54TH Troop Carrier Wing 
June, 2006

News from groups and squadrons of the 54th Troop Carrier Wing:

2nd CCG, 6th CCS  --- Tilson King, their scribe, writes: “The 6th has not made plans for another reunion.  We usually have been meeting every two years.  At our reunion in 2005, it was obvious that we had aged!!  We continue to communicate 6 to 8 times a year with all our families and will listen and see what interest there is for another meeting.”

2nd CCG, 8th CCS  ---  Their 18th reunion will be held this year at E. Peoria, Illinois at the Hampton Inn,  Sunday, October 15th thru Tuesday, October 17th.  The room rate is $81.00 plus tax (of course) Unless they have 10 or more reservations, the Saturday night rate is higher.  It seems that’s the fun night at the casino.  (Since they reported 50 plus at the 2005 reunion, that shouldn’t be a problem) An all day bus trip to Springfield, IL to visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential  Museum is planned.    Contact hostesses, Chuck and Betty Tobin (309/691-5605) or BettyTobin@msn.com for more details.   The scribe for the 8th CCS is Harold Henneke.  His e-mail address is Hairos84@aol.com

317th TCG  ---  Vince and Celeste Krobath, with help from their family, will host the reunion Sept 28-Oct 1 at the Crowne Plaza in St Louis. Call the hotel, 314/291-6700, before Sept 1 to get a special rate of $75.00 plus tax.  To get this special rate, be sure to tell them you are attending the 317th reunion

374th TCG, 33rd TCS  --  According to Bob Monson, their scribe, the 22nd reunion in April at Indianapolis was “super” as usual with 16 vets and 30 family members attending.  Their guest speaker from the Indiana Veteran’s Administration gave them interesting information about both Indiana’s and the Federal programs for veterans.   At their business meeting, the annual question: “Shall we have a reunion next year” was answered with “a big YES”.  It will be hosted by Al Klopek and his daughter, Nancy Marion in San Antonio, TX in the spring of 2007.  Jeff Mortenson, their historian, had planned to put all their records on CDs. However, although he was able to save all their papers from the devastations of Katrina, his recording equipment has been lost.  SO that project, which sounds like a very good idea, will have to wait for awhile.

375th TCG, 55th TCS  --  At the close of their last reunion they wondered whether to have another.  Later when they polled their members,  the answer again was “Yes”.  Charles Lemons, although he has been undergoing prostate cancer treatment, still is planning with Bill Cunningham for their reunion.  It will be at the Best Western Rio Grande Hotel in Albuquerque, Sept 28th thru Oct 1. Charles says they welcome anyone who would like to attend.   Bill says favorable replies from at least 15 vets encouraged them to go ahead.  Of course, some family members will also come.

433rd TCG  --  On September 25th to 29th, 2006, they will hold a reunion in Albuquerque at the Best Western Hotel in Historic Old Town.  Hotel rates are $78 plus tax.  Call 1-800/959-4726 for reservations.  Carmen Kight says all plans are not complete, but they hope to tour the Atomic Museum and ride the Scandia Peak cable car. You can also go on a hot air balloon ride for $155 per person.  Any takers should notify Carmen.   Note her new street address: 375 W Brannen Rd  #254.

In Memory

Diane Shanley reported the death of her father, Dan Grabin, 374th TCG, 33rd TCS, on Nov 6, 2005.  After the war, one of his contributions was to see that every local Veteran who had lost a limb in WWII received a car from the Grabin Oldsmobile Company.

Dorothy Clack wrote that Joe McIlvain, 374th TCG, 22nd TCS, died of a massive stroke, March, 21, 2006.  He and Mel, whose death we reported in the last Newsletter, had served together during the war and had been able to renew their friendship in later years after both moved to Prescott, AZ

James Gray, 333rd Signal Company, died Nov 8, 2005.  To quote from his obituary: “People who knew the retired  Fergus Falls Daily news editor used one word to describe him----distinguished—“With his love of history, Jim could give an article more depth and really make it unique.”

Edward Harlow Brown, 317th TCG, 40th TCS, died Oct 1, 2005, after a lengthy illness.

Al Miziura, 54th TCW, Hq, died Dec 24, 2005. He had suffered multiple strokes and also had to have his legs amputated in January.  His daughter-in-law reported that he had lived with them for 12 years and had struggled to have a decent quality of life the last year and a half.  Al was one vet who attended all four of the reunions that the Headquarters vets had in the 90’s. He had retired as car foreman of the Grand Trunk Railroad, and was Past President of the Chicago Railroad Mechanical Assoc. The e-mail address for his family member is James Borden <milkfamily@earthlink.net>.

Robert (Bob) Alms, 374th TCG, 22nd TCS, died Feb 2, 2006.  Frank Hathaway remembers him as part of his C-47 crew at Bergstrom Field in 1944.  Bob was the flight engineer/crew chief.  After they went overseas, the crew was split up.  Bob went to the 22nd Squadron and Frank to the 6th.

Ken Winternheimer, 2nd CCG, 8th CCS, died after a brief illness, Feb 3, 2006.  After the war he had served as vice president, secretary and treasurer, respectively, of the Ohio Valley Hardware, and was an officer of the National Officers Managers Assoc.  He was a talented potter and had exhibited locally, nationally and internationally, winning awards for his work.

DuBose Egleston, Sr (Doc) 2nd CCG, 8th CCS, died Feb 27, 2006 after suffering a fall and stroke.  After serving his time in the war, he practiced pediatrics in Hickory, NC. Later, after more training, he became the first ophthalmologist in Wayneboro and practiced there for over 30 years.  When he retired,  he became the benefactor of a Montessori School which moved into his office.  The school’s director says that the doctor and his wife were the “built-in grandparents of the school”.


Have you heard of the Seven Great Wonders of the World?  Seeing, Hearing, Tasting, Touching, Feeling,  Laughing, and  Loving   As we age, some of these wonders we have enjoyed in life are not so good as  they once were, but we can keep on doing the last two.

How many of you wrote lots of letters home and had them saved so you could use them to help you write a detailed book about those WWII days?   Maybe that’s not really why his letters were saved, but that’s exactly how he has used them.  Frank Hathaway, 374th TCG, 6th TCS, has now published his 268 page book “LETTERS HOME – Memoirs of a WWII Troop Carrier Pilot”.  His story starts with his love of airplanes in 6th grade where for 15 cents each Wednesday Mr. Vincent taught a group of six boys how to build model airplanes.  Then he relates his WWII experiences from enlistment in the Army Air Force in Dec, 1942 until his homecoming in April, 1946.  You can order the book for $15 from Frank, PO Box 183, Big Sur, CA 93920.

During the writing of his book, Frank Hathaway corresponded with Alan Boveit in Australia.  He is gathering C-47 histories and would like to know who the first crews were that flew the first 13 planes across the Pacific.   If you have any information for him, tell Frank at the address above or e-mail him at Fragarway@aol.com

Last December, we wrote about Carmen Kight’s book. “There’s Rocks in Those Clouds”.  Who will be next to do all that work and publish a book worth reading?  Your editor highly recommends both Carmen’s and Frank’s books!!

In Dec, 2003,  we reported on Vol. 1 of Bob Kelly’s history of “Allied Air Transport Operations SW Pacific Area-WWII”  He has now completed Vol 2. After researching and writing for 22 years, this author, who served for many years on transport aircraft and in RAAF Intelligence, has produced an authoritative reference series.  Send questions and orders to  Bob and June Kelly, PO Box 192, Buderim, Queensland, 4556, Australia.  The e-mail address is bobnjune@powerup.com.au

Bob Monson wants to know how many of you remember the “original Hump”, the one across the Owen Stanley Mountains?  To quote Bob: “Flying over the Hump” originated here where we flew in the narrow and only pass at 5,000 to 7,000 feet and the highest peaks on each side were 10,000 to 14,000 feet, frequently hidden in clouds, mist and rain.

On December 10, 1944, two C-47’s were returning from a flight to Goodenough Island in Milne Bay.  They were on their way back to Cyclops Strip at Hollandia, NG.  Richard Korthals and Stanley Campbell, of the 317thTCG, 41st TCS were the pilots of the two planes.  Richard Korthals’s plane arrived safely, but the other plane didn’t make it, and the crew were declared MIA/KIA July 15, 1949.  In 1975 at 10,000 feet in the Sarawaget Range, the plane wreckage was located by Richard Leahy.  With others helping, he returned to the site in 1979 and again in 1980, where the remains of Carl Drain were recovered.  Finally, in 2004 the remains of the other four on the ill-fated plane were recovered and identified.  Through a series of e-mails, a niece of Stanley Campbell located Richard Korthals and invited him to her uncle’s memorial in Pioche, NV on Veteran’s Day last year.  He was able to go and in his Christmas Letter he called the whole thing one of two “Miraculous happenings” of 2005.

Richard Korthal’s second “Miraculous happening” last year was his opportunity to pilot a WWII P-51 for a 1.4 hour flight. He describes it this way: “Made a take-off and landing – the landing was a squeaker- near picture perfect.  61 years vanished in a flash.”

Charles Channell  <clchannell@verizon.net> has been researching material about his father’s 21st Air Service Group.  He has discovered how to obtain information on all military units of WWII that  have been preserved on microfilm. He got a list of the histories of units under the 54th Troop Carrier Wing that gave dates, missions, etc.  The cost is $30 a roll to have them mailed to you. If you are interested in this kind of research, contact him.  (Someone you know has e-mail and can help you)

Several of your groups have held your reunions at Branson, MO.  It is becoming known for Veteran’s activities and  has an official newspaper called the BUGLE-Branson Veterans Task Force. (P O Box 128, Branson, MO 65615-0128)  An A-10 fighter jet has been named for Branson.  The 442nd Fighter Wing, an Air Force reserve unit at Whiteman Air Force Base, Knob Noster, MO, dedicated the fighter jet at a ceremony in January. To quote Commander of the wing, Col. Patrick Cord, at the dedication, “The city of Branson has been very supportive of military members, active and reserve, as well as veterans and their families.  The city hosts numerous events to honor veterans—this is one way to express appreciation to Branson’s citizens.”

Of course, the paper is full of ads for the attractions of Branson.  The Veterans Memorial Museum with 18,000 Sq Ft of Art and exhibits, 2,000 exhibits in 10 great halls, and the World’s largest Bronze War Memorial Sculpture, etc. does sound interesting.  (I’m not getting paid for this advertising.  Ha! I just thought it might give a group a reunion idea.)

Brigadier Gen. Robert L Scott, has died at age 97.  In 1943 he had hurriedly dictated his combat flying adventures in the China-Burma-India theater that became the book “God is My Co-Pilot”.  The book was made into a movie which he felt was over-glamorized.  He lived in Warner Robins, GA, the home of Robins Air Force Base.  At one point during the war he was brought home to boost morale at defense plants and then returned to duty in China and Okinawa.  Brigadier General Scott was also the  honorary chairman of the Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base.

FLAG DAY – If it doesn’t take too long for me to finish this Newsletter, you should have it by Flag Day this year.  Veronica Mato sent an interesting history of the day.  A school teacher in Wisconsin, B J Cigrand, had his pupils observe “Flag Birthday” on June 14, 1885.  It was the 108th anniversary of the adoption of “The Stars and Stripes”.  In 1889, another school teacher observed the day as “Flag Day” and later the NY State Board of Education adopted the idea.  In 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia had a celebration.  Through the years such organizations as the Pennsylvania Sons of the Revolution, the Society of Colonial Dames and the American Flag Day Association kept the tradition going.  In 1916, President Wilson, by Proclamation, established June 14 as Flag Day. However, not until August 3, 1949, when President Truman signed an Act of Congress, did June 14th of each year officially become “National Flag Day”So fly your flag on June 14, 2006!!!

