are items of interest to military reunions including reunions
that have already happened so others can find their own reunion
groups. If you have military reunion news, e-mail
us. If you are listing your reunion, send the reunion name, date
and place and the name, address, phone and contact person's e-mail
30th Tank Destroyer Battalion reunion
Eleven veterans - out of 650 men who served in World War II as part of the 630th Tank Destroyer Battalion gathered in Savannah. Their stories were about experiences at The Battle of the Bulge and their campaign in 1944 which led them through France and into Bastogne, Belgium to battle the Germans.
They fought in five of the six European campaigns and were often recognized as the "fightingest battalion during WWII." They helped take down Hitler's Panzer Corps and clear the way for victory in Europe.
Bess Ramsey, Savannah, Georgia, whose father Major Gabriel McNair was lost in battle, went to France last summer to see her father's grave in the Normandy American Cemetery and was guest speaker at the reunion dinner.
"It is a beautiful and peaceful place, very historic. A lot of school children visit the cemetery each year," she said. "It is a reminder to the French the price we paid for freedom. There are over 600 graves."
Sarah Summers has attended all 30 reunions. Her late husband, Oscar Summers Jr., kept an extensive scrapbook of his experiences including newspaper clippings of member's achievements and obituaries. The scrapbook is a special feature at the reunions.
From the Savannah Morning News, Savannah, Georgia.
Elite World War II fighter group museum exhibit
The 406th Fighter Group, 9th Air Force, flew P-47 Thunderbolts during World War II to provide air support for Gen. George S. Patton's 3rd Army. There were more than 1,100 in its ranks in 1944, but only 20 attended a recent reunion.
The Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona, is the home of the 406th's archives, which curators have been cataloging for 18 months. Materials range from personal military-career documents to personal narratives and military commendations and awards. The theme will be "A Day in the Life of the 406th."
Much of the cost was donated by Maggy Grossetta, wife of the late A.V. Grossetta, the 406th's commanding officer.
From a report by Brian J. Pedersen in the Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, Arizona.
Nostalgic salute to women of WWII
Brenda Schleunes sees them as an unrecognized part of the Greatest Generation, these women who served during World War II.
She aims to change that with her new play, Star-Spangled Girls, commissioned by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). Schleunes, founder of the Touring Theatre Ensemble of North Carolina, used UNCG's Women's Veterans Historical Collection at Jackson Library for source material. "These women were very much an unacknowledged part of the women's movement," Schleunes says.
She read interviews, journals, telegrams and between 2,500 and 3,000 letters by and from women who served during World War II. She narrowed stories to about 35 key tales molded into five composite characters. The framework of the show is a 20-year reunion of the women as they swap stories of their time in uniform. The cast underwent a mini-boot camp with a military adviser who taught them the correct way to do things such as salute and march.
From an article by Leslie Mizell on goTriad.com, Greensboro, North Carolina.
Stalag III-C reunion Former internees at Stalag III-C, Altdrewitz/Kustrin,
traveled to Hershey, Pennsylvania, for their second reunion since
1945. The event opened with an evening reception. The following
day, faculty and students at Hershey High School greeted veterans
with a brief musical program. Eighty advanced placement history
students met in small groups with the ex-POWs and their wives
for discussion and question and answer sessions. A full day in
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, included a morning tour of the Eisenhower
Farm Historical Site and an afternoon tour of the battlefield.
The highlight of the Gettysburg experience was a fireside chat
presented by President Abraham Lincoln. Jim Getty, a Gettysburg
native and Lincoln aficionado.
The final day began with a Service of Remembrance at the
Soldiers and Airmens Chapel at Fort Indianatown Gap Military
Reservation. The group visited the newly dedicated Pennsylvania
Veterans Memorial located in the National Cemetery. The
reunion concluded with a banquet.
from Ex-POW Bulletin
to Fort McCoy Fort McCoy, located between Sparta and Tomah,
Wisconsin, has trained soldiers since 1909. Its a popular
stop for military reunions returning to relive their military
experiences. They offer both step-on guided coach tours as well
as tours of the Commemorative Area, History Center and Equipment
Narrated tours of the installation can be arranged
for groups of 15 or more Monday through Saturday throughout the
year. A tour without stops lasts about one hour and is free. The
Commemorative Area, open only to groups of 15 or more, consists
of five World War II-era buildings set aside to tell Fort McCoys
unique story. These facilities, constructed in 1942, depict life
as it was for soldiers during the 1940s. Administrative and dining
facilities and one barracks represent the WWII era. Other buildings
house informational displays highlighting WWII events, a chapel
display and display of training aids. To make appointments call
The History Center, also open to groups of 15 or more,
displays memorabilia reflecting the installations role throughout
WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Cuban Refugee Resettlement center
operations, Operation Desert Storm and more. Contact the Public
Affairs Office, 608-388-2407; PAO-Admin@emh2.mccoy.army.mil.
