Source: CBIVA Sound-off, Fall 1984 Issue
Hump Pilots Association Meets in Columbus, Ohio
By Chuck Hall
The 39th annual reunion of the Hump Pilots Association was held at the Marriott, in Columbus, Ohio, August 29 through September 2. With a record of 973 registrants, this meeting exceeded all previous figures and was more than 200 above the previous number at San Diego in 1983. The HPA now has a total current membership of 4,982 and there were members present from several countries including Canada and Taiwan.
Again this year, the various Air Force groups and squadrons had hospitality rooms of their own and many met old friends again that hadn't been seen or heard from since WW II days. The three combat cargo groups plus the troop carrier units in the theatre made themselves known by surging their registrations to 181 which far exceeded any previous year.
Each day was filled with activities beginning with Wednesday, the 29th. There was a most interesting memorabilia display room which attracted many and a movie room with CBI re-runs, plus Air Force films.
The golf committee had arranged for the tournament on Thursday, the 30th, and it was held on the beautiful Ohio State University Scarlet Course - one of Tom Weiskopf's favorites.
Friday, the 31st, was to be the biggest in HPA history - the memorial dedication atthe Air Force Museum in nearby Dayton. This was the official dedication of the memorial in tribute to those Air Force and allied personnel who flew over the Himalayas during WW II - the first that such a massive airlift had ever been attempted. This huge impressive stone memorial, funded completely by the HPA, encompassed an 80-pound piece of the "Hump" as the Himalayas had always been called. The People's Republic of China had acquired this rock from the high ridges of Paoshan, Yunnan Province, over which these men and women had flown. Soil obtained from each of the 50 states was deposited around the memorial during the dedication ceremony.
|Hump Pilots were hosts to two retired major generals of the Chinese Air Force. Both were P-40 pilots during WW II in China. They are: left to right, Major General K. Y. Wang, Major General Sy Liu, Leon F. "Robbie" Robert and famed test pilot, Herbert Fisher. These men attended the dedication of the memorial to CBI Veterans at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.|
- Bob Kadel Photo
These lines were carved into the huge granite monument of the memorial:
"In Memory of Those United States and Allied Personnel Who Flew the Himalayas in the China-Burma-India Theatre of War in World War II. Erected by the China-Burma-India Hump Pilots Association, a Group of Their Comrades, Families and Friends."
It has been pointed out that these crew members flew the largest logistic operations in WW II, operating 24 hours each day with practically no navigational aids. From bases in India they flew thousands upon thousands of tons of supplies, passengers, military armament and other vital necessities to American, Chinese and British forces in Burma and China. Their operational flight routes ranged from 500 to 1,000 miles in length and took them over the highest mountains in the world, the Himalayan range, where the worst weather existed almost daily including violent thunderstorms, severe icing, monsoons and hurricane-type winds.
One final interesting ceremony was performed before the monument when the Purple Heart was awarded to Joseph Gambucci, formerly of the 12th Combat Cargo Squadron, 3rd Combat Cargo Group, for wounds received in April 1945. This presentation, 39 years later, was made by Colonel R. L. Uppstrom of the USAF Museum. At this time there was a flyover by the Confederate Air Force with the famous missing man information ... a most impressive site.
Saturday, September 1, was election day at the annual membership meeting and the new officers for 1984-85 are: President, Jack M. Cohen, ATC; Vice President, Albert Pfeifer, Jr., ATC; Secretary, J. V. Vinyard, ATC; Treasurer, Bert Bevelhymer, ATC; Executive Secretary, Mrs. Jan Thies; Chaplain, B. T. 1 ATC.
Membership was permitted to select new board members and they were Home, Gordy White, J. V. Vinyard, Sutton.
The 39th annual banquet was held evening, followed by dancing in the room - excellent food and super music!
Sunday, September 2 - always a time - had a farewell brunch between 8:00 and 10:00. Next meeting will be Number 40, and will be held at Las Vegas, Nevada, September 15-19, 1985.
|Thirty bus loads of CBI vets and members of the Hump Pilots Association traveled from Columbus, Ohio, to Wright-Patterson Aerospace Museum in Dayton to participate in the unveiling of the monument dedicated to those CBIers that lost their lives flying the Hump. - Bob Kadel Photo|