54TH Troop Carrier Wing


June, 2003

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

As reported in December, the 2nd CCG, 6th CCS plans to have its "every-other-year" reunion at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona, Oct 1-5, 2003. Tilson King, their scribe, says there are lots of interesting things to do and see in Phoenix, but the best part of a reunion is enjoying all the "new tales" that come out in the open when they meet  This will be their 16th reunion. They started meeting in '55 and at first met only every five years.  Now they meet every two years.  Good decision!

The 2nd CCG, 7th CCS will meet Oct 7-9, at the Crockett Hotel in San Antonio, TXThe hotel is by the back wall of the Alamo and only ½ block from the three-story River City Mall and parking garage.  They held agreat reunion there in 1984, but they understand that the River Walk is twice as long as it was then.  Curtis Krogh, with the help of his wife Agnes, publishes their newsletter called the "FIVE BY FIVE."  Contact them for more info--e-mail:  cakrogh@execpc.com or snail-mail--601 Indiana St, Racine, WI 53405.
The 2nd CCG, 8th CCS will hold its reunion Oct 3-5, 2003 at Bay Beach Inn, Gulf Breeze, FL, phone 850/932-2214, or use htttp://www.baybeachinn.com . to register on the Internet, under Group Reservations, password EIGHTH.  Hosting will be Bert and Hammy Stumpe, 6322 Summer Lakes Ln, Pensacola, FL 32504.  Plans include a day bus trip to a casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, and a visit to the Navy Air Museum and its IMAX Theater.
The 317th TCG, which now includes the Hq, the 40th and the 41st TCS’s, will meet at Long Beach, CA, Sept 11-14.  For further information, contact Jeff Miller, P O Box 3310, Long Beach, CA 90803.
The 374thTCG, 33rd TCS meets every two years.  They had a great reunion at Aurora, CO last year.  They will hold their 20th reunion April 15-17, 2004 at the Adam's Mark Indianapolis International Airport Hotel.  B J and Naomi Plog will be hosting, and they are extending an invitation to all the other squadrons of the 374th--the 6th, 21st, and 22nd. So here is an opportunity for some of you who have been wishing your squadron was having reunions.  They want family members also to come.  If you have questions contact the Plog's at 4 West Paris, Ridge Farm, IL 61870-0332, phone 217/247-2491, or e-mail:  bplog@soltec.net

News of the 375th TCG:

The 55th TCS will meet this year at Fort Worth, TX, Oct 16-19 at the Best Western InnSuites Hotel & Suites, Ft Worth/Dallas Metroplex.  Friday they are planning lunch at Cattlemen's Steak House and a visit to the "largest honky-tonk" in the world.  Saturday they will take a bus west of town to Granbury to enjoy shopping, lunch and a live show.  Bill Cunningham is hosting the reunion and Granbury happens to be his home town.  Contact him via e-mail:  dcbe@charter.net --  phone 817/326-4304, or at 4201 Cimmaron, Granbury. TX 76049.
The 58th TCS will meet Sept 26-27, 2003, at the Hope Hotel & Conference Center, Bldg 823, Area A, WPAFB, OH 45433-5000.  Phone 937/879-2696.  Room cost is $76.23 tax included. They are looking forward to visiting the Air Force Museum with its new additions.  For more information contact Bill Woznek, 906 Hill Rd, Bloomsburg, PA 17815 or e-mail:  wwoznek@bloomu.edu
The 433rd TCG will hold its reunion Oct 7-13, 2003, at the Radisson Hotel, San Antonio. TX.  Phone 210/224-7155 for reservations.  They will enjoy the River Walk, which is said to be especially lovely in October, and spend an evening at the new race track.  Carmen Kight, their scribe, sent a copy of an Ann Landers article.  One letter was from the daughter of a WWII veteran.  She had gone with her father to his reunion and enjoyed it so much she wrote to encourage family members to attend the reunions.  Carmen agrees--bring yourfamily members to your reunions, or let them bring you.
The 333rd SC meets every two years.  Although their numbers are getting small, they don't want to give up having reunions.  They plan to meet in Chicago, Oct 10-12, 2003. Their scribe, Werner Palmblad, can be reached at 4752 N New England Ave, Harwood Heights, Il 60706 for more info.
The 820th MAES is planning a reunion Oct 16-19, 2003, in San Diego, CA at Beach Cottages Motel.  Rooms are $75 per night.  Cal Maloney, your host, needs $90 from each by Sept 1 to hold the rooms.  The motel is near the "Blue Pacific" and close to Sea World, the San Diego Zoo and various other attractions.  Cal is also planning a Trolley tour, and visits to an Indian Casino and an outlet center.  The Saturday evening "Aloha" dinner will be at the rowing club where his wife Nancy rows.  If you need more information, write Cal at 3942 Horton Rd, Bonita, CA 91902-2334.
Too late for the last Newsletter, we received word of the 820th's Salt Lake City successful reunion last September.  They took the "Heber Creeper" railroad up Provo Canyon; visited Park City, on old mining town and ski center; saw the Kennecott Copper Mines, the largest in the world; rode up the mountain in the Snowbird Ski Lift; spent time at the Mormon Tabernacle hearing their great choir; and finally, went across the state line to Wendover, NV.  Wendover was a former wartime air base and later a test area.  Now it is a Vegas style entertainment area. (Doesn't Salt Lakc City sound like a great place to have a reunion?)


