B-26 Marauder 320th bomb group

 

 

 

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 My dad, Kenneth E. Sivula, died when I was a boy. All I know of his war record was that he was a bombardier. I ran into this site accidentally and was excited to see my father's name in the memorials section, where he is listed as a member of the 443 squadron. I'd love to here from anyone who knew him or could tell me more about his wartime experiences.

Thanks,

Chris Sivula

11
/28/05

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Hello to all the members and family of the 320th. My grandfather was Joseph A. Villelli, he was a 1st Lt. with the 442nd and to my knowledge flew several missions over France and Germany during his time of service. It is with great sadness that I inform you of his passing on February 2nd, 2000. I was unaware of your website at the time to pass this information along. If there are any surviving members of his group or crew out there, please contact me. I've heard some stories of his adventures, but would welcome any new information I can learn about his time of service. Thank you all, and have a very happy holiday season.

Dustin J. Root

11
/22/05

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Hallo,  

We are a group of person who are interested in trying to reconstruct the fact of an American bomber (attached some photos) and its crew; accorrding to the span it probably concern a B-26. It lies at 10 meters depth at Torre di Barisardo , middle east coast of Sardinia , 15 km south of Arbatax harbour. As far as we know the 23 of April 1943, the 320th bomb group, led a bombing mission on Arbatax Port , Sardinia. The Intelligence narrative operation, related of twenty-one bombers took off from an Algerian Air Base. It seems that after leaving target, bombers vere attaccked by some figthers MS-109 F's, followed a running fight of 25-30 minutes duration, where one B-26 was probably downed. Other four although alightly damaged, landed in emergency; one crash landed at Bone. In the last part of the operation report , there is a list of the combat crew  who partecipated in the Arbatax port raid: are listed only 19  crews (21 aircraft departed from Algeria. ; Only 19 returned, leaving 2 aircraft unaccounted for). One of the missed B-26 is quite sure that one crash landed at Bone; the other one is that downed during  the Arbatax bombing? What about the B-26 768 ( Pilot Ross) and the B-26 853(Pilot Hallowell). In any case these pilots seems to be present in few days later missions again in Sardinia targets. We appreciate if You can solve our doubts in this facts.

 

 

 

 

 

 



Best Regards,

Pietro Sanna
OR 9 ITA ARMY, Verona Communication Squadron
10/13/05

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Hello, I need help! My heroic uncle William J. Hoenk died when his B-26 went down in the Med on a mission near Tunisia, Africa. Personal accounts in a letter written to my Grandmother (Bill’s Sister) by Lt. Homer Cheshire indicated that he was the only crewman not to escape the aircraft before sinking. I know that the pilot of this B-26 was Lt. Richard Chick, and that all crew members perished in the Sea except for Lt. Cheshire. I am trying to create a family memorial for Bill, and need specific information on the specific plane he was in (nose art), unit patches, insignias, medals, etc. Anyone who can provide this information would be a huge help to this project. Thanks in advance for any assistance in helping me assure that Bill’s memory and sacrifice will not pass into obscurity. Respectfully,

David L. Scott
9/28/05

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Dear All,

I thought some of you would find the following account from my Dad's war diaries interesting (Dad was T/Sgt. Oscar Nixon Sheppard, Jr., crew cheif of battle no. 84 mentioned below).  My added comments are bracketed [ ]:

1-16-44: 
#890 was sent on it’s 30th mission today and got 50 flak holes in it, but got back OK. The tail gunner’s flak vest got hit, but he did not. Our squadron was leading today. #890 [battle no. 84] was on the lead ship’s right wing and the Germans were very accurate today and shot down the lead ship. The eight men on board bailed out. Then the ship blew up in mid-air. F/O Peters [Ralph L.] then jumped up and took the lead. The lead ships bombadier dropped his bombs before he bailed out and hit the target (Bombadier Banicki [Jerome]). Our C.O., Major McCrory [James L.], was on board on his last mission. [On board the ship that went down - Battle # 93, (S/N: 41-18292 ?)][More details of this mission can be found at:
http://320thbg.org/mission_pdfs/mission_131.pdf . Please note that some of the crews and corresponding battle nos. are mixed up in this mission report. For example, the crew for my Dad’s ship, battle #84 is listed as being on #96, and the crew on the aircraft that blew up in midair, battle #93, is listed as being on #87. One wonders how often such errors occurred. -JBS]

