417th BOMB GROUP NEWS & UPDATES
*******************NEWS FOR MARCH 2010***************
************* Obituary: JOSEPH A NEDELA************
Joseph A. Nedela, Age 90, a retired General Motors skilled tradesman, succumbed to cancer after a long battle on March 11, 2010 at Genesys Hospice - Goodrich. Cremation has taken place. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated 11 a.m. Saturday, March 13, 2010 at St. Mary Catholic Church, 2500 N. Franklin Ave., Flint, Rev. Fr. Santhiyagu Arokiyasamy celebrant. Inurnment, with military honors will be 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 16, 2010 at New Calvary Catholic Cemetery. The family will receive visitors 12-3 and 5-8 p.m. Friday at Allen Funeral Home, 9136 Davison Rd., Davison. The family will receive visitors for one hour prior to the Mass on Saturday at the church. A Rosary will be prayed 7:00 p.m. Friday. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Genesys Hospice, St. Mary's - Flint or Michigan's Own Military and Space Museum in Frankenmuth. Joseph was born in Flint, MI on December 30, 1919, son of the late Paul and Mary (Blazecovic) Nedela. Joseph lived in Flint and Davison most of his life. After a career of 42 years at GM's AC Spark Plug Division, he moved to Northern Wisconsin where he lived for 10 years. There he built a home in the rural woods next to a lake where he pursued his love of nature and honed his artistic talents painting wildlife, woodland scenes and portraits. Following that, he settled in Davison and began a successful period of painting in oils with a focus on WWII aviation. Several of his paintings are in the U.S. Air Force art collection and some are on display in an aviation museum in Oklahoma City, OK and at the Michigan's Own Military and Space Museum in Frankenmuth. Mr. Nedela's love of aviation began at an early age. He designed and built numerous, flyable models. By the time he graduated from Flint Northern High School, he had built nearly 200. In 1937, his significant model-building skill was recognized in an article in the Flint Journal. Joseph also served his country during WWII in the Pacific Theater as an aircraft mechanic in the 674th Squadron of the 417th Bomb Group, U.S. Army Air Corps. He served from August 1942 into January 1946, participating in Campaigns in New Guinea, the Philippines and Okinawa, Japan. Following the war, Joseph returned to Flint and his job at AC, but he did not give up on his love of aviation. He continued building both scale models and those of his own design. With the help of two long-time and dear friends, he designed, built and marketed various model airplane engine propellers and powered control-line race planes. For many years, he was an active member and supporter of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) and won numerous awards at local and national racing events. Joseph was a long-time member and supporter of St. Mary's Church, Flint. He is survived by three daughters, Janice (Ken) Daniel of Gladwin, AnnMarie Nedela of Davison, Kathryn (Gene) Rumbel of Davison; two sons, Colonel David (Penny) Nedela of Purcellville, VA, Tony (Lynn) Nedela of Davison, 10 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; brother, Stephen Nedela of Ann Arbor; sister, Angeline of Fenton; numerous close friends of the 417th Bomb Group and 3rd Emergency Rescue Squadron (ERS) across the U.S.; numerous close friends and associates. Mr. Nedela was preceded in death by his former wife, Dorothy (Nelson) Nedela and Ailene Schank, his dearest friend and companion of many years. Please share your thoughts with the family at www.allenfuneralhomeinc.com
****************NEWS FOR DECEMBER 2009**************
******NEW LOCATION FOR 417th BOMB GROUP PLAQUE******
On December 7, 2009 a 417th Bomb Group Plaque was placed on the Memorial Wall at THE NATIONAL
MUSEUM OF THE PACIFIC WAR at Fredericksburg, Texas.
This was made possible by the efforts of 4 members of the 417th, and 4 family members of the 417th.
The museum's addition was dedicated at the same time, with a large section telling the story of the Pacific War, and what led up to it.
I was there for the opening. I think it is very well
presented and urge every one to see it.
*** I now have the 417th Bomb Group Yearbook on a CD
***** for $15.00 including postage.
***** I would like to post the date of death of our deceased members, just send me an e-mail.
***** More news later this year.
*********************APRIL 18, 2005********************
****************IMPORTANT NEWS FLASH****************
Charles Troutman, 674th Sqdn. has just informed me that
the OKLAHOMA MUSEUM of HISTORY, in OKLAHOMA CITY will be opening this fall, and that they will have a permanent display about the 417th Bomb Group. They are looking for items to use in this display. If you have any items you would like to donate, please get in touch with Charles. His phone number is: 405-942-1256. This is certainly a very worthy cause, the 417th will have a permanent place in our Nation's History.
