On Saturday, April 9, the boys of H Company gathered for our annual Spring Training event at Fort Atkinson. In attendance were Eric, Will, Matt, Mike, Joe, and Jerrimy. The day started off with rifle drill and some basic marching on the parade ground. Jerrimy did an excellent job guiding us through this phase of our training! Next up was some familiarization time with the 17th Airborne uniform, equipment, and weapons used in Operation Varsity. That was followed by everyone's favorite time of day - chow time! Jerrimy showed off his new 5 in 1 Rations project that he's diligently been working on. Everyone was impressed with the quality and attention to detail that he's been putting into his WWII rations research. We did some refresher course work on our hand signals and field formations work from last month followed by a little field march. We got some great photos of a few troopers doing a mock house clearing which was fun. The day ended with some good old fashioned baseball time with a few of the guys getting some nice hits. Hazard's head almost got taken off by a line drive but he survived! It was a great day and another top notch event for the World War 2 Guys!
On Saturday, February 26, the boys of H Company, 507th PIR kicked off our exciting 2022 season with a winter training event at the Loess Hills State Forest. This was the first of two training events leading up to our Operation Varsity event in May. In attendance were Privates Mason, Quinn, Patzke and Yurgil along with Pfc. Williams, Sgt. Hazard and SSgt. Krelle. The morning started with a vigorous field march up and down the picturesque hills of our training site. Sgt. Hazard led the way in an action that sets our unit apart from many others in the field. We then began some classroom training led by SSgt. Krelle who covered squad hand signals, squad structure, and movement in the field. The whole squad enjoyed a test run of new C-Rations created by Pvt. Patzke which tasted excellent and looked extremely authentic as well. Our unit now has a reliable source of period correct rations for future events. We then spent time as a squad moving in the field using various formations such as open and closed squad columns, skirmish lines, a wedge formation, and the diamond formation. As a final exercise, we assaulted a group of unsuspecting German armored vehicles using a base of fire and maneuver team with much success. We ended our day discussing our 2022 events schedule and plans for the year ahead. It was a great first event and a pleasure to see our group together in action once again!
On Saturday, November 13, the World War 2 Guys were back in action for an event we called the "Push to Luxembourg." Our scenario for the day was set in January 1945 when the 17th Airborne Division was pushing from Belgium into Luxembourg. Joining up for the day were Matt, Will, Mike, Eric and Joe, doing his first ever World War II field event. We used our Loess Hill site for this event and had to deal with a pretty cold and windy day, but with some nice sun early on. We made our way through open fields and up to our hilltop trench where we removed quite a bit of brush and re-fortified our line. We spent quite a bit of time just cleaning up the trench line and extending it a little more to the east. There was hot coffee and some hot chow thanks to Will and Joe and their small fires. Later in the day, Matt, Eric and Joe patrolled another hilltop and some wooded areas which we plan on using in 2022 for another immersion event. With rain starting to spit down on us, we called it a day and made our way back to the vehicles. But it was a great little outing and some fun time with friends in the field!
The weekend of September 4-5, the World War 2 Guys were back in action for our 7th annual Ft. Atkinson Timeline Weekend. The weather was outstanding for this year's event with sunny skies and more moderate temperatures. Eric and Joe were at the fort Saturday night and were treated to a picnic dinner for all of the participating reenactors. Joe stayed overnight in the west barracks wall of the fort and Eric slept overnight in his shelter just outside the west wall. A gorgeous sunrise greeted all of the early rising reenactors on Sunday morning and some much appreciated coffee made for some happy guys! For the day, Eric portrayed a Staff Sergeant from H Company of the 507th PIR, Joe portrayed an Airborne trooper of the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam 1965, Conner showed off his newly acquired Russian infantry impression, and Will portrayed an early Vietnam advisor in his duck hunter camo utilities. Public attendance for the weekend was at an all-time high with lots of enthusiastic visitors taking in our displays. The traditional whiskey call at 3:00pm was met with much excitement and some sour faces after that first swig. It was another great weekend at the fort and a great time to show off some excellent military impressions!
