In Memory of
Army Air Corps 2 Lt.
Bruce Barton Brooks
Platte, South Dakota
Charles Mix County
March 19, 1920 - October 16, 1943
Killed in Action over Italy
Bruce B. Brooks was born at Sioux City, Iowa on March 19,
1920, to Dr. and Mrs. C.F. Brooks of Platte, South Dakota. Bruce attended Platte
schools, graduating in 1938. While in school, Bruce was a ďa high ranking
student and outstanding athlete,Ē as he was an all-state football player. Brooks
attended the University of Iowa to study chemical engineering but left to join
the Army Air Corps in his junior year.
Bruce enlisted at Des
Moines, Iowa, and on February of 1942, he reported to Williams Field in Arizona,
where he received his pilot wings and a Second Lieutenant commission on
September 29, 1942. In November of 1942, Bruce married Donna Craig of Huron,
and they lived at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, until Lt. Brooks was preparing to
leave for overseas duty.
On February 28, 1943, Lt.
Brooks was sent overseas to North Africa, where he participated in campaigns at
Tunis, Bizerte, and Algeria, before being sent to Sicily and then to Italy. As
pilot of an A-20 Havoc strafing plane, Lt. Brooks had almost fifty missions
accomplished and hoped to be back home soon.
While at the base in
Sicily, he wrote a letter to his folks:
Wonder how you like the Sicily news.
Seems like only awhile back, and
we were fighting in Africa. The Sicilian campaign found us giving ground
support to the British 8th Army, Canadian Div. and Am. 7th Army. We
saw a lot of action, and since then, I've seen the havoc we brought on enemy
strongholds.... I still havenít received word on becoming a father. Mail
service is poor, but I should hear soon. I got a letter from Donna on the
19th , and I know the baby came a week early. But, outside of that,
am still sweating it out....
A little over a month later, on October 16, 1943, Lt.
Bruce Brooks was shot down over Italy. He had previously been awarded the Air
Medal with three oak leaf clusters. Much later, a member of Bruceís squadron
talked to his widow, Donna, and said that there was speculation that Lt. Brooks
may have been shot down by his own country by mistake.
Lt. Bruce Brooks left
behind an infant son, Bruce Craig Brooks.
This entry was respectfully submitted by Kyle Kloeckl,
8th Grade West, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, November 22,
2000. Information for this entry was provided by Mrs. Beverly Bender, Vienna,
Virginia, sister of Bruce Brooks.