Oregon Local and Selected International History News for 2006

Re-Activate the 54th Fighter Squadron!

The first F-22 squadron to be deployed outside the continental US is proposed to be the re-activated 525 Fighter Squadron - to be stationed in Alaska at Elemendorf AFB.

The 525 was created and stationed in Europe during WW II and elsewhere since WW II and I doubt ever flew a plane inside the state of Alaska. The Pacific Air Command wants the 525th - the General in charge of the PAC was a pilot in the (also) inactive 525 at one point.

The 54th Fighter Squadron was deployed to Alaska in 1942 and fought there throughout the war - and when the original squadron members finished their tour - the remaining 6 - out of 24 - returned to the states.

If you think a squadron that has a close association with the State of Alaska should be activated instead of one that fought in Europe and never even visited the state then you should download, print, and sign this petition and send to Senator Ted Stevens (PDF) - and other members of Congress from Alaska (PDF) and send a copy to your own Senator - to have them activate a squadron that has a history with the State.

The 54th Fighter Squadron was part of the 11th Air Force.

Upcoming Gun Shows In Oregon

To learn about the weapons of the past wars a gun show is really useful. There are many people who really know the weapons of World War II and other wars.

Dec 2-3 in Salem and in Centralia
Dec 9-10 Central Point Or
Dec 15-17 Expo Center Portland
Jan 6-7 Longview and Eugene
Jan 13-14 Centralia
Jan 20-21 Grants Pass Oregon
Feb 3-4 Salem
Feb 17-18 Canby
Feb 24-25 Vancouver Wa
March 16-18 Expo Center Portland

Complete list is at www.collectorswest.com

The Combat Report Web Site is Activated

A new website, The Combat Report was activated on the web in November 2006.

Created in co-operation of the National Combat Film Archive is published by Hanna N. Ryan, Inc. of Portland, OR.

It carries current combat articles, commentary and articles concerning past combats from all nations.

General Ramsay Potts

On May 28, 2006 General Potts died. Never heard of him? Well he lead one of the B-24 units on "Operation Crossbow" the low level raid on Ploesti - and at the end of the war he was chief of staff of the group that authored the US Strategic Bombing Survey of Germany.

This survey went to the targets and checked the real effectiveness of the bombing, accessed damage versus what really happened, talked with the people who were bombed and who repaired damaged, ratio of dud bombs etc. It influenced the tactics (and still does) on bombing of targets.

"Operation Chastise" Set to Breach New Film

A release from Universal Studios via PR Newswire was published Aug 31, 2006 about a remake of Operation Chastise the 617 Squadron raid on the German Dams during WW II.

Along with the usual hype that "newly declassified information" will allow them to make it better - they touted that the new era of movie graphics which will allow some of the scenes to be filmed even better than the 1955 version.

Hopefully Peter Jackson does not "King Kong" it by having the Avro Lancasters zooming up 4000' in 15 seconds to avoid a German flak tower since with computer graphics you can do that. Creating a visual effect that is BELIEVEABLE vs just creating because you can are two totally different things - and Peter Jackson has not learned that yet - watch King Kong and you can see it! (He had to make it believable in Lord Of the Rings - else he would never work again - with a worldwide following of the books that meant deviating from the books would never be tolerated!)

Stay in History While Visiting History

Château Bellenau hotel gîtes gardens La Manche, Normandy, France

The first Chateau liberated. Situated just 15 kilometres from Utah beach our lovely old Chateau in Normandy is set in it's extraordinary park and gardens. You are warmly welcomed by our manager, an ex major in the British army and a great lover of war history. A great point from which to explore the Normandy war history. http://www.bellenau.com

(The first building liberated was the tavern at Pegasus Bridge -- the British had their priorities in order!)

Photographer Joe Rosenthal

Ex Associated Press (AP) Photographer Joe Rosenthal died at the age of 94 in San Francisco on August 26, 2006.

This is the man who climbed Mount Suribachi on February 23, 1945 and took the photograph of the 4 Marines and Navy Corpsman raising the larger American Flag on top of the mountain of Iwo Jima that was used to create the Iwo Jima Memorial in Washington D.C..

Iwo was invaded on February 19 and on the morning of the 23rd a patrol reached the top and put up a flag.

