On September 7th, we will host amateur historian Jim Hencinski, who will present on the little known story of “The Concrete Battleship.”

One hundred years ago while the United States was fighting the First World War in Europe, on the other side of the globe the U.S. Army Coastal Artillery Corps was completing construction work on a unique military installation that would play a vital, but now largely forgotten part in the Second World War some twenty years later.

Fort Drum, the “Concrete Battleship”, was one of the fortifications built to protect Manila Bay from attack by enemy warships. During the Japanese invasion of the Philippine Islands in 1941-42, the American soldiers manning it endured five months of almost constant bombardment from both artillery and aircraft in a gallant, but doomed effort to turn back the invading forces.

This presentation will tell the story of Fort Drum from its construction in the early 20th century through its glory years in the 1920s and 1930s and its ordeal in World War II. The presentation will use many rarely seen period photographs as well as contemporary ones by taken by recent visitors to document this forgotten monument to the courage of those Americans who defended it to the bitter end in May 1942 and those who retook it from the enemy in February 1945.

Speaker Jim Hencinski is a retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer who served as an intelligence analyst for twenty years (1975-1995). He is an avid amateur historian with a special interest in World War II who has given many public talks on overlooked or misunderstood aspects of that era.

The program beings at 6:30 p.m. on September 7th. Refreshments will be served.

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.

We are proud to announce that on August 12, we will be hosting the Military/Civilian Vehicle Show presented by Kern and Kompany. “This year’s show promises to be the biggest one since the event’s first year.” said Hayes Scriven, Executive Director of the Center. This year’s event will feature the newly acquired M60 tank along with an operational M4A3 Sherman Tank that you can crawl into and start up. In addition, the Wisconsin National Guard and Coast Guard are providing numerous vehicles and a boat for the show. The Twin Ports Mustang & Ford Car Club will be hosting a Show ‘N’ Shine for civilian cars and Benna Ford will showcase many of its new 2017 models. In addition, there will be a live broadcast from KQ95 from 11-2. Finally, the Center is hosting a military book sale and the Bong Book Club is hosting a bake sale.

Kids Events
This year’s show will also feature music by Deepwater Music. They will have a wide range of bands that will be playing music all day. In addition, there will be World War II re-enactors from Fox Company, 2nd Battalion 502nd 101st Airborne. They will host a WW II weapons demonstration along with a paratrooper jump demonstration for kids. Kids/adults will have the opportunity to view the M4 Sherman tank up close and get inside it.

Admission is $5.00 and that includes admission into the Center for the entire day. Gates open at 10:00 a.m. and close at 5:00 p.m. The show is located in the Bong

Center Parking lot at 305 Harbor View Parkway (next to Perkins). Visitors are asked to park in the greenspace across from Marina Drive. We will have golf carts on hand to assist the elderly or handicapped to the Center.

For more information visit bvhcenter.org or check out our Facebook page.


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.





by Clyde Annala

The origin of Uncle Sam is uncertain, but the persona has been around since the War of 1812.  The “Uncle Sam” of today was created by magazine illustrator James Montgomery Flagg, first appearing in public July 6, 1916.  Over 4,000,000 copies of his iconic “I Want You” poster with a bearded, finger pointing, Uncle Sam were produced during World War One.

This image was extremely popular with the public and Americans started calling their soldiers ‘sammies’, or ‘Sammy’, a nephew of Uncle Sam.  The name caught on.  In July of 1917 General Pershing, commander of the American forces, reported French civilians calling his soldiers ‘sammies’.

In the Twin Ports, a daily paper, the Duluth News Tribune, started a campaign called Sammie Backers, urging older men to “adopt” a soldier to support with mail and small gifts.  It seemed America’s troops were destined to be known as ‘sammies’ until word got out through letters and chinwag that the troops hated it.

“Don’t call me ‘sammy’”, they wrote.  Nor did they want to be called yanks, especially the southern soldiers, despite public popularity of the name as celebrated in the song Over There with its patriotic proclamation that the yanks are coming.  What the soldiers fancied was “doughboy.”  That moniker seems to have been started by a populace movement among their ranks.

Doughboy is another obscure name, probably originating during the Mexican War when American infantry ended a day’s march covered in white road dust.  There is a lot of speculation on the origin of doughboy and its connection with the American military, but no one knows for sure.  Perhaps British and French troops got the last word, claiming the Americans are called doughboys because they were needed in 1914 but didn’t rise until 1917.

