Bomber Mascot Crisis
Issue # 1 ~ 07/24/01
Editor's Note:

We (Maren and I) have agreed to separate submissions
concerning the issue of the bomb mascot from those the
readers expect to find in each day's Sandstorm.

We are sending each issue of this newsletter to all
subscribers to the Sandstorm.  If you do not wish to read
the contents of this newsletter, set up a filter in your
e-mail reader to direct any mail from
<> to your trash folder.

The format of this newsletter is identical to the
familiar Sandstorm.  From time to time I'll include
whatever factual information I can obtain at the
beginning of each issue.

Richard Anderson (60) -- Asst Editor, Sandstorm
July 23 status report:

I visited the RSD office today intending to meet with
Superintendent Semler to discover just exactly what the
agenda item of August 14 is to be.  Mr Semler is on
vacation and will not return to his office until next
Monday (July 30).  I was given a copy of an "Agreement
For Offer and Acceptance of an Equipment Grant" which was
proffered by Roy Ballard dated July 18 -- this is the
infamous document which was not provided when Roy and his
crew installed our bomb on July 1.  Principal Steve Neill
has signed off on the document with the comment "I
believe the school board / supt. needs to approve this
gift."  [I think Steve wrote the comment -- the
penmanship seems to match his signature.]  Two other RSD
officials have signed off (July 19) on the document as
well.  The person who provided me with the information
was unaware of anything other than the consideration of
the gift at the August 14 board meeting.  None of the
three possible actions -- "accept" "reject" "more
information needed" -- has been checked.

-Richard Anderson, Editor
Today's comments submitted by:

Cliff St. John (58), Judy Willox (61)
Jack Grouell (61), John Adkins (62)
Robert Cross (62), Sandra Genoway (62)
David Rivers (65), John Allen (66?)
Kim Edgar (79), Betsy Theroux (82)
Jil Lytle-Smith (82)

>>From: Cliff St. John (58)

Re: Bomber Nickname Research Project - Stein's Report


While you are, in my opinion, one of the five best Bomber
basketball players ever to have played the game on our
Bomber court, you are not correct with your position
regarding our Bomber logo.

During my stint as a Bomber student (1956 through 1958)
there was never a mention of the "Day's Pay".  We all
knew that the Bombers were named after the "bomb", not an
airplane.  How else can the mushroom cloud be explained?

It wasn't until after the Richland Villager proclaimed in
bold headlines "IT'S THE BOMB", explaining what Hanford
workers had been working on during that period of ultra
secrecy, that we Bombers changed our name from "Broncos"
to "Bombers". The Hanford worker's donation of a day's
pay occurred two years earlier.

The politically correct and historical revisionists
cannot change the facts.  I'm disappointed that you
should place yourself in their camp.

-Cliff St. John (58)
>>From: Judy Willox Hodge (61)

To:  Tedi Parks Teverbaugh (76)

Tedi, my dear, kiss my Spudnut!!!  LOL!!  NEVER will the
beloved Bomber halls OR foyer EVER hold a Krispy Kreme
for its mascot!!  That honor would ONLY go to our beloved
Spudnut IF the worst is to come and we do lose our
beloved bomb and our name of the Bombers.  Get a grip
girl!!  LOL!!

Bomber Cheers,
-Judy Willox Hodge (61) ~ Richland
>>From: Jack Grouell (61)

I originally posted this in the Sandstorm in September,
1998.  It seems to have some relevance to the current
discussion of "The Bomb".

It is inevitable that any discussion of Richland will
eventually touch on the reason for its existence, which
was to provide a place to live for the thousands of
workers and their families who were there to build and
operate the Hanford facility.  While those workers were
engaged in this effort, thousands more were fighting in
the battlefields of the Pacific and Europe.

My dad was one of those GI's and, in 1945, after fighting
in the Battle of the Bulge and some of the other battles
leading to the defeat of Nazi Germany, he was being held
in a camp in France, awaiting shipment to the Pacific for
the invasion of Japan.  The bombing of two cities in
Japan with nuclear weapons made that invasion unnecessary
and my dad was sent home, along with thousands of other
GI's, many of whom would not have survived the ongoing
war with Japan.

Am I sorry there was a bomb?  I am sorry there was a war.
I am grateful that there was a way to end it without
further unnecessary loss of life on both sides.  Was it
necessary to use the Bomb?  Was ANY of it necessary?  The
debate will never be resolved.  What is resolved is that
the war ended without an invasion, and lots of dads came
home.  The people who built Hanford have nothing to be
ashamed of.

