More than 230 members and their families, augmented by a handful of welcome visitors, came to the 330th Bomb Group Association's 15th reunion; the third, incidentally, to be held in Tucson. There were memorable moments at this one, but the cookout under the stars with the Fifth Marine Division Association on the second night will long be remembered by both associations. It was a friendly, emotional experience for the Marines who met for the first time some of the B29 crewmen whose lives they had saved by their own sacrifices in seizing Iwo Jima so that it could become an emergency haven for 20thAir Force crews struggling home after raids on Japan. The food at the cookout was great and so were the handshakes and a few hugs by men who met in Tucson for the first time but who greeted each other as survivors of events that have forever linked them together.

The turnout for this reunion was gratifying especially in view of the relatively sparse attendance at the 2000 reunion in Sacramento. The excellent Early Arrivals tour attendance on Wednesday was a clear sign that Tucson remains one of the 330th Association favorite spots. The visits to the 16th century Spanish mission church called San Xavier del Bac followed by tours Sabino Canyon and the Saguaro Desert Park provided vivid glimpses of life in the western desert beyond the City of Tucson itself.

The reunion opened with a flourish Thursday with entertainment by the marvelous high-kicking senior citizens called the Hot Flashes, who had delighted us on our last visit to Tucson. If anything, the ladies had gotten better as well as a little older since then. Another poignant moment came Friday morning when the entire group gathered in Hangar Four at the Pima Air & Space Museum for the annual memorial service. Seated in the hangar with a glistening K-40 before them, the members paid tribute to those of our number who had passed away since Sacramento. The quiet but commanding presence of K-40 recalled memories of those men who made the supreme sacrifice during the 330th's combat tour in 1945

The memorial service was followed by luncheon at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Officers Club and a fast-moving look at the famous Air Force bone yard where thousands of military aircraft and parts are lined up under the glaring sun like old soldiers ready for Taps. Friday ended with the get together at the Doubletree Hotel lawn with the Fifth Marine veterans.

Saturday morning's business session was noteworthy primarily for a debate on where to hold 2003 reunion. Although the membership's choice was San Diego with Kansas City and Salt Lake City as second and third choices, the Board of Directors decided on Kansas City to avoid three out of four recent reunions in the western USA. Instead, the Association will move to the east coast (Richmond) for the 2002 reunion and meet in a mid-continent site, Kansas City, in 2003. Saturday's luncheon at the Hilton East featured an absorbing reminiscence by Mrs. Ursula Erika Yunger, who hid from the Nazis with her family throughout WWII in Germany. She witnessed the Berlin Airlift after the war and came to America determined to devote her life to writing and speaking about the Spirit of America and what it means to her.

Saturday night, former 4991hBomb Group (VH) navigator Raymond "Hap" Halloran addressed the closing banquet. Halloran's B-29 was shot down over Tokyo in January, 1945. He parachuted from 29,000 feet into the hands of the Japanese and suffered great mistreatment as a POW. Years after tb war, he began a series of visits to Japan, met the prison guard who saved his life and the fighter pilot who shot down the Rover Boys Express. Hap now has many friends in Japan and the bitter memories have faded away.

The Sunday morning buffet brought a highly successful reunion - some said the best ever - to a close.


(I personally want to thank all of the 330th members who worked so hard to bring this affair to fruition. I consider myself fortunate to be asked to attend and had a most wonderful time meeting old and new friends. - Sallyann)

 

Schedule : Pima Air & Space Museum ,
Sabino Canyon,
Saguaro National Park ,
Xavier del Bac Mission
,
Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
,
Cpt Waters Update on K-32,

Lunch with Ursula Erika Yunger (saved from the Nazi's in WWII) ,
Dinner with the 5th Marine Division,
Dinner with entertainment by the Hot Flashes ,
Our final speaker, Hap Halloran

 

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