We are continuing The Brown Shoes project by establishing an interactive website to include new entries plus the previously collected and compiled information – histories and narratives of Naval Aviators of the 1946-1976 generation, including photographs, anecdotes, essays, and poems, with additional sections containing other historical information. We need your suggestions.

Royce Williams and Ed Bethel, formerly of VF-781, in front of the F9F-5 on the USS Midway in San Diego Harbor, 2005. The F9 is painted in the colors of Royce’s F9 when he shot down 3 MiG-15s 40 miles from Vladivostok 18 November 1952. [His story is on the website.]The success of The Brown Shoes Project on hardcopy, CDs, and the Turner Publishing Company coffee table book capped the first phase — it was a start. Twenty-seven binders of the hardcopy were sent to the Pensacola Museum Library, and 350 copies of the double CD set were sent to several libraries and to those who contributed articles or donations to the project. We called this Phase I.

However, this distribution limited public access to this information by historians,scholars and the general public. The answer is The Brown Shoes Website – a website with a home page with several historical categories: narratives, anecdotes, diaries, photographs and documents, such as: The Korean War – The Beginning, the Revolt of the Admirals, Flying Midshipmen legislation, more stories from the troops (especially Flying Midshipmen), and comments where appropriate. Categories will be added as necessary or recommended. We’ll call this Phase II. Our website consultant proposed a fee of $6,880 to set up and implement this stage, and $5,000 for adding the ability for individuals and organizations to register and submit comments and articles for inclusion in the web site (the requirement for this category is still under discussion), and minimal continuing maintenance costs.

The Website will:

  • be interactive so that all – worldwide – who desire to review, comment on, or add to the historical topics and information will be able to do so.
  • have a unique search engine to locate all categories and items desired without going through the index and serially locating the item of interest.
  • be a continuing project – for many years of continuing interest and utilization (through succeeding management).
  • be open to new ideas and suggestions.

We had hoped to join the websites of UVa’s Center for Digital History [www.vcdh.virginia.edu] (at a proposed cost $23.5K), but three years ago the severe commonwealth and university budget crunch put a hold on this stage of the project.

Now, however, availability of locally hosted websites and the reduction in costs makes creating our own website feasible. We will have independent control, format design, exploration and innovation and the ability to link homepages of organizations supporting the Brown Shoes.

We have contracted with a local Internet Service Provider (ISP) who will provide web hosting and domain registration services and a local web site developer who will assist in developing our website [http://www.thebrownshoes.org].

We are carrying forward from Phase I a flattened learning curve and a cadre of interested individuals at UVA, at various journals and organizations, and flying midshipmen. The Brown Shoes website will be externally, not internally oriented.

The website will contain both text and photos at the present time. The capability of including audio and video material is on standby – these items will be included later.

With much assistance, we will have a first-rate history website to present all aspects of those great guys who were Naval Aviators of that generation 1946 – 1976, with emphasis on the Flying Midshipmen and those who trained and served with them.

To all who wish your stories, photos, and letters home to be recorded for posterity, send them to Lou Ives at 1109 Fox Ridge, Earlysville, VA 22936. Original photos (copies don’t reproduce well) will be returned. [Earlysville is named after a 1700’s landowner - a contemporary of Peter Jefferson - not the Confederate general].

As before, tax-exempt donations may be made through:

Brown Shoes Fund
University of Virginia Fund
Attention: Melissa Gorme
P.O. Box 3446
Charlottesville, VA 22903-3446
(434) 234-9060

Send comments to Lou Ives at avmidn@aol.com or the above address.