Jack Grouell
September, 1998

July 21, 2001

Today I would add that we must never forget the tragedy
that was WW II, and we can not tolerate the efforts of
those who would re-write the history of that time out of
context and with the intention of making the horrible
facts of war socially acceptable and politically correct.
The heritage of Richland is "The Bomb" and that cannot be

-Jack Grouell (61)
>>From: John Adkins (62)

Re: Richard Anderson (60)
Subject: Official RHS Nickname and Mascot

I must disagree with Richard Anderson's points regarding
contacting the Richland School Board.  Let us not delude
ourselves that the Richland School Board will pay
attention to us if we do not make ourselves very visible.
Politicians respond to political pressure: if you want
their attention, send them a letter, send them an e-mail;
they may not like it, but they will pay attention.
Politicians who do not pay attention to their
constituents are proceeding at their own peril, and in
this case there may be double jeopardy for them, first
there are future bond issues that Bomber Alumni will cast
votes, there are future school board elections in which
Bomber Alumni will cast votes; oppose us at your own

It is clear that some staff personnel at Richland High
School are integral to the original pressure to remove
the bomb; to these people I say, "If you do not like the
school that we fund for you, perhaps it is time for you
to find another location to teach at."

-John Adkins (62) - Richland  
>>From: Robert Cross (62) 

Since I am unable to attend the August 14, 2001 School
Board Meeting, would you please see that this gets to the

As a Richland High School graduate, I was proud to hear
about the gift of a bomb shell that several other
graduates donated to the school.  I am very saddened to
hear of its removal.  Had it not been for the Hanford
atomic works site, my family would never have come to
Richland and I would not have graduated from the greatest
high school in the country.  I would be only slightly
interested in some Portland high school or some such.
Although the bomb represents a powerful destructive
force, to us Richland High School grads, it means our
childhood and all the hard work that our parents did
while we were growing up.  The bomb is our mascot and we
are proud of it and hope that no one ever forgets why it

-Robert Cross (62)
>>From: Sandra Genoway (62)

To Jim Anderson and all other less-than-enthusiastic
about the bomb mascot people:

Maybe we should seriously take you up on your idea of
implanting the BOMB in front of all major buildings in
the City of Richland, with placards to inform all persons
living and visiting there about the history of its
citizens and the Hanford Project and its historical

Have you really thought out what all of this "political
correctness" ideology has, and is, leading this Nation
to?  It follows down the road of thought control!  We
should fight it every which way possible; that alone, it
comes from the re-writers of history.  In this day and
age, there should be no acceptance and no excuse for this
type of "Orwellian" political activity, especially in the
U.S.  We need to protect our historical background and
show these PCer's that we are passionate about what we
remember of our past and proud to have been a part of
such an important endeavor, for which many of our
community did make personal sacrifices, whether willingly
or unwillingly.  We are also suffering the consequences
for what happened because of WWII and the *lust for
power* (something that continues today).

-Sandra Genoway (62)
>>From: David Rivers (65)

Here is my response regarding the bomb.  Each one of
these people will get a letter addressed just to them.  I
know it's long but it's the way I feel and I want them to
know just how disgusting this whole thing is!

-David Rivers (65)

July 20, 2001

Rich Semler
Superintendent of Schools
Richland School District
615 Snow Avenue
Richland, Washington   99352

201 West Greenbriar
Richland, Washington 99352

John Steach, Vice President
345 Snyder Road
Richland, Washington   99352

James L. Peterson
2309 Camas Avenue
Richland, Washington   99352

Mary Guay
Legislative Representative
2312 Hood, Apt. B                     
Richland, Washington   99352

Phyllis Strickler
1015 McPherson
Richland, Washington 

Richland School Board
c/o Richland Public School 
615 Snow Avenue
Richland, Washington   99352

Tri-City Herald                 
Letters to the Editor                   
107 N. Cascade                  
Kennewick, WA 99336             

Re: Richland Bombers 

Dear __________:

Allow me to introduce myself.  I graduated from Columbia
High School (aka Richland High School) in 1965.  I was
born in Richland in 1946.  After being too seriously
wounded in North Africa to remain in the military service
of this country, my father came to Richland to work on
the Manhattan Project.  In my law office, I proudly
display a commerative token which reads, "Manhattan
Project A-Bomb", which he had mounted on a lighter.
Likewise, hanging in my office is ball cap bearing the "R
and the mushroom cloud."  These are items which I cherish
and proudly display.

I was chagrined and dismayed some time ago when I
returned home for the annual gathering of the '65 Bomber
graduates to find that my Junior High School Alma Mater
had done away with the name "Warriors."  I had to
question how many Nez Perce people were polled when that
determination was made.  As an Apache, my father could
not drink a beer at the Community Center, when he first
arrived at Hanford -- I am sure no one asked his opinion
of the name change.

I have read with amusement, the articles by the Marco
Polo journalists who have the unmitigated gall to write
for a local newspaper and condemn local traditions.  I
read this morning in the Sandstorm, with even more
amusement, a letter allegedly penned by the local
Superintendent of Schools advising that the placement of
the bomb is a "political issue."  Nothing could be
further from the truth!

Richland, as those of us who were born and raised there
know it, was founded as one of the three "Secret Cities"
of the Manhattan Project.  Our families came to Richland
with a united purpose -- to work on a secret project, the
details of which they were uninformed, but one which our
country considered of paramount importance in the war
effort.  Yes!  There was a war -- a world war in which we
were not the aggressor.

