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Army Reunions 2


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


Add your reunion picture to our Reunions Picture Gallery!

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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