dates for the annual reunion of the Family and Friends of The 508th PIR
have been nailed down, presumably with tent pegs. Host ROCK MERRITT has
fixed the event for October 14 through 18, 2008 in Fayetteville, NC. The
members will convene in the Holiday Inn Bordeaux Motel, just a few miles
outside Ft. Bragg where special events will take place in honor of all
our 508th veterans. Check the association’s website at www.508pir.org
for further details and a registration form.
EDWARD V. DUGAN, an original Cadre member, took his final jump in Blue
Point, BY on January 22, 2006. Dugan was 87.
DAVID R. BURKMAN,
57, made his last jump on June 2, 2007. BURKMAN was from Canyon County,
JAMES P. McNALLY,
OF Ione, WA, departed on October 6, 2007. James also had been in the
504th PIR at one time.
EDWARD J. WODOWSKI,
82, left us on March 2, 2008. He had lived in Fayetteville, NC for many
years. A retired CSM, WOODY is survived by his wife of 58 years, NAN
WODOWSKI; his children, NANNETTE PALMER of Tucson, AZ, EDWARD WODOWSKI
of Fayetteville and CINDY MORRIS of Greensboro; and two grandchildren.
was in a stick of Company A paratroopers on September 17, 1944. The
entire stick left the aircraft near Wyler, Germany as it was beginning
to burn and subsequently crashed. Remarkably, after narrowly escaping
death in the aircraft, at least 12 of the men survived the war although
four of them had to endure being in POW camps until war's end.
signed statement made by 508ers CPL WALTER FIRESTINE and
PVT EDWARD J WODOWSKI on 12 Dec 44 testified that the aircraft had been
hit several times before reaching the DZ, both motors were afire, flames
were coming through the floor. They last sighted the plane when it was
over [Wyler] Germany.
SGT PIERCE, they
also stated, was the last man to jump, and after the platoon assembled
on the ground Pierce made the statement that after he felt the opening
shock of his parachute, he turned and saw the plane explode in mid-air.
FIRESTINE and WODOWSKI said that "The equipment bundles were burning as
they came down, and they exploded on the ground. We were unable to save
RAPP of Cincinnati, OH made the final plunge on January 27, 2008.
Nothing is known of his period of service.
PIIPPO(widow of WALTER), age 81, of Chatham, Michigan died in her sleep
at her home on March 10, 2008. She married Walter Piippo on August 28,
1946.and is survived by their children – WALTER (SUSAN) PIIPPO of
Norwalk, CA, LISA (CHUCK) WOJCIECHOWSKI of Menomonee Falls, WI, and DAN
PIIPPO of Traunik; as well as three grandchildren and three
great-grandsons. GLORIA was preceded in death by her husband of
fifty-five years who died on December 17, 2001.
OTHER NEWS OF
NOTE - The “Roll of Honor” as well as the “Final Jumps” sections of our
website underwent massive updating recently to ensure that men of the
post WW-II eras were better represented. Wherever possible, photos of
gravesites or published obituaries, etc. were added as well. On March
28th we personally visited nine graves of 508th veterans, both new and
old, in Arlington National Cemetery to photograph grave markers for the
web site. They have all since been posted to the web site.
was the name of the play staged at the Mandalstam Dance Theatre in
Miami, FL for three nights beginning March 14, 2008. The musical
production was written by Jim Camacho. His inspiration for the play came
from both a compelling photographic image and his own family history.
Emanuel, jumped into Normandy on D-Day and died when Jim was 10.
Emanuel’s story was never passed on to his son.
was moved by a photograph taken in June 1940 depicting Nazi troops
marching down the Champs-Elysées. In front of a somber crowd, a man
weeps at the horror. The photo moved Camacho to write the song “Tears on
Parade”. Three weeks later, he had a basic script and all the music for
Fools' Paradise. A play that he hopes will one day open on Broadway.
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