Seal of WWII Glider Pilots Association


BEGINNINGS

How the glider pilots association got its start:

Several attempts were made following World War II to organize a glider pilot association. The movement didn’t really get started until the spring of 1965 when Earl Dust, of Champaign, Illinois, a former member of the 80th Troop Carrier Squadron of the 436th Troop Carrier Group, made a vacation trip from New York to Florida and visited many of his old buddies along the way. Earl decided to call for a reunion of those GPs he had contacted to be held in Champaign in May of 1966. Using a personal list of names, the word was put out and a total of nine GPs and wives showed up. This may not sound like a large group but at that time, it was the largest group of ex-glider pilots gathered in one place since the end of WWII.

At this meeting it was decided that these few would initiate a movement calling for a reunion of all former glider pilots. Bickett Ellington and Virginia Randolph "volunteered" to help in locating as many ex-GPs as possible and do the awesome chore of letter writing and address list typing. A Steering Committee was formed headed by Earl Dust. Earl located and appointed ex-GP Lt. Col. Frank Moore as temporary "National Chairman" and indicated that Moore's primary responsibility would be to "search, seek out and locate former glider pilots. Moore was authorized to use all available news sources in this effort. The preliminary mailing lists started to grow.

Finally, after months of hard work, the decision was made to call for the first national GP reunion. It would be held in Dallas, Texas on August 13,14, and 15, 1971. Since the national VFW organization was holding its annual reunion on those same dates, it was felt that this would be an ideal opportunity to attract many GPs who might also be attending that event. Sixty-five glider pilots were on hand on August 15,1971 at the Adolphus Hotel when the first annual reunion was convened in Dallas.





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Back of Photo: When Allied armed forces hit the European continent, the vanguard will be made up of paratroopers and airborne infantry transported by the 9th Air Force Troop Carrier Command. In the photo, a glider is shown being towed by a Troop Carrier Command Douglas C-47 transport during recent maneuvers in the United Kingdom. Released for publication Jun 8 1944 War Department.
-- National Archives.




Back of Photo: A pattern of transport planes and gliders is pictured against a grey English sky as the 9th Air Force Troop Carrier Command sends load after load of airborne infantry reinforcement into the area where the Yank paratroopers were dropped in France earlier the same day, spear-heading the Allied forces who are fighting for the liberaton of Europe.
-- National Archives.