I am hoping this greeting finds you all thawed out from the winter and revitalized! With our unpredictable weather conditions again this year, it’s difficult to tell when one season becomes another. And, before you know it, it will be time for our annual reunion and general meeting.
I hope you have all marked your calendars for the 2016 Joint Reunion to be held October 13-16 in Dallas, Texas. First Vice President, Kim Hobbs, provides an update in this newsletter. In addition to all the interesting tours, lectures and such, planned for the reunion, the 376th Bomb Group Association will conduct business at our annual General Membership Meeting and at various Board of Directors Meetings. I sincerely look forward to seeing you all again this year.
Unfortunately, with the passing of winter, we have lost several more 376th veterans/members, most notably Holley Midgley, Richard Dzwigalski and Frank Kuehn, who have been active members and will be dearly missed, but not forgotten.
My apology for not getting the 2015 reunion banquet photos onto the Shutterfly account sooner. But, here is the website information to access them for viewing and downloading: https://376thbombgroupassocreunion2015.shutterfly.com/ Only those people who attended the reunion and whose email addresses were on file will be able to access the shared photo album. You will receive an email invitation to view the shared photos. If anyone else would like to view the photos, please call me or send me an email (see below) with your email address and I will add you to the list of people allowed to access the album.
At this time, I have no critical information to dispense. Therefore, I will keep my comments brief and wish you all a Happy Springtime! Best Regards!
Deborah (Heist) Sharpe
(619) 988-2820 mobile
I have thought about seeing a veterinarian about being treated for road founder. Since the reunion I’ve driven to Indianapolis to see Art Leadingham and Frank Kuehn, to Belton, TX to see Jack and MIriam Oliver, to Mobile, Alabama to see Holley Midgley, and to Albuquerque to see Byfield and Dorothy Gordon. Time and gas well spent in all directions. I’ve been trying to call Joann Bock, Stan and Nancy Bysiewicz, and Marty Goldfarb but only get an answering machine. If anyone else has reached the, tell them “Hi” for me.
Time is taking its toll and we have lost three veterans that I have always been glad to see and visit with.
Holley Midgley passed away the day after I visited him so I was lucky. Holley and his wife, Sue, were always the picture of southern charm to me. Holley's plane was shot down and he was taken prisoner in July 1943 on a mission over Bari, Italy. That mission was important to both of us. My father's plane was tail-end Charlie on that mission and, though badly shot up with four crew members wounded, he made it back to base. So, that was his first DFC for surviving.
Richard Dzwigalski made it to San Diego with his family and their time spent together, I'm sure, is still remembered. He brought his scrapbook to the Albuquerque reunion and was just as happy to show you pictures of his family on the farm he grew up on as he was his plane and crew. I never was quite sure how to pronounce his name but it didn’t bother him and he said, “Just call me Murphy”. Richard became severely ill after Christmas and passed away. He will be missed.
I’ll also miss Frank Kuehn’s big smile. He had many stories but the one pertaining to his service was to never volunteer. After being overseas for over a year and a ground crew member, a flight engineer refused to get on his plane and the crew asked Frank if he wanted to fly in his place. Frank had the know-how and said he wanted to go up and see what it was like. His plane was shot up and he bailed out and, as he put it, walked across Yugoslavia to where he was picked up and rescued. He was passed between both parties - the Partisans and Marshal Tito's force, who could not work with each other but worked to return the allied airmen to their bases. It was quite a story and Frank was glad to tell I, but he always reminded - never volunteer.
Please mark the reunion date on your calendars and make your hotel reservations soon. They haven’t gotten all the details worked out about the speakers and entertainment but not to worry - you won’t be disappointed. Be safe! Be healthy! And, we will be looking forward to seeing you. Until then take care.
1st Vice President
Our web site continues to expand. One of the major factors continues to be descendants, both children and grandchildren, of 376th veterans. In addition, friends and relatives are also sending a variety of information about their service.
The following is a list of our new contacts:
niece of Francis Dyer
nephew of Leroy Frevel
daughter of Willis Fuller
nephew of Donald Johnson
granddaughter of Marvin McFall
nephew of Hugh Morris
daughter of William Schmitt
nephew of Douglass Smith
niece of Howard Sturkie
nephew of Glenn Swope
We are also in the process of digitizing the material in our archive.
Continue to send your material.
