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Home » My Dad - Ed Farrar » WWII » Eighth Air Force » 384th Bomb Group » 2016 Eighth Air Force Reunion

2016 Eighth Air Force Reunion

I have just returned from the 2016 Eighth Air Force Reunion in St. Louis, Missouri.

The 384th Bomb Group was represented by a group of forty folks, many of them 384th NexGens, and five veterans of the group. Our veterans in attendance were:

  • Sheldon Vernon, Navigator for the James Foster crew of the 544th Bomb Squadron
  • Henry Sienkiewicz, Bombardier for the John Herzog crew of the 545th Bomb Squadron
  • Don Hilliard, Radio Operator for the Ranald MacDonald crew of the 545th Bomb Squadron
  • Peter Bielskis, Ball Turret Gunner for the Robert Henry crew of the 546th Bomb Squadron
  • Dave Lustig, Radio Operator for the James Drew crew of the 547th Bomb Squadron
384th Bomb Group Veterans with the wing panel L to R: Sheldon Leonard, Henry Sienkiewicz, Don Hilliard, Dave Lustig, and Peter Bielskis

384th Bomb Group Veterans with the wing panel
L to R: Sheldon Leonard, Henry Sienkiewicz, Don Hilliard, Dave Lustig, and Peter Bielskis

The first day of the reunion, the group had the option to take a Military Heritage tour which included a tour of the Missouri Civil War Museum and a driving tour of the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. I chose to tour the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery on my own with my husband, Bill Bryan, and fellow 384th NexGen, Keith Ellefson. My great-great-grandfather, who died in the Civil War, is buried there and I set out to find his grave.

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri Grave of my Great-Great-Grandfather Emeric Chase who died in the Civil War

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri
Grave of my Great-Great-Grandfather Emeric Chase who died in the Civil War

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri Grave of my Great-Great-Grandfather Emeric Chase who died in the Civil War

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri
Grave of my Great-Great-Grandfather Emeric Chase who died in the Civil War

That evening, dinner was served to each Bomb/Fighter Group separately in their hospitality suites.

The second day of the reunion, the group had the option to take a Gateway to St. Louis City Tour. Again, my husband, Keith Ellefson, and I opted to strike out on our own and drive into St. Louis to visit the Old Courthouse and take a ride to the top of the Gateway Arch.

Old Courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri

Old Courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri

 

Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri

Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri

The presentation for the second night’s dinner was given by Dr. Donald L. Miller, author of “Masters of the Air.” After dinner, Dr. Miller was kind enough to autograph my copy of his book. At the end of the evening he stopped by the 384th’s hospitality suite to see our wing panel.

L to R: Author of "Masters of the Air" Dr. Donald L. Miller and 384th Bomb Group Combat Specialist and NexGen Keith Ellefson

L to R: Author of “Masters of the Air” Dr. Donald L. Miller and 384th Bomb Group Combat Specialist and NexGen Keith Ellefson

The third and final day of the reunion, my husband and I opted to take the Anheuser-Busch Brewery/Grant’s Farm tour with the group.

2016 8th AF Reunion in St. Louis, MO Anheuser-Busch Brewery/Grant's Farm Tour

2016 8th AF Reunion in St. Louis, MO
Anheuser-Busch Brewery/Grant’s Farm Tour

 

2016 8th AF Reunion in St. Louis, MO Anheuser-Busch Brewery/Grant's Farm Tour

2016 8th AF Reunion in St. Louis, MO
Anheuser-Busch Brewery/Grant’s Farm Tour

The last evening’s dinner was the Gala Dinner. It was the last opportunity of the reunion to spend time with and personally thank the men who won our country’s freedom in WWII.

2016 8th AF Reunion Gala Dinner. L to R: Bill Bryan (husband of Cindy Farrar Bryan), Joe McNiel of the 392nd Bomb Group, Peter Bielskis of the 384th Bomb Group (Note: not certain of Joe's last name)

2016 8th AF Reunion Gala Dinner.
L to R: Bill Bryan (husband of Cindy Farrar Bryan), Joe McNiel of the 392nd Bomb Group, Peter Bielskis of the 384th Bomb Group
(Note: not certain of Joe’s last name)

 

2016 8th AF Reunion Gala Dinner and Program in St. Louis, MO Veterans of the 8th AF in WWII

2016 8th AF Reunion Gala Dinner and Program in St. Louis, MO
Veterans of the 8th AF in WWII

 

2016 8th AF Reunion Gala Dinner and Program in St. Louis, MO Veterans of the 8th AF in WWII who were awarded the French Legion of Honor

2016 8th AF Reunion Gala Dinner and Program in St. Louis, MO
Veterans of the 8th AF in WWII who were awarded the French Legion of Honor

 

2016 8th AF Reunion Gala Dinner and Program in St. Louis, MO Veterans of the 8th AF in WWII who were prisoners of war

2016 8th AF Reunion Gala Dinner and Program in St. Louis, MO
Veterans of the 8th AF in WWII who were prisoners of war

Mark your calendars for the last week of October 2017 for next year’s 8th Air Force Reunion in New Orleans!

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2016

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