Well, rise they did.  Some 4,800,000 of them.  They won the war, and Americans welcomed their doughboys home, sammy all but forgotten.  The doughboy of World War One left a legacy that proudly stands alongside the “GI” of World War Two and Korea, “grunts” of Vietnam, and modern day “joe” fighting the war on terrorism.

We are looking for a part-time gift shop associate. This is a 20 hour a week position. Some weekends/evenings may be needed. We are seeking someone who has an energetic personality and a passion for customer service. The ideal candidate should be able to engage with visitors and enhance their museum experience and be familiar with retail operations.

Gift Shop Job Description

If interested please send resume and cover letter to Hayes Scriven, Executive Director at gro.retnechvb@nevircs. Or applications can be mailed to:
Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center
Attn: Hayes Scriven
305 Harbor View Parkway
Superior, WI 54880

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.

SUPERIOR, WISC. – . In honor of “The Wall that Heals” coming to Barkers Island, July 20-23, The Richard I Bong Veterans Historical Center in partnership with WDSE.WRPT public television is working to honor and remember the service of our Vietnam veterans. We invite Vietnam veterans to come share your memories on Saturday July 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Bong Veterans Historical Center. WDSE.WRPT crews will be available to record your memories for a local documentary project being produced by WDSE.WRPT, please bring photos and mementos. In addition, the oral histories will be cataloged at the Center and a copy given to the family. At 3 p.m. WDSE will preview the upcoming PBS Ken Burns Documentary “The Vietnam War” in addition, two Vietnam veterans will tell stories from their time in the service.

In addition to the program, in partnership with the Douglas County Veterans Service Office, the Center will be hosting a free cookout from 11-2. “We wanted a way to give back” said Brian Erickson, Veterans Service Officer. “With the “Wall that Heals” coming in, we wanted to give people an opportunity to gather and relax after taking in the Wall” said Hayes Scriven, Executive Director for the Bong Veterans Center. The lunch is free but donations are welcome and will go to support the Center and the Service Office.
Finally, from July 20-23 the Center is offering free admission to all veterans.

THE WALL THAT HEALS is a 250-foot replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial coming to Barker’s Island Festival Park in Superior Wisconsin from July 20 to 23 hosted by Halvor Lines trucking company. “The Wall that Heals” honors the more than 3 million Americans who served in the armed forces during the Vietnam War. It bears the names of the more than 58 thousand men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The memorial will be open 24 hours a day and is free to the public.

About VVMF’s “The Wall That Heals”
On Veterans Day 1996, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) unveiled a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., designed to travel to communities throughout the United States. Since its dedication, “The Wall That Heals” has visited more than 400 cities and towns throughout the nation, spreading the Memorial’s healing legacy to millions.

For more information, about the Richard I Bong Veterans Historical Center visit bvhcenter.org for WDSE.WRPT at (218)788-2831 or the Douglas County Veterans Service Office at (715) 395-1331.

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.

We will be open on July 4th our normal business hours. For all of the City of Superior 4th of July events, check out their website

Bill DuffySuperior, Wisconsin man’s service to his country to be honored during flag raising ceremony.

A Flag of Remembrance will fly Friday, June 30th, for William E. “Bill” Duffy who served his country as a member of the United States Navy during the “Cold War”.

The American Flag will be raised at 9:00 a.m. in front of the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center for William E. “Bill” Duffy.

William E. “Bill” Duffy was born on July 10, 1929 (Navy records say 1928) in Menomonie, Wisconsin. He was the son of William and Pearl Duffy.

Bill joined the Navy at the age of 17 and completed Basic Training at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in Illinois. During his time in the Navy, Bill served on several Navy Vessels including the USS Ascelia, USS Natchaug, and the USS Gypsy. Bill loved the Navy. He always had fond stories to share about his time in the military service. Bill particularly enjoyed his tour of duty at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

After Bill was discharged from the Navy, he returned to Menomonie and soon after began sailing on ore boats throughout the Great Lakes from 1948 until 1960. Bill then sailed for relief work for M.A. Hanna for 10 years. After his sailing career, Bill became a licensed boiler engineer. Bill retired as Chief Boiler Engineer for Bayer & Company.

