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Published by BBYRA, 2016-04-26 13:16:33

2015 Sept 8th Newsletter

2015 Sept 8th Newsletter

Keywords: 2015,8th

Volume 24, Number 3

September, 2015

Fleming Field Hanger Dance Dazzles

Saturday night, June 6, there was a whole lot of shakin’ goin’ on at Fleming Field in St. Paul. The occasion
was the annual Commemorative Air Force Hanger Dance. But it’s not just a dance. With the WWII theme, it’s a
real event. The Roseville Big Band played Glen Miller classics. Stan Turner did the emcee work.

The crowd of people streaming in and out on a
cool summer night – the number of people
dancing on the hanger floor – was amazing.
Attendees showed up in WWII attire, wearing
their old, original uniforms if they still fit. They
arrived in period cars. Women’s hair was done
up in victory rolls. During a break, a pilot
rolled out “Miss Mitchell,” the B-25 bomber and revved the engines.

Well over 1,000 people filled the hanger and ramp. Carl Moser and his
friend Betty were two of them. Carl, one of the original Civil Air Patrol
cadets out of St. Paul’s Central High School – a CAP gold medal winner
still going strong - wouldn’t miss the hanger dance.

The event is key for St. Paul’s Commemorative Air Force. It brings
people in to see not only the hanger, but the attached museum with its
aircraft, WWII vehicles, artifacts and history. It re-creates the theme of
1940’s USO dances.

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, 2015

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 [email protected]
(952)-797-2783 [email protected] almostaranch02@
[email protected] Dick Kaminski
6633 Xerxes Ave S
Gene Kretchmer Spook Johns Minneapolis, MN 55423
11206 Virginia Rd. 5933 Walnut Dr. (612) 869-5978Earl
Bloomington, MN 55438 Edina, MN 55436
(952) 943-3988 (952) 935-3650

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].

“Deterrence through strength, global strike on demand.”


8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota September, 2015

President’s Report what I have received.
By Steve Marks
Our friends at the Knights of Columbus hall in
Summer air show planning has Bloomington have been great, as usual. There
come and gone. There are both are always waves of hands and “hi’s” as we
good and bad things to report. arrive at the hall. Their food and service are
tops. Kudos to all.
Collings Foundation did not schedule a Big
Bomber stop this year. Instead, they made Please pray for those who are ailing.
stops in Iowa, then went to the Chicago area. Remember those who have gone before us. All
We missed the B-24 and P-51 along with the are important in our group and make it great.
great crew from Collings.
God bless the United States of America and
But the Big Bomber event went on anyway at keep her safe.
Blaine with the EAA B-17. Gary Hall and I
worked with the EAA Chapter 237 president to -Steve Marks.
make the show happen. With the June 16-19
show were the usual symposiums and

historical displays.
Chaplain’s Message
Good crowds showed up for that event, as well
as Discover Aviation Days at Blaine airport the “In the Old Testament - Job, a wealthy
last weekend in May. In July, we had tables at landowner and rancher, ended up losing
Flying Cloud Airport’s AirExpo event. It was everything -- his wealth and his family -- and
amazing to see General Doolittle’s co-pilot Dick boils covered his body when God allowed
Cole still going strong as he approaches his Satan to test Job. Despite all this, Job still kept
100th year. his faith and trust in God.

Dick Cole lives in San Antonio, TX. He rarely The Bible says Job did not curse God. Through
travels to events anymore. But he still makes a it all, he learned to trust in God.
point of coming to Minnesota in July for
AirExpo with his daughter by his side. Seeing "When your faith is challenged and strained to
him and other Air Force vets makes for good its limit, when emotions sweep you off your
times, especially when we are able to get feet, when you feel alone and abandoned and
together with long-time friends. unappreciated, when you've reached the end
of your road and you don't think you can go
I’ve had some remarkable comments come my another step, just keep trusting in God,"
way. People see my Air Force cap and tell me
“Thanks for your service.” The public is -Chaplain (Brig. Gen.) Cecil R. Richardson,
becoming so accepting of all us vets – Air Force Deputy Chief of Chaplains.
including us Vietnam vets. The “welcome
home” comments, along with the thanks that "When you go home, tell them of
are now heard, make me hope and pray the us and say, “For their tomorrow,
present active duty personnel will be safe and we gave our today."
come home to applause at least as goods as
- Kohina, John Maxwell Edmunds


