54TH Troop Carrier Wing


December, 2004

Reunion news from groups serving under the 54th Troop Carrier Wing:

2nd CCG, 6th CCS--Since, they hold reunions every two years, they should be making their 2005 plans soon.  Despite health problems since last fall, Tilson & Dorothy King continue to do a great job with a Newsletter in which they share news of their members.  They still hope to get back to their other love—playing golf.  For the last 15 years they had helped organize a “golf outing” to raise money for their alma mater, Manchester College, where they met each other in the early 1940’s.  Through the years this affair has raised over a half million dollars for the school’s Athletic Department. 


2nd CCG, 7th CCS---The Hilton Garden Inn in Oklahoma City, OK proved a fine place for a reunion.  This was their 18th and well planned by Joan King and daughter Jean-Marie Otto.  Another daughter, Clair, and the sons-in-law also helped.  Visits to the Cowboy and Western Museum, and the Murrah Federal Building Bombing Memorial proved interesting and very worthwhile. Of the 45 attendees, only 12 were veterans.  That led to discussion about whether to keep going.  They are now polling all their members about another reunion.  Since Bruce Sorum, son of Marvin and Ethel Sorum has volunteered to host,  let’s hope they get enough “Yes” answers to have a 19th reunion.


 The 2nd CCG, 8th CCS—More than 50 people enjoyed the reunion at Phoenix, AZ, last October.  Some visited Grand Canyon National Park before or after the reunion. Accommodations at the Embassy  Suites Hotel were great. They included a cooked-to- order breakfast each day.  At their business meeting Earl Childs offered to host their next reunion at Wichita, KS.  Since then he has reserved rooms at the Airport Hilton Hotel for October 7-9, 2005. For questions e-mail him at earlnsandra@aol.com or phone 316/722-8591


The 317th TCG—A fabulous reunion was held last September at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel in Milwaukee, WI.  Each person received a large photo of paratroopers jumping from a C-47 plane and a 36” sign with color insignia of the 317th’s four squadrons and HQ.  At the door of the hospitality room was a 5-foot cut-out of Bob Hope and Frances Langford motion activated to sing “Thanks for the Memories” when anyone passed by. Trips included Milwaukee City Tour, and Miller Brewing Co; and in Oshkosh, the Experimental Aircraft Association Museum and Basler Turbo Conversions.   At the latter, old planes are rebuilt and the 1500 lb engines are replaced with 500 lb turbo props.  The members learned that it costs $5-6 million to completely rebuild and refurbish an old C-47. 

At the group’s Farewell Dinner a message from the President Bush was read, and souvenirs and door prizes were distributed.  What a great job Len and Fran Stoltz and their daughter Susie did!  Next year, Vince & Celeste Krobath will host the reunion in St. Louis, MO.     


374th TCG, 33rd TCS---Tentative plans are being made for an April reunion in the Dallas-Ft Worth area if enough can come. Bob Monson reports that although they have invited members of the other squadrons of the 374th, not many seem interested or maybe just are not able to travel.  If you would like e to come to a reunion in April, contact Bob at bobnanmon@earthlink.net or 1310 Daveric Dr, Pasadena, CA 91107 or phone 626/351-9314


The 375th TCG, 55th TCS—Their 2004 reunion was held in September in Branson with thirty attending.  They highly recommend the Grand Plaza Hotel.  Highlights included visits to the Veteran’s Museum (“well-planned and worth a visit”), the Stone Hill Winery, the Shoji Tachuchi Show (“one of the best”), and the Buck Trent breakfast show.  (Charles Lemon’s quotes)  The 55th’s members are now being polled to determine interest in a 2005 reunion in Washington, DC.  Good luck! 


375th TCG, 58th TCS—No reunions, but their scribe, Bill Woznek, keeps the members informed.  In his last Newsletter he sent a copy of the front page of the “Tokyo Trolley” dated 30 August 1945.  The various flight crewmembers describe their first sighting of Mt. Fujiyama, which made them realize that they were at last reaching home stretch.  The many Japanese they saw were friendly and curious.  One asked what “Tokyo Trolley” meant on the planes.  Capt. Ringo answered, “It means that we’ve been on the way up here and this is the end of the line.”


