398th Bomb Group

A Tribute To All The 398th “Bill Joneses”
“We Will Dearly Miss Him”

Allen Ostrom and Randy Jones

His real name was a bit more formal in its entirety, but he was known as plain ol’ Bill Jones. While in the 601st Squadron of the 398th and in later years as he worked in the various echelons of heavy construction. These Bill’s had at least two things in common. They were members of the 398th, and they had come to the end of their lives here on earth.

Bill, like all the others, didn’t plan it that way. But fate brought him to the 398th at an early age and he passed away at an age his family and friend’s thought was much too young. The 398th Taps list, printed in FLAK NEWS every January, continues to grow each year with the names of men who also seemingly were called home much to early. Many grieve for their own “Bill Jones.” Others will join them this year and in the years to come.

Bill, like so many, left a loving family. One of these members was a son, who like sons everywhere who just lost a Dad, was moved to pay a tribute. To be sure, this tribute was penned for a very special Bill Jones. But it is printed in FLAK NEWS as tribute to all the “Bill Joneses” of the 398th Bomb Group who served their country and then answered the call of Taps.

Bill was from Olympia, WA and the following tribute was penned by his son, Randy.

Allen Ostrom

A Tribute To My Father
by Randy Jones

He was loving, committed, intimate husband.
He was loving, caring, tender father.
He was compassionate, especially to those in need,
those who may have had less, and to all children.
He was honorable.
He was a proud American veteran.
He was sensitive, with a hard-shell facade.
If he was your friend, he was the best of friends.
If he was not your friend, well, he was just quiet.
He was consistent and constant and steady.
He possessed a lifelong dedication to the
betterment of himself in his learning, in his
attitudes and outlooks, and in his work.

As much as anything, he was an explorer. He liked to see new country. To feel and live and learn from new experiences. And he was well versed in the school of practicality; the school of hard-knocks.

I like to remember things he liked. Just writing these things down has helped me during these difficult days.

He liked to teach, to write, to play cards.
He liked to tease and to laugh.
He liked “gadgets” for his RV.
He liked a well-running, dependable truck.
He liked to fly.
He liked a sharp axe and to cut wood.
He sure liked to cut wood.
He liked to watch a good cutting horse.
He liked to sing and listen to ballads.
He liked to make his meals “come out even,” so
that he would have equal amounts of the last bites at each
He liked dogs and some cats.
He liked to read.
And he liked to look over far and open spaces.

Most of all, he loved his family: His wife, his daughter, his sons, and his grandchildren.
Making and keeping strong family bonds was immensely important to him.

And he loved his friends.

We can rest assured knowing that he doesn’t suffer now from his breaks and bruises, arthritis or angina.

He passed on during a time when he was doing just exactly what he enjoyed most: spending time with Mother, traveling, exploring, and meeting and talking to people.

We will dearly miss him.

Transcribed from Flak News by Ruthanna Doerstler, wife of Wayne Doerstler, Engineer on the 602 Squadron Griffin crew.

Printed in Flak News Volume 6, Number 3, Page(s) 10, July 1991

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