Cruse Letters


Bud Cruse Writes from Texas


Ellington Field, Texas

May 28, 1942


Dear Mrs. Grow and all,

Well, I guess it is way past time I was writing you again.  There are a lot of Terril people I didn’t get to see while I was home but time seemed to fly so fast.  Then too they called me back about 5 days ahead of time.  Since I've been in the Air Corps I've moved three times so I've been pretty busy.  I haven’t kept up with any of my correspondence.  We are here at Ellington Field.  There are about 270 of us just waiting around until we can start to class.  They have so many boys there just isn’t room for them all.  They give us a little drill each day and we do a lot of detail but we get out of as much as possible.  We have to wait two more weeks and I’ve been here one week already so I’m not getting much accomplished.  This course here lasts 9 weeks and then we go to advanced training which lasts 15 weeks more so I have a lot of studying to do before I do much.  At that time I will be a second lieutenant if they don’t wash me out some where along the line.  They really weed out a  lot of then though and if a guy gets through he earns everything he gets.  I know it will be hard for me but if I study I’ll get by.  The food here is swell.  It seems about 100 percent better than the army and I couldn’t kick on that any. 

I hear from Les Moore quite often but we can’t seem to ever get together.  Ellington Field is about 17 miles from Houston and 30 miles from Galveston so we are pretty close to the Gulf of Mexico.  It gets mighty hot in the day time but the nights are swell and generally a nice cool breeze is blowing.  I guess it comes from the Gulf.

There are many things I could tell you about but guess we aren’t supposed to tell how many men are at camp or what they are doing, so I’ll just bat the breeze and fill up this page.

I finally got the good old Terril Rec. again.  I have moved so much my mail service is poor but guess I’ll get it all eventually.

If I don’t write so much forgive me because I’m going to be awful busy studying.

Best of regards to you and all my old friends.  Hope this finds you all well and I’ll be counting  the days until I can get back to that good old corn state again. Thanks, I sure appreciate the Record.


As ever,

Bud Cruse




JULY 2 1942

Terril Boys with Flying Colors



LeRoy Cruse was born in Terril 27 years ago last April and this has always been his home.  Besides his father and mother, Mike and Della cruse the is a sister, Evelyn Cruse Tuel in the immediate family.

“Buddy” as he is known by every one in and around Terril took his grade and high school course here and graduated with the class of 1923.

Since then he helped his father do carpenter word until about 18 months ago he went to North Carolina where he worked in Defense work.

He was inducted from here August 4, 1941 and sent to Camp Grant, Ill., where he served in the medical department.  Last fall he was transferred to Fort Sam Houston, Texas and in April of this year was transferred to the Air Corps at Kelly Field, Texas, and is now at Ellington Field going to aviation school.

He has been home on several furloughs and was here in April of this year of this year.   “Bud” is a boy whom everyone likes and we are proud to start our series of pictures of the boys from Terril with one who sort of seems to “belong to us”

He and Lee Moore and Geddy Taylor have had some get togethers lately which have meant much to all of them.




Nov. 19, 1942

Dear Grow Family,

Well it has been quite some time since I got your nice litter so thought I would try to answer it this afternoon.  We haven’t done much all week because it rained so much.  The weather here isn’t so bad but it gets pretty darn cold at night.  The wind seems to blow most of the time.  When it is from the north we get smothered almost with red dust from Okla.  When it is form the south we get full benefit of a slaughter house located on the outskirts of town but it isn’t anything to complain about.  The food is very good and we have fine barracks that is much more than a lot of the fellows have.  I see Ervin Ficken quite often, he is at the other end of the field.  I guess I’ll be leaving here the first of the week.  I don’t  know where it will be but I think to Las Vegas, Nevada or maybe Harlington, Texas.  It is right down on the border either place is all right but it won’t be long wherever I go.  There isn’t much news here and not much to talk about.  I think of you all often and can hardly wait until I get to come home again but it is hard to say when that will be.  Hope this finds all of my friends well. 

I remain as ever

Bud Cruse

P.S. Thanks for the nice letter.  I enjoyed it a lot, as I do the Record each week.





Nov 26, 1942

Dearest  Mother and Dad,

 Well here it is Sunday.  We had to get up as usual as we had a lot of tests to take before we start to school Monday.  I guess we had a good breaking in as it was a regular desert dust storm..  I have never seen anything like it.  It is white sand and alkali here and when you look out from inside it looks just like one of the severe winter blizzards.  A guy don’t seem to notice its bad tho, only it makes your hair awful stiff and there is dirt always in your ears but I don’t mind that.  At least I’m out of Texas and that is worth a heck of a lot to me.                