April 20, 2005
I have just been advised of the death of Ralph W. Sutor, 675th Sqdn, 417th Bomb Group on April,15 in Phoenix, AZ.
*****PLEASE NOTE THE NEW E-MAIL ADDRESS IS: email@example.com
~~~~~~~( LATEST UPDATE: OCTOBER 9, 2004 )~~~~~~~
*********PICTURES FROM OUR 2004 REUNION*********
********PICTURES AT THE WWII MEMORIAL: SEPTEMBER 17, 2004****
*****2004 REUNION DATE AND LOCATION SET*****
Our next Reunion will be September 16-17-18-19 in Washington, DC. at the Crystal City DoubleTree hotel. This is just across the river from the Capitol, close by the Pentagon. A good location and a very good rate.
The following is a copy of the first notice that was mailed December 5, 2003 to all members and friends (181) that I have addresses for. If you are interested in receiving more information and a registration form, please let me know by January 15, 2004, by a telephone call (719-574-4818), letter (3048 Ellesmere Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80922), or e-mail (Note new address: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Plans are taking shape for our next reunion: Sept. 16, 17, 18, 19, 2004, in Washington, DC, with highlights being a visit to the WWII Memorial, the site of the AF Memorial, and other memorials. We are working with a military reunion planning organization. This seemed necessary due to distance and location, and we have been impressed with their offerings.
The room rate at the Crystal City DoubleTree Hotel will be $89/night for double occupancy. This rate is good 3 days before and 3 days after the reunion dates, so include some extra time to see the sites at this great rate. We will have the usual hospitality, banquet, and meeting rooms. There will be two leisurely bus tours (with limited walking), all handicap and wheelchair accessible. We need to get some numbers to work with, PLEASE LET ME KNOW BY JAN. 15, 2004, IF YOU ARE YES, NO, or MAYBE.
The registration notice with more details will be mailed in Feb. 2004. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE REGISTRATION FORM AND FEES ARE TO BE MAILED TO: MILITARY REUNION PLANNERS AND YOU MUST MAKE YOUR OWN HOTEL RESERVATIONS, WHICH CAN BE CANCELED RIGHT UP TO SEPT. 15TH, WITHOUT CHARGE.
!!!!!!THERE IS FREE TRANSPORTATION FROM RONALD REAGAN NATIONAL!!!!!
!!!!!!! BUT NOT FROM DULLES INTERNATIONAL!!!!!
******THIS COULD BE OUR LAST ONE
SO LET'S HAVE A GOOD ATTENDANCE*****
*****JANUARY 15, 2004 UPDATE*****
As of today (I had requested replys by Jan.15), I have had 89 responses to the post card that was mailed to 181 names the first part of December 2003. That's 50% for what ever that's worth!!!
There are 40 families that replied YES, they plan to attend. Some have never been to our Reunions and some are 417th. members that just found out about our Reunions since our last one in Colorado Springs. Several have indicated they will have 4 to 10 guests with them, so it looks like we will have a good group.
11 replied NO
21 replied MAYBE
7 were invalid addresses
10 deceased, that I know of, since our last Reunion
The registration form with complete information should be mailed the first part of February. Please note that it is to be returned to the Military Reunion Planners.
They will keep the records, and set up the information on their Web Site, so any one can check on the status of the registrations. They will keep me informed, and assist thru out the Reunion.
Please!! Please!! Make your Hotel Reservations as soon as you get the information. This is necessary, so we will be assured of getting the rooms we need at our group rate. There is no risk as you can cancel right up to the day before your resveration date with out any penalty. We also need the reservations to insure that we get all the banquet and meeting rooms we need.
KEEP CHECKING OUR WEB SITE FOR MORE INFORMATION. YOUR COMMENTS IN THE GUEST BOOK ARE WLCOME.
*****February I, 2004 UPDATE*****
ALERT!! ALERTA!! ALERTE!! WAKZAARN!! ACHTUNG!!