Also, we are posting updates to our 2016 reunion plans. Remember, we are joining six other 15th Air Force veteran groups. The Dallas area hotel has been selected and you can make reservations. I have made mine.
Ed Clendenin, Historian
Someone has suggested that most Americans suffer from a severe case of attention deprivation. We don’t know if anybody really cares about us. One of the Bible’s saddest words are found in an Old Testament Psalm of King David, written in a time of extreme loneliness, “No one cares for my soul” (Psalm 142:4). The cure for discouragement, for loneliness, for wonderment if I count, if it matters that I live, anxiety and fear, is encouragement.
The dictionary defines encouragement as “the act of inspiring others with renewed courage, renewed spirit, or renewed hope.” In the New Testament the word most often translated as encouragement is parakalein. It comes from two Greek words, para – “along side of”, and kaleo – meaning “to call”. When people come alongside of us during difficult times to give us renewed courage, a renewed spirit, renewed hope, that’s encouragement.
The word was originally used by Greek and Roman commanders in speeches to their soldiers who were hesitant and fearful about an impending battle. An encourager is one who puts courage into the fainthearted, one who nerves the feeble arm for fight, one who makes a very ordinary man cope gallantly with a perilous and dangerous situation.
The men and women of the 376th understand the importance of encouragement. General Eisenhower issued this famous message of encouragement to the Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force June 1944:
You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.
Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.
But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!
I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!
Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower
These men and women needed encouragement and General Eisenhower brought it. He exhorted his troops to noble deeds and high thoughts before the impending battle. The men and women of the 376th along with their comrades in arms rose to the occasion. You turned the tide. A grateful nation says, Thank you!
But what of us today? Life is always calling us into battle and the one who makes us able to stand up to the opposing forces, to cope with life and to conquer life is the Lord God Almighty, the Father of Jesus Christ and giver of the Holy “Parakletos” – the Holy Spirit, who is none other than the presence and power of the risen Christ. There are at least two reasons why we need to not only receive encouragement but to be those persons who give encouragement.
It is the Urgent need of Our Day - Each day we awake to a world that appears more confused and disordered than the one we left the night before. Every time we think we have found a way out of a crisis, something else arises, often worse than before. The powers that be continue to address the problems at hand with solutions that create even greater problems than the ones they were meant to solve. Encouragement is an urgent need of our day. Encouragement brings hope and hope is the expectation of the goodness of God winning out in the end. Discouragement is depressing. It will weigh down your heart and darken the outlook for a hopeful tomorrow. To those who are discouraged, bring a good word of encouragement to buoy their spirits and renew hope in their hearts. Even Job in the midst of so much personal loss bravely confessed, “I will hope in Him” Job 13:15. At a time when David feared for his life he stated, “I hope in You, O Lord” Psalm 38:15. The Scriptures are a great source of encouragement. I can’t urge you enough to make them a daily source of hope in crisis or times of discouragement. They will renew your spirit and bring hope afresh.
Encouragement is the Uncommon Opportunity to Begin a Never-ending Process - Encouragement is like a pebble thrown into water – while there is always an immediate impact, the ripples continue indefinitely. God is the great encourager. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians “I want you to know how blessed I am by the God of all encouragement who encourages us so that we in turn can encourage others with the encouragement whereby we ourselves have been encouraged” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
When you’ve been encouraged, your first impulse is to encourage someone else. Encouragement is infectious! One of the ways you can truly appreciate the encouragement you have been given is to give it daily to another. That person in turn will give a hopeful word to someone else who is in need of a word of affirmation… and on and on it goes. Encouragement begins a process which could go on and on forever.
Let me conclude with this story. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor arrested in the last year of WWII by the German Gestapo accused of joining a growing conspiracy to assassinate Hitler. He wrote a poem to his fiancée from his prison cell that was delivered to her after his death. She later published the poem:
“Should it be ours to drain the cup of grieving,
even to the dregs of pain, at thy command,
we will not falter, thankfully receiving
all that is given by thy loving hand.
While all the powers of God aid and attend us,
Boldly we’ll face the future, be what it may.
At even, and at morn, God will befriend us,
And oh, most surely on each New Year’s Day!”
