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29TH BOMB GROUP ASSOCIATION NEWSLETTER
2605 Paddock Lane
Lancaster, PA 17603
The 2006 reunion is now in motion. After considerable consideration, the decision has been made to meet in Las Vegas, Nevada in November 2006. The city has been selected but not the hotel. Registration information will be sent out as soon as it is available. Make sure you block out November 9 th, 10 th and 11 th on your calendar. Our President Ben Robertson will fill you in on the details.
A MESSAGE FROM OUR PRESIDENT, BEN ROBERTSON: We had 181 responses to my survey last month, and as is typical in any survey, the opinions ran the gamut from “the war was over sixty years ago, why are we still doing this?” to “yes, lets have another reunion next month!” Approximately 30% of the respondents stated that they were no longer able to travel, so could not attend a reunion anyway. Of the remainder, all but ten elected to have the next reunion in October, 2006 following our usual schedule.
As to location, 14 voted for the east coast, 10 voted for New Orleans, and the balance were about evenly divided between the Midwest/Texas and the west. The cities selected in the west were Seattle, Reno, Las Vegas, Tucson and San Diego with no clear majority for any one city.
I conferred with the officers and directors of the Association to make a selection. This resulted in first picking the west over the other areas as we had been east for the last three reunions. As to the western cities, Seattle was eliminated because most of us were at the Boeing party in 1992, but more importantly, the weather in Seattle could be very iffy in the fall. Reno was eliminated because of the possibility of bad weather (I have been a speaker at the National Air Races in Reno in September for three years, and in two of the three we had cold, windy weather) and because except for the National Air Races, there was not much to interest us. San Diego was eliminated because there was little to interest us (most of us are no longer able to get excited about the Navy or the Zoo) so that left Tucson and Las Vegas. We were at Tucson in 1996, so except for new exhibits at the Pima Air Museum or Davis-Monthan, there was not much attraction except for the weather. That left Las Vegas, which will be the site of our next and perhaps last reunion. One of the difficulties in the selection of any of the cities was the requirement for a reunion host to accomplish all the work with hotels, airlines, tour attractions, bus companies and so on. We had no one in the organization able to do this at any of the locations. The option would have been to hire an event planner, but with the selection of Las Vegas, I have the contacts that I can call on for help and guidance, and the city is close enough for me to get over there two or three times between now and November, so I will try to do the overall organizing. 29 th Bomb Group member Leon Rosen, who lives in Las Vegas, has also offered to help on the local scene.
The dates will be November 9 th, 10 th and 11 th, 2006. This date will coincide with the annual air show at Nellis Air Force Base in North Las Vegas which we will attend. Other arrangements are being made, and will be announced in a future newsletter. Plan to be with us in November!
A MESSAGE FROM OUR HISTORIAN, JOE CHOVELAK: We hope that everyone has recovered from the Katrina hurricane. Just remember Mother Nature is to be taken seriously, so now let us take it seriously with the thought of our new reunion to be to be held in Las Vegas in November 2006. Details will be in the president and secretary’s report. I urge everyone to attend this reunion because we never know that this could be our last one.
We will have our assistant Historians and volunteers in the memorabilia room to help everyone with their questions. This will include airplane commanders, crew chiefs, air crews, ground crews and all of the services. We will try to answer every question. Another new feature will be the use of a DVD player for the new disks as well as the older VHS tapes. We will be looking for a volunteer for this job. The web master will be on hand to show you our new and updated web site. Please bring your personal documents and photos so that we add some of those to our 29 th BG History. We will have many new people who we have found since the last reunion.
It is twenty one years since our first reunion and it was after that reunion that I decided to research for all of the lost crews. This was done by myself with the help of Peter Woytowitz and we were able to gather information after reunions. At that time we did not have computers so the progress was very slow. Our task was to find all of the lost personal from the twenty one aircraft that were lost. The task has been completed. The next step is to organize all of the information and record all of the documentation on DVD and CD disks. As of now that part of the task is about half finished?
My agenda for the rest of the year will be to have all 21 lost crews with their own CDs completed. The website will be updated and the lost crews will be on the website for the whole world to see. The 29 th BG CD will have a new cover label but, the contents will not change. When all of the work is completed we will be able to give faster service for information that is requested. Also it will make it easier for the next Historian or the final custodian of the 29 th BG documents to operate with ease.
After the November 06 reunion I will start the task of inventorying all of the 29 th BG documents, CDs, DVDS, VHS, BOOKS, and PHOTOS. At this time I cannot tell anyone the final disposition of these items. Over the years I have received a great deal of items and we plan to see that these items are properly treated. More to follow on this on the next news letter.
I have recently received information that FIFI has been repaired over the last 18 months and will have a test flight in the middle of March. There is no official schedule for the tour that will start in late March or early April. Last year I was scheduled to fly on FIFI but I was canceled due to the repair on the plane. We are waiting for more details before we make a decision.
