The latest episode of All Things Judicial features a 2016 interview with the late North Carolina Court of Appeals Judge E. Maurice Braswell. Braswell served as a tail gunner and bombardier in a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress named the "Flaming Arrow" that recorded 41 bombing missions against the Axis Powers during World War II. Judge Braswell recounts several near misses and the harrowing experience of crash landing and being captured as a POW behind enemy lines. Through it all, Braswell shunned the title of hero and instead embodied a life of service to his country and home state of North Carolina.
"In our generation, there was nothing but a great over-pouring of patriotism and willingness to go to war with Japan and Germany after Pearl Harbor. We felt like we were just doing our duty and being made a hero is still foreign to me in spite of awards," Judge Braswell said on the podcast. "If I could be of service to my state, I was going to do it. If I could be of service to my family and fellow man, I'm happier doing that."
After the war, Judge Braswell served as an assistant district attorney and superior court judge in Cumberland County, and served on the North Carolina Court of Appeals. Braswell died in January 2017 and the new Cumberland County Courthouse was named in his honor.
This interview is an excerpt of a 2016 interview produced for the Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism's Historical Video Series. The full interview is available on the NCcourts YouTube channel. See additional pictures of Judge Braswell on his profile in the Veterans History Project through the Library of Congress.