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June 2004 Newsletter

By now, I'm sure that most of you have heard that our next reunion will be held in New Orleans, LA


Oct. 20-23, 2005
New Orleans Airport Plaza Hotel & Conference Center
2150 Veterans Boulevard,
Kenner Louisiana 70082
Phone: 504-647-3111
Fax: 504-461-0572
Room Rates: Single, Double, Triple, Quad $69.00 plus 11.75% per room per night.
Check in time 3:00 PM Check out time 12:00 PM

I'll verify this in the January 2005 Newsletter but I believe they have a Shuttle bus to bring you from the Airport to the Hotel.

Please mark your calendars and keep these dates open for our reunion.

Sue Nass and her brothers are still working on planning the side trips as well as their costs. These will also be spelled out in the January 2005 Newsletter



A MESSAGE FROM OUR PRESIDENT, BEN ROBERTSON


I spent the week of May 3 - 7 as a guest (CDV Civilian Distinguished Visitor) of the 20th Air Force Space and Missiles facility at Vandenberg Air Base at Lompoc, California Five former Air Force members were invited. The other four were from the 504th Group which was based on Tinian in 1945.Three of the four were former POW's having been shot down over Japan and captured. They were survivors of the infamous Kempei Tai Headquarters Prison, the Tokyo Military Prison and Prison Camp Omori.

A major and Captain were assigned to transport us in private vans, whisk us through various security checks and be our guides and companions at luncheons and banquet, and accompany us to all of the military exercises.

Our mentor was Major general Frank G. Klotz, a personable and highly accomplished officer. I have a copy cf his resume, and besides being a Rhodes Scholar, his educational background,. assignments,. accomplishments and awards conversed easily, explaining to us the "new" 20th Air Force, its activities, responsibilities and mission. I enjoyed his company very much.

The occasion of the affair was the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Vandenberg and the "Guardian Challenge" military exercise in which the participants represented the space and missile base around the country - Wyoming. Montana, North Dakota, Florida and other installations as well as Vandenberg.

While the U.S. Air Force in general is still much involved with airplanes, flying and the development of new airplanes such as the F22 and unnamed vehicles, the "new" 20th Air Force is strictly a technologically team oriented space and missile organization. Many officers to whom I spoke,. including numerous Air Force Academy graduates, were not pilots. There are no airplanes at Vandenberg. There is a runway, three miles long and eight feet deep, the concrete of which it is constructed having just now, after 15 years, been declared "cured", but there is no flying activity except for helicopters. There are, however, extensive missle launch facilities. The runway was built to acccomodate the shuttles when they couldn't land at Cape Canaveral; however on the few occasions when this was the situation, the Shuttles landed at Edwards Air Force base in the desert near Palmdale rather than at Vandenberg.

The old 20th Air Force in which we served in 1944-1945 was inactivated on March 1, 1951. It was reactivated on September 1, 1991 as a component of the Strategic Air Command located at Vandenberg.. It had operational responsibility for all land based Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. After one year in Strategic Air Command and another year in Air Combat Command, 20th Air Force found a permanent home in Air Force Space Command in 1993. 20th Air Force Headquarters also changed in 1993 from Vandenberg AFB to F. E. Warren AFB near Cheyenne, Wyoming. ICBM force structure was reduced radically in the 1990's downsizing from six Wings to three, and from 1000 alert ICBM's to 550. The 20th Air Force provides on-alert combat ready ICBM's to the President. They protect the United States with an umbrella of deterrence. The 20th Air Force is commanded by Major General Frank G. Klotz, our host during "Guardian Challenge".

Incidentally, the new 20th Air Force emblem is our old round patch of the globe with wings and a star and the numeral 20 superimposed on a dark blue shield with a ribbon surrounding the bottom of the shield on which are the words, Twentieth Air Force.

We were treated as VIP's with the red carpet rolled out for us everywhere. It was an interesting and informative week. I was most appreciative and grateful for the number of active duty personnel, both enlisted and commissioned who made the effort to stop and thank this old man for what we did in 1945. They understood almost as well as we do that freedom is not free.

I have been invited again to speak at the National Air Races in Reno, Nevada in September, and I'm looking forward to it if my knees and voice will just hold out. I'll regale them with more B-29 stories and perhaps engender some further appreciation for the freedom we all enjoy today.

Our restoration process in Wichita is progressing - the latest new or restored parts to be received are new landing gear assemblies including new wheels and tires. The bottom of the left wing is still under repair where there was some minor corrosion found, but the big obstacle to completion and air worthiness is rebuilding of the engines. Boeing can't help us with this - they only built airframes, not engines. .It is an expensive procedure because a top overhaul won't suffice. After so many years sitting idle, bearings become egg shaped which dictates a total rebuild to produce a zero time powerplant.. Cost for six engines (four installed and two spares) is about a million dollars so we are looking for donations, large and small. The Boeing Company is in the process of major restructuring and is seeking to sell the Wichita facility; however at the present time the museum has been assured that the hanger and restoration facilities will be available to "Doc".

