54TH Troop Carrier Wing


December, 1997



Max Elliott has volunteered to be our host at our 1998 reunion in Colorado Springs. We will meet at the LeBaron Hotel on October 15-18, 1998. Mark that date on your new 1998 calendars. Tentative plans include trips to the Garden of the Gods, Air Force Academy, Royal Gorge, Old Town and Cripple Creek. And, of course, we'll have our traditional Saturday night banquet and Sunday morning farewell and memorial breakfast.

We do thank those of you who responded favorably to the idea of having our next reunion in Colorado Springs. (Especially, thanks to Max, who offered to be our host.) Sorry to hear from those whose health does not allow them to travel. At our ages, we have to expect that. Some groups have been forced to cancel planned reunions because of too few registrants. Let's not let that happen to us yet! Maybe we need to combine some groups. All who were attached to the 54th TCW are welcome to join us. After all, we were all at the same places in the same years in the same war, and have common experiences to share!

World War II Memorial - Are you on the fund-raising mailing list for the memorial to be built in Washington, DC honoring all of us who helped to win World War II? Former Senator Bob Dole is the National Chairman. The American Battle Monuments Commission, established by Congress in 1923, sponsors the memorial. The Commission now maintains 24 cemeteries and 22 memorials in 15 countries. Only when directed by Congress does it establish memorials in the US. The new World War II Memorial will be the sixth in the US and the 28th worldwide.

Contributions can be made in amounts ranging from $20 to thousands. The goal is to raise $100 million. There will be a permanent Registry of Remembrances in which anyone who served in the war can add his or her name. For information call 1-800-639-4WW2.


"Wild Blue Yonder" - Among the most inspiring of all military musical pieces is that "off we go, into the wild blue yonder" number officially named "Army Air Corps Song." It was written by Robert Crawford, then a voice teacher at Princeton, and won the $1,000 first prize in a 1939 contest sponsored by Liberty magazine. Crawford later became a major in the Air Force Transport Command. When the United States Air Force was established, the words "Army Air Corps" were changed to "US Air Force," and his song was adopted as its signature music.


A good thought for the coming new year:

"This time, like all other times, is a good one, if we but know what to do with it." From Ralph Waldo Emerson


New e-mail addresses:

Bill Weedin - wima9@aol.com

Wm F Keaster - wfk747@ix.netcom.com


Bill Weedin wrote about his 1984 trip to Australia. Since he had been in contact with the curator of Papua New Guinea Aviation Museum, Bruce Hoy, he made a side trip to Port Moresby. He found that Ward Strip was being used for driver education training. At the museum he saw some relics from WWII. They had fragments of C-47's that had been found and he was surprised to find the lettering on them was still readable. Bruce Hoy was working on a P-38 that had been retrieved from the jungle. A B-24 that was downed in 1943 had just been found about 30 miles away and the Army Graves Registration Team from Hawaii was there to identify the remains of the 24 men aboard. One of the men aboard was the brother of a lady who lived just two blocks from Bill in Wichita, Kansas. He was invited to go to the site but, since he had been advised that it wasn't too safe for tourists to be on the streets, he didn't want to leave his wife alone. By the way, he reported, they are still chewing betel nuts as indicated by the yellow - red spots on the sidewalks.


William Keaster wrote that he and his wife made a trip to Port Moresby in the early 70's before the Australians turned over full control to the New Guinea government. Of course, he found quite a change from wartime conditions. The Wards Airdrome was being used as an oil pipe storage area, and Jackson has become an International Airport. The old bivouac areas were being made into housing developments. There were no more grass shacks and the natives were driving taxis. Keaster said that they wanted to go to Lae and Rabaul, but couldn't get on a flight.


Ed Abbott included a note on his response to the last Newsletter about his trip to Townsville in August 1995. He attended the celebration called VP50 Townsville, which was part of the "Australia Remembers" campaign. Quoting from his note: "Where were you all? I did not see any listing for the 22nd TCS. I believe one person was there from the 33rd TCS, but we never crossed paths. The city is trying to go big time and not doing a bad job of it. (No AH Moo's milk shakes)"

Note: If any of you were in Townsville or have visited any of the other places "over there," send some info for sharing in the next Newsletter.


Stanley Zakheim (better known as Zak) sent an article that confirms Bill Weedin's report on crime in Port Moresby. Quoting from the article: In the past decade an influx of unemployed people, a faltering economy, and breakdown of government services have contributed to an epidemic of assaults, burglaries, carjackings and rapes. People in Port Moresby live in a constant state of alert---A Western diplomat said, "The safest thing to do is to go inside and lock your door and stay there.''---An Australian mathematics teacher at the University of Papua New Guinea said, "The alternative is to enjoy the country's beauty and the warmth of its people and accept the risks."

Note: As always, some find the glass half empty and some find it half full.


Henry Cardinal, Jr. sent the following note, which unfortunately arrived just a day too late to be included in the last newsletter: "With my deepest regrets I wish to inform you of my recent loss of my father Henry Cardinal, Sr., a WWII veteran, being honorably discharged on Dec. 18, 1945 as a corporal with the 54th Troop Carrier Wing at Fort Dix, New Jersey. He passed away on 4/20/97 and I miss him very much."

A funeral bulletin was sent telling of the death of May (Tindall) Hesse, on May 3, 1997. She was the wife of Herbert G. Hesse.

Unfortunately, this note also arrived just a couple days too late for the last newsletter. We extend our deepest sympathies to the families of Henry Cardinal, Sr. and May Hesse.

Apologies: In the May newsletter we listed those who visited our "Air Force 50" booth in Las Vegas. Some way we omitted Ted Bauries. He came by several times to visit, take our picture and eat some popcorn. Also in that same article we misspelled Richard Korthal's name. Sorry!


Thanks: In the last newsletter we included a request from Rhoda Amundson, who visited our "Air Force 50" booth seeking information about her uncle, Lt. Harry Dingman. She wrote to thank those of you who responded and gave her new data about the crash in which her uncle was killed.


Another request: Received an e-mail note from Jack Stansbury in Rockville, MD, asking information about his father-in-law who recently passed away. Among his belongings they found silk maps of Nagasaki and the Philippines. His honorable discharge reads: Eino W. Fagerlund 11 082 160 Private First Class Headquarters Squadron 54th Troop Carrier Wing. His separation date was March 11, 1946, at Fort Devens, Mass. If any of you knew Private Fagerlund, send an e-mail to Jack Stansbury (jack@eco.twg.com) or write to McMurry's. Mr. Stansbury didn't give his complete home address in his e-mail message.


Note: It seems Private Fagerlund didn't do much talking about his service years and now his loved ones want to know more. That should be a lesson to us all to talk and/or write about our service to our country in World War II while we are alive! We may not think our loved ones really want to know, but sometimes they just forget to ask until it's too late.

Colonel Edward T. Imparato is one of us who has done lots of writing about his experiences in World War II. (He doesn't use a computer, either) He has now completed his fourth book, "History of the 374th Troop Carrier Group in WW II." Some of you may already have his others: "Into Darkness - A Pilot's Journey through Headhunter Territory," "MacArthur - Melbourne to Tokyo," and "Up From Shangri-La."

His books are available at a reduced price of $20 each to veterans. Send your orders to Col. Edward Imparato, 155 Bayview Dr., Belleair, FL 33756 (813) 584-1920.


Michael Claringbould sent a flier about his two books published by Aerosian Publications in Australia. He is an aviation author and a member of the Fifth Air Force Memorial Foundation. "Black Sunday" is the story of April 16, 1944, when the Fifth Air Force lost thirty-seven aircraft during a late afternoon storm in New Guinea. It includes a 32,000-word depiction of the mission and many rare photos. "Helluva Pelican" tells about the history, recovery and the restoration of a Douglas A-20G bomber, one of the planes downed in that same storm. The author participated in the recovery of the plane in October 1984.

Fifth Air Force veterans can order these books at reduced prices from the author at P.O. Box 214, Suva, Fiji. "Black Sunday" is $21.50 and "Helluva Pelican" is $19.50 or both for $37.00. Prices include postage, local bank fees and taxes.


Government Red Tape - Did any of you ever get frustrated with government rules and regulations, either while in the Army Air Corps or since those days? Imagine what would have happened to God at the time of creation if he had to abide by all of today's environmental rules:

In the beginning God created heaven and earth. Quickly he was faced with a class action suit for failure to file an environmental impact statement. He was granted a temporary permit for the project, but was stymied with a Cease and Desist order for the earthly part.

Appearing at the hearing, God was asked why he began his earthly project in the first place. He replied that he just liked to be creative.

Then God said, "Let there be light." Officials immediately demanded to know how the light would be made. Would there be strip mining? What about thermal pollution? God explained that the light would come from a huge ball of fire.

God was granted provisional permission to make light, assuming that no smoke would result from the ball of fire, that he would obtain a building permit, and (to conserve energy) would have the light out half the time. God agreed and said he would call the light "day" and the darkness "night." Officials replied that they were not interested in semantics.

God said, "Let the earth bring forth green herbs and such with many seeds." The EPA agreed so long as native seed was used. Then God said, "Let waters bring forth creeping creatures having life, and the fowl that may fly over the earth." Officials pointed out this would require approval from the Department of Game coordinated with the Heavenly Wildlife Federation and the Audubongelic Society.

Everything was OK then until God said he wanted to complete the whole project in six days. Officials informed him it would take at least 200 days to review the application and the environ- mental impact statement. After that there would be a public hearing. Then there would be some 10 to 12 months before….….

At this point God created Hell!

More news is needed from all of you unless you want to be burdened with more nonsense like the above in future newsletters.

The other 54th - Some of you will remember we heard from those who thought they were in the 54th TCW, but were in Alaska where the 54th TCW never was stationed. In the American Legion magazine where they print names of military groups you can contact, the following listing appeared a couple months ago: 54th Ftr Grp. 42nd/56TH/and57TH Hq Ftr Sqdns (Air Echelon to Alaska). So it seems that mystery is solved.

Remember: Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be amused!


Watch for the Spring Newsletter and then prepare to register for a good time in Colorado Springs on October 15-18, 1998.


A personal greeting from Glenn and Darlene McMurry to all our friends,


Many things are wished for you

At the holidays and new year, too--

A healthy, happy family,

Good friends to keep you company,

Contentment and true peace of mind,

Memories of the warmest kind,

A life that's filled with joy and love,

And all the things you're fondest of!











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