January 8 - 10, 2009
Palm Springs, California
The 100th Bomb Group Foundation met in Palm Springs for a mini-reunion, with many staying at the Ramada Inn. Nancy Putnam did a fine job in organizing the recreation room as an informal get-together site, well assisted by Carol Batley.
The Palm Springs Mini-Reunion on January 10th began with a greeting at the museum entrance by "General Patton", well played by Dom Lococo. As the only POW there, I thanked him for liberation of the POWs from Moosburg on April 29, 1945.
There was a nice display of 100th articles includes jackets, books, plaques and other memorabilia. The hot dog stand did a rousing business, and helicopter rides were available for a small fee. A P-38 was to be flown, but high winds at its home base kept it grounded. In Palm Springs, however, the weather was beautiful, clear and 75 degrees.
There were approximately 200 people present including 10 veterans of the 100th - Don Bradley, Ralph Bradley, Joe Bussino, Bill Cully, Charles Gutekunst, Leon Schwartz, Keith Sprague, Bob Shoens, Hong Kong Wilson and Bob Wolff. Ron and Carol Batley from Thorpe Abbotts Museum of the 100th were there as were wives and families of the vets and many friends of the 100th. All the chairs were occupied and many visitors were standing.
The program began with a welcome by Palm Springs Air Museum docent, Richard Gosser who helped organize the program. A salute to the Flag and a Pledge of Allegiance followed.
Mike Faley was introduced as Group Historian and gave an interesting talk on our history. Keith Sprague and Bob Shoens addressed the crowd and gave us an insight into their experiences. Charles 'Hong Kong' Wilson gave an illuminating review of this early days.
David Tallichet left a lasting legacy for our Group when he named his restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio The Hundredth Bomb Group Restaurant. Dave's wife Carol and his son John were awarded plaques commemorating his generosity.
A talk by Leon Schwartz detailing some of his wartime experience and Ron Batley discussing the Thorpe Abbotts Museum closed our program. Afterwards some of the veterans were asked questions by members of the audience.
The dinner that evening at Billy Reed's was attended by 64 members of the group including family and friends. In closing this successful mini-reunion, plans are underway to do this again in February, 2010. At that time, a permanent 100th Bomb Group exhibit will be installed at the Palm Springs Air Museum, with many thanks to Mike Faley for his efforts in our behalf.