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, 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.

Free admission for veterans on Memorial Day Weekend

Free admission for veterans on Memorial Day Weekend

The Bong will offer free admission for veterans on the Memorial Day weekend, May 28-30, and will participate in the annual ceremonies at Greenwood Cemetery at 10:30 am on Monday, May 30. Our own Educator, Scott Markle, will, be the guest speaker, and American Legion Richard I Bong Post 435 will participate in the Color Guard.