Memoir of Stan Brooks

Stan was born March 30, 1922 in Elgin, Texas. He was the youngest in a family of 4 boys and 2 girls. Since his Mother came from a family of 13 and Dad from a family of 12, 6 children was no big deal.

In 1926, the family moved to Austin, Texas. The purpose, partly, was to be near the University so the children could attend college. Also, his Dad had been able to borrow money to open up a furniture store at 408 Congress.

Stan attended the Austin Public Schools, graduating in 1940. As two of his siblings were attending the University of Texas, Stan decided to join his two older brothers in California to work at Lockheed Aircraft Company, building P-38 Lightening fighter planes.

With the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, the plans aforementioned changed. Stan applied to take tests with the goal of becoming a pilot. He passed the written tests. However, during his physical, it was discovered that he was red-green colorblind. This fact prevented him from pursuing pilot training.

Stan then requested to go back to Austin, where he was inducted into service and bused to San Antonio. He was assigned to the Army Air Force, and sent to Buckley Field. At Buckley, recruits were engaged in physical training. From Buckley, he was sent to Lowry Field, Colorado. At Lowry, he learned about and shot all kinds of weaponry, i.e., the Colt .45, .30 cal machine gun, the .50 cal machine gun, the 20 mm cannon, the 75 mm cannon, and the Springfield and Garand rifles.

At that point, the Army asked for volunteers to become crewmen on the B-17 Flying Fortress. Stan and 2 of his closest buddies volunteered. Lo and behold! As is typical with the Army, ALL recruits were sent for flight training on the B-17.

After Stan trained as a right waist gunner, he received his corporal stripes and a raise to $59 a month!

As part of advanced training, he began high-altitude flight training, i.e., 20,000 to about 26,000 feet. The B-17 was not pressurized and the waist gunner position was an open hold, i.e., completely exposed to the elements.

At any rate, the high altitude caused Stan’s ear drums to bleed. He was then grounded by the flight surgeon. He was disappointed, but the fact is it probably saved his life. The casualties in B-17 and B-24 flights over Germany were greater, per capita, than the Marines, infantry, or any other W.W.II service.

Eventually, Stan was sent on a converted banana boat, the U.S.S. General Meigs, with 5500 other G.I.’s for company. After a 4-day journey from Cape Hatteras, they reached their destination at Salerno, Italy.

At that point, Stan was assigned to an air group, consisting of Douglas A-20 and A-26 medium bombers. The primary assignment of the bombers were low-level bombing, and strafing of the enemy.

His unit was a part of a rather long, arduous, and costly campaign. The Italian campaign is often called the “forgotten campaign” of the war. The fact is that the Mediterranean campaign resulted in greater casualties and loss of life than any of the other campaigns, including the Normandy landing, the advancement into Germany, or the Pacific theater campaign.

After the defeat of Germany, many G.I.’s with the longest service were sent home. But Stan and those with a shorter term served were destined for Japan.

However, after going through the Panama Canal and while waiting for further orders, Japan surrendered. At that time, the ship went back through the canal, then home to the U.S. and separation.

After arriving back in Austin and enjoying family and friends, Stan enrolled at the University of Texas. In 1950, Stan received his degree of Bachelor of Science in Education, and while working as a teacher and a counselor in Wellington, Texas, he earned his Master’s Degree in Counseling and Educational Administration in 1955.

Stan subsequently served 35 years in Belton, Texas; Alice, Texas; and then in Austin, Texas.

His service included senior high school Counselor, Principal of junior high, and Supervisor of Secondary Counselors.

He is now living, yes, still living, in Austin, Texas.

To share your story with Stan, leave a reply.

10 responses to “Stan M. Brooks”

  1. Happy Birthday, Stan! We are so happy for you to be surrounded by family and friends as you celebrate your 100th birthday. We have such fond memories of meeting you and spending fun evenings over dinner and at the theater with you and Marjorie. We thank her for introducing us to you and always keeping us up to date about the important happenings in your life. You are a kind soul, a most interesting conversationalist and an inspiration for all of the incredible achievements you’ve accomplished in your life. There are milestone birthdays, but we believe this birthday of yours will be a mile high birthday – above and beyond, something very, very special. And you deserve all the hoopla possible. Enjoy it all! We can’t wait to see the pictures! Wishing you much love and happiness, John & Lyn Bajtelsmit


  2. Wishing you a very happy birthday, Stan! You are such a wonderful neighbor. We love your conversation, grace and friendliness. Most of all, we admire your positivity, optimism and enthusiasm. Can’t wait to celebrate with you.


  3. STAN –Happy birthday, young fella !! You have lived two very successful lives – one serving your country, the other serving our American youth. I am only partially familiar with the latter but I know your second life was responsible for helping many of our Austin youth begin their adulthood and continue it as responsible adults and not as dregs on our society as they might have without your guidance and support. You can look back with a great deal of pride on your work with these young people who now are the backbone of our community. I wish the very best for you on this significant occasion¡¡¡¡¡


  4. Stan – you are such a good person and on my walks I enjoy getting the chance to visit. Your life has been full of interesting and wonderful events. Jim and I are glad to share this day with you. Louri


  5. Very proud of my uncle! Thank you for your great service and patriotism to our great country! Can’t wait to celebrate your 100th birthday with you! I have had the pleasure of you being my uncle for 51 years now! You should be very proud of all your achievements and all the lives you have touched over the years!

    We love you very much and can’t wait to see you!!


  6. We are long time neighbors of yours and are so excited to share your big birthday with you. Bobbi and Ernie Saulmon


  7. Stan:
    Many congratulations on your 100th Birthday. I love your stories about the Italian campaign, and celebrate your service not just to the USA, but to civilization: without you and your comrades from many nations no countries would have had the freedoms that we have enjoyed for the past 77 years. Perhaps your lifetime of service to the youth of Texas is even more remarkable. As Terrell Blodgett said above, it takes strong mentors to help young people stay on the straight and narrow and live rewarding lives as members of strong communities. I should know, having left home and homeland at 18 and sown many wild oats before settling down and practicing the values with which I was raised. Good on you, Stan!


  8. Stan, I am sorry to have missed you birthday, but I didn’t receive the invitation until yesterday. I do with that I could have been there to l with you and thank you for all you did for me. You helped me after my mother passed by hooking me up with the Crowell family. Later, you broadened my horizons from Alice by getting me into. University High School in Austin during the summers in high school. Finally, you helped m\e find my purpose in life when you helped me get into the NSF/UT summer biology program in the summer of 1964. I was hooked on science and began my life’s journey in research, ultimately leading to new, curative, treatments for cancer.

    I owe you so much, and will never forget your kind, but firm guidance in approaching life.

    All the best on your 100th birthday. I hope I can get to Austin and see you soon.



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