Col Arnold's Story
We have lost another member of the greatest generation. Col Arnold R. Bredewater (USAF,Ret), 99, passed away at 9 a.m. on Nov. 15, 2016 at NE Baptist Hospital in San Antonio.
Arnold and his identical twin brother Arthur were born in 1917 in Decatur County, Indiana to Lucy (Miller) and John H Bredewater. They grew up with an older brother, Harold, and older sister Urma (whose twin died in infancy). Their father died when Arnold and Arthur were 5 years old, but they continued to live on the family farm near New Point, Indiana. Times were very hard on the farm during the depression. As children, Arnold and Arthur attended a one-room country schoolhouse with only 12 students, an experience Arnold told stories about for the rest of his life. They moved to a larger school in New Point for fifth grade, and excelled at school work and in sports despite their humble beginnings.
Upon graduating from New Point High School, the twins headed to West Lafayette, Indiana in September 1935 to start classes at Purdue University. One experience at Purdue involved carrying Amelia Earhart's luggage from her very long car to her residence when she was a visiting faculty member.
Arnold was a proud Boilermaker. While at Purdue, he pitched an 11-inning game against Minnesota, winning 3 - 0, and in 1938 a 15-inning game against Michigan, final score 3 - 2 Purdue. Arnold was always backed up on the team by Arthur, who played catcher. Drafted as a pitcher by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1938 he was unable to pursue that career due to injury.
Arnold and Arthur graduated in 1939 and both taught high school and coached in Indiana. Seeing war on the horizon, they proactively joined the Army Air Corps, and were inducted at Indianapolis on May 28, 1941. They trained as pilots at Muskogee, Oklahoma, Goodfellow Field in San Angelo, Texas and Kelly Field in San Antonio, Texas. They were at Kelly Field when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and spent that night on guard duty.
Upon graduation in January 1942 they became pilot instructors. While walking down the street near the Cactus Hotel in San Angelo they met their future wives, Georgia and Montie, also identical twins. Arthur and Georgia married in 1942 and Arnold and Montie married on Nov. 11, 1943.
Arnold continued as an instructor throughout most of the war and was involved in establishing the first Instrument Instructors' School at Bryan Army Air Field, Texas under Colonel J. B. Duckworth.
While on the way to the Pacific Theater, Arnold ended up in Salt Lake City in August 1945. After V-J Day, he continued on to the Philippines and then to Kimpo Air Base Korea where he spent 3 years. He left active duty in 1948 to settle in Cristoval, Texas where he taught school, coached 6 man football and basketball, and sold real estate. He was recalled to active duty in 1950 and was assigned to FlyTAF - supervising and inspecting flying training bases for the Air Force.
In 1954, Arnold moved on to his favorite assignment - base commander at Bartow Air Base, Florida, a contract-primary school where cadets trained in the T-6. From there it was on to Nagoya Air Base Japan and Naha Okinawa as deputy base commander. He was then assigned to Air Defense Command at Ent AFB in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In his final Air Force role, Arnold managed personnel issues at the Military Personnel Center for the Air Force at the Pentagon, and helped move MPC to Randolph Air Force Base in 1963. He retired from active duty at Randolph in 1969.
A command pilot with 4500 hours flying time in 27 different aircraft including the BT-13, B-17, C-47, T-6, and T-33, he received many military honors and awards, including the Legion of Merit.
After retirement, Arnold enjoyed working on his farm in Cibolo, raising cattle, baling and selling coastal hay, and selling real estate. He and his second wife, Lois, were famous for their lively "ranch parties." He even made Ripley's Believe It or Not and Saturday Night Live when it was reported that he had a cow, Bessie, that had 10 sets of twins.
An avid golfer well into his late eighties, he and Lois played courses all over the country. Their travels also included trips to Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji and in recent years Las Vegas, Biloxi, MS, and IslandView Casino in Gulfport, MS.
Arnold would like to be remembered as a good man, baseball pitcher, teacher, coach, husband and father, pilot, and officer in the USAF.
Arnold's brothers Harold, Ervil, and Arthur, and his parents preceded him. His beloved first wife, Montie, died in 1983 and his much-loved mother-in-law Ruth Joiner (Granny) died in 1999.
He is survived by his sister, Urma Puttmann, 101, of Greensburg; his dear second wife of 31 years, Lois; his three children, Carol Swanson (Ken) of Kerrville and Fraser, CO, Jim (Paula) Bredewater of New Braunfels and Pueblo, CO, and Janet Brandt (John) of New Braunfels; six grandchildren, Rob Swanson of Chicago, Katie Swanson (Phil Lepanto) of Washington DC, Casey Cox (Brian) and Shelley Minus (Steve) of New Braunfels, David Brandt of Del Rio, and Sarah Brandt of Austin; five great grandchildren, Rylan Cox, Brendan Cox, Carson Cox, Cade Minus, and Kingsley Minus; nieces and nephews including John Bredewater and Larry Bredewater of Indiana; step daughters Betsy Cagle of Albuquerque, Leslie Spielbichler (Kurt) of San Antonio, and Susie Carl (Scot) of Fair Oaks Ranch; six step grandchildren Chrissy Vlosich of Amarillo, Leisha Stamps of Dallas, Scot Carl Jr. of Lubbock, Drummond Lindsey of Windsor, CO, Kara Katen of Gurnee, IL, and Shawn Culpepper of Houston.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that memorials be sent to: Purdue Foundation (Arnold R Bredewater Memorial Fund); Dauch Alumni Center, 403 W Wood Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907; or to Hope Hospice, New Braunfels.
Visitation is Sunday, Nov. 20 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Zoeller Funeral Home, New Braunfels, Texas, with graveside services at Guadalupe Valley Memorial Park on Monday, Nov. 21 at 3 p.m. with reception following.
Published on November 18, 2016