I’m happy to report that our decision to participate in a Joint Reunion with other Bomb Groups was a good one. The Dallas Reunion was attended by over 300 members from seven bomb groups; the 376th Bomb Group was well-represented with 65 members and guests, including five surprise guests from the 512th Helicopter Air Rescue Squadron based in Albuquerque. The large, and well-stocked, hospitality room enabled mingling and getting to know other bomb group members, and many new friendships were made! Before the All Groups Banquet, a beautiful group photo was taken of all 40 veterans from the combined bomb groups, and is available to view, download or purchase at www.tuiphoto.com/events/reunions. A “Speakers Program” consisting of individual presentations and panel discussions was very interesting and popular with attendees. The speakers included his-
torians, veterans’ descendants, WWII veterans/bomb group members, and current military personnel. Included with those WWII heroes who
shared their stories, was one of only 17 living Tuskegee Airman,
96 year-old Lt. Col. Robert J. “Bob” Friend.
In addition to all the planned tours, events and activities, we managed to squeeze in a couple Board Meetings and our annual General Membership Meeting to conduct necessary business. Highlights of our meetings include approval of the following: 1) Election of Officers for 2016-2018 (see page 10 of this issue), and 2) Continuation of participation in joint reunions, and the location selected for 2017: New Orleans, LA September 14-17, 2017. So, put that on your mental calendars. It will surely be a special reunion and I urge you to consider making the trip to join us in celebrating our veterans.
The Officers of the Board also pledged to increase their outreach efforts this year to recruit more second and third generation members, to bring delinquent memberships into good standing, and to cull the membership roster to reduce mailing costs for the Intelligencer. (Over the past year, approximately 500 copies of each issue were returned by the post office as “Undeliverable”!) To make sure your dues are current, please check the code next to your name on the mailing label on the envelope that this issue came in; the two digits indicate the year your dues are paid up to, or in other words, your renewal year. To join or renew your membership, please see the Membership Form on the back cover for details. Please remember, our Association can only exist with the generous support and participation of our members. Even if you are a “Life” member, we welcome your additional donations to enable us to fulfill our organization’s primary purpose: “To perpetuate the name, history, comradeship, memories and deeds of the living veterans and the heroic dead of the 376th Heavy Bombardment Group”
Since this was our first joint reunion, there were a few logistical issues that may be better handled in the future. For example, due to a compressed program schedule, we combined our required annual General Membership Meeting with our Individual Group Banquet. That pretty much usurped any time that may have been available for a guest speaker or entertainment, as we have had in previous years. (However, entertainment was provided during the All Groups Banquet, and many presentations were given by guest speakers at other times.) I announced at our banquet that I would like to survey those people who attended the reunion for input on how to improve the reunion experience, and more effectively meet your needs and expectations. Some attendees already voiced their opinions after the events, which will be very helpful in creating next year’s program agenda. So, anyone who would like to comment or make suggestions on the following issues, or anything else they encountered, please call, write or email me:
Hotel Location and Room Rate (e.g., distance to airport, access to commercial establishments, restaurants, shopping, etc., and value for hotel offerings)
Hotel Room Accommodations and Amenities (e.g., accessibility for persons with mobility issues or physical disabilities, distance to event rooms, comfort of beds, etc.)
Food Options and Quality (e.g., breakfast, lunch and banquets)
Guest Speaker/Entertainment vs. General Membership Meeting during Banquet and order of program elements (e.g., before or
after dinner is served, or before or after dessert is served?)
Schedule of Events (e.g., free time between events, personal
time to prepare for events, actual time for events, etc.)
Lastly, many thanks to our out-going and in-coming Officers for step-ping up to volunteer their valuable time and services, and commitment
to the organization’s success. And, a huge “thank you” to our comrades from the other bomb groups who organized the reunion and welcomed
the 376th bomb group members with open arms!
