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Published by BBYRA, 2019-04-28 06:26:05



Volume 22, Number 3

Fall, 2012

Earl Joswick’s Last Mission to England

“Earl Joswick, while he was still able, wanted to see the Red Feather Club at his original Horam air base
one last time,” said Mary Berg at a recent 8th luncheon. He wanted to see the club as he remembered it in 1944,
before being imprisoned in Germany as a POW. So in May, 2009 they went together to visit airfields of four
bomb groups in England.

The Red Feather Club was a nondescript watering hole for
airmen flying out of the American airbase in Horham. It was
nothing particularly special. Just a local pub built into an
airplane hanger. But it must have held fond memories for Earl

Inside the building an enlisted man had painted scenes out of
medieval England on the walls as a backdrop instead of the original
plain brick. Every wall was painted in very bright colors to liven up
the atmsophere after a mission. The pub and its connected buildings
were severely run down and almost gone before a two-year effort to
restore them in 2003-2004. Photos show the buildings in their present,
rejuvenated state.

When Earl and Mary visited the renovated Red Feather Club, they
were treated to a Saturday Night 1940’s Dance with British bartenders
and airmen dressed in 1940s era authentic uniform dress. They
listened and danced to period music. They stayed with families
arranged through the still closely knit 95th Bomb Group.

Sadly, Earl passed away last year. But his memories of fun and
frolick at the Red Feather Club live on in its restoration. If you ever
get to England, make a trip to Horham. Stop in for a pint. Tell them
Earl Joswick sent you.

Luncheons are Wednesday, 11:15 AM
K of C Hall, Bloomington, MN.
See our website:

Eighth Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota Officers
& Directors as of January 1, 2012

President Vice President Treasurer Secretary
Steve Marks Dick Hill (179th FS) Gary Birchem Glenn Froberg
5121 Gorgas Ave. 934 Woody Lane 28790 Ivywood TRL 35 Old Orchard Ln.
Edina, MN 55424 Coon Rapids, MN 55448 Chisago City, MN 55013 Excelsior, MN 55331
(952) 926-0148 (763) 755-3559 (651) 257-1550 (952) 474-5630
(952)-797-2783 [email protected] almostaranch02@
[email protected]

Gene Kretchmer Walter Bohrn Spook Johns Dick Kaminski
11206 Virginia Rd. 26162 Ipava Ave 5933 Walnut Dr. 6633 Xerxes Ave S
Bloomington, MN 55438 POB 1073 Edina, MN 55436 Minneapolis, MN 55423
(952) 943-3988 Lakeville, MN 55044 (952) 935-3650 (612) 869-5978Earl
952 469 5904
[email protected]

Vince Parker James Rasmussen Lawrence Sagstetter Honorary Director
38 Moonlight Bay 18273 Fillmore St., NE 1696 E. Third St. Tom Stillwell
Stillwater, MN 55082 Cedar, MN 55011 St. Paul, MN 55106 4080 MN Lane N.
(651) 439-8679 (763)-434-3654 [email protected] Plymouth, MN 55446
Past Presidents [email protected]

Frank Frison (447th BG) William Herbert (96th BG) Earl B. Joswick (95th BG) Ed Kueppers (AM)

James Keefe (95th BG) Richard Postier (96th BG) Harold Rutka (34th BG) Dave Dahlberg (487th BG)

Don Zupan (379th BG) Don Bruns (379th BG) Larry Bachman (392nd BG) Don Kent (401st BG)

Clyde Thompson (490th Dick Kaminski (457th BG) Robert Clemens (15thAF) Al Anderson (ARDC)


Newsletter prepared and edited by Lawrence Sagstetter, 1696 E. Third St., St. Paul, MN 55106,

Phone: 651-776-7434, Email: [email protected].

Recte Faciendo Neminem Timeo – "I Fear None In Doing Right."

8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota Fall, 2012

Presidentʼs Report

By Steve Marks Chaplainʼs Message

My thanks to all who volunteered at “When they saw the courage of Peter and John
the airshows in 2011. Thanks to all and realized they were unschooled, ordinary
our 8th members who helped organize and staff men, they were astonished and they took note
our selling tables. There are many who have that that these men had been with Jesus.”
done so much to help. Acts 4:13

We participated in three airshows this past Peter and John had been with Jesus for 3
summer. Unlike last year, we had good years. They were common men who had
weather for each event. Attendance was learned from the Son of God, Jesus. They had
terrific. We did well selling memorabilia and listened as Jesus taught, prayed and watched
knick-knacks. As always, we received terrific how Jesus interacted with people. All of us
support from the people at Golden Wings should do no less.
Museum. Craig Shiller and Greg Herrick were
especially helpful at Anoka-Blaine. -Bob Clemens