Thoughts on Old Age from a Middle-ager:

I have always dreaded old age. I can't imagine anything worse than being old. How awful it must be to have nothing to do all day long but stare at the walls or watch TV. So last week, when Mayor Mel suggested we all celebrate Senior Citizen Week by cheering up a senior citizen, I decided to do just that. I would call on my new neighbor, an elderly retired gentleman, recently widowed, and who, I presumed, had moved in with his married daughter because he was too old to take care of himself. I baked a batch of brownies, and, without bothering to call (some old people cannot hear the phone), I went off to brighten this old guy's day. When I rang the doorbell this "old guy" came to the door dressed in tennis shorts and a polo shirt, looking about as ancient and decrepit as Donny Osmond.

"I'm sorry I can't invite you in," he said when I introduced myself, "but I'm due at the Racquet Club at two. I'm playing in the semifinals today."

"That's OK," I said. "I baked you some brownies."

"Great!" he interrupted, snatching the box. "Just what I need for bridge club! Thanks so much!"
I continued "... and just thought we'd visit a while. But that's okay!  I'll just call on Granny Grady."
"Don't bother," he said. "Gran's not home.  I know. I just called to remind her of our date to go dancing tonight.  She may be at the beauty shop.  She said that she had an appointment for a tint job."

So I went home and called my Mother's cousin (age 83); she was in the hospital--working in the gift shop. I called my aunt (age 74); she was on vacation in China. I called my husband's uncle (age 79). I forgot; he was on his honeymoon.

I still dread old age, now more than ever.  I just don't think I'm up to it.


From your e-mail and letters, comes news about some of you who are like those the author of the above article tried to contact.  You keep active, either at your long-time jobs; doing volunteer work at your places of worship, Boy Scouts, Habitat for Humanity, and Meals on Wheels; tutoring; taking exercise classes; eating out with friends; reading, manning voting booths; and keeping busy in various service and hobby clubs.  Let me know of other activities to add to this list.

Honeymooning should have been added to the above list!  Congratulations to Harold Henneke, 2ndCCG, 8th CCS, and Rose Martlage, who were married March 29, '03, in Southport Christian Church, Indianapolis.  He had brought her to their reunion at Branson.  It seems his friends invited her to come again even without him. He decided it was time to see that that didn't happen.
Congratulations to Sal Mistretta and his wife Rose who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in November last year.  They had a great party and dinner for 88 friends and relatives.  Sal is the scribe for the 820th MAES Newsletter, "The Flying Duck"

Won't some more of you share your celebrations?  Let's see who has lasted the most years and also who has the longest marriage.  Anyone 100 yet and any 60 years of marriage?

