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 President's Corner

Published in the October 2005 Ragged Irregular

Happy Halloween, everybody. (That seems appropriate since I find I don't need masks any longer to scare the celebrants.) Life does go on, in spite of the dire events along the Gulf Coast. Our prayers and help from many of you went out to those who suffered losses. We can be really proud of the contributions of our Air Force and the other services to the solution of problems that have, literally, engulfed our fellow citizens. Jake Howland writes that the D-Day Museum was vandalized and notes that it is a pertinent reminder of the need to find a formal repository for valued documents of the 91st.

As noted elsewhere in this issue, we are in contact with M/Gen. Metcalf, the director of the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB, regarding display of The Memphis Belle. Earl Pate is our point of contact for on-going "participation" in development of the display - if we can have an input.

We have also resumed the dialogue with the 91st Space Wing at Minot AFB regarding possibility of developing a Unit history display. I recently suggested to Col. Adams, 91st SW Commanding Officer, that we might like to have a Rally Round in August 2006 in conjunction with their Northern Neighbors Day air show. I have also invited him to be our guest at our Reunion 2006 in Colorado Springs. Jim Bard, Secretary of the 91st Strategic Recon Wing Memorial Group, has been energetic in continuing to encourage this idea; many of you met Jim and his wife at Reunion 2004 in Alexandria, Va. We have established contact with the new 91st Space Wing Base Historian whose first day on the job was 6 Sep 05, thanks to a recent visit Jim made to Minot. The B-52 Memorial Association will be meeting at Minot in 2006, too. We have asked that the 91st Space Wing develop a plan and tell us what they would like in the way of contributions from our members; maybe we could deliver "the payload" if we have a Rally Round there.

Your Board had a quarterly Conference Call on 13 Aug 05. We reviewed the proposed changes to the By-Laws which will be disseminated soon for your vote. Joe Harlick, our Chairman of the Nominations Committee, has received nominations for all offices, but would be happy to hear from any of you who would like to step up. Joe will be announcing the candidates in the April Ragged Irregular. Our finances continue strong under the loving care of Secretary/Treasurer Ace Johnson. We added another $160 contribution to the Memorial Maintenance Fund for one of the signed lithographs, "The Ruhr Valley Raiders," plus a donation by the purchaser who saw my cap with the B-17 on it, made the mistake of talking to me, checked our website and we  all gained something. Our Historian, Jake Howland, reported on contacts with the folks in Europe who so generously represent us at Memorial services. We also discussed word from Mr. Jakob Mayer of a new memorial which has been erected near Innsbruck to the crew of a 323rd aircraft, "Priority Gal," where the crew avoided the town in a crash landing; more on that later but unfortunately the communication arrived just a week after the passing of the last crew member, co-pilot John Karlac.

We concluded with some discussion of Reunion 2006 in Colorado Springs. I will be meeting with Sam Newton in Colorado Springs later this month on a tour of facilities. Ace has done a lot of "leg work" - should we say "finger work" on the phone and e-mail with the Chamber and Hotels interested in hosting us. Your Board decided to plan for the last half of September 2006 to avoid Labor Day weekend and get better rates. For those of you worried about the temperature, so far in September this year the highs have been 15 degrees warmer in Colorado Springs and the lows 5-10 degrees above those in Tacoma. So get your knit hats out, buy your oxygen bottle (8000' in the Springs and 14,000 on Pike's Peak) and get ready for another great Reunion. We will have details for you in the January R.I.                          Keep 'em flying,   Ed Gates