In the News
Board member Mike Gretz and one of the nonprofit's original founders has passed after a brief battle with brain cancer. Mike help found kidventure during the EAA's annual fly-in in Oskosh Wisconsin. Thousands of kids experienced model building and control-line flying. Mike was a model designer at Sig Manufacturing being well known in the model building world. Mike was also the president of the Airpower Museum. Mike leaves behind a mountain of medical debt for his wife Doris. Please join us in helping the family by make a donation. No donation is too small.
Tonight I want to change it up a bit and tell a story of Vietnam. To those new to our FaceBook site "U.S. Naval Air Station Ottumwa, Iowa", there are many postings on the base and I would encourage you to explore these pages. Larry Stevens was probably Iowa's longest confined POW in the Hanoi Hilton. Larry was kept in a room with 45-50 other prisoners. Family would send care packages that sometimes actually made it to them. He told of guards smelling of Lifebuoy soap so the guards probably routine pilfered these care packages from home. At Christmas one year Folgers instant crystals and Fruitcakes showed up for many of the guys in his cell. If they had a package they would be taken one by one into a room and allowed to view the contents. Back in the cell they shared what was in the package and the group decided how they would divide up (ration and timing of) the contents of these packages. That year each prisoner in their room got a 1/3 of a pound of Fruitcake and watered down coffee made with Folgers Crystals. The Folgers Crystals were a big deal as at the time it was the instant coffee closest to brewed coffee. This was a real Christmas treat. Their normal meal consisted of bread and soup twice a day. It rotated based on in season crop of Spinach, Cabbage or Pumpkin. They would have each of these on 4 month rotations. Obviously, little to no protein and they suffered the diseases related to this restricted diet. Curled feet and nerve damage for instance.
I'll close by wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas and ask that you don't forget our troops that are deployed, those who have served or those who passed thru this base in our own backyard.
Date: Friday, August 30, 2013
11:00 AM: Stearmans to arrive at Ottumwa Airport , most of them coming from Antique Airplane Assoc. Fly-In at Blakesburg. The Ottumwa Postmaster (or other post office official) will be on hand at the terminal to "cancel" our commemorative air mail covers with this custom stamp.
Between 11:00 AM and 12:45 PM the airplanes will be on display at the OTM airport for the public and press. We will welcome the pilots and hold a small ceremony, which will consist primarily of the postal official "swearing in" the Stearman pilots as official USPS air mail pilots (for one day). The pilots will also be served refreshments inside the terminal by the Friends of OTM NAS. Once the postal official has all of our air mail covers cancelled, they will be loaded onto the Stearmans. At this time we expect that 4-6 Stearmans will be participating in the event.
Around noon another flight of airplanes (not Navy Stearmans) will be arriving at OTM NAS from Antique Airfield. These are airplanes carrying the AAA's 60th Anniversary commemorative air mail. Once they land, the airmail they are carrying will be off loaded, taken into the terminal where the postal official with "back stamp" their covers with our cancel stamp (on the back side), and then loaded back onto their airplanes.
12:45 PM: All of the air mail airplanes at OTM NAS (both our Stearmans and the AAA airplanes) will be taking off and heading for the Oskaloosa Airport . Oskaloosa was one of the OTM NAS "auxiliary fields”, as well as the site of several of the first AAA Fly-Ins. At Oskaloosa airport all mail will be off loaded from all airplanes and taken into the terminal, where an Oskaloosa post office official will back stamp all the mail with the custom Oskaloosa cancel stamp.
2:00PM: Once the mail is back stamped it will be loaded back onto the airplanes for the return flights, which are targeted to take off from Oskaloosa at 2:00 PM. The AAA airplanes will be going directly back to Antique Airfield. At this time we are not sure if our Stearmans will also go directly back to Antique Airfield, or if they will be willing to go back to OTM NAS. We are planning to discuss this with the pilots before the first takeoff from Ottumwa airport. Our preference will be for them to return to OTM NAS and drop the mail off to us there, and then they return to Antique Airfield. However if some prefer they can certainly go directly from Oskaloosa back to Antique Airfield, after their mail bag is put onto one of the Stearmans that will be returning to Ottumwa from Oskaloosa.
The event should conclude by 3:00-4:00 PM with everyone back to Antique Airfield. The flown OTM NAS covers will be available immediately after the Oskaloosa flight lands back at Ottumwa.
Link to story:
This article started in the Ottumwa Courier and went nation wide including military news sources.
Stars & Stripes: