A special event was held at Omaha's Memorial Park on Saturday, July 29 to remember and honor the 70th Anniversary of the Korean War Armistice. The event was planned and organized by Bill Williams and Patriotic Productions which has put on some amazing events to honor our Nebraska war veterans throughout the years, most notably several big Honor Flights for our World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War veterans. This event was actually held on the exact anniversary of the end of the Korean War on July 29, 1953. Patriotic Productions brought in a half sizes replica of the Korean War Memorial which is a traveling exhibit that goes around the country. Our small part of this special event was to set-up a camp area with tents and equipment displays right along Dodge Street. Will represented the US Army with an excellent gear layout with a shelter tent. Joe represented the United States Marine Corps with a camo Marine shelter tent and gear layout. And Eric represented the US Navy with a small Task Force 77 carrier pilot display. The public along with dozens of Korean War veterans enjoyed seeing our display and sharing their stories with us. This was truly a once in a lifetime event and one that we were particularly honored to be a part of.
On Saturday, September 2, the World War 2 Guys took part in our 3rd Annual Ft. Atkinson Timeline Event. In attendance were Will representing a 2nd ID soldier during stateside training, Jeff representing a 2nd ID soldier from 1944, Jon representing a 507th paratrooper, and Eric representing a 7th Cavalry trooper from 1965. We started the day meeting-up near the Council House on the north end of the fort. We set-up our shelters and displays and then joined some of the fort's living historians for a nice hot cup of coffee. After scouting out some of the other displays around the fort, we decided to move our entire display down near the fort's main entrance so we packed it all up and made it happen. Our group got lots of foot traffic throughout the day and really enjoyed interacting with curious visitors. Jon and Will had a little time for a game of catch and we were treated to a delicious hot lunch cooked up by one of the Jeep owners. In the afternoon we took part in a firepower demonstration that saw 1820s muskets and rifles fired alongside a BAR, Jeff's Thompson, Will's 1903 Springfield, Jon's M1 Garand, and Eric's M16A1, although I couldn't get it to cycle any blanks once again. We were welcome to take part in the daily liquor ration at the end of our stay and then ended up taking a few more great individual photos. There's nothing better than watching Will charge across an open field screaming at the top of his lungs with a fixed bayonet. Simply priceless! This was once again one of my favorite events of the year and we'll hopefully all be back in 2018 for an even bigger and better show.
A few of the World War 2 Guys put on a display at the Papillion, Nebraska Chick-fil-A on Saturday, March 19. The event was organized by Eli in conjunction with Chick-fil-A's Veterans Appreciation Day. Eli, Jon, Eric and Jeff manned a small display table from 11:00AM to 2:00PM. We got to meet a few folks and talk about some World War II equipment and personal items. The highlight of the day was definitely high-fiving the Chick-fil-A cow and snapping a quick photo of Eli with the cow. It was a nice little event and a chance to get in front of the public for a few hours.
The World War 2 Guys joined up for a fall battle on Sunday, October 25 south of Plattsmouth, Nebraska. In attendance were Will, Jeff, Matt, Scott, Bob and Eric representing the Indianheads of the 2nd Infantry Division and Cody, Alex and Eli representing our German opposition. The weather was excellent with temperatures in the 50s and 60s and sunny skies throughout the day. We ran a morning scenario where the G.I. force was tasked with running a patrol to locate the German lines. Well, when Staff Sergeant Green is in charge a "patrol" takes on an entirely new meaning. The old Sarge had us marching over hills and dales, through woods and ravines and all over hell and back to find those Germans! And 1.5 miles later we made contact and blasted it out in the woods of Kriegwald, After an enjoyable break munching on K-Rations and other canned foods, we were back in action. For the afternoon scenario the G.I.s held a strategic intersection in anticipation of a German counterattack. The Germans didn't disappoint and moved quickly on our positions. Fortunately for the Americans, we outnumbered our opponents and outgunned them with our trusty M-1 Rifles. It was such a great day to get out in the field and enjoy the gorgeous October colors and spend some time with each other!
The World War 2 Guys assembled once again for the 55th Annual Ralston Independence Day Parade on Saturday, July 4th. This event broke our all-time record with 14 unit members in attendance. Dave, Jeff, Will, Matt, Eric, Kevin, Tyler, Avery, Eli, Bob, Cody, Alexander, Kelly and Rasion all donned different uniforms worn by the 2nd Infantry Division throughout its World War II history. Joining us for their very first event were Kelly and Rasion who both did a great job and looked outstanding! As always, our group was near the start of the parade so we completed the route fairly quickly. Immediately following the parade we had an unexpected photo opportunity with U.S. Senator, Deb Fischer, which was an honor! Once we were all packed-up, several of the guys had a little "after action" time at Don & Millie's over Cokes and burgers. Truly the only thing nicer than the weather was seeing so many World War 2 Guys come together!
