to the Black Hills Veterans Writing Group which meets at 930 am (doors open at 900 for social period) on the second Saturday of each month. The June meeting will be at Western Dakota Technical Institute in Rapid City (left on first light past Campbell on Omaha). Library door. No steps. Can't miss it. Lots of close parking. All meetings are open to the public. You are invited.
On June 13, combat artist and US Army veteran James Pollock will talk about his experiences with the Vietnam Combat Artists Program (CAT Team IV) in Vietnam in 1967. "I had a canteen, camera, sketchbook, some personal items, and a 45 caliber pistol" he says. more Wikipedia
On July 11, Mike Birnbaum of Rapid City will present on his Vietnam experiences with the US Army's 9th Infantry Division during 1967 and 1968 and later as only the fifth Command Sergearnt Major (ret) in the South Dakota National Guard history. He is currently chairman of the South Dakota Veterans Commission.
On August 8, Harold Jansen of Rapid City will talk about his experiences in the US Navy during World War II as the US sought to retake the Philippines during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Photo shows Jansen in 1944 at the age of 21, as seen on a LCT (Landing Craft Tank) in the battle of the Philippines. more
On September 12, Evelyn Lenton of Rapid City will talk about her childhood incarceration by the Japanese in the Philippines during World War II, along with her mother and brother. Her father was a US Navy doctor. Photo below shows other Philippines-incarcerated children (with sailor) aboard the SS Jean Lafitte heading for home. We also remember the Sascha Weinzheimer story in Ken Burns' WW2 film series and book.
On October 10, John Wilkenson of Spearfish will talk about his WWII experiences as a Spitfire pilot in the RAF. YouTube video clip: "John on the Hunt" in Spitfire, combat over Germany, April 1945. John Wilkinson flying a Spitfire over Germany in 1945. The video was taken from the wing mounted camera that is only active while firing. more
On November 14 Marcella Lebeau will present on her WWII experiences as an Army nurse on Omaha Beach. “A mere 20 years after the US granted citizenship to the first Americans, a young Mniconjou woman left her reservation in South Dakota and joined the Army Nurse Corps during World War II.” more
On December 12, USAAF B-17 veteran Maurice Crow will report on his WWII experiences. "Morry and his crew completed 27 missions during eight months of flying combat with the 8th Air Force in the European Theater, and based on the difficulty of the missions, got credit for 30." more
WWII B-17 pilot Chuck Childs’ book Flying on the Berlin Airlift: The Salvation of a City has been published on Amazon Kindle. You can download to any PC or Mac (after downloading a Reading App from the same page). Congrats, Chuck! excerpt
Iwo Jima remembered. Cpt. Jerry Yellen, now 91, of Fairfield, Iowa flew P-51s during the Battle of Iwo Jima (February 19 to March 26). watch video
US Marine Loyd Brandt (right), who lives in Rapid City with wife Joyce, was fighting on Iwo Jima’s Mt. Suribachi when the famous photo was taken. All in all, Brandt was involved in the Marine Corps invasions of Tinian, Saipan, and Okinawa, and several others. He was on 55 Pacific islands. Rapid School High School graduate (1942) and School of Mines student and Navy lieutenant Delbert Mont Gerlach was killed in action on Iwo Jima while spotting artillery for the Marines. Marine Jack First of First Gun Shop was on Iwo Jima too. Bombardier Les Snyder (Mines professor emeritus) was one of the first to land his shot-up and burning B-29 on the newly captured island.
Send us a message to be on confidential email list to receive monthly notices of meetings. Do you have a story about your military service that you'd like to share and possibly write down? We'd like to hear from you.