E.T.O. Deuce - 502nd P.I.R., 101st Airborne
Firstly of all, please excuse the fact this 'website' is bolted on to the website I run. I wanted a place to be able to share information about getting into re-enacting, something that I too have recently gotten back into after many years away. I offered to help my new group in a few ways, recruiting, a newsletter, creating items for displays and a method to share information about kit requirement, up coming events, roles and jobs vacancies in the unit.
Our group focuses around the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment (P.I.R.), however we are split into the HQ Company 502nd, Pathfinder 'sticks' and we also have our very own medical attachment. So a lot of possibly variety for those who don't just want to be an airborne trooper. Although this is the back of our unit. Our unit certainly isn't one of the biggest, but it certainly makes up for its size with its close-knit and friendly nature. Even after only two shows, these folks who I re-enact with really do feel like family. I fact I spent over 6 hours tonight at one of our officers homes chatting and making plans.
Guy Whidden - 502nd P.I.R interview
Although Ed Shames was in the 506th P.I.R. What he says is relevent to all regiments. A fascinating soldier, who played some vital roles in the Normandy invasion.
Questions? I bet you'll have plenty...
Like almost all re-enactment units, all the members come from all walks of life, all ages and believe it or not, even both sexes. If your new to re-enacting, then we all understand that this may seem like a daunting task and many questions will be going through your mind, what kit do I need? do I need to attend every event? how much is everything going to cost? what if I can't find XYZ to buy? Trust me, we've all been there, this is why I have started putting all these together. We also understand that buying everything in one hit can be crazy expensive as well as daunting! The KIT pages called will go into more detail into what you really need as a minimum, rather than required. What to buy and what not to buy! Also there are thousands of items which you may want to buy and add to your new airborne persona.
We attend shows all around the UK. If I had my way we would be out every weekend and all the shows would be local to me. Of course it doesn't work like that and travel does have to be factored into it. We may have a member that lives close to you, if so, it maybe possible to share transport, after all, chipping in for some petrol is never to be sniffed at. Literally! Some shows will clash with other things in your life, it happens to us all. Just let us know you can't come and its as easy as that. If you can't come to any for an entire season, so be it. It'll be a terrible year for you, but that happens.
What to expect at a show
All events start the same way, a lot of hard work in putting up all the tents, not just your own, but we all pitch up and get everything assembled, from the medical tents to the canteen and mess area. Next goes up the perimeter fence and the 'check point Charlie' gate and most important our new sign, letting the world know we have arrived! As most events we set up the day before the public arrived, its a nice peaceful rest of the day either seeing what the site has to offer or relaxing with the gang eat and drinking.
Next morning expect to be woken early, usually by one of the officers or Sgts shouting! However, don't let this put you off as almost every event this is a call for breakfast! Our fantastic girls in the catering corps cook us a fry up every morning! We do get spoilt and I certainly wont complain about that. After breakfast is done with, it's time to kit up and get on the parade ground. Some members will be manning the gate and greeting the public, public are free to wonder round our encampment, other members will be tasked by standing next to other displays of items, like weapons, or sat in the HQ filing paperwork. Don't worry about any lack of knowledge in any of these areas, if we can teach the public, we can teach you too. Sharing knowledge is one of greatest things in re-enacting, you'll learn so much. In the evening we all sit down and have a meal, again cooked by our own catering corps. This can vary, but is always amazing!, despite being cooked outdoors with the limited functionality of a camp kitchen.
Some times we drill, marching is always comical, which proves who knows their left from their right! Trust me, it's easy when you not standing in the open being watched by the public, however as soon as you hear "Right turn...." someone will always turn the wrong way. I'm sure some of us do it on purpose... at least that's their excuses! We have also done unarmed combat lessons, which was by far the most entertaining things I have ever done for the amusement of the public. Even the Nurses were training in the art of defending themselves, they proved more dangerous than our enlistedmen!
These sorts of task get repeated over a weekend until its time to pack down. Everyone packs their kit, clears their tents, then down comes all the tents, into the bags, everything is packed into trailers, wagons, cars and we all say our goodbyes until the next event or we meet up in between.
Hopefully that gives you an idea of what may happen at an event.
The HQ Co. 502nd P.I.R. Official Newsheet!