29TH BOMB GROUP ASSOCIATION NEWSLETTER
2605 Paddock Lane
Lancaster, PA 17603
It is with great sadness that I open this newsletter by announcing the passing of my dad, Fred Pawlikowski. Being a true World War II veteran, he died on Pearl Harbor Day, Dec. 7, 2004. Dad enjoyed a meal with his whole family Monday night. He passed away peacefully at home the next morning with my mother and I present. Since I was already helping him with his secretarial role, I have agreed to continue in his position as Secretary.
My mother and family would like to thank all the members of the 29 th Bomb Group for all of their letters, cards, Mass cards, e-mails and calls expressing condolences for my dad’s passing. We were touched by the Association’s flowers and donation to St. Alexius Medical Center in dad’s name. We offer a very special thanks to Joe and Lorraine Chovelak who made numerous phone calls and sent countless e-mails and attended both the wake and funeral. Your kindness and friendship will never be forgotten.
The 2005 reunion is rapidly approaching.
Place: New Orleans Airport Plaza Hotel & Conference Center
2150 Veterans Boulevard, Kenner Louisiana 70082
Phone: 504-647-3111 Fax: 504-461-0572
Dates: Oct. 20-23, 2005
Please mark your calendars and keep these dates open for our reunion.
Sue, Larry and Steve Nass have a great reunion planned. All of the important details are included on the enclosed flier.
A MESSAGE FROM OUR PRESIDENT, BEN ROBERTSON: Fred’s passing on December 7 th was a regrettable event for all of us for he was the glue that held the 29 th Bomb Group Association together. His devotion and dedication to the affairs of the organization was absolute and complete.
Over the years, I talked to him frequently, and, during the last five or six, at least two or three times a month. Most of our conversations involved Association matters, but we also shared some other interests: namely, hunting and fishing. As a matter of fact, only a few months before his death, he was on an extended fishing trip with his family. I shall miss him.
Allan Pawlikowski has agreed to continue Fred’s work for the Association. Therefore, with the unanimous approval of the Officers and directors of the Association, Allan has been appointed Secretary. He has our full support and cooperation. Also, following the retirement of Jim Livingood for health reasons, Bruce Robertson has been appointed Assistant Historian.
I am advised that arrangements for our reunion in New Orleans in October are nearly complete. Notification to the membership will be forthcoming in this newsletter.
My own activities continue in support of the restoration of the B-29 “Doc” by the U. A. Aviation Museum in Wichita. Our progress is slow, but we are progressing. Again this year we had a booth at National Championship Air Races at Reno and once more I was invited to speak to the Checkered Flag Club – the Association of Race Pilots. I told them stories about our experiences in 1944-1945 with the B-29. Fortunately, they are all pilots or crew members so they are appreciative of my tales of derring-do.
My friend Lyle Shelton won the unlimited class this year with his highly tweaked Bearcat “Rare Bear”. It is powered by a Wright 3350 – the same engine that we had in the B-29. “Dago Red”, a P-51, and Rare Bear were number one and two when Dago Red cut a pylon. The resulting penalty gave Rare Bear the race. Lyle said “We’ll take it! The penalty not withstanding!”
I’ve had several conversations with Lyle since then about some of the additional “tweaking” they are doing for next year. Included are new lubricants they hope will make the engine virtually frictionless and a reshape of the camber of the wing to achieve a more efficient laminar flow. Lyle thinks the Rare Bear is ultimately capable of 525 to 540 miles per hour! It cost about $225,000 for them to race this year, and their purse for winning was just under $200,000. It is not a cheap game.
I have talked to several members of the 504 th Bomb Group Association who held their last reunion in New Orleans and they told me that the tours our reunion committee has scheduled for us are the best in town! I’m looking forward to it! See you there!
A MESSAGE FROM OUR HISTORIAN, JOE CHOVELAK: It is with a heavy heart that I write this report. My co-worker, Fred Pawlikowski, passed away on December 7, 2004 (Pearl Harbor Day). Even though I knew that Fred was quite ill and in poor health, he managed to do his duties to the very end. Fred and I worked very well together and I will always remember him for his dedication to the 29 th BG. Fred’s duties will be taken over by his so, Allan.
