Reunion news from groups serving under the 54th Troop Carrier Wing:
2nd CCG, 6th CCS –In 2003 they had such a good reunion at the Embassy Suites in Phoenix, AZ they are going again this year. The dates are Thursday, Oct 6 to Sunday, Oct 9. Tilson and Dortha King, their scribes and reunion planners, report the rooms are $99 and that includes free breakfasts and free drinks in the afternoon. They plan to bring all four of their children and other family members. They do a great job corresponding with their members, and during December and January they heard from forty 6th CCS families. They then sent out letters to all, sharing the information that they had received from the members. For more reunion information contact Tilson at 1305 Timber Trace, Auburn, IN 46706 or by e-mail at email@example.com .
2nd CCG, 7th CCS –After polling their members and learning that only seven or eight were able to attend another reunion, their scribes, Agnes & Curt Krogh sadly announced, “It is time to face up to the small numbers and throw in the towel”. They will continue to publish the “Five by Five” and hope all the members will keep writing to them so they can share all the news with all the other members of the 7th. They will always cherish all the good times they had at the 18 reunions they enjoyed through the years. The Kroghs can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by snail mail at 601 Indiana St, Racine, WI 53405.
2nd CCG, 8th CCS –They will hold their 17th reunion October 7-9 at the Airport Hilton Hotel, Wichita, KS. Earl & Sandra Childs are making all the arrangements for a good time. If you have any questions, call them at 316/722-8591 or e-mail them at email@example.com. You can also contact the squadron scribe, Harold Henneke, via e-mail at Halros84@aol.com.
317th TCG–The scribe/treasurer for the “Jungle Skippers”, Vince Krobath, has written that they have decided to try having a spring reunion to avoid some fall conflicts. They will be meeting at St. Louis, MO in the spring of 2006. More details will be available in the December Newsletter.
374th TCG, 33rd TCS –To quote their scribe, Bob Monson, “A hardy, eager band of men with their families charged into the Gaylord Texan Hotel in Grapevine, TX on April 21 and 22, 2005.” Mo and Vera Berg had made all the arrangements. Since there was a unanimous vote to meet again in April, 2006, a good time must have been had by all! B. J and Naomi Plog will host the reunion at the Adams Mark Hotel in Indianapolis, IN
Remember, those of you in other squadrons of the 374th are invited to join the 33rd. Just contact Bob Monson if you are interested. His address is 1310 Daveric Dr, Pasadena, CA 91107-1644 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org
375th TCG, 55th TCS –Plans are being made for a reunion October 7-10 at the Best Western, Arlington, VA. There will be two days of escorted tours in the Washington, DC area. Of course, a high-light will be the visit to the new WWII Memorial. To quote from their squadron letter: “Since we all participated in that effort, it seems fitting that we should have the chance to visit the site.” For more information about the reunion, contact either Charlie Lemons, 3416 Lomas Blvd, NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106-1334 or e-mail him at LemonsCF@earthlink.net; or Bill Cunningham at 4201 Cimmaron, Granbury, TX 76049 or e-mail him at email@example.com
433rd TCG –Rooms at the Wyndham Harbour Island Hotel, Tampa, FL have been reserved for their reunion, October 11-17. The rooms are priced at only $89 and you don’t have to stay the whole time. Carmen Kight, despite a healing broken arm, has visited and even sampled the food, pronouncing it so good she quit looking for any other hotel. (Note of warning re broken arm—Don’t trust a rug on your bathroom floor!) For info about the reunion, e-mail Carmen at CarmenBK@aol.com or write her at 369 Sandal Court, Lakeland, FL 33813
Unfortunately, the list of reunions gets shorter and shorter, but some groups have faithful scribes who keep a Newsletter going for their groups.
Headquarters Squadron: This 54th Newsletter was started in the early ‘90’s when Glenn decided to find members of his squadron. SO, notice all your HQ guys, this is your only Newsletter so send news about yourself so your friends will know what and how you are doing since our last reunion in 1998. Some of you have not been heard from for a long time. Do you want to remain on the mailing list?
375th TCG, 58th TCS --William Woznek sends a great Newsletter to the 58th members. His address is 906 Hill Rd, Bloomsburg, PA 17815-8542. If you are not on his mailing list, let him know and send some printing cost and postage money. (He didn’t asked me to say that, but he sends many pages of interesting info and I know that costs money.) He quotes from Wm Bradford Huie in the “Hiroshima Pilot”—“War veterans, even those who have not been treated for mental disorder, tend to fabricate as the years pass. At Gettysburg in 1863 there were 15,000 Southerners in Pickett’s Charge. By 1883 at least 100,000 Southern males were insisting they had been in Pickett’s charge and by 1923 most every surviving Confederate veteran had been with Pickett.”
