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    A National Forest Site Is Now Named After a Black Paratrooper Who Died in a Secret Mission

    A National Forest Site Is Now Named After a Black Paratrooper Who Died in a Secret Mission

    PHILADELPHIA — On the day that the United States stunned the world by dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, a young Black man from the Main Line area of Philadelphia died in obscurity in a remote Oregon forest, the end of a brief career that became enmeshed in some of the most significant currents of U.S. and world history.

    The story of paratrooper Malvin L. Brown was a saga of racial prejudice, secrecy, a cosmic discovery in the annals of atmospheric science, tragedy, and, ultimately, a 70-year mystery.

    Brown has just received a high honor posthumously: The government officially has changed the name of what was “Negro Ridge,” in the Umpqua National Forest in southern Oregon, to Malvin L. Brown Ridge.

    “I am thrilled,” said Robert Bartlett, an veteran and sociologist who has devoted several years to researching Brown's unit, the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, and who was instrumental in the renaming. He was among those informed earlier this month of the decision by the U.S. Board of Geographic Names.

    The ridge, 3.4 miles long, sprawling across 2,800 acres, and rising to 3,500 feet, is close to where Brown died during a firefighting parachute jump Aug. 6, 1945, on a top-secret mission that remains a little-known chapter in the annals of war.

    Balloon bombs

    Mysterious objects were appearing in the sky, and the government was resolutely mum about them.

    These objects weren't from or outer…

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