Louis "Lou" John Brousseau, Jr.

Army Badge
  • Name: Louis "Lou" John Brousseau Jr.
  • Location of Birth: Proctor, Minnesota
  • Date of Birth: September 14, 1919
  • Date of Death: September 5, 2017
  • Parents: Louis J. Brousseau, Sr. & Ida (Boughton) Brousseau
  • High School and Class: 1937 Greenway High School, Coleraine, Minnesota
  • College: 1939 Itasca Junior College, Coleraine, Minnesota - AA degree in pursuit of an engineering degree
    San Francisco's College of Mortuary Science - earned a BS degree in 1948
  • Highest Rank: T SGT (Technical Sergeant)
  • Branch: Army
  • Other Branch:
  • Date Sworn In: April 3, 1942
  • Place Sworn In: Los Angeles, California
  • Date of Discharge: November 5, 1946
  • Place of Discharge: Lowry Field, Denver, Colorado
  • Units and Locations:
    Start Date End Date Unit(s) and Location(s) Served
    April 1942 June 1942 Los Angeles, California
    July 1942 Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas
    Spartan School of Aeronautics, Tulsa, Oklahoma
    Chanute Field, Rantoul, Illinois
    Waco Army Air Field, Texas
    Lemoore Army Air Field, California
    Tonopah Army Air Field, Nevada
    March 1943 Hickham Field, Hawaii
    New Guinea
  • Military Awards:
    National Defense Medal
    American Campaign Medal
    World War II Victory Medal
    Air Medal for Meritorious Service
    Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal
    Presidential Unit Citation

  • Military Highlights:
    WW II Draft Registration Cards – 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947
    State: Minnesota
    Name: Louis John Brousseau
    Race: White
    Age: 21
    Birth Date: September 14, 1919
    Birth Place: Proctor, Minnesota, USA
    Residence Place: Bovey, Itasca, Minnesota, USA
    Registration Date: October 16, 1940
    Employer: Unemployed
    Weight: 150
    Height: 5-7
    Complexion: Light
    Eye Color: Blue
    Hair Color: Brown
    Next of Kin: Louis J. Brousseau, father, Bovey, Itasca, Minnesota

    WW II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946
    Name: Louis J. Brousseau
    Birth Year: 1919
    Race: White
    State of Residence: Minnesota
    County or City: Itasca
    Enlistment Date: April 3, 1942
    Enlistment State: California
    Enlistment City: Los Angeles
    Branch: Air Corps
    Branch Code: Air Corps
    Grade: Private
    Grade Code: Private
    Term of Enlistment: Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law
    Component: Army of the United States – includes the following: Voluntary enlistments effective December 8, 1941 and thereafter; One year enlistments of National Guardsman whose State enlistment expires while in the Federal Service; Officers appointed in the Army of
    Source: Civil life
    Education: 1 year of college
    Civil Occupation: Actors & actresses
    Marital status: Single without dependents
    Height: 66
    Weight: 159

    Louis Brousseau was interviewed by the Santa Clarita, California newspaper which published a Veterans Page in its January 6, 2017 issue that told his story. He lived in Alborn, Minnesota until the 6th grade when his family moved to Bovey, Minnesota. He obtained his pilot license while still a resident of Itasca County. An avid snow skier, Lou qualified as a Ski Jumper for the Sapporo, Japan 1940 Winter Olympics, however, it was cancelled due to WW II starting. During 1939, Lou visited California via a skiing scholarship. Later, after finishing college, he returned to stay with an aunt in Glendale where he enlisted in the Army Air Corps after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

    Newspaper article - Jul 1945 – Headquarters, 13th AAF, Philippines – Louis J. Brousseau, son of Mr. and Mrs. Louis J. Brousseau of Bovey, recently was promoted to Staff Sergeant. Sergeant Brousseau is a radio operator and gunner with the Bomber Barons B-24 Liberator group which was twice cited by the president for spearheading “Jungle Air Force” attacks on Wolea Island, and Balikpapan, Borneo. Overseas four months, he has completed 17 missions. He was a graduate of Greenway High School, and was employed by the Oliver Mining Company.