The 433rd TCG---A great reunion was held in Washington, DC, a place with so much to see!  And they did a good job seeing it—The White House, the new WWII Memorial, Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, National Cathedral, Korean War Memorial, Vietnam Wall, Lincoln Memorial, Dulles Museum with the Enola Gay, Mount Vernon, and Arlington National Cemetery with the Changing of the Guard, which brought tears to some eyes.   They certainly are lucky to have Carmen Kight for their planner.  She is now making plans for next year in Tampa.  She also asked me to remind all the members to get their pictures and stories to her now for the book she wants to publish very soon.  She wants stories from your memories, and “as you were” pictures of you, your sweethearts and/or wives who waited for you so many long months. 


820th MAES—They held their reunion at San Diego, CA in Oct 2003, with only three vets and their families attending.  Not to be discouraged, they decided to try again in Oct. 2004.  However, they got only one additional member to reply favorably, (and lost one of the other three by death) so finally decided to cancel.  Seventeen on their list responded, but due to health difficulties (call that mostly just too many years of living) many cannot travel.  Sal Mistretta is their scribe.  He hopes to keep  their Newsletter “The Flying Duck” going.  The P.S. on his last note advised, “Don’t get old.”



Everything is Wonderful

My face in the mirror

Isn’t wrinkled or drawn.

My house isn’t dirty,

The cobwebs are gone.

My garden looks lovely

And so does my lawn.

I think I might never

Put my glasses back on!


---E-mail brings interesting notes---

Peter Dunn of Australia had a great web site about Australia at War found at http://www.ozatwar.com.  Move down until you see the 5th Air force insignia and you will find your group and/or squadron listed under “Transport Groups”.  He earlier asked for corrections and I gave him some.  Please check to see if any of you have corrections or additions.  If so, please e-mail him at pdunn@st.net.au and also please let me know   mcmurrys@bigfoot.com 


A man from North Carolina wrote that he had “picked up” an old photo album that had been owned by M. Stosic. He had found Glenn’s autobiography at www.gregssandbox.com/mcmurry and noted that Mike Stosic was barber for those in Glenn’s group. (Mike, what do you know about this?)


Joe Eken, 374th TCG, 21st TCS, sent a note of appreciation for the Newsletter.  He noted that he keeps his 5th Air Force patch in a wine bottle over his bar where he sees it every day.  Unfortunately, after back problems and two operations, he feels his reunion days are over.


Charles Channell, son of Lynn Channell, 21st ASG, noted that he has seen copies of  “Moresby to Manila” for sale on the Internet on Ebay and at ABE (http://www.abebooks.com) priced from $50 to $196.  So you see what a valuable book you have if you are lucky enough to have your own copy, even if it isn’t in such good shape after all these years.   Seems as if taking it to a printer and getting a number of copies made works.    Some time ago Jack Harrier made copies for the 333rd Signal and recently  Vince Krobath reported that the 317th TCG had 90 copies made.

Charles Channell also said he and his brothers were taking their father to visit the WWII Memorial in DC.  Hopefully, many of you will get to see it.

(Note: Other web sites to look for old books are:        http://www.alibris.com,   http://www.addall.com 

       and  http://www.bookfinder.com         I tried these and got much the same results.)


Another member of the 21st Air Service Group has been found.   Jay Biddle called and then e-mailed information about his father, Walter R Sharp.  E-mail Jay Biddle at Jbiddle@ococean.com or contact his grandfather, Walter R Sharp,  103 Robinhood Trl, Berlin, MD 21811. Telephone 410/641-8468


Bob Wikso, research librarian at the Air Mobility command Museum, an official field museum at Dover AFB, Delaware, wrote that they are gathering info for a future exhibit on Troop Carrier Groups, and, of course, Squadrons.  They want yearbooks, histories, photos, missions  info, and artifacts.  Contact them before sending artifacts. The address is Air Mobility Museum, 1301 Heritage Rd, Dover AFB, DE 19902. E-mail www.amcmuseum.org Telephone-1-302/677-5938

Some have already sent materials to Dover.