Any WWII Veteran that has not registered in the WWII Memorial Registry, I would urge to do so. You may do so by calling 1-800-639-4922, or on the internet at : www.wwiimemorial.com. This Registry will be accssible at the Memorial Site, and on the internet, so people can look up names of people they are interested in.
Today, 165 letters were mailed with complete information about our SEPTEMBER 2004 REUNION, including events, prices, and registration proceedures. Again, I urge those intending to attend to register, and make room reservations now at the DoubleTree Hotel so they will hold enough rooms for us. We had to guarantee 30 rooms to get the $89.00 rate and the meeting rooms.
***** August 27, 2004 UPDATE *****
!!! ONLY 20 DAYS TO OUR REUNION!!!
Registrations have really picked up in the last 2 months. There are now 103 registered and 107 planning to attend the banquet.
The hotel has been very accomadating, we have been able to add more hotel rooms as needed, they are also changing some of our meeting rooms to larger rooms.
COL. Pete Lindquist, USAF RET, of The Air Force Memorial Foundation, will be our guest speaker at the Banquet.
***** JULY 4, 2004 UPDATE *****
!!! ONLY TWO MONTHS TO OUR 2004 REUNION!!!
Registrations are picking up, we now have 64 people registered: 672nd. 33, 673rd. 6, 674th. 20, 675th 5, HQ still O.
There are several more registered at the hotel that have not registered with Reunion Planners.
Registrations close August 15, so please get registered, if you plan to attend.
***** May 17, 2004 Update *****
It has been a while since I updated our Reunion News, but I wanted to have some Reunion registration numbers, and hotel reservations to report.
We now have 21 families with 48 people registered with the Reunion Planners, this includes my family (all 8).
The breakdown is: HQ--0, 672nd.--22, 673rd.--6, 674th.--15, 675th.--5.
There are 22 different families registered at the DoubleTree Hotel, some with two rooms, so we have a total of 55 people and 29 rooms.
The Reunion Planners suggest that the 417th. members make their hotel reservations now, so if it is necessary, we can increase our block of rooms while they are available at our reduced rate.
At this Reunion we are promoting a project to scan all the WWII photos of the 417th. that attendees bring to our Reunion. We will have someone there to scan the photos, right at the hotel, during the Reunion so you can take them back home with you. This is a very important step in recording and preserving pictures and history of the 417th. Bomb Group, and the Reunion Committee urges every one to bring their photos.
THE NEW WWII MEMORIAL
We plan to have a picture like this by Bob Vandehagen.
!!!!!!!! ALL AUTO DRIVERS TAKE NOTICE !!!!!!!!
*****************************2004 REUNION EVENTS*****************************
Thursday, September 16 : REGISTRATION in DOUBLETREE HOTEL, Hospitality room will be open all day.
Friday, September 17 : VIP VETERANS TOUR (included in registration fee)
This will include the new WWII Memorial, Korean Memorial and many others. Also Arlington Cemetery for Changing of the Guard, and the site of the new Air Force Memorial.
Saturday, September 18 : NATIONAL AIR & SPACE MUSEUM TOUR (optional tour $22.00pp) This is the Smithsonian's newest facility and should be a great experience.
Saturday Evening September 18: BUSINESS MEETING and ???????
Sunday, September 19 : GUIDED SIGHT SEEING BUS TOUR OF WASHINGTON, DC. (optional tour $35.00pp)
Sunday evening, September 19 : BANQUET at DOUBLETREE HOTEL (included in registration fee)
*****PLEASE NOTE MY E-MAIL ADDRESS IS NOW: email@example.com
******RECENT PICTURES OF INTEREST WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE REUNION PICTURES FILE******
ALL THE "PICTURES FROM THE PAST" ARE BACK ON THE WEB SITE AND PICTURES OF THE 2002 PLAQUE DEDICATION SERVICE ARE NOW READY FOR VIEWING. CLICK ON THE PROPER LINE ON THE HOMEPAGE
The 59th Anniversary Reunion of the 417th Bomb Group was held Sept. 12,13,14, 2002, at the Sheraton Hotel, Circle Drive, Colorado Springs, CO. We had 36 members in attendance, plus 54 family members and friends. There were 20 cancellations (most due to family illness) in the last 10 days before the reunion. Each member received an A-20 picture with the appropriate tail color for his squadron, an engraved pen, and a composite picture of Colorado Springs scenes.
The weather was beautiful for the Memorial Service on Friday morning at the U. S. Air Force Academy Memorial Gardens.