It was very small so it ordered to be replaced with a larger flag so he hiked up to record it with the new patrol.

He took only 1 image of the actual flag raising - and almost did not get it since he was looking the other way when it started and someone said out "there it goes" and just turned and framed the image then took it with his speed graphic camera in time. (There is a movie of it going up too since the movie camera man was next to Joe.) Frame #10 on the roll.

He then did a formal portrait of the group which I have never seen.

Can't show you to image - the copyright on it will not run out till 2040 - copyrights are now good for at least 95 years after creation for corporations.

USS Wahoo Found

Capt "Mush Morton" and his crew have been found by a Soviet dive team in the La Perouse straight - in very shallow water August 2006.

The Wahoo was sunk by the Japanese Navy as it returned from its seventh patrol on Oct. 11, 1943. All 79 crewmen died.

It was found by the Far Eastern State Technological University in Vladivostok.

To read the best account of this submarine, SS-238, read "Wake of the Wahoo."

2007 Camp Logan Days

You have to plan ahead so for next year the 5th Annual Civil War Re-Enactment is set for May 19-20, 2007 in Grant County Oregon. See photo from this past year's http://www.bluemountaineagle.info Camp Logan Days from the Blue Mountain Eagle Newspaper July 26th edition.


Portland Area Military Reunions

Americal 23rd Infantry Division; June 22-25, Dave Hammond 503-644-3513, pacwesthi @ aol.com.

16th Armored Division; Holiday Inn Wilsonville, Oregon August 23-27, Nelson Havel 503-625-3217, nelsonhavel @ msn.com.

USS O'Brian DD-725; Sept 6-9. Ron Santoro at 503-297-8741, rsant26659 @ aol.com.

National Combat History Archive

This is a new organization based in Portland, Oregon.

From what I saw in their e-mail: "We have recently acquired the largest library of 20th century combat footage outside of the national archives.

Included in this collection is around 50 hours of original gun camera footage from the 8th Air Force (We think it is from 1944 and 1945). This is the original 16mm film from the gun cams, but we are digitizing it for preservation purposes. "

Gary Mortensen, President, NCHA 503-490-8696.  

Flag Day at Fort Vancouver Bandstand - Officer's Row

On Wednesday June 14th there will be a ceremony along the parade ground of Officer's Row in Vancouver, Washington in honor of the USA Flag Day.

Free food (NW Natural, Corwin Beverage & Trader Joe's are sponsors), water (by Veolia), will be served starting at 3 PM. Ceremony is at 3:30 PM.

Mayor Royce Pollard will be Master of Ceremonies at this event.

Association of Naval Aviators

Next meeting is May 25th and will feature Professor Grant Farr. He is a professor at Portland State and Associate Professor in Kabul, Afghanistan. They meet at the Gateway Elks lodge 711 NE 100th Avenue in Portland at 11:30 AM.

The June 29 meeting is at same place and start time and the speaker will be Major General Rosenfeld.

Military Surplus Stores

During the late 1950 to mid-70s there were lots of military surplus stores around. GI Joe's of Oregon (a chain store) got its start doing just that. It is now an all sports store that has a good hunting and fishing section in each one. They occasionally have WW II era rifles you can buy there. Another big chain store that has WW II surplus rifles sometimes is Big 5.

The smaller military surplus stores also survive here in Oregon. Aloha Surplus Inc., 17645 S.W. Tualatin Valley Highway, Aloha, Oregon 97006. 503-591-5858. This store still has its roots in military surplus.

Need WWII gun grease and cleaning solvent? These items, and modern military surplus items, can be found there. Be sure to allocate yourself at least an hour or more to quickly go through the store.

You can also mail order from them.

Dane Bausmann is the owner.

Shootwright LLC

For the target shooter if you don't want to hold your rifle for hours on end you can get a Shootwright stand. This is a incredibly light tripod rifle stand that is designed for short or long rifles.

360 pivot and fits up to 6'6" length rifles. It actually is better, and cheaper, than many camera tri-pods I've seen. If it only had a 1/4 x 40 mount for my cameras . . .

Throw it over you back and pack it in. It weighted less than 6 lbs if I remember him correctly.

Danny Wright, PO Box 161, Lyon, Oregon 97358. 503-859-2604.

