REUNION A RESOUNDING SUCCESS –
nearly 100 family members and friends “jumped” into Oklahoma City, OK to
attend the reunion.
Appropriately starting on the 68th anniversary of
the activation of the 508th PIR, the next four days were filled with
activity. Old friends renewed their acquaintances and retold their tales
while newcomers were quickly melded into the association family.
Highlights of the reunion included tours of
the Oklahoma City National Memorial and the 45th Infantry Division
Museum as well as a lunch at TOBY KEITH’S “I Love this Bar and Grill”. A
full day was absorbed with a visit to the Airborne Demonstration Team’s
headquarters in Frederick, OK.
ADT HEADQUARTERS WAS A BLAST - The ADT boasts a
genuine WW-II era hangar housing two C-47 Skytrain aircraft that they
own. Dubbed “Boogey Baby” and Boop B Doop” the nose art and names are as
reminiscent of the era as the aircraft themselves.
Also on display in the hangar were a Jeep,
a deuce-and-a-half (2 1/2 ton truck) and many relics from the 40’s
including weaponry and other artifacts.
Of great interest was the parachute packing table
demonstrations as ADT members prepared their own ‘chutes. Onlookers were
astonished at the intricacy needed to fold shroud lines and canopies
into the chute pack and the loop fasteners that permit the static line
to deploy the parachute.
Association members happily took turns
clambering into Boogey Baby. Some were recalling what they had seen 68
years before, others wanted to get a taste of what their grandfather,
father or uncle had experienced.
After a great lunch in the ADT “Chow Hall”, it was
time for rides in Boogey Baby and two flights were scheduled to carry
those who were interested.
Unfortunately, while still on the apron the
aircraft developed a generator problem in one engine and it was shut
down. Those who were aboard for the flight did witness a demonstration
of the famous “STAND UP, HOOK UP” commands followed by mock jumps from
the door to the tarmac.
While disappointed, everyone understood the vagaries
of operating an aircraft that was manufactured in 1942.
BANQUET HELD AS REUNION WINDS DOWN – with
98 people seated in the banquet hall, the reunion began to come to a
Posting of the colors was accomplished by a very
adept ADT color guard and the invocation was delivered by REV. DON HUNT,
himself an Army veteran.
Keynote speaker was CSM BERT PUCKETT
(2-508) who recently returned from a second tour in Afghanistan. BERT
reassured the group that the spirit of the 508th remains strong in the
young men serving on the front lines. He received a standing ovation for
his highly motivational speech.
FAREWELL BREAKFAST – The following morning’s
breakfast saw an Invocation and the Benediction given by Angel Romero (H
Co veteran) and Dick O’Donnell expressed his thanks to everyone for
While everyone sadly said goodbyes for this
reunion; all promised to attend again in 2011.
NEXT REUNION VENUS ANNOUNCED – the 2011 reunion will
be held in the vicinity of Ft. Benning, Columbus, GA at a date to be
The Benavidez-Patterson All-Airborne Chapter of the 82nd Airborne
Division Association once again has invited the Friends and Family of
the 508th Association to be a part of their Sun City Fiesta in El Paso.
The gala will take place in July 2012 and if anything like the one in
2009, it is not to be missed!
COTTESMORE DEPARTURE – GEN. GAVIN states in
his book “ON TO BERLIN” that he took off from Cottesmore Airfield and
was in the lead ship of the 508th. Available documentation, however,
indicates that the 508th flew in 109 aircraft from Folkingham airfield
and 96 from Saltby airfield. The is no available documentation to
indicate that combat flights left from Cottesmore.
If you have any information regarding the use of
Cottesmore on the night of June 5th, please write to
By the same token, if you have any knowledge of where GEN. GAVIN’S stick
landed or the names of men in the stick, we want to know that as well.
SEND NEWS FOR THE COLUMN
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