54th TCW, 820th MAES-Sal Mistretta, 24 Wilshire Rd, Kenmore,
NY 14217, and Cal Maloney, 3942 Horton Rd, Bonita, CA 91902-2334 are keeping
in touch with members via their “The Flying Duck”
This note from Ted Adamczyk tells of another way to keep in touch—mini-reunions—“We of the 374th TCG, 21st & 22nd TCS’s have had some good reunions in the past; however, those of us that are left are so old and dilapidated, we just can’t do it anymore. But four of us radio operators, Mel Clack, Joe McIlvain, Ralph Simons and myself; and engineer Bruce McClean have been having mini-reunions in Prescott, AR for several years-------It’s good to talk and laugh about those old days down under.”
Tilson King, scribe for the 2nd CCG, 6th CCS, sent an interesting story from the Abilene Reporter News, April 10, 2005. Tommy Doyle, whose father was lost when a B-24 Liberator bomber sank near the island of Palau on Sept.1, 1944, took diving lessons at age 62. He wanted to see and touch the remains of that bomber, and he did just that. He was aided by the Bent Prop Project, private citizens who search for American war wreckage in Palau. On April 2 a recovery team from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Hawaii went to Palau to recover remains from the plane. The Doyle family already has his father’s family DNA in hopes that they may identify Jimmie Doyle’s remains. The whole story about Tommy Doyle’s dive can be seen on the Internet at http://www.ARNgallery.com
By entering “6th Combat Cargo Squadron” on the Internet, you can read all about it and other Combat Cargo Squadrons. Bill Bielauskas, whose father was a pilot with a squadron in the China, Burma, India Theater, has provided this website.
Frank Jasek sent an e-mail seeking information about Louis Eilenberger, 54th TCW, 820th MAES, who lost his life February 17, 1945. Frank’s e-mail address is Frank_Jasek@baylor.edu. His memorial page for Baylor University, Waco, TX alumni is at http://www.geocities.com/bookdr2003/BU_militarycasualties.html He wants stories about all the vets.
Dorothy Clack reports that Mel, 374th TCG, fell in November, breaking his left femur. He was in a nursing home for awhile. However, since she didn’t feel he was getting much therapy there, she brought him home. To quote her, “Boy, he’s getting it here!”
Jim Warner, 54th TCW, HQ, sent a note of appreciation for the Newsletter saying his only news is “I’m still here and glad of it”. (I’d call that Good News!)
Charles Frier, 54th TCW, HQ, sent a note of thanks for the Newsletter along with the sad news of the death of his wife last year. The good news is that they enjoyed 61 years together!
Curtiss W Cady is looking for any who remember him. He says he was a glider pilot with the 374th in Hollandia, Biak and the Philippines. Bob Monson, who got his phone inquiry, says he finds nothing about glider pilots in Imparato’s book. If any of you can enlighten us about glider pilots, please write to your editor and also to Mr. Cady. His address is 8614 11th Ave, Hesperia, CA 92345.
Ollie Marheine, 374th TCW, HQ, has had a rough year. His wife, Betty, wrote that despite a heart pacer replacement, arthritis, testicle surgery, and a mass infection, he’s hanging in there and reads the Newsletter word for word. It makes him remember times he thought he had forgotten. (That’s one of our goals in writing the Newsletter)
Although Ted Bauries, 317th TSG, 41st TCS, had a bad fall in March, 2004, he still was able to attend the Flying Cross Society reunion in San Diego in May, visit Washington. DC in June and go to the September reunion of the 317th TCG in Milwaukee. One of his many volunteer jobs is visiting wards of the Probate Court and reporting to the judge.
“Tommy” Thompson, 374th TCS, 6th TCG, works with Habitat for Humanity. He went to Siberia last year, to Madagascar this year and plans to go to Chile next year. In Madagascar there was no running water, thus no toilets or bathrooms, and they slept on a self-inflating mattresses on concrete while building a mud brick house. The people were so appreciative it made all their efforts worthwhile. Just before the trip he had a pacemaker installed!!
Editor’s note: To inspire and challenge all of us, keep sending news of the volunteer jobs you do.
Bert Stumpe, 2nd CCG, 8th CCS, sent a “Thank You” note for the Newsletter. He says, “You would think I would have learned not to volunteer for things by now, but I must be a slow learner.” He lives in Pensacola, and though he’s helped with reunions for his squadron twice and the 7th CCS once, he is still willing to assist any group. The big attraction is the Naval Air Museum with an IMAX theater. Phone him at 850/478-2612, or e-mail him at AStumpe384@aol.com
Sam McGowan sent the website address for the Troop Carrier Homecoming being planned at Galveston Island, TX, Nov 9-13, 2005. All veterans from WWII through Vietnam are invited. Events will center around the Victorian Condo & Conference Center. Hotel rates are $79 for one bedroom condos & $129 for two bedroom suites. Website is www.airlifthomecoming.com. E-mail Sam McGowan at SEMcGowanJr@aol.com or Bob Ruffin, whose phone is 501/835-6606 & e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org, for more info.