Best Regards, Deborah Sharpe
(619) 988-2820 mobile
Well to those of you who could not attend, we missed you all and
you missed a great reunion. This was a first for us - the first joint re-union since 1946. But times change and we were one of seven total bomb groups represented. The main one hosting the event and doing most of the worry and leg work was the 461st with Dave Blake and friends doing a wonderful job. Winn Jones, president of the 451st,
urged me back in 2013 to join up with them. It took us a while but it worked out well.
The reunion started on Thursday with the usual “meet and greet”. What was unusual was the hospitality room was the size of a ballroom. Lining the walls were tables from each group with their pictures, displays and memorabilia on display. The 376th shone bright with highlights from David Webster's mini museum. David, who you might remember from Albuquerque, brought a 50 cal. gun, Norden bombsight, a 1943 A-2 Jacket with pith helmet from the 513th, and many other items from the 376th. He stayed in the hospitality room and provided a much welcomed friendly face with plenty of answers to any questions and listened to many stories.
The generosity of spirit (and food and booze) of the 461st was also part of the hospitality room. Don't know if Dave Blake had ever been to
a potato bar in Washington, DC, but they had a full service bar and a table of food all for the price of a smile.
FRIDAY morning we went to the Cavanaugh Flight museum. It wasn't as big as Wright Patterson, but then I didn't want to walk that far either. Anytime you can sit and have lunch surrounded by WW II planes, well it just makes the food taste better. After lunch we went back to the hotel to listen to WW II history lessons. Our historian, Ed Clendenin, started off the program with a brief summary of the 1943 Tidal Wave Mission over Ploesti, the famous wrong turn and where the official version of what happened differ with the facts. Nance McLaughlin shared letters from her uncle who was a crew member of Wongo Wongo that went down on that mission.
Other stories were about the search for the truth about the last mission of a bomber called KO Katy, and atrocities against US airmen during the last few months of WW II.
Friday evening was set aside for the individual groups to have their own banquets. It was a busy night. We hadn't set aside any time for our general meeting and we didn't have a speaker for the banquet, so we killed two birds with on one stone and had business with banquet. We had some luck in that a group of soldiers from the new 512th squadron, which flies rescue operations in helicopters, came from Albuquerque to be a part of the reunion and were our color squad. We missed having Richard Miller in uniform this year, but Ruth is after him to get better and we hope to have him with the 512th bunch next year.
SATURDAY took us to the 6th floor museum where Lee Harvey Oswald fired on President Kennedy on November 22, 1962 and they haven't forgotten about it yet. It was really a time capsule to go through the museum and see how we thought and lived back then and how we have changed.
We went back to the hotel for more history and a panel discussion from six veterans and a moderator called "A day in the life". Some of the questions and stories were sobering and short - what did you think about after a mission, the loss of friends, etc.. Some of the stories were humorous - Achilles Kozakis talked about wheeling and dealing to get what he needed from supplies on the base; the man you went to see was called Thirsty and Mr. Kozakis had five quarts of good Kentucky bourbon so he and Thirsty became good friends and Kozakis got what he wanted.
One story brought up a reminder of grace and how we all touch others' lives and Schindler's list. The veteran told how his plane was shot by 20mm cannon shells that did not explode. Later on one of the shells was found in the plane with no detonator, but a note placed in the shell was from a Jewish slave working in the munitions plant.
We got to hear from Col. Robert Friend, a Tuskegee Airman from the 332nd Fighter Group. He was a quiet, humble speaker that talked of his experiences and training as an airman and the experience of being at his base in Rametelli, Italy in December of 1944 when a group of B24s where forced to land there and stay for three days and his group shared their quarters and hospitality with them. I asked him if he knew Charles McGee, who was our speaker at the reunion in Coventry, KY. He said he knew him well and would pass on our best wishes.
Saturday night was the big get together. Our entertainment was the Ladies of Liberty. They put on a great show with songs and dance like the Andrews Sisters but with more curves. It was so good many couldn't keep their seats and had to get up and move on the dance floor. When it was all done we had a group photo of all 47 veterans in attendance.
SUNDAY service was handled by our own 376th Chaplain, Robert Oliver, with some musical help from friends of his church in Dallas. This was the largest group I've ever seen for us and Chaplain Robert had a message for everyone to hear.