The sun was hot at AirExpo in July. But so ”It is probable that future wars will
were the sales at our booth. Thanks to the be conducted by a special class,
Kaminski family and to Bob Jasperson for their
terrific efforts in organizing that event, for the air force, as it was by the
getting the sponsors, for flying in the VIPs that armored Knights of the Middle
distinguish AirExpo year after year.
Our Christmas Party at Manciniʼs Sunday,
December 2, is coming up fast. First, though, is — Brigadier General William 'Billy' Mitchell,
Veterans Day on Monday, November 12. 'Winged Defense,' 1924.
Wherever you are that day, there will be events
to celebrate our nationʼs veterans. Find a Harold Lausen helps re-build B-17
dinner, church service or community event to Sentimental Journey
attend. Be a part of celebrating your service
and sacrifices to our country. You, the
veterans, deserve it!

Our website,, continues to grow
thanks to the efforts of Kevin Callahan. Click on
the Photos and Video link at the top of the
page. Our website has become a deep
reservoir of historical information about our 8th
members and many other local veterans.

May God Bless Them All and may God Bless
the United States of America.

-Steve Marks.


8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota Fall, 2012

So attending 8th members enjoyed it, took care After the ceremony, I had the chance to meet
of eating it for him. Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley. I
also stopped to chat with the newly installed
Larry returned to the luncheons the very next Chief of Staff of the Air Force General Mark
week. He lost a bit of weight. But everything Welsh, pictured below. General Welsh is an
seems to be working fine. He says he feels accomplished flier, very gracious, friendly and
better than he did prior to the surgery. He looks approachable. He is a gifted speaker and
good. And he is looking forward to attending leader who will serve the Air Force well.
the Manciniʼs 8th Christmas party.
Bishop William Dendinger, Chaplain, United
The US Army Air Force knew what it was doing States Air Force Association, spoke eloquently
when it chose Larry Bachman as a B-24 pilot. in his opening remarks at the wreath laying
He is a selfless leader who exhibits grace ceremony at the US Air Force Memorial. He is
under pressure, a real bull of a man who loves from Grand Island, Nebraska. He signed a
life, his family and his many friends. copy of his printed remarks for me. I reprint
them here for you.
Just got back from the annual Air Force
Association convention in Washington, DC. We hope to see as many of you as can make it
This one was the best yet for me. The to Manciniʼs Sunday, December 2.!
convention always holds a wreath laying
ceremony at the Air Force Memorial next to Air Force Association Memorial Reflection
Arlington Cemetery. Upon arrival at the By Bishop William Dendinger
memorial I came upon a large wreath
dedicated to Air Force veterans of World War Air Force Memorial: Washington, DC
II, pictured here. Sunday, September 16, 2012

Thank you for the invitation to speak at this
memorial place of pride, reverence and
remembrance. It may be at the similar date,
same time and same meeting every year. But
each year it has a unique spirit and changing


8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota Fall, 2012

On August 20, 1940 Winston Churchill made our freedom and national security. Today we
this comment in his speech during the Battle of have so few defending so many in comparison
Britain. “Never in the field of human conflict has to previous numbers in the Army, Navy, Air
so much been owed by so many to so few.” Force, Marines and Coast Guard. Today we
specifically remember and honor those who
That battle was the battle in the air over have served in the United States Air Force.
southern Britain in July – October 1940. It was Truly, this is a case of “…so much owed by so
a very difficult time for Britain. In June 1940 many to so few.”
France had collapsed and installed a pro-Nazi
government. In the summer of 1940, the Giving thanks and remembering is a very
outcome of World War II in Europe depended religious and biblical quality. In the Old
on whether or not the Nazis would succeed in Testament remembering the divine intervention
destroying the Royal Air Force. Many people of the Exodus, the passage from slavery to
had noted that the number of actual freedom, is a dominant and key theme. Each
combatants involved in this particular battle year the Passover Feast begins with the
was very small and there were remarks to the question, “Why is this night different from all
effect that the fighting in the skies was rather other nights.” And the response of all is, “This
like some ancient battle between champions. is the night to remember when we were freed
from slavery and subjugation and given
The United freedom and hope.”
States Air
Force In the New Testament we remember the
Memorial, Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus as a
Washington, passage from death to life.
In all world religions there is a power of
It was quite different from the land battles remembering the divine interventions that have
between huge armies. However, the outcome shaped, and are shaping, our human initiatives
was of the utmost importance. Churchill meant for which we give thanks.
that the whole population (“so many”) owed so
much to so few (the RAF pilots) who saved In our short history of United States, it would
England from Hitler. take long to list and identify all the holidays for
which we remember great achievements of
Today, our gratitude and remembrance has freedom in our nation: From the Fourth of July
similarities to Churchillʼs words of 1940. Many, to the recent 9/11 remembrance.
if not all citizens, owe so much to so few who These historical events shape our citizenship
have defended, and are presently defending, and our character.