I guess I’ll go to the show tonight if nothing happens. 

I don’t know what school consists of or how hard it is but guess I won’t have and trouble with it.

 They had quite a show this afternoon.  It was a magician.   He sure was good.  I don’t see how he did it.

I just got back from church.  There were only 18 of us there and I guess there must be 2000 on the field.  I can’t figure it out.  Those guys sure have a hard job.  I don’t see how they can talk to a bunch of fellows when we are all in here for the sole purpose of destruction of the other guy. I guess they have even a tougher job than we do.  It sure must make them feel bad when they can only get 18 out of 2,000 to even come to church and maybe only get across to half of then what they are trying to say.

The wind has gone down and it is real pretty out now.  This is a wonderful country when it is calm but not so pleasant when the wind blows.  But I still like it better than Texas.  I sure am glad to be out of that state.  I don’t know why man ever settled there in the first place.  The heat must have gone to his head and he never knew what he was doing or perhaps he had never seen any state like Iowa.  There is no grass here and very few trees.  There is an occasional willow along the creek coming out of the mountain.  Is it very cold at home yet?  It is hard to realize how the weather is there when one has been gone so long.  I haven’t got much news.  Will perhaps have more interesting news when we get started to school.

I sure hope I get to see Boulder Dam while I am here but don’t know how often we will get to town.

This place is pretty new and it seems like nothing is figured out very good as yet.  I suppose even after my mail gets here it will take quite a time to get it to me.

Well I must sign off as I have to take a bath so will quit for now.


Lots of love,




MARCH 18 (received)

Letter From Bud Cruse

Denver Colorado

March 13, 1943


Dear Grow Family,

Well I really feel ashamed of myself.  Have been putting off writing to you for quite some tine.  I got the nice card you sent.  Also a lot more from Terril folks while I was laid up.  Thanks to all of you.  Guess it is like the saying, you never miss the water until the well goes dry.   You never realize how many friends you have until you are away.  I still get the Record regular.  I realize what a load it is to send to all and I certainly appreciate it a lot.  I will soon be leaving here so you can hold it up a week or so.  I guess I leave the 27th .  I sure will be glade when I get done with school and back in the air again.  I don’t know where I will go from here.  Guess I’ll get home before I leave the States.  At least I am sure but it will be a while any how.

I hope everyone is well and you are getting some spring now.  I hate Colorado.  It is so changeable, one day hot, the next cold.  I’ve had a cold almost ever since I got here.  A guy never knows how to dress.  Maybe I shouldn’t kick, maybe the next place will be worse.  A guy never knows when he is well off.  It is one privilege a soldier has, to moan all he wants in the barracks when no officers are around.

Well thanks again for the nice card and Record weekly.

As ever




JUNE 3, 1943

Bud Cruse Now In Dyersburg, Tenn.


May 29 1943

Dear Grow  Family and All:

Guess it is about time I was getting a line to you again.  I took another long jump recently from California to Dyersburg, Tenn.  It sure was a relief to get out of that desert.  This is a new field and we are supposed to receive a couple months of training here.  Don’t know how long for sure but when we finish here we will be ready.  We are running behind on schedule as they don’t have enough ships here.  We will be flying about 30,000 here I guess, and it gets awful cold up there.  Have had several birds eye views of the recent flood area.  The old river really went wild this time.

Went to Memphis on a 48 hour pass.  If I could stretch it another day I might get home, but that will have to wait a little longer.

It rains a lot here and when the sun comes out it really gets warm.

News is kinda scarce.  Most of our flying is formation and pretty much routine.  We tear guns apart all the time and put them together again.  I can do it with gloves on in the dark now.  We will be making some cross country hops soon.  I sure would like to come over Terril.  Guess you know I’m a tail gunner on the B-17.  It’s a swell position, and I really like it a lot.

I must sign off now and thanks again for the paper.  It is regular again now.

As Ever




September 12 1943



August 22, 1943

Dear Grows.

