B-17 Nine-O-Nine

Feb 192017
 

Robert Brocklehurst

ABC News aired a story tonight about Bob Brocklehurst, a World War II fighter pilot.  Recently at age 96, he went up again in a P-51 Mustang, the same type of plane he flew in the Pacific Theater during World War II.  Interestingly, he wore a cap that indicated “41-G.”  I recognized that immediately as his graduating class number, meaning he graduated as a fighter pilot in 1941.  I found his picture in the AAF Collection in a class book from Kelly Field, near San Antonio, Texas.1

Second Echelon, “N” Flight, Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas, 1941

Here he was as a young man above, right.  And here are some excerpts from the news story below.

Mr. Brocklehurst took control of the P-51 and performed a loop maneuver.

You can see the full video at ABC News.2

This class book also contains a profound passage, which by coincidence I admired back in 2014, when I first read it.

The purpose of a class book may be to give the men a memento of their Advance School Graduation–so, if it does–we deliver in ink, along with their other mementos, a Charge.

At this time a plan has functioned and again the result is a group of skilled men.  Yet it will not be their skill that will distinguish this class from others but their actions as individuals.

An insignia is a very shallow thing unless its meaning is so impressed on the individual that the ideal lives and the banner breathes by his actions.  Noble deeds are commendable but uncertain; everyday details of living are things which cast permanent reflections.  Heed!

This passage, “Noble deeds are commendable but uncertain; everyday details of living are things which cast permanent reflections,” and indeed, Mr. Brocklehurst’s own words in the video are worth remembering.

Citations

  1. Army Air Forces Collection, “Gig Sheet, The: Class 41-G, Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas” (item 000421), AAF Collection, http://AAFCollection.info/items/list.php?item=000421 (accessed 19 February 2017), page 41.
  2. ABC News, http://abcnews.go.com/video/embed?id=45602147 : viewed 19 February 2017.

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