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These 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 address.

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 Airmen’s 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




Return to Fort McCoy
  Fort McCoy, located between Sparta and Tomah, Wisconsin, has trained soldiers since 1909. It’s 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 Park.
  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 McCoy’s 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 608-388-2407; PAO-Admin@emh2.mccoy.army.mil.
  The History Center, also open to groups of 15 or more, displays memorabilia reflecting the installation’s 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 WI 54656-5263.


550th 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 wasn’t 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 before.
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 Evory’s 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 weren’t 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 Blinn’s 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; blinentr@spec.net.


Cape Fear Fort reunion
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.

The first 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 910-458-5538.


Torchlight 2001
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.
The Torchlight 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.
Contact: 1-46 INF, 1ATB, ATSB-BAD (Torchlight), Bldg. 6540, Eisenhower Ave, Fort Knox KY 40121; 502-624-2719; mcgurkm@ftknox6-emh3.army.mil.


China-Burma-India
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 friends."

A highlight 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.


Round-up
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.

Repsher began 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 Directory Service.

Repsher mailed 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).

The real reward comes when friends meet again after a 40-45 year separation.



Searching resources
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


Filipino 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.

During World 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.

e-mailed by Cesar A. Cruz


 

Excelsior!
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.

"I take 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.

Assignments 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.

After the 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.

summarized from The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel


Buffalo 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 buffalo.

Throughout 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 II.

Scholars 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 soldiers.

There are 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.

from The National Archives and Records Administration


Buffalo 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.

The Buffalo 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.

from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Buffalo 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.


 

Is your 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.

To advance 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.
The institute 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 greg.statler@carlisle.army.mil. If you have any questions concerning this change, please contact me.


WWII 2nd 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

One-on-one reunion
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.

Like many 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.

Fifty years 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.

submitted by Joe Quade


Reunions 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 their functions.

George and 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.

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