509th Composite Group Reunion 2015

Discussion in '509th CG - Tinian' started by 25Kingman49, Nov 8, 2015.

  1. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    This was an outstanding, eventful and rewarding week, starting on Wednesday 23 September with early arrivals in Salt Lake City (SLC), Utah lasting thru the closing business meeting Sunday 27 September at Wendover Field, Utah. Jim and Cathy Petersen serving as reunion chairpersons outdid any and all expectations. Starting well before, but highlighted at Thursday lunch (Hill AFB) no one had to buy a meal after that, all were provided and expertly catered whether box lunch or other; I’ve never eaten as well or as often (and this is only in consideration of the meals, all other planned Wendover base tours and events went off without a hitch). Total attendance I believe was a little over 100 with eight (8) 509th CG veterans included and doing well. Weather was perfect, high 80’s during the day with blues skies, some puffy white clouds.

    First event Thursday 24 Sept. 0830 to 1430 tour of the Hill AFB Aerospace Museum http://www.hill.af.mil/library/museum/ followed that evening at the Doubletree Hotel, SLC with a presentation by Darrell Dvorak speaking about the 216th AAF BU (Special) atomic bomb test element,Wendover Field, commanded by his father-in-law Col. Clifford J. Heflin.

    General Paul W. Tibbets IV, Commanding Officer (CO), 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman, AFB (Grandson of Paul W. Tibbets, Jr., original 509th CG, CO) arrived Thursday night and stayed with the reunion thru the Saturday night banquet offering a presentation speaking about his B-2 bomber force at Whiteman an their continuing deterrent mission protecting the United States.

    Friday morning 0930 the reunion buses depart SLC for Wendover Field, Utah. All reunion presentation/speaking/meal events where held at the newly restored Senior Master Sergeant John T. Brinkman Service Club (this was originally the Officers Club, however the Brinkman family donated 250K toward the building restoration, hence the name change) This building will also serve as the future Historic Wendover Airfield Museum location. http://www.wendoverairbase.com/restoration_service_club a perfect venue for this reunions veteran and family gathering events. Also unveiled for the reunion was a new picture and document gallery exhibit covering both the 509th CG (combat element) and the 216th AAF BU (Special) (test element); a work in progress as the museum moves to this new location.

    Friday about 1330 to 1400 General Tibbets had one of his Whiteman B-2’s (on a normal UTTR training mission – so the tax payer story goes) flyover Wendover Field displaying to reunion attendees this remarkable aircraft, so stealthy that when it turns sideways it virtually disappears visually, beyond the suggested and classified zero radar signature.

    Saturday was consumed with base tours, including the South Base Tech Area where test atomic bombs, both Little Boy and Fat Man variants (without fissile components) were assembled for drop test purposes, and other elective activities at the base rifle range and/or four wheeler desert excursions. Saturday closed with the banquet diner and presentation by Gen. Tibbets IV noted above.

    I must say here, this young General Tibbets is very charismatic and obviously a dedicated commander to the men and women who serve within his 509th BW. I only spent a few hours with this USAF officer, but he has me hooked, where following him to hell and back regardless of mission would be a pleasure for those who serve in his command; at least that is my impression, interpretation.

    001 Tibbets IV before B-2 fly-over.JPG 006 B-2 Wendover 25Sept2015.JPG 016 509th, 216th photo-document gallery.JPG 037 Gen. Tibbets IV at  509th Banquit Dinner.JPG
    Darkhorse and Bomber Command like this.

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