54TH Troop Carrier Wing


December, 2001

Reunion news from groups serving under the54th Troop Carrier Wing:
The 2nd CCG, 6th CCS had its 15th reunion at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Orlando, FL last October.Nineteen of the 6th CCS men plus forty-four family members were present. They enjoyed excellent facilities, and good fellowship.Many said it was their best ever.They definitely want to meet again in 2002.Early in the year Tilson King, their contact person, will get suggestions from the members and they will then make their plans.Tilson’s address is 848 Silver Oak Ave, Lady Lake, FL 32159, phone number is 352/750-2014, and e-mail is tilsonking@aol.com.
Members of the 2nd CCG, 7th CCS held their 15th reunion at Milwaukee in October. Unfortunately, Curt Krogh, who was supposed to be the host, suffered a heart attack just prior to the reunion.Eddie Dobbratz, Lou di Donato, Bob Laxton and Bob Nuss were some who stepped in to take Curt’s place.A great time was had by 14 squadron members and 20 other quests.Tentative plans were made for Oct 2002 at Pensacola, FL.The planning committee includes Hal Spears, Lou di Donato and Dan Arrowood (with help from their wives,of course.)Curt Krogh is the scribe for the 7th. His address is601 Indiana St, Racine, WI 53405-2227. His phone number is 262/633-4373.Or just e-mailhim atcakrogh@execpc.com

2nd CCG, 8th CCS membersheld their reunion in Indianapolis in October.Thirty-seven members, wives and friends had such a good time they made plans for the next two years.In2002 they will meet at the Lawrence Welk Resort in Branson, MO with Chuck Tobin and wife Betty in charge.Write them at 5010 N Isabell Ave, Peoria, IL 61614;e-mail bettytobin@hotmail.com or phone 309/691-5605.In 2003 the reunion will be at Pensacola, FL.Bert Stumpe and wife will host the affair.Their address is 6322 Summer Lake Lane, Pensacola, FL 32504; phone 850/476-1710;e-mail Astumpe384@aol.comHarold Henneke is the squadron scribe. His address is 359 W Edgewood Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46217-3736; e-mail address--HALTI@aol.com; phone 317/786-5865.

Haven’t had a report on the820th MAES’s reunion in Elmira, NY.It was to be on that fateful day, September 11, and they were tentatively calling it their Grand Finale.They have held 14 since their first in 1977 which was also in Elmira.Before the next Newsletter, we hope to hear some good news from John Cantando, the Elmira host, or Sal Mistretta, editor of their Newsletter, “The Duck.”

The 317th TCG had orginally planned a union in Washington, DC, September 26-30.Unfortunately, because of that 9/11 catastrophe and upon advise from a friend in the Defense Intelligence Agency, they cancelled it and hope to re-schedule sometime in the spring.For info contact Ellen McCoy-Comstock; 20Washington & Lee Blvd, Stafford, VA22554-6434;e-mail gcoms2000@va.prestige.net; phone 540/720-2808

The 333rd SC had its October reunion as planned in Chicago. Although they had only 12 in attendance, all enjoyed recounting their “old war stories” and catching up on current doings of their members.Unfortunately, Rick Rickter, one of their regulars was killed in a country road accident awhile before the reunion.They were feeling a little discouraged about planning for next year, but when Jack Harrier suggested they have ONE LAST BLOW-OUT, all agreed.They will meet in the Chicago area sometime in October, 2003.WernerPalmblad is their scribe. Contact him at 4752 N New England Ave, Harwood Heights, Il 60656.

The 374th TCG, 33rd TCS will be holding its 19th reunion June 20-22, 2002 at the Holiday Inn, Aurora, CO.Earl Kohler is the host.Bob Monson, who is their scribe, can be reached at 1310 Daveric Dr, Pasadena, CA 91107, phone 626/351-9314; e-mail bobnanmon@yahoo.com

The 375th TCG was sad to get their last newsletter, “CONTACT,” from Gene Diemand.He published it for 20 years and also headed up five group reunions. All squadron members owe him a big “Thank You.” He is still keepingthe 375th web page at: http://www.ecentral.com/members/diemand /375thHome.html--His postal address is 625 S Wheaton Ave, Wheaton, IL 60187 and you can reach him by e-mail at eadiemand.@aol.com 

Despite the 9/11 disaster, 48 of the 53 who had registered were able to get to the 375th TCG, 55th TCS reunion September 21-24 at the Grand Plaza Hotel in Branson.Charles Lemons reports that the hotel was great for all their needs—hospitality room, banquet, farewell breakfast, etc. They are making tentative plans to meet at Charleston, SC in Oct, 2002.Watch for details in the June Newsletter.They welcome anyone from the 54th Wing to join them.For more information, contact Charles at 6340 Cuesta Pl NW, Albuquerque, NM 87120; phone 505/898-5472; e-mail LemonsCF@aol.com

