OUR MISSION, TO TARGET
FILMMAKER (A.K.A. LEAD SHIP)
Producer / Director
John L Sullivan
Bombardier / Navigator
The idea for Return To Hardwick was brought up at a 93rd Bomb Group reunion. Reunions for this legendary WWII group are still held annually by the efforts of remaining veterans and their families. The veterans were in favor of making a documentary that recounted the 93rd's efforts during the war using archival films and photos kept in personal archives. Filmmaker Michael Sellers attended reunions for years with his grandfather, John L Sullivan. He thought it would be interesting to combine the 93rd's history with an upcoming trip planned by next generation members to the 93rd's air base - Hardwick.
Click to see Michael's resume
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER (A.K.A. CO-PILOT)
As a little kid growing up in the country, Jean was her Dad’s shadow. After flying 35 missions as a nose gunner and armorer, Staff Sgt. Henry Nykamp came home and did what so many others did. He got a job, started a family and gave back to his community. Jean was lucky to learn about her Dad’s service as she grew up. After attending the 93rd BGA reunions, she felt a need to participate in making sure the mission of the organization was fulfilled. Educating people about the sacrifices made during the War and protecting the legacy of her father and the men and women of that time is key.
Tail Gunner/ Armorer
93RD VICE PRESIDENT - (A.K.A. FLIGHT ENGINEER)
My Uncle Bob was killed in a take-off crash at Hardwick. In the early 90’s, I made my first visit to the American Military Cemetery near Cambridge where Bob is buried and to Hardwick where he died. We didn't have very much information about his time in England, and I wanted to know more. My first several visits were opportunities to meet the wonderful people who live near Hardwick and care tremendously about all the Americans who lost their lives in their behalf. First LT Robert Marx was honored by his family with a memorial cross at Hardwick on the 50th Anniversary of the crash and his story, told in the film, provides a lasting memorial.
Vice President, 93rd Bomb Group
Robert W. Marx
Pilot / KIA 12.19.44
93RD PRESIDENT (A.K.A. GROUND CONTROL)
President, 93rd Bomb Group
Kenneth W. Root, Jr.
Ranking Engineering Officer
My father, Major Kenneth W. Root, Jr. was the ranking Engineering Officer, in charge of the ground crews and equipment at Hardwick. He was there the entire 1,017 days, fortunately surviving the war, and settling in upstate New York on a dairy farm post war. Like many veterans of World War II he did not talk about his experiences at Hardwick, yet this film brings to life what war AND life was like during that time. What better way to support this purpose than the production of an outstanding documentary film about the lives and memories of their life at Hardwick Aerodrome 104 in England!
OUR PLAN OF ATTACK
The 93rd Bombardment Group was a United States strategic bomb group during WWII stationed in the East Anglia section of England. Veterans, family members and friends meet annually at group reunions in the U.S. to focus on projects educating future generations. They approved the production of a documentary that profiles the group's history, legacy and specifically the airbase they flew in and out of during the war.
Taking advantage of a rare group reunion to England, the documentary will tell the story of the men and women that worked on the base. The film will implement CGI effects to render present to past imagery and give the viewer a chance to step back in time. Most of the base is farmland now but "feet-on-the-ground" exploration by a 93rd Bomb Group historian and a local guide will help the viewer discover what happened at this deserted airbase some 70 plus years ago.
In 2015 the 93rd Bomb Group organized a trip to England. For three days filmmaker Michael Sellers followed the American visitors touring the city of Norwich and participating in Memorial Day ceremonies at the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial. The 93rd Bomb Group's airbase during the war, Hardwick Aerodrome 104, is a central focus of the documentary. Production concentrated another four days exploring Hardwick with 93rd historian Don Morrison and local guide Colin Mann.
After the trip, a year was spent traveling the United States interviewing veterans, family members and experts. These interviews are the backbone of the documentary and push forward three main characters central to the Return to Hardwick story.
Post-production officially started in the Fall of 2015. The structure of the documentary was not clearly set but an idea did develop with the prologue of the film. A 93rd veteran named Ed Reilly wrote an article for the group's newsletter about a "return" to Hardwick airfield in 1975 - thirty years after the war. In great detail, Ed gives his account of what it was like to be on the base and flying as a radio operator in a B-24 bomber. A voice actor was hired to read Ed's article and a 7 minute sequence was edited and screened at the 2015 93rd Bomb Group reunion in Omaha, Nebraska. With that screening, veterans and family members became excited and increased their donations to fund the editing for the Return to Hardwick project.
With the donation of time and equipment, Producer/Director Michael Sellers edited throughout 2016, 2017 and 2018 on a part-time basis. Eventually, the film was structured to follow three main characters. We discover their family connections to Hardwick airfield during the war. In addition to the central characters, three main sections tell the history of the 93rd Bomb Group which is narrated by actor Michael Cudlitz (Band of Brothers).