8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota September, 2015

Editor’s Notes Much has been written and much remains to
be written about Sir Winston Churchill in the
- Lawrence Sagstetter annals of history. But today the memories
come crowding in on me, and I do not need
From Mary Berg comes word that Beryl books to remind me of how we, the British
Rettinger’s memoir is completed. Her son, people, hung on to his every word and looked
Reggie Rettinger visited an 8th luncheon this to him for the inspiration and leadership we so
summer. He presented a check for $1,000 to desperately needed.
the 8th in memory of his mom and dad, Beryl
(Pashley) Rettinger & Thomas Rettinger. His words, “We shall fight on the beaches, we
In the photo, Reggie presents the check to 8th shall fight on the landing ground, we shall fight
Treasurer Gary Birchem. Mary holds up Beryl’s on the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in
completed memoir of her WWII experience in the hills, we shall never surrender,” are
England. Below we reprint an article written by branded in my mind and on my heart.
Beryl shortly after the death of Winston
Churchill. Unless you were there, you cannot know the
feeling of utter desolation and hopelessness,
CHURCHILL INSPIRING TO like a lost child looking for a hand to cling to for
BLITZ SURVIVOR strength and courage. He gave that strength
and courage, and every ounce of his driving
-By Mrs. Thomas Rettinger energy and love to the people of his country
Jan 26, 1965 – Minneapolis Star when we needed it most.
Our grand old man of the century peacefully
slipped away from us, but his indomitable spirit To listen to him or see him was like receiving a
fought on for life as he fought on for the very blood transfusion – life giving. I can remember
life of Great Britain and the world 20 years ago. so many times crowding around the wireless to
listen to him speak. As his ringing words filled
4 the room, you unconsciously straightened your
shoulders, thrust out your chin, threw your
head up high, and felt you would lick the world.
By golly, just let that Hitler and his army try to
invade us.

We had a slogan written in large letters in the
hall of our house for everyone who entered to
see. It said, “Think victory, act victory, talk
victory or else shut up!”

Who can forget the first eerie sound of the air
raid sirens at night? The first night that London
was bombed we sat up all night long in the
shelter Dad made for us in the house. We
prayed and prayed that dawn would come and
we would all still be alive. I don’t believe I ever
saw my mother’s knitting needles fly so fast.

8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota September, 2015

They clicked all night. I am sure she started was our inspiration. I truly loved him as all
and finished a sweater that night. Britain loved him. Never in the history of the
world have so many people owed their freedom
I stood upstairs at the bedroom window the to one man.
night London burned. It was a very silly thing to
do. I had gone upstairs to make Mother come Paul Royle, Who Fled Nazis
down to the shelter. But we stood together and in a ‘Great Escape,’
watched that great orange fiery glow in the sky. Dies at 101

The enemy planes were overhead and the Paul Royle, whose escape from a German
guns were continuous, but we could not take prisoner of war camp in 1944 with 75 other
our eyes away from the sky. It was horrible, Allied soldiers inspired the 1963 Steve
unbelievable, incredible, vicious and McQueen movie “The Great Escape,” died on
unforgivable. Aug. 23 in Perth, Australia. He was 101.

I remember the battle of Britain and the pride The Australian Broadcasting Corporation
we felt in our pilots, “the few” Churchill spoke of reported that his death left only one remaining
in that now famous speech: “Never in the field survivor of the escape: Dick Churchill, who is in
of human conflict was so much owed by so his 90’s and lives in England.
many to so few.”
Mr. Royle, a Royal Air Force flight lieutenant
I was a teenager when the war broke out and originally from Australia, was one of 200
“Winnie,” as we so lovingly called him, took prisoners who dug several tunnels using
over the reins of a shaken government. I grew improvised tools at the Stalag Luft III camp in
up fast. All hands were needed to win this war. Sagan, then a part of Germany and now in
I became a volunteer fire fighter and took my Poland. His job was to dispose of the
turn at night patrolling the streets to watch for excavated dirt.
firebombs. As soon as I was old enough, I
joined the WAAFS and trained as a radio “Long, thin tubes made of material, like long
direction finder. underpants, were put under our ordinary
trousers,” Mr. Royle told The Sunday Mercury,
The glorious and exhilarating victory after all a British tabloid, in 2008. “The bottom was tied
those dark and terrifying years finally came. On together with a bit of string, we shoveled this
May 8, 1945 Churchill said, “This is your stuff into the long underpants, then you would
victory, in all our long history we have never nonchalantly wander around getting rid of the
seen a greater day than this.” dirt.”

