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Posted on: February 9, 2024

City employee to participate in D-Day anniversary

Cody Brown prepares to jump from a WWII-era plane

A City of Athens employee who is an Iraq war combat veteran is training as a World War II style paratrooper.


Cody Brown, who is an operator at Water Services at Athens Utilities, found a school in Oklahoma that teaches how to be a World War II-era paratrooper. In the summer of 2023, Brown completed five jumps wearing a World War II-era uniform and received his jump wings. Brown enjoyed the experience so much, he attended in October 2023 and completed five more jumps. 


“I have wanted to go to airborne school since I was in the Army,” Brown said. “The first jump was perfect. I finally got to do this.”


Brown qualified for the school’s demonstration team and will go to Normandy, France, in June to participate in the celebration of the 80th anniversary of D-Day. This event, which ultimately led to the liberation of Europe, will be commemorated at the Normandy American Cemetery. Brown will participate in a paratrooper jump from a World War II aircraft onto the original landing zones used by American paratroopers on D-Day.


According to the American Battle Monuments Commission, the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France is located in Colleville-sur-Mer, on the site of the temporary American St. Laurent Cemetery, established by the U.S. First Army on June 8, 1944. It was the first American cemetery on European soil in World War II. 


The cemetery site, at the north end of its half mile access road, covers 172.5 acres and contains the graves of 9,387 of our military dead, most of whom lost their lives in the D-Day landings and ensuing operations. On the Walls of the Missing, in a semicircular garden on the east side of the memorial, are inscribed 1,557 names. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.


Brown’s upcoming paratrooper jump for the D-Day anniversary also honors a family legacy of military service. Brown’s father, Mike Brown, who works with Athens Fire and Rescue, said Cody Brown’s great grandfather trained as a paratrooper in World War II but broke his leg on a jump before he could get his jump wings. By the time his leg healed, he washed out of the paratroopers and was reassigned to an armored unit and fought the war from a tank. Mike Brown said his son is named for that grant grandfather who was James Thomas Dollar. Cody Brown’s full name is James Cody Brown.


There are other family connections to World War II. Cody Brown had a step great-grandfather who was on Omaha Beach on D-Day and survived. Another relative, Edward Lee Brown, a private in the U.S. Army, died during Exercise Tiger prior to D-Day.


Mike Brown said his son’s participation in the upcoming D-Day celebration is a tribute in two ways.


“He is representing our family, and he is representing our area,” Mike Brown said.


Cody Brown said his participation in the anniversary also honors those who previously fought.


“It’s a strong sense of pride to represent and bring to light the hardships and sacrifices of those who came before us,” Cody Brown said. “An old sergeant first class once told us as we did PT in the rain, ‘Suffer in silence. Everything we have ever had, have or ever will have has been earned through blood, sweat, tears, death, pain and heartache.’”


Cody Brown said the motto of the WWII Airborne Demonstration Team is, “Remember, Honor, Serve.”


“Physically highlighting, demonstrating and bringing interest to the service and sacrifices of our forebears who fought, died and were forever crippled both physically or mentally to ensure our future and posterity is a great honor,” Cody Brown said. “As it’s often said, ‘We stand on the shoulders of giants.’”


In June, Cody Brown will do more than stand on the shoulders of giants. He will soar.

Cody Brown trains as a paratrooper



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