After church we went to the Holocaust Museum. The museum's pictures are sobering enough, but we were lucky and got to listen to a
95 year old survivor who was in Poland in 1939 - 15 years old and survived through four concentration camps and finally liberated from Auschwitz in 1945. His hour long story would take up this newsletter by itself but his spirit to survive, his love of life and his message of God's love and forgiveness was one not forgotten to those who were there to hear.
Sunday night’s banquet was more informal and thanks given to those who helped put it together, jokes told across the room which made the other guy get up and answer. It was friendly, informal and the close to a great weekend.
Next years' plan is to continue with the joint bomb group reunion to
be held in New Orleans. I hope to see all who are able to be there.
Miss you when you're not.
Until then take care,
Kim & Cass
As a nation we’ve endured a tumultuous election and an outcome
that half our country would not like. I have heard that the web site at the Canadian office where applications for citizenship are made was so overwhelmed that it shut down. A host of well-known thespians made it public that they were definitely leaving for fairer shores after hearing of the outcome. Radio talk show host Dennis Paeger, with tongue in cheek, invited his listeners to make a donation to hire a private jet to take them to the nation of their choice.
Any student of American history, or any national history for that matter, is aware of the intrigue, vitriol, shady deals, obfuscation, downright lies, libel, shenanigans, and what not, played out by the
power brokers and contenders for power, all the while believing they are serving a higher cause. The ends justify the means; that is, it’s right and appropriate to use bad or immoral methods as long as you accomplish something “good” by using them. Problem is, in a world of ethical relativism, “good” is defined by the justifier of the means. We will always have one group laying claim to being harbingers of the public good and disparaging the other as the very instruments of national destruction.
It’s a fact that American politics were rancorous from the beginning. Benjamin Franklin was a lot of things - scientist, diplomat, businessman, philosopher, and statesman - but he chose to begin his Last Will and Testament with the words, “I, Benjamin Franklin, printer…” Franklin believed strongly that a polluted press unwisely contributed to a polluted nation. He wrote “… in the conduct of my newspaper I carefully excluded all libeling and personal abuse, which is of late years become so disgraceful to our country.” He bemoaned the “manifest injustice of individuals having no scruple of gratifying the malice of individuals by false accusations…” 1 Often the offenses were settled by duels. Benjamin stated later that he struggled with pride and never was able to overcome it. But, he said, if he had, he would probably have been proud of his humility. He came to the wise conclusion that where moral purity is impossible the practice of good manners is not.
As your Chaplain, may I speak frankly of my dismay over the sad loss of good manners in our country evidenced by this last election cycle. When constructive debate and practical compromise on the part of both political parties is supplanted with a winner-take-all battle of wills, the loser mistakenly believes they have no stake in the process and protest their loss as we have seen in post-election news coverage, and that after having high hopes of enormous stake in the process. It’s sadly ironic. When our congressional leaders refer to members of the opposite party as “enemies” one minute and then proclaim how important it is to have civil discourse and cooperation the next minute, it’s not hard to understand why enough people in our nation become hardened to anything a politician says to elect an “outsider.” Could there be a rainbow at the end of this storm?
I believe that God exists. I believe God has given humanity a Book that is both revelatory of who God is as well as who we are. The Bible states clearly that human beings are “image bearers”, created to reflect the image and ethical nature of God. Scientific naturalism cannot explain how we have acquired this self-conception of ourselves as mindful, meaning-creating, free, rational, etc, agents with a universe that consists entirely of mindless, meaningless, unfree, non-rational, brute physical particles.2 The Christian view that has undergirded much of the thinking of our founding fathers is that God the fundamental being possesses intrinsic value, and his loving, just character is the source of objective moral obligation for human persons.
I believe that this God has supernaturally attended to the destiny of our Union throughout its convoluted history and in spite of its flawed leaders. Morality is not a biological adaptation, it is a design feature by the Creator.
