30th Reunion and Retirement of the 508 PIR Association
The 508th PIR Association is now history, this after the 508 colors were retired at Camp Blanding, Florida, near midday October 19, 2004.
Where do we go from here? How do we ensure the spirit of the 508 Red Devils will continue to live?
Those are no easy questions to answer, but I have faith friends of the 508 will do everything they can to keep the spirit alive and well. During the 30th Annual Reunion of the 508 PIR Association, there was a wonderful coming together of people my generation and younger who expressed enthusiasm for carrying on while the World War II generation of 508ers begin to take life a little easier. Information will be reported in this column space and on the 508’s official website as it becomes available regarding endeavors by the 508 “Next Generation.”
Speaking of taking things easy, Ernie Lamson, who coordinated nearly the entire reunion in Gainesville, is due to have a bit of a rest. As all of you who attended the reunion are well aware, Ernie did an absolutely unbelievable job organizing the final reunion. There are no words with which we can adequately express our thanks to him and his wife, Charlene, for their tireless dedication to the job they both consider a labor of love. Thank you, Ernie and Charlene, for giving us the opportunity to gather together as the 508 family.
I’ve spent more than the usual time mulling the potential contents of this column, and it finally has dawned on me why -- there is so much I want to capture in words to describe the reunion in Gainesville, and I find it next to impossible to do so.
In addition to the work done by Ernie, Major Greg Parsons, curator and director of the Camp Blanding Museum deserves our accolades for organizing a fitting and dignified retirement ceremony. As many of you know, Major Parsons has attended quite a few of the 508 reunions in the past decade, and he is devoted to preserving the history of the 508 PIR, and he was Master of Ceremony for the retirement ceremony at Camp Blanding.
Thank you, Major Parsons, for your enthusiastic support of the 508 PIR Association.
Many people attending the reunion in Gainesville had the opportunity to meet Brenda Brayton, whose father served in the 504th PIR during World War II.
Brenda works with the State of Georgia to promote films about her state, and prior to attending the 508’s reunion in Florida, she became inspired to create a video history of the regiment. Brenda hired a professional film and sound crew, took them to Gainesville with her, and spent the better part of two days interviewing various 508 veterans. It is her hope to have a documentary produced about the 508 PIR in the near future. Be sure to read this column for further information regarding Brenda’s project.
(There will be much more news from the reunion in Gainesville in the following issues of Nation’s News.)
Zig Boroughs’ Latest Book About the 508
“The 508th Connection,” the latest book by Zig Boroughs, is now available, and it is Zigs’ finest work yet. The book is over 500 pages in length (just a few more than 508 pages, that is), and it is a must-have for those interested in the history of the 508 PIR. Those interested in purchasing “508th Connections” can do so by contacting Zig by phone at: 864-878-9523. [For more information on this book, go to the 508th's book section at The 508th Connection,
Let’s help Zig sell out his first printing and hope he has to do a second!
New Book About HQ1st in Normandy
While in Normandy this past June for the 60th anniversary of D-Day, I ran across Mr. Benoit Lelandais, who is publishing a book about HQ1st Co., 508 PIR, during its action in Normandy. Mr. Lelandais’ book entitled, “From Heaven to Hell: Men Like No Other,” will be published in late March 2005, and the narrative will be in both English and French. The cost of the book for people who place orders before December 31, 2004 will be 26€, which at the time this column was written is approximately $35. Orders received after January 1, 2005 will be 30€. Those interested in ordering this book should contact the publisher via traditional mail at: Orep Editions; 15, rue de Largerie; 14480 CULLY; France, or via email at: email@example.com.
The spirit of the 508 PIR lives on.
Bill C. Nation
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