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Veteran wants to preserve history
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Mildon Yaeger of Larned studies some of his research regarding the B-29 Memorial in Great Bend. - photo by Jim Misunas

LARNED – Mildon Yaeger admits he’s a World War II history enthusiast.
Yaeger felt passionate when the B-29 Memorial was established in Great Bend that commemorates the Great Bend Army Air Field.
U.S. crews were trained to fly the B-26 and B-29 bombers at the training base during World War II. The airfield is the site of a memorial dedicated to the men and women who manufactured, flew and provided support for the Boeing B-29 Superfortress.
The 83-year-old Yaeger and Dr. William Brenner, a Bataan Death March survivor, were instrumental in raising donations from Pawnee County for the memorial.
Linda McCaffery, a Barton Community College history instructor, wrote the book, “I’m Praying Hard for You,” Love Letters to a Death Camp: The World War II Ordeal of William and Jo Brenner about his experiences. The book profiles the World War II ordeal of Dr. William Brenner and his wife, Jo.
“We worked on getting donations and we did quite well,” Yaeger said. “I have known people who have worked on the B-29.”
Intersecting arches represent the emblem of the Global 20th Air Force with a centerpiece of a B-29 cast in stainless steel. Bomber crews, groups and individuals are honored with bronze plaques and bricks. The intent of the memorial is to remind tomorrow’s generations of the sacrifices made to keep the U.S. secure.
Yaeger served with the Navy Seebees overseas and appreciated how the work of the B-29 training base helped end the war.
“On our way over to the Philippines, they dropped the big bomb,” he said. “I’m convinced that the B-29 was one that saved my life and saved other lives.”
Ever since the project was launched, Yaeger has collected articles published about the B-29 Memorial and its construction work.
“I am working on a notebook which will have all the articles that were printed in The Great Bend Tribune and other papers,” he said.
He has articles that trace the progress of the B-29 Memorial from the time it was first discussed, into fund-raising and the construction phase.
“I have a few of those articles, but I don’t have them all,” Yaeger said. “I would be interested in copying any articles which someone else may have saved. I would put them into my notebook for my memories of that time. I would appreciate anyone’s help.”
Anyone who wants to share an article they have saved or has a story relating to the B-29 Memorial, can call Yaeger at (620) 285-3032. Yaeger resides at 416 Wichita Street in Larned.