I arrived in England in good shape.  I was really surprised to see everything in such good shape after four years of war.  The English are indeed a wonderful race of people, however they do so many funny things.  This is my second A.P.O. I don’t suppose I’ll ever get any mail if it keeps changing.  The English money system had me all mixed up for awhile but it doesn’t bother me now.  Almost everything is rationed but you can buy plenty of cigarettes yet, a carton a week.  Maybe I’ll run into some of the other guys over here yet.  I hope so.  I can’t say much only the country is all right and very pretty.  There are blackouts all the time here.  It really is dark after night.

 It sure doesn’t seem like I am this far from home and so close to the enemy.

As Ever,




October 7, 1943


September, 24 1943

Dear Grow Family,

Just a few lines to say hello.  All the news that comes from home concerning Pat sure sounds good.  It never did seem like he could be gone.  Maybe in another year or so we will all be home again.  I’m sure everyone hopes so.

England isn’t so bad.  They are a lot like us.  At any rate it could be a hell of a lot worse.  I can’t say any thing concerning my work here but you know about what is happening through the news broadcast.  I suppose it is getter cold at home now.  It is starting the rainy season here now and winter will soon be here.  Hope maybe I will run into someone I know over here yet.  Seems like you find someone where ever you go.

Must close now.  Best wishes to all.




October 18, 1943

Dear Mom & Dad,

Haven’t heard from you for quite a while.  Have been on pass the last two days.

I saw Bud Cruse.  He was wounded in the leg, but not very bad.  He was in the hospital but wasn’t in very long.  He is up and around now and is O.K.  Sure was good to see him.

I guess he is just like everyone else, sure is in a hurry to get the war over and get back home.

We aren’t very far apart.  We can get to see each other whenever one of us can get a little time off.

When you see his folds, tell them not to worry about his leg, as he is O.K. and up walking on it. I guess he is supposed to get the purple heart.

Well, I’m out of space so will close.





October 28, 1943



Mike Cruse received the following telegram Sunday:

Mike cruse,

Terril, Iowa

Am pleased to inform you report received States that your son, Staff Sergeant LeRoy D. Cruse was released from hospital fifteenth, October after having been slightly wounded in action October 10 in European area.


The Adjutant General Telegraph operator, Bergie Anderson checked back to Washington Monday and got the same message excepting it said “seriously” wounded. However the letter from Geddy Taylor to his folks, dated Oct. 18 reports Bud as getting along O.K.  The letter appears below.




MARCH 9, 1944


An Eighth AAF Bomber Station England—Staff Sgt. Leroy D. Cruse of Terril, tail gunner on a Flying Fortress, has been awarded an Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Metal for “meritorious achievement” on ten bomber combat missions over enemy Europe, it was announced recently by Col. Eugene A. Romig of Byesville, Ohio, commanding officer at the station.

The citation accompanying award read in part: The courage, coolness and skill displayed by this enlisted man upon these occasions reflect great credits upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States.”

Sgt. Cruse, 28 years old, who previously was decorated with the Purple Heart for wounds received in action, entered the service August 4, 1941.  A construction worker in civilian life, he is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Mike Cruse of Terril.



March 11, 1944


Staff Sgt. LeRoy D Cruse, Terril, Iowa, tail gunner on a Flying Fortress, has been decorated with a second Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air medal for “meritorious achievement” on 15 bomber combat missions over enemy occupied Europe.

The citation accompanying the award read, in part: “The courage, coolness and skill displayed by this enlisted man on these occasions reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States.”

Sgt. Cruse, 29 years old, is the son of Mr. And Mrs. Mike Cruse of Terril.  Before entering the service on August 4, 1941 he did construction work for his gather, a contractor.



June 1, 1944


An Eighth AAF Bomber Station, England—A third Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal has been awarded Staff Sgt. Leroy Cruse of Terril, tail gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress, for “meritorious achievement” on the bomber attacks on enemy Europe.

The citation accompanying the award read in part: “The courage, coolness and skill displayed by this enlisted man upon these occasions reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States.”

Sgt. Cruse, 29 years old, a veteran of more than a score of combat missions, has been decorated previously with a Purple Heart for wounds received in action.  He was a construction worker before entering the service August 4, 1941.  His parents are Mr. and Mrs. Mike Cruse.

Mr. And Mrs. Mike Cruse got a telegram from the War Department June 22 that their son Leroy, a tail gunner, was missing in action over France as of May 28.  A few days later they got a letter from a boy who was in the plane right behind them telling them that an engine was out of Bud’s plane and the plane was going down slowly.  It was mot afire and they had hopes that the crew would have time to parachute to safety.  No other word has come and it is safe to say that all are hoping, with his parents and other relatives, that the next word will be good word.