Since our last Newsletter , our Treasurer Maurice Hooley passed away. He served as Treasurer since 1985. The officers and Directors extend their sympathies and condolences to Maurice's family. To succeed Maurice, Peter "Pete". Woytowitz of Baldwin, Maryland was elected Treasurer. Pete was the Bombardier on Leo Nathan's crew in the 52nd Squadron. Pete is both an attorney and CPA so our funds will be in good hands.

The Experimental Aircraft Assn.(EAA) B-17 "Aluminum Overcast" had a serious mishap a couple of weeks ago at the Van Nuys Airport. It had touched down and was rolling out when the gear retracted. I have heard a couple of reports on the cause; a failure of a hydraulic valve and/or an error in the cockpit. They discovered that the gear wasn't down when it took full power on all four engines to taxi to the ramp.(just kidding). I'll wait for the official NTSB report. O.K. , now, none of you need to remind me of an error in the cockpit!

Still looking forward to 'Nawlines'





A MESSAGE FROM OUR HISTORIAN, JOE CHOVELAK

Hello to all our friends. A few weeks ago, I participated in the Memorial Day parade in Naperville Illinois. As a guest of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, I was invited to ride in one of the many antique cars. I chose to ride in the rumble seat of a green 1929 Ford Roadster waving a flag and waving to all of the people on the street while they were waving back and saying thank you to the veterans. The weather was beautiful for the first half of the parade but then a few sprinkles turned into severe rain showers. By the end of the parade we were all soaked and had to go home for dry clothes. Having done that, we went back to the VFW for a barbeque of brats and burgers. The rest of the day was spent talking to all of the veterans and listening to stories of WWII.

Recently, I was watching TV news coverage showing the dedication of the WWII Memorial in our nation's capital with many veterans in attendance. I regret that I was unable to attend the dedication but I am sure that I will see the Memorial in the near future. I have no reports of any members of the 29thBG that were there but I hope someone was in attendance to represent our group for this great occasion. If you know of anyone who did attend the ceremony in Washington D.C., please let me know.

I would like to recap some thoughts on the Historian's Agenda. It has been a long time since the Gettysburg reunion (9 months) and we are starting our planning for the 2005 reunion in New Orleans. Our Assistant Historian,, Jim Livingood, has not been well and his work load has been moved back to me. We have fallen behind in our work and I have decided that we need to make some changes which could involve all of us, young and old. The time has come for inviting the young people to help in the task of keeping the 29th BG up and running.

I have been telling you all of the different things that I would like to get done but now I would like to ask all of you if there is anything that you would like to have done regarding the 29th BG. Because I have been asked to put the

At this time, I am asking the membership for your help. I have come up with a plan to accomplish this so that we can get an early start for the 2005 reunion. The plan will be to ask young and old to volunteer for various jobs. Once I have a list of people who would like to help, I will contact each one and give further details. Basically, I see the volunteers falling into two groups:. 1.. veterans talking to guests in the Memorabilia Room during our reunion and 2.. veteran members working at home on projects to assist the Historian.

Some examples of tasks at the reunion would be - showing your own WWII artifacts to the guests - chatting with others who are also seeking information about a loved one - anything else you can add to make the reunion a success.

I have already asked an Airplane Commander from the 52nd BS, G. P. Underwood, to be in the Memorabilia Room at our next reunion. I would like to have representation from air crew, ground crew, and the ground eschelon so we can answer a large variety of questions. So, we need you: pilots, navigators, radiomen, gunners, bombardiers, flight engineers, mechanics, everybody! Note: No computer knowledge is needed for these jobs.

And here are some examples of at home projects: - Maintaining on-going updates to create a very impressive website - Putting approximately 20 more Honor Crews on the website ( The Musser Crew of the 43rd BS does not have anything in its folder) - Putting Red Erwin's story (MEDAL OF HONOR) on our website: www. 29BG. com - Putting the Red Erwin school on our website (This educational facility is located at the Kordina Air Base on the Island of Okinawa) - Updating all e mail addresses of 29th BG members (So, please send me or Fred P. your current e mail address..) - Reading through the aircrew roster books to check for accuracies. ( 3 men are needed, one for each BS) - Finding a computer - savvy person who can co-ordinate information with Fred Bouzek, our web master .

In 1945, propaganda leaflets were dropped over Japan. They have never been translated. So, I contacted Marylou Bennett and Kentaro Yamamoto who have agreed to work on this translation project. So, I ask for your kelp to bring new life to the 29th BG and to add more information to our records. In this way, when all the old guys are gone, people can say that the veterans gave us ALL of the history to keep us going for a long time. If you can help with any of these Memorabilia Room or at- home project, please write, call, or e mail me. Thanks so much in advance for all your help.

