The words you are searching are inside this book. To get more targeted content, please make full-text search by clicking here.
Discover the best professional documents and content resources in AnyFlip Document Base.
Published by BBYRA, 2019-04-25 22:17:59



Volume 23, Number 2

January, 2014

Floyd Rodmyre Flew British Spitfires

At the age of 21, Floyd Rodmyre earned his Air Force flying wings. He almost didn’t make it, nearly
washed out on his last check rides. But they let him through. Little did he know what was to come: Flying 130
missions in British Spitfires out of Africa and Sicily, where he met up with Patton

Floyd started flying P-39’s. He didn’t realize what a lousey plane it was until he
was asked to fly a British Spitfire in Morrocco. It had little range before having
to be refueled. But, “Oh what a joy to fly!” Easy to handle and responsive, “It did
what you wanted when you needed it.”

Flying missions in Spitfires, “Many missions we saw no action.” “Some
missions, all hell broke loose.” Off the coast of Sicily, the US Navy fired at him
when he and his friend would fly too close to ships. Another time his plane was
hit by a German fighter’s cannon. It blew a 1 square foot hole in his canopy.
Round fragments penetrated his leather helmet and entered his scalp. Once back
on base, surgeons removed the shell fragments. Rodmyre went back up in the air
the next day.

Floyd remembers seeing General Patton stop by his hanger in Sicily. He
came in a jeep with a riding whip. “You could see his pearl handled relover when he got up out of the jeep.
Patton said, ‘Now you look like soldiers I am proud to command. Good luck.’ With that, he was off.”

The name of the Spitfire Floyd flew was known as the “Flying Viking.”
That was 20 years before the Vikings football team came into being.

In the photos, Floyd shows off an actual
Spitfire pilot’s stick. Top button was to fire
machine guns; Bottom button fired the cannon.
At right is his unit patch for the 31st Fighter
Group of the 308th Fighter Squadron. He is
holding a shell used in the Spitfire’s gun.

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, 2014

President Vice President Treasurer Kevin Callahan
Steve Marks Dick Hill (179th FS) Gary Birchem 1553 Maple Hill Rd.
5121 Gorgas Ave. 934 Woody Lane 28790 Ivywood TRL Houlton, WI 54082
Edina, MN 55424 Coon Rapids, MN 55448 Chisago City, MN 55013 (651) 253-6018
(952) 926-0148 (763) 755-3559 (651) 257-1550
(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 January, 2014

President’s Report invited to both reunions and hope
By Steve Marks members of both groups come to our
Wednesday luncheon.
Another air show year has gone by. We
have seen more people becoming interested in We've passed another year and it seems a
World War 2 history. long time ago since our "big bomber" airshow
at Golden Wings Museum at the Anoka County
A 14-year old girl was given a present of an airport. Our airshow was successful despite
hour ride in the Collings P-51 at our Big the slowdown in the economy. Lots of people
Bomber air show. She was thrilled and was came to see the planes and talk but there was
given flying instruction during her ride. When little buying.
she got out of the plane she went to the prop
and hugged a blade. She was ecstatic! Her Thanks to all who volunteered at the
grandfather definitely got his money's worth show. If it weren’t for you, it would not have
from that ride. He was as happy as she was. been a success. Also, there are those who
helpl setting up and putting away the flags and
We had one of the original '909' B-17 pilots books for our luncheons - thanks to you, too.
at the Big Bomber show. Basil lives in
Springfield, MO. He was part of the Saturday Two of our members, Bob Clemens and Vince
seminar and was very interesting. Parker, were interviewed at last year's big
Our seminars were: Saturday-Andrew from bomber show. the interviews were tastefully
Collings, Bob Clemens, Vince done and very well edited. In fact, it was so
Parker, Basil and Liz Strofus. good the interview dvd was awarded a regional
emmy. The dvd's name is "The Navigator and
Sunday - Bob Clemens and Basil talked and The Tail Gunner." It has been downloaded to
a DVD of interviews of Bob Clemens and Vince YouTube for those who would like to see it and
Parker was shown. The DVD was a real it's well worth the time.
showstopper. Jerry Whiting, the author,
moderated both days. We even had good We have had a huge loss. At the beginning
weather for all air shows. of September we lost Larry Bachman. Larry
was a man you could easily talk to. (If you
Three of our members were given rides didn't know what to say, anything about a B-24
purchased by a man from St. Paul. would be a good start.) Larry was our air show
He wanted his son and himself to ride in the B- chair and was always there until his failing
24 with WW2 vets. Two B-17 vets and one health stopped him this year. He started the
Korean era vet got the rides. I won't mention 'big bomber' show years ago and knew the
any names, but all three had big smiles on their Collings pilots to the point they would ask for
faces when they got back on the ground! him when they arrived at the Blaine airport. He
had an infectious smile and is the epitome of
Two bomb groups, the 385th and 463rd, are the Greatest Generation. He is sorely missed.
having their reunions at the new
hotel at the Mall of America. We have been One of our members is Don Patton.
Don is the driving force behind the HAROLD
ROUNDTABLE. He has done a remarkable