The 375th TCG, 56th TCS originally planned a Mississippi River Cruise, but learned the boat was sold out and also very expensive.Therefore, they returned to Branson on Nov 2-5, a good time to see the fall colors and the beginning of the “Old Christmas Time” celebration. They stayed at the Lodge of the Ozarks, which Joyce Chrisman, the reunion planner, likes because “its in the middle of everything,”They plan to go back to Bransonin Oct, 2002.. The 56th welcomes all members of the 375th TCG to join them at all of their reunions. Joyce has been going to Branson for over 25 years so is a good source of info about the place.Her address is 2510 N E 78th Terr, Kansas City, MO 64118, her phone is 816/468-5250 and her e-mail address is jchrisman@sprintmail.com

The 375th TCG, 58th TCS met at the Hope Hotel near Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio, Oct 5-7.There were 24 members and spouses present.According to Bill Woznek, they wore out the batteries on their hearing aids while visiting with each other.They had a short ceremony at the 375th plaque in Memorial Park at the Museum.Despite their diminishing numbers, they hope to meet again.

The 433rd Assn met in Seattle, WA, September 4-9 and luckily most got home before the 9/11 tragedy. Chairman, (or Chairlady ?) Carmen Kight reports the Wyndham Airport Hotel was “great beyond our expectations.”Wednesday they toured the Boeing Plant and Museum of Flight.The next day they ferried to Tillicum Indian Village.There they enjoyed salmon cooked the Indian way over an open fire, saw a wonderful production about the tribe and had their dinner. According to the Newsletter the children and grandchildren of the members were the greatest asset at the reunion.They were surprised to see how much energy the “Old Timers” had on the dance floor.New Orleans has been chosen for their next reunion. No date yet, but one to miss football games and the Mardi Gras.

Apology: In the last Newsletter I gave the wrong address and phone number for Carmen Kight. They are 369 Sandalwood Court, Lakeland, FL 33813, 863/644-3104. Her e-mail is CKight8887@aol.com

In Memory

Frank Rechlin, 374thTCG, 21stTCS----June 10, 2001---Mrs. Rechlin was kind to call us regarding Frank’s death.Also we appreciated a letter from Israel Valdez about his friend.Frank was 85 years old and had been suffering from kidney problems and dementia for some time.He was buried in the National Cemetery in Kent, Washington.
Harold White, 415th Signal Corps--December 1, 2000.Mrs. White sent an e-mail after getting our June Newsletter.She said Harold always enjoyed “old war stories” and that his hobby was writing letters.Your editors always enjoyed his letters and miss them.
News from letters (both U S postal and e-mail) with a few thoughts added in between:
Curt Krogh recommends the books “Duty” by Bob Greene about Paul Tibbets and crew on the “Enola Gay,”“The Wild Blue” by Stephen Ambrose mostly about George McGovern and the B-24’s and “Flag of our Fathers” by James Bradley, who is the son of one of the men who helped raise the flag on Mt. Surabachi on Iwo Jima.
A rich person is not the one who has the most, but the one who needs the least. 
Dave Vaughter recommends the book“Fire in the Sky” by Eric Bergerud about how important Troop Carriers were to MacArthur from Melbourne to Tokyo.
The best way to save face is sometimes to keep the lower half shut.

Harold Schultz recommends “Kilroy Was Here” by Charles Osgood.He said it gave him many laughs and recalled many memories. He also has a copy of the Aug 6, 1945 issue of Life Magazine with seven pages of military patches and metals. He says you can get it from E-bay on the Internet.

A fool and his money are soon partying!

Bill Woznek found a web page that should interest all of you.It is just TROOPCARRIER.htm.

Change is inevitable-except from vending machines.

One can find all kinds of interesting info on the Internet.There was a story about William R Crooks, who at age 108, is the oldest living military pilot.Before he was drafted at the beginning of WWI, he joined the Army Signal Corps as a mechanic. When he heard they needed pilots, he applied and went to ground school at Austin, TX.He earned his wings in October, 1918 and flew bombers. However, the war ended before he got overseas.His prescription for his long life is “When something gets broken, get it repaired. Don’t wait.” In October he was honored at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.(Thanks to the person who sent this—I apologize for losing my record of the sender)Internet address: http://www.af.mil/news

I have to exercise early in the morning before my brain figures out what I’m doing

Gary Auxier, whose request for information about his father was in the last Newsletter, has reported how to use the National Archives and Records Administration. He has been able to find all about his father’s years of service in the 2nd CCG, 8th CCS. It took a long time, but the info he got was worth the wait.They receive about 5,000 requests daily so one can understand the delay in answering. If you want information, you can send a letter to the“National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records, 9700 Page Ave, St. Louis, MO 63132-5100.It is best to get their official form to use, however.Fax a request to 314/538-4175 or get information from the following web page:


Any inquiry must include the veteran’s complete name, and as much of the following as you know: service number or social security number, branch ofservice and dates of service, date and place of birth, place of discharge.

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”Winston Churchill

As this issue of the Newsletter was being prepared, Othel C Wilkins sent the following request:“Can you give me a name and address of anyone who was assigned to the flight line of the 317th TCG, 46thTCS during the period between Feb. 1945 and Nov. 1945? The reason being that I am having a problem with the VA in verifying a need for hearing aids. I was crew chief between the above mentioned periods. Also would you know who was the Engr. Officer during that period?.”If anyone can help him, write to32702 Westwood Lp, Leesburg, FL 34748-8118 or send an e-mail to owilkins@aol.com.

Advice: If you are going to try cross-country skiing, start with a small country

Bill Krebs sent an interesting letter from Hawaii. He spent most of his 18 months overseas in Finschafen flying C-46’s and then C-47’s.However, like many of you, he had to come home on a ship.After the war he kept on flying, making over 31 years he spent up in the air.He flew for California Eastern Airways and Western Airlines.His last flight was from San Francisco to Honolulu in a Douglas DC-10 with most of his family along.He would like to hear from anyone who was in the 374th TCG, 22nd TCS. His address is 65525 E Canyon Dr, Tuscon, AZ 85739-3028.

It takes more muscles to frown than to smile Tommy Thompson, 374th TCG, 6th TCS, wrote about an exciting landing when he was stationed at Nadzab. He and his co-pilot, Dale Madison, were landing their C-47 when they saw a B-25 on fire halfway down the runway.There were ships burning in the harbor and fighting going on near the airstrip. He slowed down as much as possible. Then a large earth mover crawled onto the runway and scraped the burning plane off to the side. They rolled through the flames left on the runway and landed safely. As he taxied off the runway a Jap Zero appeared and attempted a strafing pass down it. His plane was soon taken down by ship-based guns and ground ack-ack. Needless to say, that was one of Thompson’s most exciting days. 

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened
Charles Dell, 54th TCW, Hq, says he has been feeling much better this last year.He’s still very actively competing in the Schuetzen Style shooting matches, completing the 100 shot offhand event in one day.This type of shooting originally involves shooting from a standing position only with stylized offhand target rifles. It now also includes bench rest shooting and had members in many countries.He continues to write articles for the National Association Journal, and copies of his book “The Modern Schuetzen Rifle” are still selling.Ifthis subject interests you, write him at 950 Den Hill Rd, Christiansburg, VA 24073 or phone 540/382-2245.
After reading Lyle Albrecht’s story in the last Newsletter about the ride on the Queen Mary, Israel Valdez wrote that he was on the same ship. He has vivid memories of Tokyo Rose broadcasts, especially the one when she announced that the Queen Mary with 10,000 American troops had been sunk. She said, “Our Imperial Japanese submarines have done a great service to our homeland.” Needless to say, the Queen Mary arrived safely in Sydney.After six weeks there, his group was takenby train to the Northern Territory.He pays tribute to the kindness of the Australians who met them at every stop and give them all kinds of goodies.Recently while playing golf he just happened to learn that his golf buddy, David Keys, was also on that Queen Mary voyage. When they discovered that, they were so excited they hugged and danced around until the foursomes both in front and in back of them stopped playing to look at them.Finally the ground marshal came to quiet them.
If ignorance is bliss, why aren’t more people happy?
Doug Southgate sent us a very nicely framed 8”by 10” sketch.He said he made it shortly after being assigned to the 374th TCG, 6th TCS at Biak in October, 1944. In the next column is a reduced copy of it.The auxiliary tanks turned into showers and the big black pot for laundry should bring back memories to lots of you.

Wedding Anniversaries: (Let us know about the 50th, 55th, 60th, 65th ?)

Carlyle & Elaine Olcott held their 55th June 15.

An e-mail from Harold Henneke told us that Nov 16 was Joyce & Mel Behnke’s 55th .

On October 22nd Curt Krogh and his wife Agnes celebrated their 60th .

Some members of our “health problems” club:

In September Stan Zakheim, 54th TCW, Hq, had two stents implanted to solve his heart problems.

Tim Daly, 433 TCG, 70th TCS, had open heart surgeryin November, and is doing well..

Al Miziura, 54th TCW, Hq, has had multiple kidney and heart problems all this year.After dialysis for several months, a stent was inserted into the one working kidney and now he is much improved.He goes twice weekly for cardiac rehab.

Dick Muir, 375th TCG, 58th TCS has suffered a stroke, but seems hopeful of a great recovery. Curt Krogh, 2nd CCG, 7th CCS reports that he is recovering slowly from his heart attack and he also has had a metal stent implanted.Carlyle Olcott, 374th TCG, 21st TCS, had a couple trips to the hospital last spring because of anemia and dehydration. Hope his medications are helping.

Glenn and Darlene (your editor) thank all who have written. Keep your interesting memories coming to 8944 Krueger St, Culver City, CA 90232-2437 or e-mail mcmurrys@bigfoot.com

We send our warm greetings for all your HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS!

Here’s our wish for you for the year 2002:

Comfort on difficult days,
Smiles when sadness intrudes,
Rainbows to follow the clouds,
Laughter to kiss your lips,
Sunsets to warm your heart,
Gentle hugs when spirits sag,
Friendships to brighten your being,
Beauty for your eyes to see,
Confidence for when you doubt,
Faith so that you can believe,
Courage to know yourself,
Patience to accept the truth,
And love to complete your life.
God Bless!