I am asking everyone to make a decision and come to this reunion. There are so many of you wonderful people that I have talked to but never met. Our ranks are diminishing fast and the time is coming to make a final commitment because we do not know when the next reunion will take place. I have been able to serve you for 21 years but, the old Fly Boy is getting tired and I hope that some day I may pass the Historian title to a new person. With Regards, Joe Chovelak.
FROM COCKPIT TO TAIL: Our President Ben Robertson wrote an interesting book “The Beginning of the End, The Last Chapter of World War II”. His recollections of being a WWII B-29 Pilot are available on CD. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see the war from the opposite perspective? I recently received a letter from Andy Doty, a tail gunner on a B-29 from the 19 th BG stationed on North Field on Guam. He also wrote of his experiences as a 19 year old that flew 21 missions to Japan. His book is called “Backwards into Battle, A Tail Gunner’s Journey in World War II”. By reading both books, you could experience life on a B-29 coming and going. Contact Ben for copies of his CD. For Andy Doty’s book, order from 4072 Scripps Ave. Palo Alto, CA 94306, at (650) 494-3897 or via Adotyb29@aol.com.
IN MEMORIAM: Our deepest sympathy to the families of the following members who passed away.
Baird, Riley C. Aircraft Welder Died April 11, 2005
Baron, William H. Radar Observer on Karther’s Crew, 6 th Sqdn. Date of death unknown
Becket, Forrest 52nd Sqdn. Died November 26, 2002
Boy, Leonard 56 th Serv. Sqdn., 31 st Serv. Grp. Died Sometime 2004
Brogdon, William E. 6th Sqdn. Died August 9, 2005
Bush, Gerald 56 th Serv. Sqdn., 31 st Serv. Grp. Date of death unknown
Dalie, Jack M. Co-pilot on Nordstrom’s crew, 43 rd Sqdn. Died October 5, 2004
Dryer, Elmo 56 th Serv. Sqdn., 31 st Serv. Grp. Died July 2005
Lamb, George P. Electrical Spec. & AM, 52 nd Sqdn. Died Sometime 2005
Musella, Anthony E. Navigator on Crowe’s Crew, 43 rd Sqdn. Date of death unknown
Peterson, Stanley N. Flight Engineer on Cashman’s Crew, 52 nd Sqdn. Died July 11, 2005
Ranker, Richard R. Left Waist Gunner on Robertson’s Crew, 43 rd Sqdn. Died May 21, 2005
Reed, William G. Tail Gunner on Comb’s Crew, 43 rd Sqdn. Died February 2005
Roach, Lloyd E. Aircraft Commander, 6 th Sqdn. Died August 2, 2005
Rosenman, Bernard B. Date of death unknown
Rudiger, Leland L. Aircraft Commander, 52 nd Sqdn. Died October 11, 2005
Smith, John F. Radio Operator on Rudiger’s Crew, 52 nd Sqdn. Died January 2005
Stables, Leroy C. Pilot on Simeral’s Crew, 52 nd Sqdn. Died October 29, 2005
Storhaug, Harold P. Radio Operator on Hayes’ Crew, 43 rd Sqdn. Died August 29, 2005
Trass, Marion 56 th Serv. Sqdn., 31 st Serv. Grp. Died December 15, 2002
DUES: Our 2005 fiscal year started on Oct.1, 2005 and runs through September 30, 2006. 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. The roster is currently being updated. Hopefully, a new updated roster will be available by the Las Vegas reunion.
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: We do not have any caps at this time. As far as I know, there are no plans to have more caps made.
WEBSITE: Have you checked out the 29 th Bomb Group Association website. It’s at www.29bg.com
It contains much important information and a guestbook with comments from those that have visited the sight. If you have not visited it yet, give it a try.
Military Truisms: The following observations were sent to me by Steve Nass. Thanks Steve. I hope you find them as interesting as I did.
• "Aim towards the Enemy"--instruction printed on US rocket launcher.
• When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is no longer our friend--from an FM.
• Cluster bombing from B-52s is very, very accurate. The bombs always hit the ground.
• Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons.
• Don't ever be the first, don't ever be the last, and don't ever volunteer to do anything.
• If your attack is going too well, you are walking into an ambush.
• If you find yourself in a fair fight, you didn't plan your mission properly.
• Don't draw fire; it irritates the people around you.
• No combat ready unit has ever passed inspection.
• Any ship can be a minesweeper . . . . once.
• If the enemy is in range, so are you.
• Tracers work both ways.
• Friendly fire isn't.
• Five second fuses only last three seconds.
• Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than you are.
• The problem with taking the easy way out is that the enemy has already mined it.
• Incoming fire has the right of way.
• The quartermaster has only two sizes: too large and too small.
• If you can see the enemy, he can see you.
• And never tell your Platoon Sergeant you have nothing to do.