94th Bomb Group Scholarship Fund
The 94th Bomb Group Memorial Association established the Halm Scholarship Fund with BCF as a means of honoring two of its founding members, Frank and Dottie Halm. In 1974, Frank planted the seed of the Association simply by keeping track of members of the Eighth Air Force. The Association quickly grew from 12 members in December 1974 to 900 members in October 1975.
When the organization began, Dottie offered to help Frank put together the newspaper, Nostalgic Notes. After the first issue was distributed, people began to deluge Frank and Dottie with information. Someone suggested a history be written, and one of the members, Harry E. Slater, helped organize the stories that the Association received and authored the history. The Association financed its publication, and the first 2,000 copies sold out quickly. Another 1,500 were printed, and this formed the beginning of the financial ability to take on other projects. Frank was responsible for much of the “search and rescue” operation, trying to find the “lost souls” of the 94th who had not yet been heard from since World War II. They found about 500 people through the use of a CD-ROM directory. As of 1999, they had accounted for more than 5,000 veterans of the 94th. One of the most demanding aspects of their full-time “job” was keeping up with all the correspondence that went along with publishing four issues of the newsletter each year. The final issue—the 100th—appeared with the closing of the organization in 2000. The Association officially disbanded that year, Frank explained, because by the nature of the membership definition—having served in World War II—many of the veterans were no longer living or were unable to continue attending reunions.
Association members began a tradition of annual reunions in 1975. Frank and Dottie put up some of their own funds to get things rolling, then asked each member to chip in three dollars dues to cover expenses. At the first reunion in Las Vegas, Frank was elected president. A board of directors was established to spread the workload. “We had such a variety of talents in the organization,” Frank recalled. “They’ve come forth and done their parts. All members travel to the reunions at their own expense.” Reunions were held every other year, at different cities— Las Vegas, Nevada; Kansas City, Missouri; Dallas and San Antonio, Texas; Orlando, Florida; Arlington, Virginia; Denver, Colorado; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Dayton, Ohio; Sacramento, California; Tucson, Arizona; and Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The final reunion was held in 1999 in Seattle, Washington.
Several groups returned to Bury St. Edmunds in England, where the 94th Bomb Group was stationed during the war. In 1976, a group returned to the old base and initiated plans to build a memorial. In 1978, they returned to dedicate the memorial, and later gave the city $15,000 to establish a perpetual care fund. The memorial lies just inside the Norman gateway of the Abbey ruins. A historic site, the Abbey is where the English barons met to determine how to confront King John before the creation of the Magna Carta. The memorial has been officially recognized by the American Battle Monuments Commission.