June 2004 Newsletter
By now, I'm sure that
most of you have heard that our next reunion will be held in New Orleans,
New Orleans Airport Plaza Hotel & Conference Center
2150 Veterans Boulevard,
Kenner Louisiana 70082
Room Rates: Single, Double, Triple, Quad $69.00 plus 11.75% per room per
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Eng. On Muller's Crew, 6th Squadron, died January 8, 2002
Line Mechanic, 23th Depot Repair Squadron, Died 2/9/2003
Ed, Lt. Waist Gunner on Levinsky"s Crew, 6th Squadron, died March 4, 2004
Convnnder in 52nd Sgdn..- Not 43rd died 8/20/03
on DeBonis Crew, 52nd Squadron, died 5/12/04
on Henry'd Crew, 43rd Squadron, died 5/9/04
|| Mess Sgt.
52nd Squadron, Treasurer 29th Bomb Group Assn, died 3/14/04
Timm's Crew, 52d Squadron, died 12/23/02
on Carter's Crew 52nd Squadron, died 1/16/03
Hayes Crew, 43rd Squadron, died 6/27/03
Dr. J Ellison
of "Knobby Ellison and his wife passed away May 22, 2004
Frank, Crew Chief of Simeral's Crew, 52' Squadron, Died 12/4/03
Diebler's Crew, 52nd Squadron, died 12/15/03
Squadron, 31' Service Group, died 11/18/02
on Congilly's Crew, 6yt Squadron, died 11/28/03
||CFC Gunner on Haye's Crew, 43rd Squadron, died 1/21/04
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
for the 29th Bomb Group compliments of Sallyann Wagoner .