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     The best reunion we EVER had!” and “You guys really did it right!” were two frequently expressed opinions at the first annual reunion of the “Family and Friends of the 508th PIR Association”. Considering that the predecessor organization had a track record of 30 reunions that was high praise indeed!
he jubilant crowd convened August 8th through 11 in Birmingham, Alabama. Attendees represented states throughout the continental U.S. but were outdistanced by one veteran from Alaska and a special friend of the 508th who came from Normandy. All told, nearly 70 were in attendance.
Highlights of events held within the hotel included a Welcoming Breakfast, Memorial Banquet and a Farewell Breakfast. Of course, the “CP” hospitality suite was open many hours each day for everyone’s enjoyment.
Undoubtedly the biggest crowd pleaser was the day at the American Village in Montevallo, AL. Arriving in State Police escorted buses, the 508th went first to the Shelby County Airport where they were greeted by benefactor State Senator Hank Erwin. There the men had the chance to inspect first-hand the C-47 “Bluebonnet Belle” supplied by the Confederate Air Force’s Highland Lakes Squadron, Burnet, Texas. Also falling under the veterans’ close scrutiny was the authenticity of the battle garb worn by the WW-II American Airborne Demonstration Team (ADT), headquartered in Frederick, Oklahoma.
Then at the nearby American Village, the association members gathered on the DZ’s edge to witness the ADT leaping into the skies.
wice the Bluebonnet Belle gathered a load of paratroopers and disgorged them over the Village. The first stick, a Pathfinder team, laid out marker panels to guide in the second wave that soon followed. The grassy DZ, its verdant surroundings and the gorgeous sunny afternoon lent many to remark that it reminded them of the Market-Garden jump in Holland.
Following the jump, a luncheon was held in the Village’s “Barn” where spectators, jumpers and flight crew were treated to a wonderful meal provided by the Wynfrey Riverchase Galleria Hotel.
Everyone enjoyed touring the Village grounds and the various reproduction buildings including George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Independence Hall, the Oval Office and others. Actors dressed in period costume posed for pictures and answered questions.
The day was rounded out as the 508th “stormed” Birmingham’s Fish Market restaurant for dinner.
On the following day the entourage bussed to the Southern Museum of Flight for a guided tour of the impressive facilities and a catered lunch provided by Nick’s BBQ before embarking on a city tour.
Obviously a great time was had by all. If you were not fortunate enough to be there, see “Photo Gallery – Association Reunions” at www.508PIR.org for a photo recap … and plan to attend the 2008 reunion at Ft. Bragg when the 4th BCT, 508th PIR returns from overseas.
SICK CALL Francis LAMOUREUX (G Co., 1942-45) recently underwent hip replacement surgery. Well wishes can be sent to him at 102 Miller St., Ludlow, MA 01056-3315.
Jimmy WYNN (Hq 1st, 1942-45) is undergoing extensive radiation therapy and could use some cheering notes. Please take a moment to drop Jimmy a card at 1344 Lakeview Dr., Virginia Beach, VA 23455-4130.
TAPS – News of “Final Jumps” made by Frank MONCHEK (C Co., March 2007), Stanley LUSNIA (C Co., October 2004), Joseph SIMKO (G Co., December 1997), and James BURKE (Co. unknown, April 2006) have recently reached us. Our belated sympathies go out to their families.
508th VETERAN COMMEMORATED ON STAGE – Richard BENCIVENGA, grandson of John CZAHOR (D Co.,) [1918-2006] has written a play entitled “FLIGHT OF THE IRON BUTTERFLY”, based on his grandfather’s oral history.
    The Rutgers Oral History Archives, in partnership with the Queens Theatre, will present the production at 3 p.m. on November 10 and 11 and at 8 p.m. on November 17. Rutgers University’s Lucy Stone Auditorium, 54 Joyce Kilmer Ave., Piscataway, New Jersey is the setting for the shows. Admission is free, e-mail FlightoftheIronButterfly@gmail.com with your name, desired performance date and time, and the number of seats that you require.
Send news for column to
Dick O’Donnell
760 Conestee Drive

Melbourne, FL 32904
PH: (321) 759-6174
e-mail: Jumpmaster@508PIR.org

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