WALL OF THE MISSING
"The Americans whose names here appear, were part of the price that free men
for the second time in this century have been forced to pay to defend human
liberty and rights. All who shall hereafter live in Freedom will be here
reminded that to these men and their comrades we owe a debt to be paid with
grateful remembrance of their sacrifice..." President Dwight D. Eisenhower
It is my sad duty to report the death of Steve Billisits, my engineer top
turret gunner on February 24, 2001, and of Helen Overdahl, wife of Curt
Overdahl, my navigator on May 12 of 2001. Steve died of complications
following surgery for lung cancer. Steve, along with Curt Overdahl and
George Stateman, my bombardier, were with me from Moses Lake to Euphrata to
Wendover to Grand Island, then across the Atlantic to Glatton, where we went
on the first mission of the 457th on February 22, 1944. We all completed our
30th missions around June 22, 1944. We are (were) life members of the 457th
BG Association and have made most of the reunions. As for me, this will be
my first missed reunion since the 1976 reunion at Bentonville, Arkansas. My
best wishes for a fine reunion.
--Edward Reppa, pilot, 748th SQ
President at the first reunion in Colorado
NOTE: Agnes Billists sent Stephen's funeral notice and it reads in part:
"He was a U.S. Army Air Corps veteran, serving as an
engineer/gunner with the 457th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force
during World War II. He completed 31 missions and was awarded the
Distinguished Flying Cross. He was employed as an Internal Revenue
Service agent for 26 years before retiring in 1978."
Dear Mrs. Elizabeth Lade:
Thank you for your order for "Fait Accompli III". Shipment will be
made tomorrow. We also appreciate you advising us of the death of your
husband, Jack Cade on 11/20/97. I am sorry we did not have the
information earlier. The Group had its meeting in September and as always a
memorial service was held. However, his name will be added to those to be
memorialized at the next meeting.
Your husband served with honor and you can be proud of his service to
Yours very truly,
James L. Bass
NOTE FROM ELEANOR C. SLAMAN:
I would like to add my husband's name to the memorial. Edward F. Slaman
died July 30, 1990. He was the pilot of the Rampant Pansy and he flew
NOTE FROM NANCY E. BARRIS:
Please adjust your records to reflect the death of my husband, Harold L.
Barris, on March 1, 2001. I am still interested in participating in
the Bomb Group's reunions.
NOTE FROM KEN NAIL:
Ken, and pilot Frank Gamboa's copilot, Ray Rossner, of West Boylston, MA,
suffered a stroke and died May 01, 2001.
Ray's funeral notice reads in part:
He was an Army Air Forces veteran of World War II, serving in Northern
France and Germany. Mr. Rossner worked 30 years in the customer
service relations department of Massachusetts Electric Co., retiring in
1983. Donations may be made to the Mighty Eighth Air force Heritage
Museum, Savannah, GA.
Dear Mickey Briggs:
Was sorry to read in the Sept-Oct 2000 newsletter that Homer had passed
away. We will all miss him.
Seems like nothing but sad news. I am writing to inform you that Paul C.
Mason (pilot) and Herman D. Walmer (navigator) have passed away, Paul in
August of 2000, and Henry in February 2001. Both were members of Robert W.
Robert M. McMakin
Enclosed is obituary of Wally McGibbon who was tail gunner on our crew, the
Paul Chapman crew -- one of the 748 SQ original crews. I was the navigator.
I believe Wally has attended all the reunions since Omaha in 1979, and served
as a director back in the 80's. Wally passed away on July 7, 2001.
Sincerely, Bill McKelvey
Wally's funeral notice reads in part:
He was a staff sergeant with the 8th Air Force, 457th Bomb Group in
Peterborough, england during World War II. He was a By-Products Supervisor
for Lukens Steel Co., retiring after 38 years of service. He was a member
VFW and the Lukens Veterans Guild. He was a B-17 enthusiast, and was active
in the 8th Air Force 457th Bomb Group Association.
Let us strive on to finish the work we are in: to bind up the nation s
wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle; and for his widow
and orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace
among ourselves, and with all nations. ¾ Abraham
Lincoln...2nd Inaugural Address...March 4, 1865