CHRISTMAS: During a lull in Holland, the Communication Section of the
508th Regimental Headquarters Company had limited duties. Communication
Specialists STEVE SCHMELICK wired our foxholes with radio connections and
earphones to Axis SALLY, who played "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas."
Then she invited us to come over to the German side, predicting that it
might get us home for Christmas.
Christmas Day 1944 in the
Belgian Ardennes, was not a holiday celebration for the 508th, but the new
fallen snow covering the evergreen forest made many paratroopers exclaim,
"If you dreamed of a white Christmas, we have it today!"
JOE BRESSLER of Headquarter 1st
remembered that "White Christmas." JOE said that MEL BEETS and OSCAR
PRASSE, in a Christmas mood, appropriated some Belgian booze to enliven
their spirits. In a little while the men on their mortar crew were singing
"Jingle Bells: and "Silent Night."
Lt GEORGE STOECKERT, platoon
commander, came to inspect their position. The Lieutenant ordered them to
put aside their merriment and get combat-ready. In listening to STOECKERT,
BRESSLER and BEETS at 508th reunions, I think I have heard STOECKERT say
that he wondered how he survived the war with guys like BRESSLER, PRASSE
and BEETS in his platoon. And I think I have heard BRESSLER respond that
STOECKERT survived because of three afore mentioned saved his a--. I know
I have observed STOECKERT, BEETS and BRESSLER laughing while exchanging
friendly insults and I have a picture of the three with arms around each
other. Hey - we 508ers are family!
Reunion, October 16-19, of 508th HQ
1st & Family and Friends of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR)
Association: TROY PALMER, son of LARRY and LAURA PALMER, hosted the
reunion. TROY learned from his parents who had hosted several HQ 1st mini-
reunions. All appreciated the well-planned program. TROY never seemed
frustrated and always had a happy smile and merry laugh. Forty-one people
attended the reunion: Eleven were WWII Veterans. Thirty were family and
WELCOME MEMORIAL BREAKFAST: ROCK
MERRITT led the Memortal Ceremony. To light the candles, ROCK called on
PAMELA MURRAY, daughter of Lt ROY W. MURRAY, who was killed 7 June 1944 on
a volunteer mission to carry blood plasma to Colonel SHANLEY's group on
Hill 30. ROCK was with the same group as Lt MURRAY and gave a stirring
account of the events around Lt. MURRAY's death. PAMELA MURRAY lighting
the candles was a living object lesson reminding us that the candles
represented real people killed and their deaths were a tremendous loss to
LELAND BURNS, guest speaker for the
Memorial Breakfast, gave a heart-rending account of the last days of his
father DWAYNE BURNS. LELAND reminded us that months earlier he and his dad
had planned to be present at the reunion to introduce the book JUMP INTO
THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW that he and his dad co-authored. Unfortunately,
DWAYNE died August 8, two months be-fore the reunion. One of DWAYNE's
final acts was to nod approval from his hospital bed for the book cover.
ASSOCIATION BUSINESS MEETING:
Association President and Webmaster RICHARD O'DONNELL chaired the meeting.
O'DONNELL presented the Articles of Organization and By-Laws. He explained
that free legal work was arranged by JOAN SHANLEY, daughter of Veteran
IRVIN SHANLEY, for these documents to be written and filed in the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, when approved by the Association. Both the
Organization document and the By-Laws were approved.
Association is named "Family and Friends of the 508 Parachute Infantry
Regiment (PIR) Association, Inc." The Articles of Organization lists the
following Officers and Directors: RICHARD J. O'DONNELL as both President
and Treasurer, JOAN F. SHANLEY as Clerk: Directors are RICHARD J.
O'DONNELL, TROY L. PALMER and JAN SILVER. O'DONNELL plead for help:
Besides being President, Treasurer and Director, he is our Webmaster and
Editor of the Newsletter. In response, ELLEN PETERS, a Certified Public
Accountant, volunteered and was approved by the Association as Treasurer.
LELAND BURNS volunteered and was approved as Editor of the Newsletter.
Command Sergeant Major (CSM)
ROGER HOWARD, CSM of the current 508th outlined the organizational
structure of the 4th Brigade and the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment
atthe Reunion Banquet He explained that the Brigade is presently being
reorganized and equipped into a modern combatteam. HOWARD described the
paratroopers as passionate, ready to fight and win. They are scheduled to
be deployed to Afghanistan in Mid January- early February 2007.
JlM SMITH: JIM sent a clipping
about two 508th Medics whose alert actions saved a shooting victim at a
Fayetteville mall. JIM reported on his own health: He had a Carotid Artery
operation and a pacemaker inserted for his heart. He is much better now.
JIM SMITH also wrote that JIM ALLARDYCE has been placed in a nursing home
after 9 weeks of hospitalization.
ZIG BOROUGHS, Interim 508th STATIC LINE Columnist
P.O. Box 1131
Pickens. SC 29671
PH: (864) 878-9523