On the weekend of September 3-4, the World War 2 Guys were back in action for one of our favorite events of the year. The 8th Annual Timeline Weekend at Fort Atkinson has become one of the best events we do to display a huge variety of time periods and impression. Joe, Will, and Jeff were at the fort on Saturday displaying lots of great pieces from the Civil War up through Vietnam. The fort once again hosted a much-appreciated picnic dinner Saturday night for all of the reenactors which is always a great time. Then later Saturday evening, several of us sat and talked over drinks and music out in front of our unit's new U.S. Small Wall Tent. It was a really fun night and it felt so great to be among so many friends. Sunday morning there was hot coffee and donuts provided by Eric and Matt who were portraying two B-24 bomber crewmen from the 93rd Bomb Group. There were a lot of visitors throughout the weekend and the weather was exceptionally nice for this time of year in Nebraska. We are already eagerly awaiting our return to this event next year!
On Sunday, September 12, the World War 2 Guys were invited to celebrate the 20th Anniversary re-dedication of the Andrew Jackson Higgins Memorial in Columbus, Nebraska. Our participants for the day were Mark representing the "Big Red One" of the 1st Infantry Division on D-Day, Cody representing the U.S. Marine Corps in World War II, and Eric representing the 1st Cavalry Division in the Korean War. The park and memorial in Columbus were beautiful and the public interaction was great as well. It was very rewarding to show off the uniforms, weapons and equipment of our soldiers and marines who rode Higgins Boats to the battlefield in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
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, September 5, the World War 2 Guys took part in our 6th annual Ft. Atkinson Timeline Day. This year we had Matt portraying an airman of the 10th Air Force, Nate portraying a WWII US Marine, Jeff portraying a US Army infantryman, Cody portraying a member of No. 3 Commando, and Eric portraying a Green Beret from the 5th Special Forces Group. The morning weather was really nice and we had quite a few visitors to our display. But by the afternoon temps got pretty toasty and it was a little uncomfortable. Nevertheless, it was a great day to get out and interact with the public during a year when we haven't had as many chances.
On Saturday, July 4, the World War 2 Guys celebrated Independence Day back at our favorite neighborhood parade for Field Cub's reverse parade or EDARAP as they called it. The plan was for neighborhood residents and visitors to either drive or walk a pre-planned parade route to see all of the cool front yard displays and patriotic spirit throughout the historic neighborhood. For our group we had Will and Conner representing WWII, Cody representing the Marines in the Korean War, and Eric representing the Vietnam War. It was nice to be back out on the 4th of July in our hometown and nice to see so many smiling faces and waves from passers by!
On Saturday, June 8, the World War 2 Guys came together to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day invasion with a display at the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum. In attendance were Will representing the 82nd Airborne Division, Cody representing the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, Jon representing the French Resistance, Jeff representing the 2nd Armored Division, Matt representing the 1st Infantry Division, and Eric representing the 4th Infantry Division. Our display tables drew a steady and enthusiastic crowd throughout the morning and early afternoon as our team talked through various pieces of equipment, weapons, and uniforms. Eric's two sons joined our group for the day and enjoyed all the great aircraft at the museum as well. It was another fun chance to get together and spend some a few hours honoring all the brave heroes of D-Day!
On Saturday, March 16, the World War 2 Guys helped out with the SAC Aerospace Museum's Aircraft Adventures Day focused on the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. Eric and Jeff set up a small table display dedicated to U.S. Army Air Force equipment, uniforms, manuals, and personal items. Jeff wore his HBT Coveralls and an A3 Mechanic's Cap to portray a B-17 mechanic and Eric dressed in an A-4 Flight Suit, Mae West, and Service Cap to honor the B-17 aircrews. The morning started with an excellent presentation by a SAC Museum curator covering the history and role of the B-17 in World War II. Then visitors were allowed to get close up views of the B-17 at it's nose, front hatch, bomb bay, and rear waist door. Jeff and I took turns hanging out on the bomb bay catwalk talking with visitors as they passed underneath us. It was a great day and an amazing chance to get inside one of the most iconic airplanes of all time.
On Saturday, September 1, the World War 2 Guys participated in our 4th Annual Ft. Atkinson Timeline Living History Weekend. In attendance this year were Matt as a Marine on Saipan, Jeff as a Infantryman, Jon as a Maquis French Resistance Fighter, and Eric as a US Army LRRP (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol) team member in Vietnam. We set up a small row of shelter halves and a Vietnam poncho shelter next to Steve Cox's impressive Korean War display. New this year was a visit from the Omaha Police Helicopter, food trucks, and more reenactors from various time periods. The weather was ungodly humid and mixed with no wind and high temperatures, it made for a very uncomfortable day to be outside. Our group took part in a noon firing display and we were invited to the daily whiskey ration distribution at 15:30. It was another great event at the fort and one that we will definitely continue to attend.
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 Saturday, April 7 the World War 2 Guys took part in our first ever B-29 Living History Crew at the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum. In attendance were our pilot, Matt, our Bombardier, Will, our Navigator, Eric, our Flight Engineer, Jeff, our Side Gunners, Chris and Jon, and our Tail Gunner, Cody. We had an excellent display of U.S. Army Air Force uniforms, flight equipment, books, manuals, and personal effects. We had great interactions with lots of interested museum visitors, many of whom praised our efforts and the quality of our display. The highlight of our day was undoubtedly meeting Lt. Wesley "Bob" Reisser, a B-17 pilot from the 8th Air Force's 452nd Bomb Group. Bob flew 28 missions from January 15 through April 16, 1945 along with three food drop missions on May 2, 3, and 6. Bob is 96 years old but spoke with a youthful exuberance about his flying days in World War II. As always, it's an incredible honor to speak with a World War II veteran like Bob. Our group will return to the SAC Museum on June 9 for a D-Day Airborne themed exhibit and then bring our Living History Crew back to the museum next year.
Read all about the great events that the World War 2 Guys take part in throughout the year.