When replacements for the 376th and other Fifteenth Air Force Squadrons arrived in Naples harbor in Southern Italy, they were barraged by crowds of spindly-legged kids with pale faces. Children would jump in the water after candy bars thrown to them from the arriv-ing ships. The American soldiers had come out of the Depression. They knew deprivation, but had never known anything like this. These kids were starving.3 What did our American troops do? They supplied food, medicines and other essentials to the starving masses. No other allied troops did this - not the British, especially not the Russians. America
had from its inception given place in our constitution and body politic for freedom of religion based on the Bible. Making war and expressing compassion were not mutually exclusive. Our leaders understood that there are bad people with bad ideologies that must be dealt with, at times with brutal force. Then we would compassionately rebuild what was destroyed. That compassion and morality was given by God and not laid aside for an ideology or theology of abuse, oppression and murder by any means thought by the abusers as serving their ends.
It’s time we Americans rediscover who we are at the core of our national heart. There is one enemy and it is not our fellow Americans. Through our sense of right and goodness, ours was a nation that sent
its young men from cities, suburbs, and countryside to fight around the world in order to stop the Axis powers. Through our determination we became a nation that changed the course of history and delivered the world from brutal tyranny. May we rise again by the grace of God and embrace our heritage so many died to give us.
Robert B. Oliver,
Chaplain, 376th Bomb Group
The 376th memorial banquet in Dallas, TX honored the following:
Marlene Marczi (wife of Arpad)
James E. Boyles (brother of Rene Whipple Boyles)
Charles Holley Midgley
Louis Bush Cole
Roger P. Kellogg
Walter Leroy Hays
James Henry Carmel
Fred Henry Stangl
James Cormack (died 2010)
Rudolph G. Habajec
Ruth Ann Buck (wife of Donald)
Robert D. Wagor
Richard M. Folkerth
Name Squadron Date
Harry W. Crampton 515th February 7, 2003
Edward W. Policht 513th October 17, 2004
Lonnie O. Hicks 514th November 11, 2007
David P. Cordella 515th December 23, 2007
Thomas F. Wentworth 515th October 6, 2008
Jack C. Curtis 514th May 25, 2009
Louis J. Izzo 512th October 30, 2009
Joseph J. Presutto 515th November 10, 2009
Edward D. McCarthy 513th January 8, 2010
Fred S. Janowski 515th March 3, 2010
Name Squadron Date
Charles Dyas 514th August 5, 2010
Wilbur C. West 515th October 20, 2010
Holley R. Howard 512th January 19, 2011
Leroy R. Lutz 513th May 26, 2011
Arthur V. Baumann 512th June 6, 2011
Bill Bell 514th October 4, 2011
James J. Orth 515th December 14, 2011
Raymond C. Goode 512th March 2, 2012
James W. Sibert 514th April 6, 2012
Gerald L. Munn 514th June 21, 2012
Theodore L. Webster 515th June 28, 2012
G. Lee Hodges 512th July 29, 2012
James R. McConnaughey 512th August 12, 2012
Gordon Lamp 512th August 30, 2012
Ray Hovis 514th September 13, 2012
John P. Courtney, Jr. 512th October 2, 2012
John P. Lynch 513th June 7, 2013
Milton E. Reinke 512th July 29, 2013
John W. Williams 514th March 12, 2014
Calvin Schaefer 513th October 6, 2014
Stanley Hansen 513th October 13, 2014
Pete Komlenich 512th October 28, 2014
Edward J. Sulkosky 513th December 9, 2014
August W. Schild, Jr. 513th February 25, 2015
Herman Holbrook 514th July 17, 2015
Earl M. Kesler 513th October 4, 2016
Harry “Ted” Wilkinson 515th October 18, 2016
Henry Goehle 512th Unknown
Ralph Alexander 515th Unknown
Arthur M. Givens 47th Wing Unknown
John C. Haberman 513th Unknown
Robert C. Harper 512th Unknown
Edward Manko 512th Unknown
Charles D. O’Malley 513th Unknown
William S. Taylor 515th Unknown
Robert H. Warren 58th Unknown
Desmond Albright 513th Unknown
The organization’s account balance as of November 15, 2016 is $10,610.67.
Travis Maness, Treasurer