Category Archives: Uncategorized

May 2017 Roundtable Meeting


“A Lad in Nazi Germany”

Part 1: Surviving the Allied Bombings

Thursday, May 11, 2017, at 6:30 p.m.

Highlands Museum & Discovery Center


Klaus Staerker was born in 1936, three years after Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of the Nazi Party, had come into power. Klaus and his family lived in Duisburg, Germany, a major logistical center in the Ruhr Valley – location of chemical and steel industries – that proved to be a critical target for Allied bombing during WWII. He and his family endured countless attacks, but were fortunate enough to survive. Klaus migrated to the United States in 1957 and two months later enlisted into the U.S. Army. He became a U.S. Citizen in 1960 and came to Ashland in 1970 to began a 22-year career at Armco Steel. Even today, 75 years later, Klaus is momentarily startled when flocks of birds pass overhead, as visions of American B-17 bombers have been permanently etched into his memory. His presentation will be in two parts – May 2017: “Surviving the Allied Bombing” and following in June 2017:  “Surviving the War’s Aftermath”

April 2017 Roundtable Meeting

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“The Doolittle Raid”

Bringing the War to Japan

Thursday, April 13, 2017, at 6:30 p.m.

Highlands Museum & Discovery Center

Aviation historian Bill Martin will lead us in a 75th Anniversary commemoration of one of the most daring missions of World War II – The Doolittle Raid. Of the eighty brave volunteers who took part in this highly secretive action, only one member remains today. In 1995, Bill had the privilege of personally meeting twenty-six of the survivors.

The raid took place on April 18, 1942, and was the first offensive action taken against the Empire of Japan following its attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7. 1941. It was a joint operation of the U.S. Army Air Forces and the U.S. Navy. Sixteen Army B-25 bombers, destined for Tokyo, were launched from the Navy aircraft carrier USS Hornet.

Sixteen crews under the direction of Army Air Corps Lt. Col. James Doolittle, a former racing pilot, carried out the brazen daylight attack. The unexpected bombing of its cities resulted in Japan’s having to reallocate forces to defend its homeland. Learn how the mission came about, how it was put together, and how it was successfully carried out.

March 2017 Roundtable Meeting

Join us Thursday March 9th, 2017 6:30 PM at the Highlands Museum & Discovery Center,1620 Winchester Ave, Ashland, KY.  Our meeting will include USMC Engineer and 2003 Iraq War Veteran Greg Elliott.  The public is invited to attend.

Ashland Resident to Reflect on WWII Experience Aboard Locomotives at March Roundtable

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Military History Roundtable Postponed

Due to road and sidewalk conditions in the Downtown Ashland area, the Military History Roundtable scheduled for TONIGHT (Tuesday, Feb. 16th) is postponed until NEXT TUESDAY (Feb. 23rd). Stay warm and safe out there!

December Roundtable to Feature Presentation on “Experimental Flight for the Ages & the SR-71”

6:00 PM

Presented By: Lt. Col. Ed Schneider
Edward T. Schneider was a research test pilot at NASA’s Dryden (now Armstrong) Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA, from 1983 to 2000.

During his 18-year career at Dryden, Schneider was best known for his work as project pilot for the F-18 High Alpha Research Vehicle (HARV) over a nine-year span, becoming the first pilot in history to conduct multi-axis thrust vectored flight.

Schneider also served as project pilot for the F-18 Systems Research Aircraft, the F-8 Digital Fly-By-Wire research program, the Boeing 720 Controlled Impact Demonstration, the F-14 Automatic Rudder Interconnect and Laminar Flow research programs, the F-104 Aeronautical Research and Microgravity programs, the F-15 ACTIVE, the SR-71 High Speed research project, the NASA B-52B launch aircraft, and the F-15B aeronautical testbed aircraft.

Schneider took on additional management functions during the latter part of his tenure at Dryden. From July 1998 through March 2000, Schneider served as the acting chief of the Flight Crew Branch in the Flight Operations Directorate, heading a team of 13 research pilots. He then served as deputy director of Flight Operations at NASA Dryden from March through September 2000. In this position, Schneider helped to manage the Avionics, Operations Engineering, Flight Crew, Quality Inspection, Aircraft Maintenance and Modification, and the Shuttle and Flight Operations Support branches.

Schneider transferred from Dryden to NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston, in September 2000 where he was a staff pilot and T-38 instructor pilot. When he left Dryden, he had accumulated more than 6,700 flight hours in 84 different models of aircraft and had flown “first flights” on five unique aircraft configurations. Schneider retired from NASA in 2004.

Prior to joining NASA, Schneider served on active duty with the U.S. Navy from 1968 to 1983. Following squadron service, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, Patuxent River, MD, in 1973, as the youngest graduate in the school’s history. He then served as an engineering test pilot and test pilot school instructor at the Naval Air Test Center. He also served as the F-4 program manager, and senior test pilot at the Naval Aviation Depot, North Island, CA.

Schneider received his bachelor’s degree from Thomas More College, Crestview Hills, KY. He is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval War College Command and Staff course and earned a master’s degree from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, in 1978.

An active member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots since 1974, Schneider became Fellow of the Society in 1993 and served as its president in 1993-94. He also served as a director of the Warbirds of America. In 1996 he received the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Chanute Flight Award for the conduct of hazardous F-18 high-angle-of-attack flight testing. In 1998 he was inducted into the James B. Taylor Jr. Memorial Room and Carrier Aviation Test Pilot Hall of Honor on board the USS Yorktown (CV-10). Schneider was honored with the NASA Distinguished Service Medal in 2004, and was inducted into the Aerospace Walk of Honor in Lancaster, CA, in September 2005.