This morning we remember all the members of
the Air Force who have shaped our nation and
we are most appreciative of those shaping our
present and future Air Force members. This
lofty monument reminds all who gaze at it that
individuals shape the Air Force teams in so
many diverse and far-flung places today. It


8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota Fall, 2012

reminds us to aim high as an individual and as did not leave us to be torn by their fangs. We
a united force. escaped with our lives like a bird from a
fowlerʼs snare; the snare was broken and we
We can be proud as we look back at our Air escaped. Our help is the name of the Lord, the
Force heritage and we are so impressed by our maker of heaven and earth.” Amen.!
present men and women in the Air Force.
Whether deployed or at their permanent bases, The Old Airfield
they are a great living reminder of heroism.
They are the outstanding citizens and airmen. Strolling through these fields so green
But we should not be naïve about the future. Where once a throng of life has been
The military, even the Air Force, is not as A feeling so evoked in me
visible as this Air Force Memorial shadowing Of sadness amidst tranquility
our service this morning. My 11 years of
retirement in the Midwest has a painful For beneath where now grows golden corn
reminder: The Air Force is not as well known Bonds as strong as steel were born
as it needs to be. Laughter, tears and stories shared
Amongst the comrades of the air
I live 100 miles from the nearest Air Force And as on concrete strips I tread
Guard unit and 150 miles from the nearest The backbone from whence missions led
active duty base. Economic and political I can almost hear the roar
realities cloud out understanding the vital As engines to the heavens soar
needs of the United States Air Force. Itʼs not “We count them out, we count them in”
hopeless, but the Air Force story needs to be Through the ever ascending din
told over and over and over. We need to be This, by those who watched and cared
very concrete and practical. If friends and For men whose lives might not be spared
acquaintances speak about visiting Day after day, night after night
Washington, DC, remind them to visit the Air Into another enduring flight
Force Memorial and understand what it The hardcore now so cracked and worn
represents for freedom today and tomorrow. Each tell a story for those who mourn
Yet now looking up to the clear night sky
I want to close with a plea to remind us of the Over the airfield to stars on high
source of our strength. We rely on human I feel sure that in this patchwork of land
initiatives like our military forces. But ultimately Our faithful friends stretch out their hands
we rely on Divine Power. Listen to Psalm 124 This land which now yields sheaves of gold
as I conclude our reflection. Will forever breathe a life of old
Never forget – they came, they went
“Let Israel say, had not the Lord been with us, And for you and me their lives were spent.
when people rose against us, they would have
swallowed us alive, for their fury blazed against -Kate Kirkum, May 2004
us. The waters would have engulfed us, the
torrent overwhelmed us, seething waters would
have drowned us. Blessed be the Lord, who


8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota Fall, 2012

Please keep your records up to date and ours as well. Annual
dues need to be paid for each year at the beginning of the
year. Family and friends are welcome to join.
Donations are accepted as well.

*Note: New price of $15 per year. Thank you.

8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota Membership


First Name Middle Initial Last Name


Street Apt. No. City

State Zip Code Tel. No. 8th AF unit or other service?

I want to subscribe for: 1 Year, $15.00_____ 2 Years, $30.00_____ 3 Years, $45.00_____ Other____

E-mail address______________________________________________________________________

Please send this form (or a copy) with your check or money order for $10.00 per year to:

8th Air Force Historical Society of MN
Gary Birchem, Treasurer
28790 Ivywood TRL
Chisago City, MN 55013


