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The mega-meta Military family/friends thread


Gil Bang

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So, there's quite a few of us that have loved ones serving.  IIRC, Jameslaw's daughter is near the DMZ.  There are many more that I can't recall at the moment, but I'm drunk.

I've posted quite a bit about my son's service: he's now back from the ME as of late June, and is currently at Ft. Polk leading an infantry platoon,  but he's got orders for Ft. Jackson and Drill Sgt school.   His current orders have him staying at Jackson, but he's trying to get sent to Benning instead.   Drill duty sucks from what I understand.  Long hours every day.  But, Jackson and Benning are both better than living in the complete and total shithole that is Louisiana. 

Anyway, it might be fun for us all to worry/commiserate/be proud together here. 

To be clear, I never served. 

 

Edited by Gil Bang
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The son, in the Air Force  is on temporary assignment from his base at Lackland  to Las Vegas for  6 months on special assignment. Officially he's at Nellis, but the work is done in an office building on the strip, and he's sharing an apartment with another AF bud right off the strip.  He's living large he says.

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That is sooo AF, lolz.

 

Dad was Navy.  Fuck him, not the Navy...

I served in the Marines.

Son is Army, deployed to Europe and is starting joint exercises with Polish troops.  For a child of the Cold War it still bottles my mind that they are working with former Soviet allies.  Alas,  shit changes...  He's a year and a half into his commission and is considering staying a bit longer than the required 5 so he can get his Masters; but the civilian options( and income) are crying out to him on a daily basis. He did 2 (military version of)  internships with a great company tied to the national intelligence and research sectors and is virtually guaranteed a job when he wants.  You don't "re-up" as an officer, but rather resign your commission when it's time to get out.  He loves leading others and having that responsibility.  He already hates the politics and bureaucracy. They've already had some career development discussions and he says it's all he can do to keep a straight face when they ask if he's staying for a career.

Younger son is awaiting processing for Air Force.  Had some significant health issues at birth and has to "prove" with medical documentation that they no longer exist.   I get it, but it's a fucking beating too.  Air Force recruiters, maybe it's just this one; damned sure have a different sense of urgency that the Marines did.  We have let him own the process( it's his freaking life,) but more than once I've wanted to go set them straight with their passive aggressive, pain in the ass approach.

 

Have retired Army, AF, and Navy in my family.  None of us Jarheads served more than 10 years...LOL.   There is much shit talked at family get-togethers, but there's also a very deep respect for those who have served.

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  • 3 months later...

Just dropped my son off at the airport in Houston. He's back from 8 months deployment in Korea and heading back to Ft Stewart. His ETS is March 2020, and he's looking forward to getting out, but man, the service has been good for him. He left Houston a stoner / gamer who blamed all his problems on everything else and has returned a dude bragging about his credit score (no pics) and with a fucking swagger. Forcing him into that was the best thing my ex and I ever did, and I wish my dad had done the same to me. 

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11 hours ago, Mole said:

Drill duty looked like it would suck, but it always seemed like a good ticket to promotion.

The likely career path was either drill or recruiting, and I don't think he's got the patience to deal with high school dipshits. 

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Grandfather was Marine in WWII - wounded on Iwo Jima.

Dad was Citadel graduate - Armor officer. Two tours Vietnam. 9th Cav and then back after flight school in 17th Cav. Shot down and wounded during the Cambodia incursion. Bullet through bubble on Huey. Million dollar wound.

Stationed at all the great Cav bases. Knox (Armor School) Sill / Rucker (flight) Bliss (3rd ACR) Amberg (2nd ACR)

Uncle was Citadel grad. Cold warrior with the 2nd and 3rd ACR.

Brother was armor with 1st Armor during desert storm.

Me - missed the boat.

Registered my son when he was born for Citadel class of 2028. We will see.

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Seems like just yesterday Slorch and I were pm'ing about West Point stuff.

A little premature for this thread but my son's got an Army contract and though he hasn't yet been commissioned or served on active duty yet he did earn his jump wings at Benning this past summer.  Majoring in military science and psychology, junior at TAMU.  Though there's a ridiculous shit ton of fake army stupidity that goes on there there's enough real army for the guys with contracts to stay engaged.  His plan is to use the Army to send him to school for as long as they will pay.

Dad was a draftee sent to Chu Lai in '67 - not surprisingly, he didn't like it which is one of the reasons I didn't serve.

 

 

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Dad served 36 in the Army. Saved him from a jail cell in Tarrant County. Retired full colonel as Deputy Commander 5th Group (SFG). Brother served in 7th Group. Both loved being airborne and always gave me shit. Got this from my Dad today. Was going to save it for VE Day and did not want to start a thread dedicated to those Devils in Baggy Pants. Dad sure loved his time with the 82nd. 

Spoiler

By today’s standards, the 82nd  Airborne’s sacrifice in Normandy seems almost fantastical. When the elite division vaulted Nazi Germany’s Atlantikwall to launch the invasion of occupied Europe, Allied leaders fully expected few of its members would return. It was a suicidal mission, and 82nd Airborne was calculatedly sacrificed inland in hopes of ensuring indispensable amphibious landings along the coast.

Among Allied planners, casualty predictions for 82nd Airborne ranged as high as 75 percent. The most optimistic planners forecast 50  percent casualties, and by casualties, those planners meant deaths, not the generally accepted and all-inclusive definition of the word. But those losses were deemed acceptable in piercing Adolf Hitler’s Festung Europa, and Allied High Command agreed with near unanimity to sacrifice 82nd Airborne to that end

Triggering that dire concern was the recent arrival in Normandy of two select Wehrmacht outfits, 91 Luftlande-Infanterie ‚ÄėSteel‚Äô Division and attached Fallschirmjager Regiment 6. Intelligence had definitively placed two division elements, Grenadier-Regiment 1057 and Artillerie-Regiment 191 at La Haye-duPuits and Besneville, precise locations of two proposed 82nd Airborne drop zones, and suspected Fallschirmjager Bataillon II at Lessay, proximate to the third proposed drop zone.

In marginal concession, 82nd Airborne’s operational plan changed just 10 days before launch. The division’s drop zones were drawn 10 miles back nearer the coast, closer to 101st Airborne, and the division was essentially handed a new mission and an entirely new set of objectives. But ultimately, the change mattered little.   

Just after midnight on June 6, 1944, 82nd Airborne penetrated enemy airspace over Normandy’s Cotentin Peninsula, and eight minutes later jumped into history. On that epic day, since known simply and infamously by its otherwise innocuously coded designation D-Day, 82nd Airborne suffered more proportionate killed than any American division on a single day in history. And the dying came quickly.

The Pathfinders came in first. With the unenviable and exceptionally dangerous task of locating and marking 82nd Airborne’s three regimental drop zones, a trio of Pathfinder teams jumped 30  minutes ahead of 82nd Airborne’s main element. And they suffered terribly.

With only few a jump injuries and against negligible opposition, the 505 Parachute Regiment Pathfinders fared relatively well, but 82nd Airborne’s two other teams were far less fortunate. Of the 507 Parachute Regiment Pathfinders’ two officers and 48 enlisted men, one officer and 20 (42 percent) enlisted were killed, and nearly all the rest wounded. Of the 508 Parachute Regiment Pathfinders’ 50 officers and enlisted, 17 (34 percent) were killed and 21 wounded, for 38 total casualties.

Following a half hour later, the division’s main element arrived to a comprehensive air-defense network fully alerted by the Pathfinders’ jump. Accustomed to firing on fast, high-flying, heavily-armored strategic bombers, enemy gunners made easy work against the slow, low, unarmored transports flying straight and level for their drop zones.   

Of 82nd Airborne‚Äôs 369 transport planes, nearly each reported ‚Äúmultiple hits.‚ÄĚ Nine (2.4 percent) transports went ‚Äúdestroyed or missing,‚ÄĚ while 115 (31 percent) more sustained ‚Äúheavy damage.‚ÄĚ Upon return to England, 44 (38 percent) of those damaged aircraft were designated ‚ÄúCat E,‚ÄĚ or Category E, reflecting ‚ÄúDamaged Beyond Economical Repair,‚ÄĚ and never flown again. In all, 53 (14.3 percent) 82nd Airborne transports were either shot down or effectively destroyed, with 124 (33.6 percent) heavily damaged by enemy fire.

With one of three aircraft downed or catastrophically damaged, and nearly all the rest taking multiple hits, the toll among paratroopers crammed inside those thin-skinned transports was inevitably grim. Exact inflight casualties will never be known, but of 82nd Airborne’s 6,420 paratroopers to depart England, just 6,396 survived their inbound flights to jump into Normandy. Given the extensive loss and damage to their transports, many more than just those 24 killed had undoubtedly perished, and countless more were certainly wounded.

Each transport carried an average of 17 paratroopers. The nine downed transports alone carried about 153, while the 115 heavily damaged transports carried another 1,955, for over 2,000 paratroopers directly facing death and serious wounding. Even discounting that the remaining 245 transports had each taken multiple hits, and in which were no doubt additional dead and wounded, over 2,000 paratroopers onboard just those 124 transports suggests a much higher number killed. But counting casualties that frenzied night was simply not a priority, and hardly possible.

While most of those killed in flight, along with some of the more severely wounded, remained onboard the transports for return to England, many more wounded jumped despite their injuries. Some of them died during their descent, others shortly after on the ground, while still others survived to be recovered and cared for, but nearly all of those were ultimately grouped with and counted among the ground casualties. And those ground casualties were legion.

The 82nd Airborne Division was delivered to Normandy in complete shambles. Dense clouds and concentrated enemy fire combined to disperse the division’s tightly ordered aerial formations, and drove nearly each transport off course. Lacking the Pathfinders’ intensive navigational training and radar equipped aircraft, and with the Pathfinders themselves unable to effectively illuminate two of three drop zones, pilots under heavy fire had little hope of recovering to find their respective drop zones. And once scattered, finding those drop zones with even a hint of tactical integrity was largely impossible.

Of the 505 Parachute Regiment’s 117 transports, 22 (18.8 percent) jumped their sticks accurately on Drop Zone O. Another 85 (72.6 percent) jumped theirs within a three-mile radius of the DZ, for 95 (81 percent) sticks inside a negligible operating margin, but the 10 remaining sticks were all tactically lost. One 1st Battalion stick had been shot down, while the remaining nine sticks were each jumped separately, scattered from six to over 15 miles from the DZ. And that drop would represent the night’s rousing success.

The 507 Parachute Regiment’s drop was reprehensible. Of 117 transports, just two (1.7 percent) jumped their sticks accurately on DZ T. Then, in probably the best concentrated drop of the entire night, 38 (32.4 percent) transports jumped their sticks in a relatively tight cluster just two miles east of the DZ. But fatefully, that area just east of DZ T was completely inundated. Thirty-eight sticks, about 680 paratroopers, an entire battalion, came down in a swamp running depths of 3-8 feet.

Weighted down by upwards of 130 pounds of weapons and equipment strapped tightly to their bodies, and their parachute harnesses lacking the British quick-release mechanism, many of those paratroopers never had a chance. Like much that night, it will never be known just how many paratroopers drowned in the Merderet swamp, but 36 bodies, an entire platoon, were eventually recovered from the water. Estimates persist however, that upwards of 100 men, nearly a full rifle company, perished in the marsh.  

Of the 507 of Parachute Regiment’s remaining 77 (65.8 percent) sticks, all were effectively lost. Four (3.4 percent) sticks, three of 1st Battalion and one of 2d Battalion, had been shot down. The next 61 (52 percent) sticks, half the regiment, were strewn in every direction across 15 square miles. Eleven (10 percent) more sticks were each jumped individually 15-25 tmiles from the DZ. One other stick was jumped at St Lo, 30 miles from the drop zone.  

Likewise, 508 Parachute Regiment’s drop was contemptable. Of 117 transports, four (3.4 percent) were shot down, two from 1st Battalion, and one each from 2nd and 3rd Battalions. Only five (4 percent) transports jumped their sticks accurately on DZ N, while six (5 percent) more jumped their sticks within a mile.  Another eight (6.83 percent) sticks were jumped within three miles of the DZ, and 14 (11.9 percent) within five miles, but 84 (71.7 percent) sticks, over 1,400 men, two of the regiment’s three battalions, were strewn in every direction across twenty-square miles.

Two hours behind the paratroopers, 82d Airborne’s first gliders began arriving. They represented America’s first nighttime combat deployment of gliders, and after casualties were counted, they represented America’s last nighttime combat deployment of gliders. Normandy’s patchwork terrain was simply ill-suited to glider landings, especially so at night, and those first-lift gliders arrived over an already raging battlefield. The flimsy, gangly, canvas and plywood aircraft proved even easier targets than had the parachute aircraft.

Proportionately, those first-lift gliders more than doubled the damage to parachute aircraft, and with that came a greater proportional loss of life. But those glider-riders quickly realized running that lethal gauntlet of antiaircraft fire was but the opening threat to their survival that night. Just landing gliders in Normandy would prove every bit as treacherous.

Nearly every glider was destroyed in the landings. Some came down in the swelled Merderet River, or its adjoining swamp, and quickly sank with weapons, cargos, and personnel. Others managed to avoid the water, only to slam violently into any one of hundreds of solid earthen hedgerows randomly dissecting the Cotentin Peninsula, or became impaled by Rommelspargel, the million-plus spiked poles defensively placed in open fields and prairies.

Of the 220 troops to depart England aboard that first glider lift, 58.6 percent were killed, wounded or severely injured.

Those first-wave gliders raised 82nd Airborne’s D Day assault force to 6,692, but they were followed later that day by a second lift, and it fared no better than the first -- 142 or 176 gliders were lost. And as with the first-lift gliders, the attendant human toll in the second-lift was awful. There were 394 total casualties among the 1,190 troops

In sum, 82nd Airborne dispatched 229 gliders on D-Day. Of those, eight (3.4 percent) were shot down, 133 (58 percent) heavily damaged in the air, and 61 (26.6percent) destroyed in landing, for a staggering 202 (88 percent) total glider losses. Of 1,410 glider-troops committed, 473 (33.5 percent) were glider-troop  casualties.


The second glider lift concluded 82d Airborne‚Äôs D-Day assault. In all, the division committed 6,570 by parachute and 1,410 by glider, for a total invasion force of 7,980. Of those, at least 24 paratroopers were killed ‚Äúin the jump,‚ÄĚ and 81 glider-troops killed ‚Äúin the landings,‚ÄĚ for a confirmed 205 (2.6 percent) killed in just the initial Normandy assault.

And of course, D Day was only just beginning for 82nd Airborne. Despite disorder and turmoil from disastrous drops and catastrophic landings, the paratroopers and glider-troopers rallied, and with seemingly invincible resilience pushed on toward objectives.

So badly scattered, few of 507 and 508 Parachute Regiments were able to organize in platoons or companies, and none into battalions. For most of them, lost in darkness on unfamiliar, enemy-infested terrain, those early June 6 hours would be a wild melee of ambush and counter-ambush, violent skirmishes for nameless, insignificant little villages, isolated, irrelevant road junctions, or for control of significant-looking terrain features, all in desperate search for units, or objectives, or simply for recognizable landmarks. And alone, or in small clusters, for many of them just reaching those units and objectives would require herculean effort and stout nerve.

Complicating their marathon struggles, the ill-fated drops incidentally landed them amid 91 Luftlande-Infanterie-Division and Fallshirmjager Regiment 6 bivouacs near La Haye-du-Puits, Besneville, Picauville and Saveur le Vicomte. But even that peril barely deterred those paratroopers’ efficacy. Expecting no quarter, nor offering any, they simply carried the fight wherever they found it.   

Testament to the chaotic ferocity into which they had been plunged, and their dauntless tenacity, they shot and killed Generalmajor Wilhelm Falley just fifty yards from his 91 Luftlande-Infanterie-Division command post. They shot and killed Hauptmann Emil Prieskschat in his I Bataillon /Fallshirmjager Regiment 6 command post. They also shot and killed two of Prieskschat’s four company commanders, with the other two going missing and probably dead, and shot and killed three of four II Bataillon company commanders, and wounded the fourth.     

By late June 6, as those scattered  507 and 508 Parachute Regiment elements slowly gained a semblance of organization, the better dropped 505 Parachute Regiment was making legend and legends, and unequivocally establishing 82nd Airborne’s preeminence in Normandy.   

For most of 505 Parachute Regiment, their more accurate and concentrated drop allowed near textbook assembly, and methodical progression toward objectives. Fortunately for 82nd Airborne, the veteran 505 Parachute Regiment held Normandy‚Äôs two critical objectives, Ste Mere Eglise and the Merderet River crossing at La Fiere. Fatefully for much of 505 Parachute Regiment, they were headed straight into¬†‚Äúthe bloodiest small unit action of World War II.‚ÄĚ ¬†

As 3rd Battalion moved east to capture St. Mere Eglise before dawn, and 2nd Battalion pushed northwesterly into its own maelstrom at Neuville-au-Plain, 1st Battalion continued assembling on the run in a mile dash southeasterly for La Fiere. In a bitter fight, 1st Battalion took La Fiere and its modest bridge by late morning, but taking La Fiere would prove just the beginning. La Fiere’s Merderet crossing was key to Normandy’s Cotentin Peninsula, the Americans knew it, and the Germans knew it, and German reaction was swift and it was ferocious.

The fighting at La Fiere was epic savagery, inducing Homeric heroism. From the moment 1st Battalion took the little stone bridge, Grenadier-Regiment 1057 poured unrelenting machinegun and mortar fire into its confined position. Then Artillerie-Regiment 191 registered its guns, and mercilessly alternated between pounding 1st Battalion and showering its exposed locus with air-bursts. After several hours the blistering fire relented, and the enemy struck. Tanks, with swarms of infantry, came at 1st Battalion in fanatical counterattack after counterattack throughout the day.

By day‚Äôs end, 1st Battalion‚Äôs Commanding Officer was killed, his executive officer replacement was killed, and his Battalion S-3 replacement was killed. A lieutenant, John ‚ÄúRed Dog‚ÄĚ Dolan commanded 1st Battalion. And Dolan would command 1st Battalion to phenomenon.

Dolan’s own Company A had been virtually annihilated. First Platoon’s commander was killed, Third Platoon’s commander was killed, and when Second Platoon’s commander moved up to replace Dolan in command of Company A, his assistant platoon leader replacement was killed. Dolan’s 1st Battalion command staff consisted of himself and two runners, his fire support a single 57mm antitank gun, handful of mortars, and three bazookas with no more rounds, and his battalion already ravaged by hundreds of casualties.

Out front taking the brunt, Company A‚Äôs First Platoon was commanded by its junior squad leader. He had 14 effectives, and six of those were wounded. After a particularly merciless barrage with ‚Äúartillery shells and mortars coming in like machine gun fire,‚ÄĚ the Germans launched another ferocious counterattack. Seeing the enemy wave coming, that accidental platoon leader, ‚Äúthought this time we‚Äôd really had it.‚ÄĚ ¬†

Nonetheless, Company A unflinchingly¬†‚Äúgave everything we had.‚ÄĚ As Company B hurriedly closed ranks in support, and Weapons Company fused two machine gun barrels and fired its last mortar round, 1st Battalion held firm. By time the attack subsided, Company A lost another five ¬†KIA, Company B 12 KIA, and Weapons Company sic KIA, but more than 200 enemy dead and wounded littered the ground in and around their lines, and 1st Battalion lived to fight another round. But barely.

With dwindling numbers and few rifle rounds left, all knew the odds of stopping the next charge were slim. Company A sent a runner in search of Dolan with the desperate plea;¬†‚ÄúAmmunition and reinforcement urgently needed to stave annihilation.‚ÄĚ

Dolan, of course, had neither. Nor had he any intention of conceding the bridge. But what Dolan lacked in bullets and personnel, and rank for that matter, he more than compensated with absolute fearlessness and resolve. ‚ÄúRed Dog‚ÄĚ Dolan returned Company A‚Äôs runner with La Fiere‚Äôs immortal epitaph;¬†‚ÄúI know of no better place to die.‚ÄĚ

And die they did. Prolifically. The 1st Battalion paid a butcher’s bill for La Fiere, but never wavered. In those first 24 hours, 1st Battalion lost 68 killed and more than 200 wounded. Company A suffered the worst of it, with 31 (24.8 percent) killed, and uncounted numbers wounded.

In its parallel fight with Grenadier-Regiment 1058 to take, then keep St. Mere Eglise, 3rd Battalion lost 45 (8.5 percent) killed. In initially blocking armored elements of that regiment at Neuville-au-Plain, then joining 3rd Battalion in direct defense of St. Mere Eglise, 2d Battalion lost 24 (4.4 percent) killed. In those first twenty-four hours, 505 Parachute Regiment had jumped 2,095, and lost 145 killed.

Bloody as was 505 Parachute Regiment’s pitted slugfest, dispersed combats of 82nd Airborne’s two scattered regiments proved no less deadly. The 507 Parachute Regiment had jumped 2,004, losing 123  killed, while 508 Parachute Regiment jumped 1,994, and lost 178 killed. In sum, 82nd Airborne’s three parachute regiments jumped 6,093, and suffered 446 (7.3 percent) killed in ground fighting those first twenty-four hours.

Non-regimental elements had jumped another 327. Of those, Division Headquarters lost 13, Division Artillery 6 , 307 Airborne Engineer Battalion 16, and a small, catholic detail from 504 Parachute Regiment lost 1, for 36 (11 percent) killed.

Jumping at the outset, the Division Pathfinder Company numbered 136, but enhanced by a 14-man security detachment culled from 504 Parachute Regiment, numbered 150, and it lost 38. Of a total 477 non-regimental elements jumped, 82nd Airborne lost 74.

In all, 82nd Airborne committed 6,570 paratroopers on D Day, and 524 were killed in ground fighting. With the 24 killed in the air D Day eve, 82d Airborne’s parachute element suffered a total 544 killed those first twenty-four hours.  

In the first wave gliders, Batteries A and B of 80 Airborne Antitank Battalion landed 160, and lost nine; in the second wave, 319 Glider Artillery Battalion landed 337 and lost 15; and 320 Glider Artillery Battalion landed 346 and lost 24. Of a total 843 cannoneers, 82nd Airborne lost 48.

Mixed among the gun battalions of both glider lifts, Divisional elements landed 477, and 325 Glider Regiment landed a 90-man Pathfinder Company. Comprised mostly from 2nd Battalion, the Pathfinder Company lost 21 (23.3 percent) killed, and Divisional elements had three killed. In toto, 72 (5 percent) glider-troops were killed on the ground. Including the 81 killed inflight, 82nd Airborne’s 1,410-man glider element suffered 153 (10.7 percent) killed in the first 24 hours.

