66th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATED
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.
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.
farewell breakfast on Saturday morning, the group reluctantly broke up
and returned to their homes but vowed to see one another at the next
2009 REUNION ANNOUNCED
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
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.
508TH PHOTO FINDS WIDE-SPREAD FAME
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.
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