M1 Carbine back in Production

The Auto Ordanance Company, Memorial Lane Drive, Worcester Massachusetts 01603, is again making the famous WW II M1 Carbine.

This .30 caliber semi-automatic rifle was designed in less than two weeks, competed against other designs then went right into production in August of 1941. 6,221,220 carbines were made from a host of manufacturers.

They are using the best features of the various versions in this new rifle. Prices will range from the mid $600 to $705 for a walnut stock version.

WW II re-enactors, collectors, and target plinkers should get one. It is a fun rifle to shoot. The price for this new rifle is less than what you will pay for a original WWII model in bad shape.

"Pappy" Boyington Allowed at University of Washington?

This came from Cheryl Dart of the American Fighter Aces

Dear American Fighter Aces and Friends,

As you may be aware, there has been quite a fury concerning some comments made by a few students at the University of Washington about “Pappy Boyington.” An alumnae of the university, President and CEO of The Museum of Flight Bonnie J. Dunbar, PhD is very concerned about the publicity given these comments. She has been working with Renee Fricke, Director, Annual Giving Programs at the University of Washington Foundation. The UW Foundation has established a scholarship in the name of Pappy Boyington. They have installed a link from their website directly to the MOF website. The web site is: http://uwfoundation.org/pappy_update.asp. Scroll to bottom of the page for the MOF link. From that page, you can make a gift online or you can read information on how to mail a check to the UW Foundation in support of this effort. In order to further the education of UW students, the Museum of Flight is also currently involved in discussions which would enable and encourage student tours of the MOF, particularly for history majors and for members of the Student Senate.

Additionally, the Museum plans to add a kiosk in the Personal Courage Wing dedicated to Medal of Honor Recipients. MOF Board member, Mr. Bruce McCaw has just been selected to the MOH board as well. If you wish to donate to the MOH Kiosk at the MOF, please contact Mr. Mike Lavelle at 206-768-7162.

Feel free to pass this information along to anyone who might be interested.

Cheryl Dart
Administrative Director

American Fighter Aces

This was prompted by a statement by the University Student Council that honoring Fighter Aces with a statue, and especially a U.S. Marine statue, is NOT the kind of message they want to send to students or have as a role model to citizens that attend at U of W.

Among the Dead Cities

A new book published on March 7, 2006 and written by A C Grayling is called "Among the Dead Cities: The History and Moral Legacy of the WWII Bombing of Civilians in Germany and Japan." A.C. Grayling is a philosophy professor at Birbeck College, University of London, United Kingdom.

Among the Dead Cities::
The History and Moral Legacy
of the WWII Bombing of Civilians
in Germany and Japan

I purchased this book because of many reasons. One reason what that it would be interesting to see how an English person viewed the war since England bore the brunt of German aerial bombing till mid 1941. The book deals with the air war against Germany and Japan and being a member of the 8th Air Force Historical Society here in Oregon I have a ready interest.

What got me the most was that the front cover is that of a photograph that Bill Washburn of the 446th BG (H) took when he was flying combat missions in his B-24 Liberator. What swung me to really purchase it was that the dust jacket photo is also on the inside the photo caption has the planes labeled as Avro Lancasters!

Now, here is an Englishman writing about recent history and has this glaring error of one of the most famous photos taken during WW II, and it made me wonder what other mistakes he has made in the book - so I had to buy it just to hunt down mistakes. You can see this photo that Bill took, and others that he took during his 35 mission tour on my page Cross Eyed Charlie .


Civil War Preservation Trust Battle Map Collection

The CWPT posted onto their web site a single PDF file of all the battle maps that they have produced over the past 7+ years (65 maps).

I have all the individual ones and had asked if I could post them onto my site. They liked that idea of having them on the web and as part of my suggestion was for them to post it onto their site if I could not (which is good, the file is 277 Megs in size!)

United States Civil War (War Between The States) Battle Maps from Civil War Preservation Trust (pdf).

Eagle Tours to the UK in 2006

Eagle Tours, in conjunction with the Imperial War Museum, has three tours set for England this year:

See their web site for details or johns @ carlsongarner.com

Prices run from $3245 to a low of $1725 depending on tour.

