9th AF Patch

416th Bombardment Group (L)

Bronze

Memorial

Plaques

 

WWII-Medal

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Frank Basford
Holding a 13" x 13" 416th Bomb Group Bronze Memorial Plaque



Around April of 1992, former 669th Bomb Squadron Gunner SSgt Franklin P. "Frank" Basford began
"initiating a drive with the active 416th members to have several bronze plaques made and dedicated at several designated sites."
During the 416th Bomb Group Reunion held at Orange Beach, Alabama, May 29-31, 1992, Frank presented his
ideas and plans to the Group and gained their approval.

Frank continued his research and in October, 1992 Frank mailed the following letter to 540 of the 416th Bomb Group
personnel and families asking "WHERE'S OUR MEMORIAL?", along with his Memorial Plaque ideas and initial request for donations.

           

Over the course of the next year, Frank tirelessly pursued his dream of designing, financing, coordinating and placing seven
416th Bomb Group Bronze Memorial Plaques throughout the United States and England, a project he termed "Our 286th Mission".

In today's age of ubiquitous Internet, nearly instant digital email communication, home computers and cell phones;
many may find it difficult to comprehend that in the early 1990's very few people had access to these now every-day
technologies and virtually all communication between 416th members and families was via hand-written or hand-typed letters
mailed in hand-addressed envelopes through the U.S. Postal Service and/or discussions via long-distance phone calls.
Frank's notes show that in 1993, stamps cost $0.29, B&W photo copies were $0.36 and long-distance phone calls were around
$0.15 per minute; making even communication costs quite high, not to mention the amount of time and effort spent.
Just to copy and mail Franks' 4 page "Where's Our Memorial" letter to 540 individuals cost $288.90.

Frank was the driving force making the 416th Memorial Plaque "286th Mission" project a resounding success with his
considerable efforts in designing/re-designing and blue-printing the plaques, coordinating with all of the organizations
that manage the install locations, requesting cost estimates from plaque manufacturing companies, communicating and
negotiating with Feather's Plaques & Signs who cast the 416th Bronze Memorial Plaques, managing financial matters,
and of course, working with all the 416th Veterans and Families. Not only did Frank invest significant time and effort,
he also expended considerable personal expenses.

Providing much appreciated assistance to Frank in the Memorial Plaque project were the following 416th members:
Claude Brown - CPT, Pilot, 671st BS
Walter Buckley - 671st BS
Noel Clark - MSGT, Maintenance Flight Chief, 670th BS
Gordon Doule - CPT, Armament Officer, 668th BS
Wayne Downing - 1LT, Pilot, 668th and 670th BS
Royal Everts - SSGT, Crew Chief, 670th BS
Judge Robert E. Lee, Jr. - SSGT, Gunner, 670th BS
Bob Price - Armament, 668th BS
Dolphus Whitten, Jr. - 1LT, Adjutant, 669th BS & HQ


Three variations of the 416th Bomb Group Bronze Memorial Plaques were designed and cast:


Variation No. 1, Size: 12" x 10"
1 plaque cast in 1993
National Museum of the USAF

Variation No. 2, Size: 13" x 13"
5 plaques cast in 1993, 2 cast 2012
USAF Academy
Giles County Courthouse Annex
March Field Air Museum
Wethersfield Airfield Chapel
EAA Aviation Museum
New England Air Museum
416th Bomb Group Archive

Variation No. 3, Size: 18" x 14"
1 plaque cast in 1993
Arlington National Cemetery


In addition to the above three sizes, Frank commissioned 120 4" x 4" engraved brass replicas of the 13" x 13" Plaque
design mounted on 6" x 6" wooden bases.
Frank sold 100 of them to 416th BG members and families as mementos to assist his fund-raising efforts.


Photo of Roger Roy's 4" x 4" engraved brass replica on 6" x 6" wooden base
(Photo courtesy of Steve Roy)



On Saturday, 26-Aug-1995, over three years after his initial planning, Frank mailed his "Final Report: 416th Memorial Funds".





Although Frank passed away November 28, 2010 in Fairfax, VA, his Memorial Plaque legacy did not end.

In 2012, Carl Sgamboti, Honorary 416th BG Member and Crew Chief on the Douglas A-26C Invader "Reida Rae" Restoration Project,
received two boxes of 416th Bomb Group materials from Frank Basford's estate, including much of the documentation
from Franks' Memorial Plaque endeavors.

Carl contacted Feather's Plaques & Awards, the company that cast the initial seven 416th BG Bronze Memorial Plaques,
and commissioned another 13" x 13" Plaque cast for inclusion in the 416th BG Memorial Exhibit at the New England Air Museum (NEAM).
Shortly after, Wayne Sayles, fellow Honorary 416th BG Member and 416th BG Archivist, commissioned an additional
13" x 13" Plaque to be cast as the centerpiece of the 416th BG Archive Wall of Honor.

