On Saturday, June 9, the World War 2 Guys celebrated D-Day at the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum with a D-Day themed display. Joining us for his first event was Chris and his retired service dog, Ravi, along with regulars Jeff, Will, Matt and Eric. Our display was focused on the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment showcasing uniforms, equipment, weapons, and personal items used during the Normandy campaign. The event was well attended by the public with lots of visitors to our tables and demonstrations by the museum's restored Douglas C-47 Skytrain. It was an excellent event and a great way to give the public a little glimpse of what it was like to be a World War II paratrooper. Airborne all the way!!!
On Sunday, May 20, the World War 2 Guys held an open photo shoot day up in Ft. Calhoun. The concept was that each member could wear any uniform or time period of their choosing and we would take lots of great photos to document each impression. The weather was unseasonably cooler with overcast skies with a slight drizzle from time to time. Jeff was portraying an infantryman from the 82nd Airborne Division in Normandy circa 1944. Jon was portraying a U.S. Navy Corpsman from the 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal circa 1942. Cody was portraying a British infantryman from the Hampshire Regiment circa 1944. And Eric was portraying a line infantryman from the 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam circa 1969. The photo shoot went even better than expected and we got tons and tons of great photos, and then later that night Eric's phone, with all of the photos on it, went wacko and died. Everything was lost. Fortunately, Jeff was taking some photos as well so this is all that we have from the shoot. Thanks Jeff for saving the day and capturing some of the great moments. We'll certainly have to try this again another time.
The evening of Saturday, June 4, the boys of B Company, 507th Parachute Infantry dropped into Normandy, France near the established 507th objective on Drop Zone T. The men of the company were scattered over a wide area due to heavy German flak as well as poorly marked drop zones. Fortunately, some of the troopers were able to find each other and form a small squad led by Staff Sergeant Krelle. No officers were found in the immediate area. After reconnoitering near a German radar station, our small band pushed to the west toward our main objective, a battery of German 88s which had been discovered by recent arial photo reconnaissance. Upon reaching the location hidden in a grove of cedar trees, we found that the guns had been moved out before our arrival. Our squad decided to hold up for a few hours to see if more lost paratroopers would arrive. We then pushed to the south and found a defensible position where we dug in for the night. Intermittent German gunfire was heard in the distance so Cpl. Hazard, Pvt. Paul, and SSgt. Krelle scouted the area to see what we could find. We engaged a small band of German troops near a ridge line to the northeast of our position and then headed back to our lines. We caught a few hours of shut eye before the sun's first rays rose to greet us. We then grabbed our gear and pushed to the north in search of the rest of the 507th. A short while later, we encountered another group of Germans who we captured and searched for intelligence. They didn't have much on them but we did enjoy liberating a pretty nice flag of theirs as a war trophy.
The boys of B Company, 507th PIR gathered for a rather unique event the evening of Sunday, April 24. We assembled all six of our reinforced M42 jump uniforms to treat them with a canvas waterproofing solution called Canvak. The whole purpose of this event was to get our jump suits to more closely resemble the gas impregnated uniforms worn by the real 507th guys on D-Day. The CC-2 gas impregnating chemicals used on the uniforms would darken the color of the fabric, seal up the fibers making them less breathable, and most noticeably caused the uniforms to stink! We used both a dunk tank technique as well as a hand-brushed method to really get the uniforms coated. Once finished, we let them hang dry while we relaxed over some cool refreshments. All of our hard work was supervised by our new unit mascot, our favorite Brittany Spaniel, Buzz.
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!
The men of the 2nd I.D. Living History Association gathered at Omaha's famous Durham Museum on Sunday, June 8. Our purpose for the day was to provide an interpretive display honoring the 70th Anniversary of D-Day. The highlight of the day was seeing Jeff's replica steel hedgehogs for the first time. The two hedgehogs, hand-built by Jeff out of wood, were extremely impressive and really set the stage for our display. As a group we were able to represent the 2nd Infantry Division, the 29th Infantry Division, the 101st Airborne Division, Armored Divisions and the 2nd Ranger Battalion. It was a great chance to interact with the public, to get out ALL of our D-Day gear, and to pay tribute to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice on June 6, 1944.
Will, Casey and I jumped (from a truck) into Normandy (Ft. Calhoun, Nebraska) to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of D-Day on the night of Saturday, June 7. We geared up for the event to portray paratroopers from F Company, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment. For our first objective, Will and I were dropped in the middle of field at 2300 hours and told to go find a concrete bunker and destroy it. The half moon and clear skies provided us with enough light to make our way through snarled woods, along grassy tree lines and over winding muddy fields. We met up with Casey a short while later with the help of our little brass crickets - an item issued to the 101st Airborne for the invasion. Remember: one click is to be answered by two clicks! The three of us finally found the German bunker and then pushed to the southeast throughout the night and finally made it to our second objective, Causeway #2, a little after 0200. We held the ground around the causeway with the deep sounds of bullfrogs and crickets lulling us into a light sleep. The combination of the cold ground and our wet clothing made the night rather uncomfortable with temperatures dipping below 55 degrees. We gathered up our gear by 0430 and then pushed on further to the south. The sun finally rose to greet us just before 0600 as we ate some rations and finished our 7 hour mission. It was a memorable event and one that I have been wanting to do for about 15 years. This was my first experience reenacting as an Airborne unit in the field and I found it to be really enjoyable. I'll have to make a few minor tweaks to my uniform and gear for future events but everyone had a great night!
Read all about the great events that the World War 2 Guys take part in throughout the year.