June 10, 2003

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Contact: Bill Howell, Dole Institute, (785) 749-3971, or Ranjit Arab, University Relations, (785) 864-8855.

'Memory Tent' heroes at Dole Institute dedication to feature diverse war stories

LAWRENCE -- Marines who helped develop a secret code based on their Navajo language, World War II Medal of Honor recipients and members of the Tuskegee Airmen and Doolittle Raiders will be among the special guests telling their war memories as part of the dedication of the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas in July.

A "Memory Tent" where the general public can listen as war heroes recount their stories will be just one of the many events planned for the dedication July 20-22.

Bill Howell, assistant dedication coordinator, said the memory tent was Dole's way of paying tribute to the group of men and women that has been called "The Greatest Generation."

"Senator Dole didn't want this to be about him," Howell said. "He wanted to take the opportunity to thank these people."

Although previous events, such as the dedication of the D-Day Museum in New Orleans, have featured large gatherings of World War II heroes, Howell said he was not aware of any other event that had assembled such a diverse group of veterans to record their memories.

"This is unusual," he said. "You rarely see something like this come together." The 100 feet by 120 feet air-conditioned tent will seat 1,000 people and will be set up just outside of the institute. The first session will take place the evening of Saturday, July 19, when local war heroes from the Lawrence area will tell their war memories. The stories will resume at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, July 20, with members of the Doolittle Raiders.

For a schedule of the Memory Tent recordings, visit www.doleinstitute.org/dedication.

Howell said the stories, which will be videotaped, would be housed in the Dole Institute, where they will be available as a valuable resource to teach others. "We want to preserve these memories for future generations so they will be aware of what these people did for them," Howell said. "We can never forget that sacrifice -- of not only those who survived but also those who didn't survive."

Among those scheduled to speak at the memory tent are:

 • Doolittle Raiders, the crew of airmen that flew a dangerous secret bombing mission over Japan in the early months of World War II. Their success ended a series of devastating losses at the hands of the Japanese and helped swing the momentum in America's favor.

 • Tuskegee Airmen, the first group of African-Americans trained as fighter pilots during World War II at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. The Tuskegee Airmen played an instrumental role in campaigns in Italy and North Africa, among others.

 • Comanche/Navajo Code Talkers, Native American Marines and soldiers who developed a special code based on their native language. The code they created was used to transmit messages by radio and telephone and was never broken by the enemy.

 • WWII Medal of Honor recipients, of the 52 living WWII Medal of Honor recipients, 16 already have accepted invitations to attend the dedication.

 • Women of World War II, including members of the Women's Army Corps (WAC) and the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP).

 • Former prisoners of war

 • Survivors of the Holocaust

 • Survivors of Pearl Harbor

 • Former U.S. Sen. George McGovern, who served as a B-24 pilot during the war

 • Duncan Sandys (pronounced "Sands"), great-grandson of British prime minister Winston Churchill.

Memory tent participants
, including information about their military service follows (Current city of residence, if different, in parentheses):

From Junction City

From Lawrence
Buhler flew many missions during the war. In particular was the Leyte Gulf Battle in the Philippines Oct. 23-26, 1944.

Creek went overseas with the 507th in December 1943 and participated in the Normandy invasion June 6, 1944, as the company commander of E Company, 507th PIR, 82nd Airborne Division, seizing a major bridge at Chef-du-Pont, France.

A member of the U.S. Coast Guard, Duncan coded and decoded classified materials and messages to U.S. ships at sea or to other units. Through the messages, she learned almost exactly when D-Day was to happen. She said, "Whoever said women can't keep a secret certainly didn't know us!"

As a young boy, Frydman saw the fall of Poland to Germany in September 1939. He and his family were apprehended by the Germans on April 28, 1943, and were sent to several concentration camps. Frydman eventually wound up in Allach, a subcamp of Dachau, and on April 29, 1945, the Allach camp was liberated by the American Third Army.

Hannon served in the Royal Air Force, United Kingdom, and spent six months in London as an aircrew cadet, repairing blitzed houses. He also served as a flight mechanic and later as a pilot.

