Arthur Bruhus was born in Illinois around 1907, the son of Anna Bruhus. He had at least two sisters, Mabel and Esther. Bruhus worked at a gas station in Palatine, Illinois, before joining the United States Army around 1943. In the army, Bruhus received successive promotions to private first class and sergeant. He served in the 532nd Heavy Maintenance Tank Company (HMTK), as an engineer with the 3rd and 4th Army's 11th Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, and with Company C of the 605th Engineer Battalion. His work included the operation of radio-controlled planes used for target practice by antiaircraft units. He was stationed at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland; Camp Claiborne, Louisiana; Fort Knox, Kentucky; Camp Barkeley, Texas; Camp Wolters, Texas; and Fort Bliss, Texas, until April 1945, when he was deployed to France. He remained in France until September 1945, when he returned to the East Coast.
Arthur Bruhus's sister, Mabel Bruhus Tyssen lived with her husband, Oscar A. Tyssen, and daughter, Jane Tyssen, in Des Plaines, Illinois, during the war. His other sister, Esther Bruhus Mathews, lived in Lincoln, Illinois, with her husband, Richard Mathews, and their two children, Dorothy and Richard, Jr. Arthur Bruhus also corresponded with his next-door neighbors, Adolph and Alma Kunze, and with Dell and Mayme B. Rogan of Libertyville, Illinois.