OCTOBER 2010 REUNION UPDATE –
Registrations are arriving quickly for the reunion and the attendance
rate looks to be very promising. If you have not already done so, go to
the website at www.508pir.org and click on REUNION 2010 to print out a
copy of the registration form. Mailing instructions are included.
RIGGER STORIES – We recently sent a note to CARL PORTER
(Service Co) asking about the use of camouflage parachutes in Normandy.
In his reply he shared a couple of stories…
“Regarding our previous exchange about parachutes, I
failed to mention that the cargo 'chutes were made of cheap, stiff,
rayon, with flat suspension lines about a half-inch wide. They were
different colors but I forget what went with each color, i.e.
ammunition, medical supplies, etc. They were difficult to pack but,
because no one's life or limb depended on them we managed to stuff even
more of them into their cargo packs in a given amount of time.
We went to Reading, England and two shifts packed the
clock around during the Battle of the Bulge.
”As an interesting aside: While there, Detwiler and
I stood and watched a C-47 peel off from an incoming squadron and touch
down almost in front of us. Only problem is, he forgot to put down his
wheels and both props chewed runway as he re-applied power and went
airborne again. When he landed we ran down to see how the props made out
and found all six tips bent back in perfect unison for 8 or 10 inches of
We waited for them to climb out, then I said,
"[Expletive], didn't you have a rough ride when you went around?" He
responded: "Rough? That SOB almost shook my [anatomy part] off"
OTHER FUN FACTS – in a similar fashion we sent a
note to GEORGE STOECKERT seeking information regarding warrant officers.
Part of GEORGE’S answer read “Until the start of WW II,
Army Warrant Officers were entitled to one salute a day and that only
from the regimental Sergeant Major. Also, as a Warrant Officer was
neither an officer nor enlisted man, he could not belong to the officers
club or eat in the officer’s mess or the enlisted mess hall. The single
ones ate in the enlisted men's kitchen. Further, Doctors, Nurses,
Chaplin's, etc. had a relative rank (sort of honorary) and were not
entitled to a hand salute - a carryover from the old sutler system.”
GEORGE’S reference to sutlers was, at best, vaguely
familiar so we went scrambling to the encyclopedias for details. As it
turned out, the term was used to describe various civilian roles that
were performed for the military through appointment back in the Civil
War. Hence the reference to an “honorary rank”
As you can see, sometimes asking a simple question
while researching yields all kinds of interesting facts!
CROSS REFERENCING – We have been sharing 508th
personnel data with DOMINIQUE POTIER of Belgium for quite some time. “DOMI”,
as he likes to be called, is an NCO in the Belgian army and is also a
qualified parachutist. While we focus on our own regiment, DOMI
researches all 82nd WW-II parachutists. He frequently adds previously
unknown details regarding men who transferred out of the 508th,
typically as cadre to other burgeoning PIR units.
Some recently shared details include:
- CHARLES W PEARCE, transferred from Co D to 504 PIR,
captured September 1944 in Holland and held as POW in Stalag 7A,
- EUGENE SIZEMORE, transferred from Co D to 504 PIR, captured January
1944 in Italy and held as POW in Stalag 2B, Hammerstein, West Prussia
- EDGAR L SMITH, transferred from Co D to 509 PIB captured February 1944
and held as POW in Stalag 7B, Memmingen, Bavaria
- FRANCIS THOMPSON, transferred from Co G to 509 PIR, captured June 1944
in Italy and held as POW in Stalag 7B, Memmingen, Bavaria
- CLARENCE G. WHITLOCK, transferred from Hq Co, 2nd Bn. to 505 PIR
captured February 1944 in Italy and held as POW in Dulag 12, Grosstychow,
- ALFRED ZURLINO, transferred from Co F to 504 PIR, KIA February 1945
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