The outdoor Equipment Park features historic and present-day
equipment used on the installation, including more than 40 pieces
of equipment from helicopters and howitzers to trucks and trailers.
A park layout guide and information brochure are available onsite.
Ruth West, Community Relations assistant with the Public Affairs
Office, said the reunion groups are her favorites that tour Fort
McCoy. West does all the coordination for the groups and often
serves as a tour guide.
I never tire of hearing their stories,
West said. I learn as much about Fort McCoy back then as
they learn from me about Fort McCoy now.
Contact Public Affairs Office, 100 E. Headquarters Rd, Fort McCoy
Signal Company reunion It all began nearly forty years ago when
Frank De Angelo organized a reunion for the 550th Signal Company.
They were a small, specialized, self-contained company that wasnt
attached to any other Army group. Eight officers and 120 enlisted
men spent a year in Saipan, Marshall Islands, and were able to
supply much needed Signal Corp equipment seven times faster than
The group has met once a year since 1964 and now includes relatives
and friends among their ranks. Les Evory likens it to a family
reunion. Last year Evorys plane left New York City early
on September 11th heading for Atlanta. News broke about the tragedy
and they were forced to land in Augusta, Georgia. Evory rented
a car and drove 200 miles to Charleston, South Carolina.
Although some members werent able to get
flights to attend the reunion, the group made the best of the
situation. There was a boat trip to Fort Sumter and a memorial
service for deceased members. An Army chaplain read names of dead
members and rang a bell after each name as a tribute.
Following up on the 516th
Back in our Spring 1995 issue, we printed an
article about Edward Blinns search for members of his 516th
Signal Company. At that time he was still relatively new to his
search for members, but was having increased success by the day.
In the seven years that have passed, Blinn has
overcome the death of his wife of 42 years, has remarried and
has found many more of the 516th group. It is now known that more
than 975 men passed through the 516th from 1948 through 50, and
772 have been located (495 contacted and a memorial list of 277).
Blinn has had success with Lycos and Ancestors.com, but there
are still 203 persons to be located. If you were part of the 516th
or know someone who was, contact Edward J. Blinn, 526 Krikby Rd,
Elmont NY 11003; 516-358-7852; fax 516-358-6094; firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Fort Fisher State Historical Site, Cape Fear, North Carolina,
will serve as a backdrop for the 54th Coastal Artillery World
War II reunion, September 24-26, 1999. Fort Fisher's history is
a colorful one. Active during the Civil War, it later served as
a World War II US Army training center.
troops to arrive were from the 54th Coastal Artillery, the Army's
only all Black 155mm unit. In the summer of 1943, four German
Marines were captured on the beach at Fort Fisher. Following the
war, the fort was used as a rocket launching test site. Contact
The Torchlight Ceremony March 27, 2001, is an annual event co-hosted
by LTC Armstrong (current1-46 INF BN CDR) and Col. Richard Carvell,
who was one of the Battalion Commanders of the 1-46 INF in Vietnam
and today serves as the Honorary Colonel of the Regiment. The
46th Infantry Regiment served in WWII with the 5th Armored Division
(Victory Division) in Combat Command A, as the 46th Armored Infantry.
The 46th Infantry also served in Vietnam as a unit in the American
Division, the 196th LIB, and the 198th LIB. Today it still serves
at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
Ceremony honors all veterans of the 46th Infantry from WWII through
Vietnam up to today and celebrates the rich history of the unit,
sacrifices of its soldiers and linkage with today's soldiers.
It is a major Fort Knox event with hundreds of members attending
and held the same time as the annual Vietnam Fire base MaryAnn
reunion. There will also be a dedication of a major training facility
(an outdoor obstacle course), named after a legendary 46th Infantry
Regiment soldier, Captain Kern Dunagan who was awarded the Medal
of Honor in Vietnam with Company A/1-46 Infantry. The facility
will be named the Dunagan Teamwork Development Course.
1-46 INF, 1ATB, ATSB-BAD (Torchlight), Bldg. 6540, Eisenhower
Ave, Fort Knox KY 40121; 502-624-2719; email@example.com.
The Far Eastern theater, 12,000 miles from the US and last on
the list for supplies, reinforcements or mail, was called the
"forgotten war." But those who served never forgot.
