Gallery of Aviation A tribute to Steve Stuczynski.
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Verona Model Show

On May 18, 2002, I attended the 7th annual Verona, WI Model Show and Contest where plastic modelers from Wisconsin and surrounding states got together to put their models against each other in competition for awards in various categories. The event was sponsored by the Mad City Modelers, IPMS Chapter 05-27. This year, a special category was for best Corsair in honor of Steve. The idea for the category was suggested by the late Wayne Grinnell, president of our local plastic modelers club. Nearly a year ago, Wayne asked if I would approach the Madison VFW Post 8483, of which dad was an honorary lifetime member, for a donation toward the plaque for the category. Without hesitation, they made the contribution. Unfortunately, we lost Wayne only days before the event but he had everything in apple pie order before his death and the category award took place as Wayne planned. Wayne had asked that I pick the best Corsair and award the plaque.

While there were several beautiful Corsairs, one immediately jumped out at me! It was a VMF-312 “Checkerboarders Squadron” Corsair done in WWII pilot 1st Lieutenant Merritt O. Chance (MO) #530 markings. MO lives in Brookeville, Maryland, and is the historian for the original VMF-312. VMF-312 was the favorite squadron Dad serviced in the South Pacific. MO visited the Gallery of Aviation before Dad died and there are autographed pictures from MO in the museum. Since dad has died, I have been in contact with MO and am proud to say I have had numerous talks with him. In fact if you check our guestbook you will see several postings by this historical figure. I hope to finally meet MO at the Gathering of the Corsairs in September 2002 near Indianapolis, IN.

The Corsair I picked in honor of dad was built by John Adelmann of Dubuque, IA. I was so excited when I verified it actually was a model of MO’s Corsair that I immediately e-mailed him and included pictures. What an awesome day. Dad would have been proud of my choice I’m sure.

I have included a picture of the Corsair and the plaque that we awarded to John. These pictures were professionally composed by Dillon Lemonovich of Central Alternative High School, Dubuque, IA. The pictures of me judging the models and presenting the plaque to John were courtesy of the Mad City Modelers.

VMF-312 "Checkerboarders Squadron" website

Gathering of the Corsairs website

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