Vic Brown, Jr. was born in Fairbanks in 1923, and took his first airplane ride with Ben Eielsen at age 3. By 1929, the Brown family moved to Anchorage and started J. Vic Brown & Sons Jewelers. Aviation grabbed Brown’s attention early, and he started flying lessons at age 15. With just half a dozen flying hours, he was drafted by the US Army to serve in World War II. He qualified for flight training and came to fly a full slate of aircraft, from P-40 pursuit planes to bombers. After the war, Brown returned to Anchorage and focused on his jewelry business.
But flying was never far out of the window, and a chance encounter with Clyde Lewis of the Civil Air Patrol led Brown to join the civilian Air Force auxiliary organization. He rose through the ranks to become a squadron commander and was instrumental in acquiring aircraft and improved facilities from which the volunteer pilots could fly service flights and search and rescue missions. He personally received the CAP Air Search & Rescue Award in 1962 and 1963, helped fly mercy missions during the 1964 earthquake, eventually stepping down from the organization in 1975.