Honoring & Remembering: Staff Sargent Sidney Brunick

Staff Sargent Sidney Brunick was born in Vermillion on Feb. 5, 1917.

He entered the service in March, 1942. They were supposed to get six weeks training, but they had so much trouble with the planes, that they sent them over as quickly as possible. Sid passed his tests at the school, but failed his physical to become a pilot because his depth perception was not good.  He became a Chin Gunner and a togglier who said when to drop the bombs.

When they left Harrisburg, they went to Kearney, NE to get the brand new B 17s.  From Kearney, they were to fly to Prescott, ME but there was a terrible storm, so they flew to New Hampshire where they encountered another storm, but had to fly in it anyway.

Sid had the opportunity to see the entire length of the Mississippi River.  It was an unbelievable sight.  They flew from Dyersburg, TN which is 60 miles north of Memphis on the Mississippi River, down the Mississippi Gulf, down through Mexico, and the Caribbean. On the way back they needed to land in Biloxi, MS, but they wouldn't let them so it was on to Mobile, AL when they flew off the left side of the runway, on the grass.

The trip to Goose Bay, Labrador put them in extremely cold weather.  It was 40 degrees below zero!  Fortunately they had a warm place to sleep and good eating.

After they landed in Reykjavik, Iceland and the crew did some sightseeing. They flew on to Storaway, Scotland, which is a little Island off the northwest coast of Scotland.

It was in Prestwich, Scotland that they knew the United States had plenty of airplanes to do the job because that was the place where the United States stored the planes used for invasion. 

�We were 10 miles north of London the last time the German's flew over London and bombed them.  Every one had no doubt that there was a war going on,� Sid said. �During one of our combat missions we flew over Sorau, Poland  which is 50 miles from the Russian border. We had suffered a lot of damage and were flying back across Denmark when we lost one engine over the North Sea, then we lost another engine.  We were close to the base when the third engine got hot.  Our pilot cut the one and a half engine left and we had a perfect landing. Our pilot was granted permission to land first. They pulled us to our parking stand and got off.  We discovered that the plane had been shot 14 times and never shot a hole in the wings, and we didn't loose any gas.

�Before �D-Day� we had flown 17 combat missions. We got there for the �Big Week� bombing force.  There were five combat missions flown over Berlin, and our 18th mission was one of those five.  Each force had 18 sorties which flew in a V formation .  One day over 1,000 sorties flew over Berlin to show Hitler that we had the forces to take out Berlin, because Hitler had promised the German people that a bomb would never be dropped on Berlin. On D-Day Berlin was leveled.

�We flew seven more combat missions and the powers that be had changed their minds about how many missions were to be flown.  They went from 25 to 35 missions each force had to fly before going home so we flew 10 more combat missions. I flew my last mission August 11, 1944,� he said. �When I finished my 35 missions I came home on the Queen Mary. We pulled into the New York Harbor and could see the Statue of Liberty on the top deck. It was  the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. One of my buddies, Tech Sargent Arthur J. Russell, poked me in the ribs and said, �Sid, I think we made it.�  It was a beautiful day.

�I finished my enlistment at the Sioux Falls Air Force Base in Sioux Falls,� Sid said.

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