This poem found its way into a book written years later by Joseph Bayly entitled Heaven, a book written out of his own bitter exposure to death in the loss of his three sons. Bayly received a letter from a young pastor in Massachusetts who had been visiting a dying woman in a Boston Hospital. One day the pastor gave the woman a copy of Joseph Bayly’s book Heaven. The woman stayed up all night reading it. The next day she told of the comfort and encouragement it brought her. Within a few days, she died.
This woman had immigrated from Germany shortly after the war. Her name was Maria Von Wiedermeier. At the time when Bonhoeffer was imprisoned and executed, she was Bonheoffer’s fiancée. From Bonhoeffer to Maria, from Maria to another grieving fiancée, to the parent of the one she loved, from one of his books to other hurting people, then through a friend of his back to Bonhoeffer’s Maria as she lay dying in a Boston Hospital. Ecclesiastes says, “Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days” (Ecclesiastes 11:11)
My friends, when you give away encouragement, you start a process. You never know what will happen with that kind word, that written note, that warm touch you give a grieving, hurting person, that Bible verse written into a card. You could start something that will never end.
Rev. Robert B. Oliver
Holley Midgley, age 97, of Mobile, Al., passed away Tuesday, November 24, 2015. Holley was born in Gadsden, Al. on June 29, 1918 to Charles Holley Midgley, Sr. and Sallie Bibb Baugh Midgley. He graduated from Gadsden High School in 1935 and spent that summer working as a cowboy on his Uncle Roy Midgley's ranch in Nevada. While there he witnessed the dedication of the Hoover Dam. He attended UCLA and the University of Alabama. Mr. Midgley served as a First Lieutenant and bombardier/navigator in the 376th Heavy Bombardment Group of the United States Army Air Corps in World War II. His B52 Liberator bomber was shot down over Bari, Italy on July 16, 1943. He was confined in a German prisoner of war camp for twenty two months until liberated by US General George Patton's Third Army. His career was in the hotel/motel industry. He served as president of the Alabama Hotel and Motel Association and was a regional director of the board of directors of the national American Hotel and Motel Association. He and his wife, Sue, owned and operated several motels in Mobile until their retirement in 1982. The Midgleys enjoyed traveling the world and throughout the United States. They loved attending conventions of his bomber squadron and prisoners of war, and visiting with fellow veterans and their families. He attended his last convention in October where he was honored as the oldest veteran present. Holley was an avid golfer playing well into his nineties. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the University of Alabama. His membership and attendance at the Christ United Methodist Church was of upmost importance to him. He is survived by his sons, Charles Holley Midgley, Jr. of Mentone, Al., Charles Shepard Midgley (Cheryl) of Gadsden, Al.; his grandson, Charles Holley Midgley,III (Cassandra) and great granddaughter Carter Holley Midgley, all of Gaithersburg, Md.; sister Sallie Ralls Hallmark of Gadsden; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Dzwigalski, Richard L.; age 90; January 3, 2016; of Southgate. Beloved husband of the late Irene. Loving father of Pamela (Wesley) Preece, Timothy (Gayle) Dee, Linda (Gary Long) Dzwigalski-Long, Rick Dzwigalski, and Sue Drobot; dearest grandfather of Andrea, Douglas, Adam (Jenni), Sarah, Rachel, Matthew, Kyle, Michael, Leah, and Daniel; dear brother of Ed Dee; brother-in-law of Tom Dugas. Richard was a proud WWII veteran, he joined when he was 17 and was a ball turret gunner with the Army Air Corp. He flew with the 376th Heavy Bomb Group and amongst his many awards, he was the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross. Richard was a generous giving man, who lived life to the fullest.
Frank H. Kuehn - A longtime resident of Indianapolis Indiana, passed away at his home on Monday, the 15th of February. He was 91 years old. Frank was born to Anna and Hugo Kuehn, and grew up in Chicago Illinois. He proudly served with the Army Air Corps 376 Bomber Group in WWII, and in the Airforce during the Korean conflict. He spent his career serving his fellow veterans as a Loan Guarantee Officer in the Indianapolis VA office. He is survived by his wife, Annemarie, and his daughter, Karann.
Name Squadron Date
Jerome Greenstein 512th Nov. 15, 2015
Charles Holley Midgley 514th Nov. 24, 2015
Richard Dzwigalski 512th Jan. 3, 2016
Frank Kuehn 515th Feb. 15, 2016
The organization’s current account balance is $10,329.38 as of January 27, 2016.
Kenney Hebert, Treasurer