Capital Wing of APS Dinner

March 14, 2012 - No Comments

by Jim Barnes

Submitted by Bill Donegan:

When Linda and I were shopping at the FIG/Gap we ran into Bill and Sharon Krause, who are members of the Capital Wing of the Airmen’s Preservation Society (as the name suggests they are aviation oriented). We have been running into them for half a decade at USO dances and other living history events. They invited us to attend their units annual dinner/dance at Bavarian Inn, 164 Shepherd Grade Road, in Shepherdstown West Virginia. The theme was 1945, occupied Germany. They asked us to wear German uniforms.

We made reservation to stay at the Inn and we bought tickets to the dinner/dance.

The guest speaker at this event was Col. Charles McGee of the Tuskegee Airmen who was a consultant for the movie “Red Tails”

Linda and I arrived early Saturday March 10th at about 1100 hours. The Inn keeper allowed us to check in early so we unloaded our things and by 1200 we were eating lunch at the Bank Restaurant on W. German Street, where we began a game of guessing who was a reenactor and who wasn’t. I saw Stanley Braisted, LCDR, USN and knew that he was a reenactor before I had met him (call it ESP or whatever).

I had called Larry Milhon, who was attending as a Luftwaffe General, and he squared me away with the location and time of the before, before party, the before party, the party, and the after-party. Since Linda had a cold and had also purchased a book, she was sacked out on the couch until the last minute of the before, before party. Ron and Debbie Wenig showed up around the time of the before party and so I donned my German Navy uniform to accompany Ron to the party while Debbie visited with Linda. Are you confused yet?

Ron and I were working the crowd and suddenly discovered that everyone was a pilot, owned their own planes, were real Majors, Colonels, Generals etc. We heard story after story of connections to the Memphis Belle, Tidbits, and Galland etc. Not only were we fish out of water, we were only two of four Germans at the event. Ron mentioned the war once but I think we got away with it. 🙂

Finally the wives joined us just in time to promenade over to the dinner.

Arriving at the main Inn location, the officers were invited to stack hats. We spent so much time doing this ritual of recreating that famous photo of the Paris night club picture, which we neglected to stake out our seats. We thought that seating was assigned bit it was festival seating so we found that the four of us could not sit together. I asked the dining room manager for a table and four chairs. To the delight of my wife we were set up right next to the speaker’s podium.

Dinner was excellent German cuisine, there was an awards ceremony, and I was asked to say a blessing for the meal as I was introduced as a navy chaplain.

Following the meal, Col. McGee spoke. This was followed by a jazz ensemble and then dancing. Linda took copious notes of Col McGee’s talk, but she is asleep as of this report so it will follow later in detail. I met Robert Hamilton, a brain injury /PTSD professional, who was doing his impression of General Adolph Galland.

Many photographs were taken, see attached.

This concludes my report of the event, however, we went with the Wenig’s to Gettysburg Sunday for a day of eating and shopping, but that’s another story.

Bill Donegan

http://www.capitalwingaps.org/

http://www.bavarianinnwv.com/

 

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