The World War 2 Guys were given the privilege of taking part in Christ Community Church's "America" celebration the evening of Sunday, June 28. We had great unit participation for the event with Will honoring the US Army Air Corps, Matt the 8th Infantry Division, Bob and Luke the 101st Airborne Division, Eli the 2nd Infantry Division, Cody the US Army Medics, Jeff the US Navy, and Eric the US Marine Corps. Turnout for the event was impressive with hundreds of visitors talking with us about our World War II themed display. The night kicked-off with a patriotic concert honoring our nation's veterans both past and present, followed by an ice cream social and an awesome fireworks display. The highlight of the night was when Technical Sergeant Paul Andreas stopped by our tables. A veteran of the 28th Infantry Division and the Battle of the Hurtgen Forest, Paul was a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient who was captured by the Germans as a POW. He's quite a guy and it was great to have him talk with us for a few minutes. This was a great summertime event and one we'll hopefully be back for next year!
The World War 2 Guys gathered at Cabela's La Vista for our 4th Annual Armed Forces Day display on Saturday, May 16. In attendance were Alexander, Dave and Eli representing the 2nd Infantry Division, Jeff representing the US Navy, and Eric portraying a paratrooper of the 101st Airborne. Because of impended rain, Cabela's had us stage our exhibit indoors this year. Our sized-down display covered a variety of Airborne gear, a 29th Division D-Day grouping, Tanker gear, US Navy gear, a weapons display and some Signal Corps equipment. We had a steady stream of visitors all day long and were very happy to take part in this great event once again!
1940's fashion and Class A uniforms united for a 1945 Homecoming photo shoot at the Durham Museum on Sunday, February 22. The World War 2 Guys and some of our favorite gals got all glammed-up to recreate a bygone era at the old Union Station. In attendance were Will, Matt, Jeff, Eric, Eli, Casey, Dan, Dawn, Alisa, Anna, Heather, Jeff, Richard, Lizzy and Brie. Our photographer for the day was the talented Scott Rowe who is also a member of our unit. We were granted early access to the train station two hours before the public showed up. We went right to work taking some amazing photos and short videos throughout the main train depot and then on several train cars and a street trolley on the lower level. Everyone had a blast! It was so much fun to dress up and be with a big group of people who all share a similar passion for the 1940's time period. We got a lot of strange looks and a lot of compliments once the public started showing up at the museum. It was so much fun that we all instantly started plotting another event like this in the summertime. Thanks to everyone who was involved. I will post a lot more photos from the event as soon as I can.
The World War 2 Guys were invited to be a part of the 2nd Infantry Division Association's 93rd National Reunion which took place at Omaha's Downtown DoubleTree Hotel from September 16-20. Members of our group dressed in military uniforms depicting several eras of the 2nd Infantry Division's proud history. We were also invited to set up display tables to exhibit uniforms, field equipment, weapons, personal effects, insignia, photographs, and printed materials of the division from World War I up through the 1970's. Dave, Will, Jeff, Matt, Eric, Eli and Darrell were all able to attend the event on Friday which quickly turned into one of the most memorable and rewarding days in our unit's history. We spent time throughout the day talking with 2nd Division veterans from World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam-era vets who patrolled the dangerous Korean DMZ. We were honored to eat lunch with two veterans who shared stories with us as we ate. Members of our unit were also invited to attend the division's annual Memorial service where the remember all of their comrades who have passed over the course of the past year. It was an unbelievable experience and one that none of us will ever forget. The National Reunion is being held in San Antonio, Texas in 2015... it's a long way from Omaha, but it would be worth the trip to spend some more time with these guys!!!
The World War 2 Guys took part in the 54th Annual Ralston Independence Day Parade on Friday, July 4. In attendance this year were Dave, Jeff, Matt, Eric, Kevin, Tyler, Avery and our newest member Eli. For the parade this year we had a World War II Jeep, compliments of Dave's friend Rob, and it even came complete with a pin-up girl sitting in the back, Rob's daughter! The patriotic crowd seemed bigger than ever with gorgeous, sunny weather throughout the day. Be sure to view the photos at full size to read more about each one.
Read all about the great events that the World War 2 Guys take part in throughout the year.