For More Information, please call Matt Potter at

V-J Day Reception to be August 15th at Highlands Museum

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2015 Walking Tour Proves Successful

Early crowds were abundant for the first few hours of this year’s annual Downtown Ashland Historic Walking Tour. Sudden storms damaged roughly half of the otherwise weatherproof enlargements of vintage photos taken during the 1940s. File photo by Mike James, The Independent

Early crowds were abundant for the first few hours of this year’s annual Downtown Ashland Historic Walking Tour. Sudden storms damaged roughly half of the otherwise weatherproof enlargements of vintage photos taken during the 1940s.
File photo by Mike James, The Independent


ASHLAND Until the moment the winds and rain hit downtown Ashland Saturday, it looked as if the second annual Downtown Ashland Historic Walking Tour would break every first-year record. At the end of the day, however, organizers were left with unclaimed tickets, a big batch of ruined photo enlargements and plenty to consider for next year’s event.

Eastern Kentucky Military Historical Society President Matt Potter said there is a silver lining to Saturday’s storm story, although he still shakes his head when he talks about the way the big photos, printed on an extra-tough form of plastic, peeled away in sections after enduring the morning’s hot sun followed by the wind and rain.

“It pulled down half the signs, actually ruined half of them, and it ruined ticket sales,” Potter said, noting one of the main goals of this year’s walking tour was “Get the pictures right,” and properly mounted for participant viewing.

“The first three hours were sold out,” Potter said, adding several afternoon tours after the storm were also at or near capacity. The day’s total was likely near 225, he said, which is significantly less than organizers expected if the weather had remained nice. Last year’s tour was geared for about 100 participants, and organizers scrambled to accommodate more than four times that amount.

“There were a couple of positive aspects to it. We had record crowds that morning and an influx of high-quality guides including keynote local historians,” he said, explaining several faculty members from ACTC were involved. During the morning briefing, Potter said he surveyed the room and was slightly stunned to realize “there was probably a century’s worth of experience dealing with local history and just a tremendous amount of local knowledge” in the room.

Improvements to this year’s tour, based almost entirely upon suggestions and comments from people who participated in last year’s tour, included a phone-app guide, better transportation for people who might have trouble walking, and portable P.A. speakers for the tour guides. Among the unexpected aspects of the day, Potter said people seemed to genuinely appreciate the T-shirts worn by the guides bearing a “vectored image” of the old Ventura Hotel, which was once near the corner of Winchester Ave. and 13th Street, and a surprising number of those people decided to buy their own copy of the shirt.

Churches along the way were an especially appreciated part of the program, Potter said.

“That was very well received – taking time to go into the churches and hearing the history of the churches,” he said, explaining the official tour included stops at a historic Episcopal, as well as a Methodist, church. Some of the people who took the tour had never been inside a church other than their own, he said, and were fascinated by the historic touches, such as a hand-carved altar brought over from Germany more than a century ago, or the story of a Chinese family whose son became the first Chinese-American to die during World War II.

“They were amazed. They were astonished,” he said of their reactions, adding the stories told “just prove the rich cultural diversity of our area” and often disprove accepted stereotypes about local people and history.

“There is no doubt this tour is filling a void in our community,” he said, noting tour participants often included multi-generational families, including one group with five generations walking together along Winchester Avenue, allowing important aspects of the city’s past to be passed along to another generation.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at or (606) 326-2651.

June Roundtable to be the 9th at 6 PM

June 9, 2015
6:00 PM
Main Floor – Highlands Museum


wwii end

Presented By: Mr. Dan Bailey

Drawing off of his knowledge coupled with his recent trip retracing his father’s footsteps during World War II, Mr. Bailey will give a presentation reflecting upon the decisive battles and events that led to the end of WWII in both the European Theater as well as the Pacific Theater.

For more Information Call Matt Potter at (606) 547-2607.

Tickets on sale, plans firming for WWII tour in Ashland

Nearly 400 attended the 2014 Downtown Walking Tour and learned about the history of Ashland.

Nearly 400 attended the 2014 Downtown Walking Tour and learned about the history of Ashland.

ASHLAND, Ky. Members of the Eastern Kentucky Military Historic Society met Monday to prepare downtown Ashland to go back in time.

The organization along with churches and business plotted out the routes and took a mini tour of what will be expected in the Highlands Museum & Discovery Center’s second World War II walking tour.

The tour is June 13 and tickets are on sale now.

“We have already exceeded the amount of tickets we sold this time last year,” said society president Matt Potter.

This year’s tour promises to be bigger and better with more businesses and churches involved, Potter said. Participants will be able to tour many churches along the route and get to see what they looked like during the WWII era.

“The churches will have photographs set up inside and some even having veterans to answer questions,” said Potter.

Businesses will also be participating in the tour with literature and information about their buildings. The Highlands museum will be open as will Steen’s Military Museum in the former post office building, giving participants a closer look at machinery and weapons used in the war.

“There will also be more than 30 pictures hung up along Winchester of the area during the WWII era,”  he said.

Tours will start at the Highlands Museum at 10 a.m. on the tour date and the last group will leave the museum at 3:30 p.m. The route spans most of the length of downtown Winchester Ave and will include buildings with restrooms and drinking water.

Plans are still in the works to get golf carts or wheelchairs for those who can not walk the route.

“ A lot of people really enjoyed it last year,” said Potter.

Tickets are on sale and may be purchased up to the day of the tour for $10. Children under 12 are free. Tours will be divided into 12 groups with 25 people in each. Following the tours, participants will get the chance to be serenated by the CK Alumni Band.

The 50-piece band will perform on Winchester Avenue between 16th and 17th streets.

Contact the Highlands Museum, 329-8888, for information and tickets.