Nicholas George Brooks

Lieutenant Commander
United States Navy
18 May 1943 - 02 January 1970
Newburgh, New York
Panel 15W Line 117


Naval Flight Officer

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
Nicolas G. Brooks

The database page for Nicholas George Brooks

11 Aug 2003


Nick and I went through the A-6 RAG (VA-128) together at Whidbey Island in 1968. We ended up in the same squadron (VA-196) in early 1969. By then we had had the time to become close friends. Nick was a 1966 graduate of the Naval Academy who had originally started his Fleet tour as a junior officer on a destroyer. I think Nick was drawn to being an A-6 B/N by his friendship with his classmate Joe Mobley, who had gone straight into the NFO program after graduation. Joe was flying with VA-35 off the Enterprise when he was shot down in June of 1968. I remember that Nick took this news very hard; it seemed to reinforce his determination to make a difference as an A-6 B/N. (Joe was listed as MIA for over a year. We did not know of his status as a POW until August of 1969 - shortly before VA-196 deployed. Joe returned to the USA in 1973, resumed his Navy career, and later retired as a Rear Admiral.)

VA-196 deployed to Vietnam in late 1969 as part of Air Wing TWO on the USS Ranger. We arrived at Yankee Station in November, and lost two aircraft almost immediately on the same day (November 22, 1969) over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in central Laos. Only one of the four crewmen was recovered. After this shock, we settled down to the tedious hard work of daily flights over the Trail. As the weeks went by, the NVN Army moved more and more anti-aircraft artillery into the passes leading from North Vietnam and along the many roads headed south through Laos. On January 2, 1970, Nick and his pilot, Bruce Fryar , were shot down on an interdiction mission along the Trail in the Mu Gia Pass area, reportedly on a dive bombing run. Although we ran SAR operations for several days, neither Nick or Bruce was recovered.

Nick was a bachelor. He drove a British Racing Green Triumph TR-4A roadster and loved jazz. Before we left for Vietnam, he had lived in a little house on the water, within sight of the Deception Pass Bridge. We had a great time one weekend bottling a batch of homemade beer, but I don't remember ever drinking any of it later. Nick also liked to spend weekends in Vancouver, BC, or in looking for little out-of-the-way eateries among the many small towns near Whidbey. He had a philosophical bent that came out after a beer or two, but he was always cheerful and a good companion. I wore his MIA bracelet for several years - until we received word that his remains had been returned to his family and buried at sea. I still have the bracelet.

From a friend and squadronmate,
Pete Young

17 Apr 2004

I was proud to wear Nicholas' MIA bracelet for many years in the 70's. I never took it off until it broke in two after years of wear. I wanted to know what happened to him and if there was any chance that he might still be alive. I had no success finding out anything about Nicholas, until a friend helped me find The Virtual Wall. Tears welled up in my eyes as I looked into Nicholas' face. What a handsome young man with so much promise in his eyes. I felt so blessed to be able to read about Nicholas in Pete's memorial. I am grateful that Nicholas' remains were found and hope that one day those of the others will be found and returned home. Thank you Pete and thank you to The Virtual Wall for allowing me to know this wonderful man in this way.

From one who wore his MIA bracelet,
Rachel Sigel
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

6 Jul 2004

Thank you to all of you who have supported the POW/MIA issue and specifically, my brother, Nick Brooks. My name is Louise Brooks Town and I have great memories of my brother. Thanks for remembering the Mickolob beer from Whidbey Island. My parents are older now and not in great health but I surely appreciate anyone who can remember my brother so kindly. Many men died, not only my brother, but naturally I think my brother was representative of many of the heroes who died in Southeast Asia. I can be reached at my daughter's e-mail "".

Thank you again - Louise.

From his sister,
Louise Brooks Town

15 Apr 2005

I was in high school when I got an MIA bracelet with the name Nicolas Brooks. I wore his bracelet and thought of him often. I only took it off when it broke in half. I always liked his name. Even though I can NEVER remember a name, I remembered his when I went to Washington D.C. and looked it up on the Wall more than 20 years later! I traced it on a piece of paper. Once I was sure I heard his parents on the radio talking about him. I think it mentioned them living in New York. It was a long time ago so I wonder if I really did! I wrote to his family once to let them know I had his name and that he was in my prayers. I have a son turning 21. I think how hard it would be to have him go to war. I am so pleased to know more about Nicolas now. My daughter is in high school and learning about the Viet Nam war and found this web site. She remembered me talking about the bracelet. She remembered the name too! She looked it up and here I am. Thank you for sharing who Nicolas Brooks was.