Bill Woznek, 375th TCG, sent a glowing report about the "Salute to Troop Carrier" celebration last April at Dover, DE.  He just regretted that he couldn't find any of you or anyone else from the 5th Air Force among the 125 veterans and their families that were there.  Dover is the home of the Air Mobility Command Museum. The group had lunch in Hangar 1301 where a C-47 "Gooney Bird" loomed from a semicircle of historic aircraft.  Among other things in the museum was the front end of one of the original gliders used during the war.  Each veteran received a medal "Honoring Troop Carrier" and there was opportunity to be interviewed.  The interviews are to be sent to the Library of Congress for its WWII history section.  During the report on paratrooper drops only Corregidor was named for the Pacific Theatre.  Bill objected and was told that Nadzab was not an "official" drop.  He told them MacArthur & Kenny were probably turning over in their graves to hear that.  Several told him they were happy the war ended so they didn't have to go to the Pacific. They didn't look forward to our living conditions.
Some recommended books by our avid readers:

From Curt Krogh, 2nd CCG, 7th CCS: These two about two very different generals: "MacArthur" by our 5th Air Force Leader, Gen. George Kenney, and "Eisenhower, Soldier and President" by Stephen Ambrose; "Ghost Soldiers" by Hampton Sides about Japanese POW camps; and "John Adams", "The Path between Two Seas" (Panama Canal). and "Truman" all by David McCullough

From "Tommy" Thompson, 374th TCG, 6th TCS:  "The Enola Gay" by Paul Tibbets,"The Education of Lieutenant Kerrey" by Gregory L Vistica; and "The Fatal Shore" by Robert Hughes (about Australia)

Something to remember:
People may forget what you said and what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
Another Troop Carrier Group Website:
Miles Harnby, son of a member of the 315th TCG, 310th TCS, found our 54th TCW website and shared theirs. It is great! http://315group.20megsfree.com .  The 315th served in the European Theater doing what the 54th did in the Pacific.  A member, Bob Cloer, with the help of Lew Johnson, 314th TCG works hard to compile yearly lists of WWII Troop Carrier Units showing names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of contact persons.  Our thanks to them for all their time and effort.

Doolittle Raiders Goblets:
There are 80 silver goblets on display at the U S Air Force Academy in Colorado, Springs, CO.  Each bears the name of one of the 80 Doolittle Raiders led by Lt. Col. James Doolittle, famous for the April 18, 1942 mission to bomb Tokyo.  Each year the goblets are escorted to the group's reunion by two academically ranked junior cadets.  Each year the "Raiders" toast and turn over the goblets of those who have died since the last reunion.  After the 2002 reunion, 23 goblets remained upright.  In the case with the goblets is a bottle of 1896 cognac, symbolizing the year Doolittle was born.  His wish is that when only two raiders are left, they will use it to drink a final toast together.
George Wamsley, 374th TCG, 33rd TCS, called to tell us his new address.  He and his wife decided to leave Arizona and return to their roots in Montana where they have family members.  His new address is 104 S Cooke St, Helena, MT 59601.  Many of you have read his great book, "American Flyboy."  He says his hobby is continuing to inform people about what all of you did in the South Pacific.  Helena is the home of the 163rd Infantry whom some of you flew around ”down there".  There is a hospital and museum in Helena honoring the 163rd.
The dedication ceremony on March 21, 2003, for the 433rd's bench at WPAFB Museum was attended by 27 veterans and family members.  In front across the top were the words "433rd Troop Carrier Group".  In the middle were two airplanes drawn by Barbara Schade, Bill's wife, and the 433rd's insignia.  The bottom row read 1943 PACIFIC THEATRE 1946.  To paraphrase Carmen Kight-The honor guard presented arms, Paul Seaman gave a history of the 433rd, one member from each squadron removed the bench's cover, the bench was presented to the museum and accepted, taps was played and then there was not a dry eye in that proud group.  Thanks to Glenn Mayer's planning, the ceremony went like "clock work".

