Buckhead Bomber Girls Calendar

Lt. Colonel Farish “Hap” Chandler B-24 Navigator 8th Air Force, 491st Bombardment Group “The Ringmasters” - WWII 13th Bomb Squadron – Korea
Lt. Colonel Farish “Hap” Chandler B-24 Navigator 8th Air Force, 491st Bombardment Group “The Ringmasters” - WWII 13th Bomb Squadron – Korea
Lt. Colonel Farish “Hap” Chandler -B-24 Navigator
8th Air Force, 491st Bombardment Group “The Ringmasters” – WWII
13th Bomb Squadron – Korea

By Jay Bess. Photo credit: www.JKingimages.com

Harriet Adams has come up with a marvelous and unique idea for a calendar paying tribute to aircrew from the Greatest Generation. The Atlanta, Georgia resident is pairing the daughters and granddaughters of those brave airmen with the bomber jackets their forebears wore into combat. Each month highlights a “Bomber Girl”, her relative and more importantly, “their” story. The connection these men made with their succeeding generations, and how those associations are passed down through the family, often center around that bomber jacket. “Those jackets carried them through a rough time, a time of life and death,” said Adams, a North Carolina native who grew up hearing stories of fliers, and whose dad was a military lawyer. “This calendar will honor the men who fought for our freedoms.”

SchilleThe response from family members wishing to honor their relatives from WWII, Korea and Vietnam was so overwhelming that the project became a 24 month calendar. More than five hundred calendars have already been pre-sold, and Adams and her “Bomber Girls” were excited and humbled to officially launch the product on June 6th, the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

Some of the stories shared in the calendar include those of Karen Schille of Tuscaloosa, Alabama who received her dad’s flight jacket as a Christmas present many years ago… only after she had taken it with her when she attended the University of Georgia. Her dad, Paul Suer of Dunwoody, Georgia served as a tail gunner with the 457th Bomb Group in the Army Air Corp’s famed 8th Air Force. He crewed aboard a B-17 named “Nobody’s Darling”, and vividly remembers his time flying through the flak and fending off the Luftwaffe.

When the war was over, Suer returned and used the GI Bill to attend college. He got married and started life far away from wartime memories. His bomber jacket was stowed away forgotten for many years until his daughter found it, and liberated it from the closet – and then the story came alive again. Suer has a new flight jacket now; one that fits a bit better after 70 years, and his daughter proudly wears the original with its winged 8th Air Force emblem faded, but still proud. Her sons are now vying for who will wear it next. After all, they figure, many Luftwaffe pilots and anti-aircraft gunners took aim at that jacket, so they must have really wanted it too. “It’s the best present I ever received,” Karen said. “It means a heck of a lot to me.”

In another story, Renee McPhail of Atlanta, Georgia has her father’s Navy G-1 flight jacket with the fur-lined collar, and his name is still visible after all these years, along with his squadron patches. Lt. Macon G. Core’s squadron flew carrier-based F4U Corsairs over Korea in the early 1950’s. Core is retired now, and lives in Dublin, Georgia. His jacket lives on with his daughter and her family. The story stays alive.

Renee McPhail

The calendar was shot throughout Atlanta metropolitan area: around Epps Aviation’s WWII-era hangars at Dekalb-Peachtree Airport in front of the B-17 “Memphis Belle”; next to the CAF Dixie Wing’s FG-1 Corsair in Peachtree City; at the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force in Savannah; and also at family homes. J. King Images and Jake Laughlin Photography performed wonderfully in capturing images of these amazing ladies. The calendars are a remarkably moving testament to the legacy of these fine airmen, and their families’ reverence for their service and sacrifice.

McPhail

The calendars are available for $30 each or $25 for 5 or more and the proceeds from the sales will benefit the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force located just outside of Savannah in Pooler, Ga.

To order, visit: www.mightyeighth.org/buckhead-bomber-girls or www.facebook.com/BuckheadBomberGirls

By Jay Bess. Photo credit: www.JKingimages.com

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1 Comment

  1. I found this very impressive. My husband was in Viet Nam. I will consider getting him one. He is very private about his time there.

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