News of this was held up because his mother was very ill at the time and it was thought wise to advise her of the word “missing in action.”  Before she came home from Sioux City, however, she found out about it and is taking it very bravely.  The only other child, Evelyn, Mrs. Kenneth Tuel of Colorado Springs. Colo., was with her mother for a couple weeks but has returned to her work.

Mrs. Cruse is slowly recuperating from two major operations.



September 28, 1944

LeRoy D. Cruse Killed In Action

Word was received here by Mr. and Mrs. Mike Cruse Monday September 25 that their son was killed in action over Germany May 28, 1944.

LeRoy was the only son of Mr. And Mrs. Mike Cruse and was born in Terril April 26, 1915.  He attended the local school and graduated in 1933.  After that he helped Mike in carpenter work until he entered the service Aug 4 1941.  He was sent to camp Grant. Illinois, where he served in the Medical department.

In April 1942 he joined the Air Corps and after his training in the states, he was sent overseas, arriving in England August 17, 1943.  He was reported missing over Germany May 28.

Since that time, family and friends have been hoping that he would be heard from, as a prisoner, or would have landed in one of the occupied countries and be safe.

The word received Monday comes as a very great shock to his parents.  Mrs. Cruse has been far from well and was in a hospital at Sioux City at the time the word came that he was missing.  She just came home from Rochester Saturday.  Mike has been in constant attendance on Della, being with her both at Sioux City and Rochester.  Of the immediate family, there is but one sister, Mrs. Evelyn Tuel of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

LeRoy or “Buddy” as he was more familiarly known, was a clean cut boy who has grown up in our town and whom we all knew and loved.  There are none of us but can look back and have a pleasant memory of some association with “Buddy Cruse”.  He was one of the first from here to enter the service and while in the states was home a few times on a furlough.  Every time he was home, he tried to see all his friends.

Words can not help, and we can not see to write more any way.  May God keep all parents and families during this time and give us strength and knowledge to understand the meaning of these things.





The following poem, credited to M.H. Dailey, was sent by Mr. and Mrs. Francis Johnson to be read at the memorial services for Leroy Cruse, October 8.

Perhaps, dear God- You will not heed my prayer

For I am but a humble cross of white,

A cross which stands upon and guards with care

The grave of one who waged the gallant fight

Give strength, I pray you, to his friends and kin

When, they receive the news that he is gone,

And in their hearts implant, deep down within,

New faith and hope-that they may carry on.

And let this lad who sleeps in Normandy,

Upon a strange and distant strand

Be someday told that all the world is free,

And war at last is driven from the land,

That he, whose grave I guard with jealous pride,

May know the peace for which he fought and died.

                M.H. Dailey





October 12, 1944

Memorial Services Were Held Sunday For Leroy Cruse

Memorial services were held at the Methodist Church Sunday Afternoon for Leroy Cruse who was killed in action over Germany May 28.  When word came on that date, all of us at home hoped for the best, but the final word came from the was department on September 25.

LeRoy Desmond Cruse, only son of Mr. and Mrs. Mile Cruse was born in Terril April 26, 1915 and spent all his life here up to the time he entered the service of his country in August 1941.  After his preliminary training in the military department he joined the army air corps in April 1942 and was sent overseas in August 1942.  He was a tail gunner on a B-17, a very hazardous position.

The services Sunday were in charge of the Terril and Arnolds Park American Legion and were conducted by Rev. Nelson for the Methodist Church.  Mrs. Mabel Krieger presided at the piano and the three Hewitt girls now Mrs. Everett Mass and Mrs. Andy Reinken and Eva Hewitt sang.   The two latter were classmates of Leroy when he graduated on 1933.  The services Sunday depicted the sympathy for the loved ones here and the love for the boy who has fulfilled his mission for “greater love hath no man than this, that a man give his life for his friends.

Mrs. Cruse was presented with the American flag by the Legion.  A memorial was given by the friends of LeRoy as there was so little which could be done to express the feelings of all.

The United Service Women, an organization of wives, mothers, sisters and daughters of the service men of this war, attended in a body to show their sympathy and respect to those who are here to mourn.

