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Reunions


Seeing old friends, some for the first time in 30-50 years can be an emotional and really gratifying experience. We have this at school reunions, but when the previous relationships were under hard working conditions including preparation for combat or combat itself, the reconnections become incredibly meaningful. This is what happens at 13th Bomb Squadron Reunions. One pilot reunites for the first time in 35 years with the navigator he flew 65 combat missions with in Vietnam and that reunion becomes electric. Similar happy events like this occur every year at the annual Association reunions which rotate to different parts of the country where members and their wives, family members and friends enjoy tours and happenings in each location and especially the camaraderie.

The last 13 gatherings of 13th Eagles took place in 2013 in Reno (National Car Museum and Bucket of Blood Saloon); before that it was New Orleans (World War II Museum), Washington, DC (Air Force Memorial Service), Tucson, (Pima Air Museum), Colorado Springs, (Air Force Academy), Hampton, VA. (F-22), Kansas City, (B-2), Dayton, (Air Force Museum), San Antonio, (River Walk), St Louis, (The Cards and The Bud Suds), Seattle, (Boeing Museum), Nashville, (Grand Ole Opry), and Abilene, TX. (B-1B).

Due to the DOD budget reduction for training flights last year, only one Reaper from Whiteman was able to attend and he had to ride in on Southwest Airlines. But the new CO Lt Col Jeff (Opie) Schreiner who replaced Lt Col Mark Pye in 2012 addressed the banquet audience with an update on recent activities and missions of the squadron. After his talk he was presented with a framed original 13th Squadron picture of twelve Curtis Falcon Aircraft lined up on the parking ramp at Floyd Bennett Air Field in New York, May 1931. The picture was provided by member Scott Lindley. A second item presented to Opie was member Roger Bauman's B-57 model which Roger has been bringing to reunions for the last several years. During a recent visit to Whiteman, it was noted that the collection of model aircraft in the Reaper Bar was missing a B-57. Now their display is complete.

A second guest speaker was an old B-57 buddy Larry Mason who had been assigned to the 13th when he arrived at Clark AB in 1965 for B-57 gunnery training along with many of our current B-57 members. When Larry finished his training he was assigned to the 8th Bomb Squadron for the remainder of his tour. The 8th and 13th traded 60 day tours to Vietnam from Clark Air Base in the Philippines at that time, and it was the 8th that was flying from DaNang in March 1966 when Larry and his navigator, Jere Joyner had a near death experience during a day attack mission in the Laotian panhandle. Larry was gracious enough to recount for us the full story of that harrowing flight which undoubtedly saved Jere's life and earned an Air Force Cross for Larry.


Reno Reunion Details

Good reunions are great fun and after the tough-to-top New Orleans gathering in 2012, we did it again at the Grand Sierra Resort Hotel in Reno in September 2013. Early travelers attended the Reno Air Races at the Reno/Stead Airport where a beautiful P-51 named Voodoo won the open division of the 50th year of the world's fastest motor sport. The L-39 Patriots jet acrobatic teamed performed a thrilling six ship demonstration and legendary airman Bob Hoover was there to greet all the pilots that competed. Red Shirt Night was a special evening at theNnational Automobile Museum where we saw 300 beautiful classic cars including the Thomas Flyer which won the New York to Paris Auto Race in 1907. Trips to Carson City and Virginia City were enjoyed by attendees who learned about the old West where Nevada mining began before Nevada was a state, and about the highs and the lows of the early days of the settlers.

The October 1-5, 2014 reunion will be in New England with fall leaves at the Crown Plaza Providence/Warwick Hotel in Providence, RI. Trips to Boston and Newport await attendees as well as a Mystery Dinner Theater for our special Red Shirt Night. This will be a great vacation trip for all to enjoy.

Looking ahead to 2015 in the Midwest, Armed Forces Reunions Inc has planned a get together for the 13th Association at the Radisson Hotel in Branson, MO September 16-20. 2015. This will be one to look forward to not only for those members that live in the area, but also for the active duty Reapers at Whiteman AFB, also in Missouri. There will be fun for all in the Ozarks in September 2015.




For more information about the upcoming reunion, please contact:
James R.(Bob) Parks
3219 Tavern Oaks St
San Antonio, TX 78247
bob-parks@satx.rr.com
 

Events

In addition to reunions the Association supports the active duty 13th Bomb Squadron, one of two B-2 squadrons in the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, MO. On June 13, 2014 at 1313 hours, the command of the 13th was transferred from Lt Col Jeffrey (Opie) Schreider , the CO for two years, to Lt Col Robert (Stab) Makros. Association members were invited to attend and those that did were honored to be part of the traditional change of command ceremony. The new CO has been the Director of Operations of the 72nd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Whiteman AFB. He has flown two major weapons systems, the B-2 and the F-15E and has over 150 F-15E combat hours in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Southern Watch.

