Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

July 31, 2013

Grissom hosts reunion for former airmen

Event to be held Aug. 24.

Staff Reports
Kokomo Tribune

---- — GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE — Generations of U.S. airmen soon will return to their Indiana home at Grissom Air Reserve Base to share their stories of service, courage and sacrifice.

The 434th Air Refueling Wing will host a reunion for its former airmen at the Grissom Services Complex Aug. 24.

“There’s a lot of fellowship,” said retired Master Sgt. Les McConnell, a former 434th Air Refueling Wing historian and current Grissom Fire Department assistant chief, who helped orchestrate the reunion. “We talk about the past and future, and a lot of people tour the base to see what is going on and what new things are taking place.

“With the Reserve, people tend to live far away from each other, so it’s a nice way to get together and catch up,” McConnell said.

Those interested in attending the event must register no later than Aug. 17 with retired Col. Larry Alexander, the retired 434th CES squadron commander, who is also coordinating the event and can be reached at lwalex88@sbcglobal.net.

A social hour will take place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., after which dinner will be served.

For those wishing to stay at the Grissom Inn, reservations may be made by calling 765-688-2844.

The 434th Force Support Squadron customer service desk will be available Saturday morning to those wanting to update their IDs and any information in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System.

The 434th was officially activated Oct. 1, 1942, as the 434th Base Headquarters and Air Base Squadron at Mitchel Field, N.Y. In preparation for the invasion of Europe at Normandy, France, the unit was moved to Alliance Army Air Field in Nebraska, and was designated as the 434th Troop Carrier Group on Feb. 9, 1943. The 434th TCG consisted of the 71st, 72nd, 73rd and 74th Troop Carrier Squadrons, which all flew C-47 Skytrains throughout their World War II career, including D-Day.