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Published by BBYRA, 2019-05-03 22:17:16

April 2019 Final reduced

April 2019 Final reduced

Volume 28, Number 1

April, 2019

70th Berlin Airlift Commemorated

2018 marked the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Berlin Airlift, which lasted from June 26, 1948 to
September 30, 1949. The Washington, DC based Embassy of Germany celebrated the anniversary, along with
US Air Force senior leadership, at the Air Force Memorial outside of Arlington Cemetery.

Colonel Gail Halvorsen, otherwise known as the “Candy Bomber” was brought
in from Utah for the occasion. Now 99 years of age, Colonel Halvorsen was
exceedingly modest of his historic achievements. Dressed in the same uniform
he wore in the 1940’s, Colonel Halvorsen greeted your editor with gracious
enthusiasm. It was, indeed, an honor to be surprised by the presence of such a
noteworthy historical person one usually reads about only in history books.

The accomplishments of the Berlin Airlift were stupendous, even by today’s
standards. In the year and three months the Berlin Airlift was in operation, the
US Air Force and Royal Air Force performed 277,569 supply flights with a
combined cargo of 2.34 million tons. It was a unified allied effort including pilots from
the US, Great Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.
Col. Halvorsen remembered how his candy drops began: "One day, I met about thirty
children at the barbed wire fence that protected Tempelhof's huge area.” Touched,
Halvorsen reached into his pocket and took out two sticks of gum to give to the children.
Watching the children, so many of who had absolutely nothing, Halvorsen regretted not
having more to give them. He wanted to do more for the children, and so told them that
the following day he would have enough gum for all of them and he would drop it out of
his plane. One child asked, "How will we know it is your plane?" Halvorsen responded
that he would wiggle his wings.
That night Halvorsen, his copilot, and his engineer pooled their candy rations for the next day's drop. The
accumulated candy was heavy, so in order to ensure the falling candy did not hurt the children, Halvorsen hand-
made three parachutes out of handkerchiefs and tied them to the rations. In the morning, when Halvorsen and
his crew made regular supply drops, they also dropped three boxes of candy attached to handkerchiefs. They
made these drops once a week for three weeks.
The last “Candy Bomber” landed at the Berlin Tempelhof Airport on September 30, 1949.

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, 2019

Pre s i de nt Vice President Tre as ure r John Ahaus
Steve Marks Dick Hill (179th FS) Gary Birchem 10548 Penn Ave., S
5121 Gorgas Ave. 934 Woody Lane 28790 Ivywood TRL Bloomington, MN 55431
Edina, MN 55424 Coon Rapids, MN 55448 Chisago City, MN 55013 (612) 720-8307
(952) 926-0148 (763) 755-3559 (651) 257-1550 [email protected]
(952)-797-2783 [email protected] almostaranch02@
[email protected] Vince Parker
Dick Kaminski 38 Moonlight Bay
Marv Jansma 6633 Xerxes Ave S Gene Kretchmer Stillwater, MN 55082
14721 Denmark Ct Minneapolis, MN 55423 11206 Virginia Rd. (651) 439-8679
Apple Valley, MN 55124 (612) 869-5978 Bloomington, MN 55438
(952) 423-1260 (952) 943-3988

James Rasmussen Lawrence Sagstetter
18273 Fillmore St., NE 4035 Victoria St N #313
Cedar, MN 55011 Shoreview, MN 55126
(763)-434-3654 [email protected]

Past Presidents

Frank Frison (447th BG) William Herbert (96th BG) Earl B. Joswick (95th BG) Ed Kueppers (AM)
Dave Dahlberg (487th BG)
James Keefe (95th BG) Richard Postier (96th BG) Harold Rutka (34th BG) Don Kent (401st BG)
Al Anderson (ARDC)
Don Zupan (379th BG) Don Bruns (379th BG) Larry Bachman (392nd BG)

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

Newsletter prepared and edited by Lawrence Sagstetter, 4035 V ictoria St N #313, Shoreview, MN 55126.
Phone: 651-776-7434, Email: [email protected].