"Live Bait" A P-51 Mustang Story

Clayton Gross, a member of the Oregon 8th Air Force Historical Society, has a book being published this year. His web site Live Bait http://www.ww2livebait.com/ has details.

ISBN 978-1-59299-186-0 from Inkwater Press, 6750 SW Franklin St., Suite A, Portland, OR 97223-2542

"Live Bait" was the name he gave his P-51.

Association of Naval Aviators

Next meeting at the Gateway Elks club is set for February 23 at 11:30.

Guest speaker is from Grumman who will be talking about the Latest three versions of the F-18 Hornet.

WW I Australian Officer Found at the Hindenberg Line

Per articles from Australian newspapers skeleton remains of what appears to be an officer was dug up 50 yards in a large crater from what was once the German front lines in World War I. The remnants of the uniform, plus the bullets found on the body after it was removed proved to be those used in pistols, will help narrow the possible down. They expect he was killed in September of 1918.

Telegrams STOP are no More

"Effective January 27, 2006, Western Union will discontinue all Telegram and Commercial Messaging services."

The Western Union telegram message, seen in many movies and central to many historical events from the 1850s thru Vietnam, was dropped by Western Union on January 27, 2006.

Many a World War I, and II, Korean War, and all the other "minor" conflicts thru Vietnam, had a WU telegram bring news home to the families of those fighting that something had happened to them.

Getting an e-mail that you have to print out is not quite the same as a solid piece of paper delivered to you in person.

Boeing B-17-G "Memphis Belle" Restoration

The Memphis Belle - first 8th AF plane to oficially complete 25 missions undergoing resoration.
The Memphis Belle starting it's 5 year restoration program.

The USAF took away this famous B-17 that was piloted by Col. Robert Morgan after the city failed to maintain the aircraft. Now at Wright Patterson airfield in Dayton, Ohio, it is starting a long slow complete restoration. They will not, unfortunately, ever fly it again. One of our board members of the 8th AF flew the Belle. It was being used as a training a/c in Florida so the pilot let him take the controls and fly it a bit even though he was a gunner. He enjoyed landing it a few times "on the clouds."Another view of the Belle.

Flags of Our Fathers Movie

On the web site Flags of Our Fathers details the plans about the movie that will be released in August 2006 about the battle of Iwo Jima.

The movie centers around the 6 men who performed the 2nd flag raising on top of Mount Suribachi. The photograph of which was taken by AP photographer Rosenthal, then wired back and printed in newspapers around the USA the next day, became famous - and he did not even know it at the time (he never saw a print of it till he got back to the ship days later.)

It was used to create the Marine's Iwo Jima Memorial.

WW II Training Accidents

A new book will will be published in June 2006 by McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, NC called "Fatal Army Air Forces Aviation Accidents in the United States, 1941-1945", written by Anthony J. Mireles of Calumet City, IL. Web site is www.warbirdcrash.com. Details each of the UAAAF crashes based on the official accident forms filed at the time. Over 7000 fatal accidents occurred.

Afgan-Iraqi Freedom War Memorial Fund

An Oregon non-profit is raising money for a memorial that will be placed on the capital mall in Salem. It was started after their son, pilot Chief Warrant Officer Erik C. Kesterson, 29, 9th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Independence, Oregon, was killed in Iraq. Plans are that it will be erected by the summer.

"Freedom Isn't Free" is the name of their web site.

Clay and MJ Kesterson had a booth at the Hillsboro Gun show in January.

(I donated some money to them.)

State Representative Donna Nelson is one of their board members.

National 8th Air Force Oral History Program

Like many other organizations, the 8th is rushing to get oral histories of people from the 8th Air Force recorded. And, like the others, are asking for money to allow the recordings to be done, stored, archived, and retrievable for all people in the future. Send any donations to: 8AFHS, P.O. Box 1787, Savannah, GA 31402.

Pearson Air Museum Movie Night

On Friday February 10 Pearson Air Museum hosts a FREE "movie night" in the main hanger. Open to all.

The next general meeting is for March 21. See the calendar on their web site http://www.pearsonairmuseum.org/ for complete list of events in 2006.

