Lewis M. Brunick

USS West Virginia

Lewis M. Brunick, born Sept. 17, 1924, Meckling, SD, joined the USN in May 1943 and completed boot training at Farragut, ID. After four months of communication training he was assigned to the USS West Virginia in February 1944 and served on the BB-48 until January 1946. He was in all battles and campaigns and was awarded all medals that each crew member of the West Virginia, from the time of assignment to discharge, plus he received the USN Letter of Commendation. He was a RM2/c at time of discharge.

During the service there were many areas of memorable experiences and the following are a few: served with five brothers, four of which participated in most of the campaigns and battles he did; communication with air and ground support fire control spotters and pilots. Carrying out the mission of knocking out the Naha airfield in Okinawa while blitzed constantly by Japanese suicide planes and reported being sunk by Tokyo Rose during the engagement. Main general quarters duty station was the CIC and had current knowledge of all actions scheduled, taking place and the overall status of the operation. Watching a sailor on a burning carrier escort throwing and pushing shipmates off the flaming deck and repeatedly going into the flames and carrying out injured until he went into the fire and never returned, a true unknown hero; received original message to cease hostile operations against the enemy and quickly made a duplicate and kept the original, to be provided to the museum.

After discharge he worked for the Department of the Army as logistics management supervisor for the DCSLOG in Detroit, MI, and later at Harrisburg, PA. The job consisted of representing the DCSLOG on all phases of logistics including briefings to the Secretary of Defense all service secretaries and all theater logistics officers. Received four outstanding performance awards and 16 letters of commendation. Prepared video and audio tape for a two hour classroom training film covering all phases of logistics support from R&D to disposal of all military equipment. The tapes were used as classroom training for all services at the Wright-Patterson AFB for several years. Retired on disability in April 1974 due to a disease called Ankylosing Spondilitis.

Has been married over 54 years to Mel vie Brunick (Hanson). She was the key to the highly successful management of the home life including being the mother of four great sons. Three of the four sons served in Vietnam and in 1996 three of them celebrated their 25th wedding anniversaries and the fourth will celebrate his in 1998.  They presently live in Lakeland, FL, and are active in community affairs which concerns all facets of senior citizens comfort and well being. During his work years he found time to serve on several church boards, coach baseball, basketball, football and Softball, serve as athletic director and recreation program advisor to the director of recreation.

Reprinted with permission from Turner Publishing

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