are items of interest to military reunions including reunions
that have already happened so others can find their own reunion
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state soldiers reunite in Miami Beach
All veterans of any branch, their families and
friends are invited to participate in the fourth annual Sand
in Our Boots WWII Veterans Reunion and Recognition event
slated for December 6-8, 2002 in Miami Beach, Florida. The weekend
will commemorate those stationed in Miami Beach from 1942-1945.
Two groups spent time in Miami Beach during WWII. Nearly 500,000
troops trained in the Army Air Corps Technical Training Command
(AAFTTC ). In addition, troops returning from overseas combat
duty were processed through the Army's Redistribution Station
on Miami Beach. The 2002 reunion will include activities of interest
to anyone interested in WWII or who had parents or grandparents
who served during WWII, not just the vets. Contact Dr. Judith
Berson-Levinson, Edison Hotel South Beach, 960 Ocean Dr, Miami
Beach FL 33139; 305-531-2744; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Surviving "Rats of Tobruk" from Australia
and beyond had a last hurrah in Brisbane, Queensland in April.
More than 300 attended, including partners and a few one-time
enemies. They honored the memory of those who fought in the epic
North African struggle sixty years ago.
1941 Siege of Tobruk entered the annals of military history as
the first time during WWII that Allied troops setback Field Marshal
Erwin Rommel's Axis forces. When they dug in, German radio propagandist
Lord Haw Haw (William Joyce) mocked their resistance, calling
them rats in holes. The term stuck.
a civic reception at Brisbane City Hall, attendees visited the
Wall of Remembrance at Mt. Coot-tha and Enoggera Army Barracks
near Brisbane. They also enjoyed a Brisbane River boat trip, a
reunion dinner at the Carlton Crest Hotel, a parade through the
city to the war memorial, an F1-11 fly-over and a memorial service.
Some of our bravest war heroes reunited to share their
part in history. The Northern Kentucky CVB hosted the Pearl Harbor
Survivors Association (PHSA) reunion. PHSA members were on active
duty on Oahu or within a three-mile limit of the island between
7:55 AM and 10:00 AM, December 7, 1941.
men who survived the attack founded the group and had the first
reunion on December 7, 1958. Along with meetings and memorial
services, the group travels to schools to present their experience
to children and stress the importance of keeping the US strong,
so nothing like this occurs again. The groups motto is "Remember
Pearl Harbor Keep America Alert."
group is down to 9,000 members, most in their eighties. When there
are no survivors remaining, the groups assets will be turned
over to the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors, comprised
of children of veterans stationed at Pearl Harbor.
remembered by TSgt Rick Parker
About 400 survivors of the Stalag XVII-B Prisoner
of War (POW) camp in Krems, Austria, met in Biloxi, Mississippi,
for their 55th annual reunion. These veterans not only served
our country and helped preserve freedoms we all share but experienced
the harshest enemy treatment and endured reprehensible conditions.
The ex-POWs reminisced about times long past when they were young
men teenagers at the beginning of World War II. They exchanged
stories about how and where they were shot down and of treatment
and conditions they experienced while POWs.
cruised on the Natchez riverboat in New Orleans, spent a day playing
golf at Keesler AFB while the ladies had lunch at the Keesler
Club and briefly toured the Heritage Museum on Keesler AFB. The
reunion concluded with a banquet recognizing Stalag XVII-B group
commander, Gary Stein.
at the reunion from Ex-POWs:
William Caruso "We were unfit to live with human beings after
being in POW camps, we were half animal. A Gestapo guy was angry
because he believed Italy and Germany were allies. He says 'you're
an Italian,' I said, 'I'm an American,' he put a gun to my head,
I didn't say anything."
"I got shot down on my 26th mission and we were only supposed
to fly 25. I had flown over St Naziar, France, seven times, but
I was shot down."
is listed in "Ripley's Believe It or Not" for having
fallen the greatest distance and surviving. Sergeant Magee was
flying over St. Naziar, France, when the plane was hit by enemy
fire and rolled over. The corridors in the B-17 weren't big enough
to fit parachutes through. He bailed without wearing a chute and
landed on the glass domes of a railroad station. He suffered 27
fractures on his left arm alone, was wearing only one boot and
his other clothing had been torn off. "When I went through
the roof, all the struts holding the glass in place ripped off,
and that's the way the Germans found me. I don't know what happened.
I was unconscious."
Jack E. Jones
and Ray Ellias were young NCO's who survived on "food"
most people wouldn't touch. The bread was about 75 percent sawdust
and the remainder potatoes. "We survived mainly by eating
worms. The Germans occasionally gave us blood sausage, mostly
pig teeth and hair. Most guys wouldn't eat it, but when the lights
went out at night I did," Jones said. "They marched
us some 290 miles east so they could be liberated by Americans
because the Russians didn't take prisoners. We marched 19 or 20
days and were liberated in the town of Braunau, Austria, on the
River Lech (Hitler's birthplace)."
events mark reunion
The Imperial Palace in Biloxi, Mississippi, hosted an eventful
Stalag XVII-B Prisoner of War Camp reunion.
waited more than 50 years and the Ex-POW now proudly wears his
Purple Heart. Jensen, shot down, captured and held prisoner, had
not received the medal for his service. After years of his family
fighting for recognition, he was presented with the medal at the
also rang. With broad smiles, Roy Livingstone and Dorris Holliday
exchanged vows. But this was not your normal wedding. Livingstone
was held in the Stalag XVII-B Prisoner of War camp; Holliday's
late husband was a prisoner in the same camp. A widower, Livingstone
met Holliday, at a national Ex-POW Reunion. A case of love at
first sight, they knew the perfect place to marry was at the Stalag
XVII-B Reunion on May 4th, the day after the anniversary of the
prisoners of war release in 1945.
In many WWII histories, the fight for Palau among the bloodiest
campaigns on the Pacific front is overlooked. But thousands
of Americans and tens of thousands of Japanese died in fierce
combat on land and over water in three major military operations
in 1944 and 1945. About 100 US planes and one minesweeper were
lost. Many US aircraft were never found; their crews designated
"Killed in Action."
last seven years, Dr. Patrick Scannon has become the Indiana Jones
of military archaeology, searching for missing WWII planes and
crews in the South Pacific. "I'm filling in a page of history,"
says Scannon, "not just for the sake of what happened on
some little coral islands 50-odd years ago but to make sure we
don't forget any of the people who sacrificed their blood and
sometimes their lives."
most dramatic finds was a Corsair that crashed into an almost
vertical cliff. Some reports said the pilot escaped but was mowed
down by enemy fire. Scannon determined that no one could have
survived the crash.
interested in hearing from anyone with information about the air
war in Palau. Write him at PO Box 170208, San Francisco CA 94117.
honored at last
Wearing medals and uniforms from the various armed services, they
exchanged stories about World War I, World War II, the Korean
War, the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm. Some talked about
their college days in various service academies. Ex-test pilots
talked about early flights. Gunner's mates swapped stories about
harrowing moments. One of the individuals remembered the terrible
days during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944. All of the
veterans gathered this day were women.
there to dedicate the Women in Military Service for American Memorial.
Incorporating a part of the cemetery's stone wall, the memorial
features rectangular glass panels upon which are etched quotations
about military experiences. One of the quotations, from World
War II Coast Guard Captain and first director of the women's unit,
Dorothy Stratton, says simply, "We wanted to serve our country
in its time of need. The Coast Guard gave us this opportunity
and we did our job well."
Record, November 1997
To observe the 50th anniversary of the Korean Conflict, the US
Navy Memorial in Washington is encouraging Navy, Coast Guard,
Marines and Merchant Marine personnel, active service or veterans
to enroll in the Navy Log.
The Log has
collected names and service information of 245,000 present and
former naval personnel. Enrollments form a part of America's enduring
naval heritage, a permanent and publicly accessible video register.
It is available for viewing at the Naval Heritage Center next
to the Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue, midway between the White
House and the Capitol or on the Memorial's web site, www.lonesailor.org.
entry contains entrant's name, date and place of birth, dates
and branch of naval service, highest rate or rank attained, up
to five top medals and awards and five duty stations. Log enrollments
help support the Memorial's educational programs, which honor,
preserve and celebrate America's naval heritage.
Memorial Foundation is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization that
receives no government support for building and operating the
Navy Memorial and adjoining Naval Heritage Center.
contact Jann Hoag, Navy Log Dept Y2000, PO Box 96570, Washington
DC 20077-7685; 202-737-2300, ext. 714;
Ralph George, Fountain Hills, Arizona, wrote to Dear Abby about
Veterans in the Classroom which started after a history teacher
called for help teaching her students what war was really like.
She wanted stories that cannot be found in history books. Now
Veterans in the Classroom provides history storytelling.
panel includes one veteran from each branch of service and both
European and Pacific theaters. Before the presentation, students
submit five questions that interest them most. Each veteran covers
the following topics:
- A brief
personal history from enlistment to overseas departure
overseas where, when, major battles, etc.
- A close-call
- A funny-experience
always time for questions and answers. There is also a display
of memorabilia students can view and discuss with vets, one-on-one.
Programs are videotaped, so true stories, told firsthand by vets
who experienced them, can be shown to future generations of students.
Local press and TV are invited.
said, "by sharing stories, you walk into the classroom as
strangers and walk out as heroes."
George, Veterans in the Classroom, 14425 San Carlos Dr, Fountain
Hills AZ 85268.
The Pinetree Line, forty-four radar sites that stretched across
Canada from sea to sea from the early 1950s to the late 1980s
was once occupied by the Armed Forces of Canada and the US.
Many of these
sites, now gone, are located in isolated areas. For thousands
of service people and civilians from both sides of the border,
these sites were home for more than thirty years. To celebrate
the new millennium, American and Canadian servicemen and women
once stationed at these secret installations will gather July
3-5, 2000 in Gimli, Manitoba. Contact Pierre Parent, 11 Eider
Bay, Thompson, Manitoba, Canada, R8N OZ8; 204-677-2153; www.magma.ca/~lwilson/reunion.