Blue Nosed Bastards of Bodney...

Stories and background on who and what made the 352nd Fighter Group, on the ground and in the air.

Blue Nosed Bastards of Bodney...

Postby Skybax » Wed Sep 29, 2004 5:21 pm

Had this saved on my HD. I typed it up a while ago. It's from "the book" and it's about the association history. About 2 years ago I forwarded it to Punchy because he wanted to correct some errors before we put it on the website. I can't seem to remember if it happened or not. Enjoy!-----The 352nd Fighter Group Association, sponsor of this history, was officiallyfounded in 1980, but it has earlier roots in 1950 when Arthur Banks hostedthe 17th Service Squadron in Pennsylvania. The 17th continued to meet every five years, then every two years, and some few still do, although theAssociation includes all the units which served in Bodney, Asch and Chieves during WWII.When the 8th Air Force was being formed in Florida in 1975, Sheldon Berlow, George Cameron and Robert J. Robinson of the 352nd became involved and contacted known members for their personal lists to help prepare for the first reunion of the Mighty Eighth in Miami. Gen John C. Meyer was thereunion speaker and was an Honorary Director. Bobby Dood was elected a vice president and Bob Powell was made a Director in the original election of officers. Other 352s among the more than 600 attendees were Dave Blackburns, Richard gates, Cymont Millers, Robert O'Nan, Hubert Roblings, Russell Rosses, Harry Van Dyk, Al Wallaces and Charles Whitfields.Although 352s began attending the 8th's reunions in larger numbers eachyear, it wasn't untill 1980 in Orlando that the Association was organized.The 19 in attendance elected C.A. "Bill" Pattillo, Pres; Bob Powell, VP; andRobert J. Robinson, S-T. Shortly thereafter, Robinson arranged to have theAssociation incorporated as a tax-exempt veterans organization in the State of Florida. Mini-reunions were held with the 8th AFHS in 1981 and 1982.At the 1982 reunion, Bob Powell became president; Dick DeBruin, vicepresident; and Robert Robinson was re-elected as secretary-treasurer. Plans were made to find more 352s and to initiate a drive for conrtibutions to build a "Memorial" on the old Bodney airfield.In June, 1982, Robbie and Rene Robinson began publishing the first issue of the Association newsletter, the "Bluenoser," a carry-over of an earlier"Newsletter" effort begun in 1978. Some of the original artwork is stillbeing used in current issues of the newsletters published by Editor-Historian Bob Powell.On 9 July 1983, forty years and five days after arriving at Bodney, tenmembers and seven wives of the Group dedicated a "Memorial" to all who had served there during 1943-45. This first major Association project wascompleted "without any committe meetings, without an architect, and without any Battlefield Monuments Commision permission, all in less than a year at minimum cost" thanks to arrangements made by the Robinsons with the help of our English friends.The first official reunion of the Association was held in Oklahoma City in1984 in conjuction with the 17th Service Squadron with 130 members andspouses attending. Hosts were the Al Duffys assisted by the the WilliamDriskos and Associate Darrel Crosby. In 1985, members again gathered with the 8th AFHS at their Wichita reunion.In 1986, through member contributions, the Association dedicated a Memorial Plaque and Living Tree Memorial at the Wright-Patterson AFB Museum, a project spearheaded by Pres DeBruin. More than 275 attended these ceremonies at the Association's second reunion, and it was dedicated to hold reunions annually.Scottsdale, Arizona was the scene of the third reunion in 1987 with theGeorge Arnolds and James Laings as hosts to some 250 members and theirfamilies. But Norfolk, Virginia broke all previous reunion records with 315attending the Association's fourth reunion in 1988. The DeBruins and Powells were hosts. Then, in 1989, an Association dream came true when 111 members journeyed to Bodney, England in August for the 1989 reunion. Hosts in England were our Honorary Associate Ross Smart and his wife, Kate, assisted by Anne (Butters) Webster, and coordinated by the Powells using the professional services of Dick D'Amato of Tamarac Travel. In October, 35 more gathered for a mini-reunion with the 8th in Denver with the DeBruins as hosts.Membership rolls took a quantum leap with each reunion as newly locatedmembers provided names and addresses of comrades with whom they had contact and the success of special recruiting efforts by Pres DeBruin, Joe McVay, George Nunemacher, Honorary Associates Truman Plantz, John Kuehl, and others using lists compiled from letters and old military orders secured from members. By early 1990, more than 800 of the "old Bodney Bunch" had been located and another 700 had been confirmed as deceased through family contacts. Fewer than 300 comrades remain unfound.As this history is published, plans are being finalized by Pres DeBruin todedicate a Memorial Plaque at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springsduring the 1990 reunion, again sponsored by member contributions, thuscontinuing the Association's purpose of perpetuating the history of theGroup and it's units.Many other Honorary and Associate members and friends have also madesignificant contributions to the development and success of the Association.These include Marvin Bradburn, Darrell Crosby, Tom Live, John Kuel, JohnLambeth, Vlado Lenoch, Joe Noah and Sam Sox. Those in England include Robert Lamplough, Peter Rix, Danny Morris, Alan Blake, Author Roger Freeman, Squadron LeaderJack White (RAF) and Air Commodore Ronald Dick.Several P-51 warbirds flying today carry the wartime markings of 352ndpilots General John C. Meyer, George Preddy, Bill Whisner and Jim Mayden. One located on a playground in Israel, rebuilt and flying again over England, is the only original airplane which flew at Bodney that is known to still exist. It was the P-51D flown by Capt Ray Littge and later by Lt Russell Ross of the 487th. The owner-pilots of these historical aircraftcontinue to make a significant contribution to our continuing history.The publication of this history is a tribute to the members of theAssociation and a significant contribution to the achievements of all whoserved at Bodney, Asch and Chievres during World War II.
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