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
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
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
The Sunday morning buffet brought a highly successful reunion - some
said the best ever - to a close.
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.
Schedule : Pima Air & Space Museum ,
Saguaro National Park ,
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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