Best Wishes,

Joseph B. Sheppard
(Son of T/Sgt., crew chief Nixon Sheppard, Jr.)
7/23/05

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Robert J. Morris, Photographer/Tailgunner with the 442 Bomb Squadron passed on 10 June 2005. He was preceeded by his wife Barbara and is survived by his son Michael Morris of Fond du Lac WI and son Steven Morris of Anna IL. After a couple years of college and meeting my mother, Bob pursued a career in photography that culminated in a portrait studio in Beaver Dam Wisconsin.  His work recieved the highest critical acclaim and he was sought out by corporated chiefs, governors, and all who could appreciate his unique ability to get a subject to drop their mask and reveal their true selves for the camera.

He spoke often and with fondness of his compatriots in the 320th. Remeber him as he did you.

Sincerely,

Michael Morris

7
/12/05

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I am the grandson of Lamar S. Timmons; 320th, 441st; co-pilot of LADY HALITOSIS; if anyone has any info, pictures or whatever I'd be greatly appreciative. I too know the military, I have 15 yrs as U.S. Army Infantry, Opreation Iraqi Freedom vet as well as multi-peacekeeping missions in the Balkans and am proud of my service just as my grandfather was. I don't have much info about him and I know it's out there. Thankyou to all B-26 vets, for I can now understand your sacrifice and dedication to the mission. E-MAIL( nebiros2001@yahoo.com).

SSG Eric R. Knott
7
/11/05

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Ralph B. Woolf passed on June 20th. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. He leaves wonderful memories to his wife of 57 years, Doris, Children Joyce (Dennis) Fath, Craig (Sue), Deane, and Keith Woolf.  Grandchildren Tracy, (Alan) Bates, Seth, Elizabeth, Nicki, and Kathy Woolf and Jacob Wineinger and Great-grandaughter, Amber Bates.  He was a B-26 Pilot in the U. S. Army Air Corp. during WWII, a consummate salesman, wedding photorapher, and so much more to many friends and family.  He will be most remembered for his legendary jokes.  He will be deeply missed!  Donations can be made to the Hospice of Palm Beach County or the American Cancer Society

6/22/05 


 
 

Ralph and Doris Woolf
2004 320th BG Reunion

It is with great sadness that I learn of the passing of Mr. Ralph Woolf of the 320th Reunion Association.  Our hearts go out to Mr. Woolf’s family and our thoughts are especially with his sweet wife Doris.  I met Ralph and Doris for the first time at the San Jose reunion in 2003.  I knew very little of the 320th and my father’s service with the group, but Ralph immediately embraced my attendance and took me in, and by the end of the reunion I had one of the richest experiences of my life.  I know Ralph and the other men and women who have worked so diligently to keep the memory of the 320th alive have blessed the lives of countless people.  I for one will not soon forget the kindness and efforts of Ralph and Doris.  My sincere condolences to Ralph’s family and to the families of others like Mr. West, Mr. Wagar, and Mr. Perkinson, who have passed since our last reunion.

