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World War II vet found dead in a suitcase finally received the honor he deserved

Goran Blazeski
Image credit / Rob Gyp
Image credit / Rob Gyp

The devotion, courage, and patriotism of the American veterans who bravely defended our country can never be forgotten, and they deserve nothing short of our best thanks, respect, and support. All those who have donned the uniform of the United States and fought for this nation, deserve to be honored and it is never too late to give them the respect they deserve.

However, there are many stories of American veterans who went unnoticed by society and in many cases, they were treated with disrespect. The story Robert Brooks, World War II veteran from New York is just one of many such stories.

Robert Brooks died of natural causes in New York at the age of 89, but after his death, Brooks was treated horribly. His body was found in a large suitcase on a rural Arkansas farm on March 5th, and no one knows exactly why or who took his body there.

We’re talking about a WWII B-17 belly gunner, Prairie County Sheriff Rick Hickman told The Washington Post. He didn’t deserve to be dumped in a suitcase in the woods.

Robert Brooks who enlisted in 1944 was a “belly gunner,” in a B-17 bomber’s ball turret. This was one of the most dangerous assignments in World War II, and Brooks was perfect for it due to his 5-foot-1 frame. Protected only by a glass bubble belly gunners were one of the easiest and favored targets of enemy fighters and had the highest casualty rates. Their parachute didn’t fit in the ball, and if an accident occurred, belly gunners had to climb into the plane. This assignment was more dangerous than being an infantryman, and it was known as an “airman’s coffin.”

However, Brooks managed to survive and was honorably discharged in 1946. He was awarded the Army Of Occupation Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and a Lapel Button.

According to the Washington Post, the bizarre events that followed after Brooks died, finally ended when, after weeks of fundraising by Brooks’ son Jay, the Arkansas Patriot Guard secured the ashes of the veteran on March 30th and headed to the Tenessee border where many more Patriot Guard Riders joined the procession.

Read another story from us: The fabulous Hollywood Canteen which entertained US recruits during WWII was run by Bette Davis and John Garfield

The Patriot Guard gave Brooks a service with full military honors just like he deserved. They traveled more than 800 miles all the way from Arkansas through Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia to his final resting place at Fort Jackson National Cemetery in Columbia, South Carolina, where he was buried with military honors.  

Goran Blazeski

Goran Blazeski is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News