During the early days of the Project my father was
involved in some sort of "accident".  He and two other
men were in a room when fatal doses of radiation leaked
through by some means or another.  My father happened to
be holding a piece of masonite or something akin thereto
at the time.  Though his legs were severely burned and
scarred, he survived while the other two men died.  I
have searched for evidence of the accident, but find
none.  My father carried his secret with him until just
before his death, when he revealed it to me.  Yes -- he
believed in the oath of secrecy he took right up to the
time of his death.

In 1965, I joined the Marine Corps because I believed it
was the right thing to do.  During my tour in Vietnam I
became painfully and personally aware of the erosion of
the traditional values which had been maintained by
Americans through the years.  During the 1968 Tet
Offensive, we had moved our artillery to Khe Sanh and
were turning an area over to the Army Americal Division.
When the country exploded, we were left helpless but
managed to identify the locations from which we were
being bombarded.  We called in artillery support from the
Americal Division and were told in no uncertain terms
that the artillery would not expose its position for a
handful of Marines.  We lay there for hours until a Navy
destroyer and aircraft carrier came in to lend support in
the morning.  Shortly thereafter, the Americal Commanding
General was removed from his post.  However, I had
learned in that one night that even the military had lost
the discipline and esprit de corps for which it had once
prided itself.

As I alluded to above, there is nothing political about
the Bomb being displayed in the "Home of the Bombers."
Long before I was of high school age I watched the proud
young men and women who went before me enter Col-Hi and
become Bombers.  The name "Bombers" was revered
throughout the state and probably beyond.  I remember the
Bomb being at every game and being so proud to be a
Bomber myself.

When my father passed away a few years ago, the former
Governor of Nevada called and asked if he could write a
piece about my father for the local paper.  Naturally, I
agreed.  At his funeral, my classmates Terry Davis and
Jim Heidlebaugh came to Las Vegas and Terry gave the
eulogy.  While we were standing, waiting for the funeral
to begin, Governor O'Callahan came up to us and told us
that it did his heart good to see that Bombers still
stuck together.  We were awestruck.  As it turns out, the
Governor, himself, had been a steel worker at the
Manhattan Project long before he and my dad became close
friends here in Nevada.

There is nothing political about what is happening here.
A few newcomers are embarrassed that our hometown was
founded upon the production of an atom bomb.  A few
newcomers are embarrassed that the name "Bombers" might
offend Japanese-Americans and others.  The name
"Bombers" should not offend any American.  It may well
offend the Japanese nationals.  However, that
embarrassment was earned many years ago.

As I recall, from my days in education quite some years
ago, the life expectancy of a Superintendent in a given
position is approximately 2.5 years.  The tenure of Board
Members is, naturally, somewhat longer in some instances.
To each of you I say, "HOW DARE YOU?"  The facts are what
the facts are.  The City of Richland was founded upon the
Bomb and kids who attend that school are proud to be
Bombers.   As a temporary servant of the School District,
you have no right -- no right whatsoever -- to rewrite
history for your own agenda.

When Jim Adair and Roy Ballard pulled into Las Vegas last
year and Roy told me of his intentions with respect to
the Bomb, I applauded him.  When the Bomb was unveiled at
the recent Bomber gathering, I posed proudly with it,
together with my fellow Bombers.  Today, I am ashamed of
each of you in taking your role to destroy the traditions
of our city out of some feigned idea of political
correctness.  I will remain ashamed to have you represent
the City of Richland and its educational community unless
and until you take a stand against this silliness and
demand that the Bomb be reinstated in the gym where

>>From: John Allen (66?)

I am sending this reply I received from Steve Aagaard at
the RSD.  I had asked him if the "Bomber" name was also
going to be considered at the 14 August Board Meeting.
His reply is below.



Sounds like a wild rumor to me.  I have heard absolutely
nothing about this possibility.

Steve Aagaard
Communications Manager
Richland School District
>>From: Kim Edgar Leeming (79)

Just a thought, but while attending the meeting, it would
be nice if Veterans could wear their uniforms (if they
still fit).  Just another way of showing how proud you
are to be an American and of its history.

-Kim Edgar Leeming (79)
>>From: Betsy Theroux Thoman (82)


I just want to know when, in the last century and now,
the voice of the few rule?  (Oh yeah, that's right.  I
forgot... that is how we got Bush for President.)  For
Pete's sake, it is just another piece of political
stupidity that will try and dictate that any historical
truth, that is un-PC, needs to be made into a Politically
Correct one.  Next the Bombers of Richland will change
over to the ..... I don't know ..... the Pansies? (a
flower I do like).

I am so NOT a political person and it seems to me a shame
that the need to try and whitewash or remove our high
school history.  To those in the Tri-Cities, go to the
meeting in August and be the vast majority to say that
the bomb is symbol of the school mascot and not the
symbol of hate ..... and maybe the majority will rule.

Thanks for listening,

-Betsy Theroux Thoman (82)  
>>From: Jil Lytle-Smith (82)

Let's remind those who think that having the bomb (shell)
in place is a bad idea just what the bomb is ........


-Jil Lytle-Smith (82)

Send RHS Nickname/Mascot entries to: