Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Major Richard Winters...

...Leadership Project is something everyone should be aware of. For those who do not know, Major Winters began his military career as a lieutenant in Easy Co. of the 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division in WWII. Winters was given command of E Company on D-Day, June 6th, 1944, after the plane carrying the company commander was lost during the initial drop. All on board were Killed. Winters quickly rose to the rank of captain and eventually major, taking command of the 2nd battalion of the 506th shortly before Bastogne. He was slightly wounded in Normandy, but took part in every campaign the 101st was involved in throughout the war. Their journey culminated with the occupation of Berchtestgaden and the capture of Hitler's alpine retreat, the Eagle's Nest.The story of Easy Company is featured in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers

A monument to honor all U.S. leaders in the Normandy campaign is proposed to be built in Ste. Marie-du-Mont, France, the objective of the 101st in the Normandy invasion. The monument will feature a sculpture of then Lt. Dick Winters and a documentary film.

Details on this project can be found at My wife and I will be undertaking various activities throughout the Summer to help raise money for this project, as $400,000 is needed! It is hoped by all that the funds are raised and the monument is completed shortly, so that Major Winters can witness via webcam the dedication ceremonies. Dick Winters is now 92 years old and is not in the best of health, so please donate if you can. Feel free to contact me for further details or information. Let's all do our best to support this noble endeavor!

Laughing at Living History...

More from the glorious encampment. The weapons carrier isn't so bad, but look at the flag. In a parade, etc., the POW/MIA flag is great, but in a WWII camp, trying to recreate a WWII scene, not so much! The netting, the pvc weapons, the list goes on! How about a 1970's-eratruck in a 1940's-era setting? It's green, right?

As to the tent with the other displays, besides the one with the rubber grenade with disposable camera next to it, I took no others. I will say that those telling about the displays were as clueless as the displays were wrong! There was an airsoft Thompson smg, and an airsoft German MP 40. When asked a question about the firing rate of a real MP 40, the guy with the display answered, "I don't know, but I think about 37 or 39 rounds!" about being informed. 400-450 is more like it, and if he was confused and thought they meant the year, I think "MP 40" should be a good clue!

Gettysburg reenacting at its worst, and Gettysburg reenacting spreading like a cancer!

What kind of history lesson...

...are we teaching with crap like this on display? "The Homefront General Store" on Baltimore Street in Gettysburg advertises reenactor gear from several eras, WWII included. Quite some time ago, I had problems with the way they were doing business. I heard the owner telling someone a uniform combination went together, even though factually it did not, just to try to make a sale. The person chose not to buy, so I said nothing. I've gone in there a few times since, but have never really bought anything, mainly because their stuff really isn't all that good.

This past weekend, a WWII living history encampment, sponsored by "The Homefront", was advertised as being held near the American Civil War Museum, the former Gettysburg Wax Museum. I was doing a small living history display of my own in Old Gettysburg Village, and when I was done, I thought I'd go check out what was near the museum.

Needless to say, I was shocked and appalled! I had to laugh, but I wanted to cry! From far away, it looked farby, because modern camo netting with modern scrim was draped over the weapons display. There appeared to be a bazooka with rockets, 2 mortars, and a .30 cal. machine gun, though, so I thought I'd check it out. I'm both glad and sorry I did!

Look at the photos. The mortar tubes were made of spraycan-painted pvc, as was the bazooka. The rockets were nerf-tipped pvc , and the mg was plastic with a pvc barrel and shroud. They seemed to take pride in showing them off, and telling people how wonderful they were, and how easy they were to make! The kid doing the weapons display appeared to be no more than about 15, and was equipped with the standard-issue airsoft 45 caliber pistol. Ugh!

I had to look, just like the gory accident you may pass on the highway. You don't want to, but can't quite help yourself! I had to take some pictures, but didn't want anyone to think I was really interested. I was still in my airborne uniform and actually hoped no one would ask me any questions or would think I was in any way involved! I'll add the rest of my pictures in a following post, and they are all captioned and visible on my facebook profile.

The wax museum has a history of inviting non-authentic Civil War groups to their grounds, like the Civil War Heritage Foundation (which a lot of us know and love due to the anything-goes mentality). I thought this was a step in the right direction, a chance to turn things around a bit and generate some different interest, but I was sadly mistaken. Had it been somewhat good, I'd have volunteered to get involved in the future and help things get going. As it is, though, I'll stay away. Like all things Gettysburg (including ghost tours, bike week, and even the reenactment)one step forward turns into two or three steps backward. Businesses run toward the money, while those in-the-know would be better served by just running away!