Aug 2011 Assoc Web Site Message Traffic

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110828 - Memorial Tree pictures... Kovacs
110827 - Proposed Barksdale Museum
110815 -Augie Puchrik -Urschler
110814 - 55th at McGuire.. Penfield
110812 -
Kadena Typhoon.. Robb Hoover


Date: Sun. Aug 28, 2011
Subj: Memorial Tree pictures
Jim & Bill,
I think a lot of people don't realize that we added a tree as part of our memorial. Here's a couple of pix (taken on 26 Aug) of our Blue Spruce at the Memorial. It looks healthy all around and has grown taller. You may remember we had to replace the original tree due to a disease.
near Dayton, Ohio
I think every organization represented by y'all has had a reunion at Barksdale and toured the museum and/or you have been associated with the AF / BUFF. Some big news from one of the curators that I have stuck up a conversation with. Thought maybe y'all can pass the word on to membership as this could be a major step forward in representing what we all stood for: Peace through Air Power. I have suggested to Gary that he try to get in touch with some of the great Chiefs in the Barksdale area to find people to help restore the B-52D that may be the center attraction. See the attached. I have stripped several of the renderings from the brochure to keep it within email size. Pls pass on to interested aviators.
Bill Fritz
Hi Bill,
Just to keep you informed. The planning for a new museum at Barksdale AFB took a big step forward last Saturday. Attachment is article from the Shreveport Times. Will send Architectural Concept Drawings next. Maybe you could put this in your next new letter.

Director 8th AF Museum
Barksdale AFB
From: Terran Tidwell []
Sent: Saturday, August 27, 2011 9:31 PM
Boss, Have you seen this?
from: Reg Urschler
to:  Terran Tidwell <>,,
date: Sat, Aug 27, 2011 at 10:47 PM
Have not seen it. I know Buck Riggs, the recently deceased mover behind the original idea….and god friend of mine….would be pleased to see his life’s work continued. Hopefully he will be recognized by the folks who build this new Museum. Barksdale would not have these airplanes had it not been for his persistence, sacrifices and dedication.

I am info copying the current director Robert Mille in the hopes he will carry the torch on Buck’s behalf. I suggest he also get in touch with Buck Shuler, Lt.Gen. USAF (Ret.) who knew Buck Riggs very well and is intimately familiar with Rigg’s accomplishments. Buck Shuler was instrumental in establishing the Mighty Eighth Museum in Georgia. I am a bit surprised to not see Edgar Harris’ Lt.Gen USAF, (Ret.) name. He also was an 8th AF Commander and familiar with Buck’s efforts. Hopefully he remains in good health.

I wish them all the luck in the world. This from a 28 year SAC, former RB-47 driver (3,000 hours) and RC-135 driver (8,500 hours). I also will pass this info to the 55th Wing (formerly Start Recon Wing) web master for inclusion on their web site.
Thanks for sharing.

From: Sam Pizzo []
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 9:19 AM
Subject: RE: Augie Puchrik
I know for sure that Puck was a very religious man and could speak ,I think, 7 different languages, and he proved he could cuss in all those languages as demonstrated by his reaction when we reviewed the scheduling board at Andrews and he saw that I was selected to go to Moscow with the Russian President and he was not. He even cussed me and I was an innocent participant. Not sure what he said cause it was in a foreign language, but by the look on his face it surely was cussing. We made up though after a couple of drinks at the bar.
from:Reg Urschler
to:Jo Scarpino <>,
date: Mon, Aug 15, 2011 at 11:09 PM
subject: RE: Augie Puchrik
I’m afraid the ranks of those who sevred with your father are thinning pretty rapidly and with them the stories. However, we will pass along any more vignettes which may pop into our aging and diminishing memories.
Videmus Omnia,
Reg Urschler
From: Jo Scarpino []
Sent: Monday, August 15, 2011 10:58 PM
To: 'Reg Urschler'; 'Roby Craft'
Subject: RE: Augie Puchrik
I did not know of my Dad’s ping pong expertise! And wow – he managed to get a golf course built? I know how much he loved playing golf.
I love hearing all these stories. And I have been sharing them with my brothers and sister who have also enjoyed them.
My Dad came from a large family and was especially close with several of his siblings. It sounds like he had another family with all of you in the Air Force.
More stories?
from:  Reg Urschler
to:   Roby Craft <>
cc:  JP Scarpino <>
date:  Mon, Aug 15, 2011 at 10:10 PM
subject:    RE: Augie Puchrik
As you know, George was a West Point grad. He also was my IP when I checked out as a CP after arriving in 1955. “Major” George Danforth’s assigned copilot at the time also was a West Point grad and a Captain (Wilkenson by name), and George treated him like he was a plebe, so I’m not surprised in the least to hear of Danforth and Puck’s relationship.

