NOTE: This column was submitted to appear in January
but duw to a mis-sequencing did not appear until the March edition.
Another new year
has arrived, filled with thoughts of new and old, those who were brave
and bold and of tales yet to be told.
– ZIG BOROUGHS reports that his wife, MARY, is recovering from her
tragic fall in Virginia a couple of months back. For those of you who
may have missed the tale, MARY fell in the parking lot of a restaurant
and landed on broken glass cutting her hands badly. To add insult to
injury, she also broke her shoulder. ZIG reports that after weeks of
fitful sleep in a recliner she has now “graduated” to a bed. Although
still dependent upon assistive care from friends and family she is
making steady improvement and the New Year bodes well.
OLD – Many
508ers found their mind’s eye drifting back to the Ardennes during the
past two weeks. The 18th of December marked the 63rd anniversary of
their mobilization from Camp Sissone where they had been enjoying some
R&R after the arduous Holland Campaign. While some of us may have been
thinking of a horse-drawn sleigh dashing through the snow, these men
recalled being jammed into “deuce-and-a-half” (2 ½ ton) trucks. Standing
along the way, in frigid weather, and without the proper clothing issue
for the climate that they would be fighting in, the 508th embarked on an
eighteen-hour journey to Belgium. They would soon become more than
familiar with place names such as Werbomont, Their-du-mont, Bastogne,
Trois Ponts and others during the next few weeks. Not a very Merry
Christmas nor a, seemingly, happy New Year. Fortunately those well
wishes soon bore fruit as the war ended a few months thereafter.
THE BRAVE AND THE
BOLD - Certainly this honor goes to all men of the 508th who fought
during this period but the title was epitomized by LEONARD FUNK. On
January 29, 1945, 1st Sgt. FUNK made history in Holzheim, Belgium with
his daring and heroic rescue of comrades taken captive by Germans who
had turned the tables on four men left to guard German POW’s. As we all
know, “LENNY” was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions that day.
TALES YET TO BE TOLD
– the new year holds much in store for the regiment, its family and its
- HARRY ROLL has been singled out to receive the “508th Man of The Year”
award during the Annual Airborne Awards week to be held in Atlanta,
April 9th through 12th. (DON LASSEN would never forgive us if we failed
to mention here that it’s not too late to “Hook Up” for the event and we
feel certain that a form can be found elsewhere in these pages to send
in with that all-important check.)
OCTOBER - Of
course, many of us are looking forward with great expectations for the
Family and Friends of the 508th PIR Association’s second annual reunion
that will be staged at Ft. Bragg. Be sure to mark your calendar for that
soirée as it promises to be a biggie!
EVEN FURTHER OUT –
a number of us are highlighting June 2009 as the date of the year.
During that month the observance of D-Day Plus 65 will be held in
Normandy. Keep your eyes peeled for travel arrangements that should be
announced in coming months.
FRANK "FARGO" MONCHEK, JR. made his Final Jump on Monday, March 19, 2007
after a valiant battle with lung cancer. He was 3 weeks shy of his 88th
birthday. He leaves behind EMILY ("Mimi"), his dear wife of 65 years,
sons FRANCIS and THOMAS, and daughter JEAN (BRIAN) HILLER. FRANK was a
member of "C" Company.
Send condolences to:
EMILY MONCHEK, 8714 W. Dogwood St., Milwaukee, WI 53224
More than three dozen Final Jumps have been noted on the web site
(www.508PIR.org)during this past month. Many of these entries were to
commemorate men whose deaths had gone unnoted for many years. It is
unfortunate that these individuals had never been found by the original
association but it was not for a lack of trying. O.B. HILL and his cadre
of association officers always had the net out in an attempt to locate
other 508ers. Had the Internet been as active in those days as it is
today, the organization’s ranks would have swelled dramatically over the
already impressive count that was registered.