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, June 6, the World War 2 Guys held a field immersion exercise in recognition of the 76th Anniversary of the D-Day invasion. This time we visited the Loess Hills State Forest near Little Sioux, Iowa which served as our Normandy for the day. Our patrol consisted of Eric, Matt, Cody, Conner, and our newest member Mike. We encountered some really neat sunken roads that in places closely resembled the ancient hedgerows of Normandy. We also marched through wooded hills and valleys taking in some breathtaking scenery along the way. We stopped off for some rations and a unit admin meeting and then continued our advance back to our starting point. The very end of our march got pretty hot and our water supply was running low so we called it a day. It was excellent to see Mike out in the field with us for the first time and it was very special to all get together on D-Day. Until next month...
On May 25, the World War 2 Guys visited St. Mary's Cemetery for our annual cleaning of the Furmanski brothers' gravesites. It's always amazing at how overgrown a headstone can get in one year's time. This year at St. Mary's we thoroughly cleaned and trimmed around headstones for Privates First Class Floyd and Aloysius Furmanski, Flight Officer Martin P. Schmitt, Jr. and Sergeant James P. McNeil. Afterwards we went to Omaha Central and laid flowers at the Central High School Vietnam Memorial. We then went on to spend some time at Omaha's Memorial Park where we were able to see the relocated Airborne Memorial and the Victory '95 Memorial which both looked outstanding in their new home.
The World War 2 Guys headed down to Camp Clark, Missouri for the 2020 Battle of the Bulge hosted by the HRS's 137th Infantry Regiment. In attendance this year were Eric, Will, Matt, Cody, and our new recruit Conner. Although there was plenty of severe winter weather on Friday, we all safely made it down to the event. Eric, Cody, and Conner even got out to see 1917 on Friday afternoon before event check-in. Friday night, our group had a lively dinner at Iguana Azul, a hoppin' Mexican restaurant in downtown Nevada. Afterwards, Eric and Cody went to the commanders' meeting to get the new plans for this year's tactical. Saturday morning began with the traditional pre-battle coffee and donuts breakfast. All of the participants gathered on the parade ground at 0830 for a safety and authenticity check and a briefing on the day's overall gameplan. This year our unit fell in with the "legs" from G Company, 137th Infantry and a few Russian troops. Our first scenario had us fighting for the bridge at Stavelot. Our squad Bazooka team led by Will and Matt made effective use of our new anti-vehicle weapon by neutralizing multiple German vehicles throughout the day. We fought through wooded areas, unsuccessfully attacked the town of Recht, and stopped for some rations in the field by 1230. Our afternoon scenarios had us guarding roads against German advances and finally attacking through a marshy swamp area into the teeth of the German defenses. The five proud members of H/507 marched together back to the barracks at the end of the day. We all hit the hot showers and got dressed in our Class A's for the evening's dinner. As always we were served up heaping piles of spaghetti with meat sauce, green beans, fresh bread, cookies, and the famous "hot" pickles. It's seriously one of the best and most memorable meals I eat all year long, right up there with Thanksgiving. A few of us wound the night down by watching "Battle of the Bulge" which is laughably bad but fun to watch among buddies. It was another great experience and by the ride home our minds were already racing with new ideas of how to make it even better next year.
On Saturday, April 20, a few of the World War 2 Guys hit the field for a little spring training. Jon, Fisk and Eric headed up to Ft. Atkinson for some morning fun. The uniform of the day was HBT Coveralls, Helmets, and Jump Boots replicating the look of the typical 507th trooper at Alliance Army Air Field in April 1943. We started the day by giving Fisk a tour of the fort and it's buildings and attractions. We did some field marching and held a little unit meeting under a grand old tree. We then covered unit hand signals and discussed upcoming events. We finished the day back up on the parade ground throwing around the baseball a little. We didn't have enough guys to do much but it was still great to get outside and take in the beautiful spring weather.
On Sunday, January 20, the World War 2 Guys hit the frozen fields of eastern Nebraska in hopes of recreating some scenes from the Battle of the Bulge. The day could not have been more perfect! Frigid temperatures combined with a biting wind, plenty of snow on the ground, and active snowfall throughout the morning made for an ideal day. We made our way over snow covered hills until we got to an intersection in a hollow where we set up an outpost. A few our our 507th troopers worked on digging a foxhole while Sergeant Green worked on building a small fire. A short while later, hot coffee was passed around the men which was much appreciated. We were able to fire the new squad Bazooka for the first time and our M1s and Thompson were chirping as well. After a satisfying morning, we finally made our way back from the front and headed home. It was definitely one of the best winter immersion events we've ever done! BRRRRR!!!
Read all about the great events that the World War 2 Guys take part in throughout the year.