Welcome to the Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum Columbus, Indiana

 

Chapel Facilities
History
Restoration
Jeanne L. Norbeck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Jeanne Lewellen Norbeck Memorial Chapel

The Jeanne Lewellen Norbeck Memorial Chapel is a restored 1942 barracks building converted to a chapel during the Korean War, dedicated to the memory of Jeanne Lewellen Norbeck a Women Air force Service Pilot during World War II. On October 16, 1944 a week after her last visit to Columbus she was killed instantly when the Vultee Valiant plane she was piloting crashed. The restored chapel was dedicated on Friday, May 29th, 1998.

Chapel Building T-48 requires never ending care and maintenance.

Building T-48 Fire Lane Repair

The Chapel Building #T-48, takes a lot of TLC to keep it maintained like shown here in a recent photo where museum volunteers Pete Jenkins and John Walter are seen replacing one of the chapel library windows. Pete Jenkins on the chapel roof repairing a shingle and Pete and Wendell Ross crack sealing and coating the WWII era chapel fire lane. The original 1942 base buildings were T or temporary building built only to last about five years. So building T-48, 69 years later, takes lots of maintenance to keep the only remaining barracks style building in good shape. Museum volunteer Nick Firestone snapped some photos while helping with the work.

The Ernie Schorr Memorial Library was dedicated Saturday, September 28, 2002 at the Jeanne Lewellen Norbeck Memorial Chapel. The library is accepting donations of publications related to the World Wars, Korean War, Vietnam War, Military Historical Publications, Military Biographies, Aircraft, Air Bases, Military Manuals and any books that would be of interest to researchers and historians.

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The plaque on the Ernie Schorr Memorial Library entrance door. Ernie's children, Chris and Todd placing the plaque in position. Todd, Chris and Jody Schorr with Major General John Hoff, USAF (Ret.) at the dedication program. Museum Volunteer, Joe Grube speaking at the dedication ceremony.

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Major General John Hoff addressing the attendees at the Ernie Schorr Memorial Library dedication. Dutchess taking in the proceedings in her usual way. General Hoff with Todd, Chris and Jody.

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Chapel Bell Returns Home

The original Bakalar Air Force Base Chapel bell was found after many years absence. The bell at one time was a locomotive bell. It was used in the chapel as the church bell. This photograph was taken in the museum work area next to the glider nose project in the work shop and with some of the museum volunteers. Museum Volunteer, John Walter working on the Chapel bell installation. The bell was placed back in the Chapel belfry and dedicated on December 7, 2001.

The Chaplain H. Nathan Frederick Memorial Bell has been installed in the Jeanne Lewellen Norbeck Memorial Chapel. A special 60th Anniversary of the Pearl Harbor Attack and Chapel Bell Dedication Program was hosted by the Museum Volunteers and 95ers on December 7, 2001. The Chaplain requested that his deceased wife and daughter be remembered in a Memorial at the Chapel. His wishes were fulfilled.

Jeanne Lewellen Norbeck November 14, 1912 to October 16, 1944

The coin is tossed to see who gets the BT-13 and who gets the AT-6. Jeanne gets to check out the BT-13. Marybelle Lyall Arduengo gets the AT-6 to test. The Form 1-A reports that the 'heavy' left wing is in rig now. Jeanne takes off and puts the plane through its paces in the test area south of Shaw Field. She decides to return to the field. She slows the plane as she enters the landing pattern. Then without warning the left wing drops and the plane flips over and spins into the ground. There was no way to recover at the low altitude for landing. As with all WASP deaths,  there was no military escort, and no flag for the coffin authorized by the Army Air Force as the WASP were Civil Service. The people at the air base chipped in to cover the expenses and the base commander made it possible for an officer to escort her home. Even though it was not authorized, the army officer brought a flag with him to drape her coffin. The family still has the flag.

Jeanne was born in Columbus, Indiana, and grew up there with her brother and sister. She started flying while in high school. In 1933 she graduated from Washington State College with a B. A. in English. Jeanne and her husband, Edward Norbeck, were in Honolulu when Pearl Harbor was bombed. She was an honors student and Group Commander for her WASP training class.

 

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Copyright 2000-2012 Last modified:
January 16, 2012