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 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!
On Saturday, March 11, the World War 2 Guys kicked off their 2023 season at the 144th Annual Omaha St. Patrick's Day Parade organized by the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Our line-up for the day included Jerrimy, Will, Eric, Matt, Cody, and Jacob who was joining us for the first time. The story of the day was the weather which was typically nasty for March in Nebraska. Temps were hovering in the low 30s with continuous rain for the whole parade. Thanks to Uncle Sam, our M1943 uniforms incorporating the layering principle kept us pretty warm, however our toes and fingers still got a little numb. Our uniform for the day was focused on the 17th Airborne Division at Operation Varsity in late March 1945. Two of the notable features of this uniform are the American Flag worn on the right sleeve and the Parachute First Aid Packet tied to the front of the helmet net. The parade itself was quick and enjoyable with hundreds of enthusiastic spectators braving the cold, wet morning to support a favorite Omaha tradition. Afterwards our group tried to get into the Dubliner for a pint, but they were overcrowded so we had to find another venue. So the boys from H Company headed west and snuggled into a nice Party Room table at The Brazenhead. With Guinness all around, some Reubens, and some cold Bangers and Mash our squad spent an enjoyable lunch hour together talkin' Army stuff and events to come.
On Monday, July 4, the World War 2 Guys were back at our favorite 4th of July Parade in Omaha's Historic Field Club Neighborhood. This year we decided to go big and reenact the famous Iwo Jima flag raising! Our flag raisers for the day were Joe as Cpl. Harlon Block, Cody as Cpl. Harold "Pie" Keller, Matt as Pfc. Franklin Sousley, Eric as Pfc. Harold Henry Schultz, and Will as Sgt. Michael Strank. As the parade began, every 30-40 yards we called out, "Put it up Marines!" and raised the flag, holding it for a few seconds in the now-famous pose seen in Joe Rosenthal's photograph. The patriotic parade goers loved it and cheered us as they saw Old Glory go up. After the parade ended, we found out that our group won First Place in the reenactment category. Our group was definitely excited to finally win a ribbon for our efforts.
On Saturday, May 28, the World War 2 Guys marched in Omaha's 2nd Annual Memorial Weekend Parade through downtown Omaha. After tossing around a few other ideas, we decided to go with a timeline walk again this year. Our representative soldiers were Will for World War II, Cody for the Korean War, Eric for the Vietnam War, and Mark for Desert Storm. The crowds were huge once again and the weather was about as nice as you could get for a Saturday morning parade! We'll certainly be back again next year.
On Saturday, April 23, the World War 2 Guys were excited and honored to be a part of a ceremony remembering the 51 members of the 73rd Cavalry Regiment who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the Global War on Terror. The event took place at Omaha's beautiful Memorial Park near the Airborne Memorial. 51 new bricks were unveiled directly behind the Airborne trooper statue in a moving ceremony. To assist with the unveiling were Jerrimy representing a World War II paratrooper of the 82nd Airborne Division, Eric representing an 82nd trooper from 1965 in the Dominican Republic, and Joe representing an 82nd trooper from 1983 in Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada. It was a great event to be associated with and a pleasure to help recognize and remember those who have given their lives in the service of our country.
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.
Read all about the great events that the World War 2 Guys take part in throughout the year.