8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota Fall, 2012

Harold Laursen: tells the story. His secret to success in battle
A Ball Turret Gunnerʼs Story was to always keep the ball turret moving.
Even if he wasnʼt firing his guns he kept the
Harold Laursenʼs farm is easy to spot south of ball moving so the enemy would leave him
Lakeville. Itʼs the one with the B-17 on the alone. Enemy airplanes were wary and stayed
welcome sign at the entryway to his driveway. clear of moving ball turrets.
And if you walk around the house, you can spot
a homemade weathervane in the shape of a B- Like Cliff Digre, Harold didnʼt mind working the
17. In a stiff wind the propellers rotate. turret on the underside of the plane. He thought
the training for it was fun. In battle he actually
The B-17 ʻs are a clear indicator the property felt safer down there – so long as he had his
belongs to a WWII airman. Harold is proud of communication link. His thinking was that
his history as a B-17 ball turret gunner. Though incoming rounds and flak bounced off the
he never wrote a book like Cliff Digre, he has rounded glass of the ball turret. And it was a
kept meticulous records of his service. He more difficult target than, say, a waist gunner
maintains the records in two fat, overflowing or tail gunner.
volumes. He has memorabilia to go with it.
Haroldʼs story is unique. The crew to which he Haroldʼs last mission was on his birthday. For
was originally assigned were all killed early on. his service he received the Air Medal and
He was a bit older than most of the freshly Sharpshooter medal. Hard manual labor has
minted airmen entering the war. So he had no been a hallmark of his life both on and off the
crew. And he didnʼt always fit in with the farm.
younger men of the 384th Bomb Group.
Because of these circumstances, Harold In his retirement, Harold joined the
became sort of a utility ball turret gunner. Confederate Air Force. He worked on
Instead of flying with the same crew throughout rebuilding the B-17 Sentimental Journey in
his service, he flew with many different crews. Mesa, Arizona. He helped hand polish the
He flew on 18 different B-17s with at least four finish and add a new wing to the restored
different pilots. He was never with the same aircraft.
plane long enough to get shot down.
That is how he “dodged the bullet,” as Harold To this day Harold cares deeply about his
friends and crewmates who died during and
after the war. His favorite piece of memorabilia
is a framed picture of the B-17, “Fightnʼ Hebe.”
He flew on that particular plane when his

navigator was killed in

He still has his original
bomber jacket, as
well. On it is the
insignia patch of the
544th Squadron of the
384th Bomb Group.
The jacket is shown
here with his oxygen
mask and dagger.!


8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota Fall, 2012

The Short Snorter Escape and Evasion Kits

Looking through Harold Lausenʼs packages of Each airman was equipped with an escape and
memorabilia, I came upon a dollar bill. It was in evasion kit by the Army Air Force. Included
pristine condition. On it were the signatures of were silk flags printed with maps of Germany
men he crewed with and others he met during and surrounding countries. Below is one of
his time in England. Harold Lausenʼs silk flag maps. He has two of
them. One is printed with map of Germany.
The bill I had found Another has Belgium printed on it.
was a Short
Snorter, like the Both flags are in pristine condition. They fold
one shown here. up small and are very durable. They are as
During World War readable today as they were 70 years ago.
II, short snorters Haroldʼs maps are indicative of the staying
were signed by power and durability of printed silk.
flight crews and For show and tell, Al Anderegg once brought to
conveyed good a luncheon a deck of escape playing cards.
luck to soldiers This was a special deck of cards with a map
crossing to Europe. hidden inside the layers of paper. Known as a
“map deck,” it was made by hiding maps of
Friends would take secret escape routes between the two paper
a piece of currency layers of the playing cards.
and sign each When soaked in water, the cards could be
other's bills peeled apart to reveal hidden pieces of maps.
creating a Laid out next to each other, a POW could piece
keepsake of their together a map in its entirety.
buddy's signatures.
The tradition of
short snorters was
started by Alaskan
Bush flyers in the
1920s and spread
through the military and commercial aviation. In
true short snorter tradition, anyone unable to
produce their bill during the mission would be
the one buying the drinks when they got safely
back to base.

Short Snorters can be found on eBay for
premium prices. But it is hard to find a good
one without ink stains or creases. Haroldʼs
Short is in mint condition. Itʼs a real museum
piece, whether he knows it or not.

8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota Fall, 2012

Airmen carried the decks of cards with them on
their airplanes. They were also included in Red
Cross packages sent to POW camps.
Apparently, the existence of the cards was a
highly guarded state secret.

No Distance Too Vast

(A favorite Poem of Harold Laursen)

How can I – or anyone – stray far
From what we were or what we are
Or disown the lifelong daisy chain
That forges a link to what we think

Was left behind, too far to find.
There are no distances too vast
To come back and not find the past
Perched on the doorstep whole and sound
And patient as Ulysses’ hound that waits,

Sure of its rightful place
Knowing not how, where or when
But certain you will come home again.

-E. B. de Vito


8th AFHS of MN
2012 Christmas Party




















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