Message from the 503rd President...

 

FROM THE AUGUST 2013 NEWSLETTER

 

Hello from Arkansas,

Time is running out to get your Hotel Registration, three weeks!  The cut off date is August 22nd to get the $89.00 room rate for our 503d Reunion.  After that date, reservations will be on space available the cur current hotel rates.  As of August 1st, reservations for our reunion are very low, only 23, so hurry up and let us know that you will be joining us in Bentonville, Arkansas!

Bentonville is a beautiful location for our reunion.  The DoubleTree Suites are really nice and there is a shuttle service to and from the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport.  Our plans are for a bus tour to a couple of historical places and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which is beautiful!

I certainly feel that it would be a disservice to the remaining 503rd RCT members if for the lack of interest, so few attended that this turned out to be our last reunion.  We HOPE that this will not be our last time to get our members together.  Our 503rd RCT Family has been getting together every year too long to be giving up now, don’t you think?

We’re looking forward to having another good reunion this year in Arkansas!


Airborne All The Way!


Nelson

Anyone know their whereabouts??? 

Stanley Willner, Rhodora Hughart, John Moss, Pauline Jamison, Sarah Dablock

Reminders:

·        Don’t forget that 2013 dues are due!

 ·        Make plans now to join us in Bentonville, Arkansas for our 57th Annual Reunion.

 1.     Contact the DoubleTree Suites at 1-800-222-8733 to make room reservations. 2.

2.     Contact Nelson Gatewood at 1-870-856-2216 to register.

It’s NOT too late!!!  Hope to see you there!

 

 

 

 

FROM THE FEBRUARY 2013 NEWSLETTER

 

I consider any day I can get up and get dressed is a good day.  So I guess this has been a good year.  Phyllis and I have kept busy here at home with yard and garden, exercise with silver sneakers, meetings and trying to solve world problems with friends.

      We have traveled across this great country, west to California and east to Virginia and many places in between.  The highlight of the year was the 503rd RCT Reunion in Richmond, VA with the trip to Washington DC to visit Arlington Cemetery, seeing the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, having lunch at the Knights of Columbus Lodge, going to the WWII and Korean Memorials and returning back to Richmond for dinner.  We owe a big “THANK YOU” to Nancy and her sister for contacting the Honor Flight Organization, who arranged our trip to Washington, and also for planning and chairing such a great reunion.

     We were also in Corsicana, TX in November for a 503rd Southwest Chapter Reunion.  Marvin Edwards arranged for a nice get-together and visit for S/W Chapter members and families

--Nelson Gatewood, Presiden

 

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IT’s that time of year, again—renew your 503rd membership now!

Our membership year runs January 1-December 31.  Dues are $20.00 per year.  We are enclosing a self-addressed envelope for your convenience.  Checks should be made payable to 503rd PRCT.  There are many of you that we haven’t heard from in a long, long time.  Please let me know if you wish to continue receiving our newsletter.  Vets, if you are unable to pay dues, some of your fellow vets make donations to offset the cost.  Widows, you are entitled to receive the newsletter for as long as you wish.  With that said, please let me know your wishes.  You can send a note in the self addressed envelope, call me at 804-550-3354 or email me at wwii503rdprct@yahoo.com.

 

Associate Membership

Associate membership is open to widows, family members of  503rd members and interested persons.  As per the newly amended bylaws, Associate members have voting rights and are the future of the 503rd .  The cost is $20.00 per year.  Perhaps you will consider giving an associate membership to a son, daughter, grandchild, or other family member as a gift!

 

 

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FROM THE FEBRUARY 2011 NEWSLETTER

Dear 503er,

 I feel I need to share with you how I see us dealing with the issue of the preservation and protection of the honor of the 503rd Parachute RCT Association, World War II, Inc.  There is a solution that allows our Association to remain undisturbed and able to remain as a Last Man Standing entity, thus keeping the faith with our brothers who have already passed.

Our Rock unit was composed of the Infantry Regiment, our Artillery Battalion and our Engineer Company.  We are brothers and will remain brothers as long as we live.  I personally feel that most others who served in the 503rd WWII feel our Regimental Combat Team is the grandfather of the Lineage and share this love for each other.

When our war ended, we all went back to restarting the lives we’d left behind. The Army all but extinguished our PRCT with its decision to focus on the Brigade Combat Teams as their primary combat units.  It wasn’t the Brigade that started the Airborne, it was the Regiment, OUR Rock Regiment, that was the founder of the regimental Lineage.

Thus I have given our relationship with the 173d Airborne Brigade Association considerable study and thought.  The problem is that another unit, derived of a different era, has tried and is still working to replace us, doing their best to gain our position as the parent unit, and relegate us to a group of old men who are disappearing, so they can take over our association.  Over the past decade or more, our WWII organization has voted against such action.

