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8th Air Force prepares for reunion

POSTED: August 22, 2008 5:01 a.m.

POOLER — The 8th Air Force Historical Society Reunion brings together more than 700 World War II veterans and their families from around the country to Savannah.

The annual reunion begins Aug. 3 with early registration at the Marriott Riverfront and is the largest reunion in recent years. The week-long event includes activities throughout Savannah and Pooler, including two visits to the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum. Reunion guests will have the opportunity to tour the museum, attend museum sponsored seminars and book signings, and reminisce with their long time friends and family about days during the War.

On Aug. 5, there will be more than 400 reunion attendees at the museum. During their visit, there will be book and T-shirt signings, special “behind-the-scenes” archive tours and educational seminars. The featured book signings are from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. in the Rotunda with Earl Wassom, author of “Hello Darkee — Moments with the Men of the 8th Air Force, World War II,” Jerry McLaughlin author of “D-Day + 60,” and Col. Carl Petit, author of “A View from Above.”

Local artist Sharon Sassen will be signing her exclusive Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum T-shirts.  Special seminar, “The French Connection,” is hosted by museum volunteer Jerry McLaughlin and is offered at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. in the DeCicco family classroom. Reunion guests will also have the opportunity to register for one-hour “behind-the-scenes” archive tours beginning at 11 a.m.

On Wednesday, museum research assistants Tiffany Bueno and Christopher Storey will host lectures in the DeCicco family classroom. “Vive la Resistance! French and Belgian Resistance during the German Occupation 1940-44” hosted by Bueno, begins at 11 a.m. “Air/Sea Rescue during WWII,” hosted by Storey, begins at 1 p.m.

Activated in 1942 in Savannah, the 8th Air Force was an important strike element in World War II and remains an active force today. The Mighty 8th Air Force Museum honors the Mighty Eighth’s proud legacy by preserving the stories of courage, character and patriotism displayed by the men and women of the Eighth Air Force from World War II to the present.

The Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. except New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The museum is located in Pooler at 175 Bourne Ave., off I-95, exit 102.

For more information, visit www.mightyeighth.org or call (912) 748-8888.

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