Dear 508 Veterans,
or Friends of the 508th
After ten years of planning and possibilities, Maggie and I have moved about 300
miles south of our previous home in Wichita Falls to the city of Kerrville,
Texas (in the Texas Hill Country).
This means, among other things, I have not had the usual amount of time recently
to devote to things 508-related. Still, the 508 is still making the news -- I
recently heard from one of the 508’s dearest friends, Tony Rogers in the U.K.,
who attended the reunion in Tampa in 2001, that the BBC aired a seven or eight
minute long story about the 508 and my uncle, Capt. William Nation. The reporter
for this piece, Mr. James Roberson, used various shots from 8mm movies Uncle
Bill took while in Nottingham and Derby in 1944. Though I haven’t gotten the
opportunity to view the story, it is supposed to be posted on the Internet and
viewable via streaming video at some point shortly after I submit this column.
By the time this column is published, one should be able to find a link to the
streaming video at the 508’s official website: 508pir.org.
This news from Tony arrived the very day we were packing and loading a moving
van, and it has taken a few days for this news to sink in. I receive great joy
knowing anytime my uncle’s story (and movies) are used by the news media, the
508 is also mentioned prominently. As some of you may have been aware, NBC’s
Today Show showed about an eight-minute-long story about Capt. Nation which
aired in June 2004 during the network’s coverage of the 60th anniversary of
D-Day. The narrator specifically mentioned the 508 PIR in that story as well,
which is about time considering the amount of attention other paratrooper
outfits (not naming names, mind you) seem to garner. Tony Rogers is to be
congratulated and thanked for his persistence in getting the 508 a portion of
the recognition it is due. He has been hard at this task for years and has been
tireless in his endeavors. Those with email can reach Tony email@example.com,
and he may be reached by “real” mail at:
17 Ebberns Road
Herts, U.K. HP3 9QR
Drop Tony a line -- I know he’d love to hear from any 508ers.
From Heaven to Hell: Men like no others” by Benoiˆt Lelandais
One of my dearest friends, Pascal Milet, of Normandy, recently gave me a copy of
a newly published book about HQ1 Company’s experiences during the Normandy
operations, entitled “From Heaven to Hell: Men like no others.” Pascal is a
cousin of the author, Benoiˆt Lelandais. This book is a large paperback with
many historical photographs, both in black and white and color and is 108 pages
Mr. Lelandais includes accounts by many HQ1 soldiers in his book, including O.
B. Hill (founder of the 508 PIR Association), Rock Merritt (most recent
president of the 508 PIR Association), James Wynne, Gene Hull, Warren Brown,
George Stoeckert, Walt Silver, John Marshall, Royal Dononvan, Hank LeFebvre,
Bill Goudy, James McMahon, James Lutton, Joe Esposito, Joe Bressler, Michael
Wargo, Frank Staples, Robert Blickensderfer, Grady Murray, George Richotte, Ray
Hummel, and James Roberts.
This is a professionally published book and is a “must have” for anyone
interested in the history of the 508 during the Normandy campaign. I highly
recommend it. To obtain a copy of Mr. Lelandais’ book, contact the publisher:
15, rue de Largerie
Via the internet, OREP can be reached at: www.orep-pub.com or via email at:
Taps for James Arva, Service Company
Heimer Swanson, company rep for Service Company, reports James Arva died in
February of this year.
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