Retired Guardsmen Preserve War History, Camaraderie
(November 7, 2010)
|NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 5, 2010 – At the Jackson Barracks Military
Museum, Wednesdays are a time for reminiscing and
restoration for the members of the 122nd Bomb Restoration
Holbrook, a member of the 122nd Bomb Squadron Restoration Unit, prepares
the nose of a B-26 to be used as a monitor to display photos in the
Jackson Barracks Museum in New Orleans, Oct. 27, 2010. The 122nd is a
group of volunteer retired Guardsmen who meet every Wednesday to help
restore old military aircraft and cannons for the Jackson Barracks
The unit is a group of volunteer retired Guardsmen who help to restore
old military aircraft and cannons for the museum and the members have
stories of their own to share while they work.
Not long ago, retired Air Force Brig. Gen. John Cordero was recalling
Thanksgiving Day 1946, when a B-29 crashed at an airbase in Tokyo.
“Horrendous crash,” Cordero recalled. “I was scared. It was the first
time I had to talk to J.C.”
His comrades listened more closely.
“We have the same initials,” said Cordero. “I figured I could ask him a
favor.” The favor?
“Please take me now. I don't want to burn.”
The unit is a place where stories like Cordero's are all too
“Our get-together is more about the camaraderie ... we enjoy
the companionship,” said retired Air Force Col. Ernest
“Buddy” Gossom. “We start telling stories. We don't know who
is telling the truth and who is not, and we don't care.”
Before Hurricane Katrina hit the city of New Orleans, the
122nd had 25 active volunteers.
“Right now we have about eight to 10 people who come out
here and join us,” said Gossom. “Everyone is getting older,
and they just can't make it.”
The reduction of members is not the only challenge the 122nd
“Since Katrina our work has grown, and our work space has
changed at least four times,” said retired Air Force Col.
Arthur Alberti. “We look forward to our next workspace which
is made just for us to do our restorations.”
The multi-use complex building, scheduled to be completed in
January 2011, will have two bays in which the 122nd can
“The 122nd is a part of the history department, which is why
we have an area for them in our new building,” said Stan
Amerski, acting director of the Jackson Barracks Museum and
curator. “It's important to honor their service by restoring
the aircraft they flew.”
Most of the members of the 122nd were the pilots of the
aircraft that need to be restored.
“It's a blessing to have them because they are the experts,”
On the move-in date, the 122nd will begin restoring the
aircraft in the air park outside the museum, to include: the
T-11, A-26, F-4, F-15, T-33, F-100 and F-102.
“Once we have our spot, we will be able to start on more
than two projects,” said Cordero. “But we are going to need
The 122nd is accepting volunteers of all ages to help with
the restoration process and to keep military history alive.
By Army Spc. Jessica M. Lopez
Louisiana National Guard
American Forces Press Service
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