715-392-7151
Gomer

Gomer

Joe Gomer

Joe Gomer

Joe Gomer was born in Iowa Falls, Iowa, on June 20, 1920. When he was 22 years old, he enlisted in the Army and was sent to Tuskegee, AL, for flight training in an experimental all-black outfit that would become known as the Tuskegee Airmen. During WWII, the U.S. military was strictly segregated and prior to the war, African-Americans were not allowed to become military pilots.
Along with about 450 other Tuskegee Airmen, Joe flew the P-39, P-47, and P-51, providing escort and protection to bomber missions out of Italy. He flew 68 combat missions and survived several close calls, including a crash landing.

In part, the success of the Tuskegee Airmen helped to usher in the integration of the U.S. armed forces in 1948.
Joe remained with the Army Air forces after WWII and became a flight test maintenance officer with the 332nd at Lockbourne Air Force Base in Ohio. During the Korean War, Joe served with the 315th Air Division in Japan as a Wing Technical Inspector. After that he was assigned to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland where he was trained in air defense and nuclear weapons.

His nuclear weapon training brought him to Duluth, Minnesota where he became a nuclear weapons officer. After 22 years of service, he retired from the military as a major in 1964. He settled in Duluth with his wife and two daughters, where he worked for the U.S. Forestry Service as a personnel officer until 1985.

In 2004 he was inducted into the Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame. In 2007, Joe and the 332nd Fighter Group and 477th Bomber Group were presented with the highest award given by the House of Congress, The Congressional Gold Medal. He attended the inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2008. Joe passed away in 2013 at the age of 93 in Duluth, Minnesota.

Strohfus

Strohfus

Test

Test

In 1943, Strohfus joined the newly formed Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), which performed wartime duties in the United States, relieving male pilots for overseas combat dutying during WWII. Approximately 25,000 women applied. Only 1,800 were accepted. After training at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas, she earned her silver wings. She was sent to the Las Vegas Army airfield where she trained gunners, flew AT-6’s and P-39 Cobras. She co-piloted B-17’s and B-26’s. During this time Liz turned down a marriage proposal to remain a WASP and continue flying her favorite plane, the AT-6.

Flag of Remembrance-Dec. 1

Flag of Remembrance-Dec. 1

A Flag of Remembrance will fly Friday, December 1st, for Roy T. Martinson who served his country as a member of the United States Army during World War II.

The American Flag will be raised at 9:00 a.m. in front of the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center for Roy T. Martinson.

Roy T. Martinson was born in Superior, Wisconsin on June 19, 1921 to Trygve Martinson and Ellen Schold. He was a lifelong Superior resident and graduated from Central High School. Upon graduation, Roy completed initial Army training and was transferred to Europe with the famed 101st Airborne Division during World War II. Roy earned a commission as a Second Lieutenant in May 1942 and was awarded a number of combat honors including a Bronze Star for multiple War Campaigns in Belgium and France. Additional awards included the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Parachute and Glider Badges.

In May 1942, Roy married June L. Swanson and they had two sons, Roy D. and Randy. Upon Roy’s return to Superior after the war, he began his career with the 32nd Infantry Division of the Wisconsin Army National Guard. Roy rose through the ranks to Lieutenant Colonel. He eventually became Battalion Commander of the 724th Engineers headquartered in Superior and Provost Marshal for the Wisconsin Army National Guard.

Roy retired from the Army in 1969 after 29 years. His chosen civilian career was in Law Enforcement. In 1947, Roy joined the Superior Police Department as a patrolman and was promoted to Chief of Police in 1973. Roy was one of a select number of officers who graduated from the National Police Academy at the FBI Headquarters in Quantico, Virginia.

Roy retired as Chief of Police in 1981. During his retirement, he loved spending summer days at the Nemadji Golf Course, grilling with family and tending to his beloved dog Heidi and parakeet Cleo. At the time of Roy’s death on November 4, 1985, he was serving as 9th District City Counselor for the City of Superior.

Roy is survived by his sons Roy D. (“Pepper”), Randy, his granddaughter Tracy, daughter in law Jane and many nieces and nephews. “Papa Roy” is greatly missed by his entire family. They are proud of Roy’s service to his country and city and are happy to have a Flag of Remembrance flown in his memory.

About the Flag of Remembrance Program
The “Flag of Remembrance Program”, sponsored by the Richard I. Bong American Legion Post #435, honors the life and memory of one deceased Veteran every week by flying a flag over the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center, 305 Harbor View Parkway, Superior, Wisconsin. The flag is respectfully raised at a ceremony at 9:00 a.m. each Friday by members of the Richard I. Bong American Legion Post #435. On the following Friday, at 8:30 a.m., the flag is then lowered. Information on the Veteran is on display in the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center throughout the week.

About the Richard I,. Bong Veterans Historical Center
The Mission of the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center is to preserve and honor the memory of Major Bong and all veterans of World War II as well as subsequent conflicts and to provide educational resources for the Twin Ports area community and beyond.

Bong Center Collects Gifts for Veterans

Bong Center Collects Gifts for Veterans

In the spirit of the Holiday Season, The Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center, the Bong Book Club, Richard I. Bong American Legion Auxiliary, and the Richard I. Bong American Legion Post #435 are once again looking for donations for the Silver Bay (MN) Veterans Home.

The program started 12 years ago to bring some holiday cheer to area veterans. Hope Swenson, Bong Center Volunteer said “The donation program started as an outreach program from the Bong Book Club and has grown from there.” She continues “It has continued to be well received by the community.”

Ward Wallin, Silver Bay Veterans Home Volunteer Program Administrator states, “Each year the residents of the Silver Bay Veterans Home are very grateful for the donations provided by the many volunteers and staff at the Bong Center. We have enjoyed a great working relationship over the years and your dedication to our nation’s heroes has been outstanding.”

Bring donations to the Center by December 18th and place them in the box located in the lobby. The gifts should be unwrapped, and you may include your name on the gift or donate anonymously. Suggested gift items include; shaving and other personal care supplies, blankets, socks, t-shirts, sweatpants, stationery items, stamps, books, magazines, and DVDs.

The Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center
The Mission of the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center is to preserve and honor the memory of Major Bong and all veterans of World War II as well as subsequent conflicts and to provide educational resources for the Twin Ports area community and beyond.