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 14 gatherings of 13th Eagles took place
in 2014 in Providence, RI ( Newport Tour, The
Old North Church and Quincy Market), in Reno
(National Car Museum and Bucket of Blood
Saloon); before that it was 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).
Prior commitments prevented the 13th CO Lt Col
Robert Makros and some of his Reapers from
attending the 2014 reunion. But our senior
member, Ed Connor took the podium and gave us a
first hand account of his World War II
experience as an 18 year old gunner/radio
operator in a B-25 at the beginning of the war
in the Southwest Pacific. On one of the many
missions he flew in New Guinea, his aircraft had
been damaged and they were heading home over the
mountains. To give them a chance to clear the
range ahead of them, crew members threw out much
of their equipment to lighten the plane -
including guns from all the turrets except one.
Immediately afterwards, they were attacked by
three Japanese Zeros. Ed was able to man the
remaining guns in the belly turret and
successfully shoot down the first attacker and
drive off the other two fighters, allowing the
B-25 to clear the mountains and limp on home.
For his heroism under fire, Ed received
the Silver Star medal and a lot of praise
from his crew members. He also received a
standing ovation at the end of his talk from all
of the reunion attendees who were filled with
The 2015 reunion will be held at the musical
city of Branson, MO 16-20 September at the
Radisson Hotel ( telephone 866 460-7456) in
downtown Branson. We expect a good turnout at
this reunion from the Reapers at Whiteman AFB,
MO. You can call now to make a reservation and
check the March Invader magazine at the bottom
of this section for all the details.
If you like to plan ahead- California Here
We Come next year. Please put sunny San Diego on
your calendar for a good 2016 vacation/fall
reunion as our scheduling progresses across the
country to allow members to be closer to a
reunion every three years. Many activities will
await you there.
Orleans Reunion 2012
information about the upcoming reunion, please
James R.(Bob) Parks
3219 Tavern Oaks St
San Antonio, TX 78247
In addition to reunions the
Association supports the active duty 13th Bomb
Squadron, one of two B-2 squadrons in the 509th
Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, MO. On June 13, 2014
at 1313 hours, the command of the 13th was
transferred from Lt Col Jeffrey (Opie) Schreider
, the CO for two years, to Lt Col Robert (Stab)
Makros. Association members were invited to
attend and those that did were honored to be
part of the traditional change of command
ceremony. The new CO has been the Director of
Operations of the 72nd Test and Evaluation
Squadron at Whiteman AFB. He has flown two major
weapons systems, the B-2 and the F-15E and has
over 150 F-15E combat hours in Operation
Enduring Freedom and Operation Southern Watch.
Prior to his current assignment Lt Col Makros
was Chief, Aircraft Strike Branch at the Joint
Functional Component Command for Global Strike,
USTRATCOM at Offutt AFB NE.
During his two year command of the 13th BS, Lt
Col Schreiner became the first CO to have
multiple location deployments in the Pacific
during joint and combined operations.
Additionally the squadron earned multiple
superior performance and outstanding safety
awards under his command. He was awarded the
Meritorious Service Medal for his
accomplishments and has been assigned as the
Department of Defense representative on a
nuclear study panel in Washington, DC.
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, Colonel Billy Mcleod.
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 10, 2013.
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
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
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
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
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.