Posted by Editor: FDBobko
JUNE 1 , 2023
Rodger Kraków
100- year-old WWII Veteran's Experiences
Article by Steve Wilson
Pictures by EJ Dieterle 
PP Irwin Cohen introduced our speaker, Roger Krakow, who will turn 100 years old shortly--still tall, good-looking and articulate, an inspiration to all.  Roger's topic was his WW II experience as a bombardier and navigator on bombers over Germany.  Roger brought his youngest son Chad, who commented that his Dad didn't really begin talking about his war experience until about five years ago. Roger lives in San Mateo.  Most of the rest of Roger's post-war working life was spent managing the Commodore Hotel at Sutter and Jones in SF--about 50 years in the hotel management business, where his four sons all held jobs growing up.
Roger was born October 3, 1923 in Davenport, IA, and grew up there.  He joined Army ROTC while enrolled at Iowa State because it offered a three-year deferment from active duty while he completed his studies.  Roger commented on the sharp 50-50 division of opinion in the country between isolationism and entering the war.  The deferment rules changed and active duty started early.  He was assigned to the Army Air Force and became a navigator, which also meant that you were trained as a bombardier.  Flight crews were shipped to different army posts for specific aspects of their training, and Roger was shipped to Santa Ana, CA, then Kingman, AZ, then Hondo, TX, back to Lincoln, NE and finally to B-17 school in Ardmore, OK.  By then it was fairly late in the war.  He and thousands of other men were shoehorned into the Queen Mary and sent to Britain, where they disembarked in Scotland and were then sent to a permanent post near London.  His first mission was December 15, 1944. He flew 45 bombing missions before the war ended, so the schedule was grueling. Pilots and crew were up at 5:30, then breakfast followed by a briefing for officers, then into the planes which took off 30 seconds apart.  The planes then assembled their formation and headed for targets.  The most memorable was the massive February 3, 1945 bombing attack on Berlin involving hundreds of bombers, designed to break the remaining will of the German population. After 45 missions the crews got a week's leave.
After the war ended, he and comrades sailed home on the Queen Elizabeth.  He briefly flew a twin-engine Mosquito on government mapping assignments, then went to civilian work. Roger thought he might be called back for Korean War duty but it didn't happen.  Roger commented that the most lasting benefit he received from his military service was the training in personal health and fitness, which he keeps to this day (and looks it). 
Pres. Krystlyn led us in the pledge.        
Pres. Krystlyn again announced that June is Pride Month, with a parade on June 11 and a concert.
Guests were announced.  Mal Donitz  attended.  He turns 102 in August!  
Induction of New Member Nancy Wolfsburg 
Irwin introduced his wife, Nancy Wolfburg, who officially became a new member.  Nancy has attended many Rotary events over the years and we are grateful and eager to have Nancy's participation.  Nancy has previously attended the RI International Convention in Melbourne the year that Irwin was previously President and will attend next year in Singapore.
Liz talked about the improvements in the process of selecting and awarding Club scholarships, particularly since they are now aimed at vocational skills as opposed to strictly university.  Ginger announced upcoming events at Barterra Winery.  It was announced that with the delivery of two more mattresses to displaced farmworkers, making nine in total, the need for mattresses is apparently satisfied, and additional donations will be turned to needed small appliances.
June 12 is the annual Senior Health Fair, from 1:00 to 6:00 PM. 
Happy/Crappy News yescrying
Marble Game -  coolsadwink
Our much-missed Dianne Bobko was back in attendance and drew the winning ticket.  Alas, the marble was green.  Better luck next time!