2003 REUNION OF THE
13TH ATTACK SQUADRON
3RD ATTACK GROUP, WWII GROUP
|visits since 4 November 2003|
The following is Jack Heyn's report on his attendance at the 16th Reunion of the 13th Attack Squadron of the 3rd Attack Group:-
On Oct. 2, 3, and 4th October 2003, I attended my first reunion of the 13th Attack Sq. in Springfield, Mo. It was the Squadron's 16th reunion, but I was unaware of them until three years ago. Had planned on attending last year but had to cancel at the last minute. Sadly it was also my last and only one.
They had the first one in 1980, 35 years after the end of WW II and it was attended by 145 Veterans. This one was held 58 years after the end of WW II and it was attended by 13 Veterans. Time and tide wait for no man; the ranks are getting thin and the health of some of those still with us leaves a lot to be desired. All good things must come to and end. At the business meeting on the morning of the 3rd, the group decided that this would be the end of formal reunions. The door was left open for informal get-togethers in Springfield. Former Sq. Commander, Dick Walker (Col. USAF Ret.) told me this is a close knit group and not to be surprised if they changed their mind.
The hospitality room was opened on Thursday and remained open the remainder of the three days. Thursday was register day and at 6 o'clock they had a happy-hour with refreshments. Friday nite was the highlight of the time entertainment-wise. It was a trip to Branson to take in one of the shows. Saturday morning was the business meeting. It was at this meeting that the decision was made to terminate the reunions. Saturday nite was the banquet and the food was excellent. I understand Dick's daughter-in-law had something to do with picking the menu. A nice touch was that the Branson show and the banquet were paid for out of the Squadron Reunion Fund. Didn't cost anybody a dime.
The in between times were spent sight-seeing, shopping and hanging out in the hospitality room. It was there that a lot of reminiscing and looking at albums brought by various members took place. Those attending pretty well represented all parts of the country, from both coasts, the deep South and Northern states. Most of the guys had attended most of the reunions. Being my first one, it was especially gratifying to visit with guys I hadn't seen in 60 years, but had shared with them a time that made history.
The 13th has a long and illustrious history. It was activated in Aug. 1917 as the 104th Aero Sq. and served in WW I. July 1919 the Army Surveillance Gp. was formed and included the 8th, 90th and 104th Aero Sqs. Aug. 1919 the Gp. was redesignated the First Surveillance Gp. Mar. 1921 the 104th Sq. was redesignated the 13th Sq. 1921 the Gp. was redesignated the Third Group (Attack) and stationed at Kelly Field, Texas. Jan. 1923 the Gp. was redesignated the Third Attack Gp.
In June 1924 the 13th Sq. was deactivated. In Nov. 1929 it was reactivated and joined the Third Attack Gp. at Fort Crocket. In Feb. 1935 the Gp. was moved to Barksdale Field in Louisana. Sept. 1939 the Gp. was redesignated the Third Bomb Gp. (L). In Oct. of 1940 they were moved to Savannah Army Air Base, Savannah, Ga.
In Jan. 1942 the Group was deployed to the S.W.P.A, arriving at Brisbane, Australia, Feb. 25, 1942. The Gp was sent to a new air strip at Charters Towers, Queensland. The 13th Sq. pulled their first combat mission on April 5 (Easter Sunday) 1942 in B-25s acquired (stolen ??) from the Dutch. The next 44 months of continuous combat duty they would make stops at Port Moresby, New Guinea, Doba Dura, N.G., Nadzab, N.G., Hollandia, Dutch N.G., Leyte Island P.I., Mindoro Island P.I. and Okinawa.
After the war they were stationed in Japan and participated in the Korean War. In 1956 the Third Bomb Gp. evolved into the Third Bomb Wing and is the oldest continuous serving unit in the U.S. Air Force. In 1964 the 13th Sq. was deactivated, and "Oscar" the Sq. logo lost his wings for the second time. Early on, the Sq. had adopted the name "The Devil's Own Grim Reapers" and made "Oscar" their logo. During WW II the Group adopted him as a Group logo and name, but the Squadron reclaimed him as their own after the war. In June 2000, the 13th Sq. was reactivated at Dyess A.F.B, Texas. "Oscar" regained his wings and is now flying B-1 Bombers. Their most recent action being the Iraq war.
"Oscar" checking in at the hotel
Some of the guys reminiscing in the hospitality room.
photo of the "Ancient Ones", WW II Group,
as opposed to the youngsters in the Korean Group.
row, L. To. R:- Mac Norwood, Fred Hall, Reed Tibbets, Ray Ritter, Lewis
McCoy, Vernon (Jug) Main,
Fred Simmons, Dick Walker (Former Sq. Commander), Jack Heyn
Front Row, L. to R.:- Lee Roy Dowling, Ed Barnett, Leo Mc Mann, Jack O. Methvin.
Dick Walker looking at Jack Heyn's photo album.
"Baldknobbers" show in Branson. Besides music
and comedy they put on a pretty impressive light show.
one is of Vernon (Jug) Main opening
the business meeting on Saturday morning.
Walker (Col. U.S.A.F. Ret) former Sq. Commander giving financial
report. There was enough money in the treasury that the Branson show
and banquet was paid for, for all Vets and family members.
The banquet room gets decorated.
The first one "Oscar" get a place of honour between "Old Glory" and the "Union Jack" Aussie style.
last one is the best part of any G.I.'s day - the chow line.
I understand Dick's daughter-in-law picked out the menu.
It sure did put those meals we had in New Guinea to shame.
I'd like to thank Jack Heyn for his assistance with this home page.
Can anyone help me with more information ?
© Peter Dunn 2003
This page first produced 4 November 2003
This page last updated 04 November 2003