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Approximately 125 members of the Family and Friends of the 508th PIR Association gathered from October 14 to 18, 2008 to recognize the regiment’s founding in October 1942. Attendees included 508th veterans of WW-II, Korea and Vietnam. Also attending were regimental friends from England, France and Holland

     The association members convened at the Holiday Inn-Bordeaux in Fayetteville, NC and enjoyed the conviviality of the “CP” hospitality room as well as tours conducted locally and on Ft. Bragg.
     SPECIAL EVENTS included visiting the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville as well as the 82nd Airborne Division War Memorial Museum and the Golden Knights Museum, both on post. The group was also treated to an overview of the regiment’s current structure by CMSGT PUCKETT that was replete with new mission tasks, capabilities and acronyms.
     Equipment demonstrations and static displays enabled everyone to not only get familiar with current weaponry but to also review two substantial private collections of historic gear as well.
     MODERN FACILITIES were reviewed as the association ate lunch in a dining hall with ambiance rivaling civilian restaurants and certainly unlike any chow hall these men ever encountered previously.
     Also of great interest were the modern dormitory facilities enjoyed with their two-man rooms including full bath. The dorms are arranged around a park-like quadrangle with benches and barbeque grills. The young troopers looked quizzical when the older men began making comparisons to “open-bay barracks”, a term not in the youngsters’ lexicon.
     GO-GO-GO! – was the term heard frequently on the 34-foot training tower.
After watching a jump demonstration made by five paratroopers, more than twenty members of the audience volunteered to jump as well. Ages ranged from 12 to 89 as both family members and veterans stood in the door and made a jump. For some it was the first ever, but for others, the first in a long, long time.
     A memorial banquet was held in the Ft. Bragg Officers Club. Attended by approximately 200 people, it included not only association members but also enlisted and commissioned members of the 508th.
     Outstanding, as always, was the appearance of the 82nd Airborne All-American Chorus. Paratroopers at heart, these men volunteer to sing at events and are widely acclaimed and deservedly so.
      Following the farewell breakfast on Saturday morning, the group reluctantly broke up and returned to their homes but vowed to see one another at the next reunion.
     The next association reunion will be held in conjunction with the Sun City “All Airborne” Fiesta V”. Hosted by the 82nd Airborne’s ROY P. BENAVIDEZ-ROBERT PATTERSON “ALL AIRBORNE” CHAPTER, it will take place from July 2-6, 2009 in El Paso, Texas. A wide variety of events, most to be conducted indoors, is being scheduled and includes a number of special activities for the ladies. Check our web site (www.508pir.org) for details and a registration form.
TAPS - The passing of WARREN BROWN on October 15, 2008 was sadly noted. WARREN was a resident of Springfield, MA and had often been a highlight of 508th association reunions. WARREN was a member of the Hq 1st 81 mm Mortar Platoon during WW-II.
     MICHAEL ST. GEORGE (82nd ABN) recently wrote about the well-known photo of CHAPLAIN KENNY saying Mass on the hood of a jeep. MICHAEL had first seen the photo on a Christmas card that was a big hit with people he sent it to in the U.S., U.K., and Canada.
     “I sent one of these cards,” he said, “to my sister-in-law in Quebec, Canada. She liked it so much that she had it framed and presented it to her parish priest.” The priest, MICHAEL continued, ”liked it so much that he hung it on the wall in his church.”
     So, now there is a photo of Father Kenney saying Mass on the hood of a jeep in Belgium during the Battle of The Bulge for troopers of the 508 PIR hanging on the wall of a church in a town in the Province of Quebec, Canada.
     No one there that day could have ever foreseen this notoriety.


Dick O’Donnell
760 Conestee Drive

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

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