Bomber Mascot Crisis
Issue # 2 ~ 07/25/01
Editor's Notes:

1) Anna Mae Dyken (Grandma Bomber) asks:

Q: What is the time and place of the August 14th school
board meeting?

A: The meeting will be held in the Boardroom of the RSD
Administration Building, 615 Snow Avenue.  The building
is currently being remodeled; if the turnout is
sufficiently large the meeting may be moved to a larger
space at Marcus Whitman school (which is where the RSD
Administrative offices are actually located).  Look for a
notice in the TCH a day or two prior to the meeting if
there is a change.

2) Just in case you don't care:

Q: How can I dump this rag?

A: Set an e-mail filter to send the newsletter to your
trash folder.  Here is a quick tutorial for Outlook
Express (other e-mail clients will have a similar
    i) double click on the message
   ii) click [Message]
  iii) click [Block Sender]
   iv) you won't get any more messages from
<>, the sender of this newsletter.

Richard Anderson (60) -- Editor, Mascot Crisis
Today's comments submitted by:

Steve Aagaard (Announcement from RSD)
Robert Carlson (54), Steve Carson (58)
Ed Borasky (59), John Adkins (62)
Bob Rector (62), Roy Ballard (63)
Allen Thompson (63), Maren Smyth (64)
Vic Day (65), Patti Snider (65)
Bill Wingfield (67), Debbie Bennett (72)
Corey Boehning (87)

From: Steve Aagaard, RSD

July 24, 2001

There evidently have been some wild and unfounded rumors
circulating about the possible elimination of the Bombers
nickname.  I have heard absolutely nothing about this at
all from anyone in the school district.  The issue at
hand is the bombshell, not the Bombers nickname.  The
bombshell will discussed by the school board at the
August 14 meeting.  Just wanted to clarify.

Steve Aagaard
Communications Manager
Richland School District
>>From: Robert Carlson (54)

Reverting the school name to Richland is semi-acceptable.
At least the students had a big say in that move.  As
much as I hate to admit it, I think Columbia High was a
name foisted upon us by the administration.  However, it
is the name of the school I graduated from.  There are
still artifacts of *that* school on today's present
school grounds.

But, we are The Bombers, and have been since those
eventful days in the fall of 1945.  It is an integral
part of our heritage.  Those who graduated as Beavers
also have a heritage that should not be ignored.

Unfortunately, in this day and age, it would seem that
both Bombers and Beavers are unacceptable to an obnoxious
vocal minority who would have this be a "picture
perfect" world.  Perhaps they watched "Father Knows
Best" or "Leave It To Beaver" far too many times.  Life
just ain't like television.

I mentioned that the Bomber name is not "politically
correct"; and, I also said that "Beavers" wasn't either.
I think we know why the former might fall into that
category, but what about Beavers?  Well for one thing
they are tree eating rodents who cannot distinguish
between new and old growth trees.  (Score one for the
tree-huggers.)  And, the pesky little critters build
d*#s, yes, my friends, they construct the D word across
rivers, creeks, and streams denying the precious salmon
it's spawning rights.

I suppose we could call our teams "The Richland Acmes";
but that brings up pictures of coyotes trying to destroy
roadrunners by using Acme products.

So, what's my point?  I say to hell with the PC police
and their minions.  We're Bombers, and "we're mad as
hell, and we're not going to take this anymore!"

A Big BOMBER Cheer,

-Bob (Mike Clowes) Carlson (54)
>>From: Steve Carson (58)

I am a "Bomber" and have never had any question as to
what the reference was.  My class ring, with the mushroom
cloud, was clear.

-Steve Carson (58) - Chicago
>>From: Ed Borasky (59)

First of all, this isn't new.  If someone has access to
the 1959 Sandstorms, if you'll dig up the April Fool
issue, you'll find that I recommended replacing the bomb
with the aardvark, because it was the "first aanimal in
the dictionary" :-).  Even back then, we were of two
minds about the mascot; while my piece was humor, we
*were* thinking about it even in 1959.

Second, I don't personally have a problem calling myself
a Bomber and yet being an anti-war protester.  As some of
you know, I was opposed to the Vietnam war.  One of the
things I've learned over the years is that governments
tend to get into a state of frustration and take drastic
actions.  That's what happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki,
at Ruby Ridge, at Waco, and many other times.  That
doesn't make it right in my mind, and I think it was the
massive protests here that kept such a tragic outcome
from happening in Vietnam.

Finally, regarding "political correctness" and the Native
Americans, I'm glad to see that Oregon is finally moving
to remove the word "squaw" from place names.  I just
found out this week what the derivation of the term was
and just how derogatory it is.  I urge all of you who
think this sort of thing is silly to look this up before
forming any opinions.

