Unknown Sailor

S1c Allen Ottis Brooner

Allen Ottis Brooner was a football and basketball star at Dale High School in Dale, Indiana, population 763.

He was quarterback of the school’s six-man football team and was named an all-star twice in the Pocket Athletic Conference. The team went 7-1 his senior year of 1939, including a 60-36 victory over Boonville in which Brooner scored four touchdowns.

He also played basketball all four years and was on the staff of the school newspaper and yearbook.

Mr. Brooner, born June 11, 1922,  was the son of Ottis I. Brooner, editor and later publisher of the Dale newspaper in southwest Indiana, and Mary Painter Brooner, a homemaker.

The son left Dale to enlist in the Navy on Sept. 25, 1940, and was a seaman first class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

When he was first reported as missing in action, the sports columnist for an Indianapolis newspaper described him as “one of southern Indiana’s most brilliant high school athletes.” The newspaper in Rockport later created the Brooner Award, given to a basketball player who “showed mental attitude and the value to team.”

At the request of Dale students, classes were dismissed on Jan. 1, 1942, so they could follow President Roosevelt’s proclamation that the new year begin with “a thoughtful and prayerful attitude toward our present situation.” The students said they also wanted to pay tribute to their  classmate.

Women from Dale banded together to make a blanket in Mr. Brooner’s memory. They sent it to the Naval Hospital at Pearl Harbor.

There is a cenotaph at the Dale Cemetery in Mr. Brooner’s memory. His parents are buried there.


Sources: The Dale (Indiana) News; the Indianapoli Star; Evansville (Indiana) Press; 1939 Dale High School yearbook; Navy muster roll; Census; “If It Feels like Leather, Shoot It,” by Richard Hyatt, copyright 2015; cenotaph at Dale Cemetery. Navy photo. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.

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