These Plaques were cast using the same die as those in 1993 and thus are not simply copies of the originals,
they are are literally part of the ongoing production run.


On October 6, 2012 at the 416th Bomb Group Memorial Exhibit, New England Air Museum during the 2012 annual
416th Bomb Group Reunion, the newly cast Plaques were presented by Col. Wayne Downing (668th, 670th, USAF Ret.),
on behalf of the 416th Bomb Group: one to the New England Air Museum and the other to the 416th BG Archive in Missouri.




Col. Wayne Downing presenting the two bronze commemorative plaques
L-R: Dr. Larry Smith, Wayne Downing, Michael Speciale, Wayne Sayles, October 6, 2012
(Photo courtesy Carl Sgamboti)



All of the 416th Bronze Memorial Plaques were cast by Feather's Plaques & Signs, now named Feather's Plaques & Awards.





Locations and information about the 416th Bomb Group Bronze Memorial Plaques follow.



Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington, VA 22211
Section 48, Grave 58
Website: https://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/

Plaque Variation No. 3, Size: 18" x 14"

Plaque Installed: between April and September 1993
Tree: Kwanzan Cherry Tree, planted Spring, 1994



416th BG Memorial Plaque at Arlington National Cemetery
(Photo courtesy Ross Stewart, September 15, 2017)

Frank personally selected the site at Arlington National Cemetery and coordinated all design and installation efforts
with the Superintendent of Arlington Cemetery and the memorial company who performed the installation.
Site Section 48, Grave 58 is one of the most visible spots in the Cemetery, off Roosevelt Drive along the path
to the Memorial Amphitheater and Tomb of the Unknown.
The Plaque is mounted on a Granite stone base and a Kwanzan Cherry Tree was planted behind the Plaque.

    
Route from Welcome Center to 416th Memorial (left); Memorial location (right)
(Arlington National Cemetery "ANC Explorer" Interactive map
Click "Memorial Trees" and Search for 416th)



United States Air Force Academy Cemetery Memorial Wall
US Air Force Academy, CO 80840
near Colorado Springs
Website: http://www.usafa.af.mil/

Plaque Variation No. 2, Size: 13" x 13"

Plaque Installed: 16 April 1993


Frank corresponded with the Chief, Gifts and Memorials Division at the USAF Academy requesting approval
to include a 416th BG Bronze Memorial Plaque on the Cemetery Memorial Wall and Noel Clark, personally visited
the USAF Academy on behalf of the 416th Bomb Group.
Approval was granted and the very first of the Plaques that were cast in 1993 was received by the USAF Academy on 6 March, 1993.



Wayne Downing pointing to 416th BG Memorial Plaque installed on the USAF Academy Cemetery Memorial Wall.
Roland Dullnig is in the background.
Photo was taken during the August 18-22, 2004 416th BG Reunion at Colorado Springs, CO.
(Photo courtesy of the Family of Wayne Downing)



Giles County Courthouse Annex
222 W. Madison St.
Pulaski, TN 38478

Plaque Variation No. 2, Size: 13" x 13"

Plaque Installed: June 1993


Judge Robert E. Lee, Jr. presided at Giles County Courthouse, and paid for this Plaque and it's intallation personally.
Judge Lee brought the Plaque to the County Executive Janet Vanzant.
The Plaque is mounted on a beautiful wooden base and proudly included as part of the
Veterans Memorial Wall Display on the Second floor of the Giles County Courthouse Annex.


    
Giles County Courthouse Annex 416th BG Memorial Plaque (left) and Veterans Memorial Wall Display (right)
(Photos courtesy Carol Wade, Giles County Clerk, August 10, 2018)



March Field Air Museum
March Air Reserve Base
Riverside County, CA 92518
March Field Air Museum Website: https://www.marchfield.org/
March Air Reserve Base Website: http://www.march.afrc.af.mil/

Plaque Variation No. 2, Size: 13" x 13"

Plaque Mailed: June 1993


Wayne Downing coordinated with March Field Air Museum to get this Plaque installed on a
three foot high White Sierra Granite Pedestal in front of their A-26 Invader aircraft.



Plaque at March Field Air Museum mounted on top of a White Sierra Granite Pedestal
(Photo courtesy Wayne Downing, June, 2011)

        
A-26C-30 "Invader", s/n 44-35224 display
Red arrows point to 416th BG Bronze Memorial Plaque Pedestal
(Photos courtesy Wayne Downing (left), George Grasse (right))



Wethersfield Airfield Chapel
RAF Wethersfield, England
RAF Wethersfield Facebook Website: https://www.facebook.com/groups/56981237530/

Plaque Variation No. 2, Size: 13" x 13"

Plaque Delivered: 13 September 1993


Over a period of several years, Frank communicated, coordinated and planned with
Ian MacTaggart, Neil Martin and Malcom Flatman at RAF Wethersfield
for approval and installation of the Wethersfield Plaque.