-Ed Borasky (59)
>>From: John Adkins (62)

Re: Making e-mail contact with the Richland School Board

There is a web page now available to assist you in making
e-mail contact with the Richland School Board and/or
Richard Semler, Richland School District Superintendent.
the site is:

Feel free to use this mechanism to contact the above
school officials.

-John Adkins (62)
>>From: Bob Rector (62)

If you wish to see our Bomb:

Drive north on Stevens Drive until you see, on your left,
the old Hanford Bus Barns (now Tri-City Railroad).  On
the right, 13 feet from the fog line, is our Bomb.  It is
sitting on the lift gate of the Bomber Band Trailer.

-Bob Rector (62), Western Sintering Co. Inc.
                  2620 Stevens Drive
>>From: Roy Ballard (63)

~~~~~Item One~~~~~
Steve Aagaard's [RSD Communications Manager] reply to
John Allen's query stated said that he had heard nothing
of the subject, and, since he wasn't in the meeting with
Semler and me, he probably hasn't.  Semler's statement to
me was that the school board would decide whether or not
to accept the bomb gift and the school board can change
the name and mascot if it decides to do so; but the vote
by the students in 1990 and any other time means zip.

~~~~~Item Two~~~~~
An exchange between Roy and Terry Warner (65)(Supt of
Castle Rock schools):

Terry: Roy, if this is you, this is Terry Werner.  I have
not been keeping up on the donated bomb but it sounds
like there is a little friction.  If I can be of help,
please let me know.  It was good to see you in June; the
bomb looked great.

Roy: Terry, this is I.  We need letters to the school
board members, letters to the editor, and people at the
school board meeting on the 14th of August at 6:30.  I
believe the school board is going to try and change the
mascot and the name.

Terry: I will either write a letter or come for the board
meeting.  It is interesting how this type of conflict
comes up from time to time.  The Castle Rock mascot is a
rocket and we proudly display this big rocket in front of
our high school.  I wish ours looked as good as the bomb
you guys fixed up.  If I'm not mistaken, rockets were
designed as an instrument of war, just like bombs were.

-Roy Ballard (63)
>>From: Allen B Thompson (63)

The Bomb & the Bombers!

The last letter of mine the Herald published regarded the
desecration of the American Flag back in the 70's.  Now
they are desecrating history!  Richland/Hanford made the
plutonium that made the A-bomb.  It saved hundreds of
thousands of lives on both sides.  For the people of
Richland not to be proud of that fact says more than a
mouth full.  Your superintendent of schools seems to be a
revisionist of the first order.

-Allen B Thompson (63)
>>From: Maren Smyth (64)

~~~~~Item One~~~~~
The Phantom Sign Planter struck this morning at the
Richland School System administrative office up on Snow.
There is a nice little "PUT THE BOMB BACK" sign planted
in the lawn at the front door.
Not sure if the source of this information wants their
name in print.

~~~~~Item Two~~~~~
Wonder who else has thought of this:


8/14/1945 -- Famous Richland Villager headline
8/14/2001 -- 56 years later TO THE DAY
             School Board meeting 6:30pm
             Administration Bldg., 615 Snow Ave.

Bomber cheers,
-Maren Smyth (64)
>>From: Vic Day (65)

Greetings to all BOMBERS!

Here are my two cents worth:

I certainly hope that there is nothing to this name
changing talk and that it is really just a rumor.

Anyone who would dare to deny our heritage and tradition
by changing the name of our mascot against the will of
the overwhelming majority of the student body and the
alumni, must be deaf, blind, and have a hang to political

Forget political correctness!  The origin of the name is,
in my opinion, irrelevant.  The name "Bombers" is our
tradition.  It identifies us with the magnificent Bomber
teams and sports legends of the past, like Norris and
C.W. Brown, Ray Stein, Art Dawald, and Fran Rish and many
more.  It is a link to our childhood and teenage

I am proud to be a "Bomber"!

Don't drive a wedge between past and future students of
Columbia (Richland) High School by doing something you
have no right to do.

-Vic Day (65)
>>From: Patti Snider Miller (65)

To Roy Ballard (63):

I will be at the school board meeting on Aug. 14th to be
a supporter of our heritage.  I hope we have a great
turnout.  Wouldn't that be fun to make signs and parade
in front before the meeting, being sure the news people
would know about it ahead of time.  Rich Semler must have
his head in the sand if he thinks since he has been here
(4 years) that he has never heard about any controversies
on the 'Bombers'.  The ones who should be on the carpet,
if anyone, should be the people that gave you the OK.
You followed the rules and people need to know that.

Bomber Cheers, 
-Patti Snider Miller (65)
>>From: Bill Wingfield (67)

To David Rivers (65):  I loved your write-up.  

I sent in the following to the TCH, online on Sun 7/22,
but I'll be surprised if it gets put in.