8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota January, 2014

job putting programs together and has a Editor’s Notes
wonderful passion for saving the Greatest
Generation history. It is always a treat going to Just received word that Bob Holden died. Bob
the Round Table sessions the second was a proud Pearl Harbor survivor. Until
Thursday night of each month at Fort Snelling. recently, he attended Wednesday luncheons
regularly. He was always showing photos and
Remember those who have gone before telling funny, interesting war stories. Like the
us. Please keep them in your prayers. time he was in New Guinea. It rained
God Bless the United States of America. constantly. One night his rain soaked multi-
person tent caved in. A big snake had fallen on
-Steve it.

Bob Holden was a walking history book. That’s
Chaplain’s Message because he spent some 3.5 years in the South
Pacific during WWII. He had scrapbooks
“When they saw the courage of Peter and John loaded with black and white photos. And he
and realized they were unschooled, ordinary enjoyed showing color photos of his many
men, they were astonished and they took note veteran friends. The last time I saw him he
that that these men had been with Jesus.” looked in great condition at the age of 94. It
Acts 4:13 seemed to me he would last forever. But that
was not to be.
Peter and John had been with Jesus for 3
years. They were common men who had Last week we heard that Roger Grommesch
learned from the Son of God, Jesus. They had left us. Roger was a real character. Had a
listened as Jesus taught, prayed and watched fetish for military insignia patches. He had
how Jesus interacted with people. All of us thousands of them. Those not framed he had
should do no less. placed in books.

-Bob Clemens Roger was a B-29 gunner after WWII, flying
mostly in England, North Africa, then Europe
“My God! How little do my for the 301st Bomb Group. He was also a
countrymen know what precious regular at 8th luncheons. Always very friendly
blessings they are in possession and talkative, he would talk your ear off with
of, and which no other people on stories of his patches and other war
earth enjoy.” memorabilia collections – swords and things.

-Thomas Jefferson The 8th has lost a lot of long-time members the
past six months. So many have we lost, I have
4 not been able to keep track of them all.

There was Ken Strom, a former B-17 pilot who
flew 30 missions in Europe from December

8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota January, 2014

1943 through May, 1944. He was awarded the Click on View A Plate. Type in the name,
Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal Bachman. A web page designed for Larry
with three Oak Leaf Clusters. Bachman will appear with his photo, Air Force
historical records, a video of Larry and a photo
Ron Waits died. He was a former Staff of his legacy plate which is on display at the
Sergeant Pilot Instructor in the 8th Air Force museum. A small but proper tribute to a great
Command in the early 1950’s. man, a terrific member of the 8th of Minnesota.

Dick Kennedy was another Staff Sergeant at Having met and listened to the stories of these
Edwards Air Force Base from 1949 to 1952. He great men brings to mind a poem I learned a
was another regular at the 8th luncheons in long time ago. It is about learning to live life on
Bloomington KC Hall. the downslope after one has passed middle
Then, of course, there was Larry Bachman. In
August, Larry was having medical issues. He ELEGIA
couldn’t make it to the 8th luncheon on his
birthday. So he bought himself a cake and sent -Alexander Pushkin
it to the luncheon for everyone else to share.
He never got a piece of his own cake! The burnt-out gaiety of reckless years
Lies heavy on me like a bleary hangover.
Larry spent thousands of his own dollars to But, like wine, the sadness of the bygone days
support his beloved 8th Air Force Historical In my soul grows stronger the older it is.
Society. He paid to bring in historical planes to My path is bleak, Labor and sorrow is promised
air shows, among other things. So after Larry
died, 8th members got together and collected me
$250. The had a Legacy Plate made and By the future’s churning sea.
installed for him at the National Museum of the Is this all? Wouldn’t, then, death be welcome,
United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson or at least, unobjectionable?
AFB, Dayton, Ohio.
Not quite.
The plate shown here, can also be viewed on But I don’t want, o my friends, to die;
the internet at
I want to live to think and to suffer.
I know there shall be enjoyments for me

Amid sorrows, cares and anxieties;
At times I again will be intoxicated by harmony,

Weep over my fantasy’s creation,
And perhaps on my sad sunset
Love will shine its farewell smile.