Churchill led us to that victory. He fanned the He was one of 76 prisoners who made it
flame of determination to win when our spirits through a tunnel on a freezing night in March.
were, so many times, at their lowest ebb. The He and a comrade wandered in the German
world will miss him greatly. A man such as he countryside for about a day before they were
is not born every century. recaptured. Only three of the escapees
reached freedom — 50 were executed,
I am now an American citizen and proud to be
one, but I am still proud of my English heritage 5
and my life during those war years when he

8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota September, 2015

including the man who was with Mr. Royle. Thoughts on VE Day
– 70 Years Ago
He later told Air Force, the official newspaper
of the Royal Australian Air Force, that he never Ray Peterson
understood how the German soldiers had
decided whom to execute. April 24, 1945, I was flying a mission – Pilson,
“Rationality didn’t come into it,” Mr. Royle said. Checko.
“I haven’t a clue as to why I wasn’t chosen.” He
was liberated and made his way to England in I flew the mission. We lost 5 planes largely
1945. from flak. The last mission was April 24.
In 1950, Paul Brickhill, another Australian
P.O.W. involved in the escape, published a May 8, I was still at the base. We had water
book about the experience called “The Great storage. Guys sprayed water and hollered.
Escape.” The book was made into a 1963 film Fired flare guns onto the haystacks. Burned the
starring James Garner, Richard Attenborough haystacks. Everyone was excited about the
and Charles Bronson, in addition to Mr. war being over.
Gordon Paul Royle was born in Perth on Jan. May 8, we signed with Germany our
17, 1914, but went by Paul since his youth. He agreement.
was recruited for the R.A.F. in the late 1930s.
His plane was shot down when he flew his first May 9, we stripped our plane of armament. We
mission in 1940, and he was soon taken flew to a P-38 base in Germany.
Our Colonel asked us if we would like to go
through Buchenwald. So we went through
Buchenwald, which had been liberated. A lot of
prisoners were still there. The prisoners there
were skin and bones. Their arms were like
broom handles. Bodies laid out around the
sheds. One shed I went through held 300
prisoners. That shed had 3 commodes for that
many people to use. They slept in bins. Three
men slept in each bin. There were 300,000
people killed at this prison camp. The
commandant’s wife had lamps made with the
skin of prisoners. She picked out the bodies
from which skin was harvested for the
lampshades. She had 200 people picked. A lot
of lampshades were made of human skin. She
got the worst penalty of the Nuremberg trials.
She did get a long prison term.


8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota September, 2015

Only flew 26 missions. If war continued, I would Boarded the plane. Landed in Marakesh. From
have had to fly 35 missions. It was getting late. there we flew to the Azores, which was 1,000
And I was getting nervous about how long my miles off shore from Spain. I was dealing
luck would hold out. Blackjack. Dealt a hand to the pilot. Dealt a
hand to the co-pilot. Looked through the bomb
Had to wait for a ride on the Queen Mary to get bay and saw the automatic pilot blinking. I
back home. Ended up getting on the Queen thought, “Who was flying this plane?”
Mary. Got home about September 5. Spent
most of his time eating steaks. They gave us I thought, “That wasn’t good enough!” The pilot
anything to eat that we wanted. later told me, “We got a call to return to the
Azores,” which were socked in. I was dealing
Bob Clemens Black Jack. The pilot kept flying.

I had finished my 50 missions in Italy in Then we started circling. Flaps came down.
September, 12 1944. In October, 1944 I was a Slammed onto the concrete runway. We were
Navigator instructor at Hondo airbase, 45 miles picked up. Were placed onto another plane.
west of San Antonio. Changed instruction to B- Next stop was Bangor field in Maine. Worked
29 Cruise Control training. Were preparing for my way back to Ortonville, MN. I knew
invading Japan, training to fly a B-29. It was a tomorrow I would have my butcher apron on.
happy day when we had heard the Germans That was my occupation.
had surrendered.
People were dancing in the streets in San
Antonio. Men were kissing women. And women by Carol Hall
were kissing men. People were happy when (MN Good Age magazine May, 2015)
that part of the war was over. I was thinking
what was going to happen in the next month or I recently met two WWII combat veterans
so when we had to go over and bomb Japan. whose experiences with the 15th Air Force have
But fortunately for others, and me, President been preserved for posterity. Vince Parker,
Truman made that gutsy decision to drop the who’s 89, was a tail gunner on the B-17
atom bomb. And that ended the war in the bomber.
Bob Clemens, 90, navigated the same huge
Vince Parker aircraft, The Flying Fortress, through battle
after battle. Their stories are captured on film in
I was dealing blackjack outside of the tent a YouTube presentation titled, The Tail Gunner
when we heard the war was over. We knew it and the Navigator.
was awfully close because we weren’t flying
missions like we were before. I just wanted to Vince, of Stillwater, flew 41 missions. Bob, of
get home. And so I took off from a base in White Bear Lake, flew 50, bombing oil
Joya, Italy, southern Italy just in from the heel refineries, railroad ridges and marshaling yards
of the boot near the Adriatic. I was in a B-17 throughout Europe.
that had been stripped down. There were 5
fighter pilots on there. One was missing Both men, who enlisted at 17, tell of terrifying
because he was sent home early. His father moments with engines being shot out and
had died.