“Deterrence through strength, global strike on demand.”



8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota April, 2019
It's awesome and it would do a lot of
good to have the non-understanding
President’s Report people see the ceremonies so they might
get at least a small understanding of how
By Steve Marks people really see the U.S. efforts on their
Last year for Memorial Day I decided to GOD BLESS THE UNITED STATES OF
volunteer to be part of the group putting flags AMERICA!
on all the graves at Fort Snelling Cemetery.
Some of us planted flags while others checked From our former chaplain, the
to make sure all graves in each section have a late Bob Clemens:
flag. I checked graves in two sections to insure
all had flags. I expect to do the same this year. God promised strength to the
It should be wonderful day! Memorial Day is descendants of Abraham, Isaac and
always special to me. Jacob in Isaiah.
The promise to followers of Jesus is
I have some bitter feelings about people everything in Romans 8:31-32: “What,
who can't honor our flag and veterans. We then, shall we say in response to this? If
have those who won't stand for the National God is for us, who can be against us?
Anthem. What they accomplish is He who did not spare his own Son, but
disrespecting all those who have fought for gave him up for us all – how will he not
our country. Those who have been in harm's also, along with him, graciously give us
way for this country - all of us - and have paid all things?
with their lives are especially disrespected by
those actions of a few. If you have a beef like 3
those who don't honor by a simple action, the
beef is political and not something relating to
what we veterans have done with our service
to the USA. Make a political statement, don't
diss the country and all who have served.

Another thing really getting under my skin
along these lines is those who don't
understand that vets understand and honor
each other. Flowers on graves of those you
didn't know is not a slap at the individual. It is
a personal honoring of that vet by another vet.
I guess some just don't have enough to
complain about.

I have a cousin buried in a US military
cemetery in Belgium (part of Patton's 3rd
Army) and have visited his grave twice. Two
days before Memorial Day all US military
cemeteries in Europe have a ceremony put on
by the local military and dignitaries. (I have
participated in them.)


8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota April, 2019

Editor: Consider it done, Joan. Note: We also
The Airman’s Creed published a story about your father, Harold
Laursen, in May, 2013.
I am an American Airman.
I am a Warrior. Letter to the Editor

I have answered my Nation’s call. Thank you for mailing to me 8th newsletters
and invitations to the annual Christmas
I am an American Airman. parties.
My mission is to Fly, Fight and Win.
My dear dad served in the Army Air Corps in
I am faithful to a Proud Heritage. WWII in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska. He
A Tradition of Honor. was very proud of his service and so was I.
And a legacy of Valor. He spoke of it - being in the Army Air Corps
– often. Dad met and maintained a close
I am an American Airman. friendship with one of the men in his unit.
Guardian of Freedom and Justice. He lived in White Bear Lake. And my
My Nation’s Sword and Shield. parents lived on the Eastside of St. Paul.

Its Sentry and Avenger. Our families got together often when I was a
I defend my Country with my Life. child: enjoying picnics, birthday parties,
grilling and more. I thought of this family as
I am an American Airman. relatives. I still connect with one of my
Wingman, Leader, Warrior. “cousins” to this day – he lives in Portland,
I will never leave an Airman behind. OR.

I will never falter. I know if Dad was alive, he would have
And I will not fail. enjoyed meeting fellow veterans of the 8th.
They would have enjoyed him as well. He
-US Air force Reserve Command was outgoing and always friendly. Dad died
in 1998 and I think about him often. He was
Letter to the Editor a wonderful man.

Do you print notices of death of members in I moved to Oregon a year ago. It has been an
your newsletter? My father, Harold Laursen, enjoyable experience spending time with my
passed away on October 25, 2018 at the age family, making new friends, becoming active
of 97 years and 10 months. He was in the in the community and settling into a friendly
384th Bomb Group stationed at Grafton neighborhood.
Underwood. He was a ball turret gunner and
flew his 35th (and last) mission on his Know that I truly appreciate being on the
birthday in December, 1944. mailings and will always remember the
wonderful people I met at the Christmas
He was not able to attend your activities. But party, air shows and more.
he certainly enjoyed reading your
newsletter. With appreciation,

-Joan Storlie -Janis Stoven



8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota April, 2019

Folded Wings went on to make countless presentations and
many anecdotal insights at 8th luncheons for
Former 8th of MN Secretary Glenn Froberg years to come.
passed away April 8 at age 92. He was a
smart, understated guy with much public John’s own military history included
service to his credit. He enlisted in the Navy
at age 17. Served on Badoeing Strait Aircraft . participation in two covert missions in 1956:
Carrier during WWII.
one in Yugoslavia, the other in the USSR.
John spent quite a bit of time in China. There,
he and his wife Eva located, retrieved and
repatriated remnants of the Doolittle Raid
Plane #5 - Lt. Paul Gray's B-25 "Whiskey

As recently as last October, John represented
the 8th AFHS of MN on local radio. Al

Malmberg, host of World of Aviation on

WCCO radio invited John onto his show to
discuss 8th Air Force issues and history as

well as his own personal history. Al

introduced John as retired USMC & aviation
historian of the 8th Air Force.

A graduate of Northwestern University, John Uldrich was knowledgeable about many
Glenn, mid-career, put himself through law things. He was an important, vocal member
school at William Mitchell. He became a of the 8th of MN. We miss his presence, his
lawyer, city attorney, mayor of Tonka Bay. love of aviation history and that of the 8th of
His volunteer activities are too many to list MN. He was one of a kind.
here. He learned to fly & had his own small
plane. In the photo, John Uldrich is pictured with our
own Lloyd Flynn. USMC comrades in arms.
Glenn's memorial service was Saturday, April Semper Fi, gentlemen!
27. It was very well attended by 8th members
and his many friends and family. We will
greatly miss Glenn Froberg at Wednesday

Longtime 8th of MN member John Uldrich,

a proud former US Marine, died January 28.
John had once worked with Military
Transports, Marine Corps Air Station
(MCAS), El Toro, CA 1956-58 active duty,
then 4 years reserve.

Author of a White Paper about the Doolittle
Raid, John’s luncheon presentation, “The
Doolittle Raid April 18, 1943,” was made at
the 8th AFHS – MN on April 17, 2013. He



8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota April, 2019
The War to End All Wars…One Hundred foug ht so valiantly one hundred years ago.

Years On During the ceremony at the Flanders Field
American Cemetery, at Waregem, Belgium, I was
By Mary L. Berg able to find and photograph the headstones of
twenty-two of the twenty-five veterans from
In August of last year, I had the good fortune Minnesota and Wisconsin buried in those
of leading a tour of the Klatt family of grounds, alongside four-hundred fellow
Glenwood City, Wisconsin, to France where soldiers. Sadly, Pvt. William T. Fossum from
we first visited the grave of their uncle, PFC Minnesota, was killed on the very last day of
Helmer H. Alseth, killed on August 9th, 1944, the war. Three of these veterans were WOM
during the D-Day Battle in Normandy. We then (Without Monument).
traveled to eastern France where we visited St.
Mihiel American Cemetery, the resting place of Many of the American and British graves all
the Klatt’s great-uncle, Pvt Helmer Nestor throughout Europe have been ‘adopted’ by
Dragseth, who perished on November 20th, very caring locals, who diligently place flowers
1918, just after the Armistice. on the graves of their adopted veteran----such a
beautiful sight!
At the end of our journey in August, we knew
it was ‘Mission Accomplished’. After walking the Sadly, the silence ending the War to End All
battlefields and seeing the history made there, Wars would last only nineteen years and two-
the Klatt family was finally able to bid farewell hundred-fifty-eight days until Hitler’s Germany
to their uncle and great-uncle and better maniacally took to the battlefields…ironically to
understand why their uncles died on these avenge Germany’s loss in WWI.
battlefields, wearing the uniform of the United
States Army, fighting for their country. Because warnings weren’t heeded, nor lessons
learned, the dominoes of war began to fall
In November of this year I again returned to again. It would be five years, two-hundred-
the WWI ‘Western Front’, this time in Belgium, forty-seven days until the guns of war in
touring the northern Flanders area, where the Europe would once again be mercifully,
British Army valiantly fought the German foe, gloriously silent.
to final Allied victory.

