The following was released by the 345th Bomb Group Association:
345th Bomb Group Association Reunion Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Group’s Activation at Columbia Army Air Base November 11, 1942
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Betty’s Dream, with its distinctive 498th squadron markings, will be arriving from Texas. Depending on the weather-dependent flying time, the B-25 may be at Hamilton Owens Field in downtown Columbia in the afternoon and available for public viewing. Hamilton Owens Field is the home to an historic Curtiss Wright hangar where a B-25 trainer pulled from Lake Greenwood, owned by the SC Historic Aviation Foundation, is stored. 345th veterans only may have the opportunity to fly in Betty’s Dream by advance appointment.
The 345th Bomb Group Association Executive Committee will meet in the early evening at the DoubleTree on Bush River Road, reunion Headquarters, and attendees may register in the Hospitality Suite at the DoubleTree from noon to 5 p.m.
Friday, November 9, 2012
(SCHAF display for the 345th at Ham-Owens around mid-day)
Registration is available in the Hospitality Suite from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Friday will be an extremely busy day! After a buffet breakfast in the hotel dining room, 345th veterans and their families will be greeted by the Honorable Nikki Haley, South Carolina’s Governor.
Two educational sessions will be held on Friday morning. “Columbia in the War” will bring together local historians to discuss what the capital city was like during WWII and then draw on the audience’s experience to round out the discussion. Dr. John Hammond Moore, author of “Columbia and Richland County: A South Carolina Community, 1740-1990,” will moderate. Dr. Fritz Hamer, who has curated over 15 major historical exhibits at the SC State Museum and the Caroliniana Library will lead an interesting session called, “That Stuff in the Trunk.” Many of our members have extensive collections of WWII mementoes from their own experience or that of their family members. Dr. Hamer will lead our panelists in a discussion of how mementoes should be preserved; how to decide where they should be kept when you no longer want them, and how to evaluate potential donation sites. These sessions are open to attendees and invited guests only. There is a $15 charge for a boxed lunch.
Following the educational sessions, attendees will board the bus for a field trip to Hamilton Owens Field, where Betty’s Dream will be and to the SC Military Museum. Again, 345th veterans only may have the opportunity to fly in Betty’s Dream by advance appointment.
Note: 345th WWII vets whom were at CAAB will actually see and be re-united with one of their own training B-25s (SCHAF’s B-25 was in the training fleet at CAAB when the 345th formed there --70th anniversary of the arrival of this B-25 at CAAB)
After a quick trip back to the hotel, attendees will depart by bus to the Caroliniana Library for our welcome reception. We will view a special exhibit on the 345th and its time in Columbia, curated by Dr. Fritz Hamer, and enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres while greeting old friends. This event is limited to the reunion attendees and special invited guests.
Saturday, November 10
On Saturday morning, we will travel to the beautiful Richland County Public Library for a session on the technology and weapons of the B-25. Jim Bina, President of the 345th Bomb Group Association will lead off the session with a brief history of the 345th. This session is open to the public at no charge.
After the educational session, reunion attendees will travel by bus to 300 Senate at Senate’s End for lunch. After lunch, attendees will have the opportunity to peruse Dupre Percival’s new store, 302 Artisans, for South Carolina made items of all kinds. This is a private lunch for reunion attendees.
Some Saturday activities are dependent on the time of the University of SC-University of Arkansas football game for which the time has not yet been set. There may be an optional trip to the Fort Jackson Museum in the afternoon. Otherwise Saturday afternoon and evening are on your own for exploring Columbia.
Sunday, November 11
( 10:00am at Col Metro AP and 11AM at Aeronautics Hangar)
(EAA 242 assisting with Hangar event)
We’ll hope for good weather for the dedication of the historical marker commemorating the 70th anniversary of the activation of the 345th Bomb Group at Columbia Army Air Base, which was located very close to where the Columbia Metropolitan Airport is now.
Reverend Bob Lineberger(SCHAF member), a WWII veteran himself, will provide the invocation; there will be brief remarks by Tracy Power of the SC Department of Archives & History and Jim Bina, 345th Bomb Group Association President, followed by the flyover and departure of Betty’s Dream. The Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School U.S. Army Junior ROTC will serve as Color Guard for the event. Following the dedication ceremony, we will have a barbeque lunch catered by Doc’s Barbeque in the SC Aeronautics Commission hangar. WWII authors, including Hugh Ambrose, author of “The Pacific,” will have their books available for sale and autographing. The marker dedication is open to the public. There is a $20 charge for the catered barbeque lunch, tickets will be available at the hangar.
Sunday afternoon is devoted to the business of the 345th Bomb Group Association and its four squadrons, the Falcons, Bats Outa Hell, Rough Raiders, and Black Panthers, as we continue to work toward a future as an educational group that keeps the contributions of the 345th and a victory in the Pacific alive.
The last official activity of the reunion, the annual banquet, will be held at the DoubleTree Sunday evening. Drinks will be at 5 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m. We are extremely excited to announce that Hugh Ambrose, son of Stephen Ambrose, author of “The Pacific.” and historical consultant to the HBO series of the same name, will be our keynote speaker at the banquet. The Airport High School JROTC will present colors at the dinner. This event is for reunion attendees and special guests. Others wishing to attend should contact Mary Roby at firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Friday, November 2 for reservations. $50.
Monday, November 12
After much schedule re-arranging by the City of Columbia, the Veterans Day Parade is now set for 11:00 a.m. Monday. We are hopeful that some veterans will be able to remain in Columbia so they can take part in this event. Nancy Frick has arranged with Palmetto A’s for veterans to ride in the parade in some of their vintage cars. This is a public event.