John B. Brooks
Maj. Gen. John B. Brooks, USAF Retired
poses in front of the Fort Huachuca Museum in 1961

     If you search for "John B. Brooks" -Mr., using the Google search engine, (7-18-06), you will find about 188 links. Be sure to visit each of the two following websites during your search for more information on this pioneer aviator.
Huachuca Illustrated: Volume I
The first of three issues
Chapter 21: Military Intelligence in the American Southwest:
Pioneering Aerial Reconnaissance
     This page offers the complete text of the aviation-related part of the interview which Gen. Brooks gave in 1961. It is an important and fascinating review of the subject and is nicely illustrated with several priceless photographs. Included is a comprehensive revue of the 1916 Punitive Expedition into Mexico in Brooks' own words. It makes for very exciting reading. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.

Huachuca Illustrated: Volume I
The first of three issues
Chapter 2: Buffalo Soldiers at Huachuca
The 10th Takes Up Station
     This page includes the following paragraph in which John B. Brooks is mentioned:

     "After returning to the U.S. from the Philippines, the Buffalo soldiers of the 10th Cavalry were stationed at Fort Ethan Allen, Vermont, also known familiarly as "40th and Allen". This was the first time since its organization that the regiment was stationed east of the Mississippi. Late in 1913 the regiment received orders sending it west, to the border station of Fort Huachuca. Second Lieutenant John B. Brooks had just graduated from West Point and was assigned to D Troop. In a 1961 interview, he described the exchange of stations involving three regiments."

     If time permits, I heartily recommend that you access the homepage of this site and take advantage of the opportunity to read each of the 24 chapters of this fascinating story. You can access the homepage by clicking on:
Huachuca Illustrated

Obituary #1
Source: The Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, AZ)
Thursday, January 1, 1976
Section B, Page 2, Column 1
"Pioneer Military Flier Dies Here" John B. Brooks, 84, one of the last of the U.S. Cavalry officers and among the first to fly in the military service, died here yesterday. He had retired in 1946 with the rank of major general.

Brooks spent much of his retirement in Tucson and attributed his physical fitness to swimming a half mile a day. He died in Davis-Monthan AFB Hospital from natural causes, an Air Force spokesman said.

A veteran of 34 years in the service, Brooks entered the Army in 1912 and a year later was assigned to Ft. Huachuca, from where he took part in U.S.-Mexico border patrols. He was in Naco in 1914 when the town was virtually surrounded by Mexican troops. Several U.S. Cavalry soldiers were wounded in fighting there.

Answering a call for 30 unmarried volunteers for aviation duty, Brooks joined the aviation section of the Signal Corps in 1915 and took flight training at North Island, San Diego. He is believed to have been the only survivor of the original 34 officers who made up the corps' First Aero Squadron.

One of the 34 was Carl Spaatz, first Air Force chief of staff.

In 1917 Brooks took the first air squadron to Hawaii to arrange for a site for Army and Navy aviation training and patrol. He chose Ford Island in Pearl Harbor. Records show he piloted the first round-trip flight between Oahu and Hilo. He also is credited with the first non-stop flight to the islands from Oakland, Calif., in a Fokker tri-motor. That was in 1927, the year Col. Charles Lindberg made his historic Atlantic Flight to Paris.

Brooks was the first commanding officer of Call Field, Wichita Falls, Texas, and later commanded Scott Field, Belleville, Ill.

Near the close of World War I, Brooks was instrumental in changing the Army's method of flight training from the "stage system" to one by which a cadet took his entire primary training under one instructor.

He graduated from the Air Service Technical School in 1924, the command and General Staff School in 1925 and the Army War College in 1927.

Following service with the War Dept. General Staff, Brooks was assigned to the Phillippines as commander of Clark Field until 1933, when he returned to the General Staff. In 1937 he was named commander of Randolph Field, Texas, site of the Air Corps Primary Field School.

During World War II he commanded the Second Bomber Command, Fort George Wright, Wash., and the Second Group Air Support Command, Colorado Springs. In 1942 he headed the Newfoundland Base Command, and returned to the U.S. in 1944. He was later named senior Air Force member of the Joint Post-War Committee of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which wrote the Japanese surrender terms.

His last command was Task Force 90, headquartered at Adak in the Aleutian chain. From there he led the final raid of the war on the Kurile Islands.

His decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, the Legion of Merit and the Distinguished Service Medal.

He is survived by his wife, Helen Crosby Brooks, Tucson; and a son, John Mahan Brooks, retired Army colonel and director of admissions at the University of Kansas.

Private funeral services are being arranged by the Adair Funeral Home.
Obituary #2

Source: The New York Times
Thursday, January 1, 1976
Page 20, Column 6

"John B. Brooks, 84, Ex-General, is dead"

John B. Brooks, a retired major general, died Wednesday in Tucson, Ariz., where he lived. He was 84 years old and also lived in Greenwich, N.Y.

General Brooks began his Army career as a second lieutenant of cavalry in 1912 and served at Fort Ethan Allen, Vt., and on the Mexican border. In 1915, he became a flier and saw service in Mexico in 1916 as a member of the First Aero Squadron.

In World War II he served in the office of the Chief Signal Officer in Washington and at Call Field, Tex., and Scott Field, Ill.

When World War II broke out, the general was chief of the Second Bomber Command, Fort George Wright, Spokane, Wash. He was a graduate of the Air Corps Tactical School, the Command and General Staff School and the Army War College.

He is survived by his wife, the former Helen Crosby; a son, John M. Brooks; a daughter,
Editor's Note: These two clippings were kindly provided by:
Steve Gregory
Museum Technician
Fort Huachuca Museum, US Dept of the Army
Grierson and Boyd Avenues, Building 41401
Fort Huachuca, AZ 85613
(520) 533-4945
John B. Brooks died in 1975
From The Early Birds of Aviation ROSTER, 1996
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