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
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.
- 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.
- ABC News, http://abcnews.go.com/video/embed?id=45602147 : viewed 19 February 2017.