R.A. DICK HEWITT, Lt. Col., Air Force Retired
Hewitt has a combined total of more than 440 hours and 144 combat missions in the P-40 Thunderbolt and the P-51 Mustang. He is credited with five aerial kills and five ground kills. One of his air kills, an ME-262 jet, was not officially confirmed until April 2003.

As a WAVE (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency) officer, Lingelbach was commissioned as an ensign and assigned to the joint and combined (British) chiefs of staff in Washington, D.C. She was featured in NBC anchor Tom Brokaw's book "The Greatest Generation."

As a child in Poland, Maurer and her parents fled to the Polish underground, called Zegota, following the German attack on Poland. Through a series of coincidences, Maurer became a charge of the Franciscan Fathers and attended a convent school. She is a professor emerita of Slavic languages and literatures at KU.

As a fighter pilot, Mills participated in the Battle of Midway June 4-6, 1942. He also took part in the historic night torpedo attack on the Japanese Midway Occupation force, which scored the first hit of the battle, damaging the Japanese Fleet Oiler. After the Midway operation, Mills and his crew were transferred to the South Pacific and later Tulagi in support of the decisive Guadalcanal campaign. The operations of the "Black Cats" were later immortalized by Admiral Samual Eliot Morison in his classic "The Struggle for Guadalcanal."

J.W. "BUCK" NEWSOM, Captain., U.S. Navy, Retired
As a naval aviator, Newsom served on the U.S.S. Hopkins in Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, Tulagi and Munda; he served on an anti-submarine patrol squadron in Jamaica and South America and on the U.S.S. California in the Philippines, Okinawa, Japanese Invasion Fleet.

When Germany invaded his native Poland, Piekalkiewicz followed his mother and many other family members into the Resistance in 1941. From Aug. 1 to Oct. 3, 1944, he fought in the Warsaw Uprising, where he received the Cross of Valor and was promoted to sergeant. After the capitulation, he, along with 15,900 other insurgents became POWs. After being placed on a train, he escaped and was recaptured and sent to a camp for "troublesome" Allied soldiers -- The movie, The Great Escape was based on this escape. Following the approach of the Red Army, the prisoners went on a 600-mile march, with many being shot by the Germans. Yarek finally escaped and on April 1, 1945 was liberated by the Americans.

From Pretty Prairie

From Topeka
Wright was one of only a few in the military in WWII to serve as a member of two separate branches of the service while on active duty -- the U.S. Navy Reserve and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.

From Ganado
Billison is president of the Navajo Code Talkers Association. He served in the United States Marine Corps, Reconnaissance Company, 5th Marine Division, and participated in one combat, Iwo Jima. He took part in occupational duty in Japan. He has been instrumental in obtaining national recognition of the Navajo Code Talkers and has traveled widely on their behalf making presentations to various organizations on how the code was developed and used during World War II.

From Camden
ROBERT HITE, Lt. Col., U.S. Air Force, Retired
As a co-pilot of Crew 16 in Doolittle's Tokyo Raiders, Hite was part of the first successful attack against the Empire of Japan in its history. All of the personnel of his crew were captured. Spending 40 moths as a POW, Hite saw his weight drop to 80 pounds. He was bitten by bugs, rats, and lice, suffered from starvation and had water poured down his nose.

From Buena Park
Ehlers, a Medal of Honor recipient, fought with the 3rd Infantry Division in North Africa and with the 1st Infantry Division in Sicily. He later landed with the 1st Infantry landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France on D-Day. Other medals he received include: Silver Star, Bronze Star with Cluster and V-device, Purple Heart with two Clusters, Good Conduct Medal, British Military Medal, French Military Medal, American Defense Medal, American Campaign Medal, European Theatre Campaign Medal with Silver Star and three Bronze Clusters and the Combat Infantry Badge.

From Whittier
In 1943, Barber served with 1,500 black troops; a full five years before integration was achieved in the U.S. armed forces. He is the only surviving chaplain for four chaplains to make the D-Day landing on Omaha Beach June 6, 1944 in Normandy, France.

