416th Bombardment Group (L)
October 5-8, 2016
Veterans and Wives present at the 2016 Reunion
L-R Standing: Mickie Weinert, Josie Sittarich, Hilaria Huff, Wayne Sayles (Archivist, Honorary Member)
Seated: Joe Meagher, Bob Kehres, Wayne Downing, Dave Andrews, Roland Dullnig
Do Doris and Wayne Sayles know how to throw a Great Reunion or what!!!
The 37 attendees at the 2016 416th Bomb Group Reunion at Gainesville, MO say YES, they certainly do!
Five 416th Bomb Group Veterans (Dave Andrews, Wayne Downing, Roland Dullnig, Bob Kehres and Joe Meagher) and three Wives of passed Veterans (Hilaria Huff, Josie Sittarich and Mickie Weinert) were in attendance and everyone thoroughly enjoyed their time at the well provisioned Theodosia Marina-Resort (TMR) Hospitality Room, 416th BG Archive Headquarters and special outings.
Wayne and Doris, along with daughter Stephanie and son Scott, put forth a tremendous effort getting everything ready for the enjoyment of those attending this year's Reunion which was greatly appreciated by all. Folks began to arrive as early as Tuesday, October 4th, including the Board of Directors. The second annual Board of Directors meeting was held Wednesday morning (October 5th) at the Archive satellite office (Wayne and Doris' home) over a delicious home-cooked country breakfast. After the Board meeting, Archive HQ in downtown Gainesville was open for business through the afternoon; then it was off to the TMR Hospitality Room for the evening.
Thursday’s (October 6th) scheduled event found the veterans and attendees testing their sea legs with a leisurely voyage on two pontoon boats on the placid waters of Bull Shoals Lake. All were able to take in the marvelous natural sights of the Ozarks while the trip took them down to the Missouri/Arkansas border and then back to the Theodosia Marina-Resort dock from which they departed. A few did not participate in the boating and gathered at the Hospitality Room to continue catching up instead. That afternoon, a review and demonstration of the 416th.com website was given by Rick Prucha followed by some free time to explore the Archive or visit Doris Sayles' beautiful shops, including "Christmas Corner" and "Critters Corner" of her "House of Angels". At 5 PM the Pizza Party got started at the Archive. After everyone got their fill of pizza, we headed back west to the TMR Hospitality Room for more visiting time.
A day trip on Friday October 7th, found about half of the attendees making the short trip from Gainesville to Mansfield, MO to see the Laura Ingalls Wilder Rocky Ridge Farm House and Museum. A short video on the life of Laura Ingalls and Amanzo Wilder was presented before taking in the many artifacts of the museum. Next, a self-conducted tour of the Wilder Rocky Ridge Farm House, where the couple lived beginning in 1896, was enjoyed. The Wilders lived briefly, from 1928 to 1936, in a modern residence on the property built for them by their daughter Rose - a successful author in her own right. It was here that Laura Ingalls Wilder would begin writing her famous "Little House" books at the age of 65. This outing was thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended, while some chose to spend a more relaxing time at the Hospitality Room.
Throughout the Reunion, "Cookies - A Place to Eat" at Theodosia Marina-Resort was The spot for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Saturday, October 8th was a day of non-stop action. The "Big Creek Bluegrass Band" started the day off spectacularly, playing for about an hour and a half on the Archive HQ veranda. Their joyful music got some of the Veterans up on their feet dancing, putting all the youngsters to shame. Lunch was held at the Archive, followed by the Bomb Group Business Meeting at 1 PM.
Wayne Sayles called the Business Meeting to order as delegate for Bob Basnett who was unable to attend this year. Wayne presented the Archive "Year in Review", highlighting the considerable expansion of Archive resources from numerous newly donated collections. Wayne has been instrumental in collaborating with many serious researchers utilizing these extensive Archive resources, resulting in several domestic and international journal, book and video publications. The 416th Archive Wall of Honor has grown from 98 names to 120 names over the past year. Wayne and Doris also support and have considerable interaction with the local Ozark County area communities, as demonstrated by their second annual Gainesville Elementary School 5th and 6th grade Art Class on-site visit to the Archive and their sponsorship of West Point Cadet Taylor Brooks.
Mickie Weinert gave a moving talk on her 2016 D-Day anniversary Southern Arizona Woman's Chorus (SWAC) Organization concerts and trip to Normandy, France. She and her SWAC group sang at two cemeteries, stayed in the Normandy area for 5 days, then returned to Paris for a final concert before returning home. Doris Sayles followed with a brief review of how she accessions and preserves artifacts acquired by or donated to the 416th Archive and surprised Chris and Mary Adams and Rick Prucha with stunning, unexpected, and very much appreciated 416th Bomb Group engraved crystal paperweights in recognition of their assistance on the 416th.com website. The meeting was brought to a successful conclusion after Margaret McEvoy graciously volunteered to host next year's Reunion in the Washington, D.C. area.
A couple hours of "free time" allowed folks to visit Doris's shops, return to Theodosia Marina-Resort and rest a bit. At 5 PM, all gathered outside the TMR Hospitality Room for the group Photo session and Social. After attendees were seated in the banquet hall, Wayne welcomed everyone and provided wonderful memorial video slide shows of Evelyn Dullnig, Carl Sgamboti and Ralph Conte; Doris presented the Missing Man Table; and David Andrews, III played TAPS on his bugle, reminding everyone of the sacrifices and memories of those before us. Chris Adams led the Invocation and then our home-cooked delicious dinner was served. The lovely memorial cake frosted with 9th Air Force and all four 416th BG Squadron logos was reluctantly carved for dessert, but tasted as great as it looked.
Following dinner, Dr. Vernon L. Williams, Director of the East Anglia Air War Project, gave a presentation of the work accomplished by him and his students over the summer at Wethersfield base in England, documenting the U.S. Air War against Germany from England. He played a video from the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, followed by a short break and then his newly produced "Under Fire The 416th Bomb Group in World War II, 1943-1945" video. Vernon concluded his presentation by honoring Wayne and Doris Sayles with their justly deserved George Bledsoe Preservation Award, recognizing "significant contributions to the preservation of WWII military aviation history." Congratulations Doris and Wayne!
Tom Rickels put together a wonderful collection of Photos and Memories he captured during the Reunion (Thanks Tom!).
These are available as a PDF file or Microsoft PowerPoint file.
The 416th Bomb Group Newsletter 2016 published by Wayne and Doris Sayles shortly after the Reunion.
Ozark County Times Newspaper article on Doris and Wayne's George Bledsoe Award. (PDF version).
Mickie Weinert and the Southern Arizona Woman's Chorus Organization
Normandy and D-Day commemoration ceremonies trip review
PDF by Chris Adams
Ralph Conte memorial video.
Produced for the October 5-8, 2016 416th BG Reunion by Wayne Sayles.
Carl Sgamboti memorial video slide show.
Produced for the October 5-8, 2016 416th BG Reunion by Wayne Sayles.
Business Meeting Review (PDF)
416th.com Website Overview (PDF)
Thank You Wayne, Doris, Stephanie, Scott and everyone who attended for a wonderful and memorable Reunion.