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.
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
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.
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.