About Us

Welcome to the web site of the 401st Bombardment Group (H) Association, Inc. We are a non-profit association dedicated to preserving the memory of those who fought and died during World War II. The Association has been granted tax free status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The Association was founded in 1973 (see Formation and History of the Association, below, as a means of enabling the men who had served in the 401st Bomb Group in England during World War II to renew old friendships, relive their experiences and perpetuate the history and traditions of the Group, whose proud motto is "The Best Damned Outfit in the USAAF". The Association currently has a membership of over 1,000. Reunions are held bi-annually in even-numbered years, and a business meeting is held at each reunion at which officers are elected and other business is transacted. A quarterly newsletter called "Poop from Group" is mailed to all members.

Our Association does not end at the water's edge, but has international presence. An affiliated organization, the 401st Bomb Group Historical Society, helps to preserve the history and memory of the 401st in England as well. Though small in number, their contribution to our Association has been extraordinary, and for which we are grateful and indebted.

Find out more about joining the 401st Bomb Group Association.

Formation and History of the Association

The Association was formed in 1974 due largely to the efforts of Ralph W. (Rainbow) Trout, with the support and encouragement of General Harold W. Bowman, who had been the Group's commanding officer during training in the United States and the first year of combat in Europe. Trout, who had been co-pilot on Joe Cromer's crew, first located his former crew mates, who traveled to the Group's old base at Deenethorpe, England, for a reunion. There, they were welcomed by a group of young Englishmen who lived near the Group's base at Deenethorpe that had organized themselves as the "401st Bombardment Group Historical Society".

In 1973, Trout's initiative came to the attention of General Bowman, who had recently retired from the Air Force. Bowman also began a correspondence with Major General Jack Shotts, a former 401st pilot, about the possibility of forming an association of former members of the Group. After meeting Trout, General Bowman asked whether he would organize a reunion of 401st veterans, which Trout agreed to with enthusiasm.

The first reunion of the Group was held at Harlingen, Texas, on August 5-8, 1974. A B-17 owned by the Confederate Air Force, located at Harlingen, was painted with 401st colors and provided nostalgic rides to many who attended the reunion. At the reunion, the Association was formally organized with General Bowman as President,General William T. Seawell as Vice President, Ralph Trout as Secretary and Treasurer, and Clyde A. Lewis as Assistant Secretary (Legal). (The details of the organization of the Association are set forth in General Bowman's Memoir, "Birds of a Feather".)

General Bowman served as President of the Association until 1986, when he was succeeded by General Seawell. Upon General Seawell's resignation in August 2002, Arthur R. Seder, Jr., who had been Vice President, was elected to succeed him and served as President until 2008. At that time Vice President Norman Lee Sisson (son of Norman Sisson, Pilot 614th SQ) was elected and served 2012. Dale Anderson (son of Carl D. Anderson, Radio Operator, 614th SQ) currently serves as President.

From the Association's formation in 1974 until his death in 1996, Trout served as Secretary and Treasurer. Upon Trout's death, George Menzel was elected to succeed him and in 2006 was elected to the newly authorized office of Executive Vice President. Like Trout before him, Menzel edited the newsletter "Poop from Group" and organized the biennial reunions of the Group. He also supervised the offices of Secretary and Treasurer of the Association until his death in November 2009. Current officers are mostly "2nd Gens", and our board consists of a mixture of surviving veterans and younger members.

Membership in the Association was originally limited to men who had at one time served in the 401st Bomb Group. However, in 2002 the By-Laws were changed to admit family members and all other persons who indicate an interest in the history and traditions of the Group.

Association Mission Statement

The purposes for which the 401st Bombardment Group (H) Association, Inc. has been organized are as follows:

To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States; to foster and perpetuate the incidents, memories and spirit of the men who served in the 40lst Bombardment Group (H) of the Eighth Air Force, United States Army Air Force in World War II; to promote fellowship among our members; to arrange for and promote meetings and conventions of our members, their families and friends; to perpetuate the memory of our Group and its members by encouragement of historical research into the accomplishments of the Group and the military service of its members; and to preserve, or arrange for the preservation of documents, relics and records of the 40lst Bombardment Group (H) of the Eighth Air Force, United States Army Air Force.

Officers

MemberRole
Arthur R. Seder, Jr. President Emeritus
Rick Kaufman President
Dale Anderson Chairman of the Board
Scott McElvain Vice President
Josie Navarro Treasurer-Secretary

Board of Directors

David Anderson (2018) Jarrett Hightower(2018)
Donald Anderson (2016) Jerry Mayhew (2018)
Paul Bellamy (2018) Scott C. McElvain (2018)
Graham Bratley (2018) Philip Meyers (2018)
Heidi Brown (2018) Sue Ledray Murray (2016)
Donald Byers (2016) Josie Navarro (2016)
Jean Campbell (2018) Robin Wicks Robinson (2016)
Allen Crawford (2016) Jacob Shepherd (2016)
Jean Hightower (2016) Patrice Zander Draude (2016)

Non-Elected Contributors

MemberRole
Dale Anderson 2013 (Dayton) Reunion Coordinator
David Anderson CPA Advisor to the President
Douglas Anderson Legal Council
Donald Byers Historian
Jean Campbell 2014 (San Diego) Reunion Coordinator
Ed Dana II Web Master
Rick Kaufman PFG Editor
Eric Meyers Investment Council
Josie Navarro PX Coordinator