Thursday, January 26, 2017

Col Bobzien relieves Col Mundy at George Field as Commander 1942

Don't forget Movie Day at the History Center this Saturday.  At 10:00 o'clock and 1:00 our newest documentary will be shown.... The Making of Water Ways.  Professionally done by volunteers Ellen White and Marsha Walton, this 24 minute film shows what it took to acquire and produce the complimentary exhibits for the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit. From photos taken throughout the year before the Exhibit arrived in Lawrenceville to interviews from the Grand Opening Reception, this movie will make you proud  of our organization and the community as a whole.  Copies have been sent to the Smithsonian and Illinois Humanities and the response has been terrific. The film has also been nominated for a Illinois State Historical Society Award.   Don't miss this premier viewing. 

On November 19, 1942 the Bridgeport Leader reported that Col. George W Mundy, Commander of George Field in Lawrence County had been relieved of his post by Col. Edwin Bobzien who recently returned from combat duty and the Hawaiian Islands.

Activity on the construction of an air base in the county was started back in May 1942 with the arrival of Col. George W Mundy. The Col. was in close contact with the development of the field, the construction, the personnel, the setting up of the training and actual operations. The Field was commissioned ahead of the original schedule and ranked high in the area. Col. Mundy made a host of friends due to his painstaking and polite manner of handling the affairs of the field.

Col. Bobzien was engaged in the battle zone under Gen. MacArthur prior to his return to Moody Field, Georgia.  He had been given expert training in the needs of fighting pilots and his graduating classes at George Field would be coached in the latest and most modern designs for fighting flyers. Col. Bobzien was reported to possess a strict military bearing that called for promptness in execution but with a heart of friendship for his men and acquaintances in that "bachelor breast of his."

Following World War I, Col. Bobzien remained in the forces and at the age of 46 was rated as a most efficient Air Corps Commander. Col. Mundy left for Washington, DC where he would report to the office of Lieut. Gen. H.H. Arnold of the War Department. The nature of the new assignment was not revealed in the order but friends of Col. Mundy anticipated a promotion.  

About a month later the Bridgeport Leader, on  December 17, 1942stated that the first class of cadets received their silver wings at an impressive ceremony at the George Field post theater Sunday morning December 13 despite weather difficulties and the inherent problems that accompanied a new facility.  

Ed Note:  As reported in the Weddings Through the Ages book published by the Lawrence County Historical Society in 2015, Col Bobzien's bachelorhood did not last long.  He was soon married in the Post Chapel to Miss Mary Ellen Cully.