13th Bomb Squadron- The Devil's Own Grim Reapers
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Seeing old friends, some for the first time in 30-50 years can be an emotional and really gratifying experience. We have this at school reunions, but when the previous relationships were under hard working conditions including preparation for combat or combat itself, the reconnections become incredibly meaningful. This is what happens at 13th Bomb Squadron Reunions. One pilot reunites for the first time in 35 years with the navigator he flew 65 combat missions with in Vietnam and that reunion becomes electric. Similar happy events like this occur every year at the annual Association reunions which rotate to different parts of the country where members and their wives, family members and friends enjoy tours and happenings in each location and especially the camaraderie.

The last twelve gatherings of 13th eagles took place in: New Orleans (World War II Museum), Washington, DC (Air Force Memorial Service), Tucson, (Pima Air Museum), Colorado Springs, (Air Force Academy), Hampton, VA. (F-22), Kansas City, (B-2), Dayton, (Air Force Museum), San Antonio, (River Walk), St Louis, (The Cards and The Bud Suds), Seattle, (Boeing Museum), Nashville, (Grand Ole Opry), and Abilene, TX. (B-1B).

Six pilots attended the 2012 Reunion in New Orleans. Squadron commander Lieutenant Colonel Mark Pye addressed the banquet audience and updated the attendees on recent activities of the squadron. Association members presented him with some historical memorabilia which will help the squadron form an image of the earlier days of the Grim Reaper legacy.

New Orleans Reunion Details

It will be tough to top the great 2012 spring reunion held in New Orleans. We stayed at the Doubletree Canal Street Hotel in downtown which gave us easy access to the fun places in the Big Easy, such as, Harrah’s Casino right across the street, the French Quarter, the International Market Place and the dock for the Natchez River Cruise ship. We visited the National World War II Museum, dined at Mulatte’s Cajun Restaurant, and toured the city, lead by our Armed Forces Reunion hostess Barbara Robicheaux. Barbara was born and raised in New Orleans and literally showed us where all the bodies in the city were buried (above ground because of the water table). We had a dynamic 94 year Marine Bert Stolier  as our banquet speaker who related first hand experiences in World War II in the Pacific from Pearl Harbor and  Iwo Jima to the signing of the surrender of Japanese on the USS Missouri. And the highlight of every reunion was the attendance of six 13th Bomb Squadron B-2 pilots from Whiteman AFB and their leader, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Pye who gave us a recap of the squadron’s outstanding record of achievements during the past year.

Westward Ho in 2013 will find us at Reno, September 16th to see if the jackpots there are really bigger than New Orleans. The Sierra Grand Hotel and Casino will be our home away from home for our five day reunion. The Sierra Grand is a fabulous hotel with a variety of restaurants, bowling, special golf opportunities, free  transportation and parking, all at a very low nightly rate which is also available three days before and after the reunion. Some of the tours will include Virginia City/Carson City, Dinner at Harrah’s National Automobile Museum and a visit to the Rancho San Rafael Park, home of the Wilber D. May Center. There will be time to tour the downtown casinos and take a cruise at Lake Tahoe if you choose. We have invited a special Air Force Ace and remarkable test pilot  to this reunion and look forward to his attendance.

To complete our three year cycle in providing reunions in East, West and Central parts of the country, the 2014 reunion will be held among the autumn leaves of New England at the Providence, Rhode Island Crown Plaza Hotel at the Crossings beginning on October 1, 2014.

New Orleans , LA Reunion Pictures

For more information about the upcoming reunion, please contact:
Gerald E. (Jerry) Dorwart
Fort Collins, Colorado


In addition to reunions the Association supports the active duty squadron which is the B-2 squadron at Whitemen AFB, MO. On the 15th of June, 2012 the commander of two years was honored during a Change of Command Ceremony, and Association members were invited to thank the outgoing commander, Lieutenant Colonel Mark B Pye, and welcome the new commander, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey T. Schreiner. Although the vast majority of members are former or retired servicemen and women, active duty people who have served in the 13th in the B-1 or B-2 squadrons are welcome and encouraged to join.

Squadron members pay a floral tribute to fallen comrades at several locations each Memorial Day. The Memorial Park next to the Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson AFB, OH has three plaques that honor members of the 13th Bomb Squadron from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The Vietnam Plaque which was dedicated in October 2007 was presented to the Museum Director by a former squadron commander, Lieutenant Colonel Billy Mcleod. Lieutenant Colonel McLeod, who also flew combat missions in World War II, lead the 13th Squadron to Clark AB in the Philippines in 1964 and then to bases in South Vietnam at the beginning of the Vietnam War.


In 1942, John Jewell met 13th Bomb Squadron Airmen in his home in Townsville, Australia, a community near the Charters Towers Airfield. John was the young son of an Australian family that befriended American airmen training and flying combat missions from Australia against the Japanese invasion of the Southwest Pacific. John remembers these men and their valor in helping to prevent an invasion of his country and has honored their service with several pieces of RAAF memorabilia that would serve as a military souvenir of the 13th participation in WW II. Mounted in a shadowbox, these items were presented to the 13th commander on May 10th.

Earlier on this day, the squadron honored deceased Reaper, Bill (ORB) Cowen. a WW II and Korean War veteran who campaigned tirelessly to resurrect the 13th from retirement to active duty with a B-1 squadron at Dyess AFB, TX. ORB's name was placed along side the squadron commander's on the squadron B-2 flagship in his memory.

ReapersPast, Present Celebrate Heritage
By Morgan Hildebrand
13th Bomb Squadron

5/17/2013 WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- For nearly 100 years, the 13th Bomb Squadron has flown in combat: World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Global War on Terror.

On May 10, our unit hosted three former "Reapers" during the annual heritage day for the presentation of a shadow box to the unit.

The day was packed with storytelling, the sort of stories you never expect to hear face to face. The words were not to inform, but to remember, and each story had a special meaning as it was told. The pride in each man as he told his stories along with his desire to see what had become of the 13th BS since his own service was overwhelming.

The three distinguished guests from the 13th Bomb Squadron Association each served well over their 20 year marks and individually made their own impacts on Reaper history. Retired Col. Robert L. Butterfield, president of the association; retired Chief Master Sgt. Robert Parks, locator and data manager; and retired Col. Charles J. Brown, each had their own stories to tell.

The squadron, now proudly residing at Whiteman Air Force Base, originated June 14, 1917, in Texas. The shadowbox the men presented held a Royal Australian Air Force flight cap, emblem and patches, symbols of remembrance for the time the 13th BS flew with the Royal Australian Air Force during World War II.

To show appreciation to our guests, two of our own outstanding pilots, Capt. Charles Goetz and Capt. Marcus Antonini, led a very personal base tour which included time in the B-2 Spirit simulator as well as a look in the flight deck of the squadron's flagship jet, the Spirit of Mississippi.

A touching moment, and one that likely stands out for all Reapers, was the unveiling of the name added on the front landing gear door of the Spirit of Mississippi.

Here, retired Tech. Sgt. Bill "ORB" Cowan's name was added alongside our commander's, Lt. Col. Jeffery Schreiner, in honor of his contributions to the 13th. Cowan was instrumental in ensuring the 13th BS returned to active status in 2000.

The day closed with Brig. Gen. Thomas Bussiere joining the entire unit at the squadron heritage room for a formal presentation of the shadow box and a few more stories from Butterfield.

An important day for all Reapers, I was honored to participate and be part of all the events. The standout moment for me was when I arrived that morning to greet our visitors and one of the first questions asked of me was, "Did you ever think you would be standing here as a part of history?"

It was the aforementioned retired Colonel Brown asking, and I was in awe from that moment on. Then just before I left for the day, I was stopped by our guests and reminded that I may have only been with the 13th BS since December, but I will be a Reaper for the rest of my life.

"Just when the Numerical Mother gave birth to the original 'wee Thirteen' is something we can't discuss, but a modern birthday which we shall never forget is that of a cactus-born squadron on an early June day-and when the christening came no one complained that the number was Thirteen. From then on, it was just a 'hobby,' a kind of self-inflicted task of ours to disprove the somewhat ancient belief that this number was anything but a good one, and we proudly believe we succeeded!"

That is the opening to a piece of 13th Bomb Squadron Reaper history written by Lt Richards and S.M. Avery, original WW I Reapers.

Washington, DC Reunion Pictures

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