8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota September, 2015

persistent flak hitting the B-17 in “gray puffs” On Memorial Day, the day of remembrance for
when they were over their targets. all fallen heroes, I’m thankful for the stories that
got told. They are stories we all need to hear.
They share some quirky incidents, as well.
Vince’s plane once crash-landed in enemy -Carol Hall
territory in Yugoslavia. A kid on a bicycle came
near the downed B-17, waving machine gun Big Island Camp
ammunition at the crew and yelling, holds memories for veterans
“Cigarettes, Joe?
-by Paige Kieffer
“During the war, cigarettes were the coin of the
realm,” said Vince. “It was a marvelous place to be in the
summer,” said 92-year-old Edina resident Lloyd
On a mission that Bob was flying with Col. Flynn. “We didn’t have the money to go to a
Frank Kurtz piloting the lead plane, Nazi resort, so we just went here.”
propagandist Axis Sally came over the radio,
taunting them, saying, “We’re gonna get you The patriarch of the family, Raymond “Ray”
today, Frankie, along with that pink-faced Flynn, took his wife Adeline and his children
navigator from Minnesota.” (Bob’s youthful Air Jeanne, Lloyd, Dorothy and Ted to the camp
Force portrait verifies Sally’s description. And, on an island in Lake Minnetonka from 1925-36.
incidentally, Col. Kurtz was actress Swoozie
Kurtz’s father.) The Big Island Veterans Camp was built in
1921 on the northeastern part of the island. It
Thanks to the book and the video, the world was built on the ruins of the old amusement
can know the stories of the battles Vince and park that operated from 1906 until it went
Bob survived – unlike those of my dad, who bankrupt in 1911. The crumbling foundations of
served in WW1. the amusement park still remain.

When I was a little girl, I remember Papa sitting Several veterans associations purchased the
with other men in our living room, Playing area and began to build a camp. The camp
Whist and occasionally making mention of the offered 36 white cabins, a large cafeteria and a
horrible trench warfare, commenting on how singles dormitory that could hold 30 people.
grateful he was that his gas mask had saved The camp expanded with further cabin in the
him from mustard=gas poisoning. ‘60s. It was primarily run by the Berg family
from the South Lake area.
More than once, he said sadly, “You never
forget the boys who died.” “The facilities were extremely plain, with no
plumbing,” Lloyd said.
My dad’s army doughboy portrait – such a
serious face – and his olive drab uniform and In the book “Paying with their Bodies: American
steel helmet in the attic are all I have of the War and the Problem of the Disabled Veteran”
ordeal he endured in the Battle of the Argonne

Nothing was ever written down.


8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota September, 2015

by John M. Kinder, the camp received high families for the whole summer to enjoy island
marks. activities such as swimming, fishing and hiking
“Among the best known disabled veterans’ rest on Big Island. “Basically we were there all
camps was Big Island Veterans Camp,” Kinder summer,” said Lloyd.
wrote. “Open to ‘sick, ailing or unfortunate ex-
servicemen,’ Big Island offered disabled Lloyd grew up in South Minneapolis. His father
veterans from the Midwest a chance to swim, ran Flynn-Wagner Mortuary on Lyndale in 1926
fish and socialize – away from the prying eyes that later moved to another location on
of the nondisabled pubic.” Lyndale. After Lloyd’s military service in World
“Lake Minnetonka has been known for the elite War II, he joined the family business after
homes and hotels and here ordinary people got graduating from University of Minnesota. He
to stay at the lake,” said Lloyd’s niece, renamed the business to Flynn and Son
Shorewood resident Beth Potter. “It was a Funeral Home. It closed in late ‘70s.
great perk for veterans.”
Potter said that the family visited “in a time
Big Island map. when there was little money, it was peak Great
Army Sgt. Ray Flynn served in World War I Depression time. My mom (Dorothy) always
(1914-1918) and was stationed in France for 6- said that it was nice perk being able to vacation
8 months. During this time he injured his leg. there.”
Lloyd said that the camp changed from
assisting only disabled veterans to providing all Lloyd spent every summer from first to eighth
veterans with a retreat. grade visiting Big Island. He said that the days
Camp visitors were allowed to bring their would usually include relaxing at Point
Charming Beach, fishing or watching the Lake
Minnetonka Chris Craft boats.
He said that when he was a child, a Red Cross
man came to teach the children on the island
how to swim.

“His method would be to just toss us in,” he

Lloyd and his friends Rosamund Siegert and
Dick “Porky” Powers often had swimming races
into Excelsior from Big Island. His friends
always made the three-mile journey, and even
ended up in the local paper one summer. Lloyd
though couldn’t make it but halfway.

Often Lloyd and his friends and siblings would


8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota September, 2015

take a boat into Excelsior and visit the old Lloyd Flynn holds a photo of his father, Ray
Excelsior Amusement Park (1925-1973) that Flynn, during a visit on Aug. 11 to the location
was located at the current Maynards site. They of the now closed Big Island Veterans Camp.
also would catch a big band concert across the “I was disappointed I couldn’t fly anymore, but I
street. wanted to get married,” he said.
Lloyd relived fond memories of the Big Island
“Year after year the same people would come, Veterans Camp during three summers 1965-
and it was always great seeing everyone,” 1971 bringing his wife Betty and children Anne,
Lloyd said. Tim and John. “It was so wonderful coming
back,” he said
One of his favorite events was seeing the “I remember the beach and it being very
Excelsior Fourth of July fireworks. sunny,” said Anne Flynn, who was very young
when she visited the Big Island Camp. I
“Big Island was the best seat in the house,” he remember the boat that took us to the island,
said. and I was afraid all of our luggage would fall
out because it was packed with so many bags.”
The Flynn family stopped vacationing at Big
Island in 1936. Not long after Capt. Lloyd Flynn - Excerpted from SunSailor, August 31, 2015
got involved in the Pacific theater during World
War II (1938-1945).

He flew Dauntless dive bombers with the U.S.
Marine Corps and was stationed mainly at a
small airfield in the Marshal Islands but also
served Samoa, Pearl Harbor and Ellice and
Gilbert Island.

Lloyd flew fighter planes in the reserves after
the war until his bride-to-be, Betty, suggested
he stop. He quit just before his wedding in
1951, and with a stroke of luck avoided the
Korean War.


8th Air Force Historical Society of Minnesota September, 2015

Ft Snelling RoundTable 2015 - 16 Schedule
Ft. Snelling Museum

($5 per person for each lecture)

Sept. 17, 2015 (3rd Thursday) Blitzkrieg in the Pacific – Island Landings to accomplish Victory in
Pacific LTC Sharon Tosi Lacey, author of Pacific Blitzkrieg, and Veterans of the Pacific Landing

Oct. 8, 2015 Leaders of the Victory – The Giants of the Winning Strategy Jonathan Jordan, author of
American Warlords, and Members of the Greatest Generation.

Oct. 22, 2015 Navy UDT Teams – The beginning of the SEALS
Pat O’Donnell, author of First SEALS

Nov. 12, 2015 Dr. Harold C. Deutsch Lecture: Besides Nuremberg – Forgotten Trials of the Holocaust
Michael Bazyler, author of Forgotten Trials of the Holocaust

Dec. 10, 2015 Early Naval Operations – after Pearl Harbor Stephen Moore, author of Pacific Payback
and The Battle for Hell’s Island and Veterans of Naval Carrier Operations.

Jan. 14, 2016
Struggle on the Eastern Theater of Operations Dr. Samuel Mitcham, author of The German Defeat in
the East, and Veterans of the War on the Eastern European Front.

Feb. 11, 2016 Liberation of German Concentrations Camps John McManus, author of Hell Before
Our Eyes, and Veterans of Liberation and Internees.

March 10, 2016 Mobilization of Industrial Machine of War – Awakening the Giant Dr Maury Klein,
author of A Call to Arms, and Workers from Defense Factories.

March 24, 2016 Birth of the New Age of War – Atomic Bombs and Rockets Jim Eckles, author of
Trinity and Pocket Full of Rockets.

April 14, 2016 Southern Invasion of France – Operations Dragoon and Anvil LTC Scott Wheeler,
author of Jacob L. Devers, and Veterans of Seventh Army.

May 12, 2016 Potsdam – Agreement to settle Allied Victory in WWII Dr Michael Neiberg, author of



Miss Mitchell revving her engines at the 2015 CAF Hanger Dance.

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