When I launched my website, I started a World War II Research Collective. In this group are researchers around the world who specialize in WWII units, battles, theaters of war, or types of research. To help you get to know the researchers better, I’ll be doing some Q&A with them.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I was introduced to computers back in the 1960s when I served in the US Air Force. When I got out I went to work for IBM where I gained more knowledge about computers. I worked on hardware and software as well as teaching about the computers I worked with. After 28 years with IBM, I retired and decided to start my own computer consulting business.
In 2000, I found out about an Association of men who served in the 461st Bombardment Group (H) during WWII. Unbeknownst to me, my father had served with this organization. This peaked my interested and in 2001 I became the webmaster of their website (461st.org) and editor of their newsletter, The Liberaider. A few years after that I became the Historian for the Association. As I learned more about the 461st and what they did to help win the war in Europe, I learned about other bomb groups that worked with the 461st. Some of these groups had websites and some didn’t, but I knew that there were stories from all the groups that needed to be told. I started doing websites for those that didn’t have one. The problem was to tie those websites together somehow. I knew they all belonged to the Fifteenth Air Force, but I was unable to find a website for the Fifteenth. I finally decided to start one where I could show the overall structure of the organization. The result is www.15thaf.org.
Today I help people interested in learned about their relative(s) who served in the Fifteenth regardless of the bomb or fighter group they were assigned to. If an organization has a website, I simply link to it. If they don’t have one, I create one for them where I can post information as I receive it.
When and how did you become interested in World War II?
I became interested in WWII in 2000, when I was invited to attend a reunion of the 461st Bombardment Group (H) Association.
What is your main focus of research?
My main focus is on the Fifteenth Air Force and specifically on the 461st Bombardment Group (H).
Why is this area of research important to you?
This area is important to me because my father was the Commanding Officer of the 461st. He had never talked about it and I wanted to find out what had happened back then.
Have you met family members of soldiers you have researched? Do you have a story you can share about that?
I’ve met many veterans and family members. I love to hear the stories the veterans have about their time during WWII. As editor of the newsletter for the 461st, I have published numerous stories from both the veterans and their families. The Liberaider is published twice a year and is 40 pages of stories I’ve collected over the years.
Do you have a story about a great discovery or closure to a project?
It’s difficult to point to a single story that I would classify as a great discovery. All the discoveries I come across are great which is what I try to document them on the various websites. I guess discovering what my father did back then was perhaps the greatest discovery of all as I have no idea he had even been in WWII. Some of the things he did back then are absolutely amazing.
What are your websites?
- 451st Bombardment Group
- 455th Bombardment Group
- 460th Bombardment Group
- 461st Bombardment Group
- 484th Bombardment Group
Is there anything else you would like people to know before they contact you?
Although I do get back to everyone who contacts me, I am rather busy and sometimes it may take a while for me to respond. I will respond and prefer to have E-Mail so I have that reminder in front of me until I reply. I have several E-Mail addresses – email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org dedicated to the 461st. People may contact me at any of these addresses or my general address of email@example.com.
© 2016 Jennifer Holik