The Huntsville Item, Huntsville, TX

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July 21, 2009

City airport named after Bruce brothers

The Huntsville City Council voted to honor two Huntsville brothers killed in airplane crashes during World War II and held the first reading on the construction contract of the H.B. Toney Memorial Fire Station No. 4 during its regular meeting Tuesday night at City Hall.

The nine-member council approved changing the name of Huntsville Municipal Airport to The Bruce Brothers/Huntsville Regional Airport, honoring Capt. Harry Bruce and Lt. Reeves Bruce.

Reeves Bruce, the youngest son of Joe and Dora Bruce of Huntsville, was killed in action Jan. 2, 1944, in New Guinea while flying a C-47.

He was airlifting eight Marines and two heavy aviation engines to a forward base in New Guinea, flying just above the tree tops.

All aboard died when the plane plunged into the jungle terrain.

Harry J. Bruce, also a C-47 combat pilot, was killed in Germany on April 24, 1945, two weeks before the war ended in Europe.

He was ferrying prisoners released from a German concentration camp to an Allied base at Bayreuth, Germany.

When Bruce landed on a muddy airfield, his aircraft bogged down. Another transport arriving right behind him came down on top of his plane.

Council members Melissa Mahaffey and Charles Forbus made the motion to change the name of the Huntsville airport to The Bruce Brothers Regional Airport, but council member Mac Woodward made a motion to amend the original motion to add Huntsville to the airport’s new name.

The amendment passed by a 5-4 vote.

Woodward said that adding Huntsville would let people know the Bruce brothers were from Huntsville and “that Huntsville honored them.”

Council member Lanny Ray made a motion for continuance to discuss the naming at a later meeting, but his motion failed by a 6-3 vote.

The base motion as amended passed unanimously, changing the name to The Bruce Brothers/Huntsville Regional Airport.

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