In the city of Ypres, In Flanders Fields Museum At last, Silent Night, Holy Night. May 8th, 1945;
certainly offered a glimpse into the horrific both World Wars, finally over in Europe….
battles of the Great War, yet while traveling hopefully, never forgotten, so never to be
through the villages and towns you really see repeated.
and sense the true cost of what happened one
hundred years ago. You cannot go more than
few miles in any direction without seeing a
cemetery, a monument, a memorial dedicated
to those who fought for freedom and to those
who sacrificed so much. The memories, the
loss will never be forgotten.

At the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of
the eleventh day of the eleventh month, in the
year twenty-eighteen, the country of Belgium
and all the other nations who fought to end the
Great War, stood in respect to honor those who


8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota April, 2019

Sunday, December 2, about 85 8th of MN members, friends and family attended our Christmas

party at Mancini’s. Not a bad turnout considering membership has declined to about 259

members. Bill & Kate Isles visited from Duluth to perform folk songs, Christmas standards &

WWII period pieces. The last song, Silent Night, had a big impact as most joined in to sing with

the entertainers. Someone noted the song Silent Night was sung by confined POW’s in

Germany. Here are some photos from the event.


8 th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota April, 2019


8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota April, 2019

HBO Series “The Mighty Eighth”
Has $500 Million Budget. Possible 2019 Finish.

Home Box Office has undertaken a major project to depict the Eighth
Air Force in an upcoming 10-episode mini-series. The budget is
reported to be $500 million with Steven Spielberg directing Tom
Hanks and others in the making of the video. Target date for
completion of the project is said to be sometime 2019. A three-minute
preliminary trailer of the film can be found on the internet.

The new series will feature daylight bomber raids by American forces
over Nazi Germany. Those raids were launched from bases in Norfolk
and Suffolk, which are on the east coast of England. Reports are the
film will focus on the camaraderie and the bonding inside the
bombers. The film is based on the book, “Masters of the Air”. But the
name of the series is “The Mighty Eighth” because of it’s storied,
distinguished service and reputation spread across the whole of
Europe – and in newsreels home and abroad.

The trailer mixes new scenes with actual
historic footage. Together, interactions
between crewmembers inside B-24 fuselages
combined with actual war video in the
background are frighteningly realistic. The
shown out-take photo from a Ploesti bombing
scene is downright scary. It makes one
appreciate the stunning guts & bravery of
those aircrews that flew planes through
exploding artillery shells and oncoming
defender aircraft.

News item: The Wall Street Journal reports Henry Block of H & R Block died recently. It
reports Henry served in the Army Air Corps as a navigator on B-17 bombers in WW II.
Henry Bloch survived 32 combat missions over Germany.

Interesting note: Mr. Bloch and his younger brother Richard, who ran a small, struggling
bookkeeping firm in Kansas City, Mo., in the mid-1950s, saw tax preparation as
peripheral to their business and planned to eliminate it. But one client, John White, an ad
salesman for the Kansas City Star, urged them to try running ads offering to prepare
individuals’ federal and state taxes for $5. The ads brought in such a flood of business
they decided to focus on tax returns. They ended up dumping the bookkeeping work.
It’s interesting how – with a bit of luck - success takes a winding road!



8 th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota April, 2019

8th Air Force Losses in Da ytime Schweinfort Raids

Wikipedia lists losses from August 17, 1943 raid on Schweinfurt, Germany as 60 airplanes lost, 55 of which
were bombers. 552 crewmen went missing. About half of those became prisoners-of-war. Sixty aircraft were lost

over German-controlled territory, in Switzerland, or ditched at sea, with five crewmen rescued. Seven crewmen
were killed aboard bombers safely returning to base, and 21 wounded.

