Last Name:
First Name:
Robert R.
Sept 2, 1917 – Dec 19, 1942
Chicago, IL
3rd Sqdn “Hell’s Angels”
Flight Leader
Distinguished Flying Cross
Pre AVG: Born 2 Sept 1917 in Chicago, IL to Peter and Emily Brouk. As a child, Robert attended Woodrow Wilson grammar school. From 1931 until 1935, he attended J. Sterling Morton High School in Cicero, where he was active in campus clubs and sports. Robert participated in the Drum and Bugle Corps his freshman. He also served as VP of the Chemistry club his senior year & played Intramural Sports his junior year.

Robert graduated from Morton High School in Cicero, Illinois, in 1935.[i] After graduation, he attended Morton Junior College, in Cicero, from 1935 – 1937. While attending Morton during his freshman year, Robert participated in the Chemistry Club, Engineer’s Club, and continued with his wrestling.

The Engineer’s Club was a very active club which took field trips to engineering departments at the University of Illinois and Purdue, the Argo Starch Company, and Universal Oil company refinery, and other similar companies. The Morton Junior College club was part of a larger group, the Midwest Engineers’ Club which consisted of five other area junior colleges’ clubs. This allowed ideas to be shared freely for everyone’s benefit.

The Chemistry Club also took field trips to chemical laboratories of area colleges and Abbott Laboratories, in addition to conducting experiments and sharing ideas. Robert served as the secretary-treasurer during his freshman year.[ii]

Fit in mind and fit in body, Robert was mentioned in a Morton wrestling article, in the Morton Collegian, because the college had the largest squad in years, and “Competition rife in the 135 lb. division with Robert Brouk…”[iii] seems to speak to Robert’s competitiveness and skill. The Morton Junior College Wrestling Team exceeded expectations in 1936 by winning against several four year colleges in the Chicago area.

Also during 1936, Robert was inducted on 21 June, as a Master Builder in the Cicero Chapter, No. 12, Order of the Builders.[iv] The Order of Builders is still today, a part of the Masons, for boys ages 9 to 21, and its purpose is to teach the members the principles of democracy and ideals of Freemasonry, while participating in various social, athletic and civic projects. To be inducted, the boy must be a close relation to a current Masonic member. Robert’s father, Peter Brouk, was a Mason in Cicero.

During Robert’s sophomore year at Morton College, he again participated in the Chemistry Club and the wrestling team.

The Wresting Team, in its second successive season, did not win as many matches as it had the year before. However, Robert was listed in the Pioneer Yearbook as one individual who consistently won the matches in which he competed.[v]

In the Morton Collegian Prophecy article about the sophomore graduating class, it was predicted that Robert would be, “Research expert for the We Chew Your Gum Co,”[vi] which speaks to his probable sense of humor. In the Pioneer Yearbook for 1937, it lists Robert Brouk as a Pre-Engineering Student who was, “Athletic, scholastic and sociable.”[vii] Robert graduated from Morton Junior College on 13 June 1937.

After graduating from Morton Junior College in 1935, Robert attended Lewis Institute of Technology. It was while attending Lewis in 1939, that Robert joined the Army Air Corps.[viii] His parents, Peter and Emily moved from their home in Chicago, to 2120 59th Court, Cicero, after 1930. This is the home to which he returned after his service with the American Volunteer Group.

Robert graduated from the United States Army Air Corps Advanced Flying School on 30 August 1940, at Kelly Field, Texas. Upon graduation with Class 40-H, Robert received his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps Reserve.[ix] 

Later, while assigned to the 8th Pursuit Group stationed at Mitchel Field, Robert learned about the formation of the American Volunteer Group (AVG.) Mr. ‘Skip’ Adair of the Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company (CAMCO) visited Mitchel Field to recruit pilots, mechanics, and armorers to join the AVG in China.

AVG Service: Brouk joined the largest group of AVG traveling to Burma and sailed with 122 other volunteers from the Port of San Francisco on July 10, 1941 aboard the Dutch ship M/V Jagersfontein.  They arrived at the Port of Rangoon on August 16, 1941.  After breakfast at the Silver Grill they traveled by train to the AVG Training Field, Keydaw Airfield, in Toungoo, Burma.  He flew AVG P-40 #85 as a Flight Leader with the 3rd Sqdn.  He was credited with 3.5 enemy aircraft destroyed while flying missions at Rangoon & Magwe, Burma and from Kunming, China.  He was Honorably Discharged from the AVG when it disbanded on July 4, 1942.
Robert returned to the Chicago area in July 1942 and a month later met Virginia Scharer. He re-enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was stationed in Orlando, FL where he trained pilots. Robert and Virginia were married 24 Nov 1942 in Oak Park, IL. On Dec 19, 1942, just three weeks after their marriage, Virginia was sitting on the hood of their car watching Robert fly in from Kissimmee with pilots after being gone three days. His wing was tipped slightly by Lt. Kane’s aircraft and Robert, just a few feet off the ground, crashed and died.
Post War Career:
Post-War Career/History