|92nd Bombardment Group (H) 8th Air Force||92nd Air Refueling Wing (AMC)|
|92nd Bomb Wing (H) SAC||325th Bomb Squadron (ACC)|
The 92nd Bomb Group post war organization, like other WWII veterans' organizations, is now experiencing the intent of the time machine. At the Norfolk 98 Reunion, we initiated steps by mail ballot to amend the bylaws, initiate charter amendments, approve the organization name change and other supporting changes, as elements of the effort to ensure the continuation of "the 92nd." We are now able to focus on these lynch pins to ensure that the common denominator among us, "the 92nd," will maintain its unparalleled legacy of war and peace time military aviation accomplishments for many years to come. This means that our successor organizations are now inclusive. These are:
- the 92nd Bomb Wing, SAC's Premier Bomb Wing, which flew B-29, KB-29, B-36, B-52 and KC-135 aircraft
- the 92nd Air Refueling Wing, the Warriors of the North, now flying the KC-135 out of Fairchild AFB, WA
- the reactivated 325th Bomb Squadron, today's Fame's Favored Few, flying the B-2 out of Whiteman AFB, MO, most recently during Allied Force, on 30-hour missions. In 2005 the 325th Bomb Squadron was inactivated and then reactivated as the 325th Weapons Squadron.
Additionally, our treasury has a commitment to actively support the 92nd Heritage Museum at Fairchild AFB and the Morale and Welfare Funds for the 325th Bomb Squadron and the 92nd Air Refueling Wing. The major financial drive involving members and the treasury is the 8th Air Force Heritage Museum Nissen Briefing Facility for which we have pledged $50,000 for a three-year period. We have raised over half that amount to date with more than two years to go. Other projects include the 92nd statue at Wright-Patterson AFB and the General Ernest C. Hardin Memorial Scholarship Fund. Wings' members are being solicited as to their thoughts for appropriate remembrances.
Want to have a wonderfully rewarding time? Attend our stateside reunion. People who are skeptical about going or perhaps have other concerns return home with only one complaint: "Why didn't I attend the earlier ones?" If you have health concerns, these reunions recognize that we are not always in overdrive and everything is geared to that, be it events, transportation, foods, accommodations or attention.
The stories are unending and, I suppose, like that line, they get better with age. "There I was on my back, all engines feathered (or flamed out), shot down two MEs (or Migs), out of fuel and still climbing" stories are in vogue. "St. Louis 2000," the 58th birthday of the group, the 49th birthday of the bomb wing, the seventh birthday of the air refueling wing and the fourth birthday of the reactivated 325th Bomb Squadron was held on 12-17 October at the St. Louis Airport Marriott.
The Norfolk 1998 reunion marked the 92nd's 56th birthday and took place 15-20 October with over 300 in attendance. This was the first time we dipped below 450. General John A. Shaud, USAF Retired, and former Chief of Staff, NATO, in keeping with our tradition of having a former group/wing commander as speaker, was the AC on this mission.
Our current membership is approaching 2,000. This includes original 92nd active duty personnel; veterans; surviving spouses or children; and about a dozen historians, foreign and domestic. We do everything possible to keep track and maintain family integrity.
There is also (and critical to our success) the 92nd Bomb Group Association-United Kingdom. It has more than 100 very active and enthusiastic members. They host the UK reunions, which are held on the alternate years to the stateside events. It is felt that all is right with the world as these folks, with the rather active participation of the RAF, have not lost their grip on throwing the finest bashes, a clear indication of their misspent childhoods.
Incidentally, the 92nd had the largest contingent (180) of the wartime 8th, 9th, 12th and 15th Air Forces present for the dedication of the American Air Museum at Duxford, England, in August 1997. At the Podington 99 reunion, the "Podington Memorial - Station 109" was dedicated. It is a beautiful Swiss granite, polished and carved.
An Association Quarterly News, 24-28 pages, is published and, as one might expect, contains "There I was" accounts, vignettes, membership data, letters to the editor, feature stories, photos, etc. For many of our members, it is a virtual individual lifeline. It is one of the tangible structures (in addition to crew gaggles, reunions and lasting friendships) which act as the organization's glue.
Of particular and new interest are the stories being provided by surviving spouses and children and now stories from wing and 325th types. These previously unprinted experiences reveal sensitive natures and deep personal reflections. General Jim Edmundson's three-part article on the B-36, "Six Churning and Four Burning," and Col. Will Gildner's articles on the 325th's part in Allied Force receive reactions ranging from "Wow!" to "if we only had them in 42-45!"
This organization is more than reunions, quarterly news, etc. One of our objectives in line with the philosophy of Lt. Gen. Ernest C. Hardin, then LTC and Commander, 325th Bomb Squadron, WWII, is to contribute in some form to the betterment of the UK community from which we flew and to find a way to do the same in the United States.
To this end we have restored the organ in St. Mary's Church in Podington. The church edifice, built in 1014, serves as the center of this hamlet's activities on a sectarian and non-sectarian basis. We spent $55,000 on a five-year effort. This organ serves as a memorial to the 92nd's 572 killed in action after its 308 WWII combat missions (154 aircraft lost). It was rededicated in the spring of 1985 as the centerpiece of our UK Reunion. Podington grew from 300 to 2,000 for several days with the Queen's representatives, many church notables, RAF staff and the surrounding area's populace in attendance. Their theme in 1985 was "Podington's Children Return." The hospitality, as always, was downright embarrassing.
This memorial has been joined by the aforementioned memorial at the old main gate road. The 92nd's close and warm relationship with the people of Podington and the surrounding area, started during those dark days of '42-'45, and has never lost its depth and emotion.
We have also donated a multi-thousand dollar customized computer system for St. Giles Hospital and School in Podington, used to support medical and boarding services to seriously and oftentimes terminally ill children. We have provided several tv sets to the local regional children's clinic.
In the USA we have used the General Hardin Scholarship Fund at the University of New Mexico as the vehicle for our service efforts. As the treasury scholarship account rebuilds, further donations are made in $5,000 increments. The last one was 26 January 1998 as an event during the 1998 International Space and Nuclear Power Forum at the university.
Our archival and historical records have made the 92nd a recognized source and authority. Heavy inquiry traffic is received from historians on both sides of the Atlantic concerning the 92nd's WWII operations and special missions. The 92nd's archivist/historian has held this position for over 30 years. We are now seeking historian types from the wings and the 325th.
We also have an active PX operations, through which you can order a variety 92nd Bomb Group books, tapes, patches, jewelry, etc. Please see our PX page for further details.
Currently, the dues structure calls for $25.00 per year for regular (voting) members and for associate (voting) members such as a member's relative or friend, war buffs and historians. Life memberships are provided and without charge if necessary, to surviving spouses.