After the war, a group of Milwaukee China, Burma, India vets started
a local social club. The Milwaukee Basha, named after the bamboo
and thatch huts where CBI vets lived overseas, became the China-Burma-India
Veterans Association in 1948, gathering a national crowd of 325
including three generals and the governor of Nebraska. Fittingly,
over 1,000 members returned to Milwaukee for the 50th anniversary
of the first reunion. For a few, it was their first reunion, but
many attend regularly, keeping treasured friendships alive and
strong. Lester Dencker, 83, the association's first national commander,
remarked "They all come to their first reunion hoping to
find their buddies, but they come back because they've made new
of the gathering is the Puja Parade, some of the participants
sport the uniforms of their youth, others don garb characterizing
the far-east countries where they served.
Service numbers reveal the general locale an individual entered
service. Knowing this, Paul Repsher of the 919th Engineer Aviation
Maintenance Co. contacted the National Personnel Records Center
(NPRC) in St. Louis and asked how to review morning reports and
rosters for his old unit. The NPRC is a warehouse for such data
but permission from the Army Freedom of Information and Privacy
Acts Office in Arlington, Virginia, was required. Repsher received
approval in two weeks; spent two days researching in St. Louis
and collected a list of 700 names and service numbers to help
narrow the search for his buddies.
phoning likely matches at some expense. Finally his wife
suggested a computer and phone lists. Those with unusual first
or last names were relatively easy to locate through Parsons Directory
USA, Select Phone by Pro CD, Inc. and PhoneDisc USA by Digital
a post card invitation to a reunion to each person from the phone
lists. Approximately 20% were the wrong person, the post office
returned another 10% for insufficient address (apartment and route
box numbers aren't on phone lists).
reward comes when friends meet again after a 40-45 year separation.
NPRU, Attn: ORU/Barbara Herrod, 9700 Page Ave, St. Louis MO 63132;
314-538-4028. Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Office, Crystal
Square #2, Ste 201, 1725 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Arlington VA 22202
vets demand justice
On Flag Day, June 14, 1997, thousands of Filipino veterans and
supporters protested in Los Angeles for equity and social services
which they've been denied since the 1940s. Filipino vets ranging
from 70 to 90 years old chained themselves to a statue of Douglas
MacArthur. For them this is all or nothing.
War II, Filipino soldiers fought under MacArthur, beside Americans,
believing they were fighting for freedom and equality. Now many
are fighting to pass House Bill 836, the Filipino Veterans Equity
Act, sponsored by Democrat, Bob Filner, of San Francisco and Republican,
Benjamin Gilman, of New York.
by Cesar A. Cruz
Rock climbing and skiing may be hip and trendy now but 50 years
ago they were basic survival skills for the 10th Mountain Division's
14,000 elite soldiers. The 10th learned to ski and climb mountains
with 100-pound packs on their backs in the most frigid conditions.
Only a few hundred members still ski regularly but once a winter
those who live in the Midwest reunite at Indianhead Mountain on
Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Still wildly enthusiastic about skiing,
they waste no time heading for the slopes.
my Motrin and I hit the hills," said Vern Cartner, 72, of
Ironwood, Michigan. Cartner spent six months in hospital during
the war with leg wounds, but it didn't show when he snapped his
boots into their bindings and schussed down the hill.
to the 10th were prized. Some of the world's best skiers joined,
including Olympic champions. They trained far longer than the
average GI. According to Russell Berg, 73, Wausau, Wisconsin,
some service branches viewed the 10th as lightweights who were
having fun skiing in Colorado while the rest of the soldiers were
fighting a war.
But their lengthy training prepared them for ferocious mountain
attacks that turned the tide in Italy. By the end of the war,
nearly 1,000 members of the 10th were dead and another 4,000 wounded.
war, members of the 10th helped established nearly 60 ski resorts
throughout the US transforming downhill skiing from an obscure
sport for the privileged to a winter thrill for the masses.
from The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
Soldiers are a unique part of US history
The Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry received the "Buffalo Soldiers"
tag during the 1871 campaign against the Comanches in Indian Territory.
Benjamin H. Grierson, Colonel, 10th Cavalry, 1867 to 1890, said
the Comanches respected the soldiers tireless marching and dogged
trail skills. Thus they earned the name of the rugged and revered
the 19th and 20th centuries, the Buffalo Soldiers were a part
of the American military forces when and where they were needed
most. Buffalo Soldiers responded to every call made of them from
Teddy Roosevelt's campaigns with the Rough Riders to World War
of Afro-American history and Black military history question why
these soldiers were fighting for a country that denied them opportunity
and equality. Some say there was a "freedom" for these
many stories of these brave soldiers who risked their lives for
a country who oppressed their race. They are a part of the great
military tradition in the US and distinct part of African American
accomplishment in the US.
