357th FG Museum

Discussion in 'WWII Events' started by bobbysocks, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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  2. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    How cool would that be!
     
  3. Geedee

    Geedee Well-Known Member

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    Wish I could take my '51 there for the event !.

    You guys have a great time...and dont forget the photo's ! !
     
  4. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    i wish you could bring your 51 there as well!! i plan to take photos of anyone and anything interesting. i think the personalities there will be the real attraction.
     
  5. Geedee

    Geedee Well-Known Member

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    Good man !
     
  6. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    #6 bobbysocks, Dec 6, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011
    On November 11th and 12th of 2011, the small community of Ida, LA. hosted a reunion for members, family, and friends of the 357th fighter group. when i say small, i do mean small as you see in the first couple photos. but what they lacked in numbers was more than made up with an overwhelming dose of southern hospitality. sadly, most of the Yoxford Boys have pasted away or were unable to make the trip. other than a couple family members like myself who attended, 4 of the original war horses came so that we may be able to honor them and all the veterans who served our country. they were:

    Joe Shea G4-E 44-72710 My Bonnie
    some of his story is here:

    My Memories of the 357th FG by J

    Jim McLane G4-B 44-14798 Dainty Dottie
    his account of trying to shoot down "Kit" Carson ( with who he was good friends )

    Kit Carson

    Jessie Frey G4-M 44-15267 Ain't Misbehavin'

    Pat Buzzeo crew chief for Jessie on Ain't Misbehavin'


    before any of the festivities we took them over to Smokie Maddox's ( the mayor of Ida and the curator of the museum ) house. an artist recentlypainted a beautiful picture of Jessie Frey's Ain't Misbehavin' and the 4 "Boys" autographed them for sale in the museum.

    picture legend:
    #1 Ida, LA Main street
    #2 Ida Community park where festivities were held
    #3 Ain't Misbehaving Painting Prints
    #4 Jim McLane (seated) Jessie Frey
    #5 Joe Shea
    #6 Pat Buzzeo
    #7 Catfish dinner inside community Hall. 3rd gentleman in the first row of crowd was a Doolittle raider
     

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  7. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    #7 bobbysocks, Dec 6, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011
    Later that night the town hosted the catfish dinner. The 357th Vets and family were the honored guests but in the crowd attending were vets from all branches of the service and wars and conflicts. for being a small town it has its share of notable vets including one of Jimmy Doolittle's raiders.

    picture legend:

    #1 L-R Dr. Olmstead, his wife, and Col. Snow.
    Dr. Olmstead is the son of Merle Olmstead the 357th historian and author of several books on the group. Col. Snow is the commander of the Ohio Air National Guard unit near Dayton, OH that took on the heritage of the 357th including the colors. They hosted the last reunion in September 2001. Since then the unit has moved from having aircraft to operating Predator drones.

    #2 The family of Capt. Fletcher Adams for whom the museum is named after. Capt. Adams was born and raised in this town. At the time of his death he left a wife and young son.

    #3 L-R half of Joe Shea, Peter Saunders, unknown wife of one of the 357th pilots, Mrs. Buzzeo, Jessie Frey, Pat Buzzeo, and William Strickland. Peter Saunders came from the UK. He runs the "Friends of Leiston" and the groups museum at
    the site of the original field. William Strickland is one of the owners and the pilot of the P 51 painted to resemble Jessie Frey's Ain't Misbehavin'. a fly over was scheduled for the following day.

    #4 L-R: Jim McLane, Joe Shea, and Peter Saunders swap stories.
     

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  8. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    #8 bobbysocks, Dec 6, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011
    Saturday was the picnic and presentation. Dr. Olmstead spoke of some of his father's work and shared a few stories. Then a wooden panel was presented to the museum. what made this panel so special? this is Joe Shea's story so i will let him tell it here:....

    When the 357th was at leiston, the mechanics and armament personnel worked through the cold winter nights on far too many occasions to get our planes ready to make the journey over Germany the following morning. They desperately needed to get in out of the cold occasionally but nothing was available. But their ingenuity solved the problem: The external fuel tanks that we used to extend the range of the p-51 so we could reach targets deep, deep in Germany were crated in crates that were made of plywood panels 18" X 72". Each crate had 4 such panels and we used lots and lots of external tanks. Frequently we would all drop them if we were attacking an enemy formation or at other timed we would drop them in some place and fire into the same place on the second pass and set the works on fire.

