kirby b. johnson photojournal

Brethren; 15th Air Force, Foggia Italy

Posted in portrait by kirbybjohnson on July 11, 2009

bob & bob

Two men: who grew up up in homes less than 15 miles from one another, who collected soda bottles to be able to go to the movies, who both raised families like you watched on Father Knows Best, who witnessed the milestones, joys and disappointments in their children’s lives, who laughed at Jack Benny and Mork & Mindy, who both remember the ’37 Ford Coupe their neighbor kept on his driveway, who both drove ‘K’ cars in the 1980’s…

These two men had to grow up fast while resolutely serving their country. These two men, who still live less than 15 miles from one another, met for the very first time in May of this year during a display of vintage WWII aircraft at Jane’s Field, Blaine Minnesota. Bob Clemens (L) and Bob Zenz (r) both served in the 15th Army Air Force based in Foggia Italy during World War II. A combined total of 88 missions flown (50 Clemens – – 38 Zenz) these two men routinely downplay their contributions and sacrifices they’ve made for their country.

The circumstances that allowed me to witness these two men becoming acquainted are measureless. These two men provided me an experience that will impact me forever.


5 Responses

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  1. Pam Nelson said, on July 11, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    I love your pictures but what you write with them is great! You could put out a book because you have great verbal proficiency! I would edit.

    • kirbybjohnson said, on July 12, 2009 at 5:03 am

      Thanks Pam.
      You’re my biggest fan.
      I appreciate your comment.
      Keep checking in; I’ve got some more posts close to being ready.

  2. Mickie Turk said, on July 16, 2009 at 5:14 am

    I agree. Your prose is page turning.

  3. Pat Redmond said, on September 22, 2009 at 1:54 am

    I had seen a program including a “Bob Zenz” re: B-17 experiences… I knew a Bob Zenz who had worked in the advertising department at Gamble-Skogmo, Inc., St. Louis Park, MN, when I was there (1976-1978) and I was hoping to reach him with a suggestion that an exhibit of his art and design be put together for the general public. Please let mer know. Thank you, Patrick Redmond, Past President (1979-1980), AIGA Minnesota,

    • Kirby Johnson said, on September 27, 2009 at 1:50 am


      I was able to meet up with Bob Zenz this morning for breakfast at which time I passed along your contact information.
      Bob said he remembered working with you “… at Gambles.” I hope you two are able to get together.
      Bob’s a great guy. I feel lucky to have made his acquaintance.


      Kirby Johnson

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