Groover, Jr.
Captain/Honorable Denmark Groover, Jr.

Captain/Honorable DenmarkGroover, Jr. (1922 - 2001)

Born in Quitman, Georgia, on June 30, 1922, and educated in the public schools of Brooks County, Denmark Groover Jr., became a U.S. Marine fighter pilot when he was awarded his wings in December, 1942. During his first tour of duty in the Southwest Pacific, he was selected as one of 28 pilots of the famous VMF 214 "Black Sheep" squadron commanded by the leading Marine ace of World War H, Major Greg "Pappy" Boyington. Flying the F-4U Corsair, VMF 214 would ultimately win air superiority in the Solomon Islands by aggressively attacking enemy airfields and strongholds on Bouganville and Rabaul. In September 1943, Groover had shot down one Japanese Zero fighter and was looking for the second when his plane was riddled with bullets from behind. With extensive damage and fire in the left wing, Groover managed to bring the aircraft home safely despite wounds that temporarily paralyzed his right arm and leg. He quickly recovered and returned to this unit for another tour with the VMF 214. He flew more than 100 combat fighter missions, protecting bombers and attacking enemy airfields and fortified gun positions. He was awarded the Purple Heart, Air Medal, and Presidential Citation. Following his South Pacific combat tours, Captain Groover continued his flying career as a fighter pilot instructor at training bases in South Carolina.

After the war, he received his law degree from the University of Georgia in 1948, and was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1953. He spent a total of 22 years in five separate terms as a leader in the Georgia House between 1953 and 1995, including serving as Majority Whip from 1986 to 1995. A highly respected legislator from Bibb County, he was instrumental in having the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame located in Macon, Georgia. Long-time Speaker of the House Tom Murphy called Groover "one of the most articulate, most knowledgeable people" ever to serve in the Georgia State House of Representatives. In 1992, he was named one of the 100 most influential people in the state by Georgia Trend Magazine. He served as president of the Georgia Bar Association, chairman of the Georgia Ports Authority Board, member of the Democratic National Committee, and parliamentarian of the State Democratic Executive Committee.

The Honorable Denmark Groover, Jr., a WWH Marine aviator and a long-time outstanding member of the Georgia House of Representatives, was enshrined on April 20, 2002.