Over 70 years ago, members of the 451st bomber squadron were taking bombing runs across Europe—flying 296 missions in their B-26 Marauders. Just one year after World War II ended in 1945, Squadron 451 came back together for a reunion in Chicago. The location may have changed, but this tradition continued every year with the last two remaining members getting together here in Florida.
In 1969, the group took a bottle of cognac and sealed it into a box. Each member signed his name on the wrapping. As the years passed and the men passed away, their names were crossed off. This year, Colonel Sanford Graves and Lieutenant Marshall Clark were the last two surviving members of the group.
They had the honor of dusting off the package and opening the almost 50-year-old bottle. They poured glasses and made toasts to each other before reading off the names of all the other squadron members. Other family members were there and joined in a toast to the 451st squadron.
These Tampa World War II veterans hope to continue the tradition of their reunion, which was nicknamed the “Alligator Wrestle.”
Here at Rivard Buick GMC, we would like to thank these honored veterans for their service.