John Rains found our website and put us in contact with his friend who he knew had been in the 375th.  The friend, Russell J. Holmes, wrote that he was a pilot of C-46 aircraft in the 375th TCG, 56th TCS in the Philippines, Okinawa and Japan. He would like to hear from others in his squadron. His  addresses are rusholmes@paonline.com and by slow mail, Box 95, Seven Valleys, PA 17360-0095.


Frank Hathaway, 374th TCG, 6th TCG reported that he and Blaine Loudin attended a reunion of “Pilot Classes of 1944”.   He explained that anyone who got his pilot wings from any Army Flight Advanced school that year is eligible to join the organization.  He expects the 2005 reunion to be in Las Vegas.  For more information write to Stan Yost, Pilot Classes of 1944, 13671 Ovenbird Dr, Fort Myers, FL 33908.   Phone 239/466-1473


After reading about General Prentiss in Glenn’s story at http://www.gregssandbox.com/mcmurry, two of the general’s grandchildren wrote they would love to hear from anyone who knew him.  Both were born after his death July, 1953. One sent a newspaper clipping  titled “Electric Shock Kills General” explaining that he was killed when he came into contact with a 220-volt wire while using his circular saw. If you have stories to share, write o Patricia Martin. FordA2@aol.com and/or Drew Blaha, Drew.Blaha@gilbarco.com


Dick Loach, 54th TCW, HQ, wrote from “Sunny Florida” that he and his wife had finally recovered from surgeries and long hospital stays and they had also survived Hurricane Charley.  Wondering how the rest of you were affected by all those hurricanes.  Hope all are OK by now.


Michael Dec wrote that his dad, Walter F Dec, was in a bomber group and then in Sept ’45 was assigned to the 375th TCG, 58th TCS.  He has pictures of C-46’s numbered X185 and X192.  He would like to know what the “X” means and what the unit did after the war.  Can any of you help him?  His address is 67 Elkview Dr, Forest City, PA 18421 --  e-mail is Michael.j.dec@baesystems,com  and phone 570/785-5318  (If you know, please tell me also so I can share with others)


Mary Brennan, granddaughter of Daniel Brennan, 54th TCW, HQ, found our web site.  She said she grew up hearing stories about her grandpa and those with whom he served in the South Pacific.  She believes these stories influenced her to major in history. She’s now a sophomore in college and wants to compile stories about him and “boys of the 54th” (her quote).   Since she’s hunting for an e-mail group who might share stories with her,  I told her I’d put her request in the Newsletter.   Her e-mail address is mcbrenna@uiuc.edu.   I warned her that too many who served with her grandfather, like him, have also died.  Nevertheless, I’m sure some of you remember him and the Irish jokes he furnished for quite a few issues of the Newsletter.   


Harold Schultz, 374th TCG, 22nd TCS, sent a “Happy Days are Here Again” e-mail on his 84th birthday, September 4th.  Five years ago his doctor informed him he had cancer.  Now five years later, he has told him he no longer has cancer!  In addition, his wife’s health is much improved. I really welcome such messages and thought his friends would also like to hear his good news.  


---My mailbox brings interesting news---

Congressman David Dreier of San Gabriel Valley interviewed about 100 vets for the Library of Congress’s oral history project.  Bob Monson, 374th TCG, 33rd TCS participated and reports that it was an interesting experience. He even got his picture in the local paper.  If you want to be included, contact your congressman. 


