VFW sets record straight on Bomb

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Despite some officials' reports, Greencastle's much-talked-about V-1 Buzz Bomb did not make it back to town last weekend.

Since that time, a local military veteran has come forward with information that he hopes will satisfy the treasure seekers and help put an end to all the rumors.

Greencastle resident Steve McMains, commander of local VFW Post 1550, has been among several veterans to track the progress of the bomb since the veterans group had it removed for restoration almost two years ago.

He told the BannerGraphic this week that the bomb is currently being housed at a private site near Brazil where volunteers have put in hours of labor on the project.

Right now the bomb is awaiting a new paint job.

McMains said that much of the original material on the bomb has been replaced with stainless steel due to the its deterioration over the years.

As for the bomb's eventual return to its V-shaped platform on the southwest side of the Putnam County Courthouse, McMains says it could happen in as little as two weeks to as many as several months. When it does, it will likely occur on a Sunday morning and without any pre-publicity.

"I tell people that it's a very strong, definite maybe that we're gonna get it back soon, but I don't know," he said.

McMains said there is simply not enough room in the downtown area to allow for spectators and the large equipment that will be needed to re-install the buzz bomb. He said the bomb will be transported to Greencastle in three pieces and then reassembled at the county highway department before being installed at the courthouse.

Local companies have volunteered staff and equipment to put the buzz bomb back in place, McMains said. And city street crews and law enforcement will be notified to assist with traffic control.

Only after the bomb has been secured in place will a date for a dedication ceremony be set and the public invited to attend, McMains said.

Addressing reports that the bomb would be brought back to Greencastle last Saturday, McMains said the rumor was born out of news that an anonymous donor had offered to pay for the remaining work on the bomb as long as it would be returned to the courthouse lawn by July 2.

As for popular reports that Putnam County's buzz bomb is one of two on public display in the United States, McMains says that may have been true when the VFW received the bomb in the late 1940s, but it is no longer the case.

"There's a lot of myths that bounce around about it," he said. "In 1951 it probably was one of two."

He said he has researched several Internet sites and believes there are as many as 36 identical or similar bombs in the U.S. Many were engineered and made by the Germans and some were later replicated by the Americans, McMains said.

McMains went on to state in his letter that the cost to repair the bomb has not changed from its original estimate. He said the VFW membership has been diligent to raise money for the project, including $3,000 in a fundraiser last March.

With that in mind, the VFW has announced it will be hosting a "Buzz Bomb Appreciation Dinner" on Friday, July 7. The event is scheduled for 5 p.m. to midnight with a dinner buffet from 5-8 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by the John Wood Combo and local singer John Stevens.

Those who attend are being asked to bring items to send to local servicemen and women serving overseas.

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