15- Memorial Day and a Tribute to a D-Day WWII Hero- Al Essig

June 13th, 2012

This episode delivers honor and recognition to a group of troopers, as well as to a single individual.

First, we wish to honor those who died in service to their country during all the wars and all the campaigns in the history of the USA.

We honored those who were KIA on 28 May 2012, at the Memorial Day 2012 ceremony at Cook-Walden’s Capital Parks cemetery in Pflugerville, Texas.  Not only did we lay the chapter’s wreath at the foot of the cross of the fallen Infantrymen (signified by the helmet, boots, pistol belt and rifle) during the final commemorative portion of the ceremony, but we also congregated with other veterans at the VFW Post 8787 location over lunch. This was a time of great camaraderie for all those who attended and participated in this event. Of course, our chapters were the only ones who came in combat uniforms, to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

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Second,  we also wish to honor a local hero on the 68th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion during WWII — the combat parachute jump by the 82nd Airborne Division on D-Day, 6 June 1944. This hero is Al Essig, who was currently in the Waco, Texas, area.

Tony Martinez, CIB, as well as Major Burke and Matt Rayson of the 82nd Airborne Division Association, prepared the award certificate for Al Essig, to honor him for his achievements as an Airborne Infantry Paratrooper and Pathfinder.

Major Burke (adjutant for LTG Caldwell from the the 82nd Airborne Division), Matt Rayson, Fred Castaneda, and former comrade-in-arms, Darrell G. Harris, presented Al Essig (even though he was in a wheelchair and in ill health) with various certificates, awards and mementos of his achievements.

Among the items delivered to Al Essig were:

– A signed book by D.G. Harris titled CASABLANCA TO VE-DAY: A PARATROOPER’S MEMOIRS, and presented to Al by D.G. Harris;

– A CD with the audio narration of the D.G. Harris book, above;

– A letter of gratitude from LTG William Caldwell, commander of the US 5th Army, as well as a commemorative coin of the 5th Army, presented to Al by Major Crispin Burke, adjutant to LTG Caldwell. Major Burke also presented the audio CD to Al.

– A flag with the spirit of the Airborne, commemorating the D-Day jump on 6 June 1944 in the invasion of Normandy, presented by Matt Rayson;

– A certificate of Appreciation and membership in the Combat Infantrymen’s Association, presented to Al by Tony Martinez; and

– The jump wings with the 4 combat jump bronze stars, presented to Al by Fred Castaneda.

– Lastly, the Pathfinder’s badge was presented to Al by CSMG Coleman from Fort Hood, Texas.

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You can listen to the audio recording of the ceremony for Al Essig by using the following link:

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Al Essig’s Awards, Badges and military achievements

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We salute Al Essig, as well as Darrell G. Harris, for their dedication, heroism and commitment during the combat operations in WWII with the 82nd Airborne Division. And we thank John Ker, who was the organizer of the event in Waco (by the way, Mr. Ker is with the Special Forces Veterans group in Waco, and he himself has 2 CIB awards, as well as jumpmaster parachute wings).

By the way, Al Essig’s experiences as a POW are highlighted in the book called STRIKE AND HOLD: A MEMOIR OF THE 82ND AIRBORNE IN WORLD WAR II by T. Moffatt Burriss.

(you can order this book from www.amazon.com)

Airborne! All the Way!  for our local heroes.

Copyright (c) 2012, 82nd Airborne Division Association. All rights reserved.

14- 82nd’s Alamo Chapter dons parachute at American Heroes Celebration-Muster Day

May 24th, 2012

In this episode of the 82nd Airborne Division Association, Alamo Chapter, podcast series, we deliver to you a very brief account of the chapter’s participation during the annual event at Camp Mabry called Muster Day / American Heroes’ Celebration.

 Thanks to Chris Koers, Matt Rayson, Dennis Dezso, Raymond Tracy, D.G. Harris, James Williamson, our guest, Therese Morgan, and Fred Castaneda for staffing the 30′ x 15′ booth which we had.

In this audio episode, you will hear about the 4 different displays and exhibits that we had:

– WWII weapons and equipment exhibit for the Airborne Infantryman in the 508th PIR for the Normandy parachute combat jump on D-Day on 6 June 1944;

– WWII equipment exhibit for a medic in the European theater, especially with the 82nd Airborne Division;

– Vietnam War exhibit of weapons and equipment used in I Corps by the 23rd Infantry Division (Americal);

– The RECRUITING DISPLAY that was created by our current Trustee, Al Pike, and which has been used during the SAXET events.

However, in addition to the exhibits and displays, the highlight was the mock door of an aircraft (created and maintained by Matt Rayson), where we helped to don a real T-10 Parachute and reserve and helmet on the attendees who wanted to see what it would be like to “hook up” and jump out with a real parachute during a training jump. We had many attendees volunteer to suit up and “stand in the door” — as our jumpmasters (Chris Koers, Dennis Dezso, Matt Rayson and Fred Castaneda) gave the orders for the preparation to jump.

We would like to show our appreciation to the team that made possible a very successful fundraising event, especially from our donations from the attendees, as well as from the sale of D.G. Harris’s book, CASABLANCA TO VE-DAY: A PARATROOPER’S MEMOIRS.

Chris Koers, Matt Rayson and Dennis Dezso all helped in explaining and describing the exhibits and displays; Raymond Tracy assisted with the parachute donning and recruiting; and James Williamson participated in hooking up again after almost 40 years.

This was a great way for the team to give back to the community by participating in an event that saw demonstrations of helicopters, re-enactments of WWII battles, and the solemnity of the Vietnam Veterans Monument, the “Moving Wall.”

Muster Day / American Heroes Celebration is an annual event, and the General Scribner Texas Military Forces Museum plays a vital part as a host and provider of content and vehicles for the WWII re-enactment. In fact, one of our members, Matt Rayson, participated in the battle as a medic for the 36th Infantry Division (for which Camp Mabry is the home) in France during the latter stages of WWII.

As you will hear in the audio episode, our next event is coming up quickly — MEMORIAL DAY on 28 May 2012. We will participate in the ceremony to lay the wreath for our fallen comrades. The event will be hosted by Cook-Walden at their Pflugerville Cemetery on Monday, 28 May 2012, starting at 11:00 hrs. (located West of exit 247 on IH-35 south of Round Rock and North of Austin, Texas). After the event, all attendees are invited to a free lunch at the VFW Post 8787.

Our next meeting will be at VFW Post 8787 (at 500 VFW Road, Austin, Texas) at 12:00 hrs. on Saturday, 9 June 2012.

See you there. Airborne! All the Way!

13- WWII Paratrooper gives back to comrades

March 24th, 2012

In this episode, we deliver an audio narration of an article that was published in THE AMERICAN LEGION Magazine at www.legion.org, pages 32 to 36.

The article is about Zane Schlemmer, who was a paratrooper in World War II that served with the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division and made 2 combat parachute jumps (i.e., D-Day at Normandy and Operation Market-Garden in Holland in 1944).

Zane also received the CIB (Combat Infantryman’s Badge) for his action in 1944–not only in the parachute assaults, but also in his fight during the Battle of The Bulge in December, 1944.  Zane was also recalled in 1950 during the Korean War and served stateside.

The article, however, highlights Zane’s recent and present contribution to his fallen comrades rather than his combat experiences.

Zane is a volunteer who supports the burials and services at cemeteries and he works a full week to give back to the fallen comrades — all veterans of all campaigns.

Now 87 years old, Zane can serve as a role-model of a trooper who braved adversities, rose above them (in combat, as well as in personal civilian life, and still can give to the community of those who served their country.

You can read the entire article from THE AMERICAN LEGION Magazine, pages 32 to 36, at www.legion.org. The story and photos are by Floyd K. Takeuchi, a writer and photographer living in Hawaii.

Copyright (C) 2012, www.legion.org and THE AMERICAN LEGION Magazine, pages 32-36, and www.cibaustin.org. All rights reserved.

14A- Paratrooper Matt Rayson – from medic to re-enactor

March 6th, 2012

The 82nd Airborne Division Association and Alamo Chapter is proud of the troopers who served in any campaign during the 20th Century. This also goes for the medics that were part of the life-saving efforts for the infantryman.

Matt Rayson, the past vice-Chairman of the Alamo Chapter, was a medic in the Division. He also is a re-enactor that has participated in events and mock battles–but more than that, he wears the uniform of the 82nd Airborne Division trooper and medic during the World War II re-enactment events.

As an example, he has been very involved in The Texas Forces Museum at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas. For the last several years, he has participated in the mock battles of World War II re-enactment on the side of the Allies as part of the 36th Infantry Division personnel, and as a medic. In April of 2011, not only did he participate in the re-enactment of the conflict in France, but he also was instrumental in having our senior member of the Chapter, Darrell G. Harris, recognized and honored as a guest veteran from the European theatre of World War II.

You can see a video of Matt Rayson with DG Harris during this event.

Here is the link to the video:

http://bit.ly/muSd8c

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Having spent a lot of time in his youth while growing up, Matt was in Puerto Rico, and thus, he is definitely bi-lingual.  As you will hear in this audio episode, he also has made a career in vehicle service within the City of Austin Fleet. And also, he has been a specialist when dealing with eBay, for he deals in memorabilia from Military history.

As a matter of fact, Matt was instrumental in acquiring for our use the T-10 parachute and reserve that we have used in 2011 for the parachute-donning and demonstrations, both at the Saxet events and the community service projects for the Battered Women and Children’s Shelter in San Antonio and the Camp Mabry Muster Dat/American Heroes Celebration.

Matt was elected vice-Chairman of the chapter and served in 2010 and 2011. He still is very involved and in charge of the membership roster/update project for the chapter.

With his skills in building and creativity in history and re-enactments, it is always a pleasure to participate with Matt in any event, dedication or veterans parade or ceremony — such as the Memorial Day remembrance, with myself and Curt Mays.

He is also a very compassionate team member who always helped me as we pushed the wheelchair with fellow member and local hero, Alan Babin, at another memorial day to lay the wreath of the 82nd Airborne Division Association to honor those troopers who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Copyright (c) 2012, 82nd Airborne Division Association and Matrix Solutions Corporation. All rights reserved.

15A- Alamo Chapter member still a parachute jumper – Chris Koers

February 19th, 2012

ABOUT OUR MEMBERS — WELCOME, CHRIS KOERS!

One of our members who recently joined the Alamo Chapter is Chris Koers, who has been an Airborne and  Special Forces veteran from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He is still a parachutist, and his last jump at the time of this recording was in November, 2011. He is also a jumpmaster, as well as a parachute packer and parachutist trainer and instructor.

Now, part of the feedback from our recent survey included the suggestion to have more information about the current and new members of the chapter, so we can get to know them better. Thus, in this audio episode of the 82nd Airborne Division, Alamo Chapter podcast, we deliver an interview with Chris Koers. His past experiences and current life are extremely interesting–especially his parachute jumps in Normandy and Holland in the commemorative re-enactment of the 82nd Airborne Division’s history during those parachute assaults. We are sure that you will also find it fascinating.

This discussion took place at the Alamo Chapter’s display and parachute exhibit on the show floor of the Saxet event in Austin’s Travis County Expo Center. Thus, there is some ambient noise in the background, and we apologize for that. However, as the chapter’s presence there adds to the awareness of our organization, it also helps us  to do some recruiting for Veteran paratroopers for the Association.

As you will hear in this audio episode, Chris Koers is still a present-day parachutist who jumps with some jump clubs in the Texas-Oklahoma area. He has also been a re-enactor, as well as a historically-based lecturer and demonstrator on the subject of military parachuting and the development of equipment used by the Airborne in the U.S.

As a matter of fact, on 11 February 2012 at our chapter meeting, Chris delivered a very interesting and detailed lecture-demonstration of the WWII parachute combat jump in Normandy (during Operation Overlord, which was the invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944). We thank his 19-year old son, Justin, for being the demonstrator. Please refer to the photos, below.

Incidentally, as one of the members of the audience in this lecture-demonstration (which took place after a brief business meeting for the chapter), my mind was filled with memories from my days as an active duty paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division over 40 years ago. In fact, I felt that I was looking in a mirror, for that was the age in which most of us were paratroopers and ready to deploy anywhere in the world and make a parachute combat assault at night, if needed.

For those of you who were not present for the lecture demonstration, here are the links to the audio recordings of the sessions:

This is the link for:

(a) The lecture-demonstration by Chris Koers.

and this is the link for:

(b) The packing of the parachute lecture/demo.

We welcome Chris Koers to the chapter, and we thank him for his immediate involvement and participating with the staffing of the exhibit at the Saxet events, contributing to our meetings– and especially for educating us with an interestig lecture-demonstration. More to come of the parachute demonstrations at the upcoming MUSTER DAY / AMERICAN HEROES CELEBRATION on 21-22 April 2012 at Camp Mabry.

 

By the way, as was mentioned in the interview, we recommend that you listen to the audio interview of D.G. Harris and get the information of his book, CASABLANCA TO VE-DAY: A PARATROOPER’S MEMOIRS.  You can get this information from a prior episode (episode 8 – and you can get to it by scrolling down or going to the Archives and getting to that episode).

Copyright (c) 2012, 82nd Airborne Division Association, Alamo Chapter and Matrix Solutions Corporation. All rights reserved.

12- Alamo Chapter Survey to all members- with Matt Rayson

January 26th, 2012

We want to wish all our members a Happy New Year for 2012!

 

In this episode, we deliver to you an audio dialogue with the past Vice-Chairman of the Alamo Chapter, Matt Rayson.  Now,  this dialogue was recorded in a casual manner in a restaurant (and we apologize for the ambient noise in the background).

We want to share this with our members. The key topic of this conversation revolves around the project that was started in 2011 in which we are trying to get the members more involved by participation in the chapter activities.

In order to do this,  we created a survey of 8 questions(which takes no more than 5 minutes to complete) and we have sent this survey via US Postal Mail to all of our members. In case you have not yet taken the survey, we have included in this post the pdf files for both the survey and the schedule and location of the meetings for 2012, along with the newsletter for December, 2012.

Here is the link for the pdf of the newsletter and 2012 meeting schedule:

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Here is the link for the pdf of the Survey:

2012 Survey for the Alamo Chapter of the 82nd Abn. Div. Association

 

We would like to emphasize the importance of completing the survey and returning it to us by Monday, 31 January 2012. We will then compile the results, then publish them and deliver them to the members at the meetings on 11 February 2012 in Austin, as well as 10 March 2012 in San Antonio.

We would also like to thank very much Terese Morgan, who is Matt Rayson’s significant-other, for it was she who helped to create the first draft of integrated list and roster for the initial mailing.

As you will see in the survey document, we welcome all your recommendations and suggestions, as well as your comments and feedback to improve the chapter and make it of great value for all the members.

Copyright (c ) 2012, 82nd Airborne Division Association, Alamo Chapter. All rights reserved.

11- Alamo Chapter celebrates Veterans’ Day Weekend 2011

December 19th, 2011

The Alamo Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association celebrated Veterans’ Day during the weekend of November 11th-12th both in Austin and San Antonio by participating in the Parades and Ceremonies.

VETERANS’ DAY PARADE AND MEMORIAL DEDICATION:

In Austin, we had members Matt Ryan, Dennis Dezso,  Roger Gilmore and Fred Castaneda march in the parade and participate in the ceremonies by laying the wreath of the 82nd Airborne Division Association at the foot of the mock-up tomb of the Unknown Soldier on the South Steps of the Texas Capitol building after the ceremony of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

 

In addition, on November 12th, Matt Rayson, Dennis Dezso and Fred Castaneda participated in the dedication ceremony of the Veterans Memorial at Cedar Park, Texas.

Matt Rayson, Dennis Deszo and Fred Castaneda  give thanks to a WWII Paratrooper

at the Dedication of the Cedar Park, TX, Veterans’ Memorial

SAN ANTONIO VETERANS’ DAY PARADE

Also, in San Antonio on Saturday, 12 November 2011, Senior member Darrell G. Harris drove his roadster in the Veterans’ Day Parade there (the 3rd largest parade in San Antonio).

 

ALAMO CHAPTER  SUPPORTS BOY SCOUT TROOP 8787

In the participation of the Combat Infantrymen’s Association for Community Service,  Boy Scout Troop 8787 participated in a Community Service event at the October, 2011 meeting at VFW Post 8787 in Austin. Along with the joint cooperation of the Austin Chapter of the Combat Infantrymen’s  Association, the scouts and leaders donned woodland BDU shirts, then helmet, then a real T-10 parachute and reserve. Then they “hooked up” to a cable in a mock door of an aircraft and “stood in the door” before leaping all of 1 inch from the ground. (Our thanks to Matt Rayson for building the “aircraft door” for this event, as well as the past support for the American Heroes Celebration / Muster Day at Camp Mabry, Austin, Texas, in April 2011.)

With their parents taking photos of the scouts, they were then awarded a professional certificate of participation, as well as a miniature set of novice Airborne Wings–i.e., like the ones earned by US Paratroopers.  Yes, Boy Scout Troop 8787 was “adopted” by the 82nd Airborne Division  Association Alamo chapter, and we will be supporting them when they put out the flags on the Veterans’ graves in preparation for Memorial Day Ceremonies in May, 2012, at the Pflugerville, TX, cemetery (in which we will be represented in the ceremonies).

CIB CHAPTER TO WELCOME NATIONAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

This 82nd Airborne Division Association Alamo Chapter also looks forward to the visit of National Executive Director, Santiago Tijerina,  in April, 2012, as we will be participating with the parachute-donning fundraiser at the American Heroes’ Celebration / Muster Day activities in Camp Mabry, Austin, Texas, on April 21st and 22nd in 2012.

Remember:  Trooper Tijerina will be the first to don the parachute in support of the chapter.

 

NEW OFFICERS FOR THE CHAPTER

At our December meeting on 10 December 2011, the Alamo Chapter swore in Don Bailey as the new Secretary-Treasurer.

However, due to personal emergency and hardship, Walt Weaver and Al Pike were not available to be sworn in at the event as Vice-Chairman and Trustee, respectively.  We will be installing these new officers at a later meeting in person. Our congratulations to the new officers for 2012.

Note: Fred Castaneda will continue as interim Chairman of the Chapter until a successor for 2012 is elected and installed.

Copyright (c) 2011, 82nd Airborne Division Association and Matrix Solutions Corporation. All rights reserved.

10- A Paratrooper in Grenada- Opn. Urgent Fury- Don Bailey

September 28th, 2011

In this episode of the Alamo Chapter podcast of the 82nd Airborne Division Association, we continue our interview series with soldiers who have earned their CIBs in various campaigns of the 20th Centrury. We are especially fortunate to have interviewed Don W. Bailey, a combat infantryman who was also an AIRBORNE PARATROOPER in the 82nd Airborne Division during his 21 years of service.

Don Bailey participated as a combat infantryman during the Grenada Campaign in 1983- also known as “Operation Urgent Fury.”

 

As you will hear in this audio episode, there is a cross-reference to an earlier podcast episode for the CIB (episode 23, earlier) that dealt with the audio version of the VFW Magazine article titled “The Battle for Grenada – the Army Reborn.” In particular, Don Bailey affirms the different types of snafus that occured during the week-long campaign. And that included the communications incompatibility problems, the inter-branch rivalries between different branches of the military, and the lack of sophisticated military intelligence.

However, one thing was certain — the fact that these Airborne Infantrymen from the 82nd Airborne Division (as well as the Ranger Bn. and others who fought in this campaign) went into harm’s way. Case in point– as you can see from the photo below, there were casualties that result from hostile fire from the Cubans, Russian advisors and other enemy in this small island, and, yes, our men did go into harm’s way.

From a publication of the 82nd Airborne Division in Grenada, we are told that the first 2 KIAs from the 82nd Airborne during the assault came from B Co. 2nd Bn, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division.

Don Bailey, our interviewee, was in the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. He was a team leader that followed his orders, took care of his men and accomplished the mission.

Although this interview is 45 minutes long, it is extremely informative and interesting–from the point of view of a paraticipant combat infantryman. A couple of things you may note from the audio episode–

– The media and press tried to show only the negative side against the US and did not support the mission;

– This was the first time that the 82nd Airborne Division infantry utilized the kevlar helmets, after they had given up their prior steel pot helmtes that were previously used during Vietnam); and

– This was the first time that a combat campaign utilized the Blackhawk helicopters for transporting infantry troops to make contact with sighted enemy:   for instance, the 82nd Airborne Infantry soldiers would be transported by helicopter to engage the enemy when sighted on another part of the island.

And finally, Don Bailey also mentions the welcomed support from the local people of Grenada with the 82nd Airborne troops.

All in all, we thank Don Bailey for his service and for his participation in the Battle for Grenada.

Airborne! All the Way!

Copyright (c) 2009, Matrix Solutions Corporation. All Rights reserved.

09- A look at our Paratroopers: Duane Williams- Operation Just Cause

August 31st, 2011

In this repurposed episode of the Alamo Chapter’s podcast of the 82nd Airborne Division Association, we have an extended interview with a veteran 82nd Airborne paratrooper who earned his CIB in one campaign, but then served in another campaign in the following year halfway around the world.

Image of CIB

For Duane Williams, earning a CIB as an Airborne Infantryman in the 82nd Airborne Division meant that he went into harm’s way during the night parachute jump under fire in Panama. And just 8 months later, he found himself in the Middle East on the Kuwaiti border with Saudi Arabia. He was one of the 82nd Airborne Division troopers who helped to “draw a line in the Sand” and not allow the invasion of the Iraqi army into Arabia.

The interview is a bit longer than others, but it is because we explore Duane Williams’s pariticipation in both campaigns–

Operation Just Cause (airborne assault into Panama); and

Operation Desert Shield / Desert Storm (assault on Iraq to push the forces of Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait).

For the 8 years that Duane spent with the 82nd Airborne Division as a squad leader and airborne infantryman, the real moment of pride, honor, remembrance for those who were KIA or wounded, and accomplishment came with the award of the Combat Infantryman’s Badge after the operation in Panama.

 

In this audio episode, you will experience the preparedness that Duane Williams felt as he got ready for the deployment. You will feel the fear that went through his mind–just as it has for every combat infantryman–and you will rejoice in the elation of the pride, honor, strength and self-confidence that Duane had after he returned from his mission.

Parachute jump

But Duane also goes into detail about his participation in the deserts of Kuwait and Iraq as the 82nd Airborne Division pitted itself agains the 4th largest army in the world at that time–Hussein’s Iraqi armored forces. The “Line in the Sand” that was drawn by the first troops to deploy to Arabia–the 82nd Airborne Division–meant that not one inch of ground would be given up while the rest of the Allied forces arrived by air-landing. This meant the rest of the 82nd Airborne Division, the 101st Airmobile Division, the rest of the Army and the Marines, etc.

As you will listen to Duane recount the story of the assault on Panama, you will realize that this was the last combat parachute jump — and airborne assault– in which the 82nd Airborne Division participated. Duane’s pride and courage are also reflected by the gold star that he wears on the canopy of his parachutist jump wings, which signifies that he participated in a combat parachute jump.

We thank Duane for his service and for being such a great role model today (as a law enforcement officer) for young paratroopers everywhere that earn their CIB in the campaigns today.

Copyright (c) 2009, Matrix Solutions Corporation. All Rights reserved.

08- Inside the 82nd Abn Div Paratroopers: Interview with D. G. Harris

August 13th, 2011

In this repurposed episode of the 82nd Airborne Division Association Alamo Chapter podcast, we are fortunate to deliver an interview with Darrell G. Harris, who was one of the first paratroopers to earn the CIB (Combat Infantryman’s Badge) in World War II.

(Please Note: this interview was conducted in July of 2008 and it was originally for the CIB Association podcast at http://www.cibaustin.org.)

Darrell was part of the 504th PIR (Parachute Infantry Regiment) of the 82nd Airborne Division for most of his tour in the European campaign. He was an COMBAT AIRBORNE INFANTRYMAN, a demolition specialist Infantryman who was a parachutist who made 3 combat parachute jumps in Europe. He is also one of the charter members of the 82nd Airborne Division Association–as he joined it in France in 1945, before he had come back home to the USA after the War.

The picture, below, shows Darrell G. Harris today, wearing his 82nd Airborne Division Association vest and hat.  He is also wearing the medallion for WWII Veterans that he received in Washington, D.C. at the Inauguration of the WWII Memorial. Notice that his parachutist wings (that is, his “jump wings“) are worn above the CIB. This shows the common way that the CIB was worn in World War II by the Combat Infantrymen, as shown below:

Darrell mentioned that it was common practice in those days to always wear the paratrooper airborne wings above the ribbons, and the CIB (which was first initiated in 1943) was usually worn beneath the ribbons–totally the opposite of today. For the current regulations specify that the CIB is always above the ribbons–even the ribbon of the Congressional Medal of Honor. In fact, Darrell described Colonel Tucker, his commander, wearing the CIB and the jump wings in his dress uniform–especially how the CIB was worn under the Jump Wings and ribbons.

Contrast this with the modern day (circa 1970’s, during the Vietnam War), when the CIB is worn as the highest badge above any and all ribbons, and even above the Jump wings.

For most of his European tour of duty (3 years), Darrell was part of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, which has the nickname of “Devils in Baggy Pants.”

In the podcast episode, Darrell describes his friends and comrades-in-arms during the Market Garden Operation. In his book, Darrell includes a copy of a photo taken in 1944, and D.G. is the soldier on the far left. Sadly, the other two troopers were killed in action in Europe and during the Battle of the Bulge. Please see, below, for more information about his book.

In the podcast episode, Darrell describes how he captured his memoirs in a short book that he wrote called Casablanca to VE Day – A Paratrooper’s Memoirs.

If you wish to order copies of the book, here are the 2 ways to do so:

(1) For the AUDIO version of the book (now on PremiumCast.com) where you can have the audio narration downloaded directly to your mp3 player via ITunes:

go to:  http://www.premiumcast.com/A-Paratroopers-Memoirs

and the price is just $7. US Dollars payable via Paypal.

(2) For the paperback version of the book,

please contact D. G. Harris at telephone (210) 342-2591.

The three “firsts” of which Darrell G. Harris was involved make him truly a man of history:

He was one of the first paratroopers in the U.S. Airborne (the Airborne units were first created in 1940, and Darrell was in the first all-paratrooper unit, the 82nd Airborne Division since 1942:

82nd Airborne Division patch

– He was one of the first Infantrymen in World War II to earn the CIB (Combat Infantryman’s Badge):

 

Image of CIB

 

– He was one of the very first members of the 82nd Airborne Division Association (a charter member who joined while still in France in 1945).

Darrell is currently the Secretary of the San Antonio Alamo Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association. Darrell, we salute you!

Copyright (c) 2008, Matrix Solutions Corporation