Puck was an unusually talented and bright individual. Never saw him with a frown on his face. Always a smile….and always singing something, normally in some foreign language. I don’t recall his ping-pong expertise probably because we did not have a ping pong table in the 343rd. He had a way of “getting-things-done”….like the golf course. He was a true patriot.

P.S. I am copying his daughter as I know she would be delighted hearing of her father’s “antics”.
From: Roby Craft []
Sent: Monday, August 15, 2011 9:35 PM
To: Reg Urschler
Cc: net];;
Subject: Re: Augie Puchrik

I was in the 338th with Puckrik. I remember that he spoke 7 languages fluently which was amazing to me as a Southerner who only spoke English badly. The second thing is that he was the best ping pong in the squadron by a mile and probably the best in the wing. He would toy with you as a cat with a mouse but in the end, --- whip your butt. He was great with those of us who were a little younger.
He was also largely responsible for the construction of the golf course in the Capehart area. I'm not sure how he got the responsibility but he sweet talked the local commander of the Army National Guard into sending people and heavy equipment to do the heavy grading required . In that capacity he reported directly to Gen. Nielson.
He had a contentious relationship with the 338th C.O., George Danforth. We had a practice alert late one evening and Puck did not show. Danforth called him and as the story goes. Puck told him he was not participating! Knowing Puck's relationship with General Nielson, George counted him as present.
A great guy!!!!
From:  Reg  Urschler
date:   Mon, Aug 15, 2011 at 8:01 PM
subject:    FW: Augie Puchrik
I had the opportunity (luck) to serve with Colonel Puchrik at Forbes AFB in Topeka (he was a Captain at the time and West Point grad) in the mid-fifties when I was a Lt. and we were flying as copilots In the RB-47’s. He spoke fluent Russian and a few other languages. As you know, he was the escort on the Russian airliner which brought Khrushchev to the US. He also….as you will see…later commanded the MLM in Berlin. He was a unique patriot and he served his country well.
I believe you especially will be interested in the attachment.
From: Reg Urschler []
Sent: Monday, August 15, 2011 3:15 PM
Subject: FW: Augie Puchrik
Author of the attached article mentions his assignment to the 6912th in Berlin. I checked the FTVA membership book and note he’s not there. Fascinating article. I served with Col Puchrik in the 55th SRW at Forbes as you will note in the exchange below with his daughter. May wish to pass this along.

From: JP Scarpino []
Sent: Saturday, August 13, 2011 10:54 PM
To: 'Reg Urschler'
Subject: RE: Augie Puchrik
I thought you might enjoy reading the article that I mentioned in my previous email.
Warm regards,
From: Reg Urschler []
Sent: Saturday, August 13, 2011 11:02 PM
To: 'Sam Pizzo'; 'JP Scarpino'
Subject: RE: Augie Puchrik
I, like Sam Pizzo, was in the same squadron (343rd SRS) with your Father at Forbes in Topeka. And I, like he, flew as a pilot in the RB-47s.

I remember your Dad fondly. I recall very vividly him walking down the hall in our squadron building singing the Litany of the Saints in Latin. And I, as a former altar boy, singing the appropriate Latin response.

I also remember your father and the constant smile on his face and positive attitude. He introduced me Mutual Funds and the idea of monthly investments, suggesting monthly allotments which automatically went into the fund. This when I had not al lot of money as a young Lt….about $400 a month, $100 of which went into this investment idea.

Thanks to him and his “suggestion” , I managed to save a nice bit of money which is seeing me through retirement. He was a warm, friendly and gregarious human being and I was fortunate to have known him. He was “Puck”…or “sir” to me…as the circumstances dictated. I know he and Sam had one heck-of-a time flying the Soviet Premier. Stories were legend.

Best wishes from a former 343rd squadron mate and admirer of your Father.
Reg Urschler
Brig. General USAF, (Ret.)
From: Sam Pizzo []
Sent: Saturday, August 13, 2011 7:25 PM
To: JP Scarpino; 'Regis Urschler'
Subject: Re: Augie Puchrik
I remember most vividly and often, think of the trip your Dad and I took in flying with the Russians when Krushev visited Eisenhauer. Your Dad truly had a ball on that trip speaking with the Russian crew members and falling over backwards laughing when the Russian stewardess served me food and when I took a bite of the salty Russian food I reached for my water glass, took a big swig, only to find that it wasn't water but Vodka. I nearly choked to my death.
As you know your Dad spoke Russian like a native and we both wondered how in the heck I got to go along with him on that trip but I'm sure glad I got to go. I also remember the little religious statute your Dad brought your Mother from London on that trip and according to your Dad I think she nearly hit him with it when she found out from my wife Mary that I had brought her a pretty sexy night gown.
I also remember your Dad's habit of whistling over the intercom while flying missions out of Forbes.
Yes Steve is our Son ( nearly 60 years old now ) and we live a short distance from him. He is long time married with two daughters and he live quite close to Mary and I.
Your Dad was a true Patriot who served his country well.
Nice hearing from you. Fondest regards
Sam Pizzo
In a message dated 8/14/2011 11:53:11 P.M. Central Daylight Time, writes:
     Yes, I was in the 91st SRW
I graduated in Class 49A Pilot Training. (The second class in the Air Force.) I chose McGuire as the base I wanted. I had wanted to be a fighter pilot and I was headed to Willy after basic training. But because of a squadron of Turkish Cadets that said they all had to go to Fighters because they didn't have any multiengine aircraft in Turkey, the orders were changed to let a Turk go in my place. Haven't liked Turks since. The assignment that I put in for and got when I graduated from Barksdale Multi-engine school was to McGuire and a TAC unit that was flying B-26s and F-82s (Two F-51s put together as a twin engine fighter.) However, when I got there they were leaving and SAC had moved in with B-29s. This was Feb of 1949.
I thought that I would go with TAC but somehow my orders were changed and I ended up in SAC as a Co-pilot on B-29s.

Yes, this was the 91st Strat Recon Wg. Col Steed was the Wing Commander. I ended up in the 324th Strat Recon Squadron.
Major Roger Howard was the CO and P. J. Hamm was the Operations Officer.
The majority of the Officers were 1st Lieutenants. I might add that the
Army Air Forces had stopped pilot training at the end of the war, and we were the first 2nd Lt pilots that they had seen in several years. About five of us had come to McGuire. We were sort of rare, since they hadn't seen a 2nd Lieutenant in several years.

