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In Memory Of Our Poets

Silas S. "Brook" Nettles, COL, Usaf (1922-2007) - Class Of 1941

NETTLES, Silas S.age 84, died at his residence on January 4, 2007. He was born in Montgomery, AL on February 14, 1922 and was preceded in death by his parents Riley and Ida White Nettles, and his wife Jean Severence Nettles. His military career spanned thirty years and three wars – World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, he entered the Army Air Corps flight school at Maxwell Field in Montgomery, AL as an aviator cadet. He was commissioned a second lieutenant after a year of flight training. While in England, he joined the 96th Bomber Group in England. He was reported missing in action after the Schweinfurt Mission on October 14, 1943. His B-17 Bomber was shot down by fighter planes after a three hour attack. Bailing out, he and his crew were taken POW by the Germans. During that day, “Black Thursday,” the mission lost 60 fortresses with 600 men reported missing in action. Col.Nettles and his crew were taken to Stalag Luft 3, a POW camp south of Berlin, where he spent the next 19 months. The well known movie, “The Great Escape” recounted life in this prison camp. After the war he received the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Force Commendation Medal, Five Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Purple Heart. When the war was over, he returned home and married Virginia Jean Severence. He returned to active military service when the Korean War broke out in 1951, and during his military career, he transported troops, cargo, and supplies in a C-124 aircraft called “Old Shaky.” Col. Nettles retired from the Air Force in 1970 in Montgomery, AL. Following his retirement from the military, he went to work for Times Mirror Publishing Co. where he had the opportunity to meet President Gerald Ford. He retired in1988 from Capell Howard law firm. Col. Nettles was a longtime member of First Baptist Church of Montgomery where he attended the Poundstone Sunday School class and Bible Study Fellowship. He and his wife served Christ in the Helping Hands Ministry and Meals on Wheels program. Throughout his life, he enjoyed golfing, hunting and fishing. He and his wife also hosted and attended multiple World War II reunions, and Col. Nettles spoke at several high schools and elementary school regarding his experiences as a prisoner of war. He and his wife, who were married for 58 years, always enjoyed an annual trip to the beach with their entire family for over 35 years. He is survived by 5 children, Jeannie (David) Dyson of Decatur, GA, Brookie (Will) Marston of Haughton, LA, Riley (Diana) Nettles of Lowndesboro, AL, Laura Nettles of Atlanta, GA, Lisa (Mickey) Mills of Buford, GA; grandchildren, Kelly (Greg) Bryant, Michael (Shauna) Marston, Jeffrey and Virginia Dyson, Tatiana Nettles, James, Mary Simmons, and John Mills and one great granddaughter, Brooke Marie Bryant. Graveside services will be held on Sunday, January 7,2007 at 3:30 p.m. at Greenwood Cemetery in Montgomery, AL. The family will receive friends at Leak-Memory Chapel in Montgomery, AL on January 7, 2007 from 2:00 – 3:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, memorials maybe made to the charity of your choice. Leak-Memory Chapel Directing
Publication Date: 01/06/2007