Grand Island, August 10th Leroy D. Cruse, son of Mike Cruse was promoted to the rank of Staff Sgt. Effective July 26th at the Grand Island Army Air Base in Nebraska.  He attended the Army’s Armament school at Lowry Field, Colo., graduating March 24, 1943 and the Aerial Gunnery school at Las Vegas, Nev., graduating Dec. 25, 1942 and he is now stationed at the Grand Island base as a Tail Gunner on a B-17.  He was last stationed in Dyersburg Army Air Base, Tenn., where he was in combat training.  He arrived at this base a few weeks ago.

He attended Terril High School, graduation in 1933.  He worked as a carpenter.  He entered the army Aug. 4, 1941.



November 9, 1944

Mr. and Mrs. Mike Cruse received the following letter Tuesday from Henry L. Stimson, notifying them that their son, Leroy D. Cruse, had been posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.  It would be sent in a few days.  Leroy had already received the Army Air Force and four Oak Leaf clusters for bravery.

The Secretary of War


October 31, 1944

My Dear Mr. Cruse:

The President has requested me to inform you that the Purple Heart has been awarded posthumously to you son staff sergeant LeRoy D. Cruse, Air Corps, who sacrificed his life in defense of his country.

The medal, which you will receive shortly is of slight intrinsic value, but rich with the tradition for which Americans are so gallantly giving their lives.  The Father of our country, whose profile and coat of arms adorn the medal, speaks from it across the centuries to the men who fight today for the proud freedom he founded.

Nothing the War Department can do or say will in any sense repair the loss of your loved one.  He has gone, however, in honor and the goodly company of patriots.  Let me, in communicating to you the country’s deep sympathy, also express to you its gratitude for his valor and devotion.

Please believe me,

Sincerely yours,

Henry L. Stimson

The Mike Cruse’s received a cable-gram from “Bud” Thursday saying “Arrived safely, the country is beautiful, do not worry, Bud.”  Since then they have had an airmail letter and a V’Mail letter and tho he can’t say much they know he has landed safely in England and all is well with him.  When he was home a short time ago he said he was rarin’ to get overseas after two years training.  So his wish is fulfilled that far.

Mrs. Mike Cruse tells us that they have just gotten word from Bud that he was made staff sgt.  The papers came July 22-just after he got to Grand Island, Nebraska, as a pleasant surprise.



February 3, 1949

Military Rites Held For LeRoy Cruse


Military services were held Monday afternoon at the Methodist church in Terril for LeRoy Cruse, whose remains were brought back from overseas for burial.  Rev. Hutchings had charge of the services at the church and the American Legion paid tribute to a departed comrade at the graveside service.

LeRoy Cruse was born April 26, 1915.  he spent all his life in Terril up to the time he entered the service of his country in August, 1941.  He graduated from the Terril School with the class of 1933.

LeRoy was one of the first from this community to enter the service.  After preliminary training in the medical department he joined the Army Air Corps in April 1942.  He was sent overseas in August, 1943, and was killed in action over Germany May 28, 1944. Sgt. Cruse was a tail gunner on a B-17 with the 8th Air Force and was on his 27th mission.

Leroy was baptized march 15, 1925 and received in membership in the Methodist church.

He is survived by his parents, Mr. And Mrs. Mike Cruse, and one sister,  Mrs. Kenneth (Evelyn) Tuel of Spencer.

Pall Bearers were Howard  Hewitt and Ralph Layman of Spencer, Paul Namtvedt of Spirit Lake, Gerald Taylor, Weldon Lewis and George Sands.

Relatives from a distance here for the services were Mr. and Mrs. Joe Staples, Mr. and Mrs. Donald Staples, Mr. and Mrs. Ray Paal, Mrs. Fred Staples, Mrs. Henry Koob and Mrs. Walter Frerk of Slayton, Minn., Mr. and Mrs. Frank Cruse and Mr. and Mrs. Glen Cruse of Winthrop, Minn.; Mr. and Mrs. Bert Knowlton of Luverne, Minn.; Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Smith of Sioux City; Mr. and Mrs. John Cruse and Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Tuel of Spencer and Elwood Cruse of Spirit Lake.




June 27, 1949

Military Rites to be Held for Sgt. Cruse


Military  rites will be observed in funeral services Friday afternoon here for Sgt. LeRoy Cruse whose body is being returned from Germany.

Services will Be conducted at two o’clock in the Terril Methodist church and burial will be in the Terril cemetery under the direction of the Cobb Warner Funeral home.

Sgt. Cruse was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Mike Cruse of Terril.  A sister, Mrs. Kenneth Tuel, is a Spencer resident.