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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



Lieutenant John Brokaw
McLean County, Illinois

[McLean County, Illinois, in the World War, 1917-1918; by Edward E. Pierson & Jacob Louis Hasbrouck c 1921]
(Transcribed by: Teri Moncelle Colglazier)

Of the aviators from McLean county who were privileged to reach France, none enjoyed the experience more than John Brokaw of Bloomington. He enlisted October 23, 1917, at the age of 20, at the Ground School of the University of Illinois at Urbana December 8 of that year, and February 24, 1918, was transferred to Camp Dick at Dallas, Texas, remaining there until March 6 where he made such commendable progress that he was transferred to the famed Kelly Field at San Antonio, Texas, commencing to fly March 6 and maintaining this drill until April 15.

He was then transferred to Chanute Field at Rantoul, Ill., where he continued the primary work until he was commissioned lieutenant May 15, 1918. He was then ordered to Camp Dick for two weeks and from there to Post Field, Lawton, Oklahoma, in June taking a four week course as an army corps pilot.

His final home training was at Hicks Field, Fort Worth, Texas, in aerial gunnery and after four weeks of drill in the employment of air ordnance, he sailed for France, from the port of Hoboken, New York, landing at Brest, October 5, 1918.

He spent the first four weeks abroad at St. Maixent and then received orders to complete his training at Issudon, France, before going to the front.

The signing of the armistice brought bitter regrets to him as well as thousands of others who were just at the pinnacle of actual service after a long period of strenuous training. He was released from air training on December 23, and was permitted to visit Nice and Monte Carlo on a leave of absence for one week. He then sailed from Brest January 13, 1919, and was discharged at Garden City, Long Island, January 23, 1919.


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