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Edward Hale Brooks Jr

Military

MAJ EDWARD H. BROOKS JR. USMA JAN 1943 Cullum No. 13425-1943JAN | September 22, 1945 | Died in St. Trond, Belgium American Military Cemetery of Margraten, Holland

Teddy is dead! Similar words about Lord Byron, shortly after that immortal poet’s death, were carved on a rock by the young Alfred, Lord Tennyson, whose anguished mind couldn’t realize that his idol had left this world. The announcement of Teddy’s untimely death has struck sorrow and shock and a similar feeling of disbelief into the hearts of his friends and classmates. At the Army post of Camp Pike, Arkansas, Edward H. Brooks, Jr. was born on the 6th of June 1920. In the child, the physical, mental and moral qualities which afterwards distinguished the man were plainly discernible: remarkable muscular strength accompanied by rare agility and coordination, a sharp receptive mind, and extremely high ideals of honor and self-restraint. From each of his parents, Major General and Mrs. Brooks, Teddy inherited unique characteristics that blended to a perfect harmony. His mother’s sympathetic understanding and affection, his father’s stern abruptness and tenacious initiative, his mother’s grace and charm, his father’s outdoor ruggedness—each of these traits was easily visible in their son. Of these traits, Ted was justly proud. As he once remarked after a verbal conflict with another person, “Aw beans! I was obeying ‘the Dad’ impulse in me and all set to start swinging on the Ale when ‘the Mom’ took over and made me be a good Joe”.

Surrounded by the military activities of Field Artillery posts, Ted’s urge for physical fitness came during his early years. His active, outdoor childhood was colored with camping trips, long marches in company with his father’s battery engaged in maneuvers and more than the average lad’s share of shooting, fishing, riding and hunting. One of his earliest recollections was the thrill he experienced in the Philippines when on occasions he was permitted to give the signal for the firing of his dad’s mountain battery. Though not a “flanker”, Ted’s well-proportioned frame and erect head made him appear taller than he actually was. He emulated his father whom he resembled to a remarkable degree. His stern, sharp features were enhanced by flashing even teeth and soft brown eyes, and the determined chin was an outer expression of his strong character. After attending schools in Washington, the Philippines, and at Ft. Riley, Ted graduated from high school in Leavenworth, Kansas. He studied a year at Millards in Washington, D.C. Passing the regular entrance examination to both West Point and Annapolis, Ted had the good fortune to win an appointment to each academy. His choice of the Military Academy was the logical one for an Army brat.

Ted wore stars—on his bath robe. Never a hive, he mastered the course by hard, diligent application, and many nights after taps, he could be found huddled under the dim hall light in his effort to spec the next day’s assignment. Of his Academy days, Ted is often remembered for his being versatile. With his clever imitations and antics, Ted kept those around him constantly in smiles, giving a definite lift and buoyancy of spirit to the other members of his class. The esteem in which he was held by his classmates is attested to in the fact that during each of his years at the Academy, Ted was elected to represent his company as Hop Manager. His versatile ability extended into the realm of sports where Teddy’s natural coordination easily mastered any form of athletics. He engaged in canoeing, horseback riding, hiking, boxing and swimming, though the two latter were his favorite hobbies. He maintained his excellent physical condition after leaving the Academy, heading his group in the physical fitness tests and in flying school shattering the obstacle course record by several seconds. Ted always admired the dash and color of the Air Corps and it was logical that he should choose the flight training that was offered the cadets in his class. With other classmates he went through primary training at Avon Park, Florida, basic at Shaw Field. S. C., and advanced at Columbus, Miss., where he received his coveted wings in December 1942. He returned to West Point and graduated on January 19, 1943.

It was while at Avon Park, Florida, that Ted met and fell in love with Roberta Bennett. “Bobbie” typified the outdoor American Girl; with her refined attractiveness and quiet manner she quickly won over Teddy. After a whirlwind affair, they were married near Bobbie’s home at Lake Wales, Florida, on January 22, 1943, less than a week after graduation. The bride and groom were stationed at Sebring, Florida, for three short months before being transferred to Ephrata, Wash. In the summer and fall of 1943 Teddy led two flights of a provisional group to the E.T.O. before returning to the States for additional training. During his last seven months in the States, Teddy was training with the 88th Bomb Group in Avon Park, Florida. Their last months together were happy ones for the couple. They seemed to realize that every minute had to be lived to the fullest; never apart, Teddy and Bobbie swam, played, hunted, and rode together.

This all too brief period of happiness came to an end in July 1944 when Ted was transferred to England with his crew where he joined the 305th Bomb Group. Teddy’s leadership ability was quickly recognized and he was soon appointed Squadron Operations Officer. VE-Day saw Teddy with twenty-three missions over France and Germany, almost all of which were in lead positions; he had been awarded the D.F.C. and the Air Medal with three clusters. A week after VE-Day, Ted enjoyed a reunion with his father in London. During this brief visit General Brooks pinned on Teddy’s newly acquired majors’ leaves and the two exchanged tales of war experiences and reminisced about the many things they had done together in past years. In the days following, Teddy often referred to this meeting with a deep proud feeling.

In the early hours of the morning on September 22, 1945, Ted took off in a B-17 (Serial Number 44-8477) on a training flight from St. Trond, Belgium, the group’s new location. Before dawn and after a flight of several hours duration Ted returned to find that the weather had closed in leaving the field covered by a low overcast. While making an instrument approach, the ship crashed and burned killing all crew members. Ted was thrown clear and though he escaped burning, he died a few minutes later. Funeral services with full military honors were held. Ted was laid to rest in the American Military Cemetery of Margraten in Holland, on September 24, 1945, surrounded by his comrades in arms—the men in his group who loved him so well.