Prior to his current assignment Lt Col Makros was Chief, Aircraft Strike Branch at the Joint Functional Component Command for Global Strike, USTRATCOM at Offutt AFB NE.

During his two year command of the 13th BS, Lt Col Schreiner became the first CO to have multiple location deployments in the Pacific during joint and combined operations. Additionally the squadron earned multiple superior performance and outstanding safety awards under his command. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for his accomplishments and has been assigned as the Department of Defense representative on a nuclear study panel in Washington, DC.

Squadron members pay a floral tribute to fallen comrades at several locations each Memorial Day. The Memorial Park next to the Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson AFB, OH has three plaques that honor members of the 13th Bomb Squadron from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The Vietnam Plaque which was dedicated in October 2007 was presented to the Museum Director by a former squadron commander, Lieutenant Colonel Billy Mcleod. Lieutenant Colonel McLeod, who also flew combat missions in World War II, lead the 13th Squadron to Clark AB in the Philippines in 1964 and then to bases in South Vietnam at the beginning of the Vietnam War.


News


In 1942, John Jewell met 13th Bomb Squadron Airmen in his home in Townsville, Australia, a community near the Charters Towers Airfield. John was the young son of an Australian family that befriended American airmen training and flying combat missions from Australia against the Japanese invasion of the Southwest Pacific. John remembers these men and their valor in helping to prevent an invasion of his country and has honored their service with several pieces of RAAF memorabilia that would serve as a military souvenir of the 13th participation in WW II. Mounted in a shadowbox, these items were presented to the 13th commander on May 10, 2013.

Earlier on this day, the squadron honored deceased Reaper, Bill (ORB) Cowen. a WW II and Korean War veteran who campaigned tirelessly to resurrect the 13th from retirement to active duty with a B-1 squadron at Dyess AFB, TX. ORB's name was placed along side the squadron commander's on the squadron B-2 flagship in his memory.

ReapersPast, Present Celebrate Heritage
By Morgan Hildebrand
13th Bomb Squadron


5/17/2013 WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- For nearly 100 years, the 13th Bomb Squadron has flown in combat: World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Global War on Terror.

On May 10, our unit hosted three former "Reapers" during the annual heritage day for the presentation of a shadow box to the unit.

The day was packed with storytelling, the sort of stories you never expect to hear face to face. The words were not to inform, but to remember, and each story had a special meaning as it was told. The pride in each man as he told his stories along with his desire to see what had become of the 13th BS since his own service was overwhelming.

The three distinguished guests from the 13th Bomb Squadron Association each served well over their 20 year marks and individually made their own impacts on Reaper history. Retired Col. Robert L. Butterfield, president of the association; retired Chief Master Sgt. Robert Parks, locator and data manager; and retired Col. Charles J. Brown, each had their own stories to tell.

The squadron, now proudly residing at Whiteman Air Force Base, originated June 14, 1917, in Texas. The shadowbox the men presented held a Royal Australian Air Force flight cap, emblem and patches, symbols of remembrance for the time the 13th BS flew with the Royal Australian Air Force during World War II.

To show appreciation to our guests, two of our own outstanding pilots, Capt. Charles Goetz and Capt. Marcus Antonini, led a very personal base tour which included time in the B-2 Spirit simulator as well as a look in the flight deck of the squadron's flagship jet, the Spirit of Mississippi.

A touching moment, and one that likely stands out for all Reapers, was the unveiling of the name added on the front landing gear door of the Spirit of Mississippi.

Here, retired Tech. Sgt. Bill "ORB" Cowan's name was added alongside our commander's, Lt. Col. Jeffery Schreiner, in honor of his contributions to the 13th. Cowan was instrumental in ensuring the 13th BS returned to active status in 2000.

The day closed with Brig. Gen. Thomas Bussiere joining the entire unit at the squadron heritage room for a formal presentation of the shadow box and a few more stories from Butterfield.

An important day for all Reapers, I was honored to participate and be part of all the events. The standout moment for me was when I arrived that morning to greet our visitors and one of the first questions asked of me was, "Did you ever think you would be standing here as a part of history?"

It was the aforementioned retired Colonel Brown asking, and I was in awe from that moment on. Then just before I left for the day, I was stopped by our guests and reminded that I may have only been with the 13th BS since December, but I will be a Reaper for the rest of my life.

"Just when the Numerical Mother gave birth to the original 'wee Thirteen' is something we can't discuss, but a modern birthday which we shall never forget is that of a cactus-born squadron on an early June day-and when the christening came no one complained that the number was Thirteen. From then on, it was just a 'hobby,' a kind of self-inflicted task of ours to disprove the somewhat ancient belief that this number was anything but a good one, and we proudly believe we succeeded!"

That is the opening to a piece of 13th Bomb Squadron Reaper history written by Lt Richards and S.M. Avery, original WW I Reapers.



Washington, DC Reunion Pictures
 

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