Commerce secretary Ron Brown and 34 others were killed in a U.S. Air Force jet when it crashed into a mountainside near Dubrovnik, Croatia.
1996 (Apr 3)
U.S. commerce secretary Ron Brown and 34 others were killed in a U.S. Air Force jet when it crashed into a mountainside near Dubrovnik, Croatia. Brown, government officials, and business executives were touring Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina in attempts to obtain contracts for U.S. companies to help rebuild the infrastructures of both countries. The Air Force later blamed pilot error and the failure of Air Force commanders to properly make required safety evaluations before leaving the airport. Officials concluded that the bad weather that existed during the flight was not a significant factor in the crash. Brown was born on August 1, 1941, in Washington, D.C., before moving to New York City. He was a successful lawyer before rising to national politics as Jesse Jackson's 1988 presidential campaign manager. A year later, he became chairman of the Democratic National Committee, the first Black American to head a major national political party. He worked closely with then-Arkansas governor Bill Clinton's presidential campaign, and was named commerce secretary following Clinton's victory.