Congratulations are due to James Frew, 374th TCG,  6th TCS.  He has written another book,  “Volcano Santorini”. Here are quotes from a newspaper article: “James Frew is a writer, architect and former aviator, who has lived in the Bahamas for more than 40 years.”  His book is a “White-knuckle thriller that educates and entertains.”  He has written other books, among them, the “Bahamas Passage”.   His newest book is on sale in bookstores and at Amazon and Barnes & Noble on the Internet.  In his note he added a note of appreciation for the 54th Newsletter.  His US address is PO Box 21743, Ft Lauderdale, FL  33335-01743

Mel Clack, 374 TCG, 22nd TCS, sent a video tape about Fred Hargescheimer, who was shot down over New Guinea while on a photo reconnaissance mission in July, 1943.  After living for a month off the land, he came upon a native village. He hesitated to approach until he heard the singing of a familiar tune, “Onward, Christian Soldiers”. The villagers, who has been visited by missionaries many years before, welcomed him and kept him hidden from the Japanese  for seven months until a sub came by and took him back to Australia.  He learned that the natives had saved others and 17 years later some went back to the area and established a school.  Later, in cooperation with others who had been rescued, both in the South Pacific and  Europe, organizations were formed and the men continued to give aid to those who saved them.  In New Guinea in addition to the school, they also established a clinic and helped build a church.  Fred and his wife even lived with the natives for some time.  Mel Clack wanted me to share this story as an example of how one person can make a difference in the world.    


Veronica Mato, widow of  Frank Mato, 54th TCW, HQ, is also a veteran.  She was in the Marines and is active in her local American Legion Post, serving as adjutant to the commander this year for her third term.  She was honored this year as the Legionnaire of the Year.  She sent clippings about the U.S. Air Force Memorial being built on the Navy Annex grounds in Arlington.  Groundbreaking was on September 15th   with a projected completion date of September, 2006.  It is to honor the present Air Force as well as the pre-1947 US Army Air Corps.  So it is for all you members of the 54th Troop Carrier Wing.

In Bill Woznek’s 58th Newsletter he enclosed a page, dated  Sept, 1959, about the “Caterpillar Club”. Anyone who was forced to parachute from his disabled plane to save his life is eligible to join the club.  It started in the early 1920’s and was named by Milton St. Clair of McCook Field.  He got the idea for the name from a Caterpillar Tractor ad.  He thought of the connection of caterpillars (silk worms) with the silk from which his parachute was made.  The club has grown from five in 1922, to nearly 50,000 around the world since WWII.  To apply one must write to the manufacturer of your parachute giving all the details of your jump.  You should then receive a Membership Card, and in the case of the Irvin Airchute Company, a gold caterpillar-shaped pin with small ruby stones for eyes.  According to this 1959 article, Leslie Irvin was the founder of the world’s largest parachute manufacturing plant. (I wonder when nylon began to be used for parachutes.  Glenn sent one to me and his aunt made my wedding dress from it so it was ready when he got home in July, 1945.) 


A big “Thank You” to the all of you who called, wrote, e-mailed, and/or sent mailing expense money.  I’m running out of space in this Newsletter and am afraid if I tried to list all of you, I’d leave out someone.  However, please know I truly did appreciate hearing from each one of you.   


In Memory

Maxine Mead, widow of Charles mead, 374th TCG, 33rd TCS – 7/27/04 – Bob Monson attributes her with keeping the squadron together beginning in the 1960’s and through the 1990’s before he took over the Newsletter. 

Allan Glover, 374th TCG, 22nd TCS.  His wife wrote after she received the June Newsletter. (no date)

Raymond Epling, 374th TCG, 6th TCS.  His wife called to say he died May 21, 2004 of cardiac arrest. 

James C Anderson, Jr, 415th Signal Co – 12/26/03 –age 89. His daughter wrote about his death and asked that she might remain on our mailing list.

Ralph Collett, 820th MAES.  Sal Mistretta wrote that Ralph died suddenly, not long after attending their Oct 2003 reunion in San Diego.                    

Note:  I know that in each of your groups you have received the sad word about the deaths of others on your mailing lists.   I only include here those who had been kept on the 54th TCW mailing list because   of  having shown an interest in it.  


I don’t remember getting old—but, then, I just don’t remember lots of things!  However, here’s a good thing to remember for the New Year, 2005---Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, but only saps today of its strength.

Happy Holidays and may 2005 hold much happiness for you and your loved ones!

Darlene McMurry

8944 Krueger St

Culver City, CA 90232-2437