Thus ended the promising career of a brilliant young officer. To his parents Teddy was a considerate and devoted son. To his wife a zealous loving husband. As an officer, Teddy’s record indicates that in every instance his commanders regarded him as superior—a trenchant officer who, with confidence, pride and high sense of duty would accept any responsibility. To his fellow officers and to his classmates Teddy was regarded as a gentleman of wide interests and engaging personality. He was a man who had a talent for life. To his subordinates, Teddy’s ability as a leader was unquestionable for he believed in setting the example, in giving “commands in such a manner as to inspire in the soldier an intense desire to obey”. Teddy is survived by his wife, “Bobbie”, his mother and father, and his sister, Betty. Through his natural easy self-assurance and genuineness, his alertness and diligence, his active interest in those about him, Teddy has, during his brief span of years, left with his loved ones a memory,—a monument that will ever be retained.

Service

Units served with

  • 305th Bomb Group Can Do

    305th Bomb Group Can Do

    Group
    The 305th Bombardment Group (Heavy), nicknamed "Can Do" was activated 1-March-1942 at Salt Lake City Air Base, Utah which was their primary training base until 11-Jun-1942 when they relocated to Geiger Field, Washington until 29-Jun-1942, then on to...

  • 366th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

  • 42-102555

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 14/3/44; Gr Island 6/4/44; Dow Fd 28/4/44; Assigned 366BS/305BG [KY-F] Chelveston 14/5/44; ...

  • 42-102964

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 23/4/44; Kearney 6/5/44; Grenier 21/5/44; Assigned 366BS/305BG [KY-M] Chelveston 2/6/44; transferred 351BG Polebrook 23/4/45; Returned to the USA Bradley 13/6/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 18/6/45; Reconstruction Finance...

  • 42-47723 Paydola, 'Johnny Walker'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 10/8/43; Redmond 15/8/43; Assigned 569BS/390BG [CC-D] Framlingham 9/9/43 as PAYDOLA; retUS 121 BU Bradley 16/7/45; 4168 Base Unit, South Plains, Texas 12/9/45; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 14...

  • 42-97141 'Mary Jane II'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Cheyenne 30/1/44; Gr Island 15/2/44; Grenier 1/3/44; Assigned 325BS/92BG [NV-A] Podington 22/3/44; battle damaged Soest with Lt Culver 28/1/45, lost 2 engines, force landed continent, T/Sgt Howard B Hovis (WIA) 9 x RTD, 1 x WIA; Salvaged 9/3...

  • 42-97748

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 14/2/44; 1SAG Langley 16/3/44; Grenier 9/6/44; Assigned 305BG Chelveston 11/6/44; Salvaged 9AF Germany 23/5/46.

  • 42-97756

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Denver 17/2/44; 1SAG Langley 12/4/44; Dow Fd 1/5/44; Assigned 384BG Grafton Underwood 4/5/44; transferred 364BS/305BG [WF-G] Chelveston 30/1/45; transferred to St Trond, Belgium, but damaged in taxi accident with ground crew at Prestwick,...

  • 44-6300 Fancy Pantz

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Kearney 28/6/44; Grenier 9/7/44; Assigned 366BS/305BG [KY-K] Chelveston 12/8/44; Missing in Action Pilsen 25/4/45 with Gerald Hodges, Vince Ivers, P.T. Lahr, - Schneider; George Withor, - Hulkey, C.H. Cox, Carl McHolland (8KIA?); (POW?) flak,...

  • 44-8133

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Dallas 17/6/44; Langley 16/7/44; Dow Fd 3/8/44; Assigned 305BG Chelveston 26/8/44; Salvaged 9AF Germany 18/4/46.

  • 44-8264

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Dallas 27/7/44; Cheyenne 10/8/44; Grenier 17/8/44; Assigned 366BS/305BG Chelveston 27/8/44; force landed base with electrical fire 31/12/44 with Carl Baker; Missing in Action Kassel 1/1/45 with Bill Osborne, Sam Jones, Forest Tucker, Ellis...

  • 44-8477 'Winged Victory'

    B-17 Flying Fortress
    Delivered Dallas 28/9/44; Hunter 15/10/44; Dow Fd 26/10/44; Assigned 366BS/305BG Chelveston 21/11/44; moved to Belgium where with Ed Brooks crash landed Mortenaeken, Belgium 22/9/45; Salvaged 9AF Germany 6/12/45. WINGED VICTORY.

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Associated Place

  • Chelveston

    Military site : airfield
    Chelveston was adapted and expanded in preparation for the arrival of American forces. Rather than heavy bombers, the first aircraft to fly from its runways were C-47 Skytrains that were flown by the 60th Troop Carrier Group in July 1942. The first...

  • St Trond

    Military site : airfield

Events

Event Location Date

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
24 February 2021 17:35:22 30Mauser Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

Updated a/c connections

Date Contributor Update
24 February 2021 00:43:28 30Mauser Changes to aircraft associations
Sources

Added final aircraft

Date Contributor Update
24 February 2021 00:18:11 30Mauser Changes to service number
Sources

Corrected format of service number

Date Contributor Update
24 February 2021 00:12:01 30Mauser Changes to service number
Sources

DFC award citation contains service number

Date Contributor Update
24 February 2021 00:02:59 30Mauser Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, suffix, nickname, nationality, highest rank, role, biography, unit associations, place associations and aircraft associations
Sources

All information sourced by family archives of grand-nephew and namesake, Edward (Ted) Kempster.

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