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
The 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.
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.
Twice 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.
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
The day was
rounded out as the 508th “stormed” Birmingham’s Fish Market restaurant
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.
LAMOUREUX (G Co., 1942-45) recently underwent hip replacement
surgery. Well wishes can be sent to him at 102 Miller St., Ludlow, MA
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.
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
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