Joe Seiley

Son of SGT. Robert E. Seiley, Radioman/Gunner, 443rd BS
6/21/05

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It was like a rifle shot heard in a crisp still day when I learned of the passing of our friend Ralph Woolf. Were I allowed to write Ralph's epitaph, it would read simply: Well done, O good and faithful servant. For the past several years, Ralph was the keystone that helped keep the 320th BG Reunion Association not just alive, but vibrant. For those of us who were privileged to know him we realize that we have lost much more than a friend. He seemed to care little for the recognition. The satisfaction of the great results he achieved was enough for him. He will be remembered for his gentle humor, kind gestures, and a freely given smile. Those were his trademarks. We will miss him and our thoughts and prayers go out to Doris and the rest of Ralph's family.

Franz Reisdorf, MD on behalf of the 320th BG Reunion Assoc.
6/20/05


I have just finished typing a transcript of the Uncle Bill's war diary.  He was a gunner/engineer in the 441st of the 320th.  His name was George Willis Lewis from Conway Springs, Kansas. (1921-1994). He flew on 62 combat missions from July 44 thru the end of the war.  His diary often mentions flying "transition".  What does that mean? His diary is fantastic including a mission(August 22, 1944) when his plane was shot down by flak and ditched off Corsica.  If interested, one can read his diary here on the 320th B.G. website. Click here:  George Willis Lewis Diary

Bill Bennett
6/19/05

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Hi - does any one remember staff /sergeant Vito Rinaldi was a tailgunner 320th 441sqd north Africa? Any response would be greatfull! Thank you.

Richard Rinaldi
6/15/05

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It is with great sadness that I am writing to inform you of my father, Ben West's passing. Ben died on 7 May in Tucson, AZ after a short illness. He was surrounded by his loving family in his final days, which I know was a comfort to him.

He spoke to me so often of his comrades and the deep bond he had for all of those who served during WWII and especially those of the 320th Bomb Group. Ben's final resting place is at the Santa Fe National Cemetery where he was given full Military Honors during his funeral. His final instructions to me were that he wanted  be interred with his Buddies, the great Corps of men who served during the war.

I was fortunate to share and attend one of his 320th reunions in Albuquerque a few years ago. I know how much he looked forward to joining with you all each year. You brought great joy to his life over the last decades and I know he always carried the 320th in his heart of hearts.

Doug West, Son of Ben West (443rd)
6/8/05

    I and the rest of the 320th veterans and families are very saddened to hear of the loss of our friend - Ben.  Ben was an inspiration. He contributed many stories for the website, some of which are still in need of being added. Our thoughts go out to you and the rest of your family.
    -Dr. Franz Reisdorf


This is an absolutely world-class website. The amount of information here is staggering.  It is the best WWII/military site that I have seen. It has saved me years of research, letter-writing and phone calls. I have been able to download the mission summaries of all 40 of my father's (TSgt Pat J. DeSantis, 444th) combat missions. The crew lists on the mission summaries also helped me to locate the wife of one of the tailgunners that flew with my dad.  I sent her a photo of her husband that had been sitting in my dad's album for 62 years. She was thrilled to get it, her husband passed away 13 years ago.  She made copies for her children and grandchildren - she didn't have any photos of him during the war. This site helped one family to remember the proud wartime service of one of the "Greatest Generation".

I encourage anyone who has 320th wartime photos to send them to Dr. Reisdorf for copying/archiving.  He is a true professional, skilled with both photography and computers. I sent all of the original photos from my dad's album to him and got them back today. He treated them as if they were priceless, which they are. He also helped me locate a photo of my father's crew in Algeria that will soon become a great Fathers' Day present.

Also, Joe Seiley, who has done much research for this site has been a great help in my quest for information. He found some lost mission summaries that brought back and reinforced many vivid memories of combat missions of 62 years ago.

Joe  Sheppard, another link to this site, whose father served with mine,  provided some previously unknown information on the death of one of my father's best friends from the 320th. 

I am indebted to Dr. Reisdorf and the other members of the 320th research team for taking the time and effort to run this site - it has been priceless to me. I encourage everyone with a connection to the 320th to support it. It is a continuing and fitting memorial to the men of the 320th.