I have been telling you all of the different things that I would like to get done but now I would like to ask all of you if there is anything you would like to jave done regarding the 29th BG. Because I have been asked to put the entire newsletter on the website, I will talk to the Officers and Directors for their input. Drop me a line and I will follow up on any ideas that you may want explored.

At the next reunion we will have had reunions for 20 years. It was an awesome experience for me at our first reunion in 1985 to once again reunite with the men with whom I served over 40 years ago. Although it was difficult finding everyone, we found many of you, had a great time, and we've been having wonderful reunions ever since. I don't think that we (the older veterans) will be around for another 20 years. After all we would all be about 100 years old.. So, I will close my report in hopes that some of our younger members will take up the challenge to assist the 29th BG in the above mentioned tasks With your talents, we can keep our reunions, website, and the WWII records strong in the days to come.

With fond regards, Joe Chovelak Historian 29th BG



WHAT A SMALL WORLD WE LIVE IN: Most of you already know Sue Nass. She was the person who produced the documentary of our Bomb Group called "Bomber Boys" Sue and her brothers Steve and Larry are handling all of the Reunion details in New Orleans. I'd like to share with you a letter I received from her.

In 1995 Public Television Stations across America picked up our documentary on the 290 Bomb Group called "Bomber Boys" on a three year contract. It triggered countless letters and telephone calls from veterans and their family members from all over the country, a humbling experience for me.

It was the reason my Dad, Don Nass was finally reunited with his AC the late Ray Carter. After years of searching for Ray it was Ray who found my Dad because he saw Bomber Boys on television.

But one letter in particular stands out from a woman in New York. By the time I reached the second paragraph, I was in tears. An exerpt follows.

"You see, the evening I sat down to watch TV, I saw the listing "Bomber Boys" a documentary of the B-29's and because my brother had lost his life over Tokyo, I have through the years always watched anything I can hoping to see him or even his plane - which I think he did the actual drawing of the name. That night, you can never imagine the emotion I went through when at the beginning there is a picture of a crew in front of a plane - and the same picture repeated shortly again. He was in the back row, 4th from the left. However, at the end when Mr. Ring is talking about being a prisoner he says, Charles Snell was brought in badly burned etc That was my brother.

As difficult as it was, it was such a wonderful video for it really tells the whole story of what he had been through, and though we have through years learned much about B-29's etc. this gives us the history and puts him so completely into the story. Charles was a regular Army man at the time the war broke out and was training men at Camp Callan, Calif In Anti- Aircraft weapons. He was more or less drafted into the B-29 program.

I really wanted to tell you how much this video meant to our family.. Charles has a daughter and a son (born after we received word, so I had copies made for them, for my brother and my son, who was named after Charles. You did a wonderful production and I know it was done for your dad to capture his life there. Let him know how grateful I am he told his story."

Bomber Boys touched a lot of lives, not only members of the 29th Bomb Group, but people all over America who saw the sacrifice, the courage and the spirit of a group of boys who caught up in a huge war. You guys are truly amazing. I look forward to seeing you all again in New Orleans in 2005.

Editors Note: I personally believe that every member of our Assn. should have a copy of "Bomber Boys" If you want to purchase one, send $29.00 to Sue Nass at 2140 White Pine Pl, Boise ID 83706-4459, Make the check out to Sue Nass.





In Memoriam
Bardwell, CS Flight Eng. On Muller's Crew, 6th Squadron, died January 8, 2002
Bierlein, AO Flight Line Mechanic, 23th Depot Repair Squadron, Died 2/9/2003
Bueke, M Wife of Ed, Lt. Waist Gunner on Levinsky"s Crew, 6th Squadron, died March 4, 2004
Carter, R Aircraft Convnnder in 52nd Sgdn..- Not 43rd died 8/20/03
Dode, RA Rt. Gunner on DeBonis Crew, 52nd Squadron, died 5/12/04
Hicks, G Radio Operator on Henry'd Crew, 43rd Squadron, died 5/9/04
Hooley, M Mess Sgt. 52nd Squadron, Treasurer 29th Bomb Group Assn, died 3/14/04
Kurz, JD Pilot on Timm's Crew, 52d Squadron, died 12/23/02
Lavelle, J Radar Observer on Carter's Crew 52nd Squadron, died 1/16/03
Malone, OL Pilot on Hayes Crew, 43rd Squadron, died 6/27/03
Martin, Dr. J Ellison Daughter of "Knobby Ellison and his wife passed away May 22, 2004
Moranda, G Wife of Frank, Crew Chief of Simeral's Crew, 52' Squadron, Died 12/4/03
Rowston, WJ Pilot on Diebler's Crew, 52nd Squadron, died 12/15/03
Schurman, C 56th Service Squadron, 31' Service Group, died 11/18/02
Stafford, DN CFC Gunner on Congilly's Crew, 6yt Squadron, died 11/28/03
Truax, PN CFC Gunner on Haye's Crew, 43rd Squadron, died 1/21/04

 

Whenever an Officer or Director of our Assn. passes away, it is our policy to write a complete Obituary on him. Michael Hooley, The grandson of Maurice was kind enough to send me the Obit on Maurice.