Vince Krobath, 317thTCG, 40th TCS, reports that they have raised the funds to have a Memorial Plaque installed on the Memorial Wall at WPAFB Museum, Dayton, OH.  Congratulations to them!!

Steve McDevitt, whose uncle's plane is pictured on the inside cover of Col. Imparata's book, would like to find New Guinea combat photographers serving in 1943 so he can get that picture and others. If you can help, contact him at sgm744@sigecom.net or 5955 Willow Brook Ct, Newburgh, IN 47630.

Don Ayres would like historical info from 433rd TCG, 67th TCS members about events in 1944 & 1945 in Luzon.  He's writing a bio for the family of a deceased veteran. Contact him at his e-mail ddress ranchorockinaye@dm-tech.net

About Military Funerals:

I hope your family members know that whether or not a veteran is buried in a military cemetery, a family member is entitled to an honorary flag from the White House and an honor guard at the funeral.  The honor guard will properly display the flag, fold it, and present it to the nearest relative.  When available, one member of the honor guard will play "Taps".  If the mortuary doesn't offer, the family should ask for a flag and honor guard.

Harold Schultz, 374thTCG, 22ndTCS, found this web-site about the military flag ceremony.


Someone composed a meaning for each of the thirteen folds and suggested that the completed flag resembles a cocked hat, from Revolutionary Days.  Some also say 13 folds are for the thirteen colonies.  However, according to the above source that de-myths things that float around on the Internet, there is no special meaning to the 13 folds other than the fact that it takes 2 to fold lengthwise and 11 more to make the triangle when the flag is of official measurements. Regardless of its meaning, the ceremony is impressive and distinguishes the flag from just any other piece of cloth.


In Memory

Dorothy Hearon ... July, 2002

(wife of James Hearon, 54th TCW, Hq)

Walter Hurd, 374th TCG, 21st ... April. 1995

Ann Hurd, wife of Walter ... Dec 7, 2002

Robert Kraft, 54th TCW, Hq ... June 13, 2002

Glenn McMurry, 54th TCW, Hq ... Jan 15, 2003



After Ann Hurd died, a daughter sent the obituary.  It was only then we knew of Walter's death.  From Ann's obituary we learned that he and Ann had met on a blind date, fell in love "at first sight" and were married in the chapel at Randolph Field, Sept 26, '41. After the war, Walter was a Chief Pilot with the Philippines Airlines and later an expert of Quality Control at Lockheed, where he worked 30 years.

Robert Kraft's wife sent a note telling about his love of fishing.  Despite his long bout with diabetes, he enjoyed fishing and canoeing whenever possible.  He was a charter member of "Fisherman Magazine" and designed their logo.

Veronica Mato sent this from "Widowed Persons of North Virginia":

When we start to count flowers,
we cease to count weeds.
When we start to count blessings,
we cease to count needs.
When we start to count laughter,
we cease to count tears.
When we start to count happy moments,
we cease to count years.

From your editor: In previous Newsletters, I have mentioned Glenn's problems of continuing small strokes and vascular dementia, and explained that I was continuing the Newsletter for him. It had been his idea in 1982 to organize a Headquarters reunion, and he loved to write the Newsletter as long as he was able.  He was very fond of his South Pacific friends and thoroughly enjoyed the four reunions we had.  As with some of our other groups and squadrons, there got to be too few left who physically could travel.  He was so pleased when our son started a 54th TCW web page.  Glenn was an expert typist and enjoyed keeping diaries.  He also typed away on his autobiography as long as he was able.  Our son, Greg, decided it should be on the Internet. Now he has also put the slide show from Glenn's Memorial Service there. (see below) Several of Glenn's stories are in the "Moresby to Manila" and Col. Edward Imparato's "374th Troop Carrier Group" books.  (However, some of the stories attributed to him in that last book are not his)

I have enjoyed getting acquainted with some of you in person, and through the e-mail and "snail mail." So long as I'm able, and you continue to let me know about your group reunions, and your activities now and in the South Pacific, I'll keep the Newsletter alive in June and December.

Darlene McMurry
8944 Krueger St
Culver City, CA 90232-2437