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Your Role

Whilst around the camp you can guarantee that the public will engage with you. Normally you'll have the same conversation a 100 times over the course of a weekend. However, every now and then they will throw you a curve-ball and ask something bizarre, of course you'll never know the answer to everything. What is expect is that everyone know what they are and what there individual roles and responsibilities would have been. A trooper having by far the easiest 'get out jail free card' here, your responsibilities are to you fellow troopers and not letting them down and simply to do what ever your told. You'd have no idea of the bigger picture and for most of the time you'd have no idea where you were and it would make  not a blind bit of difference if you did! So those new comers to the unit can for the most part not have  to explain much unless you have a specific other role such as radioman, runner, part of an LMG team, bazooka or mortar man.

With more rank, comes more responsibilities. You maybe a Cpl in charge of a mortar section, a Sgt in charge of a rifle squad, regardless of what ever your role is, you need to know the basics of what that involves. All this will be explained if you don't know and if we don't know we'll all learn together. As I said before, we can't all know everything!

Your role will mainly comprise of two aspects - your rank and any trades/duties/professions you have. 

As a group we have lots of ranks covered, in fact we have almost one of every rank going. What we really need are more troopers and also some more specialists roles filled. The public love variety, despite an infantry company being made of 99% primarily the same bog-standard-rifleman; this isn't too interesting to look at or engage-with as a member of the public. If a member of the public had a chat with each member of the group, they will get a varied answer from each member with a different rank/role.     

 

PATHFINDERS 
 

A school of Pathfinders in the IX Troop Carrier Command Pathfinder School.

At that time, the image of the Pathfinders did not have this elite reputation, the 82nd and the 101st sent 300 paratroopers in training. Some were volunteer, others were transferred for disciplinary problems.

Each Pathfinder team was assigned a C-47 and its specific crew.

The paratroopers of these units jumped 5-7 times a week, at least twice at night.

In May 44, 18 teams are formed for Operation Neptune, three for each drop zone (DZ A, N, C, O, D, T).

 

 

 

 

Team composition:

  • An officer team leader, (Lieutenant),

  • An officer assistant team leader

  • Two operators of the tag “EUREKA”

  • 2 assistants operator tag

  • A section head lamp Holophane

  • 7 men each equipped with two lamps holophanes

  • 4 to 6 men to protect the DZ.

 

During a night jump, 7 Pathfinders jumped with two Holophane lamps also called Aldis lamps. 7 of them are placed on the ground to form a T, the base of T indicating the direction of the jump, the crossbar, the jump departure.

They are lit when the hum of the engines of the lead aircraft is perceived. They are placed on telescopic tripods so as to be easily visible from an air-plane but almost invisible from the ground.

The last lamp is activated by an operator, it flashes the Morse letter of DZ, had to help leaders identify their areas of respective jump, indicated by lamps of different colours (green, red and amber) following the areas and units.

 

Colonel - In command of the whole 502nd PIR

Major

Captain G-3 - Pathfinder - Company Commander

1st Lieutenant G-2 - Platoon Leader                           1st Lieutenant S-2 - Intelligence Officer

2nd Lieutenant 

 

Chief Warrant Officer - Warrant Officers are an ambiguous space between NCO and Officer. They are the top most technical specialists in their field. All Warrant Officers are always addressed as 'Mr'.

 

Junior Warrant Officer

Master Sergeant

1st Sergeant

Technical Sergeant (not to be confused with Technician 3rd Grade T/3)

Staff Sergeant (inc; Mess Sergeant)

Sergeant - Squad leader                                Supply Sergeant                     

Corporal - Section leader                              

                                                                   

Technician 3rd Grade - T/3              

Technician 4th Grade - T/4

Technician 5th Grade - T/5                             Special qualification roles

                                                                    (see under the video for trades of the ranks listed under)

Private First Class                                             

Trooper (Pvt)

Even Troopers were assigned a variety of different combat roles, such as bazooka-man, mortar-man, mortar crew, BAR gunner, BAR gunners assistant, light machine gunner, LMG crew, runner, marksman... of course there are also plenty of non-combat roles as well. All of these non-combat roles would have been fully trained soldiers first then the secondary role after. 

The video above does mention ranks in brief, but also goes on about military courtesy in general, some of which will be useful.

As well as the many combat roles, the American army of WW2 was similar to the modern equivalent to which a soldier can take up almost any profession. Some times these can be in addition to the combat role, others would keep you far behind the front lines. Underneath is a few examples and idea of what other roles can be portrayed; all of which are under the rank of Corporal.

Chauffeur

Clerk, general

Clerk, Typist

Cook

Cook's helper

Mechanic

Orderly

Stenographer

Technician, Medical

Technician, Surgical

Photographer