82nd Airborne Division 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment WWII Reenactors

82nd Airborne Division 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment WWII Reenactors A WWII Re-enactment Group Our goal is to use World War II re-enacting as an educational tool. Our hope is to bring both the participant and the viewer to a time in the past.
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To bring back to life, at least in some measure, life as it was like for a member of the service during the Second World War. We engage in numerous activities; from staging mock battles, to providing demonstrations, as well as participating in parades and displays. It is also our goal to help those interested in participating to establish a reenacting impression, thereby continuing to teach others about life during World War II.

To bring back to life, at least in some measure, life as it was like for a member of the service during the Second World War. We engage in numerous activities; from staging mock battles, to providing demonstrations, as well as participating in parades and displays. It is also our goal to help those interested in participating to establish a reenacting impression, thereby continuing to teach others about life during World War II.

Operating as usual

Photos from 82nd Airborne 505th Historical Regimental Combat Team's post
07/09/2021

Photos from 82nd Airborne 505th Historical Regimental Combat Team's post

Just an example of what made the paratroops a force to be reckoned with.
06/23/2021

Just an example of what made the paratroops a force to be reckoned with.

Timeline Photos
06/07/2021

Timeline Photos

″All I remember is taking bridges, crossroads and hills." Kenneth "Rock" Merritt⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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www.wetsu.co

06/02/2021

(JUNE 01, 2021) VETERAN OF THE DAY -- Once silent, World War II veteran opens up about Normandy. Wilton Johnson, a corporal with the 82nd Airborne Division, jumped on D-Day and reached Germany before the war’s end.

While King George VI visited victorious Allied troops in Normandy 10 days after they drove the N***s off French beaches, Wilton Johnson of Menlo Park marched north on the peninsula toward his next mission past tall hedgerows on war-torn roads with the faint rat tat tat of gunfire in the distance.

As part of a machine gun platoon for the 82nd Airborne Division, Johnson and his men — just hours after landing in France during the historic Normandy Invasion — attacked a roadblock set up near the German-occupied town of Sainte-Mère-Église.

They took the town and Johnson was photographed in front of the town’s church. Then more danger lurked, as he and his squad walked in drainage ditches next to a road amid the thuds of artillery in the distance.

Suddenly there was a flash of light and everything went dark. A mortar shell tore through his friend Herman Young of Texas, killing him, and left Johnson with a gaping wound in his back.

“It just happened, like that,” Johnson, now 97 and one of the few remaining World War II veterans in the Bay Area, said in a recent interview at his Palo Alto home.

“Fortunately, someone, one of the members in my squad, stuffed a piece of cloth or something in my back to stop the bleeding. If it wasn’t for that, I would’ve died.”

“That was all of Normandy for me,” he said.

Like many people of his time, Johnson has never told the story of his war days. “It’s something you’d rather forget,” he said with a distant look in his eyes. But with memories from the war fading, Johnson felt the urge to tell his story ahead of Memorial Day.

“There aren’t many of us left,” he explained. “It’s time.”

Johnson recalled jumping out of an airplane with more than 13,000 other paratroopers right after midnight on June 6, 1944, taking part in the enormous invasion that turned the tide of the European Theater and has been mythologized in American film, video games and popular culture since.

The jump on D-Day wasn’t his first and the wounds he suffered in France wouldn’t be his last.

He was just 18 when he felt compelled by patriotic pressure to enlist and fight in the war. At the time, he was living with his parents — Dust Bowl refugees from North Dakota — and working for Southern Pacific Lines in San Francisco while also helping out at a gas station in Menlo Park when he could. Then one day in April 1942, Wilton took a train to an office building in downtown San Francisco and signed up.

“I thought about enlisting after Pearl Harbor, but I wasn’t old enough,” Johnson said. “When I turned 18, I just felt it was my duty to serve. I wasn’t nervous or anything. I was determined to do it. I had accepted it was what I had to do.”

At first, he operated a watchtower over Menlo Park at a time when California feared a Japanese attack. But before he knew it, Johnson was headed to Monterey and later San Miguel for basic training at Camp Roberts.

After months of training and doing five qualifying jumps out of a Douglas C-47, Johnson went overseas to Casablanca, though he didn’t see any fighting. But when Allied troops readied for an assault on mainland Europe in July 1943, Johnson found himself in an olive orchard outside Tunisia preparing to jump into Sicily.

Those jumps were nothing compared to the one in Normandy.

Having staved off serious war injuries until then, Johnson wasn’t expecting the months-long, harrowing recovery he’d go through after that mortar shell punched a hole into his back. He received his first Purple Heart medal in England and a Bronze Star a couple of weeks after fighting deep inside enemy territory in Normandy.

On the Ruhr river near the town of Schmidt, Germany, he was wounded again. It was an injury he couldn’t bring himself to talk about, and by the time he recovered, the war was winding down and Johnson was sent home.

There, Johnson started working at the old gas station again before joining the fire department. Transitioning from the battlefields to buying groceries in Menlo Park after 1945 “was a little difficult,” Johnson said.

“I guess I still had itchy feet,” he said.

Johnson went through multiple jobs — including as a mortician at one point and a merchant marine sailor at another — until finally settling down as a U.S. Post Office mailman for 27 years. He married his wife, Clara Johnson, after the war and had three daughters, Sharon Webster, Hannah Limon and Judith Johnson, and bought a home in Palo Alto where he’s lived since.

Webster, Johnson’s eldest daughter, said in an interview that her father never talked about the war to any of his children. Describing him as a quiet, reserved father, Webster said Johnson “was there, but he wasn’t really there.” Johnson would come home, read the mail, pay the bills, watch the news and eat dinner, always asking about how everyone’s day went but never talking about how his went.

Webster suspects her dad has pent-up emotions he’s never dealt with, and skeletons in closets they’ll likely never know about. As the wife of a Vietnam War veteran, Webster said she can tell her father “Definitely” showed signs of post-traumatic stress.

“But he covered it well,” Webster said. “Very well. My dad would’ve been a different person if he’d talked about it. I don’t think World War II veterans got the counseling they really needed.”

It was only after she’d grown older and went with Johnson to the 50th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy in 1994 that she truly got to know her dad. Touring different cemeteries across northern France, Webster watched as Johnson — stoically silent and somber — suddenly teared up remembering the people he lost.

“It was something that I’ll never forget,” Webster said. “It just opened my eyes to what my dad went through. We loved and respected him very much, but none of us really knew him. That’s the first time he opened up, and it was the first time I really got to know him as not my dad but as a person.”

“I didn’t know my dad was a hero,” Webster added. “He was just Dad.”

Jerome Strom, a Korean War veteran and close friend of Johnson for 50 years, told him candidly during a joint interview, “I know you don’t talk about it much, but I’ve always admired you.” Whenever they talked, it was mostly business.

Asked why veterans like him don’t talk about the war, Johnson said, “Some of them, like me, have had experiences they would just as soon forget. … I haven’t talked much about it with anyone before. We had an organization (of veterans), but it has dwindled and is probably depleted now. Time does that.”

“Every Day is MEMORIAL Day”
The Greatest GENERATIONS Foundation
Web: www.TGGF.org

05/18/2021

Sainte-Mere-Eglise became involved in the invasion in the night of 5 to 6 June 1944, as D-Day began. American parachutists were being dropped all around the area, and in the village itself. On the night before D-Day, the town was a target of the 82nd Airborne Division. During the night a house in the east of the town square was on fire. The church bell was rung. Around 01:00 o’clock the first US paratrooper were dropped in error directly over the village. John Steele was one of these paratrooper. His parachute was caught in one of the pinnacles of the church tower. Around 04:00 o‘clock the town was liberated. Since the D-Day landing many speculations have arisen around John Steele and his landing and the town of Ste.-Mere-Eglise. One thing is certain, St.-Mere-Eglise is one of the most visited villages and one of the most famous landmarks of the landing beaches.
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#combathistory #tower #duty #kirche #ddayhistory #instagood #instadaily #photooftheday #photography #operationoverlord #normandie #normandy #lestweforget #paratrooper #fantastic #daily #history #instahistory #normandietourisme #liberation #church

Photos from D-Day Overlord - Marc Laurenceau's post
05/09/2021

Photos from D-Day Overlord - Marc Laurenceau's post

Photos from WWII Airborne Demonstration Team's post
04/26/2021

Photos from WWII Airborne Demonstration Team's post

Photos from The 82nd Airborne Division in WW2's post
04/22/2021

Photos from The 82nd Airborne Division in WW2's post

Head on over to https://www.militaryhistory.network/82ab to check out a new social media platform friendly to military h...
02/03/2021
Military History Network

Head on over to https://www.militaryhistory.network/82ab to check out a new social media platform friendly to military history and reenacting. With the ridiculousness of Facebook's "community standards," we're looking into transitioning to this platform. It's worth checking out.

The New Social Platform For Military History Enthusiasts

WWII Airborne Demonstration Team
01/21/2021

WWII Airborne Demonstration Team

There’s always debate about precisely what equipment paratroopers carried when they jumped into combat during WWII. There were standard issue items. But then there was what any soldier could scrounge. Some units encouraged scrounging more than others. And, that caused many jumpers to parachute into war with gear that they soon realized they didn't need.

Ammunition, as you can imagine, was the one item paratroopers always needed, and that’s what drove most of their weight load. Adding ammunition and a weapon to the list below easily brought a paratrooper’s load from an initial 70 lbs to 120+ lbs, depending on the weapon system involved.

Here’s a short list of what a paratrooper equipped with an M1 Garand Rifle carried. Variations did exist. We know that you’ll let us know!

In a paratrooper’s pockets:

- Switchblade pocket knife
- Spoon
- Razor
- Socks
- Rifle cleaning patches
- Flashlight
- Escape map and other maps as issued
- Three-day supply of K-rations
- Emergency ration package (four chocolate bars, a pack of Charms, powdered coffee, sugar, and matches)
- Compass
- Two fragmentation gr***des
- Anti-tank mine
- Smoke gr***de or Gammon bomb (sometimes strapped to the soldier’s leg instead)
- Ci******es, two cartons per man

For load bearing gear a Soldier wore:

- Ammunition belt and suspenders
- Canteen
- Shovel
- First aid kit
- Extra combat bandage
- Bayonet
- Musette Bag
- Let down rope, 30’

In the Musette Bag:

- Rain Coat
- Underwear
- Sometimes TNT
- Extra Ammunition
- Anything that couldn’t fit in the soldier’s pockets.

Over this went his parachute harness, parachute on the back and reserve on the front.

Before putting on the reserve, a paratrooper’s M1 Garand was broken down and stored in a Griswald bag, was placed against his chest and, was affixed to his parachute harness. It was worn at an angle with the reserve worn over it as shown here.

A gas mask was strapped to a paratrooper's left leg and a trench-knife to his right outer calf.

Over everything he wore his Mae West life jacket.

Lastly, was his helmet and his parachutists gloves.

Light infantry has never been light. But it has always gone All The Way.

Photo, Hump Day back in the day. Gearing up for jump ops at our home at Frederick Army Airfield, Frederick, OK. By Gina Lee

WWII Airborne Demonstration Team
12/19/2020

WWII Airborne Demonstration Team

SOIL IS THE MEMORY of the land. This small marker is typical of some of the markers in the Ardennes that identify where different Allied units dug in during the Battle of the Bulge. This one identifies an area north of Bastogne where 76 years ago today, December 19, 1944, the 82nd Airborne Division arrived and prepared to face a fast-approaching N**i SS Panzer onslaught.

Lacking reliable reconnaissance, regiments of the 82nd fanned out in a pattern like spokes on a wheel. The 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment took the northern most route. To their right in succession was 505th, 508th, and the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment. Their mission was to find the enemy before the enemy found them. This made the 82nd's task one that pushed the limits of Airborne strategy and tactics in hostile weather conditions that challenged them throughout. The "All Americans", however, stood their ground.

As the 82nd continued its efforts, N**i incursions kept cutting through their lines. But, as records indicate, N**i officers were amazed at how the 82nd troops refused to budge. The 82nd was truly comfortable being surrounded and continually fired at whatever they happened to encounter. They destroyed N**i armor on the spot. And, when they didn’t, they sent it and its supporting infantry back to where it came from.

On Christmas Eve it became necessary for the 82nd to undertake a strategic withdrawal. At a strength of 8,520 men, they were facing an opposing force of 43,000. N**i forces engaged in a fast pursuit. But that wore them down, exhausting men and wasting fuel. This was compounded by some units being pulled away to pursue General Patton’s forces which were attacking in the south near Bastogne. On January 3, the 82nd reversed course and launched a counterattack that led to the capture of 2,400 N**i prisoners.

There’s a famous story about an American tank that was retreating during the Battle of the Bulge. It came upon a soldier from the 82nd Airborne who was digging a foxhole. As the tank rolled by, the soldier yelled out to the tank commander: "Are you looking for a safe place?" The tank commander said, “Yeah.” The soldier replied, “Well, buddy, just pull your tank in behind me. I'm the 82nd Airborne, and this is as far as the b-stards are going!"

That soldier’s proud words were not empty bravado. The 82nd showed a level of tenacity and tactical excellence during the Battle of the Bulge that earned them a reputation that stays with them today as America’s Guard of Honor. But this reputation came at a price. Division casualties were extreme. Whole units like the 551st Parachute Infantry Regiment were destroyed during the battle and never recovered.

There are monuments to the 82nd Airborne and its regiments throughout Europe. But no monument can take the place of the very soil these men fought on. It is hallowed ground, along with rest of the entire 85-mile front.

Photo by permission and with gratitude to US Army Veteran Titus Childers of Titus Childers Photography

WW II uncovered
12/12/2020

WW II uncovered

Pvt. John C Rodrigues, Pawtuckett, R.I., gives two weary paratroopers their first taste of GI food in 37 days. They were captured by the Germans the latter part of D-Day, escaped after several days imprisonment during a night march, living off raw potatoes most of the time. They contacted US forces on July 15th 1944. Left to right: Sgt. Robert D. Henderson, Seattle, WA, and Sgt. Havrill W. Lazenby, Nashville, TN. 505th Parachute Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. July 17th, 1944.

#ww2uncovered #WWII #ww2 #worldwar2 #worldwartwo #WorldWarII #dday #Hero #82airborne #wwiihistory #wwii #heroes #lestweforget #ww2veteran #ww2vet #ww2history #usarmy #82ndairborne #usarmyvet #82ndairbornedivision

Original description and photo sourced by US Signal Corps

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!
11/27/2020

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!

Happy Thanksgiving 🦃

WETSU Airborne Community
11/25/2020

WETSU Airborne Community

July 11th, 1943. Biazza, Sicily.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Jack "Beaver" Thompson talks with Col. James Gavin on Biazza Ridge.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Thompson, 35, had just jumped into combat with the 82nd Airborne as a war correspondent for the Chicago Tribune. He would push through the invasion of Sicily with the men of the 505th PIR having previously jumped with the 509th into North Africa. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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He would go on to land with the 1st Infantry Division on D-Day, was one of the first correspondents into Buchenwald after liberation, and was there for the link up of US and Russian troops at the Elbe.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Sicily, however, was his final jump of the war.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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www.wetsu.co

National WWI Museum and Memorial
11/11/2020

National WWI Museum and Memorial

A quick history of Veterans Day: Firing on the Western Front ended on 11/11/18. After 4 years of fighting, an eerie silence fell across the battlefields of Europe. As victory news spread, great crowds poured into the streets in Allied cities to celebrate Germany's signing of the Armistice.

Celebration soon turned to sober remembrance of all that was lost. Armistice Day was officially recognized by Wilson in 1919. Congress established it as a federal holiday in 1938. A few years after WWII, Veterans Day was officially designated to honor vets of all American wars.

WETSU Airborne Community
10/13/2020

WETSU Airborne Community

During the Battle of the Bulge, the 82nd Airborne Division was digging in along the front lines in Ardennes while three other divisions on offense (the 7th Armored Division, the 9th Armored Division, the 106th Division) moved to the rear. A tank destroyer from the 7th Armored Division moving back passed a lone 82nd trooper digging a foxhole. The vehicle commander stopped the vehicle and asked the trooper if this was the frontline. The trooper, Private First Class Thomas Martin, Company F, 325th Glider Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division, replied, “Are you looking for a safe place?” The tank destroyer commander replied that he was. Martin said “Well, buddy, just pull your vehicle behind me. I am the 82nd Airborne and this is as far as the bastards are going.”⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Decades after the Battle of the Bulge, the quote was placed on the this image with a cool picture of a dirty, tough trooper named Private First Vernon K. Haught, also in the Division's 325th Glider Regiment. The picture was taken in January, 1945 near Ordimont, Belgium. Haught was returning from guard duty in the image.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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It wasn't until the mid-1960s, when this poster became popular, that the "....this is far as the bastards are going" quote would become part of All American lore.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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www.wetsu.co

Address

119 W Central Ave
El Dorado, KS
67042

General information

Currently we are a small group looking towards expanding. We are searching for new recruits, and to help those recruits establish themselves as a re-enactor. It is our duty to educate those interested, and to teach them the skills needed to be a World War II-era soldier. Military experience is not a necessary requirement to fall in ("AKA" to join) If Interested in joining our unit you can contact our Lieutenant at, (316 )640-0666

Products

We provide several services, static displays for events, demonstrations, mock battles, and educational information regarding the basic soldier during the Second World War. If you are interested in having our group attend at an event you are hosting please contact our Lieutenant.

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Comments

D-Day Normandy 76 Years Later: Paratrooper Robert 'Bobby' Warner 82nd Airborne Division, 3rd Battalion, Company G, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment. PFC Robert 'Bobby' Warner made all 3 combat jumps with the 82nd Airborne in Western Europe during WWII, Operation Overlord Normandy on D-Day France 6/6/1944, Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands 9/17/1944, and Operation Varsity in Rhineland Germany the last jump 3/24/1945, all under heavy machine gun fire by N**i SS troops. Combat wounded PFC Robert 'Bobby' Warner also fought with the 82nd Airborne at the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes forest, Belgium 12/16/1944. [https://billwarnerpi.blogspot.com/2020/06/d-day-normandy-76-years-later-june-6.html](https://billwarnerpi.blogspot.com/2020/06/d-day-normandy-76-years-later-june-6.html?fbclid=IwAR1QwFoaSynim3S2vVHh-ZVr9uMNtcZwZqx8uzQY6N6e2jMdwyoQfcPX1UE)
I have a group photo of Company D, 82nd Inf "T(I)nq. BN." 2nd platoon at ACamp Roberts California, May 1942 with about 60 signatures. How doe I obtain a roster for this unit?
My Grandfather was a pathfinder in C company. His name was Wiley C Brooks. Would love to come and out see you guys sometime.
Looking forward to saturday guys !! ......
Looking forward to saturday guys !!.......
2LT William J. "Bill" Brunsman / 82nd - 505 PIR - 3rd BAT - I CO on D-Day. Making his 3rd Jump with the 505.
My grandfather's picture of the 505th PIR. He was in I company.