Royal Everts traveled to England and hand delivered this Plaque to the Ministery of Defense (MOD) Police.
The MOD Police has been the primary occupier of RAF Wethersfield since 1992,
and graciously assisted in the installation of the 416th Plaque on the Chapel Courtyard Wall in 1993.

We are very fortunate the MOD Police continue to this day to be onsite at RAF Wethersfield
to secure, preserve and protect the Plaque as well as the history and memories of the
416th Bomb Group, 20th Tactical Fighter Wing, "Red Horse" 819th Engineers and other groups based at RAF Wethersfield.


    
Plaque at RAF Wethersfield, May 7, 2018 (left) and Wethersfield Airfield Chapel and Courtyard Wall (right)
Red arrow points to 416th BG Bronze Memorial Plaque
(Photos courtesy Steven Roy (left) and Ross Stewart (right))


POW Memorial Plaque at RAF Wethersfield
(Photo courtesy Steven Roy, May 7, 2018)



National Museum of the United States Air Force Memorial Garden
Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433
near Dayton
Memorial Site #225
Website: http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/

Plaque Variation No. 1, Size: 12" x 10"

Plaque Installed: November 1993


Claude Brown personally visited the Museum and assisted in coordinating the selection of the Memorial site and installation of the Plaque on its granite base.
A Memorial Ash Tree was also planted when this Plaque was installed.

This plaque is also listed in the Historical Marker Database (HMdb.org) (PDF).


    
416th BG Memorial Plaque and Memorial Ash Tree as of August 12, 2018
(Photos courtesy Nora and Bernie Marino)


Map showing location of the 416th BG Memorial Plaque in the Memorial Garden
(Map courtesy HMdb.org Interactive Map)



The 671st Bomb Squadron also installed a Bronze Memorial Plaque commemorating their Squadron at the National Museum of the USAF Memorial Garden.
The 671st BS members dedicated their Plaque during their Squadron Reunion, September 16-19, 1993.
The 671st Plaque and Memorial Blue Spruce Tree are at Memorial Site # 268 and is listed in the Historical Marker Database (HMdb.org) (PDF)


    
671st BS Memorial Plaque and Memorial Blue Spruce Tree as of August 12, 2018
(Photos courtesy Nora and Bernie Marino)


Map showing location of the 671st BS Memorial Plaque in the Memorial Garden
(Map courtesy HMdb.org Interactive Map)

HMdb.org also provides an Interactive Map of all Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio Historical Markers.




Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Aviation Museum
3000 Poberezny Road
Oshkosh, WI 54902
Website: https://www.eaa.org/eaa-museum

Plaque Variation No. 2, Size: 13" x 13"

Plaque Dedicated: 6 June 1994


This Plaque was dedicated on 6 June 1994, the 50th Anniversary of D-Day, during the 416th BG Reunion held in Oshkosh, WI.
Dolph Whitten organized the Reunion and Gordon Doule assisted in coordinating the installation and dedication of the Plaque at the EAA Museum.



The Oshkosh Northwestern, 04 Jun 1994, Sat, Page 9
(Courtesy Newspapers.com)



New England Air Museum
36 Perimeter Rd.
Windsor Locks, CT 06096
Website: http://www.neam.org/

Plaque Variation No. 2, Size: 13" x 13"

Plaque Presented to 416th BG: 6 October 2012


Carl Sgamboti, upon receiving Frank Basford's 416th BG document collection in early 2012,
commissioned the eighth Plaque be cast and had it installed in the 416th BG Memorial Exhibit at NEAM.


This Plaque is proudly displayed in front of "Reida Rae", Douglas A-26C "Invader", s/n 43-22499
(Photo from NEAM)



416th Bomb Group Archive Wall of Honor
52 Fourth Street
Gainesville, MO 65655

Plaque Variation No. 2, Size: 13" x 13"

Plaque Presented to 416th BG: 6 October 2012


In 2012, Wayne Sayles commissioned Feather's Plaques & Awards to cast the ninth 416th BG Bronze Memorial Plaque
and mounted it as the centerpiece of the Wall of Honor located on the veranda of the
416th Bomb Group Archive in Gainesville, MO.

    
Second Plaque cast in 2012, mounted on the Wall of Honor 416th Bomb Group Archive
(Photos courtesy Jean Sittarich, October 8, 2017 (left) and Wayne Sayles (right))

This plaque is also listed in the Historical Marker Database (PDF)