8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota January, 2014

Other News: Accolades For Larry Bachman
Jim Johns is restoring a BT13 at a hanger at
Anoka-Blaine airfield. After finishing his glider (Lawrence Bachman was former
restoration a couple years ago, Jim needed chairman of the advisory board and life-
something to do. He found an old BT13 long friend of the Salvation Army, along
airframe in Texas. He is restoring it with the
hope that when done it will be displayed by the with many other organizations.)
WASP museum in Sweetwater, TX.
Larry was such an inspiring
Earl Joswick’s B-17 model is also sitting in Jim philanthropist in addition to serving his
John’s hanger. It needs repair work on one of country, his family, his church, and
its wings. Myron Asper volunteered to fix the many others. He also worked hard to
wing. Spook Johns will do detail work on the create a better community here in the
finish. When the model is completely repaired, Twin Cities for many, many years.
it will possibly be stored and displayed at Key
Air at Anoka-Blaine airport. I am thankful The Salvation Army is able
to continue to do Larry’s great work by
Steve Marks and Kevin Callahan have a plan also striving daily to create a better life
to publicize Big Bomber Air Show next year. for the many who seek help. It’s been
We have yet to hear what that entails. said a man’s strength is measured by
his heart. Larry was a formidable life
The Air Force Association is funding the force. He will be greatly missed, but
painting of a mural at the 934th Officers’ Club. never forgotten.
The mural will be painted on a 25-foot wall in
the large meeting room downstairs known as -Major Jeff Strickler
The Lodge. It will honor WWII veterans by Twin Cities Commander
depicting a Doolittle B-25 taking off from an
aircraft carrier. A Tuskegee Airmen scene will The Salvation Army
also be included with P-51’s and a C-47.

A painter has been chosen for the project. Her
name is Lili Payne. She does a lot of
commercial work around the Twin Cities. Her
work is first rate. Painting will probably start
mid-March. See her P-51 example nearby.

March 15, the Air Force Association’s holds its
annual awards dinner at Town & Country Club.
The dinner is held each year to honor the best
Air Force airmen and airwomen in the Twin
Cities. Reserve seats at Or
send $35 per person to Minnesota AFA, 1696
E. Third St., St. Paul, MN 55106


8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota January, 2014

Board of Directors Notes: Heart Song was the name of the group of six
Beginning January 1, 2014 the 8th Board of women who sang Christmas carols and other
Directors will consist of Spook Johns, Gene tunes well known to the WWII generation. One
Kretchmer, Vince Parker, Larry Sagstetter and group member played a couple solos on her
Kevin Callahan. guitar. There were costume changes and sing-
a-longs. A very entertaining group of women all
Kevin takes the place of Glen Froberg who has most would agree.
been our Secretary the past two years. It is
always hard to find a Board secretary, that is 7
someone to take the notes and minutes. Glen
was a good one and will be missed.

In his stead, we got a lawyer. Every Board can
probably use a lawyer for free advice. Now we
have one in Kevin Callihan: videographer and
photographer extraordinaire. And now we get
free legal advice, as well. Isn’t that so, Kevin?!

Mancini’s once again hosted the 8th
Christmas Party on Sunday, December 1.
About 90 members, friends and guests
attended. Mancini’s has told us they will
continue to host these dinners as long as the
8th wants to have them regardless of the
number of people who attend. And they will try
to keep the price the same as long as they can.

They do this for the 8th historical society. They
do it for the veterans of World War II. They do it
because that is how Nick Mancini wanted it.
Nick was the father of the current generation
who operate the restaurant. His sons and
daughters now own and run the business. And
they operate it the way Nick wanted them to.

Nick was a veteran of World War II. He always
catered to his fellow veterans, to all veterans
and active duty military. He wanted his kids to
continue to run the business in a way that
honors the Greatest Generation. And so they
do for the 8th, year after year until the last one
is gone.

For the 90 of us who were there, it was a really
fun event. The entertainment was very good.

8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota January, 2014

Christmas Party Photos


8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota January, 2014

In memoriam


8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota January, 2014


Barbara Sommerville finished
and published her book about
her father, “I Came Through
Swell.” The book can be
purchased for about $13.50 on

The book is about her father who
flew some 40 bombing missions
out of Italy. He bailed out of a
burning plane only to end up in a
POW camp.

Barbara’s book received terrific
reception at 8th luncheons. In her
first appearance at the book’s
launch, she sold the few books
she had with her. She was asked
back a second time and sold
many more.

Lou Martin endorsed the book.
Lou called it, “The best book I
have read on the subject. A very
good, easy read that got the
details right. A captivating story.“


8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota January, 2014

The Dr. Harold C Deutch

History RoundTable

70th Anniversary
Normandy and the Battle of Brittany Tour

May 11-26
16 days/14 over-nights

Tour Includes:
4 nights in Paris; 5 nights, Bayeux, Normandy; 4 nights Mont St. Michel; 1
night, Caen.

Cost: $3,495 per person for land portion. ($3,600 if paying by credit card.)
Airfare is about $1,350 per person from Minneapolis round trip.

For an application or more information contact Don Patton @952-941-5700
or 952-942-6151, 7220 Fleetwood Dr., Minneapolis, MN 55439

2014 RoundTable Schedule

SCHOOL (MISLS) at Savage & Fort Snelling
MARCH 28, 2013 - WORLD WAR II IN THE MIDDLE EAST and origins from WWI



Gathering in December for lunch at Knights of Columbus Hall.

Click to View FlipBook Version