Lt. Col. Hammes, of the Air Force Academy, was introduced, followed by the posting of The Colors by the Air Force Academy Color Guard. "To The Colors" was played by T/Sgt. Steve Kindermann, U. S. Air Force Band of the Rockies bugler.
The Invocation was given by Pastor Joseph Wheat, of Village 7 Presbyterian Church, Colorado Springs.
Col. Hammes welcomed the 417th Bomb Group to the proceedings with some brief remarks about the history of the Air Force and service to our country.
Lt.Col. H. F. (Kip) Klopp, of the 417th Bomb Group, gave a brief history of the 417th, relating events from our activation in 1943 through deactivation in 1945.
Former S/Sgts. (gunners) Myles Alderman and Tony Duran were called to unveil the 417th plaque, which is on the 5th Air Force Memorial Wall.
Lt.Col. Klopp presented the plaque to the Air Force Academy and it was accepted by Col. Hammes.
Pastor Wheat then gave the Benediction.
The Colors were then retired and the service ended with the playing of "Taps" by Sgt. Kindermann.
It was a very solemn and moving ceremony - very meaningful to the members of the 417th, families, and guests. We can all be proud of having been members of the 417th and grateful for this country, The United States of America.
We got a few sprinkles of rain as we departed the cemetery for a tour of Arnold Hall. The cadet noon formation was next on our schedule, but a bit more rain caused its cancellation.
Following lunch at the Officer's Club, we stopped at the Visitor Center to view the museum displays, watch the orientation film, and do some shopping. Our next stop was a guided tour of the Cadet Chapel, the most recognized building on the campus, and an inspiration to everyone of all faiths.
At about 3 p.m. we boarded the buses to return to the hotel, driving through the "Garden of The Gods", Colorado Springs' most visited tourist attraction. Many thanks to my friend and neighbor, Capt. Mark Strub for his services as unofficial guide and chauffeur for the day. As a '94 graduate of the Academy, he had much to offer and had the answers to many questions that were asked throughout the day regarding the Academy.
There were several highlights of the Friday night business meeting. The main event was a showing of a 417th Bomb Group Video produced by the son of one of our members. It was made from photos and actual movie footage supplied by 417th members, as well as some footage from the WWII National Archives. Each member present was presented with a copy of the video.
George Ertzbischoff presented an article on the proposed Air Force Memorial to be constructed in Washington, DC, (ground breaking in '04 with completion in '06). He suggested that a donation be made on behalf of the 417th Bomb Group. A collection was taken, with a total of $550 donated. A check for $550 has already been sent to the Air Force Memorial Foundation in the name of the 417th Bomb Group. We will be listed as a charter sponsor. A copy of the acknowledgement of our gift will be posted later.
The biggest surprise to me, was the appearance of a birthday cake, (Friday, 9/13, was my 80th) accompanied by the singing of Happy Birthday by the entire group. My children had arranged for the cake, decorated with my A-20 named "The Kitten" on top. The cake was taken to the Hospitality Room to share with the group following the meeting.
Saturday was primarily unscheduled. About 30 people took the Pikes Peak Cog Railway trip to the top of the Peak (14,000 plus feet) and were surprised by the ice and snow on top. One member tried to make the drive, but was turned around at about 12,000 feet as the ice made the drive too dangerous. (This same person had tried to reach the summit a few of years ago, but his car "couldn't breathe" so he had to turn around - better luck next time Dave!) The Hospitality Room was open all day and many spent several hours telling "war stories", looking at photos, or watching videos of previous reunions and of the 2006 AFA cadet basic training.
The banquet Saturday evening was the closing event. It was preceeded by a group photograph by a commercial photographer. The pictures have already been mailed and are quite good. Bob Vanderhagen, who has always taken pictures in the past, was unable to attend this year, as his wife has been very ill. She was in the hospital for three months, but is home now, and doing better.
The banquet was opened with an Invocation by my friend and neighbor, Pastor Jay Klopfenstein. Following the meal, Capt. Mark Strub, USAF, addressed the group, comparing the Air Force (and the men and women who served) of the WWII era with that of today. He was given a standing ovation following his remarks. Pastor Klopfenstein led the group in singing "America The Beautiful" and closed with the Benediction. Capt. Strub and fellow Academy graduate, Christy Lowe, then led the group in singing the official "Air Force Song". The Hospitality Room was open for a while to allow for final good-byes and plans to meet again at the next reunion.