Of its total 7,890-man D Day assault force, 82nd Airborne suffered a staggering 697 (8.7 percent) killed those first 24 hours.

Even by World War II’s standards, five percent killed was considered prohibitive. Few of the war’s most bloodied divisions, in the full course of the war’s deadliest battles, suffered greater than five percent killed. Yet 82nd Airborne suffered upwards of nine percent killed in just the first 24 hours in Normandy.

Even General George Pickett’s division fared better at Gettysburg. In its infamous charge of Cemetery Ridge, Pickett’s division of 6,000 Virginians lost 224 (3.7 percent) killed, numerically and proportionally half 82nd Airborne’s D Day killed.

And many of the other deadliest battles in history fared better: 2nd Marine Division during Utmost Savagery on Tarawa lost 5.5 percent of its men; Anzio’s 3rd Infantry Division lost 1.7 percent of its men on Feb. 29, 1944; the 1st and 29th infantry divisions saw 3.6 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively, killed in action; and the 15th Massachusetts Infantry at Antietam fared better, losing 19.4 percent of its men.

But no contrast better reflects 82nd Airborne’s inimitable sacrifice than with 101st Airborne. The two divisions jumped together, fought side-by-side, over the same ground, against the same enemy, for the same length of time. Yet of a total D-Day commitment of 7,240, 101st Airborne lost 282 (3.9 percent) killed those first 24 hours. Numerically and proportionately less than half 82d Airborne’s killed.   

For context on the enormity of 82nd Airborne’s 697 (8.7 percent) single-day loss, Iwo Jima’s most-bloodied 4,200-man 25th Marine Regiment lost 654 killed in 36 days fighting, while Iwo’s most-bloodied 25,884-man 5th Marine Division lost 9.7 percent killed over those 36 days. Okinawa’s 15,000-man 96th Infantry Division lost 10.8 percent killed, and the 20,000-man 6th Marine Division lost eight percent killed, both over the course of 81 days fighting.

Although 82d Airborne’s D Day wounded will never be known with certainty, adopting the universally accepted 3-1 wounded-to-killed ratio would imply roughly 2,100 (26.3 percent) wounded to 697 killed. That number is of course presumption, and will remain forever so, but history’s consistent validation of that standard would evidence 82d Airborne’s nearness to a ghastly 2,800 (35 percent) total battle casualties those first twenty-four hours.

In any case, 82d Airborne lost one whole battalion killed, and one whole regiment killed and wounded on D Day in Normandy.    

Astonishingly, America barely noticed. No division, nor division-size unit in all American history had ever, nor has since, suffered close to nine percentkilled on a single day. But 82d Airborne’s performance in Normandy was obscured by the larger event, and simply went unremarked.

‚ÄúIt was a time when the world asked ordinary people to do extraordinary things,‚ÄĚand they did, without complaint, and without boast. It was a different time. ¬†¬†¬†

 

 

Charles Houghton is an author and historian with an MA in History from the University of Massachusetts. 

 

https://www.realclearhistory.com/articles/2018/11/05/82nd_airbornes_stunning_1-day_kia_at_normandy_379.html

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Aforementioned son who was trying to enlist in the Air Force, felt like he was getting slow played by recruiter( the most lackadaisical and worthless fucking recruiter I have ever seen in my life) and started talking to Navy 3 weeks ago. He had some very severe physical issues when he was born and had to get clearance( proof that they no longer exist or cause an issue) from MEPs and Dept of the Navy.  He got the call today that everything has been approved.  He just has to pass the regular physical at MEPs this Friday and he will be sworn into the delayed entry program.  He has already passed that particular physical easily.

I am very excited and proud for him to be going in this direction with his life. His MOS is not guaranteed yet, but we all know the drill, as well as the recruiters knowing that we know; he ain't signing shit until it is in black and white.  Most likely, he is going nukes(IIRC, this is what Blacklab did...could be wrong) and will not ship to Basic until this coming Summer.

Still yelling for Army in the Army-Navy Game, since the Sailor and Marine in our house will have been enlisted...and one knucklehead actually attended school there.

Could post this same shit in Dad thread, but figured more people would understand here.  So proud.  Kid has been through so much.  He is such a freaking fighter, and gives no fucks about what life says he cannot do.

Big day for us.

Edited by slorch
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The son was just tapped as his wing groups flight leader a month ago, and just got tapped this week to be part of the Commanders Action Group CCX. Head liaison between commanding officer (3 or 4 star general) and other inter AF and civilian authorities.  Lots of coordination, planning responsibilities.  To make general in the AF you have to have this duty posting on your resume apparently.

Lots of mixed emotions because it takes him away from his first love which is computer design/engineering/systems, but a huge tap on the shoulder for grooming his future. Not a penny more in pay however of course.  Gonna fuck up our ski season probably....

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38 minutes ago, El Diablo said:

Delayed Entry... If he swears in it don't mean squat, just an FYI. The "big one" is when you report for basic. Up to that point he can tell them to pack sand - no obligation.

Happy for you and the family, nuke power is the future! ;) 

Completely understand the ramifications and limitations of the situation.

Even reporting for basic don't mean shit... until you graduate.

 

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8 minutes ago, slorch said:

Completely understand the ramifications and limitations of the situation.

Even reporting for basic don't mean shit... until you graduate.

 

I had a buddy that "quit" within 6 months of entry. We'd been deployed overseas, he decided it wasn't for him and simply quit. Didn't go AWOL, just wouldn't get dressed, work, etc... laid in his rack and told everyone to fuck off. They gave him a general under honorable discharge "Not suited to the needs of the Navy". Prolly had an RE4 reenlistment code but I don't think he gave a shit about that.

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37 minutes ago, Onboard 2.0 said:

The son was just tapped as his wing groups flight leader a month ago, and just got tapped this week to be part of the Commanders Action Group CCX. Head liaison between commanding officer (3 or 4 star general) and other inter AF and civilian authorities.  Lots of coordination, planning responsibilities.  To make general in the AF you have to have this duty posting on your resume apparently.

Lots of mixed emotions because it takes him away from his first love which is computer design/engineering/systems, but a huge tap on the shoulder for grooming his future. Not a penny more in pay however of course.  Gonna fuck up our ski season probably....

Sorry, Dad.  His first love is quite  likely pussy.  Computer shit comes after that, if he's "normal".

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1 hour ago, Onboard 2.0 said:

The son was just tapped as his wing groups flight leader a month ago, and just got tapped this week to be part of the Commanders Action Group CCX. Head liaison between commanding officer (3 or 4 star general) and other inter AF and civilian authorities.  Lots of coordination, planning responsibilities.  To make general in the AF you have to have this duty posting on your resume apparently.

Lots of mixed emotions because it takes him away from his first love which is computer design/engineering/systems, but a huge tap on the shoulder for grooming his future. Not a penny more in pay however of course.  Gonna fuck up our ski season probably....

That's a lot of tapping dat ass. Congrats!

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On 11/6/2018 at 8:34 PM, InkaUtexas said:

Dad served 36 in the Army. Saved him from a jail cell in Tarrant County. Retired full colonel as Deputy Commander 5th Group (SFG). Brother served in 7th Group. Both loved being airborne and always gave me shit. Got this from my Dad today. Was going to save it for VE Day and did not want to start a thread dedicated to those Devils in Baggy Pants. Dad sure loved his time with the 82nd. 

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By today’s standards, the 82nd  Airborne’s sacrifice in Normandy seems almost fantastical. When the elite division vaulted Nazi Germany’s Atlantikwall to launch the invasion of occupied Europe, Allied leaders fully expected few of its members would return. It was a suicidal mission, and 82nd Airborne was calculatedly sacrificed inland in hopes of ensuring indispensable amphibious landings along the coast.

Among Allied planners, casualty predictions for 82nd Airborne ranged as high as 75 percent. The most optimistic planners forecast 50  percent casualties, and by casualties, those planners meant deaths, not the generally accepted and all-inclusive definition of the word. But those losses were deemed acceptable in piercing Adolf Hitler’s Festung Europa, and Allied High Command agreed with near unanimity to sacrifice 82nd Airborne to that end

Triggering that dire concern was the recent arrival in Normandy of two select Wehrmacht outfits, 91 Luftlande-Infanterie ‚ÄėSteel‚Äô Division and attached Fallschirmjager Regiment 6. Intelligence had definitively placed two division elements, Grenadier-Regiment 1057 and Artillerie-Regiment 191 at La Haye-duPuits and Besneville, precise locations of two proposed 82nd Airborne drop zones, and suspected Fallschirmjager Bataillon II at Lessay, proximate to the third proposed drop zone.

In marginal concession, 82nd Airborne’s operational plan changed just 10 days before launch. The division’s drop zones were drawn 10 miles back nearer the coast, closer to 101st Airborne, and the division was essentially handed a new mission and an entirely new set of objectives. But ultimately, the change mattered little.   

Just after midnight on June 6, 1944, 82nd Airborne penetrated enemy airspace over Normandy’s Cotentin Peninsula, and eight minutes later jumped into history. On that epic day, since known simply and infamously by its otherwise innocuously coded designation D-Day, 82nd Airborne suffered more proportionate killed than any American division on a single day in history. And the dying came quickly.

The Pathfinders came in first. With the unenviable and exceptionally dangerous task of locating and marking 82nd Airborne’s three regimental drop zones, a trio of Pathfinder teams jumped 30  minutes ahead of 82nd Airborne’s main element. And they suffered terribly.

With only few a jump injuries and against negligible opposition, the 505 Parachute Regiment Pathfinders fared relatively well, but 82nd Airborne’s two other teams were far less fortunate. Of the 507 Parachute Regiment Pathfinders’ two officers and 48 enlisted men, one officer and 20 (42 percent) enlisted were killed, and nearly all the rest wounded. Of the 508 Parachute Regiment Pathfinders’ 50 officers and enlisted, 17 (34 percent) were killed and 21 wounded, for 38 total casualties.

Following a half hour later, the division’s main element arrived to a comprehensive air-defense network fully alerted by the Pathfinders’ jump. Accustomed to firing on fast, high-flying, heavily-armored strategic bombers, enemy gunners made easy work against the slow, low, unarmored transports flying straight and level for their drop zones.   

Of 82nd Airborne‚Äôs 369 transport planes, nearly each reported ‚Äúmultiple hits.‚ÄĚ Nine (2.4 percent) transports went ‚Äúdestroyed or missing,‚ÄĚ while 115 (31 percent) more sustained ‚Äúheavy damage.‚ÄĚ Upon return to England, 44 (38 percent) of those damaged aircraft were designated ‚ÄúCat E,‚ÄĚ or Category E, reflecting ‚ÄúDamaged Beyond Economical Repair,‚ÄĚ and never flown again. In all, 53 (14.3 percent) 82nd Airborne transports were either shot down or effectively destroyed, with 124 (33.6 percent) heavily damaged by enemy fire.

With one of three aircraft downed or catastrophically damaged, and nearly all the rest taking multiple hits, the toll among paratroopers crammed inside those thin-skinned transports was inevitably grim. Exact inflight casualties will never be known, but of 82nd Airborne’s 6,420 paratroopers to depart England, just 6,396 survived their inbound flights to jump into Normandy. Given the extensive loss and damage to their transports, many more than just those 24 killed had undoubtedly perished, and countless more were certainly wounded.

Each transport carried an average of 17 paratroopers. The nine downed transports alone carried about 153, while the 115 heavily damaged transports carried another 1,955, for over 2,000 paratroopers directly facing death and serious wounding. Even discounting that the remaining 245 transports had each taken multiple hits, and in which were no doubt additional dead and wounded, over 2,000 paratroopers onboard just those 124 transports suggests a much higher number killed. But counting casualties that frenzied night was simply not a priority, and hardly possible.

While most of those killed in flight, along with some of the more severely wounded, remained onboard the transports for return to England, many more wounded jumped despite their injuries. Some of them died during their descent, others shortly after on the ground, while still others survived to be recovered and cared for, but nearly all of those were ultimately grouped with and counted among the ground casualties. And those ground casualties were legion.

The 82nd Airborne Division was delivered to Normandy in complete shambles. Dense clouds and concentrated enemy fire combined to disperse the division’s tightly ordered aerial formations, and drove nearly each transport off course. Lacking the Pathfinders’ intensive navigational training and radar equipped aircraft, and with the Pathfinders themselves unable to effectively illuminate two of three drop zones, pilots under heavy fire had little hope of recovering to find their respective drop zones. And once scattered, finding those drop zones with even a hint of tactical integrity was largely impossible.

Of the 505 Parachute Regiment’s 117 transports, 22 (18.8 percent) jumped their sticks accurately on Drop Zone O. Another 85 (72.6 percent) jumped theirs within a three-mile radius of the DZ, for 95 (81 percent) sticks inside a negligible operating margin, but the 10 remaining sticks were all tactically lost. One 1st Battalion stick had been shot down, while the remaining nine sticks were each jumped separately, scattered from six to over 15 miles from the DZ. And that drop would represent the night’s rousing success.

The 507 Parachute Regiment’s drop was reprehensible. Of 117 transports, just two (1.7 percent) jumped their sticks accurately on DZ T. Then, in probably the best concentrated drop of the entire night, 38 (32.4 percent) transports jumped their sticks in a relatively tight cluster just two miles east of the DZ. But fatefully, that area just east of DZ T was completely inundated. Thirty-eight sticks, about 680 paratroopers, an entire battalion, came down in a swamp running depths of 3-8 feet.

Weighted down by upwards of 130 pounds of weapons and equipment strapped tightly to their bodies, and their parachute harnesses lacking the British quick-release mechanism, many of those paratroopers never had a chance. Like much that night, it will never be known just how many paratroopers drowned in the Merderet swamp, but 36 bodies, an entire platoon, were eventually recovered from the water. Estimates persist however, that upwards of 100 men, nearly a full rifle company, perished in the marsh.  

Of the 507 of Parachute Regiment’s remaining 77 (65.8 percent) sticks, all were effectively lost. Four (3.4 percent) sticks, three of 1st Battalion and one of 2d Battalion, had been shot down. The next 61 (52 percent) sticks, half the regiment, were strewn in every direction across 15 square miles. Eleven (10 percent) more sticks were each jumped individually 15-25 tmiles from the DZ. One other stick was jumped at St Lo, 30 miles from the drop zone.  

Likewise, 508 Parachute Regiment’s drop was contemptable. Of 117 transports, four (3.4 percent) were shot down, two from 1st Battalion, and one each from 2nd and 3rd Battalions. Only five (4 percent) transports jumped their sticks accurately on DZ N, while six (5 percent) more jumped their sticks within a mile.  Another eight (6.83 percent) sticks were jumped within three miles of the DZ, and 14 (11.9 percent) within five miles, but 84 (71.7 percent) sticks, over 1,400 men, two of the regiment’s three battalions, were strewn in every direction across twenty-square miles.

Two hours behind the paratroopers, 82d Airborne’s first gliders began arriving. They represented America’s first nighttime combat deployment of gliders, and after casualties were counted, they represented America’s last nighttime combat deployment of gliders. Normandy’s patchwork terrain was simply ill-suited to glider landings, especially so at night, and those first-lift gliders arrived over an already raging battlefield. The flimsy, gangly, canvas and plywood aircraft proved even easier targets than had the parachute aircraft.