Dave DeSantis

Skaneateles, NY
6/5/05

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I recently sent pictures my father made while he was stationed in North Africa with the 320th BG to Dr. Franz Reisdorf to be scanned and archived. These pictures mean a lot to me and my family and I wished to have them digitally archived so that they could be preserved for the future.  The negatives have long been discarded and the prints are 60+ years old and becoming very fragile.

Dr. Reisdorf called me when he received the prints to confirm he received them, he scanned them and sent them back to me plus he made some new prints that are much clearer than the original prints and all the prints were digitally recorded on CD's that should last for many decades in the future. Any members or family members of the 320th BG that have pictures of their war experiences, it is worth sending them to Dr. Reisdorf to have them archived for your benefit and from a historical perspective as the history of the 320th BG is being recorded and preserved.

Dr.  William M. Lankford
Carrollton
, GA
6/5/05

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    Dr. Lankford - Thanks for your kind words. I would also like to express my own personal gratitude to the other historians that have helped provide the information on this website. I would especially like to thank Joe Seiley, Donna Guidry, and Mary Reisdorf. Thanks as well to Victor Tannehill who so diligently documented the history of the 320th before us. - Dr. Franz Reisdorf, Chief Historian


After further research I have discovered that the B-26 for which my father was crew chief, "Jeanie"(II), was the same aircraft that was called "Barbara ("Sis")".  The Serial No. was 41-14890 and Battle No. 84 (not S/N: 42-107532 and Battle # 86. as stated in my previous post here).  To quote my father's war diary: ""2-2-44: #890 went on a practice mission, on landing the left main tire blew out, put new tire on. Let Hoover[Allan C.?] paint a picture on the ship and name it after his wife Barbara "Sis". There are numerous references to "Jeanie" as "#890" in Dad's diaries.  My father continued to call this aircraft "Jeanie" or "Jeanie II" in his diaries. 

Apparently, there has been a mystery surrounding what to call the above aircraft for sometime.  I hope to elaborate on this in an article in the future. 

Joseph B. Sheppard
(Son of T/Sgt., crew chief Nixon Sheppard, Jr.)
5/19/05

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I seems I have solved the mystery of the two "Jeanies" for which my father was crew chief.  The older aircraft, a B26B-4, was S/N:41-18061, but had no battle no., since she was sold to the French in the beginning of Sept. of 1943.  The 320th began using battle nos. later that month as seen in the "Missions" section of this site.

The second "Jeanie" (my father referred to as "Jeanie II") was S/N: 42-107532 and battle no. 86.  This aircraft is listed under "320th Aircraft"/"Serial Nos." on this website, but not given a name.  She is listed as shot down by enemy fighters on 11-5-44.  This aircraft had completed over 120 missions.

Joseph B. Sheppard
(Son of T/Sgt., crew chief Nixon Sheppard)
5/15/05

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JAMES HARWOOD WAGAR APRIL 9, 1918 - APRIL 20, 2005 James Harwood Wagar, who came of age during the depression and became a decorated World War II bombardier, died Wednesday, April 20th, 2005, at his home in Oakdale, CA. after a brief illness. He was 87.

A native of upstate New York, Mr. Wagar came to California in the early 1950s after attending the University of Kansas, where he studied civil engineering. After working in administrative positions for several companies, he became a cost analyst for Lockheed Missiles and Space Co. in Sunnyvale, from which he retired in 1984. Known for his dry wit and courtly manner, Mr. Wagar was a staunch conservative who was proud of his Republican roots. He and his second wife, Evelyn, settled in Oakdale, CA. in 1993, where they lived out the rest of their lives.

Mr. Wagar was assigned to the 320th Bomber Group and shipped to the Mediterranean in 1943. Flying B-26 Marauders out of Sardinia, he led bombing raids on German positions throughout Italy and southern France. He flew 65 missions in all, as commanders kept raising the number of missions required before airmen would be returned stateside. His Air Force records show that he earned two presidential citations, the Air Medal with six clusters, the French Croix de Guerre and a Purple Heart. He eventually returned to the United States to train other bombardiers.