The Air Force was pretty chaotic at this time because they hadn't been an Air force for very long. (1947) McGuire was an Army Air Field at Fort Dix and had been closed since the end of the war. It was all WWII buildings and was in really bad shape. The majority weren't painted outside or inside. My BOQ room was just that. A small unpainted room. It had one light bulb in the ceiling and a GI cot. Nothing else. When I went back to the BOQ Office and complained that there was no place to hang my clothes, the Sargeant handed me some nails and said that I could pound them in the wall and hang my clothes there. While I was there I hung my clothes on the nails and lived out of a foot locker. I might add that on the weekends and holidays the base was practicaly deserted. There was absolutely no housing at McGuire and none nearby off base. The army had them all tied up. The only people on the base on the weekends were the single officers and enlisted men and anyone that had duty like Airdrome officer. People were lucky to get housing in Trenton or Philadelphia.

My first flight in a B-29 was with George Doll's crew. I was the Co-pilot.
I had never been to B-29 school and knew nothing about a B-29. He briefed me just before takeoff on where the gear and flap switches were and also where the switch to jettison the bomb bay tank. The mission was a long range one 15+ hours and we carried a 2250 gallon bomb bay tank in the rear bombay. He told me that we would be using all of the runway on takeoff and if we lost an engine we would need to jettison the tank. He said that if he called to jettison the tank I was to to push the switch and hold it because if the tank failed to go out or got hung up we'd crash.

My next flight was with 1st Lt Robert Marshall. It was a standboard crew and he didn't have a co-pilot. Apparently he thought I was pretty good because I stayed on his crew Until I got checked out as an A/C in RB-50s at Ramey AFB. I told you that the AF was chaotic back then. Two flights and I'm a standboard co-pilot.

Our mission in the 324th at McGuire was to train ECM observers and outfit the B-29 with ECM equipment. Apparently they had gone out and recalled or gotten people with some ECM knowledge. A lot of them were kind of geeky. They didn't really wear their uniforms properly and had the college professor look about them. In the begining, the ECM positions were the left and right scanners. They were also going out on the war surplus markets and buying back some of the gear they needed that had been dumped at the end of the war. THIS WAS THE START OF THE 55TH. A side note to the ECM observers. They could only be on flying status for three months at a time because the weren't rated. The powers to be solved this by recalling a lot of pilots at the beginning of the Korean war and sending them through ECM school. They used their pilots rating to fly as EWOs. They still had to maintain their pilots proficiency. My first Raven one was Harold Hackenberger. Eventually, they got the Ewos a rating and let any of the pilots that wanted to, go back to primarily piloting. Hackenberger moved up and became my co-pilot in RB-50s and then in RB 47s. I think we were together for about 8 or 9 years. Probably a record.

Yes I know that it was the 91st SRS, however, All of the personnel at McGuire went to Barksdale. Major Howard was the CO and Capt Hamm was the Ops Officer. All of the crews maintenance personnel etc remained the same. Then we went to Ramey AFB and Howard was the CO and Hamm was the ops officer. When we finally ended up at Forbes Howard was still the CO and Hamm the Ops officer.

So if you look at the outfit from the personnel standpoint, the 55ths mission started at McGuire in Nov of 1948. The only difference was that the name changed.

This is probably more than you wanted to know, but it's fun recalling the old times.
date:   Fri, Aug 12, 2011 at 10:55 AM
subject:   Kadena Typhoon...42 inches of Rain
Excerpt from AFA e-mail (which also includes a photo). This could be worthy of 55WA website posting.

Airmen Clean Up Kadena After Typhoon:

 More than 125 airmen from the 18th Civil Engineer Group at Kadena AB, Japan, worked to clean up the base after a slow-moving typhoon ripped through the island last week. The tropical storm hit Okinawa on Aug. 4 and lasted through the morning of Aug. 6, requiring all military personnel to stay inside their homes for nearly 60 hours. "I couldn't be more proud of the 18th CEG team and their can-do attitude," said Maj. Justin Morrison, the 18th CEG Operations flight commander, in a release. "The base was back to full operation quickly following the storm." Kadena received 42.19 inches of rainfall during the typhoon, the second highest amount of rainfall recorded, according to a base release. The storm also caused about $1 million in damages to homes, vehicles, and other property.