PARKER COUNTY —
For the five Wesson brothers, the male bond was there from birth.
But after 1945, the group shared a deeper bond as veterans of World War II.
The Wesson family began their military journey in December of 1941, right before the U.S. got involved in the war.
That month, T.A. Wesson and oldest son Walter, took jobs in bomb and munitions factories, while T.A.’s other four sons, Jim, Nolan, Leo and Arnold, delivered them to the U.S. Navy and Army. The youngest son Bruce was left to run the family farm.
Jim and Leo both joined the Navy prior to the U.S. joining World War II, serving together on the U.S.S. Louisville.
Following the military’s implementation of separating war families after five brothers from Iowa were killed in 1914, Jim was transferred from the ship to another cruiser, the U.S.S. Biloxi, which launched in February of 1943, as a chief machinist mate.
Arnold followed suit and joined the Navy in 1940, and was assigned to the U.S.S. Tennessee.
During the 1914 Pearl Harbor attack, he sustained minor injuries when his ship was truck on Battleship Row by two bombs that hit gun turrent two and three.
Brother Nolan enlisted in the Amy in 1942, staying on as a drill instructor after basic training.
He was then assigned to General Patton’s Seventh Army, and participated in the invasion of Sicily in July of 1943.
Despite suffering a leg injury after his tank was hit, Nolan rejoined the fight when his unit was sent to France to join the Third Army, Fourth Armored Division.
In April, the Third Army’s drive came to a stop in Berlin, where the group liberated the prison of Dachau. Nolan would later develop bone cancer in his leg, passing away at the age of 60.
Youngest Bruce, who had maintained the family farm for the majority of the time his brothers were fighting, visited a recruiting office at the age of 17 following the passing of his mother.
After basic training, he was assigned to the U.S.S. Albemarle, a seaplane tender.
His first trip aboard took he and his fellow sailors to pick up troops in New Caledonia. The U.S.S. Albemarle also sailed to the Phillippines to pick up more troops and destroy floating mines near the ship.
Bruce served in the Navy for eight years, with the remainder of the years spent in the Aleutian Islands, Guam, Baltimore and the Annapolis Naval Academy, and also served on a destroyer escort in the Korean War.
He described those years as the best of his life.