Proportionately, those first-lift gliders more than doubled the damage to parachute aircraft, and with that came a greater proportional loss of life. But those glider-riders quickly realized running that lethal gauntlet of antiaircraft fire was but the opening threat to their survival that night. Just landing gliders in Normandy would prove every bit as treacherous.

Nearly every glider was destroyed in the landings. Some came down in the swelled Merderet River, or its adjoining swamp, and quickly sank with weapons, cargos, and personnel. Others managed to avoid the water, only to slam violently into any one of hundreds of solid earthen hedgerows randomly dissecting the Cotentin Peninsula, or became impaled by Rommelspargel, the million-plus spiked poles defensively placed in open fields and prairies.

Of the 220 troops to depart England aboard that first glider lift, 58.6 percent were killed, wounded or severely injured.

Those first-wave gliders raised 82nd Airborne’s D Day assault force to 6,692, but they were followed later that day by a second lift, and it fared no better than the first -- 142 or 176 gliders were lost. And as with the first-lift gliders, the attendant human toll in the second-lift was awful. There were 394 total casualties among the 1,190 troops

In sum, 82nd Airborne dispatched 229 gliders on D-Day. Of those, eight (3.4 percent) were shot down, 133 (58 percent) heavily damaged in the air, and 61 (26.6percent) destroyed in landing, for a staggering 202 (88 percent) total glider losses. Of 1,410 glider-troops committed, 473 (33.5 percent) were glider-troop  casualties.


The second glider lift concluded 82d Airborne‚Äôs D-Day assault. In all, the division committed 6,570 by parachute and 1,410 by glider, for a total invasion force of 7,980. Of those, at least 24 paratroopers were killed ‚Äúin the jump,‚ÄĚ and 81 glider-troops killed ‚Äúin the landings,‚ÄĚ for a confirmed 205 (2.6 percent) killed in just the initial Normandy assault.

And of course, D Day was only just beginning for 82nd Airborne. Despite disorder and turmoil from disastrous drops and catastrophic landings, the paratroopers and glider-troopers rallied, and with seemingly invincible resilience pushed on toward objectives.

So badly scattered, few of 507 and 508 Parachute Regiments were able to organize in platoons or companies, and none into battalions. For most of them, lost in darkness on unfamiliar, enemy-infested terrain, those early June 6 hours would be a wild melee of ambush and counter-ambush, violent skirmishes for nameless, insignificant little villages, isolated, irrelevant road junctions, or for control of significant-looking terrain features, all in desperate search for units, or objectives, or simply for recognizable landmarks. And alone, or in small clusters, for many of them just reaching those units and objectives would require herculean effort and stout nerve.

Complicating their marathon struggles, the ill-fated drops incidentally landed them amid 91 Luftlande-Infanterie-Division and Fallshirmjager Regiment 6 bivouacs near La Haye-du-Puits, Besneville, Picauville and Saveur le Vicomte. But even that peril barely deterred those paratroopers’ efficacy. Expecting no quarter, nor offering any, they simply carried the fight wherever they found it.   

Testament to the chaotic ferocity into which they had been plunged, and their dauntless tenacity, they shot and killed Generalmajor Wilhelm Falley just fifty yards from his 91 Luftlande-Infanterie-Division command post. They shot and killed Hauptmann Emil Prieskschat in his I Bataillon /Fallshirmjager Regiment 6 command post. They also shot and killed two of Prieskschat’s four company commanders, with the other two going missing and probably dead, and shot and killed three of four II Bataillon company commanders, and wounded the fourth.     

By late June 6, as those scattered  507 and 508 Parachute Regiment elements slowly gained a semblance of organization, the better dropped 505 Parachute Regiment was making legend and legends, and unequivocally establishing 82nd Airborne’s preeminence in Normandy.   

For most of 505 Parachute Regiment, their more accurate and concentrated drop allowed near textbook assembly, and methodical progression toward objectives. Fortunately for 82nd Airborne, the veteran 505 Parachute Regiment held Normandy‚Äôs two critical objectives, Ste Mere Eglise and the Merderet River crossing at La Fiere. Fatefully for much of 505 Parachute Regiment, they were headed straight into¬†‚Äúthe bloodiest small unit action of World War II.‚ÄĚ ¬†

As 3rd Battalion moved east to capture St. Mere Eglise before dawn, and 2nd Battalion pushed northwesterly into its own maelstrom at Neuville-au-Plain, 1st Battalion continued assembling on the run in a mile dash southeasterly for La Fiere. In a bitter fight, 1st Battalion took La Fiere and its modest bridge by late morning, but taking La Fiere would prove just the beginning. La Fiere’s Merderet crossing was key to Normandy’s Cotentin Peninsula, the Americans knew it, and the Germans knew it, and German reaction was swift and it was ferocious.

The fighting at La Fiere was epic savagery, inducing Homeric heroism. From the moment 1st Battalion took the little stone bridge, Grenadier-Regiment 1057 poured unrelenting machinegun and mortar fire into its confined position. Then Artillerie-Regiment 191 registered its guns, and mercilessly alternated between pounding 1st Battalion and showering its exposed locus with air-bursts. After several hours the blistering fire relented, and the enemy struck. Tanks, with swarms of infantry, came at 1st Battalion in fanatical counterattack after counterattack throughout the day.

By day‚Äôs end, 1st Battalion‚Äôs Commanding Officer was killed, his executive officer replacement was killed, and his Battalion S-3 replacement was killed. A lieutenant, John ‚ÄúRed Dog‚ÄĚ Dolan commanded 1st Battalion. And Dolan would command 1st Battalion to phenomenon.

Dolan’s own Company A had been virtually annihilated. First Platoon’s commander was killed, Third Platoon’s commander was killed, and when Second Platoon’s commander moved up to replace Dolan in command of Company A, his assistant platoon leader replacement was killed. Dolan’s 1st Battalion command staff consisted of himself and two runners, his fire support a single 57mm antitank gun, handful of mortars, and three bazookas with no more rounds, and his battalion already ravaged by hundreds of casualties.

Out front taking the brunt, Company A‚Äôs First Platoon was commanded by its junior squad leader. He had 14 effectives, and six of those were wounded. After a particularly merciless barrage with ‚Äúartillery shells and mortars coming in like machine gun fire,‚ÄĚ the Germans launched another ferocious counterattack. Seeing the enemy wave coming, that accidental platoon leader, ‚Äúthought this time we‚Äôd really had it.‚ÄĚ ¬†

Nonetheless, Company A unflinchingly¬†‚Äúgave everything we had.‚ÄĚ As Company B hurriedly closed ranks in support, and Weapons Company fused two machine gun barrels and fired its last mortar round, 1st Battalion held firm. By time the attack subsided, Company A lost another five ¬†KIA, Company B 12 KIA, and Weapons Company sic KIA, but more than 200 enemy dead and wounded littered the ground in and around their lines, and 1st Battalion lived to fight another round. But barely.

With dwindling numbers and few rifle rounds left, all knew the odds of stopping the next charge were slim. Company A sent a runner in search of Dolan with the desperate plea;¬†‚ÄúAmmunition and reinforcement urgently needed to stave annihilation.‚ÄĚ

Dolan, of course, had neither. Nor had he any intention of conceding the bridge. But what Dolan lacked in bullets and personnel, and rank for that matter, he more than compensated with absolute fearlessness and resolve. ‚ÄúRed Dog‚ÄĚ Dolan returned Company A‚Äôs runner with La Fiere‚Äôs immortal epitaph;¬†‚ÄúI know of no better place to die.‚ÄĚ

And die they did. Prolifically. The 1st Battalion paid a butcher’s bill for La Fiere, but never wavered. In those first 24 hours, 1st Battalion lost 68 killed and more than 200 wounded. Company A suffered the worst of it, with 31 (24.8 percent) killed, and uncounted numbers wounded.

In its parallel fight with Grenadier-Regiment 1058 to take, then keep St. Mere Eglise, 3rd Battalion lost 45 (8.5 percent) killed. In initially blocking armored elements of that regiment at Neuville-au-Plain, then joining 3rd Battalion in direct defense of St. Mere Eglise, 2d Battalion lost 24 (4.4 percent) killed. In those first twenty-four hours, 505 Parachute Regiment had jumped 2,095, and lost 145 killed.

Bloody as was 505 Parachute Regiment’s pitted slugfest, dispersed combats of 82nd Airborne’s two scattered regiments proved no less deadly. The 507 Parachute Regiment had jumped 2,004, losing 123  killed, while 508 Parachute Regiment jumped 1,994, and lost 178 killed. In sum, 82nd Airborne’s three parachute regiments jumped 6,093, and suffered 446 (7.3 percent) killed in ground fighting those first twenty-four hours.

Non-regimental elements had jumped another 327. Of those, Division Headquarters lost 13, Division Artillery 6 , 307 Airborne Engineer Battalion 16, and a small, catholic detail from 504 Parachute Regiment lost 1, for 36 (11 percent) killed.

Jumping at the outset, the Division Pathfinder Company numbered 136, but enhanced by a 14-man security detachment culled from 504 Parachute Regiment, numbered 150, and it lost 38. Of a total 477 non-regimental elements jumped, 82nd Airborne lost 74.

In all, 82nd Airborne committed 6,570 paratroopers on D Day, and 524 were killed in ground fighting. With the 24 killed in the air D Day eve, 82d Airborne’s parachute element suffered a total 544 killed those first twenty-four hours.  

In the first wave gliders, Batteries A and B of 80 Airborne Antitank Battalion landed 160, and lost nine; in the second wave, 319 Glider Artillery Battalion landed 337 and lost 15; and 320 Glider Artillery Battalion landed 346 and lost 24. Of a total 843 cannoneers, 82nd Airborne lost 48.

Mixed among the gun battalions of both glider lifts, Divisional elements landed 477, and 325 Glider Regiment landed a 90-man Pathfinder Company. Comprised mostly from 2nd Battalion, the Pathfinder Company lost 21 (23.3 percent) killed, and Divisional elements had three killed. In toto, 72 (5 percent) glider-troops were killed on the ground. Including the 81 killed inflight, 82nd Airborne’s 1,410-man glider element suffered 153 (10.7 percent) killed in the first 24 hours.

Of its total 7,890-man D Day assault force, 82nd Airborne suffered a staggering 697 (8.7 percent) killed those first 24 hours.

Even by World War II’s standards, five percent killed was considered prohibitive. Few of the war’s most bloodied divisions, in the full course of the war’s deadliest battles, suffered greater than five percent killed. Yet 82nd Airborne suffered upwards of nine percent killed in just the first 24 hours in Normandy.

Even General George Pickett’s division fared better at Gettysburg. In its infamous charge of Cemetery Ridge, Pickett’s division of 6,000 Virginians lost 224 (3.7 percent) killed, numerically and proportionally half 82nd Airborne’s D Day killed.

And many of the other deadliest battles in history fared better: 2nd Marine Division during Utmost Savagery on Tarawa lost 5.5 percent of its men; Anzio’s 3rd Infantry Division lost 1.7 percent of its men on Feb. 29, 1944; the 1st and 29th infantry divisions saw 3.6 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively, killed in action; and the 15th Massachusetts Infantry at Antietam fared better, losing 19.4 percent of its men.

But no contrast better reflects 82nd Airborne’s inimitable sacrifice than with 101st Airborne. The two divisions jumped together, fought side-by-side, over the same ground, against the same enemy, for the same length of time. Yet of a total D-Day commitment of 7,240, 101st Airborne lost 282 (3.9 percent) killed those first 24 hours. Numerically and proportionately less than half 82d Airborne’s killed.   

For context on the enormity of 82nd Airborne’s 697 (8.7 percent) single-day loss, Iwo Jima’s most-bloodied 4,200-man 25th Marine Regiment lost 654 killed in 36 days fighting, while Iwo’s most-bloodied 25,884-man 5th Marine Division lost 9.7 percent killed over those 36 days. Okinawa’s 15,000-man 96th Infantry Division lost 10.8 percent killed, and the 20,000-man 6th Marine Division lost eight percent killed, both over the course of 81 days fighting.

Although 82d Airborne’s D Day wounded will never be known with certainty, adopting the universally accepted 3-1 wounded-to-killed ratio would imply roughly 2,100 (26.3 percent) wounded to 697 killed. That number is of course presumption, and will remain forever so, but history’s consistent validation of that standard would evidence 82d Airborne’s nearness to a ghastly 2,800 (35 percent) total battle casualties those first twenty-four hours.

In any case, 82d Airborne lost one whole battalion killed, and one whole regiment killed and wounded on D Day in Normandy.    

Astonishingly, America barely noticed. No division, nor division-size unit in all American history had ever, nor has since, suffered close to nine percentkilled on a single day. But 82d Airborne’s performance in Normandy was obscured by the larger event, and simply went unremarked.

‚ÄúIt was a time when the world asked ordinary people to do extraordinary things,‚ÄĚand they did, without complaint, and without boast. It was a different time. ¬†¬†¬†

 

 

Charles Houghton is an author and historian with an MA in History from the University of Massachusetts. 

 

https://www.realclearhistory.com/articles/2018/11/05/82nd_airbornes_stunning_1-day_kia_at_normandy_379.html

Good stuff....Thanks for sharing.

Unit I served with in the USAF is a direct descendant from teams in Operation Varsity (17th Airborne jump into Wesel, Germany March 1945) and before that, the Pathfinder units from D-Day.

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6 hours ago, BillyGoatHill said:

Good stuff....Thanks for sharing.

Unit I served with in the USAF is a direct descendant from teams in Operation Varsity (17th Airborne jump into Wesel, Germany March 1945) and before that, the Pathfinder units from D-Day.

You got it. One of Dad's favorite assignments was running the development team for the initial HALO/HAHO experiments. Jumping at over 25K and traveling 20+ miles under canopy must be one hell of a sight. 

Rock steady, and gracias. 

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On 11/13/2018 at 4:29 PM, Onboard 2.0 said:

The son was just tapped as his wing groups flight leader a month ago, and just got tapped this week to be part of the Commanders Action Group CCX. Head liaison between commanding officer (3 or 4 star general) and other inter AF and civilian authorities.  Lots of coordination, planning responsibilities.  To make general in the AF you have to have this duty posting on your resume apparently.

Lots of mixed emotions because it takes him away from his first love which is computer design/engineering/systems, but a huge tap on the shoulder for grooming his future. Not a penny more in pay however of course.  Gonna fuck up our ski season probably....

That's really good for the Air Force.  He's got support from somewhere/someone important.

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22 hours ago, InkaUtexas said:

You got it. One of Dad's favorite assignments was running the development team for the initial HALO/HAHO experiments. Jumping at over 25K and traveling 20+ miles under canopy must be one hell of a sight. 

Rock steady, and gracias. 

Oh yeah, great view (curvature of the earth and all that), but it is FREAKING COLD!

Did some HAHO jumps in Yuma (late February) and while temps on the ground were around 75-80, at altitude/opening (25 grand hop and pops) they were around a frosty -100. Couldn't have enough clothing items on. We had to fashion toggle extensions for our steering lines after finding out the first day you could only keep your hands above your heart for a brief amount of time as your fingers would quickly go numb and you lose dexterity. We flew the canopies just over 13 miles to the DZ and that took around 20-30 minutes under canopy. Gave you a lot of time to think about what you were hanging from. The nav routes that you flew were also the airline routes, so you had to be on the lookout. Didn't happen to me but I had some friends that had airliners fly underneath them more than once.

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Youngest son enlisted in the Navy this past Friday.  I am excited for him and pleased that he has overcome some significant developmental delays in early childhood to now be able to do this.  He qualified for any enlisted billet available and got "Mass Communications Specialist" or the MC rating, if you're familiar...  I called him the new "Private Joker" and he got a kick out of it.  evidently it's a very popular, yet most often unavailable rating for newbs.

He ships Jan 8 to Great Lakes for Basic. That shit will be like Hoth.   I already told him F going to Great Lakes for graduation. We'll come see him after that at Ft Mead and do some cool shit in the Baltimore area. He'll be there until July/ August for his MOS school.

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1 minute ago, slorch said:

Youngest son enlisted in the Navy this past Friday.  I am excited for him and pleased that he has overcome some significant developmental delays in early childhood to now be able to do this.  He qualified for any enlisted billet available and got "Mass Communications Specialist" or the MC rating, if you're familiar...  I called him the new "Private Joker" and he got a kick out of it.  evidently it's a very popular, yet most often unavailable rating for newbs.

He ships Jan 8 to Great Lakes for Basic. That shit will be like Hoth.   I already told him F going to Great Lakes for graduation. We'll come see him after that at Ft Mead and do some cool shit in the Baltimore area. He'll be there until July/ August for his MOS school.

Oooohh Great Lakes..... cooooooooold as shit...  Gongrats, and you'll go to the graduation...  You know you will.  Graduation and a weekend in Chicago, even in Winter a great time.

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  • 3 years later...
2 minutes ago, Gil Bang said:

Necro-bump here. 

My kid transitioned from being an Infantryman with two combat tours, to Drill Sergeant, to fucking PILOT!.

He's now a Warrant Officer, and has completed "common core" at Ft. Rucker, which means he has completed flight school, flying Airbus Lakota Helos. 

He's awaiting (in the next few days) his assignment to his final airframe (Blackhawk, Apache, etc) and then will have another 3 or 4 months training on that airframe, and will move on to his next posting. 

He's come a long way from E-1 to Warrant Officer.  I'm more proud of him than I am capable of articulating. 

Niiiiiice..

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15 hours ago, Gil Bang said:

Necro-bump here. 

My kid transitioned from being an Infantryman with two combat tours, to Drill Sergeant, to fucking PILOT!.

He's now a Warrant Officer, and has completed "common core" at Ft. Rucker, which means he has completed flight school, flying Airbus Lakota Helos. 

He's awaiting (in the next few days) his assignment to his final airframe (Blackhawk, Apache, etc) and then will have another 3 or 4 months training on that airframe, and will move on to his next posting. 

He's come a long way from E-1 to Warrant Officer.  I'm more proud of him than I am capable of articulating. 

Now he has to be called Mr. Bang, Jr.  Congrats!

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16 hours ago, Gil Bang said:

Necro-bump here. 

My kid transitioned from being an Infantryman with two combat tours, to Drill Sergeant, to fucking PILOT!.

He's now a Warrant Officer, and has completed "common core" at Ft. Rucker, which means he has completed flight school, flying Airbus Lakota Helos. 

He's awaiting (in the next few days) his assignment to his final airframe (Blackhawk, Apache, etc) and then will have another 3 or 4 months training on that airframe, and will move on to his next posting. 

He's come a long way from E-1 to Warrant Officer.  I'm more proud of him than I am capable of articulating. 

Congratulations!!!  Not an easy path for certain, and yeah, you should be damned proud!!!

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/19/2018 at 3:38 PM, slorch said:

Youngest son enlisted in the Navy this past Friday.  I am excited for him and pleased that he has overcome some significant developmental delays in early childhood to now be able to do this.  He qualified for any enlisted billet available and got "Mass Communications Specialist" or the MC rating, if you're familiar...  I called him the new "Private Joker" and he got a kick out of it.  evidently it's a very popular, yet most often unavailable rating for newbs.

He ships Jan 8 to Great Lakes for Basic. That shit will be like Hoth.   I already told him F going to Great Lakes for graduation. We'll come see him after that at Ft Mead and do some cool shit in the Baltimore area. He'll be there until July/ August for his MOS school.

Sounds like he's never heard "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald". 

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2 minutes ago, Gil Bang said:

Sounds like he's never heard "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald". 

He's been in the Navy 3 years and has not set foot on a ship.  Maybe he's a smarter sailor than those on the ore hauler...

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15 hours ago, slorch said:

He's been in the Navy 3 years and has not set foot on a ship.  Maybe he's a smarter sailor than those on the ore hauler...

My Army dad spent more of his enlistment on ships than most Navy guys, and when he wasn't on ships, he was next to them in ports, including post-WW2 Hamburg where they wanted him to jack with any ships with irregularities in the paperwork, this being a Hamburg that was more like a cartel-disputed Mexican port than whatever it is now.

He sorta kinda decided to ease back into civilian life.

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On 1/20/2022 at 8:13 PM, slorch said:

He's been in the Navy 3 years and has not set foot on a ship.  Maybe he's a smarter sailor than those on the ore hauler...

 

11 hours ago, RDCanecutter said:

My Army dad spent more of his enlistment on ships than most Navy guys, and when he wasn't on ships, he was next to them in ports, including post-WW2 Hamburg where they wanted him to jack with any ships with irregularities in the paperwork, this being a Hamburg that was more like a cartel-disputed Mexican port than whatever it is now.

He sorta kinda decided to ease back into civilian life.

I was an Air Force Brat that lived on an RAF base that was leased to the US Navy.  After college I worked as a defense contractor for over 20 years and spent a lot of that time on Navy bases and ships.  More time on ships in a four year period than most sailors just 2-4 weeks at a time.

I worked on several programs that helped to remote jobs that used to be manned positions on aircraft or ships to make them remote capable so that fewer specialist had to be on the ships and they could work more without deploying.

My nephew is currently in the Marines as a helicopter engine mechanic and living in Hawaii.  He may head to Okinawa next. 

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On 1/20/2022 at 8:13 PM, slorch said:

He's been in the Navy 3 years and has not set foot on a ship.  Maybe he's a smarter sailor than those on the ore hauler...

I know a Senior Chief with 21 years in the Navy that never set foot on a ship. He did spend a year in Antarctica, though.

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On 1/21/2022 at 8:57 PM, TexasEd said:

 

I was an Air Force Brat that lived on an RAF base that was leased to the US Navy.  After college I worked as a defense contractor for over 20 years and spent a lot of that time on Navy bases and ships.  More time on ships in a four year period than most sailors just 2-4 weeks at a time.

I worked on several programs that helped to remote jobs that used to be manned positions on aircraft or ships to make them remote capable so that fewer specialist had to be on the ships and they could work more without deploying.

My nephew is currently in the Marines as a helicopter engine mechanic and living in Hawaii.  He may head to Okinawa next. 

I've been to okinawa.  interesting place.  

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I've been to okinawa.  interesting place.  

A Japanese girl once told me ‚ÄúOkinawa is where we send all the ugly Japanese.‚ÄĚ From my experience she pretty much nailed it. Good news is the banana shows were incredible!

BTW-As a former USMC attack pilot, I was in absolute awe watching Apaches do their work. Incredible platform.
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