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 President's Corner

Published in the January 2005 Ragged Irregular

On 13 Nov 04 your Board held its first Conference Call since the Reunion in Virginia and dutifully applauded all of you who were able to attend - especially our Associate Members. Many of you actively participated and we are most grateful. As Steve and Nancy headlined in The Ragged Irregular in October, "What a Time We Had!"

On to the more mundane business of your BGMA in our Conference Call. We reviewed the "quiet period" at the 91st Space Wing since the departure of Gen. Mark Owens and agreed to explore more contacts in the New Year when the new base commander has had a chance to settle into his priorities. I contacted the American Battle Monuments on identifying one of our own who Vince Hemmings noted as not being recorded as a member of the 91st when he did his wonderful job of photographing inscriptions. I reviewed for the Board a recent letter that I sent to Peter Roberts, Chairman of the East Anglia Aviation Society, regarding our reunion and our appreciation of their continuing efforts to preserve the Tower Museum and the artifacts that it enshrines relative to the 91st Bomb Group.

Earl Pate has followed up on communication I had with the Memphis Belle Committee regarding the marker that the 91st placed on Mud Island . Our proposal is that they relocate it to some spot where it would continue our association with Memphis , for example, at Memphis State University which has an AF-ROTC. We will also be exploring the intentions of the USAF Museum at Wright-Patterson if they decide to move the Belle to Dayton as they proposed.

Ace Johnson reported that we are in sound financial condition after a profitable Reunion .  I hope you liked the idea of including a PX coupon in the Welcome Bags as much as we did; it generated a lot of interest in the PX and contributed to over $4000 in sales.

Steve reported that plans to apply for a non-profit mailing permit are proceeding and we hope to have approval soon which would cut our costs by half. Since that is our largest recurring expense, it would help solidify our long term finances. We are waiting until we have it before we mail out the proposed changes to the By-Laws.

If you approve, the proposed By-Laws will restructure the BGMA into a Board-managed organization with the President as the Chief Operating Officer. They will provide for emergency replacement if I get too cranky or go off the deep end more than normal; at our age it seems prudent to plan for such an event. Also, hopefully our Associate Members will be encouraged to be candidates for office in the near future. Since the PX is now our biggest money raiser some more formal rules will be proposed in the By Laws for the future. Please consider them when you receive them in April. If you have any comments on the draft copy that was available at the Business Meeting at Reunion 2004, please let me or any of our officers know.

Jake Howland, our new Historian, stressed the desire to have your input to the Library of Congress project on memoirs of WW II. He can supply you with the "kit" prepared by the Library. It is a labor of love. It is a reminder of the monumental effort that "Bud" Evers made in our behalf to get the basic information of our 91st history in order when we were younger and - at least some of you - had slightly more accurate memories.

Finally, we discussed Reunion 2006 in Colorado Springs . Ace will be making a visit to the area in early 2005. Your Board's consensus was that we should schedule the Reunion so that we could take advantage of Sam Newton's offer to try to obtain a block of tickets for an Air Force Academy football game; that would probably mean that we would aim for the weekend of either 16 Sep or 30 Sep. We have already received contacts from more than a half dozen hotels and accommodations will be $89 or less including full breakfast. If you tentatively plan to attend the Reunion it would help if you would let me or Ace know if you would like to attend an Air Force Academy  football game and which date you might prefer, if we have a choice.

We did all that in under an hour on the phone. We are improving. 'Nuf said. 

                              Ed Gates, your Pres.