He left active duty in November 1946, but served in the Air Force reserves for nearly 32 years, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1978.

Mr. Wagar is survived by six children: Robert Wagar of Yountville, CA.; Sandra Gerrard of Santa Cruz, CA.; Sheri Borland of Oakdale, CA.; James Wagar Jr. of Morgan Hill, CA.; Kit Wagar of Kansas City, Mo.; and Bradley Wagar of Oakdale, CA. He is also survived by 13 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Mark Borland

5/15/05

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My father was T/Sgt. Nick Sheppard, crew chief of "Jeanie" of the 444th squadron.  There were two "Jeanie"s. The first was S/N: 41-18061 (Battle no. unknown).  This aircraft flew 34 missions and had 1 enemy fighter downed before being given to the French.  This B-26 was piloted by Capt. D.K. Coulter.  I'm looking for any additional photos and her battle no. (Or any other info. for that matter).

The second "Jeanie" had over 120 missions.  I do not have this aircraft's S/N or Battle no.  Unfortunately, all the photos my father took of this B-26 were of the front on the pilot's side.

To view these aircraft, see the links on this website and go to my memorial to my father's service.

My heartfelt thanks to all 320th men!  Your heroism will never be forgotten!
Thanks,

Joseph B. Sheppard
4/01/05

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I am searching for any survivors or any airmen who served with my cousin, Peter Paul Cockrell.  Paul served with the 441st Bomber Squadron, 320th bomber.  He was shot down over Italy on July 17, 1943 and was listed as MIA.  He received the Purple Heart, Air Medal and other Army medals.  He was never found.  I don't know the name of his figher plane or any of his crew mates.  However, I am thankful for the men that served with him and knew him at the last.  He was only 23 when he died, and had not even married to my knowledge.  He has a brother that is still living.  Any photos of the group with Paul in them would be greatly appreciated.  This is a wonderful site and a great memorial for our great men who fought in a heartbreaking war.

Thanks!

Beverly Stout
3/16/05

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Hello!

As a volunteer at the Florida Air Museum in Lakeland, Florida, I am working on a display about Drane Field as a training field 1942-1944.  We would appreciate photos of personnel at the base.  We would be happy to return original photos after we have made copies.  The display will be on exhibit during the Sun-n-Fun Fly-In April 12-18th and until 2006.  Please send photos to Florida Air Museum, 4175 Medulla Road, Lakeland, FL 33811 attn. Suzy Eickhoff.  Thanks!

Suzy Eickhoff
3/3/05

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My grandfather, James Wagar is preparing to leave our world. I and the rest of his family would appreciate a phone call or message to him reminding him of all the people that truly care about him. This small gesture may help him. Please...let him know that you care. He needs it right now.

Thank you,

Mark Borland
2/20/05

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Question: Does anyone know the origin  "When you get home, remember us, and say we gave all of our tomorrows for your today"? The quote is from the last page of Tannehill's Boomerang!: The Story of the 320th bombardment Group in World War II.

Jerry Headley
2/19/05

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Great Website,
Happy to know better the 320th BG which was at Alto in Corsica .
Happy New Year.
Dominique Taddei author of the book USS CORSICA l'Île Porte Avion.

Dominique Taddei
2/1/05

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I am seeking any info on 1st Lt Edward N. Bond. My daddy flew with the 17th, 319th, or the 320.  I don't have much to go on since Daddy didn't talk much about the war and when he did it was only bits and pieces.  Do know he was a Bombardier, was attached to the 335th at Kirkland Field, NM for training, he was at Barksdale for a while also, and Bombardier refresher in Midland TX.  He talked of a flyer who had a dog that flew missions....the plane that man was in was shot down over Italy, the last thing Daddy recalled seeing was the man bail out with the dog in his arms.  He never found out what happened to him.  I realize it's a long shot to find anyone who knew him but I am praying at least to find out some info about his military service., bombardier, trained at Kirkland Field, stationed at Barksdale prior to going overseas.  Flew out of Italy/North Africa.  Have very little info since Daddy wouldn't talk!   Any help appreciated.

