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«0 Nonprofit Org U.S. postage Paid Grand Forks, ND PERMIT NO. 317 Provided by Art Pollard FRONT COVER: Return to Civvies by Norman Rockwell, - The ...»

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Air Force Gunners Association









We send a special prayer to our service members wherever they are and to

1 their loved ones this Christmas Season—keep them safe from harm and return

0 Nonprofit Org

U.S. postage Paid

Grand Forks, ND


Provided by Art Pollard

FRONT COVER: Return to Civvies by Norman Rockwell, - The Saturday Evening Post Cover - December 15, 1945 Curtis Publishing Company. In "Back to Civvies" (1945), we see an older boy headed in a different direction. It shows a soldier, freshly returned from war and grown into adulthood, settling into a bedroom full of the accoutrements of adolescence--fishing rods, pennants, model planes, pinups of starlets--and stretching into the civilian clothes he has now outgrown. The painting, like Rockwell's famous "Homecoming," which depicted a G.I. greeted by a tenement full of friends and family at war's end, recreates a scene that played out thousands of times for those lucky enough to return home from combat. With a few changes, it still plays out today.


Hello everybody, It’s that time of year where everybody is getting ready for the holiday season. It’s also that time to give you information about the reunion in Orlando, Fl The reunion will be from September 22-26 in Orlando, Florida at the Rosen Centre Hotel.

The registration for the reunion will be $130 per person. The rate for the room is $79.00 plus tax. With that rate I was able to get included the following amenities: rate is good for 3 days before and 3 days after the reunion, free internet in the rooms, free self parking, 15% off at all Food and Beverages Outlets at the hotel, Café Gauguin specials include $2.00 off the breakfast buffet, $3.00 off the lunch buffet and $4.00 off the dinner buffet. You can also get $3.50 for draft beers and $ 5.00 House Wines at the hotel bar.

The Rosen Centre is located at 9840 International Drive, Orlando, Fl. which is just 20 minutes from the hotel. To make reservations for the hotel you can go to the gunners web site (www.gunners.net) and under the reunion link you will see a link that will allow you to register for your room on line.

You can also call 1-800-204-7234 and make sure you tell them the Booking ID # 52902 (this will allow you to get the $79.00 room rate). When you make your reservation you need to tell them of any special needs that you may need. The hotel has long hallway so if you would like to be close the elevators please let them know. You will need to make your reservations for the hotel by August 20, 2010.

The hotel DOES NOT offer shuttle service to and from the airport. I was able to secure a $4 off coupon if you use MEARS Shuttle Service. The cost of the shuttle will be $26.00 (round-trip). I have been told if you take a Taxi it could cost you $37+ one way. On one of the following pages you will find a coupon that will allow you to get this rate. YOU MUST HAVE THE COUPON WITH YOU IN ORDER TO GET THE $4.00 OFF. NO COUPON—NO DISCOUNT.

In October, Larry and I made a trip down to Orlando to work on tours that we think you might like. There are a lot of things to do in the Orlando area, some of them require a lot of walking so I hope what we picked out will work for you. The follow tours will be offered: Winter Park Cultural Tour, Arabian Nights Dinner Show, and shopping for the ladies. We are trying to work on one more event but at the time of printing we have not be able to secure another event. If we are able to secure another tour we will let you know. More information about the tours can be found on the following pages.

On page 37 you will find the registration form that you need to fill out and return to Dan Danish by 15 July

2011. His address is on the bottom of the form. You will also need to make your meal selection and tour selections. If you have questions about the form, please contact Dan Danish.

In closing I would like to remind you that in October 1991 the last of the gunners were taken off the B-52’s and thus ending an era of where a gunner flew on a bomber type aircraft. We are not getting younger and for those of you who have not been to a reunion I encourage you to come because sooner or later we will not be around. The reunions are a great way to see old friends and meet new ones and you might even have fun while you are there.

Have a great holiday season.


–  –  –

Our AFGA 2011 reunion is on the agenda this next year. We will return to Orlando, Florida from where we held our very first reunion in June, 1987. There is information and registration forms in this issue for those who are plan on attending—or are thinking about it and need more information. The Spokane reunion we held last year was a fun time and enjoyed by all who attended so give some serious thought about coming and joining us in September, 2011. Our President, John Stallings and the rest of the AFGA Officers have put together a very nice program for those who will attend. Make sure you read John’s letter on page 3 about this upcoming event. Hope to see a lot of you there.

This edition took a little bit longer to get to the printers so you may have received it a week or two later than normal.

Besides having to gather all of the reunion information and get it condensed into a few pages, I received several long articles that were worth putting in. One of them, a 48 page diary of Harold Plunkett sent to me by AFGA Member John Shemenski written by a B-17 radio operator/ball turret gunner in 1943 during his tour. I found it quite interesting to read and hope that all of you get a feeling of those times and the dangers our WWII crews went though. I picked out a lot of the entries (obviously not all) that I thought might capture those times that they went through. I was able to contact Harold on the telephone about his diary—he is quite interesting to talk to over the phone. I thanked him for sharing the diary with us also. Thanks to John Shemenski for sending this to us.

Another long article was researched and written by Bill Gaddes. Many of you had written requesting articles on the various gunnery systems that were installed in the various aircraft over the decades. His latest covers the B-36 and I hope all of you find it as informative as I did. His drawing of the FCS system was quite accurate and helped to make the article more understandable in many ways. Many Thanks to Bill for taking the time to do this research paper for us.

I still have the “Profession of the Aerial Gunner” document that I will start getting out in installments come the April 2011 edition….it also is a well researched history of the gunnery profession and I believe all will find it quite interesting.