Bill married Letty Trainor on February 15, 1950 in Menomonie. On their 25th Wedding Anniversary Bill took Letty to Hawaii. Bill assumed the island would be the same tropical paradise he remembered while in the Navy. Unfortunately, to Bill’s great disappointment, it was not! Now, there were many hotels, malls, endless expressways with so much traffic! However, Letty had nothing to compare Hawaii with and she simply loved the island!

Bill was a loyal member of the Richard I. Bong American Legion Post #435 for many years. He actively participated in the Post’s Honor Guard and Color Guard. Bill passed away on August 5, 2016. The entire Duffy family are proud of Bill’s service to his country and are happy to have a Flag of Remembrance flown in his memory.

This event is free and open to the public.

For more information about the “Flag of Remembrance Program”, you may contact any of the following individuals: John Vaski – (715) 394-7693; Scott Markle – (218) 269-4675. You may also leave a message at the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center (715) 392-7151. Email may also be utilized at: gro.retnechvb@ofni.

The “2017 High School Essay Contest”, proudly sponsored by the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center’, is HISTORY!

Lora Randa

Left to Right- Chad Postal, Lora Randa, Grade 10, Superior High School, Superior, WI , Lori Randa and John Gidley

The winners and honorable mentions have been selected. Congratulations! The field of entries was top notch! The contest was open to all High School students in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Center staff read and evaluated all of the essays and selected the top three entrants and three honorable mentions. The top essay will receive a Grand Prize of $250. A $50 cash prize will be awarded to the first and second runners up. A consolation prize will be awarded to three honorable mentions.

In a historic press conference on April 7th, 1954 President Eisenhower alluded to a “Falling of Dominos Principle” in which he explained the strategic importance of Vietnam in Southeast Asia. He related that if it fell into the hands of the Communists, soon after the rest of the region would fall. This announcement laid the foundation for the United States involvement in Vietnam. Looking back some sixty plus years, The Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center asked students to write a short essay on whether the United States was effective in deterring the spread of Communism as a result of our presence in Southeast Asia?

The Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center is proud to announce the following “2017 High School Essay Contest” winners:

Top Winning Essay-Lora Randa, Grade 10, Superior High School, Superior, WI

-First Runner-Up-Adrian Ferguson, Grade 11, Denfeld High School, Duluth, MN
-Second Runner-Up Keeli Gustafson, Grade 10 Denfeld High School, Duluth, MN

Honorable Mention:
-Nate Swanson, Grade 10, Denfeld High School, Duluth, MN
-Jake Seboe, Grade 10, Lincoln High School, Esko, MN

For almost two years, the American World War 1 soldier battled a bitter war in Europe.  He saw traumatic injuries and death on a scale seldom seen before.  Many veterans came home with limbs missing and physical scars.  Others suffered from a new psychological phenomenon referred to as “shell shock” and had a very difficult time adjusting to life in mainstream America.

The government did not ignore these damaged men, but looked to find a gratifying occupation for them.  Beekeeping was one answer.  It was considered a good option because the beekeeper typically works alone, at a slower pace, and has a major contribution to society through the products from the hive.  To this end, the Government developed vocational training for veterans in beekeeping to help them integrate back into society and earn a living.

Today, similar programs are still at work to partner veterans with beekeeping ventures.  One of these programs through the University of Minnesota offers free workshops to veterans to promote the benefits of beekeeping.

Edith Schultz

On Thursday, June 22nd the Richard I Bong Veterans Historical Center will host Edith Schultz, 94, who will speak about her childhood in Poland and how her life was impacted by World War II.

Bong Center volunteer and oral history interviewer Clint Mattson will facilitate a conversation with Edith that will explore her life both before and after the outbreak of WWII. Her father went into hiding before eventually being drafted into the German Army. Edith and her mother moved throughout Europe in an effort to flee the chaos around them.

“It was a terrible time that January of 1945. My hometown was bombed by the Russians and trains going west were packed with people trying to flee. We were all escaping with our bare lives and had only what was on our backs”, said Schultz.

From Poland to Germany to Czechoslovakia, Edith finally wound up in a Russian POW camp at the end of the war.

Join us to hear more about her story as well as her life after the war when she married a U.S. soldier and moved to Wisconsin. She worked as a lab and x-ray technician for 30 years at Giesen Clinic in Superior. Later in life she became a competitive swimmer in the Senior Olympics and in April 2017 was inducted into the Wisconsin Senior Olympics Hall of Fame.

Join us on June 22nd at 6:30 p.m. to hear Edith’s fascinating life story.

Refreshments will be provided.

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.