Frank Hathaway, 374th TCG, 6th TCS, sent an article about Bill Shaver, also of the 6th TCS. He was awarded the French Legion of Honor medal by the French Government. Fifty-one years earlier he had flown 48 missions, dropping supplies to the French troops in a hostile Vietnam valley as a member of the Civil Air Transport owned by the CIA. Our government tried to aid the French even before we entered the Vietnam War. He flew a C-119 Flying Boxcar which carried a heavy load of supplies. The dumping of the load, which floated down with the help of giant parachutes to the waiting French troops below, meant a sudden jolting jump for the plane’s crew. When asked how scary this was, Bill Shaver said the only time he felt real fear of the “white-knuckle” kind was when he first sat in a cockpit and learned to pilot a plane.
Fiona Hocking is trying to find any members of the 433rd TCG, 66th TCS who might have photos of insignia on the C-47’s they used. Her father, Don Cameron, was in the 3rd Australian Air Maintenance Coy at Nadzab. They were operating jointly with the “biscuit bombers” and he remembers three planes, “Billie L”, Suzie Q” and “Dewars”. After the “Billie L” crashed, she was replaced by “Ghost of Billie L”. He knew Dick Grant, now deceased, who painted the insignia. If you can help, e-mail Fiona at email@example.com
Someone ? (sorry, my file-keeping was negligent) sent a copy of the “Strafer”, the Newsletter for the 345th Bomb Group Assoc., which told all about the preparations the Japanese had made for an armed invasion. It is from a book “Top Secret: The Details of the Planned WWII Invasion of Japan and How the Japanese Would Have Met It” by James Martin Davis & Bert Webber, published by Webb Research Group, PO Box 314, Medford, OR 97501. To read all the preparation the Japanese had made and were making to counteract any invasion is scary—In addition to at least 5,000 Army and 7,000 Navy aircraft; new planes were being built by women hidden in mines, railway tunnels, basements of stores, etc. in every village. In Kyushu alone there were 20 suicide takeoff strips, 35 camouflaged airfields, & 9 seaplane bases. Food supplies were stored everywhere. Many rocket-propelled bombs to be delivered by suicide pilots were in production. The above covers only a small part of the preparation detailed in the article. One quote says lots: “an invasion might well have resulted in the biggest bloodbath in the history of modern warfare.” .
O C Wilkins, 317th TCG, 46th TCS, sent his thanks for the Newsletter and asked that we put this in the next one; “Anyone who passed thru Patterson Field, Fairborn, Ohio or Lawson Field, GA in 42-43-44, contact OWilkins@aol.com or write him at 2605 Cimarron Dr #305, New Port Rickey, FL 34655. He first served in the 10th TCG, 5th TCS, which was formed in 1939 and which, with other early squadrons, trained crews for shipment overseas, as well as joined some of them.
Curt Krogh, 2nd CCG, 7th CCS, recommends the book “With the 41st Division in the Southwest Pacific” by Francis Catanjaro, who was a “foot soldier” in Biak, Hollandia and Mindinao. He said he couldn’t put the book down. Also he likes “Washington, The Indispensable Man” by James T Flexner, which gives, to quote Curt, “a wonderful view of the Revolutionary War and the founding of our great country. Excellent reading.”
Russell Holmes, 375th TCG, 56th TCS, reported on his visit to the WWII Veterans Memorial in D.C. He visited with three 5th Air Force vets, none of whom were in TCC. However, he got a tearful hug from a bulldozer operator who helped build Katena airstrip on Okinawa which he used many times while living in Okinawa mud. He also met a vet who used to load cargo into C-47’s in New Guinea.
John Rains, an infantry machine gunner in Germany during the war, found our Newsletter on the Internet. He’s a member of the 78th Infantry Division Assoc which has 3000 members and publishes a very impressive Newsletter, more properly a News Magazine, of 120 pages. He sent your editor two copies and I found them very interesting. Their editor certainly needs to be congratulated!
Jason McDonald, webmaster for WWIIMultimedia Database, http://www.worldwar2database.com, sent an e-mail. He is now assisting Helen Borten of National Public Radio in preparing an hour-long documentary on the last year of the War. He is seeking veterans in the NY, NJ or CT area who would like to tell their stories and participate in this project. So, if you want to be on radio, e-mail Jason McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone him at 212/584-3057. Go tell your story!
Mark Pikington, who is the webmaster for the Australian Aviation Museum at Moorabbin Airport near Melbourne, found our Newsletter on the Internet. When he saw news of the 374th, he thought it would interest members to know about some planes in the museum. The: DC3/C50 “41-7698” call sign “VH-CDJ”, taken from an American Airlines production line in July ’41, flew with the 21st TCS in New Guinea in late ‘42 and early ’43 before the delivery of C-47’s. A rare DC-2 used by the RAAF 36 Squadron, who served alongside the 374th, is also there. He would like to hear from any who know about either of these planes. The website is http://aarg.com.au/DC3.htm . Mark Pikington’s e-mail address is MPikingto@powercor.com.au
Editor’s note: I know that some don’t have access to the Internet. If you wish to respond to any of the above with only an e-mail address, send me a note and I’ll forward it for you..
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