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.
Visit our keyboard shortcuts docs for details
2 hours, 50 minutes, 31 seconds

Watch an interview with Bill Crooks. Bill was an aviator for the U.S. Marine Corp and became a highly decorated Colonel by the time he retired. He served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

Visit our keyboard shortcuts docs for details
45 minutes, 14 seconds

An interview with Bobbe Crooks, wife of Bill Crooks. Bobbe landed in Anchorage in 1940 determined to work and help support her family. She experienced WWII and family life following a career Marine Corp Colonel.


Last updated: November 19, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Affiliated Areas, Alaska Regional Office
National Park Service
240 W 5th Avenue

Anchorage, AK 99501


(907) 644-3472

Contact Us