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381st Bomb Group
Association History

The 381st Bomb Group welcomes you to the official 381st Bombardment Group (Heavy) Memorial Association web site.  The 381st Bomb Group was a B-17 Flying Fortress unit based at Ridgewell, England, Station 167, as part of the mighty Eighth Air Force from 1943 to 1945.  The group flew in the 1st Combat Wing, First Air Division of the 8th Army Air Force.

The memorial association is for all elements of the 381st Bomb Group, its squadrons, and the commands of the 432nd Air Service Group. Our 800+ members are comprised of 381st WWII veterans, their descendants, and friends of the 381st.  The association celebrated their 37th annual reunion in 2013 and is scheduled to meet again in 2014 in Portland Oregon from Sept. 3 -  6,  2014..

 

The association publishes a newsletter, holds well attended yearly reunions, regularly produces a membership directory, has an active forum, answers research questions via this web site, maintains an archive of photographs and 381st historical information, offers a college scholarship to 381st descendants, and much more.



The association was formed in 1977 at an Eighth Air Force Association reunion when six 381st BG veterans decided to try to find other group veterans and hold collateral meetings at the 8th AF reunions. They found about twenty other 381st BG veterans and held their first independent meeting at Hershey, PA, in 1978 with John Wierman as host.

 

T. Paxton "Pax" Sherwood was an driving force behind the early years of the association. The association has held annual reunions each year since 1978.

The association is incorporated in the state of Wisconsin and has nonprofit status granted by the IRS.

The purpose of the association is to encourage fraternal activities, foster patriotism and loyalty, maintain historical records, assist members of the association and their families, maintain allegiance to the United States, and to preserve and defend it from all enemies. - from the association constitution adopted in 1989.

- History of the Association, by Joe Waddell, past Association Secretary/Treasurer.


381st Bomb Group News
19

37th Reunion of The 381st Bomb Group (H) Memorial Association

When: Weds Aug 7- Sunday August 11, 2013

Where: San Antonio, Texas

Hotel: Holiday Inn San Antonio Riverwalk

We had fourteen WWII 381st veterans and 70 attendees overall gather in San Antonio.  Following welcome reception on Wednesday evening, we toured San Antonio on Thursday and visited the historic San Jose Mission and the Texas Air Museum.  We then visited the market area and enjoyed lunch at Mi Tierra.  Many spent the afternoon exploring the Riverwalk and Alamo areas near our hotel.  Thursday evening we viewed a presentation on Big Week Feb 1944 by President Ray Hecker.  On Friday, we had an excellent tour of historic Randolph AF Base including the historic district with the Taj Mahal and Chapel buildings.  We also toured the training squadrons, remembered our POWS from Vietnam, and toured the Tuskegee airmen exhibits all followed by lunch at the Officer's Club.  There we enjoyed a presentation on the B1-B Bomber  by Col Gerald Goodfellow, Commander of the 12th Flying Training Wing. Friday evening,  a veteran panel of six 381st veterans presented to the group.   On Saturday, we conducted our annual business meeting, elected the new slate of Officers including incoming President Virgil Klein, and reaffirmed our commitment to meet in Portland Oregon 2014  for the 38th annual reunion.  The Memorial Service followed at noon with Randolph AF Base Honor Guard, Chaplain Capt. Rochelle Binion, vocalist SSgt. Kevin Keenom and Bugler MSgt Brian Hornbuckle of the Air Force Band of the West.  Veteran deaths since the last reunion were noted for remembrance together with the 619 killed in action from the group during 1943-45.  Following lunch, we visited the Texas Raiders B-17, the Blue Bonnet C-47, the L-5, Harvard and other historic aircraft based at Signature Air Services.  Our final event was the evening cocktail hour and banquet.  Scholarship award winner Taylor Michie addressed and thanked the group. We then enjoyed an excellent presentation by Col. Gerald Goodfellow who later presented his Commander's Coin for Excellence to each of the 381st veterans.  A very successful silent auction of embroidered items contributed by association members Jerry and Jean Gergasko followed.  We concluded our program with a 381st presentation and photos by airwar author and historian Ron Mackay who had traveled from the UK for the reunion events.  Ron, who is a longtime association member has attended 26 of the 37 annual reunions of the 381st Bomb Group.  See the reunion section of the Gallery for photos from this year's event.  Thanks to all who attended and honored our 381st veterans and history.  Looking forward to Portland Oregon 2014 exact date TBD.

Kevin Wilson, Secretary-Treasurer, Reunion Chair

KevinWilson@381st.org

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