    The ground personnel would disassemble these crates and build what they affectionalely called "Line Shacks" out of them. Then they would equip the line shack with a kerosene lantern, a pot bellied stove and lots and lots of pictures of wives, girl friends or other lovely ladies.

    When the 357th vacated Leiston airbase to move to Germany, the manager of the farm that was once Leiston airbase was thoughtful enough to retrieve one of these panels and save it for posterity.

    I discovered this panel in 2004 on a visit to Leiston airbase. To say I was amazed would be a gross under-exaggeration. Later, 2 years ago when we were about to open the museum at Leiston, I once again visited the manager of the farm and asked him if he would consider donating it to the museum. He graciously agreed.


    it was a huge undertaking both expensive and troublesome to get it here. it still has pasted on pages from Yank and other magazines of the time.

    picture legend:

    #1 L-R Joe Shea, Mayor Smokie Maddox, Peter Saunders ( hidden by panel ), and Dr. Olmstead.

    #2 Joe and Peter tell the story of what the panel is and all the events that transpired on its trip from a lowly crate to a piece of history.

    #3 Joe presents the panel to Smokie for the museum

    #4 the panel

    # 5, 6, 7 The pin-ups that filled the dreams of young american boys on a cold winter's night back in 44 and 45 in a land far from home.
     

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  9. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    #9 bobbysocks, Dec 6, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011
    Here's where the let down comes in. at around noon we heard that unmistakable sweet song of a merlin. Bill Strickland brought Ain't Misbehavin' straight overhead screaming balls out and probably lower than the FAA allows. He spend a 15 to 20 minutes giving us our own personal airshow ( at his own expense ). i am sure there were a few lumps in throats and a whole of of folks in awe. so whats the let down. well...of all the things i am...a photographer i am not. messing with a digital camera with a screen i could not see inthe daylight and a delay that drove me nuts...all i managed to get from this great show was 1 half assed ( in every definition of the phrase ) and 1 good video. BUT when i was deleting the pictures of dead air....so went the video. no one is more sorry than i. i have sent letters to Col. Snow and the others in hops they have something i can post here.

    After that there was a meet and greet with autographs and t-shirts...etc. then the museum opened for all to walk through.

    picture legend:

    #1 the sign at the museum

    #2 OK i SUCK at this! sorry..

    #3 The Yoxford Boys: Pat Buzzeo, Jessie Frey, Jim McLane, Joe Shea

    #4 Jim signing

    #5 Jessie signs a shirt

    #67 The mega 357th Capt. Fletcher Adams 357th Fighter Group Museum in Ida, LA
    They do accept donations....haha. if you wish a signed print contact Smokie Maddox or PM me.
     

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  10. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    pm coming friend ..........
     
  11. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    lastly a few pics of the inside of the museum. there are plans to try to obtain a grant and build something bigger...which would be nice. it is actually a shame that the idea was only brought up a few years ago. had this began back in '01 Smokie would have had access to more pilots pictures, memoribilia, autographs, etc. as it is fewwer of these guys are able to travel. Jim McLane's son brought him...and his oxygen machine. one of the members lives several hours from me and wasnt able to handle the trip due to bad hips. it would be nice have the place expand where all the members have a "page" about them....and maybe a model of their plane. maybe that will be my mission in life...to build all the groups planes and paint them up. I enjoyed my time there and hope to return there maybe next year. and i hope i can find some better pictures of the fly by....if not sorry. and yes i see the pic are too big and will need resized. they were "supposed" to be ok...but guess not.
     

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  12. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    Very well done Bob!:thumbright: It looks like all had a good time to. And you don't have to apologize for the video, if I had a dollar for each time I have messed up with my camera, I'd be filthy rich. It's nice to see things being done to commemorate the folks while they are still here, it needed to have been done a long time ago but that's how it goes I guess. Thank you very much for sharing the event with us sir.
     
  13. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Bob, that's just fricken awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  14. Geedee

    Geedee Well-Known Member

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    What he said !!!

    Sincere thanks for recording the vent and letting us know. Top marks dude !
     
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