I have been told by some 173ers that they have everything set up such as bylaws and emblem and that they will “take care of us” if we come in to their association.  They are an association where Army rank is still used.  I do not want a future where members of the 503d Lineage are anything other than an equal “band of brothers.”  During a heated telephone conversation with a representative of the 173d, he indicated that all they had to do was wait us out.  Let’s not let this happen!  As things stand now, when we 503rd WWII veterans are gone, our future is gone.

We have discussed a “503d PRCT Heritage Battalion” which is composed of all those who have a stake in the future of the 503rd Rock regiment (e.g. members of the current 503d only, relatives of the 503rd WWII and others who are interested in our unit.)  I know there are a number of those who are interested in this.  We have adopted a great internet web site that has allowed us to establish a public view of us.  Strangely enough, in the pre-462d days, it was the Aussies who fought together with us and now we have a similar Aussie mate in Paul Whitman.  He is the person who set up the website under the umbrella of “503d PRCT Heritage Battalion” and would like to see us get the Heritage Battalion totally up and running.  In our discussions, Paul has told me that he would like to donate the name and reputation of the 503d PRCT Heritage Battalion (Bn) website to those of us in the 503rd WWI, and that he will continue to work with the Bn to ensure it has one of the most comprehensive WWII history sites on the internet.

I believe that forming a 503d PRCT Heritage Battalion is the way to go.  We will write the rules and they will reflect what we of WWII have practiced through the decades of our Association!  Let’s help establish the Heritage Bn to ensure that our Rock Regiment, which came of age on The Rock, will be rock solid!

If we do nothing, then our reputation is up for grabs to whoever wants to claim control over it.  I do not want that to happen. 

As your Association president, I want to give all the opportunity to be heard.  Please let me know your feelings on this issue! 

Please contact me as soon as you receive this!  The success of this endeavor depends upon you and me.

 I end with “Long live the Rock Regiment.”

--Bill Calhoun, President

 

FROM THE NOVEMBER 2010 NEWSLETTER

 

Dear 503d Brother;

I feel I need to bring you up to date on our relationship with the 173d since they are so persistent to form an association from their association and our Rock Regiment. (I know they resent our nickname because they do not have such, but they have been set on this for these many years.) We earned ours by accomplishing the retaking of our long-time symbol of American defense which the Japanese had taken away from us.  When the 6th U.S. Army LTG Walter Krueger made the statement that he was not going to have another Tarawa, he knew the Japanese would heavily fortify the beaches.  He realized that, despite the almost impossibility of a suitable jump landing area.  So the paratroopers would jump onto a jump area covered with wreckage and rubble caused by the guns and bombs of both the Japanese and the Americans.  Despite heavy jump casualties, the Americans would be on the highest level, Topside, and would destroy the Japanese communications and command structure.  Japanese Navy Captain Akagai was warned by higher headquarters to be on alert for a parachute.  After examining the area, he ruled this out because there were no places to land.  We jumped right there.  Ten Army Signal Corps photographers volunteered to make their first parachute jump.  Their films and jump casualties are ample evidence that this was the roughest jump made during WWII.  Thus the Rock Force defeated an enemy force almost twice their size because they surprised the enemy who were now scattered along the beach in well prepared position, but facing the wrong way.  They also had no means of communicating with each other, so we could defeat 6,800 of them in detail.

Under our cover a reinforced 34th Infantry Battalion as part of our Rock Force landed at Bottom Side.  Their casualties were low because our forces were above and behind the enemy.  Our forces also received a Presidential Unit Citation.  Pvt. Lloyd G. McCarter, 3d squad, 1st Platoon, F Company was awarded the Medal of Honor.  This was and is the only MOH ever awarded for action on Corregidor.  (See my article in “Bless ‘em All” on http://corregidor.org, titled “The Greatest Warrior I Ever Knew.”)

So I urge all of us to hold fast.  There will only ever be One Rock Regimental Team.  I am very proud of the fact that our bylaws prohibit the use of rank.  We are truly 503 Brothers.

--Bill Calhoun, President

 

 

 

 

 

FROM THE AUGUST 2010 NEWSLETTER

Hello from Arkansas,

By now you should have made your reunion registration and your hotel reservation.  If not, don’t hesitate, time is running out.  We need everyone who can make it for a happy and successful reunion.

We will be asking for someone to chair the 2011 National Reunion so give that some serious thought.  We will also need a volunteer for the office of Vice President.

We have received letters from the 11th Airborne Division Association and the 173rd Airborne Brigade Association inviting our members to join their Associations.  We will discuss this at our meetings.

If you have any good War Stories to share, our hospitality room is the best place to tell them.

Our reunions are always better when you are there!

Nelson Gatewood

 

 

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