As a '67 RHS grad, I was shocked by Terry Hudson's news
article (7/19/01) telling us Richland School Supt. Rich
Semler had the 10'-3" bombshell mascot removed by
acetylene torch from the floor between the two RHS gyms.
But then, I remembered this wasn't the first time they
tried to steal our mascot.  I was very proud that a team
of Bomber alumni, led by Roy Ballard (63), had put
together such a beautiful mascot.  Now living in Augusta,
GA, I had to go online to look at pictures of the new
mascot standing proudly in RHS.  It brought back pleasant
memories of my years at RHS games or pep rallies, when
the cheerleaders would bring out a 3' high bombshell to
do their cheers around.  We were very proud of that
mascot.  Many other schools in our conference, being
jealous of our team record, spirit, and pride, would try
to steal our mascot.  If my memory serves me correctly,
never during my years at RHS were our opponents able to
steal our mascot.  At least not for long periods of time.
I do seem to recall they came close many times, but we
were always able to get it back.  It looks like they have
done it again.   They were able to get one of their own
promoted to the position of Richland School Supt., and
then under that disguise, ordered school maintenance
workers to use torches to cut our mascot off its base.
Boy, was that a slap in the face!  Not only did they
steal our mascot, but they damaged it too.  We need to
get it put back in its proper place at RHS.  I urge all
RHS alumni to be at the RHS school board meeting on
August 14th in the Administration Building, 615 Snow
Avenue, beginning at 6:30 pm. to tell them we want our
mascot back.  Bomber pride will prevail.

-Bill Wingfield (67) ~ Proud Bomber Alumnus
                       Augusta, GA
>>From: Debbie Bennett Bayoff (72)

I attended Eastern Washington State College (now EWU)
from '72-'75.  At that time the Eastern team was called
the "Savages".  The logo showed a cartoon Indian with a
tomahawk.  It was meant to show a team that was
aggressive and effective.  It did not indicate that all
of those of native American background were "savage".  It
credited the brave natives of many years ago with a
quality.  At that time many American Indians were

The "Bomber" name comes from history and should not be
changed in my opinion.  Our bomber pride has more to do
with being aggressive and effective.  I suppose there are
those that could point out that we could call them
"Hitler's Youth"  or the "Nazis" which would point out
cruelty, but it depends on your interpretation of the
bomb.  If today's youth see the "Bomber" name as
signifying something negative, maybe it should be changed
for their own sense of pride.

Another thing to point out is that the U.S. does an
incredible job of creating "patriotism".  Many movies
were made glorifying war and "Kate Smith Selling War
Bonds" really had a tendency to back that idea.  It is
propaganda, however it does create unity.  Hopefully,
most Americans have pride in our Constitution and
positive attributes rather than only on our aggression.

In this time of political correctness I believe many
unnecessary battles are being fought.  The bomber name
could really bring up old baggage and shame for some.  If
these "names" that cause so much pain are all changed,
will it really eliminate these feelings?  Maybe more
energy should be directed at exorcising our own personal

If the "Bomber" name causes a lot of unnecessary pain, go
ahead and change it.  I will always be a "Bomber".

Regarding the above, to clarify, I am more concerned with
the problem that could come up (i.e., renaming the
Bombers) than the problem at hand.  My philosophy applies
to both situations.  In other words, leave it up to the

-Debbie Bennett Bayoff (72)
>>From: Corey Boehning (87)

I'm reading all of these entries to the Sandstorm and the
opposition to using the bomb as the official school
mascot, and wondering why the Bomber plane would be more
acceptable.  This was the vehicle used to drop the most
destructive of all military arsenals.  I don't think you
can separate one symbol from the next to make it more
"palatable" or less offensive to a select few.  In the
end result, Richland was populated to be an integral part
in an event that has for 60 years been recognized to save
many lives.  So using an atom, Bomb, Bomber, radioactive
symbol, etc. doesn't really make a difference as to what
it really represents.  For those who want to get rid of
the bomb as the school mascot, concentrate on getting rid
of any symbol related to what this city was founded upon.
But to do so, you'd not only be denying our history, but
also dismissing the individuals who moved here, the
sacrifices they had made for themselves and their
families, the health risks they were subjected to, but
ultimately indicating that their efforts were in vain.
I'm humbled by the recent stories being told in the
Sandstorm by proud Bombers who's family members were
directly involved.

Don't sweep your heritage under the rug!  Accept it and
learn from it.  Look at the lessons being taught to our
future generations as a result of the many discussions
that have taken place over the past few decades when this
same issue arises.  Would you be able to have the same
opportunities for education as the Richland Warriors ...
er ... to be more PC, Tumbleweeds?

-Corey Boehning (87)
That's it for today.  Keep the faith!  Nuke 'em!
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