398th Annual Reunion History
The 398th Bomb Group Memorial Association (BGMA) has had a long and productive series of annual reunions. The successes of our annual reunions, held since 1976, have been a major factor in keeping the Association alive and well, and with a solid base of 398th veteran attendance.
The annual reunion format includes Official Board and General Membership meetings that determine and approve all business of the Association. In addition, each gathering includes ample opportunities for our own banquets, scheduled sight seeing tours, crew reunions, 398th memorabilia purchases from our own PX, reviewing 398th history tapes and CD's, and maybe the most important, taking time for old and perhaps new friendships. The time, place and other planning information for 398th annual reunions are always known a year or two in advance.
In the past thirty-two years, 398th reunion sites have crossed and re-crossed the forty-eight States a number of times. It is not necessary to have a membership connection with a 398ther to attend a reunion. All those interested in having a reunion experience with the 398th are most welcome. The details of planned reunions, including an application for attendance, are always available in appropriate issues of the 398th's Flak News newsletter.
The 398th annual meeting format has remained essentially the same throughout the life of the BGMA. That means four full days of remembering 398th history, enjoying friendships and perhaps touring the host city. The reunion program begins on a Wednesday with reunion registration, the opening of the 398th memory room and the 398th PX store. These activity areas always remain the focus of the reunion activities of the attendees. Thursday is a business day with the Official Board meeting in the AM and the General Membership meeting in the PM, but with a ladies program during the day and the Welcome Back Banquet in the evening. Friday and Saturday are used in many different ways, depending on the reunion city's location. Activities include prearranged sightseeing tours of the city, tours to nearby military posts, and visiting points of special interest in that part of the country. All tours are optional and many attendees use their time to have individual crew reunions or just to sit around and listen to the stories fly. Saturday evening is always reserved for a Farewell Banquet with a variety of entertainment for the old folks. Sunday mornings are remembered for the farewells, but it is also a "See you next year?" time.
398th Reunions began in 1976 when a few dozen 398th veterans attending the annual 8th Air Force Historical Society meeting in Dayton, OH decided to organize a 398th BGMA. 398th BGMA reunions were then conducted as part of the 8th AF Society's annual meetings until 1983. The 398th held its first separate annual reunion at Rapid City, SD in 1984 while entertaining a rather large group of enthusiastic 398th English Friends. The 398th BGMA really began its major growth as the result of the very successful 398th reunion held in Seattle, WA in 1985 that was part of Boeing Aircraft's spectacular 50th year celebration of the B-17. There can be no doubt that our well planned and attended annual reunions since 1986 have been a prime reason for the growth and continuing success of the 398th BGMA. At this time there are no plans to call an end the Association's annual reunion operation, although we recognize its time will come.
Below are listed some details of our past 398th Annual Reunions.
|1977||St. Louis, Mo|
|1984||Rapid City, SD||300||Tamarac Travel|
|1985||Seattle, WA||300||Tamarac Travel|
|1986||Colorado Springs, CO||391||Dale Brown|
|1987||San Antonio, TX||373||Dallas Ebest|
|1988||Richmond, VA||465||Bob Wiggins|
|1989||Dayton, OH||522||Bob Hart|
|1990||Oshkosh, WI||531||Morris Swed|
|1991||San Diego, CA||476||Bob Hopkins|
|1992||Nashville, TN||582||Dewey Cook|
|1993||Buffalo, NY||497||Larry Paul|
|1994||Tucson, AZ||548||Clyde Sebastian|
|1995||Charleston, SC||494||Harold Stallcup|
|1996||Springfield, MO||437||Gerald Monagin|
|1997||Spokane, WA||236||Lou Stoffer|
|1998||Harrisburg, PA||425||Thomas Bewley|
|1999||Oklahoma City, OK||276||Dick Frazier|
|2000||Savannah, GA||480||Marilyn Gibb|
|2001||St. Paul, MN||271||Sharon Krause|
|2002||Portland, OR||240||Sharon Krause|
|2003||Covington, KY||268||Sharon Krause|
|2004||Falls Church, VA||368||Sharon Krause|
|2005||Overland Park, KS||201||Sharon Krause|
|2006||Livonia, MI||164||Sharon Krause|
|2007||Phoenix, AZ||181||Sharon Krause|
|2008||Cocoa Beach, FL||124||Sharon Krause|
|2009||Austin, TX||187||Sharon Krause|
|2010||Denver, CO||125||Sharon Krause|
|2011||Branson, MO||112||Sharon Krause|
|2012||Philadelphia, PA||106||Sharon Krause|
|2013||Sacramento, CA||99||Ken Howard|
|2014||Rapid City, SD||95||Ken Howard|
|2015||New Orleans, LA||102||Ken Howard|
|2016||Norfolk, VA||96||Ken Howard|