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NWWIIGPA, Inc Busness contact:
Chuck Hobb firstname.lastname@example.org
NWWII Glider Pilots Assoc., Inc.
[2013 reunion] | [2014 reunion] | [2015 reunion]
What a great reunion! The folks at Mid America Flight Museum at Mount Pleasant went well beyond our expectations; they took excellent care of us. Scott Glover and his staff provided two full days of flying and a total of 23 veterans were taken aloft in various warbirds and vintage airplanes. Here are the names of all twenty-three WWII veterans including seventeen glider pilots in attendance.
I would personally like to thank Scott Glover and his staff for all the hard work they did. There was not just one highlight but many. You know the saying “build it and they will come”? Well they built it, caddies to move presentation screens around, a stage and the dais for the board members. For our presentations Scott obtained three large LED screen so everyone in the hangar had a view of the presentations. Their print staff took high resolution WWII photos and printed them anywhere from four feet by three feet to gigantic and used them to decorate the walls of the hangar. They also printed t–shirts and engraved a wine glass for each of the veteran with his name. You name it they did it and that was just to get ready.
I would also like to thank Claudia Coggin for the wonderful job she did in organizing the transportation. Claudia, Chuck Hobbs, Bruce Overman, Mary Roemer, Gary Stripling, James Webster and Barbara Woods transported veterans and international members from the airport to their hotels.
On Thursday night member Neil Jones, who is with the RAF in the United Kingdom, gave a presentation on his research of the crash of the Horsa glider flown by Richard Mercer, who was killed in the crash, and co-pilot George Parker. Hans den Brok and Christian Dijkhuizen from the Netherlands presented on the Dutch Underground and their work in protecting downed glider and power pilots. You can find Neil’s presentation on his Facebook page Honoring IX Troop Carrier Command: https://www.facebook.com/IXtroopcarriercommand, curtesy of James Webster who filmed his presentation.
On Friday we opened with the first fly day which everyone very much enjoyed. Just being out on the airfield was a thrill to see so many warbirds. Two P-51 Mustangs flew our veterans around the Mt Pleasant area in fighter formation. Scott Glover also had his staff bring out the L–19, Corsair and T-6 in case the veterans wanted a different experience. Everyone attending had the opportunity to fly on “Skyking”, a C-47 that during WWII was in the 53rd Squadron fleet under the command or pilot Donald King and often copiloted by George Parker who is one of our members and who was in attendance. Another WWII aircraft that attendees had the pleasure of flying on was General Henry H. Arnold’s aircraft, the only C-51 ever delivered to the Army Air Forces. As the Commander of the U.S. Army Air Forces, “Hap” had a very luxurious aircraft. Member Bill Choelas, Power Glider Pilot, had the opportunity to fly copilot in the C-51 for a brief time during the reunion. His reaction to that opportunity was captured by John Overman and the video can be found on our Facebook page. That night the Glenn Miller Orchestra played all evening for us and we were really wowed! What a band. See the video snippet of them playing and Mike has many photos in the slide show that he put together and both can be found on the website or you can go directly to https://vimeo.com/188472238
The usual discussion was held regarding where the next reunion would take place. Due to the fact that the Association could dissolve next year Lubbock was brought up as the site for the last meeting of the current Association and a first site for a new organization should that be determined. Albuquerque and Colorado Springs were also mentioned. Scott then offered to host the reunion again next year. A vote was taken and the members overwhelmingly voted to have the reunion at Mt. Pleasant next year. Saturday, after the general meeting, was another day filled with flying, talking to veterans, talking to old friends and making new ones. There were also displays to read and hear and books to look at or buy.
S.TIPTON RANDOLPH MEMORIAL AWARD For outstanding Service in the Interest of the National WWII Glider Pilots Association, Inc. Keith Thoms was this year’s recipient of the S. Tipton Randolph Memorial Award. Keith did not hesitate to pick up the guidon at a time when we were losing several Commanders (veterans) who were responsible for checking on veterans, recruiting new, and retaining old members. He took over contacting members in Connecticut, DC, Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. Keith also took over Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, then went on to help with area 2 South (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas) when the commander of that section was not able to make all the calls due to illness. As he made calls he was able to get more help and encouraged new Deputy Commanders to fill the vacant positions. Calling is not a simple job and is very time consuming and he was doing this with a full time job and a young family. This is a well-earned award!
The raffle ended on a high note when Scott Glover won the E. Susan Arnoult Pinter quilt. Susan is the grand-daughter of A. Francis Arcier who is referred to as the father of the CG-4A glider. Susan has been designing and crafting a full sized bed quilt and giving it to the raffle for eight years. Each quilt has had a WWII Troop Carrier theme and the money raised by the raffle is for the Silent Wings Museum Foundation.
Mike Skidmore, Nick Viggiano, Linda Cortelyou, Erik Johnston and many others did a fantastic job of documenting our reunion. Mike put together the slide show and did another great job. Erik captured video and photo of many of the veterans flying in the P-51.
We are looking to seeing all of you and more for the 47th National WWII Glider Pilot Association Reunion in Mt. Pleasant in the fall of 2017. Keep an eye on the
website and Facebook pages for the dates.