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Officials targeting July 1 for return of Buzz Bomb

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Staff Writer

Next time the phone rings or someone walks into the Putnam County Convention and Visitors Bureau asking, "Where's the Buzz Bomb?," tour officials will have an answer for them.

The latest, according to Putnam County Commissioners at their most recent meeting, is that an unidentified donor stepped up to cover the remaining cost of having the World War II era weapon refurbished. Plans are to have it back in place on the southwest corner of the courthouse by July 1.

CVB Director Karla Lawless told members of the tourism board Tuesday night that she is excited about the prospects of having the highly sought-after war relic back on its V-shaped perch after nearly two years in limbo.

"It is a huge draw for this bureau," she said.

Scarcely a day goes by that someone doesn't come into the tourism bureau or call in to inquire about the missing Nazi-created bomb, Lawless said. It has been the subject of books and magazine articles and even film producers have inquired about it.

Lawless said travelers from as far away as Australia, England and Brazil, South America have made the journey to Greencastle to see what is believed to be one of only two such bombs on display in the United States.

"That's something that stands out for those people," Lawless said. "Not a lot of people have those."

Members of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post took on the project when they noticed rust had eaten holes in the bomb's wings and years of weathering had led to an overall decline of the bomb's condition. In August 2004, the bomb was removed under a shroud of mystery, but it eventually landed at metal fabrication plant PDF in Brazil where repairs were made.

Putnam County Commissioner Kristina Warren told the Banner Graphic Wednesday that she spoke with officials at PDF this week and that the July 1 completion date was discussed.

"That was the date they were shooting for, but we have not gotten anything concrete," Warren said.

She said the cost of the repairs turned out to be more than initially estimated. Several local groups, led by the membership of VFW Post 1550, stepped up to cover the cost.

Meanwhile, officials with the Greencastle Street Department and city police, who would presumably be made aware of any road closures that may be needed when the bomb is hoisted back in place, did not have any knowledge of the Buzz Bomb returning by Saturday.

Tourism officials are remaining cautiously optimistic about the situation.

"We've heard several dates in the past, but we're hopeful," Lawless said.

The V-1 bomber, also known as the Doodlebug, was invented by the Germans to attack England during World War II. The unmanned aircraft got its name from the "buzzing" sound it made as it made its way through the air.

According to online encyclopedia Wikipedia, approximately 10,000 such bombs were projected toward England during the war, but with a range of only 150 miles, a mere one-quarter of the bombs ever hit their intended target.

Still an estimated 5,500 London citizens died as a result of the bomb attacks, sparking past and ongoing debate concerning the bomb's preservation.



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