From Jacksonville
Wounded five times, Baumgarten is a multi-decorated survivor of the first wave landing on the Dog Green Sector of Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He has written two books on the subject and speaks before various organizations monthly. His book Eyewitness on Omaha Beach is being used in the history department of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Allen County
Ringenberg took her first airplane ride at the age of seven from a farmer's field in rural Indiana. She was called to be a WASP (Women Air Force Service Pilots) in 1943, became a flight instructor in 1945, and worked as a commercial pilot after the war. From the time she soloed in 1941 until she completed the ĪRound-the-World Air Race' in 1994 at the age of 72, she has logged over 40,000 hours. A chapter was devoted to her in Tom Brokaw's bestseller, The Greatest Generation, and she has written a book of her own, Girls Can't Be Pilots.

From Boone
Lynch volunteered for the military in the Army Air Force, serving with Gen. Patton's 3rd Army in the 123rd evacuation hospital. Lynch also was nurse to Sen. Dole and Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii., following their injuries when they returned to the states.

From Bethesda
CHARLES EDWARD McGEE, Col. Air Force, Retired
A pilot and member of the Tuskegee Airmen, McGee remained on active duty for 30 years, flying combat missions in three wars (WWII, Korea and Vietnam).

From Duluth
While serving with the U.S. Army, Colalillo received the Medal of Honor for leading his company in a valiant attack against enemy forces in the vicinity of Untergriesheim, Germany.

From Hattiesburg
Lucas served with the U.S. Marines at Iwo Jima and received the Medal of Honor for risking his life by shielding his company from a grenade that was thrown into their trench. Although he sustained serious injuries, he was spared because the soft volcanic ground on the Volcano Islands of Iwo Jima absorbed much of the blast. Lucas is the youngest recipient of the Medal of Honor.

From Kansas City
Johnson flew with the Tuskegee Airmen flying for the 99th-332nd and 477th Group. After the war, he served two terms in the Missouri House of Representatives and was appointed by the governor to several state commissions. Additionally, Johnson started the Herman A. Johnson Fund, which is the University of Missouri-Kansas City's largest privately-endowed scholarship fund specifically for African-American students.

From Montclair
Payton enlisted in Women Marine Reserves in April 1945 and was called to active duty in May 1945. She spent six weeks in boot camp at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina before being assigned to Cherry Point Marine Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina.

From Cincinnati
Before the war, Ashley served as a "Rosy Riveter" for the Douglas Aircraft Company in Chicago. She was stationed in Carlbad, New Mexico at the Bombadier Training Center and served in the WAC (Women's Army Corps) as an AIR-WAC, 1944-1946.

From Morris
Cook was one of three who survived the sinking of his ship, the U.S.S. Arizona, at Pearl Harbor. He also witnessed the sinking of the USS Lexington at the Battle of the Coral Sea. Following several other assignments, Cook was transferred to the South Boston Navy Yard. While in Boston he was assigned to escort the new battleship USS Iowa to the Yalta meeting, which was transporting President Roosevelt to the Mediterranean to meet Stalin, Churchill and other "Big 5" leaders.

From Marshfield
DAVID M. JONES, Maj. Gen. Air Force, Retired
As a pilot of Crew 5 in Dolittle's Raiders Jones and his B-25 crew headed toward their target in Japan, despite pre-takeoff problems, including a 30-gallon fuel deficit in one wing tank. Overcoming navigation problems, they found Tokyo and scored direct hits on several targets along the bay

From Mitchell
Sen. McGovern flew 35 combat missions as a B-24 bomber pilot in Europe, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was elected to Congress in 1956. McGovern was the 1972 Democratic presidential nominee. He has also received many honorary degrees and distinguished awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian honor, which was bestowed upon him by President Bill Clinton on August 9, 2000.

From Olympia
Bush received the Medal of Honor for risking his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Medical Corpsman with a rifle company, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Jima, Ryukyu Islands, 2 May 1945.

From Ona
Williams received the Medal of Honor for actions that took place on Iwo Jima while serving with the 21st Marines, 3d Marine Division on 23 February 1945. He was awarded the medal by president Harry S. Truman on October 5, 1945.


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