Published in the April 2006 Ragged Irregular
Preparations for Reunion '06 in Colorado Springs are moving along with finalization of the Events Brochure that you will see as an insert. We will try to offer a wider range of types of events and prices in hopes of appealing to our growing participation of younger members. What a great time to bring some grandchildren who may be in Home Schooling or an Advanced Study program in public or private schools; it should be easy to justify the time on history, geography, geology or just "interviewing" WW II vets.
Your officers had our quarterly Conference Call in February with the participation of our officer nominees and advisors. We discussed the move of the Memphis Belle to the AF Museum at WPAFB, Ohio, and the implications it has for the history of the 91st BG. Joe Harlick reported on the By-Laws and officer candidates (as reported elsewhere in the RI). We discussed the importance of the PX to the BGMA and the critical need for expeditious handling of orders to preserve the good name of the 91st BGMA and insure furthering of our heritage as well as a service to our members. We reviewed the recent information from the East Anglia Aviation Society, my e-mail exchanges with their new Chairman, Ray Jude, and the able assistance of Steve Pena, the Tower Museum curator, and questions regarding future funding for the Museum. Ace reported that we have 271 Life Members, 113 Life Associate Members and 502 Full and Associate Members of whom 210 were paid-up for 2006 at that time. (His "reach-out" letter brought in more than 100 more dues since then.) With well over 600 Life and paid-up Members, competent officers, satisfactory bank balances and a joy for life, we can look ahead to quite a few years of an active BGMA. We are reaching out to younger folks who would like to support our tradition among our descendents, AFROTC's, readers of the website and those who have been helped by the "Ring." A vibrant 91st BGMA is the best "living memorial" we can leave for the service of the 91st Bomb Group.
We are following with great interest the renovation of the Memphis Belle at the AF Museum at WPAFB. Unfortunately many of the instruments and other items were stolen before it left Memphis, but Earl Pate is working on trying to locate some of the items by a newspaper appeal and Tennessee National Guard assistance. I have written to Charles Metcalf, Maj. Gen, USAF (ret), Museum Director, to assure him of the desire of the 91st BGMA to participate in its eventual display as the centerpiece of their WW II program. We have also offered to make the Museum the repository for the 91st BGMA archives. I have encouraged the Museum to take the opportunity to highlight the joint contribution of the 91st, 303rd, 305th and 306th as the "Four Horsemen" who first arrived to form the 8th Air Force; we have been supported by the 303rd, so far.
On a personal note, I will be going to Europe in the latter half of May. I'll take the opportunity to stay at Bassingbourn Barracks and talk with the Command about our contribution to decoration of a couple of rooms honoring the 91st in the Mess; they have also invited me to chat with the sub-alterns about our WWII experiences (since I can not remember much about my own, I'll try not to be too inaccurate about yours). With Vince Hemmings' able assistance I'll meet with the Town Council of Royston to express our appreciation for their memorial to us and lay the Memorial Day wreath at Madingley Cemetery. I have offered to meet with Ray Jude and any of the officers of the EAAS that he wishes to visit the Tower Museum and discuss their financial needs; so far, he has not fixed a time. I will also visit with Alain Charles and Michel Lugez at La Baule, France, near St. Nazaire, who have led the French Association which has been active for many years in memorializing sites of downed B-17's; the Association made a huge gift to the Mighty Eighth Museum in Savannah in honor of "The Four Horsemen" for our bombings of the sub-pens (which did not destroy the pens, but did disrupt the German U-boat attacks on shipping supporting the landings in North Africa). My gracious USAF son, Eric, who is stationed in Stuttgart, will also drive me to Innsbruck to thank Jakob Mayer for the memorial that was dedicated last year to Lt. Henry Supchak's crew from the 323rd that avoided a village when crashing nearby on 31 Jul 44.
Be sure to read with care the Reunion Brochure so beautifully done by Steve and Nancy Perri. (As the "planner" I dutifully take the blame for any errors in scheduling and/or for taxing your abilities to figure out what you want to and can do.) Pick and choose, but do try to attend ! The Hospitality Room will be managed by Mick Hanou.
Hope you all spent meaningful holidays. God bless, Pres. Ed
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