We have had a large turnover in the staff of the executive committee of the 29 th BG Association. We needed to fill some positions due to the death of some members and other staff members were added to fill new positions. After many discussions, the task is now complete of finding new volunteers. Perhaps in time, we will modify the committee even more with the thought that the next generation will be the guiding hand of the 29 th BG.
Our next reunion is coming up in October. Our Secretary will cover all of the details of the reunion in his report. The Historians (Joe Chovelak, Anthony Ferraro, Bruce Robertson) will have their own documents in the memorabilia room along with our Webmaster Fred Bouzek. In order to answer all of your questions, we will have members from the various Air and Ground crews present in the room. Fred Bouzek will have the honor of explaining how to access and browse our updated web site. On this web site, Fred will be able to show you some photos as well as give you information on the lost crews. We have set a high goal of representing all of the 21 HONOR CREWS on the web site. In addition to the web site, we will have all of the folders of the HONOR CREWS available for you to browse. Also, I am very happy to say that family members from most of the 21 HONOR CREWS will be present so you can chat with them. As you can see, much information will be available to you in our memorabilia room.
Here is something maybe you can help us out with. I have a box of unlabeled photos that I will put on display at the reunion. I’m hoping some of you might be able to identify the men in the pictures. Also, a while back, Roy Wilson, 43 rd Technical Supply, gave me 50 negatives. I hope to have them made into prints by the time of the reunion. I will put those on display too and maybe you can help add a name to the photo. By any chance, if you knew Roy, could you please get in touch with me? Maybe you are in these pictures.
Bruce Robertson is designing a new database for the group so that we can improve our ability to give everyone a lot more information about the members. The most important entry will be the addition of e-mail addresses in the member roster. Time permitting, we hope to create special books categorizing members according to their duties: pilots, navigators, gunners, crew chiefs, mechanics, radio men, etc. With this type of organization, you might find it easier to search for a member.
I have often talked about our “second generation” with the 29 th BG. These are the sons, daughters, and all of the other relatives that belong to the organization. I have received calls and emails from so many family members requesting all the information about their loved one that I can possibly give them. At times I have given 50 to 75 documents so they know what Grandpop or Uncle did during his time in the 29 th. William Arnett Willis is an example of a son in search of information about his dad. Bill’s father was the pilot on the Halteman Crew in the 52 nd BS. His plane crashed on May 11, 1945 killing the entire crew. Bill has been researching the Halteman Crew for a long time and has decided to create a memorial for his father and the crew. Bill has made arrangements to travel to Guam with his family and friends to place a memorial at the crash site. Joan Blythe and family (who knew the Halteman family) along with others will join Bill in early May 2005 as he travels to Guam. We all wish Bill a successful trip and pray that the task will be completed. Let Bill know that you are behind him in this undertaking. Good luck Bill!
IN MEMORIAM: Our deepest sympathy to the families of the following members who passed away.
Crosby, Harold D. Mechanic, 43 rd Squadron, Died 9/9/04
Denney, Raymond E. Radar Observer on Thacker’s Crew, 6 th Squadron, Died 1/29/05
Harrison, Laverne, W. Engine repair section, 56 th Service Squadron, 31 st Service Group, Died 8/30/04
Glover, Harry C. Right Waist Gunner on Vertal’s Crew, 52 nd Squadron, died 12/2/04
Kelly, Daniel M. Crew Chief of Muller’s Crew, 52 nd Squadron, Died 6/3/04
LeBlanc, Lester Flight Engineer on Herndon’s Crew, 6 th Squadron, Died 3/26/04
Moranda, Frank Crew Chief of Simeral’s Crew, 52 nd Squadron, Died 9/23/04
Pawlikowski, Fred F. Radar Observer on Fontham’s Crew, 52 nd Squadron, Secretary of the 29 th Bomb Group, Died 12/7/04
Schlimgen, Edward Radar Observer on Hawks’ Crew, 43 rd Squadron, Died 5/30/04
Whenever an Officer or Director of our Assn. passes away, it is our policy to write a complete Obituary on him. The following is a reprint of the Obituary listed in the Chicago Tribune.
