The Mellett brothers enlisted in the 71st National Guard in April of 1940. During the course of World War II, after several incidents of brothers dying together in battle, most notably the five Sullivan brothers of Waterloo, Iowa, the United States military had an unofficial policy of separating brothers in order to prevent one family from losing multiple members in a single battle. Despite their separation, both Francis and John Mellet were killed within two months of each other.
Corporal Francis Mellet volunteered for the paratroopers and served with the 506th Paratroop Infantry, stationed in England. He jumped in the invasion of Normandy and Holland, but died in the Battle of the Bulge on January 13, 1945, at Bastogne, Belgium. Private John Mellett was killed on March 12, 1945, on the Philippine Island of Luzon. He had served in Attu and Kiska, Alaska, for two years, and upon returning to the U.S. volunteered for further overseas duty. He was assigned to the 158th Combat Infantry.
This parcel of land was vested in the City of New York in 1938 and transferred by the Board of Estimate to Parks in 1940. The playground opened to the public on June 5, 1941, as the 423rd playground in New York City’s parks system, funded in part by the New Deal-era Works Progress Administration (WPA). The playground contained a separate pre-school children’s section with a sand pit, seesaws, slides, swings, and a shower basin, and a surfaced area for adults and adolescents that featured a softball diamond and comfort station. Forty-eight trees were also planted in the playground.
The playground was officially named Mellett Playground by local law #105 of 1950. In 1995, a $31,000 renovation, the first capital requirements contract ever to be completed in Brooklyn, replaced the safety surfacing at this facility. Today the park contains handball courts, play equipment with safety surfacing, a comfort station, tot swings, a spray shower, basketball courts, and benches.