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From The


Dear 508 Veterans,
            Family Members,
                         or Friends of the 508th

All American, All The Way:
The Combat History Of The 82nd Airborne Division In World War II”
by Phil Nordyke

Hank Le Febvre sends news of a new book about the 82nd, noting the list of contributors reads “like a roster of the 508.” This book is available through any major bookseller--I found it on-line at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and Borders. I have not yet seen a copy, but this book is a whopper--808 pages in length, but according to one reviewer, “it reads like it is 200 pages.” Hank’s dentist, a World War II buff, put Hank onto the scent of this book. The reviews of this book posted on Amazon’s website are very, very positive.

Clarification of April Column Regarding Normandy Invasion

In the April column I wrote about the fact the Airborne drop on D-Day was less than perfect, and Mr. Donald Orcutt, 440th Troop Carrier Group, who flew a C-47 full of paratroopers from the 506th PIR into Normandy on the morning of D-Day, wrote to inform me he took my comments to be criticism of the pilots of the Troop Carrier Groups. That is not what I meant or implied. I have long believed and continue to believe the pilots did heroic jobs, along with everyone else involved.

In an operation as grand in scope and complicated as Overlord was, with millions of variables involved, imperfection (feel free to substitute a more earthy word) happens. Unfortunately, popular books about D-Day written by a certain author from Cajun country, have promoted the notion the pilots on the Normandy drop panicked, causing the imperfect drops. When formations of C-47’s flew into the low-lying clouds that floated above the Cotentin Peninsula the morning of D-Day, they had no choice but to do their best to spread out to prevent midair collisions. Of course, this resulted in planes flying off course, which resulted in some sticks being dropped off their designated drop zones.

In his letter home after his jump into Normandy, my uncle mentioned fog was so thick he couldn’t even see the wingtip of the C-47 he was flying in. That’s serious fog.

I just want to reiterate and make clear I believe the Troop Carrier Group pilots are to be commended for doing their part to make the most important operation of the war a success. That is the truth, and I thank Mr. Orcutt for his masterful flying on the day that will be written about long after we are gone.

BBC Story About the 508th in Nottingham

I recently heard via email from James Roberson, reporter for the BBC, that movie footage of Nottingham and environs shot by Capt. William Nation, Adjutant of the 508th, will be available via the internet later in the year. He explained the BBC is hoping to put together a substantial documentary of the 508 using the 8mm footage shot by Capt. Nation while in England and Northern Ireland. Look for updates about this in later columns.

Dick O’Donnell (webmaster of the official 508 website, 508pir.org) via Jan Silver reports Armando Ortiz and Tom Porcella are both recovering from medical procedures. Both appear to be on the mend, and Armando is planning to attend the 508 get-together in Florida this October.

Ten Year Mark

My journey to learn about my uncle began roughly ten years ago this summer, and what a remarkable journey it has been. In 1995, I knew the basics--that I had been named for Capt. Nation; he was in an outfit known as the Red Devils; he was my dad’s oldest brother; he took 8mm movies of the war; and he had been killed in the Battle of the Bulge. Since that time, I have attended nine annual reunions of the 508 PIR Association, two mini reunions, traveled to Normandy five times, visited Uncle Bill’s grave in Henri-Chapelle Cemetery, been interviewed by the Today Show, and have given presentations about Uncle Bill and the 508.

If someone had told me just one of these things would happen when I began my quest, I would have not believed him.

Just a Texan who types (now from the Texas Hill Country),

Bill Nation

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