Public Relations Manager
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Join The National WWII Museum in celebrating the 105th birthday of veteran Lawrence Brooks, a New Orleans native.
Brooks will be honored during an awards ceremony on the campus of The National WWII Museum on Sept. 12 at 10 a.m. The presentation will include recognition from the Museum and the Veteran's Administration as well as a number of other national and local organizations.
Brooks was born September 12, 1909 and served in the predominantly African-American 91st Engineer Battalion which was stationed in New Guinea and then the Philippines during World War II. He was a servant to three white officers in his battalion. His daily routine included cleaning the officers' sheets, shining their shoes, making sure their uniforms were clean, and accomplishing any task these officers asked of him. Brooks attained the rank of Private 1st Class during the war. He was married to the late Leona B. Brooks, and is the father of five children and five step-children. He is one of the oldest surviving veterans in the region.
Below are a couple of memories Brooks shared with the Museum about his wartime service: While he was stationed on New Guinea, the Japanese bombed the base where he was located. It was the closest he got to the war and was one of the scariest moments of his life. One of the men he served with dove into a giant ditch behind the kitchen where they drained cooking grease, providing a moment of levity during such a traumatic event.
Brooks was also on a C-47 going from Australia to New Guinea, transporting a load of barbed wire when one of the engines went out. He said the co-pilot came back and told the crew they needed to ditch their load in order to make the plane light enough to continue on. Brooks remembers hurriedly throwing crates of barbed wire into the ocean in order to keep the plane in flight.
Friday, Sept. 12, 2014
The National WWII Museum
The Louisiana Memorial Pavilion
945 Magazine Street and Andrew Higgins Drive