National Archives and Records Administration
Soldier lives on
Now 77, Tom Hendricks, one of the few surviving Buffalo Soldiers
inspires children with the legacy of the US Army's black cavalry.
As a teenager in the 1930s, Hendricks lied about his age to enlist
in the all-black horse riding unit like his grandfather. He never
lost his cavalry spirit though his active service consisted of
driving tanks with General George Patton across North Africa and
Europe in World War II.
Soldiers units in the Army were formed soon after the Civil War.
Hendrick's grandfather, James Hendricks, was a Buffalo Soldier
in the 1880s and 90s riding the plains from New Mexico to the
Canadian border. Hendricks cherishes his grandfather's discharge
papers from 1892. He honors Buffalo Soldiers by publicizing the
hardships they endured, including considerable discrimination
in spite of their valiant and valued service.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Soldiers will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Spanish American
War in 1998 in Baltimore. Contact Booker T. Brooks, 1701 Bunker
Hill Rd, NE, Washington DC 20017-3026.
place in history?
US Army Military History Institute's collection is one of our
nation's finest sources of primary research material on World
War II. It is the official central repository for research materials
in military history from the Spanish American War, World War I,
World War II and Korea. Materials are made available to visiting
scholars, researchers and scholars.
its collection, the Institute is collecting primary source materials
from veterans of combat and its supporting roles and their families.
To participate, request survey forms. Each veteran will receive
a questionnaire, franked mailing labels and flyers describing
the Institute's projects. Veterans are asked to record their recollections,
which are filed under the veteran's name and unit in an electronic
database and processed. Questions pertain to a wide spectrum of
veterans' experiences in and out of combat and ask respondents
to reflect on their service and contributions.
accepts memoirs, diaries, correspondence (including V-mail), camp
and unit newspapers, regulations and manuals, unit histories,
professional military journals, maps, photographs, soldier art,
motion pictures, slides and transparencies, sound recordings,
unit insignia, and shoulder patches. They are NOT interested in
three-dimensional objects; uniforms, equipment, artifacts.
Anyone wishing to donate historical materials can contact me directly at 717-245-3094 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions concerning this change, please contact me.
Army Maneuvers remembered
The Wilson County Bicentennial Military Heritage Day will be September
11, 1999 in Lebanon, Tennessee. The day includes displays, an
Army Band concert, battle reenactment, dinner for maneuver guests
and a big band dance. The focus is on everyone who participated
in the 2nd Army Maneuvers during WWII the largest maneuvers ever
held. Over 850,000 troops participated in the dress rehearsal
for D-Day and other battles. The 2nd Army Maneuvers is headquartered
in Lebanon at Cumberland University. Contact Lt. Col. Jim D. Henderson
(USAF ret), 615-443-2809, fax 615-443-2844 or e-mail: JHende6561@aol.com
John Martz and Roland Bragg were members of Headquarters Company
2nd Battalion, 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 17th Airborne
Division which fought in Europe during World War II.
combat buddies, after the war they returned home and didn't see
each other again. Until a few months ago, when they had an opportunity
to relive a special incident that bonded them for life.
ago, during the Battle of the Bulge, Bragg drove a stolen German
ambulance twenty miles to get the wounded Martz to an Allied hospital
in Belgium. The story of Bragg's heroic drive is recounted in
The Bitter Woods, a book written by John Eisenhower, son
of former president General Dwight David Eisenhower. "I'm
forever grateful to Roland Bragg for saving my life," said
Martz, now 74 and living in Oceanside, California.
by Joe Quade
with a purpose
The Dallas Grand Hotel is the long-time headquarters for reunions
of the Son Tay Raider Association and the Southwest Chapter of
the Special Forces Association. The reunions are sponsored by
the Siegel Beverage Company of Dallas and Miller Brewing of Fort
Worth who finance newsletters, association incidentals, "man
of the year" awards, a casino party and beverages for all
Kay Petrie, 10-year veterans of organizing reunions, have developed
some larger purposes than camaraderie and celebration. The Special
Forces Association supports Montagnard families in the Dallas
area. The Montagnards were hill tribesman who fought along side
Special Forces but were not part of the South Vietnamese Army.
About 25 families settled in Grand Prairie, Texas, and, according
to Petrie, are doing very well. Special Forces also provides scholarships
for the Montagnard children.