William and Bobbe Crooks
William Crooks entered the US Navy as an aviation cadet and was commissioned a Marine Corp Reserve second Lieutenant Naval Aviator in 1944. During WWII he saw combat as a fighter pilot (in F4U1 and F4U4 Corsair) with VMF-211, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in the South Pacific where he earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses and five air medals. He went on to serve in the Korean War at K-6 flying air support, and interdiction. His final tour to a war zone was in Vietnam as part of the 3rd Marine Division. His recon battalion was set up to evacuate American Nationals, if necessary. He served as military advisor to the command staff in Saigon and upon completion of service was awarded several military honors. Colonel Crooks retired from the Marines a highly decorated officer.
Roberta “Bobbe” Penhallick Crooks moved to Anchorage from Washington State in 1940 to get a job where wages were better . When war broke out and the threat of Japanese invasion was feared non-essential personnel were asked to leave and Bobbe went back to Spokane. During her time in Alaska she witnessed the military build-up in Alaska, the influence of the military on Anchorage and the restrictions imposed on civilians living in the state. After marrying William Crooks, a Navy fighter pilot and later Colonel, Bobbe talks about living a military lifestyle as their family grew.
Did You Know?
The Ounalashka Corporation was established in 1973 as the Alaska Village Corporation for Unalaska. This corporation was one of many Native Alaskan corporations that were formed under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971.