Maurice J. Hooley, 79 of Harper Kansas died Sunday, March 4,2004 at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita KS where he had undergone open heart surgery in February. Funeral services were held 2 PM Friday March 19, 2004 in the Elliott Funeral Home at Harper with Fr. Michael Peltzer officiating. Casket bearers were Howard Osborne, Angel Esparza, Tommy Joe Phye, Gary Baker, Richard Bishop, and Steve Shelton. Military rites were conducted by the Ft. Riley Honor guard at the Harper Cemetary.

Mr, Hooley was employed at the First National Bank in Harper in 1953 and retired from there after33 years of service., He worked as a projector operator for the Harper Theater for 25 years in the evenings. He also worked as a rural mail carrier for 3 years driving over 200 miles a day on his route.

Surviving are his wife Ruth Hooley, two daughters Cathy Ann Hooley of Attica, and Christine Brubaker of Harper, a brother, Neil E. Hooley of Harrisville New York, a sister Jeanne V. Merola of Auburn, New York, five grandchildren Michael and Sheila Hooley in Texas, Joshua and Richard Brybaker and Nicole Hoo;ey in Kansas and three great grandchildren as well as several nieces and nephews.

He was born April 15, 1924 in Harrisville New York, the son of Eugene and Martha (Waugh) Hooley. He attended Harrisville schools and received his diploma from Harrisville Central High School.

He married Ruth Lenora Stalder at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Anthony Kansas, on March 3rd, 1946.Upon his discharge from the service he resided in Harrisville New York but moved to Harper KS in 1947.

He entered the Unites States Air Force in 1942 and served in the 29th Bomber Group overseas for 14 months in 1944-45, served three years in the Air Force Reserves, 1 year in Korea with the Air Force Reserves in 1968-1969 and 26 years in the Kansas National Guard Infantry serving as a "Mess Sergeant". He was active for of 33 1/2 years of military service and retired from the National Guard as a Master Sergeant.

He was a 60 year member of the American Legion and a 10 year member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.. He was a member of the Catholic Church, and was active in his community and organizations of Harper. Mr .Hooley enjoyed cooking and was well known by the community as a legendary cook. While working at the bank in Harper, Mr. Hooley decorated the bank lobby every Christmas and received praise for his creativity.

He was preceded in death by his son DouglaDouglas M. Hooley, his father and mother, two brothers Arlington "Happy" and Robert Hooley,, both of Harrisville NY and a sister Bumice H. Ripley also of Harrisville.

Memorials may be given in memory of Mr. Hooley the Norwich Health Center or the American Heart Association.

 

 

DUES:
Our 2003 fiscal year started on Oct.1, 2003 and runs through September 30, 2004. The dues are $10.00 per year and are strictly on a voluntary basis. These help cover the cost of getting out this Newsletter and Misc. expenses. Any help you can give is appreciated. Thanks for your support

ROSTERS:
The cost for a roster is now $5.00. If you want an updated roster (September 2003) please make out a check in the amount of $5.00 payable to the 29th Bomb Group Assn. and send it to me. I'll send a roster to you soon after I receive your request.

PICTURES:
Tony Simeral commissioned an artist to paint his plane leading a formation past Mt. Fujiyama and donated a large amount of prints to the Assn. These prints measure 23" x 28" and are lithographed on heavy white stock, very suitable for framing. They are beautiful, to say the least and a few of our members have donated them to their Legion or VFW Posts as well as to other organizations. If you would care to purchase one or more, they can be had for $15.00 each or two for $25.00 post paid. Please make your check out to the 29th Bomb Group Assn. and send it to me. They will be sent out shortly after I receive your check.

CAPS:
I didn't think we would be selling caps again, but our member Carmine Picioccio had several dozen made up and shipped them to me at the Leominster reunion. We sold a bunch of them and I had a pretty good inventory of them. Would you believe that I ran out of caps again and had to have Carmine order a new supply. They are a departure from our past caps, blue and white with the 29th Bomb Group Logo on the front panel. They are pretty sharp. If you would like to purchase one, send a check in the amount of $10.00 payable to the 29th Bomb Group Assn. and send it to me. I'll send a cap as soon as I receive the new supply.

Respectfully Submitted,

Fred Pawlikowski

 

 

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