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97-year-old fighter pilot to speak at WWII roundtable

Posted 5/23/18

Bob Brocklehurst flew a host of fighter planes during his Air Corps service in World War II, including the P-40 Warhawk, P-47 Thunderbolt, and the P-51 Mustang.

Yet, he says, he never fired a …

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97-year-old fighter pilot to speak at WWII roundtable

Posted

Bob Brocklehurst flew a host of fighter planes during his Air Corps service in World War II, including the P-40 Warhawk, P-47 Thunderbolt, and the P-51 Mustang.

Yet, he says, he never fired a shot or was shot at by the Japanese he was trained to fight. Not all of his flying cadet classmates were so fortunate.

“We started off with 1,500 guys from flight school,” he told a reporter last year, “graduated 971, and we lost about 251 during the war years.”

Brocklehurst will be the guest speaker at the monthly meeting of the Central PA WWII Roundtable at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 7, at Grace United Methodist Church, 433 E. Main St., Hummelstown.

Enemy planes were not his only adversary. The 97-year-old veteran pilot was stationed in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands from 1942 to 1943, surviving some of the most treacherous flying conditions in the world.

The Detroit native was recognized frequently during the war for his skill as a pilot and his leadership. He was promoted to first lieutenant ahead of his classmates, was a major by age 22, and received his commission as a lieutenant colonel by 1945.

Brocklehurst never lost his passion for being in the air. He celebrated his 65th birthday by skydiving. In February 2017, at age 96, he made headlines by co-piloting a TF-51D Mustang, similar to the P-51 Mustangs he flew during the war. He even treated the gathering of onlookers to a loop and a barrel roll.

The Central Pennsylvania WWII Roundtable is a nonprofit organization that provides a forum for World War II veterans, authors, historians and citizens to share their knowledge and experiences related to the war. Meetings, held the first Thursday of every month, begin at 7 p.m. at the church. Anyone with an interest in World War II is invited to attend the meetings. There are no fees.

For information, contact Charlie Lloyd at charlie.centralpaww2rt@gmail.com or 717-503-2862, or visit the organization’s website at www.centralpaww2roundtable.org.