    Newspaper article - Oct 1945 – Far East Air Forces, Philippines – Staff Sergeant Louis J. Brousseau, one of the many airmen responsible for the recent Allied victory, has been awarded the Air Medal by General Geo. C. Kenney, commanding the Far East Air Forces, for operational missions in the southwest Pacific theater. These flights consisted of bombing strikes against enemy naval units and installations.

    Excerpts from Santa Clarita, California newspaper dated January 6, 2017:
    B-24 Liberator Training – Soon Lou was at Kelly Field near San Antonio, Texas for pre-flight training, then to Spartan School of Aeronautics at Tulsa, Oklahoma for pilot training. Next, Lou was sent to Chanute Field, Illinois for electronics and antenna courses. Then, it was more training in Morse code, camouflage, airplane structure, and aircraft identification at Waco, Texas. Next, Lou was assigned to Lemoore Field, California where 10 man crews were assigned to fly B-24 Heavy Bombers and then it was to Tonopah Air Base, Nevada. It was here that Lou and his crewmen had overseas training to learn everything possible about flying and working B-24 Liberators. They ran bombing practices, honed their navigation skills and gunners practice. Lou became a radioman responsible for communications and operating a new device called radar.
    South Pacific Liberation – In March 1943, Lou and his crew departed Tonopah by train to San Francisco, California, then on to Hickham Field, Oahu, Hawaii via troop ship where they were assigned to the 5th Bombardment Group, 72nd Squadron – 13th Army Air Corp. Soon they were in New Guinea taking jungle training and learning how to survive should Japanese gunners shoot them down. It wasn’t long before they were conducting bombing missions all over the South Pacific Island held by Japanese forces. Lou’s B-24 Heavy Bomber was well suited for bombing runs over Fiji, Rabaul, Guadalcanal, Los Negros, Luzon, Samar, Borneo, Tarakan, Ba-likpapan, and Formosa. They logged in 32 combat missions along with a dozen or more search and rescue missions for downed flight crews.
    Beware of Head Hunters – On a mission over Borneo, one of Lou’s fellow B-24’s was hit resulting in a crash landing and they encountered indigenous head hunters where they saw Japanese heads mounted on poles. Thankfully, Australian troops arrived by boat just in time to save the day. On another mission over Borneo, Lou’s plane lost two engines and they emergency landed at Brunei Bay’s runway, which only days before had been captured by the Aussies. Not only were those bombing missions dangerous, it was a harsh and cramped environment aboard those non-pressurized B-24’s, sarcastically nicknamed “Flying Boxcars.” They flew at high altitudes, with no insulation and it was often freezing cold. It was also deafeningly loud. Oxygen tanks were required and they communicated with each other using throat mikes. “If the conditions didn’t take you out, you still had the Japanese and head hunters to worry about,” Lou said. Those brave warriors who survived their intense environment, enemy fighter planes and anti-aircraft flak were products of the Great Depression. They grew up living in hardship and they were adaptable as their very lives were at stake, let alone freedom for all Americans. Victory was not an option for our Greatest Generation, it was mandatory.
    Unconditional Surrender – While at Samar Island in the Philippines, Lou received news that the Japanese had surrendered and everyone rejoiced realizing they would soon head home. After island hopping across the South Pacific they landed at Hickham Field and then went on to Sacramento, with a train ride to Denver, Colorado. Lou was honorably discharged as an E-7 Technical Sergeant Nov. 5, 1946. Lou’s awards include The National Defense Medal, American Campaign Medal, WW II Victory Medal, Air Medal for Meritorious Service, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, and the Presidential Unit Citation.

  • Wars Involved:
    World War II

  • MIA / POW:

  • Civilian Life:
    Louis Brousseau returned to Bovey, Minnesota after discharge from service and landed a job at Miller Funeral Home, Grand Rapids, Minnesota which began a lifelong career in the mortuary business. After earning his mortuary science degree in 1948, he moved to San Fernando Valley and landed an apprenticeship with Nobel Chapel Mortuary. He married Estelle Meastas in 1949, who predeceased him in 2015. Lou purchased and operated his own funeral home in Tujunga, California for 30 years. The couple had four daughters and one son, a “blue baby” who passed away at one-year old. During Lou’s career he dedicated free services to all families who lost their babies.

    Louis Brousseau died in California and is buried in Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, California (Sec. 52-B, Site 2457).

  • Tribal Affiliation(s):