Kansas Stories

Dr. William R. Brenner, Larned

Greensburg Kansas High School
May 28, 2011

Dr. William R. Brenner, M.D. was born in McCracken, KS and raised on a farm north of Bazine in Ness County, KS.  He attended medical school at Creighton University and upon completion in 1940 entered the Army Air Corp as a flight surgeon.  He was assigned to the 21st Pursuit squadron and in November of 1941 they were forward deployed to the Philippines.  After the war began the squadron was engaged against the Japanese air forces and provided air support to the US and Philippine Forces.  Due to overwhelming Japanese ground forces, American Forces were forced to surrender in April of 1942.  He was forced to make the Bataan Death March, and having survived, remained a prisoner of war in the Philippines and Japan until the Japanese surrender in August of 1945.

His POW experiences, and the wartime US experiences of his wife Josephine and son, are chronicled in Linda McCafferys’ book, “I’m Praying Hard for You”.  Following repatriation in 1945 he returned to the US and after separation from the Army as a Major he set up medical practice in Larned in 1946.  Dr. Brenner retired from the medical profession in 1981, served on the Larned City Council and as Mayor until 1991.  He now travels state-wide speaking to groups about his experiences.