Coming soon, in a separate issue, will be an AFGA Membership Roster with names and addresses of all of our ACTIVE Members. This was requested to be sent to all of the membership by all those attending the Spokane reunion. It will also include a bit more about the Short Bursts Subscription program for those who do not understand it or how to subscribe or view an on-line edition of it and a few pages of forms and any updated/additional materials on the Orlando reunion that I might receive. This will be going out to all of our enrolled membership sometime in December also.

I am running low on member’s written experiences and shared articles. Only through you providing the materials does this publication get produced. Those of you who have contributed are in our debt. The photos sent in, news articles provided, websites visited, books read, etc. all contribute to making the Short Bursts an interesting and informative publication. For those of you who are thinking of writing and don’t use the computer, put it down on paper, I can decipher my handwriting so I sure can decipher yours. We all would like to hear of your experiences—just like the one written by Jim Short in this edition, or the article furnished by Cease Walker about a “Memories of a Past Christmas”, photos like the one Bill Little submitted (see back cover), etc and stories written by non-members but submitted for our publication because of their interest in it. It all contributes to interesting reading my this membership. Guess what I am saying is— without you, there would be no Short Bursts so break out those old photos, write a few words about one of your experiences, share your thoughts with us and help me bring it to all the rest.

Jan and I again want to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you—and hope you all get to share the year with good friends and loved ones throughout it. We wish you good cheer, good health, a great new year of adventures as you walk along life’s paths and we hope to see many of you in Orlando in September. Come join the “family” of gunners in celebration of the friendship and comradeship we have shared over the years.


–  –  –

The other issue to think about is your Short Bursts Subscription. Please remember that the Subscription fees are in addition to your annual dues if you pay annually and are additional fees if you are a life member. There still seems to be a little confusion on that point. If you have questions about the Subscription options give me a call or send me an email. We are approaching the first group of 1-year subscriptions that will be expiring soon so if you fall into that category expect to hear from us after the New Year.

Soliciting new members continues to be important. The next time you have a conversation with someone you know was a gunner ask them if they are a member and if not send them the Membership form from your Short Bursts or point them in my direction or send me their phone number. I will be glad to follow-up.

For Annual members, I will continue to send renewal notices on a monthly basis. I typically send out the notices towards the last week of the month prior to your due date. Please return the lower portion of the notice along with your check in the provided envelope. Also, please review the information on the notice for accuracy and provide any changes needed.

Additionally, in order to save on mailing expenses I only forward checks on to our Finance Chairman once or twice a month so if you have sent a check to me recently either for annual dues or for the Short Bursts Subscription please allow for this time delay if you see that your check has not been processed through your Bank.

Looking forward to Orlando and seeing old friends.


–  –  –

The Shortburst Editions are mostly electronic now with paper editions still being sent to individuals who prefer the paper copy. I haven’t seen too many questions of downloading problems since we went mostly electronic so I hope everybody is enjoying this new technology. This saves a lot of money and hopefully keeps everyone happy. The electronic edition is approximately 10 to 15 Megabytes and takes a couple of minutes to download to your computer so you may see a blank screen while this is happening. Taking a closer look at the blank screen, particularly the lower left of the browser window and you can see the progress of the download. You can always right click the file and left click “save as” to save the file to your computer permanently.

This edition starts the Reunion season scheduled for September of 2011 and I will be uploading content in the REUNIONS section once I receive the locations, times, etc. Stay tuned to www.gunners.net for the latest info and NOTAMS.


–  –  –

Bringing the Shine Back to Barksdale's BUFF: Contractors at Barksdale AFB, La., are hard at work restoring a retired B-52D at the 8th Air Force Museum. This Stratofortress, with serial number 56-629, flew 400 combat missions during the Vietnam War, surviving a hit by a surface-to-air missile during Operation Linebacker II in 1972. This airframe also served as Boeing's test prototype for the "big-belly" modification that enabled carriage of as many as 84 generalpurpose bombs, compared to 27 with the current B-52 H model. Restoration will include remedial sheet-metal work and a new coat of paint. "With the harsh Louisiana sun and weather, a paint job can only last about five or six years." said MSgt. Keith Baron, superintendent of museum operations. Since acquiring the B-52 in 1982, the museum has restored the aircraft several times, most recently in 2004, and hopes someday to build a museum facility capable of housing the aircraft indoors. (Barksdale report by SSgt. John Gordinier) Report sent in by Pete Karjanis—Thanks Pete, appreciate all the inputs provided in this issue. Article appeared in “Air Force Magazine”.

–  –  –

ArcLight Unveiled for Time-Critical Strike: DARPA last week introduced a concept called ArcLight, a high-speed, long-range conventional strike weapon launched from Mk 41 vertical launch system tubes on Navy ships. "DARPA believes this program will be a ground breaking way for the Navy and Air Force to engage deployed, time-critical targets," reads the agency's broad agency announcement, issued July 7. Utilizing the thousands of VLS in the fleet has advantages, such as the ability for worldwide coverage from just several ships, said the agency. Under a five-year, three-part program, the agency aims to demonstrate in flight a boost/glide vehicle system capable of carrying a 100 to 200-pound payload 2,000 nautical miles in approximately 30 minutes. DARPA anticipates awarding multiple phase 1 contracts to mature enabling technologies such as wing materials for the glide vehicle. Phase 1 proposals are due by August 23., 2010. Awfully familiar name—have heard it before somewhere….Bob Retired chief joining Air Force’s retiree council RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFRNS) -- A new face will share the head of the Air Force Retiree Council table at its annual meeting next year. Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley, who retired in November 2009, is succeeding retired Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Gerald R. Murray.

Chief McKinley’s appointment was announced by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz. The chief joins retired Lt. Gen.

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