715-392-7151 info@bvhcenter.org
Flag of Remembrance, Bill Duffy

Flag of Remembrance, Bill Duffy

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.

Big Band Dance

Big Band Dance

Saturday, February 25, 2017



Swing to the sounds of the big bands.  Music is provided by the Esko High School Jazz Band.  Dancing instructions compliments of Samantha Weller, UMD/Duluth Swing Dancing Club

Admission is $5.00 per person with a family cap of $25.00

Tickets sold at the door

Snacks and soda are available for purchase

Camp Bong

Camp Bong


Camp Bong is an event for children grades 2 through 6. Children will camp out in our museum and enjoy a number of activities including getting behind the wheel of a P-38 fighter plane. Camp Bong is March 31st and space is limited. Register Today!


2017 High School Essay Contest

2017 High School Essay Contest

In a historic press conference on April 7, 1954 President Eisenhower alluded to a “Falling Domino 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 asks the question:

 “Was the United States effective in deterring the spread of Communism in Southeast Asia as a result of our presence in Vietnam?”

Remember to be original and creative in your essay writing.  Center staff will read and evaluate all essays.



  • The top essay will receive a Grand Prize of $250.
  • A $50 cash prize will be awarded to the First and Second Runner-Up.
  • Three honorable mentions will receive consolation prizes.
  • Winning essays will be posted on the Center’s web site. The honorable mentions will be listed on the web site.



  • Contest is open to all students in grades 9-12 in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
  • Your essay must be original and 500 words or less. Only one essay per student may be submitted.
  • Essays may be emailed to the Education Outreach Coordinator at the Bong Historical Center

Deadline is Friday, April 28th, 2017 at 5:00 pm.

Further guidelines, formatting requirements, and submission instructions.

Items returned to Japanese family

Items returned to Japanese family

In 2006 we received a donation that included approximately 20 photographs and several personal documents belonging to a Japanese soldier believed to have been killed in battle.  Superior native, Ted Merrell found them while serving on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. When we began putting together an exhibit about the Imperial Japanese Army, these items came to our attention as something very special.

Pay book belonging to Private Sahara



One of the photographs in Private Sahara’s collection. 


With the help of translator Kim Habig, we were able to find a name on some of the documents.  They belonged to army Private Yonezou Sahara.  That’s when we started to think it might be possible to find this soldier’s descendants and return to the items to their rightful home.

Kim, who also serves as a board member with the Superior Sister City Commission, suggested that we enlist the help of Superior’s sister city, Ami-Machi.   A delegation would be visiting in the summer of 2015.

During that visit to Superior, they made a stop at our museum and we brought them back to get a close up look at the items.  They took pictures of the items and agreed to help search for his family.  With the help of the Japanese Ministry of Health and Human Services, they were able to track down his surviving relatives.

In August of 2016, a Superior delegation visited Ami-Machi and presented the items to Private Sahara’s brother.  It was then that we learned that Private Sahara did in fact survive the war.  He married and had 2 sons.  He passed away in 2013.

We are very honored to have played a part in returning these home where they belong.