When Fred “Paul” Pawlikowski began working as an engineer with the Chicago Tribune in 1959, the printing press was a grumbling beast in the company’s downtown headquarters. When he left 25 years later, newspapers were rolling smoothly off a technologically advanced printing press at a new facility on the banks of the Chicago River.
Through those years of change, Mr. Pawlikowski was a behind-the-scenes technical wizard who made sure the machinery never faltered.
Mr. Pawlikowski, 81, died Tuesday, Dec. 7, at his Chicago home of complications from cancer.
Raised on the city’s South Side, Mr. Pawlikowski graduated from Weber High School and received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 1943. Less than a year later, he was training with the 29 th Bomb Group as a navigator on the 10 man B-29 Superfortress. By the end of World War II, Mr. Pawlikowski and crew had taken part in 35 bombing raids over Japan.
Just before being deployed to Guam, Mr. Pawlikowski married Annette Nedza, spent his honeymoon in a military hospital with strep throat and departed as soon as he recovered. Returning to Chicago, Mr. Pawlikowski taught mechanical drafting for a year and then became a draftsman with the Goss Printing Press Co. until he joined the Chicago Tribune.
The hulking presses used to be in the basement of Tribune Tower. The operation involved four noisy, block-long press lines and a mini-foundry that cast the 45-pound plates used to print the Tribune. As one of the facility’s top managers, Mr. Pawlikowski directed the electricians, machinists and engineers who kept the printing presses running smoothly.
“When the room was working, it created a giant rumble,” said former Tribune CEO Stanton R. Cook. “Fred would be on the floor doing design or repair work. He was a very loyal, dedicated worker.”
By the late 1970’s, the newspaper was outgrowing the crowded downtown printing press. A team of executives was assigned to come up with a modernization plan, and Mr. Pawlikowski was among the few who traveled to Europe, Japan and other companies to examine the most advanced presses. The effort became the Freedom Center, a $185 million, 25 acre site between Chicago and Grand Avenues. In 1982, the paper moved all its printing to the Freedom Center where Mr. Pawlikowski continued to oversee production.
Three years after his retirement in 1984, Mr. Pawlikowski attended a reunion of the 29 th Bomb Group. He had always been guarded about his war experience, but that changed. “He sat up all night talking with his fellow fighters,” said his son, Allan. “Ever since that, he became very open to us about his war experiences.”
Other survivors include his wife, Annette: two other sons, James and Brian: a brother Leonard: six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
DUES: Our 2004 fiscal year started on Oct.1, 2004 and runs through September 30, 2005. The dues are $10.00 per year and are strictly on a voluntary basis. These help cover the cost of getting out this Newsletter and Misc. expenses. Any help you can give is appreciated. Thanks for your support
ROSTERS: The cost for a roster is now $5.00. If you want an updated roster (September 2003) please make out a check in the amount of $5.00 payable to the 29th Bomb Group Assn. and send it to me. I'll send a roster to you soon after I receive your request. The roster is currently being updated. I will update you about availability in the June newsletter.
PICTURES: Tony Simeral commissioned an artist to paint his plane leading a formation past Mt. Fujiyama and donated a large amount of prints to the Assn. These prints measure 23" x 28" and are lithographed on heavy white stock, very suitable for framing. They are beautiful, to say the least and a few of our members have donated them to their Legion or VFW Posts as well as to other organizations. If you would care to purchase one or more, they can be had for $15.00 each or two for $25.00 post paid. Please make your check out to the 29th Bomb Group Assn. and send it to me. They will be sent out shortly after I receive your check.
CAPS: We do not have any caps at this time. I will let you know in the June newsletter if any will be available at the New Orleans reunion.