19 August, 1944 — Tonopah, Nevada
Stories and Pictures from Bobby's cousin, Patti Johnson of Collins, Ohio... best known for her GR-8 Research for the 57th Bomb Wing and Barbi Connolly, 57th BW Researcher and Historian for her Dad's 321st Bomb Group/MTO, B-25's. WW II.
Albert and Mary Gruss' parents were both born in Czech, Albert and Mary were born in Ohio. Their children (and they had 11 living children) 2 of their sons, Albert and Robert were born in PA. In the 1930 Census, Albert was 8, Robert was 6 (born 1924)Robert J. “Bobby” Gruss was born in 1924, in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, the Second Son of Albert T. and Mary Elizabeth (Nee Skrovan) Gruss. His Big Brother, Albert M.“Al” Gruss was about three years older. Bobby attended Lakewood High School, where he was a member of the Football Team. He Graduated from Lakewood High School in June of 1943. World War II was raging on both fronts, all across Europe and in the Pacific. After Graduation, Bobby played Minor League Baseball with the Batavia Clippers, a Class D Team, and an affiliate with the Cleveland Indians. The Batavia Clippers played in the Pennsylvania-Ontario-New York League, and consisted of six teams. Bobby was quite the hitter, with a batting average of .329, and a slugging percentage of 415. Bobby was ranked in the top ten, securing the 10th spot, in just 20 games and 82 bats with 27 singles, 4 doubles and 1 home run.
Robert served in the USAAC, DNB (Died Non Battle)
Gruss, Robest J. AAF Cpl. 8-19-1944 2022 Robin Avenue Tonopah, Nevada H.S.1943 Cpl. Robert Gruss died while on a routine flight near Tonopah, Nevada. He had trained to be an aerial gunner on a B-24 Liberator. He is buried in Calvary Cemetery.
My Cousin, Robert J. "Bobby" Gruss, Cpl., DNB~WW2~19 Aug 1944 (Patti Johnson)Bomber Group Training; The reason for this change was that the range could not be used successfully as a fighter training area. Possibly due to Tonopah's 6,000-foot (1,800 m) elevation and design problems with the Airacobras, the planes and pilots were being lost in crashes at an unacceptable rate. In addition, the extreme temperatures of over 100 degrees in summer had a negative effect on the P-39's performance. It was decided to change the operation to a high altitude bomber training base to train crews of the Consolidated B-24 Liberators. On March 31, 1944, its training functions being taken over by the 442nd Army Air Force Base Unit. The major activity, however, continued to be the training of replacement crews for B-24 operations. This B-24 program continued until the end of the war. During this time the Tonopah base was one of the largest military operations in Nevada and had one of the largest post exchanges in the 4th Air Force. This exchange, opened in August 1942, paid many dividends which were used for the benefit of the enlisted men. On Nov. 13th, 1943, it paid a dividend of $10,741.48, one of the largest recorded. The base also had a large bakery with a related doughnut shop. This shop. during 1943 and 1944, sold an average of 400 dozen doughnuts a day. In October, 1944, there were 66 B-24 aircraft available for the training program. At that time there were 1,264 officers and 5,273 enlisted men.
Tonopah Army Air Field was a World War II United States Army Air Force training airfield located seven miles east of the central business district (CBD) of Tonopah, a city in Nye County, Nevada, USA It was active between 1942 and 1945. Name: Gruss, Corp. Robert J.
Date: Aug 26 1944 Source: Source unknown; Cleveland Necrology File, Reel #032.
Notes: Gruss: Corp. Robert J., U. S. A. A. F., beloved son of Albert and Mary (nee Skrovan), brother of Albert, jr., grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Steve Gruss, sr., and Mrs. Sophie Skrovan, passed away suddenly Aug. 19 at Tonopah, Nev. Friends may call at late residence, 2022 Robin ave., Saturday after 11 a. m. Funeral Monday, Aug. 28, at 9:30 a. m. from SS. Cyril and Methodius Church. Interment Calvary Cemetery. Jos. B. Misencek in charge.
National WWII Memorial, Washington, D.C.
Registry~NARA~War Department Files
Honoree Hometown Service Source
CPL Robert J. Gruss ID: 35067530
Branch of Service: U.S. Army
Hometown: Cuyahoga County, OH