January speaker cancelled because of snow.
On February 9, Lt. Col. Chuck Childs (USAF ret) talked about experiences in the tense Berlin Airlift right after World War II, when he flew 37 combat missions against the Third Reich and was awarded 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses. Rapid City Mayor Sam Kooiker was one of those in attendance. more
On March 9, Ola Campbell(USAAF ret) talked about experiences during World War II. A B-24 pilot, he was in the 454th Bomb Group, stationed at San Giovanni Airfield, Italy, 1944-1945. He is a retired pastor and lives in Rapid City with wife Grace. more with photos
On April 13
Lt. Col. George Larson (USAF ret) talked about his new book, his sixth, about the WWII Seabees: A Seabee's Story, Tinian and Okinawa B-29s and the Air War against Japan,released in September 2012. During his military career, Lt. Col. Larson served as a strategic intelligence officer with the Strategic Air Command and Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff, Defense Intelligence Agency, Pacific Air Forces with an assignment with Republic of South Korea Air Force, Alternative National Military Command Center, and Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon.
Lt.Col. Larson was on SDPB's Dakota Midday show, Thursday April 11th broadcast at 11.40. more
On May 11th,
Mely Rahn of Rapid City presented her World War II memories of living in the tiny village of Vignaux, where she and her father and nurse fled when Germany occupied the country. They hid there for three years.
"I will be forever grateful to the people in that village," Rahn says. "They probably saved our lives." She and her father left Vignaux just before she turned 6, and later immigrated to the US. She remains a student of the military history surrounding this part of her girlhood. more
On June 8th, Lt. Col. Les Snyder (USAF ret) presented over 50 color slides covering his 50 bombing missions during the Korean War. "Almost nobody flew 50 missions and survived," Ray and Josephine Cowdery have pointed out. Snyder is Professor emeritus at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. more
(Les Snyder is far right in photo)
On July 13th, Dennis Edwards(USAF ret) talked about the Tuskegee Airmen fighter pilots of World War II, who were eventually awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President Bush. Edwards is District 2 Commander of American Legion Post 22 in Rapid City. Lt. Col. Chuck Childs MCed the event (his B-17s were often escorted by the Red Tails). more
(photo by Duke Doering)
On September14, Dallas Blomquist of Piedmont presented his experiences as a Marine who manned
a BAR at Guadalcanal, then entered the fight to take Peleliu, which he thought should have been side-stepped as the US fought north toward Japan. "I'm definitely Old Breed," he says. At Guadalcanal, he had a chance to meet journalist Richard Tregaskis who wroteGuadalcanal Diary.
On October 12th, Bruce Abele (photo) was introduced by Col Debra Shattuck (USAF ret), former commander of the 28th Maintenance Group at Ellsworth Air Force Base. A live Skype session (MS VoIP) was displayed on the two big screens. He is the son of LCDR Mannert Abele, Captain of the ill-fated USS Grunion, submarine which disappeared during 1942 off Kiska, Alaska, after reporting "intense anti-submarine activity." A book is forthcoming by Abele.
On November 9, Bill Casper. During the Cold war
he was in the Air Force from November 1959 until November of 1963 and spent three of those years stationed with Detachment #2, 11th Radar Bomb Scoring Squadron, "Badlands Bomb Plot".
Casper and the other members of thedetachment were responsible for the scoring of "simulated" bombing missions of B-47s, B-52s, and B-58s at the their site on Hurley Butte, eleven miles west of Interior, South Dakota. Bill gave a slide presentation of the life and "action" at the site, on TDY assignments, and living the "highlife" in Wall, South Dakota.
On December 14, Grace Childs talked about her experiences growing up during the Great Depression and life as a military wife and mother during World War II. She often crossed the country alone with four children. Photo shows Grace playfully wearing husband Chuck's uniform in 1944. more
Photo thanks to Ray and Josephine Cowdery