Judy
1/30/05

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HI!

I love american medium bombers (Marauder :-), Havoc, Venture..)
Your page is very nice and the color pictures its very famous. I never seen so beautiful pictures of B26 like on your page!  Your page is dignified thanks to all brave mens, who fight for liberty in WW2 aganist terror. (Grandfather of my best friend was Tail Gunner in Vickers Wellington  (R.A.F - 311.Czechoslovak  bomb squadron in England))

I wish you and for your pages too, all the best and i send you greetings from White Winter Prague.

Ondrej Patek (Czech republic)
PS.Please sorry my poor english.
1/21/05 


My Father SSgt Patrick W. Fox passed on when I was age 4 (1973). I have been desperately trying to find out information about his service to his country in WWII. I submitted a request to the NARA for copies of his military records and was told that they were destroyed in a fire in 1968 and was directed to the VA for assistance. I received a copy of his Enlisted Service Record. He enlisted in the Army in 1942 in Los Angeles, CA. He attended radio operator's school in Madison Wisconsin. He was in Naples Foggia Campaign. Was a radio operator/mech. He had an aircrew member badge (wings). He was discharged in Dec 1945 from March AFB, Riverside Ca. On his honorable discharge papers it reads discharged from 556th AAF BU. If there is anyone who served with my father or new of him please contact me. I would be most grateful.

Patrick W. Fox II
1/28/05

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Happy New Year to you, you have a great website:

Our group within the American Legion is planning a May 2005 trip to the American Military Cemeteries at  Nettuno and Florence, Italy to be a part of the cycle of WWII 60th Anniversary events next spring.

We are working with the American Battle Monuments Commission and the WWII 60th Anniversary Committee to organize ceremonies on May 2nd at Nettuno and May 5th at Florence.  We are working to attract veterans and their families to be able to make the trip.

We want to make sure the 19,000 Americans and those of our allies lost liberating Italy and efforts of hundreds of thousands of veterans are not forgotten.  Perhaps your association can be represented. Our event is listed with the WWII 60th Anniversary Committee website for May 2005 on
http://www.60wwii.mil Any assistance you can be in promoting this project will be very much appreciated.

Our press release is attached (
click here to view PDF).  If you are interested in participating in this event, please e-mail me.  My Dad was a member of the 91st Infantry which fought its way from Rome to the Po Valley.

Kenneth G. Kraetzer
American Legion Post 50, Pelham, NY USA
1/2/05

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As we move into the new year, I encourage all to take a moment to remember the brethren that we lost over this last year. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families.

Robert E. Allen, 444

Alex Kaminecki, 441

Joseph Armstrong, 442

Harold Leahy, 442

William Bennett, 441

John McQuarrie, 444

Russ Birdwell, 443

William Perkinson, 443

Timothy Bullard, 444

James Piscitello, 442

Edward J. Burns, 443

Vick Press, 442

Henry   Butler, H.Q.

Edward Shaffer, 444

L. D. Carrier, 441

Raymond E. Smith, 444

Robert Currie, 441

James Stephens, 443

Jay Davis, 442

Lee Troutman, 443

Raymond Desilets, 443

Grant Voros, 443

Marvin Fargo, H.Q. & 442

Les Warnick, 442

Kenneth Gooding, 441

Ashley Woolridge, H.Q.

Forrest "Tex " Harte, 442

 

Franz Reisdorf, MD on behalf of the 320th B.G. Reunion Association
1/1/05


 


Copyright(c) 2006 320th B.G. Reunion Association. All rights reserved.

 

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