Seminar held August 8-9, 2011 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Seattle, Washington

(Posted: August 12, 2011)

I couldn’t wait to come home and write about my recent heartening experience in my efforts to carry on the legacy of my Father and all those who fought for us in WWII. Joint Base Lewis-McChord (McChord Field), the headquarters of the Air Force Reserve flying unit, the 446th Airlift Wing in Seattle, Washington, could not have been a more perfect venue for the panel that I was fortunate enough to be presenting with; in Hangar Number 9 mind you!! What an honor to be among these distinguished individuals! It was a privilege to sit in their midst absorbing the enlightening and motivational programs that were conducted throughout the two-day seminar. I was in awe of the participants, as well as the presenters. Throughout the days I found myself making written as well as mental notes about things that I wanted to remember. I felt so strongly that I was walking among the best! I absolutely understand their sacrifice as well as the sacrifice of their families when they are called upon. These solid individuals brought me up. I really didn’t know what to expect and I feel very privileged to have been included in the outstanding two day gathering.

I am especially grateful to Jennifer Kannapel and Captain Danah Autrey for the invitation. I have to say it was a very huge deal for me! It all came about because of Jennifer and my mutual friendship with Helga Radau. Helga plays a critical role in preserving the history of Barth, Germany. Barth is the home of the former Stalag Luft I prisoner of war camp; another connection for us in that Jennifer’s Grandfather and my Father were interned in this camp. Jennifer would pay a visit to Barth in her research of her Grandfather’s experience five years after my first visit. It was Helga who brought us together. I followed up on her desire to have me contact Jennifer about this seminar that she could not attend.

I learned so much about Jennifer’s Grandfather, about the famous Kassel Mission, and how he survived the mission and wrote an extraordinary detailed diary of his internment.  It was incredible to meet and visit with another WWII hero, Jim Baynham! I was in my element to be able to ask him questions that I no longer had the luxury of asking my Father. Jim is a gem of a fellow and I admire him and cannot thank him enough for humoring us in his responses to the many questions that Jennifer and I had. The memories that he shared are of very painful and dangerous times yet his responses were unfaltering. When I have adequate information I plan to add Jim to “My Heroes.”

I am certain that I left the session a better person for having attended. It was thrilling to meet such special people and it was a great pleasure to be able to thank them personally for their service.

More about the seminar will be written in future posts. . . .

3 responses to “Seminar held August 8-9, 2011 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Seattle, Washington”

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