Schweinfurt 11 took place Thursday, October 14, 1943. It was quickly apparent at English air bases that a
disaster had occurred, when bomber after bomber failed to return. Then the results were tabulated: 60
bombers down over Europe, five more lost near or over England and 17 aircraft damaged beyond repair.
Although other targets produced equal or greater total losses, the 26 percent loss figure recorded during
Schweinfurt II made it the most costly mission of the war for the Eighth Air Force. 650 men were lost,
representing about 22 percent of all available bomber crews.

During the week prior to Black Thursday, the Eighth Air Force lost nearly 90 more bombers on three other

missions. Airplanes were being lost faster than they could be produced and aircrews trained. In today’s world
it is impossible to imagine such mammoth losses of aircraft. The country would be in crisis like never before.

Daylight vs. Nighttime bombing only attack singly or in pairs.
of Germany: An Analysis
Had the bombers been completely naked to
In the aftermath of Schweinfurt 11, it would fighter attack, it would have been well into
appear that the British doctrine of night 1944 before the USAAF had enough escort
bombing was vindicated and the American fighters to cover the hundreds of bombers
daylight precision concept discredited. But that that took part in raids. As it was, the
was not the case, for several different reasons. toughness and defensive firepower of the B-
17 and the B-24 made the job of fighter
It was true that B-24s and B-17s could not escorts easier.
withstand determined fighter opposition
without sustaining prohibitive losses. But the ‘Without their own fighter escort they
key word was ‘determined.’ American heavies [bombers] were no match for enemy
were far more able to withstand fighter assault fighters,’ Cajus Bekker wrote in the book
than other bombers, which was why the Luftwaffe War Diaries. But the effect of their
Germans were forced to add cannon and guns, multiplied by the overlapping
rockets to their aircraft to provide the necessary firepower coverage of the combat box,
firepower to bring bombers down without resulted in a ‘veritable barrage. The whole
being shot down themselves by the heavy aircraft bristled with guns, leaving no blind
defensive screen. spots.’

The extra weight and drag resulting from the In addition, the Luftwaffe was forced to
added weaponry made them much more bleed other fronts of precious day fighters to
vulnerable to Allied fighters—which meant that counter the effectiveness of day bombing,
the Germans needed large numbers of fighters allowing these aircraft to be hunted down
to penetrate the bombers’ defensive screen, and and destroyed by Allied fighters.
that they usually stayed outside the screen or
waited for stragglers or cripples if they could Night area bombing, on the other hand,
while destructive had little measurable


8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota April, 2019

Photos of damaged airplanes: Above,
during Schweinfurt raid; Below, after
effect on the Nazi armaments industry, as having returned from the raid. Hard to
Albert Speer and others have emphasized believe they could make return in
repeatedly. It did not destroy civilian morale conditions pictured.
when used against either England or Germany,
and American fire-bombing raids against the
Japanese had little appreciable effect until the
awesome power of the atom bomb ended that
conflict. ‘It was not…area bombing by night
that struck the vital blow at German survival,’
Bekker wrote. ‘This mission was accomplished
to a far greater extent by the selective and
precision bombing of the Eighth Air Force in
daylight. Careful choice of targets and
effectively crushing them – that is what finally
brought the whole German war machine to a

Moreover, night bombers were not immune to
fighter interception. On the night of February 19-
20, 1944, over Leipzig, the British Royal Air
Force lost 78 bombers. Another 72 were lost
March 24-25 en route to Berlin, and another 94
over Nuremberg March 30-3 1. These
catastrophic losses forced the temporary
suspension of the night bombing offensive.

But the march of history during the past 50 years
has relegated competing arguments over
strategic bombing to academic theories only.
Schweinfurt is quiet now, having returned to the
anonymity it enjoyed before 1943. There is not
much there to commemorate the carnage that
took place overhead so many years ago, and that
is too bad, because Schweinfurt and Ploesti later
in the war, should



Actual photo by Gary Chambers from air show in Missouri.

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