book detailing his frustrations with U.S. government agencies and the Chinese government to excavate the crash site and repatriate the remains of his cousin. The author also provides an exceptional account of how the Chinese people have memorialized the contribution of American and Allied pilots to China’s war efforts throughout World War II.
The Hunt for Jimmie Browne: An MIA Pilot in World War II China is a well written history of the U.S. contribution to the Chinese war efforts during World War II and an excellent choice for professional reading and addition on a military/history reading list.
Book Review written by: Eric O. Schacht, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas