The weekend of September 2-3 was the much anticipated 9th Annual Timeline Weekend at Ft. Atkinson State Historical Park. After enjoying a few weeks of pleasant late August weather, we were finally hit with some more extreme temps throughout the weekend which might have impacted crowd attendance. Joe was once again sporting his top notch 5th Special Forces Group impression and hooch display. Steve Cox was representing the U.S. Marine Corps in the Vietnam War once again with his extensive display layout. Jeff was out on Saturday in a World War II infantryman kit. And Eric represented the U.S. Navy pilots of Task Force 77 in the Korean War. We all enjoyed a great picnic dinner for the participating reenactors on Saturday night, which was followed by a fun night of hanging out until after sunset. Sunday warmed-up quickly and visitors to the park were sadly pretty sparse. We headed out a bit earlier than expected, but it was great to be back at the fort and rekindle a lot of great friendships with fellow living historians.
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, October 15, Eric and Joe headed out to the beautiful outdoors for a quick Vietnam photo shoot. The focus for this event was the 173rd Airborne Brigade in the fall of 1965. This was around the time of Operation Hump which began on November 5, 1965. Staff Sergeant Krelle was wearing the classic OG-107 Utility Uniform with Corcoran black leather jump boots. SP4 Quinn was wearing the 1st Pattern Jungle Fatigues with 2nd Pattern Jungle Boots. It was a gorgeous day with all of the fall colors in their full majesty.
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 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 Tuesday, March 29, Eric and Joe attended the official groundbreaking ceremony for the new Nebraska Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the Sumtur Amphitheater in Papillion, Nebraska. Eric was representing a US Marine from 1965 in his OG-107 utility uniform and Joe was representing a US Army soldier for the late war period in his ERDL jungle fatigues. In attendance were hundreds of local Vietnam veterans accompanied by their loved ones. It was truly impressive seeing so many Vietnam veterans gathered together at one time! Nebraska Governor, Pete Ricketts, gave an inspired opening speech and then former US Senator and former US Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, gave the keynote address. Hagel and his brother, Tom, served together in the 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam. The future memorial will sit atop the hill which overlooks the Sumtur Amphitheater. If all goes as planned, the memorial will be dedicated on March 29, 2023 which is designated as National Vietnam War Veterans Day across the nation.
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, 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.
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.
Read all about the great events that the World War 2 Guys take part in throughout the year.