The day after George Edward Bromley and Jimmie Bromley were killed at Pearl Harbor, their father, Walter David Bromley, tried to enlist. He did not yet know they were dead.
The Navy rejected Walter because he was 51 and the age limit for enlistment was 50. But when he found out about his sons’ deaths, he applied again and the limit was waived.
“It’s the happiest news of my life,” Bromley told a reporter. He’d been earning $8.25 a day at a Tacoma, Washington door manufacturing plant, but gave that up to earn $2 a day as a carpenter’s mate and petty officer third class. He lived to age 85.
The youngest Bromley son, Walter Jr., age 17, also tried to enlist in the Navy but was rejected because he was color blind. But Walter Jr. was accepted by the Army when he was 20 and became a machine gunner. “The average lifespan of a machine gunner was only about 45 seconds,” he said later. Walter Jr. was lucky and did survive the war. He lived to age 93.
Their mother, Ruby Middlekauff Bromley, worked as a shipfitter during the war and later as a licensed practical nurse. She lived to age 91.
The family also included two daughters.
Son George, born Feb. 24, 1921, enlisted in 1938. He was a signalman and petty officer third class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed on Dec. 7, 1941. His body was recovered and he is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii – the Punchbowl.Son Jimmie, born Sept. 1, 1917 in Rosebud, Montana, enlisted on Jan. 8, 1940. He was a seaman 1st class on the Arizona when he was killed. His body was not recovered and remains on the sunken battleship.