Linda Dwyer

20 Oct 2006

I too wore a POW/MIA bracelet with the name of Nicholas Brooks and wondered often about the man behind the name. I wrote to his family shortly after putting the bracelet on for the first time and was gratified to receive a response from his mother. It is sad to finally know he died when he went missing, but I am happy his remains were found and returned to his family. I still have my bracelet.

Carol Baker
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

21 Feb 2007


by his niece,
Meaghan Louise Brooks Towne
10 Jun 2007

Nick and I were company-mates all four years at the US Naval Academy. When I learned of his MIA status I requested a POW bracelet with his name. My wife wore the bracelet of our class/company-mate, Joe Mobley. Thankfully, she was able to present her bracelet to Joe after his release.

I attended the memorial service for Nick and as we went through the receiving line I gave the bracelet I had been wearing to his Mother. I think of Nick frequently: his energy, enthusiasm, and love for life. He was truly one of our best and brightest. He is missed and he is well thought of.

Thomas R. Bernier

From The Virtual Wall:
Then-LT Nicholas M. Carpenter and LTJG Joseph S. Mobley were assigned to Attack Squadron 35 embarked in USS ENTERPRISE. They were flying A-6A BuNo 152949 when they were shot down near Vinh, North Vietnam, on 24 June 1968. Mobley survived the incident, was captured, and was released on 14 Mar 1973. Carpenter's remains were repatriated in 1990, with positive identification announced on 27 March 1991.

November 11, 2007

This Veterans' Day is perhaps more poignant since my husband and I spent two weeks in Vietnam and Laos last February. Today I opened a 40 year old scrapbook and took out the letter that Nick Brooks wrote to me in October, 1968.

My name is Phyllis Ensign Harding, and my grandparents (Harold and Jennie Ensign) owned the beach house near Deception Pass that Nick rented in 1968. I spent the summers of my teenage years with my grandparents whose house was behind Nick's, and my "job" that year was to paint the beach house. I was 17 years old, just a kid, but Nick and I became friends sharing long summer days of talking and skipping stones on the water.

Nick had a sketch pad to which I evidently added some creative cartooning when he wasn't looking. This is mentioned in this letter he had my grandmother mail to me in the fall after I went back home to Kent, Washington:

Hi - Feeling somewhat artistic tonight, I opened my sketch pad for the first time in quite awhile, and uncovered some very unflattering mischief! Actually, it's quite good, and I do appreciate it, Phyllis.

The sun is seldom strong enough to warm the North winds that blow in now, and no longer do I find willowy, long-haired girls splashing paint all over my humble home - but little else has changed.

I hope this note finds all of your family in good health. Be sure to stop by next time you are North. Nick

I still have the Seattle newspaper article that my grandmother mailed to me announcing Nick's disappearance in Vietnam in 1970. All of these years I never knew what happened to him.

Today I decided to Google the Vietnam MIA website, and it was there that I found his memorial wall site.

Pete, I wonder if I ever met you. I remember Nick's friends coming over. I have to laugh today imagining my grandparents keeping an eagle-eye on me! I also remember his Triumph roadster ... Nick seemed so cool to me.

To Louise, his sister, I further Googled the pages of years of reports of your father George's quest with the CIA to find out what happened to his son. Today I am remembering getting to know Nick that summer 39 years ago, and I thank you for his memorial page.

From a friend,
Phyllis Harding

Notes from The Virtual Wall

The 22 Nov 1969 incidents mentioned above involved the loss of two aircraft and three of four crewmen: In "Vietnam Air Losses" Chris Hobson offers the following description of Lieutenant Brooks' loss in A-6A BuNo 152937:
"Two Intruders were dispatched on a raid on a storage dump near the Mu Gia Pass in southern Laos under the control of a USAF FAC. As LT Fryar made his second 40 degree dive on the target the aircraft was seen to explode at about 5400 feet and the starboard wing separated from the aircraft. Two good parachutes were seen by both the FAC and the other Intruder crew. . . . One of the crew was seen lying on the ground still attached to his parachute. A pararescueman was lowered to the ground and tried to attach a hoist to the airman, who was identified as LT Fryar and was apparently dead, but heavy ground fire forced the helicopter away and the pararescueman only just escaped with his life. . . . Encroaching darkness put an end to further rescue attempts that day . . ."
When SAR efforts began again at dawn on 03 Jan LT Fryar's body and parachute had been removed. Although intermittent emergency radio "beeper" signals were heard, no contact of any kind was made with LT Brooks. Both men were classed as Missing in Action.

On 03 Feb 1982, Nicholas Brooks' remains were repatriated, with positive identification announced on 04 Mar 1982. At his family's request, his remains were buried at sea on March 25, 1982.

Bruce Fryar's remains have not been repatriated.

Further information is available on the
POW Network
Task Force Omega

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his sister,
Louise Brooks Town

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 11 Aug 2003
Last updated 01/20/2008