In Memory of
Army T. Sgt.
William E. Brewer
Miranda, South Dakota
December 25, 1919 -- March 31, 1945
Died of Injuries in Germany
William Emil Brewer was born in Murdo, South
Dakota, on December 25, 1919 to Joseph Andrew Brewer and Janet Thresa
Sundermeyer Brewer. He was the second oldest of seven boys: Joseph, Francis,
Archibald, Leo, Timon, and Donald. In 1925, the family moved to LaFoon Township,
Faulk County, where he grew up. William graduated from LaFoon Grade School, and
in 1937, from Faulkton High School. He was known as “Bud” through high school,
and participated in sports, especially football and track. He also was a very
good baseball player in the local area. While in high school his hobby was
weight lifting. Money was in short supply during the depression years of 1930's,
so William made his own weights from pails and cement. An accident happened,
when a wire handle of one pail of cement broke and the pail struck William on
the head, which caused complete hair loss.
After high school, William and his older
brother attended Yankton College. While there, William joined the 147th
South Dakota National Guard Field Artillery, Battery "E". The unit was called to
active duty on November 29, 1940, and trained in California. The unit was
alerted for overseas duty and those with six months or less time remaining on
their tour of duty were transferred out. William was in this group. The unit
shipped out on November 22, 1941 for duty in the Pacific area. The Japanese
bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. In 1942, Tech. Sgt. William Brewer was
part of the operation to retake portions of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska,
which the Japan had occupied. He served in the Aleutian Islands for sixteen
months. His brother, Donald, says that it was during this time William’s hair
grew back. No known medical reason could explain this.
Tech. Sgt. William Brewer transferred to the
Air Corps, where he served for six months, when he was transferred to an
anti-tank unit of the 66th Infantry Regiment. He arrived in Europe in
1945 and went into combat March 12, 1945. The 66th had crossed the
Rhine River and was on the road to Mannheim, Germany. The truck, carrying the
anti-tank squad, broke down. Tech. Sgt. William Brewer was driving a jeep with
one other soldier. After getting the truck started they hurried to catch-up to
the main column during a “black out”. With little light, the vehicle went off a
destroyed bridge and fell to the riverbed. Tech. Sgt. William Brewer and the
driver of the truck died of their injuries. The official notice was that he died
of combat injuries near the Rhine River. No one was sure as to the actual cause
of the accident.
Tech. Sgt. William E Brewer was awarded the
following citations: Combat Infantry Badge; Good Conduct Medal; Asiatic Pacific
Campaign Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 2 stars;
American Campaign Medal; American Defense Medal; World War II Victory Medal; the
Bronze Star; Sharpshooters Badge for carbine; and Marksman Badge for pistol and
Tech. Sgt. William E. Brewer was buried in
France until after the war, when his remains were returned for burial at Fort
Snelling, Minnesota, on August 17, 1948. Siblings who currently survive him are
his brothers: Donald, Faulkton, South Dakota; Francis, San Diego, California;
Leo, Autaugaville, Alabama; and Timon, North Glenn, Colorado.
Ashley Olson and Brittni Boes, 7th grade, Stanley County Middle School, Fort
Pierre, South Dakota, March 8, 2002, respectfully submitted this entry.
Information for this entry was gathered from Donald Brewer, Faulkton, South
Dakota, brother to William.