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39th Bomb Group (VH)
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Navigator's
Badge


Decorations



with 1

br_oak2.jpg [Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster]


Unit Citation
and Awards

arpuc.jpg [The Presidental Unit Citation]


with
Oak Leaf Cluster

Service Awards

amcamp.gif [The American Campaign Medal]

apcm.jpg [The Asiatic-Pacfic Campaign Medal]

with

star1.gif [Bronze Star]


wwiivic.gif [The Victory Medal, World War II]



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1st Lt Robert D. Brace
Navigator

Robert D. Brace
Photo Courtest of
Colorado School of Mines

"Looking at the crew photo, note that I am signed with name 'Mickey' under mine. You may recall there were those who asked what is that Mickey Mouse lash-up anyway? Radar? We do not need that! But they changed their tune. Hence the handle.

But if I had known that day in January 1943, when I enlisted in the Army Air Corp to be a Meteorologist and gain a commission as such (and maybe have my life work after the war); if I had known that I would go from San Antonio to Biloxi, Miss. to be in a holding pool and sweep sand off the streets and bury stumps and win marching pennants every Saturday and be sent to Minneapolis for two semesters of math and science (pre-meteorology) at the U. of Minn.; and all of us to find out after six months that the Air Corps had too many in weather training - and be told we could go to any officer training school in the AC instead. All of us were sent to Jefferson Barracks in St Louis for a real cold month of Basic Training. And then on to Nashville, to Montgomery, AL for pre-flight. I asked for Navigator school and was aimed that way. Then we went to Gunnery School at Ft. Meyers, FL.  That was fun! Then to a holding pool at Valdosta, GA. It got arranged for me to be sent to Ellington Field TX. I was home for Navigation school, Summer Session, Houston, Tx.

It was good except the air was bumpy around Houston in the summertime - a bucket on every trip. Graduation in the fall and fancy uniform and all. I applied for Radar, Bombardier School in Victorville,  CA.  It was a long way to LA from Victorville so I bought a Model A,  that ran swell on cleaning fluid solvent when hot. Oh well, never had to walk. Upon my graduation in Jan 1945, I was qualified on the APQ-13 radar set used for navigation and bombing, a Navigator - Bombardier.  A few more stops to join the crew, learn to fly with them at Alamogordo, NM, then off the Herington to be issued a B-29 and a clandestine meeting with a boot legger to get four cases of booze.  These we hid in the padding all over our airplane.

It was cloudy on our night takeoff from California so Stackhouse wouldn't fly under to Golden Gate Bridge. We had to give up our new shiny B-29 to another experienced crew and never did get back our bottles of booze. But Boy, we 'got' those brown brothers up in Japanese, didn't we? Twenty-one times we gave it to 'em with no injuries or serious hits.  Just that the Wright engines tended to catch on fire a lot.

I almost got home before my 21st birthday in early Nov. and on to the Colorado School of Mines and Geology Engineering Degree.  But as I said, if I had known that back in January 43, I wouldn't have changed a thing.

Been retired from oil business for about 10 years now.  Wish I could work but can't stand stress – no stamina. I'm fortunate that I have enough."

The following was found in the Colorado School of Mines Magazine, Spring 2009 issue
Robert Brace was born in Shreveport, LA, and graduated from Lamar High School before attending Rice University in Houston, TX. After two years, Bob joined a bomber squadron of the U.S. Army Air Corps on Guam. He came to [Colorado School of] Mines after the war and completed a degree in geological engineering.

A member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, Bob stayed involved with Mines, serving on the Alumni Association Board of Directors for ten years in many capacities, including president. After working for Chevron for 35 years, he went on to join Pentex Petroleum as a vice president. He later started his own consulting firm that helped smaller oil companies optimize their use of digital technology. Bob was a member of many professional societies related to geological and petroleum engineering. He also chaired a committee that successfully reestablished the Colorado Geological Survey in 1967.

He was a founding member of the Colorado Mycological Society, dedicated to studying the wild mushrooms of the Rockies.


Robert D. Brace took his final flight on 26 December 2008. He's survived by his wife Rosa Lee, 3 daughters, a son and four grandsons.

Crew 58 Main Page
62nd Squadron Crew Index
Source: Robert D. Brace for History of the 39th BG WWII; Excerpts Obit of Robert D, Brace, Colorado School of Mines Magazine