On Tuesday, July 4, the World War 2 Guys were back in action at our favorite Independence Day Parade in the historic Field Club Neighborhood. Our unit impression was open this year so in attendance we had Joe as a 2nd Armored Division infantryman, Jacob as a 101st Airborne paratrooper, Eric as a B-29 Superfortress pilot in the Pacific, and Will as a street sweepin' US Army soldier in his denim work fatigues. The weather was perfect for the 4th of July and we had a great time being together as always!
On Tuesday, June 6, Eric was invited to set-up a D-Day themed display at the Omaha Golden K Kiwanis Club weekly meeting. First Sergeant Dan Falcon, who is a big deal in the local Airborne community and a strong supporter of our group, invited me to be a part of his presentation. Dan has been an 82nd Airborne paratrooper since the 1970s and is a tremendous leader both with JROTC and with Airborne veterans. The morning provided another great chance to show off some of the uniforms, equipment, and weapons that the brave men of the 82nd and 101st Airborne took into battle 79 years ago in Normandy.
On Sunday, June 4, the World War 2 Guys were happy to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Omaha's Memorial Park dedication. On hand for the day were Will representing a Bombardier of the 20th Air Force, Eric was a U.S. Marine on Iwo Jima, Deqlan was a 507th trooper from Alliance Army Air Base, Jacob was a 101st Airborne trooper in Normandy, and Joe was a 101st trooper in the Vietnam War. We had our WWII Small Wall Tent, a WWII Shelter Tent, and a Vietnam War poncho hooch all set up for our display layouts. We had lots of visitors throughout the day and some thunder and heavy rain as well. It was a fun chance to interact with the public in one of Omaha's greatest settings.
On Saturday, May 27, the World War 2 Guys participated in the 3rd Annual Memorial Weekend Parade which is an event put on by Patriotic Productions. This year the parade was bigger and better than ever with more entries and a longer parade route which ran west on Jackson, east on Howard, and then back up Farnam ending at the newly renovated Gene Leahy Mall. The historical segments of the parade were broken into decades with banners marching in front of each group. For World War II we had Will representing early war US Army and Jacob representing the 101st Airborne in Normandy. For the Korean War we had Cody representing the US Army and Eric the US Marine Corps. Joe was our Vietnam War representative and Mark was our Desert Storm guy. It was a great parade with huge crowds and excellent weather so everyone had a great time!
The night of Saturday, October 9 saw a few of the World War 2 Guys participating in one of the most epic reenactments of all time! The scenario involved a small group of 101st Airborne paratroopers making a river crossing under the cloak of darkness to rescue four stranded British Paras from the 1st Parachute Battalion. At the prescribed meet-up time of 1900 hours, the four Brits who had escaped weeks of grueling battle at Arnhem made their way down toward the river's north shore. As darkness quickly fell upon the scene, and with every ear listening for signs of a rescue, suddenly the scraping sounds of boats upon rock could be heard to the east. With hearts racing and a few more minutes of silence, the sound of paddling oars could be heard approaching from upstream. Suddenly two small boats pulled up on the shoreline and the American paratroopers disembarked. Beams of light from an American flashlight shot toward the British lines, followed by red flashes from a British torch. A Sergeant from the British group rendezvoused with the Americans and quickly the rest of the Brits appeared from the woods beyond. A British Brigadier from the 1st Battalion was a high value asset to the Allied effort and his rescue was of top priority! The two boats loaded with the Brits then paddled furiously back upstream to safety. About halfway across the river the sound of three sharp whistle blows unleashed a fury of machine gun fire from the American lines as well as two red flares being shot into the night sky. The surreal imagery of the rippling river's current highlighted with an eerie red glow and muzzle flashes beyond, will forever be engrained in our memories. Upon reaching the south shore the heavy little boats were pulled into hiding and the troopers all quickly assembled for instruction. The combined group then made their way south, marching through the darkness back to the friendly American lines. Once there, the tired British troopers were given numerous handshakes and congratulatory pats on the back, as well as some warm blankets and a place to rest. The rest of the night was filled with laughter and bottle of liquor as the Americans and Brits celebrated their successful rescue mission, one that will never be forgotten by any of those who were there.
On Saturday, July 3 the boys were back in action at the 39th Annual Field Club Independence Day Parade. It was an amazing feeling to be back out among a spirited crowd at one of Omaha's best neighborhood parades. This year we had Joe representing a LRRP from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, Conner representing an infantryman from the 34th "Red Bull" Division, Jeff representing a US Army infantryman in HBTs, Matt representing a paratrooper of the 101st Airborne Division, and Eric representing a Captain from the 2nd Ranger Battalion. We had a great time seeing each other again and we're already scheming up something special for 2022 and the parade's 40th Anniversary.
On Saturday, May 29 the fellas were back in action at a monuments re-dedication ceremony at Omaha's beautiful Memorial Park. It was a gorgeous, sunny day with Eric and Cody representing H/507, Will representing F/502 and Joe representing the 101st Airborne in Vietnam. There were parachute jumpers and a nice presentation by various speakers including our 2nd District Representative Don Bacon. Afterwards we had lots of photos taken at the Airborne Memorial which was one of the monuments being formally re-dedicated after it's move from Heartland of America Park. It was a great chance to remember and honor all of our Airborne veterans throughout our nation's history.
On Saturday, April 17 we held a small unit training event at Ft. Atkinson. In attendance were Conner, Mike, Matt, and the Sarge. The focus of this event was to do a deep dive through all of our uniform and equipment questions in advance of our May immersion event with F/502. We spent quite a bit of time talking through each element of the uniform and what the standards should be. We also then went through equipment, personal items, rations, and weapons with the same level of scrutiny. This was the first event where several unit members had their M42 Reinforced Jump Suits treated with a CC2 treatment replication be it either Otter Wax or Filson's Oil Finish Wax. The newly teated jump suits definitely looked a lot better than our old untreated look! We then spent some time going through hand signals, 1940s slang, and some field maneuver tactics which was helpful. We finished the day with some baseball catch and a few turns up at bat which is always really fun! It was a very educational and enjoyable day among friends!
Read all about the great events that the World War 2 Guys take part in throughout the year.