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This letter, and accompanying photo, was written by Don Jakeway (Co H) and addressed to Don Lassen, editor of the STATIC LINE.  It was published in the STATIC LINE but the edition date, perhaps late 1985, is unknown.



508ers Return To Battlesites

Don -
   Maybe once in a lifetime a man's dream does come true. This has happened for me. On September 13th, 1985 six of us former Sergeants of H Co 508 PIR made a very memorable trip to Holland, Normandy, and to Nottingham, England; RALPH BUSSON, Ohio, TOMMY HORNE, Louisiana; ART RIEDEL, Kansas; JOHN BLUM, Ohio; CHET STEPHENS, Washington, and DON JAKEWAY, Ohio. We have returned from this experience drained emotionally. For 16 days we were acting as young cocky Paratroopers, living in the past for a few brief moments in time.
   This was our first visit back to the old battle sites, villages and campgrounds in 41 years. We were all veterans of the jumps in Normandy and Holland and the battles in the Ardennes and Germany. We are still overwhelmed by the fantastic reception we received everywhere we went. We had planned our trip for over a year and never in our wildest dreams did we expect the kindness, respect and love we received from those awaiting us. This love for the American Airborne by the people of Beek, Chef du Pont, Ste Mere Eglise and Nottingham is real and we six had the opportunity to share in that love.
   Words cannot express our thanks fully to DAVE PIKE of Nottingham for working so hard to make our trip a success. Without his unselfish efforts our trip would have been much less memorable. The American Airborne could never have a more faithful friend. DAVE acted as our driver throughout the trip. He also was our official photographer. Using his most famous quotes, "Not to worry," "No problems," and "Mount up Boys," he guided us on the most fantastic trip of our lives. He truly is the Airborne Ambassador in England. We shall never forget
man did for us.
   We also owe much to the people of Beek, who put us up in their homes. To MARGOT VAN BOLDRIK, Author of two Books, to PHILLIP VAN ELTEREN and his wonderful wife, ELIZABETH, the Airborne Committee: members who escorted us. to the museums, drop zones, battle sites and provided receptions, dinners, memorials, church services, etc., we will never be able to repay their kindness. To MAE LOU THOMAS and PIERRE, to HENRI RENAUD and so many others in Normandy who welcomed us into their homes, their villages and countryside; they will live in our memory forever. We visited the gravesites of old comrades, and know but for the Grace of God we could be sleeping there with them.
   I can say these old Paratroopers did honor to the 508 and I am very proud that I could share this experience with them. We made many new friends on this trip and renewed old friendships as well. Now the curiosity and excitement is over. We have revisited the old battlefields of 41 years ago, and once more separated and each returned to our home. Who knows if and when we may ever be together again. If ever I would be needed to once again fight for my country, I would want men such as these by my side. We have built a library of memories from this trip and become even richer, not in wealth, but in friends. It is true, a Paratrooper is a special breed of Man.
   I hope you can include this in one of the upcoming issues of STATIC LINE, DON. It was
you and your paper who got
me interested in the 508 and the Airborne again. Thank you, my Friend.


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