More “Nose Art” information – Don Ayres, who wrote a biography of Harold  Jekel, 433rd TCG, 67th TCS,  (see Dec, 2005 issue)  described the nose art on Jekel’s plane as an upraised arm with closed fist and the title “HERADNAW”.  He now believes the word stood for King Herod of the Bible who wanted to kill all first-born sons when Jesus was born. (Webster says all Herold and derivatives come from King Herod) The word “NAW” could be slang for “NO”.  Thus he was affirming: “In your face, King Herod, this one (plane and pilot) is not going to die.”  Don now has a CD of the bio available.  Contact him at   <scrapntime@dm-tech.net>.

If you are ever in Arlington National Cemetery around Christmas, you have seen the graves decorated with beautiful wreaths.  These wreaths, some 5,000, have been donated by the Worcester  Wreath Co of Harrington, MA since 1992.  The owner of the company not only provides the wreaths, but also covers the trucking expenses as well.  Most years, groups of Maine school kids combine an educational trip to DC with this event to help put the wreaths in place.  (Thanks to someone who sent this to me via e-mail)

Speaking of Christmas reminds me of the Christmas 2005 58th TCS Newsletter from Bill Woznek, (which he said would be his last as he was running out of steam)  In it he had a picture of the v-mail Christmas Card which was provided for all of you in Nov, 1943.  All you had to do was address it and sign it and your folks back home would get it. How many of you remember that one?

Thanks to all of you who have sent  beautiful Christmas cards through the years.  Last year Betty and Oliver Marheine, 54th TCW HQ, wrote  in their card that they would celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in January.  Congratulations!

Ben Owen, 374th TCG, 21st TCS, has been sharing with me the Newsletter he has been editing for the DAV, A L Laughlin Chapter 27 in St Clair, AL.  Here’s a quote from the last one: “As we told you in the spring, this issue will be the final copy of our Chapter 27 newsletter.  We have enjoyed  doing the Chapter newsletter for nine years. Attempts to locate another editor to take the newsletter over have been unsuccessful. We have also attempted to recruit a member to be the “Distribution Editor”, someone to be responsible for the stamping and mailing portions but still no takers.”  He goes on to tell that his energy and the expense money is also running out. Ben also did a column called “Ben’s Banterings– Some thoughts of a retired mind.” He always had some good ones, such as: “Life is a gift to you.  The way you live it is your gift to those who come after.  Make it a fantastic one.”

I’m sure Bill Woznek’s  and Ben Owen’s last issues have helped me to make a like decision.  For some time now I have been wondering about the value of this 54th Newsletter.   Fewer and fewer are having reunions.  Most groups have a scribe who keeps them informed.  It’s now over three years since Glenn’s death and I wanted to honor him by continuing what he started in 1990.  However, after each issue the responses are less.  I bought stamps the other day and then realized that the fund of your contributions will be almost depleted when I pay the printers this time. (The small balance I will donate to some worthy cause.)   Thanks to all who have sent information to use in the Newsletter and have sent your dollars and stamps. Some have been overly generous (you know who you are).  I guess I, too, am running out of steam.  I have enjoyed the e-mails and letters and feel as if I know many of you, although we have never met.  I still cherish the friends I made who came to our Headquarters Reunions.  Please keep in touch.

I will keep my computer file of 1,187 names of which 190 now have good addresses after deaths and “returned for bad addresses”. First Glenn and I put in all the names from the “Moresby” book.    Most of these were Headquarters personnel.  (I understand some copies did not have the last 45 pages of pictures).  Then we searched for weeks, on the computer, in phone books at our library, and with letters and cards to addresses in the book.  Glenn was always so elated when we found someone he remembered.  Later some other groups and squadrons sent their files and we added more names.  After my son put the 54th TCW information on the Internet, others discovered it, and we got more addresses. Through the years we dropped some from the mailings because we got no response.   All names are still in the file, however.  Now, in addition, I have over 30 e-mail addresses of those not on the U S mailing list and many more of you who do get the mailed copy.  The whole project has been fun and challenging, and I hope of some lasting value.  If anyone wants to publish the 54th TCW Newsletter, I’ll furnish addresses.

Darlene McMurry
8944 Krueger St
Culver City, CA 90230-2437
Phone: 310/559-8331
e-mail: dmcmurry@fxland.com

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