Seattle Museum Of Flight Lecture

The Clash of the Carriers – The Marianas Turkey Shoot Saturday January 28, 2 p.m., William M. Allen Theater Four participants will gather at the Museum to share their experiences of different aspects of this crucial battle. American Fighter Aces Alex Vraciu and James Duffy join Warren Omak and John Harper in discussion of their various roles in the battle with noted author Barrett Tillman as moderator. Harper and Tillman will sign copies of their books and the aces will sign autographs following presentation.

Oregon Military / History Conventions

In the January / February of Vets News for the State of Oregon the listing of conventions taking place this year in Oregon numbers 14.

POW convention May 4 in Albany, Korean War Veterans in Salem in June (no date listed), Purple Heart Association June 2-4 at Evergreen Museum in McMinnville, VFW June 22-24 at Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City.

Others listings: American Legion, Merchant Marine Veterans, Disabled American Veterans, Marine Corps League, Officers Association, Military Order of World Wars, NCO Association, Oregon Reserve Officers, Vietnam Veterans.


USS Zeal (AM 131) April 19-23 in Astoria dneuhaul @ aol.com; 26th Infantry Regiment June 7-11 at Portland Sheraton lionspade @ aol.com ; 23rd Infantry Division at Portland Waterfront Marriott June 22-25 pacwesthi @ aol.com.

95th BG(H) (B-17s) Portland Oregon, Aug 27 - Sept 2.


The UK also has lots of re-enactors. They are lucky in that lots of equipment was left there and so they have good material to work with.


Gun Shows

If you want to purchase, or just see and have a chance to handle (after asking!) some interesting military rifles, go to a gun show.

Collectors West & Rose City Gun Collectors PO Box 91508 Portland, OR 97291

collectorswest @ aol.com, www.collectorswest.com, Phone: 503.644.5952. Their web site has dates for the whole year.

January 7 – 8, HILLSBORO
Washington Co. Fairgrounds
872 NE 28th Hwy 26W Exit #61
Sat. 9-5, Sun. 9-3, Admission $5

January 14 – 15, EUGENE
Lane Co. Fairgrounds
796 West 13th. I-5 Exit #194B
Sat. 9-5, Sun. 9-3, Admission $5

January 14 – 15, CENTRALIA, WA
SW Washington Fairgrounds
2555 N National Ave. I-5 Exit #79
Sat. 9-5, Sun. 9-3, Admission $5

January 21 – 22, GRANTS PASS
Josephine Co. Fairgrounds
1452 Fairgrounds Rd. I-5 Exit #58
Sat. 9-5, Sun. 9-3, Admission $5

January 27 - 28 – 29, PORTLAND EXPO
I-5 Exit #306B
Fri 12-7, Sat 9-6, Sun 9-4 Admission $8.
3 day pass $18, 2 day $12

Note: At the Expo Center you have to pay for parking. Last time I went there it was $7 a car. Very limited off street parking - and if you do find a place it is a 1/4 to 1/2 mile walk to the entrance. This is run by the Port of Portland so they are out to make lots of money from everyone with little benefit to those paying.

February 4 – 5, SALEM
Oregon State Fairgrounds
2330 17th St NE. I-5 Exit # 256
Sat. 9-5, Sun. 9-3, Admission $5

February 11 – 12, CENTRALIA, WA
SW Washington Fairgrounds
2555 N National Ave. I-5 Exit #79
Sat. 9-5, Sun. 9-3, Admission $5

February 18 – 19, CANBY, OR
Clackamas County Fairgrounds
694 NE 4th Ave. I-5 Exit #278
Sat. 9-5, Sun. 9-3 Admission $5

February 25 – 26, VANCOUVER, WA
Clark Co. Fairgrounds
694 NE 4th Ave. I-5 Exit 278
Sat. 9-5, Sun. 9-3 Admission $6

Hologram of WW I Veteran

In the UK one of 12 WWI veterans, Henry Allingham, 109, has been hologrammed by Rob Munday of Spatial Imaging.

"Henry actually instrumented the very first recon aircraft camera during World War I and invented technology for detecting German mines in World War II."

Mr Allingham, who was in the RFC before becoming a founding member in the RAF, is thought to be the oldest World War I British veteran alive. He is a the last known survivor of the Battle of Jutland.

WWI started 92 years ago on August 14, 1914.