Thanks for all the kind words of appreciation from those who attended, for the assistance of members and their children, and to my daughters, Jan and Kim, and granddaughter Mindy.
By Bob Kunselman, 2002 Reunion Host
A CD containing 52 photos from the dedication service at the AFA Cemetery (taken by an AFA representative) is available for $10. The pictures can be viewed on your computer and then photos of your choice made by most photo shops. If you don't have a computer at home, take the CD to your local library, Kinko's, or a similar store and they can help you. There is also a 30 min. video of the dedication service at the AFA (also taken by an AFA representative). Copies of this are also available for $10 each. If you would like a CD and/or video, please send your order and check made out to Robert N. Kunselman by 10/15/02. Send your check to 101 E. Sioux Rd., #1457, Pharr, TX 78577. The postage is included in the price of both the CD and video. If you have any questions, you can reach me at 956-783-5607 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also took up a collection ($550) for a donation on behalf of the 417th Bomb Group, for the Air Force Memorial to be dedicated 9/2004 and completed in 2006 in Washington, DC.
There are no plans at this time for a reunion in 2003. If you would be interested in planning one, please let me know. We do have tentative plans for 2004 in Washington, DC, after the WWII Memorial is completed.
We will keep everyone informed and will keep news posted on the website. In order to keep the website, we have to keep it active. So please keep checking it every few weeks. I will be adding pictures of the reunion to the website and I would be glad to continue to add other photos if you would get them scanned and put on a disk or cd (this can be done at a reasonable cost at Kinko’s). Those could be sent to the same address in TX as listed above – for convenience and expense, I will not return the disk or cd, so please make an extra copy for yourself if you want one. Please briefly identify the who, what, and where of each photo.
*****UPDATE FOR November 6, 2002*****
I am in receipt of a letter fom the AIR FORCE MEMORIAL FOUNDATION acknowledging a donation of $550.00 from the 417th Bomb Group. It further states that the 417th Bomb Group will be listed in the Charter Sponsor's Registry. I will try to put the entire letter on as soon as possible.
***** UPDATE FOR DECEMBER 17, 2002*****
******************MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAVE A GOOD 2003*****************
*****UPDATE FOR JANUARY 10, 2003*****
It's a New Year!!!! Resolve to attend the 2004 Reunion.
I have added a picture of Doug Fairchild in A-20 cockpit. I will try to add any you send to me, but I can't always make them good enough to show!! I would like to see more comments in the guest book so others will know what your thoughts are about the 417th.
*****UPDATE FOR MARCH 17, 2003*****
Thanks to Joe Nedela, there are 4 new (more recent) pictures of New Guinea on our web site, check them out. I now have a scanner and can do a better job of adding pictures, so send me some to put on.
The Air Force Memorial Foundation web site is now open. It is //www.airforcememorial.org/
After you get on, click on Charter Registry, put 417 in THE LAST NAME box and click SUBMIT to see our listing.
There are many other sections to look at, as well as some good pictures.
The ground breaking is scheduled for September, 2004. Thanks to George Ertzbischoff for getting us involved with this important Memorial.
*****UPDATE FOR JUNE 7, 2003*****
Not much to report. I have added some more pictures of varied subjects of interest!!!! Keep checking the web site and send me items and/or pictures to use.
*****UPDATE FOR AUGUST 2, 2003*****
I am sorry to report the death of
Col. Milton Wayne Johnson, Commanding Officer of the 417th. Bomb Group, on July 18, 2003. Col. Johnson was a big booster of the 417th., very popular with the men
and greatly enjoyed being with all the members. He attended all our Reunions up to and including the one at Oklahoma City in 2000. Charles Troutman and Andros Peck represented the 417th. at the Memorial Service.
Please click on Pictures from the Past for more information.
*****UPDATE FOR DECEMBER 2003*****
Time and place for our 2004 Reunion is set. Please read all the news at top of page.
COMMENTS and NEWS in the guest book are most welcome.
A phone call, card, or e-mail will keep you on the active mail list.
Robert N. Kunselman
417th Bomb Group
3048 Ellesmere Dr.
Colorado Springs, CO 80922
101 East Sioux Rd. #1047
Pharr, TX. 78577