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     The name of Col. [Ret.] ROBERT ABRAHAM recently joined the ranks of a number of military figures, including GENERAL TOMMY FRANKS, in the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame.
     ABRAHAM [1914-2004] was company commander of the 508th regimental headquarters company during World War II. He made his first combat jump into Normandy, France on D-Day followed by the leap into Holland in September of that same year. BOB was also part of the operations during the Battle of The Bulge in 1944-45. His decorations include the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Star Medals and the Purple Heart.
     QUICK NOTE – as of November 2008, the Family and Friends of the 508th PIR Association has 437 Members, with veterans of all eras and including 163 WW-II veterans. Quite a feat for a less than two-year-old group!
     BRONZE SERVICE ARROWHEAD (BSA) – General Order #60, dated 25 May 1945 awarded hundreds of 508ers this special device. Worn on the Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign (EAME) ribbon, the small bronze arrowhead denoting their participation in the invasion of Normandy was a highly prized and respected symbol.
     This list, so far, is lengthier than the Purple Heart roster as numerous order sets are missing. In fact, General Orders 1 through 49, all dated in 1945, are MIA from the National Archives. If anyone has even a partial copy of any of these orders, please contact the “Jumpmaster”. (See bottom of column for contact details.)
     A side benefit of entering these names for the BSA is the fact that many of these individuals were previously unknown to us. Researching the names has also enabled us to determine that some of these men have taken their “Final Jump”. Those details have been entered on the web site.
     TAPS – a recent notice of the passing of 508th veteran JOHN L. SIMMONS was received from his namesake son. Mixed with the obvious sadness was a touch of humor as JOHN, JR. wrote the following about his father who passed away on June 25, 2008.
     My father was proud of his service to our country. Often he would sit with his children and grandchildren providing us with his memories of the war. His presentation was humble; he would always tell us of the sacrifices made by his brother soldiers, some of whom never came home.
     One of my favorite stories was about his landing in Normandy. He landed near a hedgerow and cleared his parachute. He said that as he began moving forward he heard a ‘clopping’ noise which he associated with German hobnailed boots.
     As the sound got louder he moved into a position behind the hedgerow and prepared ‘to take out as many of the enemy as possible.’ When he stood up to fire he found an ‘old gray mare’ instead of a column of soldiers. He said he could have kissed that old horse.
     A couple of days later Dad took a piece of shrapnel through his jaw. He was sent back to England to recuperate and was awarded a Purple Heart. While recuperating, he met my mother. She was the love of his life. They were married in England after the war and celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary on December 24, 2007.
     Dad will be missed, but we will never forget the part he and his fellow WWII soldiers played in the name of freedom. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who are now or who have ever served in the military.”
     SEARCHING – LUKE JETER recently sent photos of his great-uncle PFC Ronald A. McNeil who was killed December 27, 1944 and is buried at Henri-Chapelle. Luke is trying to “dig up as much information as possible about Ronald and the 508th”. If you can help, contact LUKE at Luke.A.Jeter@USA.DuPont.com
     C-47 CLUB CRASHES - Emile Lacroix has announced that he is no longer associated in any way with the C-47 Club. Due to unfortunate circumstances all ties have been severed. There is a new Belgian chapter that has no involvement with Emile and any materials received from that Chapter are not from Mr. Lacroix.
     The “In the Footsteps of the 82nd March” will not be affected in any way as it is run by Emile’s All American Jeep Group. Of course, all members of the C-47 Club are welcome to attend Emile’s march as they have always been welcome to do so.


Dick O’Donnell
760 Conestee Drive

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

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