Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial Day & visit to the Warbirds

John & B-17G
Just a couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to see and explore a couple warbirds from the Collings Foundation that were making a stop in San Luis Obispo. I had been tracking the tours a few months back but not recently and almost missed this one. We just happened to be out at the SLO Airport seeing our daughter off when all of a sudden the B-17G Flying Fortress lands and is soon followed by the B-24J Liberator. A P-51 Mustang fighter was delayed until the following day so I went back to check it out too and to get a second look at the big birds.

The B-17G was of special interest. You may have read the previous blog entries regarding my mom's brother, my Uncle Jule (Juke) Steunenberg, who survived the war only to be killed on July 20th, 1946 in a post war accident when two B-17G's clipped wings while searching for three missing P-47 Thunderbolts off Coiba Island, Republic of Panama. I will include links to the accident report and about Uncle Jule at the bottom of this post.  

B-17G landing
While touring the B-17G and B-24J, and working my way fore and aft (crawling and squeezing) through the fuselage of each, one certainly gains a greater appreciation for the 10-man crews flying in far off regions and often under a heavy barrage of flak. Many never made it back home.

So enjoy a few pics of of these wonderful old Warbirds on this Memorial Day weekend, and please reflect on all the men and women who have been lost in service to our country.

Starting with a few pics and will probably add more as I go. Click on any of the pics for the enlarged slide show.

B-24 landing

P-51 landing.

Flying over my house!
Lying on my back looking up through the
 open bomb bay doors. Don't drop the bomb!

Turret was not open for tours. I wouldn't fit

1st class with back cushion

Tail gun

Looking down at the top on the belly turret. X marks the trapdoor through which the
crew member would enter. A tight fit.

This one from the Collings Foundation website.Bombardier station.

Here's one I took of the bombardiers station from the outside.

ARC-5 series radios.
BC-348 in the radio room.
Of course I had to make a stop in the radio room. We see the venerable BC-348 on the right and ARC-5 Command radio's on the left. Similar were used in the B-24. I have a couple setting around here and there. As we know, Uncle Cal was the radio guy, U.S. Army Signal Corp during the war and lifetime Ham Radio Operator. Click on link below.

Monday, May 25, 2009: "CQ,CQ,CQ, this is W6WFV....William 6, William, Frank, Victor...CQ, CQ, CQ" ...Memorial Day 2009...and "dits" and "dahs"  

You can see a little more radio stuff if you scroll about half way down over in the right hand column of this blog.
This pic from the Collings Foundation website as they couldn't drop any bombs on the fly byes.
Crew names

Nose Guns
Top Guns

Dual cockpit/dual seater so you can take a ride. I watched a couple guys check off a bucket list item at $2,200 for 30 minutes or $3,200 for a full hour.
From the Collings Foundation website since I wasn't able to get up close  to the cockpit.

Next in
Betty Jane

Taxi anyone?

I couldn't leave without a B-17G T-shirt.

Related Blog Post & Links

Monday, September 3, 2012
Dog Tags, Ribbons & Pins

Sunday, February 5, 2012
Jule "Juke" Steunenberg killed in air crash 7/20/1946

Monday, November 10, 2008
Veteran's Day November 11, 2008 - Staff Sargent Jule Steunenberg 

Army Air Forces Report of Major Accident (may be prompted to grant permission for download)

397th Bombardment Squadron

If you are family, friend, veteran, historian, etc. and have any more info on the above squadron, the accident, the B-17G pilot Paul J. Hydo or my Uncle Jule Steunenberg―I would love to hear from you.

 397th Bombardment Squadron emblem

B-17 patrolling the Panama Canal zone WWII. 
Click on the pic and go to my Fold3 account for better viewing.


B-17 ‘Texas Raiders’ To Fly in the Heart of Texas…

Crew Positions on a B-17G

B-17G “Lacey Lady” Safely in The Hangar

Jerry Yellin, World War II Veteran Interview

Chuck Childs Recalls Days In B-17 Bomber

Former B-17 pilot reflects on World War II, D-Day

'Get up close and personal' with B-17 at museum opening
From the above link: Lacey Lady (then Sky Chief) above it's former home over a Texaco station in Milwaukee, Oregon.

Can't believe we missed this on our trips through Oregon.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mom at the Frazier Farmstead Museum

While reflecting today about my mother, Brenda Steunenberg Richards, I was reminded that one of her favorite childhood experiences was visiting family at the Frazier Farmstead in Milton, OR. The photo of the Frazier home below comes from the Frazier Farmstead Museum website. I had been exploring the website recently as it was being updated.
Frazier Farmstead in Milton (now Milton-Freewater), OR. Former home of our Frazier kinfolk. Photo above comes from the updated Frazier Farmstead Museum website.
Mom proudly displaying her copy of Whither Thou Goest
A favorite book of mom's (and mine too) is Whither Thou Goest by Patrick Simpson. It is an account of the Beardsley family journey by covered wagon in 1878, and Patrick's retracing of that trip in 1996, from Wells Bridge, NY to the Wallowa Valley and Milton, OR. Mary Jane and Theo Beardsley made this long cross country trek with their two young daughters, Eva and Frankie. 

Frankie & Eva.
Photo Frazier Farmstead Museum.
To help make the family connections, Eva Beardsley would marry Ralph Maxon Wood and their daughter would be Francis Beardsley Wood Steunenberg—my grandmother.  Hence, Ralph and Eva were my great-grandparents, Theo and Mary Jane would be my great-great-grandparents and Patrick's great grand-aunt and uncle. Hopefully I got that right and it makes Patrick and I cousins of one kind or another.

The photo below to the right is of my mother in circa 1925 at the Farmstead. The cross in front of her came West with the Beardsley family in their covered wagon. If you compare the photo to the modern day view of the house, you can see mom would have been kneeling on the grass just behind the Frazier Farmstead Museum sign with the window seat over her right shoulder.  The cross now resides inside that same window seat. To find out more, read The Cross Story written by Museum Director Diane Biggs about our visit to the museum in 2005 (link below).

Brenda Steunenberg circa 1925.  JTR Collection.
I have always been pleased that my mother was able to enjoy Whiter Thou Goest and rekindle her connections to those memories of childhood before she passed away. I treasure our time spent reminiscing about the history of the Farmstead and all the good times she enjoyed during family visits.

Happy Mother's Day mom. 

The Cross Story

Frazier Farmstead Museum website

Facebook: Frazier Farmstead Museum - Milton-Freewater Area Historical Society

More fun at the Farmstead circa 1925.
Related Blog Posts
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Happy Mother's Day. We love you Mom.

Sunday, July 29, 2012
Where is Stonewall's Arm?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Frazier Farmstead Museum

Saturday, August 16, 2008
Private Justus Simpson, Company G of 152nd NY Volunteers

Saturday, August 16, 2008
Private Lewis Simpson, Company K of the Eighty-ninth New York Volunteers

Photo taken in 2005 during our visit to the Frazier Farmstead.