Columbus, OH, 2001
The reunion in Columbus went well, with an estimated 165 people in attendance at the banquet. Wednesday was "check-in" day, and when I arrived that evening, the hospitality room was packed. It was great to see old friends and make some new ones. This year, more associate members seemed to be in attendance. Many attendees brought photo albums, and it was very interesting to take a look at each one. Perhaps the most impressive scrap book was brought by Bain Fulton, III.
Bain is the grandson of MAJ Bain Fulton, who was assigned to the 8th AF HQ, but flew a few missions as an observer with the 486th. He was flying with the Center crew when they were shot down in April of '45. MAJ Fulton managed to keep a set of cameras he carried with him, and took photos of from within the confines of the German POW camp were he was held. The scrapbook held many photos, newspapers (german and english), and other momentos from that time.
Thursday the association took a trip to the Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH. This museum is the best that I have been too. The collection includes aircraft from WWI through modern day models. A section dedicated to space flight is also included. The Museum has a mock up of a Flight Control Tower, and nissen huts on their flight line outside. The outside flight line includes several types surveillence planes, and older transports.
Inside the museum is broken up into eras, and is easy to walk through. In addition to american fighter and bomber aircraft, the collection includes several German aircraft, and two MiG's. The, B29 Boch's Car, is included in the interior collection in its entirety. A B17 and B24 complete the WWII collection. The modern collection has several jet aircraft from the earliest fighters and bombers, to the latest stealth fighters.
They also had an IMAX theater which was quite popular. The Museum gift shop had a wide range of clothing, souvenirs and books. Everything you might want. And more.
Thursday night, Bob Harper, and Robin Douglas began the oral history project. Vets and their wives were interviewed regarding their life story, and the impact the war had on them. I helped Bob conduct interviews on Friday. The membership meeting Saturday consisted of the reports from the board members, and a pitch from Jim Erskine, of the 8th AF Historical Association. The discussion regarding a decision to rejoin the 8th AF Association was conducted with mixed emotions. The decision was deferred for future consideration.
Elections were held for Secretary, Historian and Vice-Commander. No one opposed the incumbents and all held on to their offices. This meeting also included a vote to allow Associate members to have the power to vote and hold office, which was passed by the gathered regular members.
The reunion site for next year was chosen from Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Richmond, VA. Richmond was chosen by a slim margin over Philadelphia.
The associate members seemed to be taking an active interest in the future of the association. Hopefully, the associate members will now take a bigger interest and keep the association going for some years to come.
If you are not a member of the association, you're encouraged to join. If you are a member, you are now encouraged to take an active part in the associations future.
David Brown gave a showing of the Harley Stroven film again this year. For those of you who are interested in obtaining a copy, here's the status: Harley has the master film, but it has no narration. He gave that to Bill Collins to take care of, but Bill no longer recalls what became of the master copy of the narrated version. I have someone checking at the Savannah 8th AF Heritage Museum to see if they have a good copy. As of now, copies won't be made available to the membership any time soon. But, we're working on it.
See you all in Richmond next year.
|The Macgill Crew at Columbus, OH, 2002
From left to right: Cliff Bodin (Engineer), Billy Nelson (Ball), David Brown (Associate member), Charlie Macgill (pilot) and Vester Wilson (tail). (submitted by Cliff Bodin).
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