Fort Bragg in Fayetteville is the home of the 82nd Airborne Division and the XVIII Airborne Corps. The world famous Golden Knights (The Army's Parachute Team) also call Fort Bragg home.
The inscription on Iron Mike's plaque states:
"Iron Mike stands in honor of Airborne Troopers
whose courage, dedication and traditions make
them the world's finest fighting soldiers."
Another story I found interesting was the one about the wedding dress. As the story goes, the year was 1943 and a young paratrooper was in training with the 101st Airborne Division. He and two other friends went in together and purchased a car so they could "socialize" with the local girls. It was during one of those dates when Eugene Deibler met Mary Smith and he knew she was "the one." Following his training, Sergeant Deibler shipped out to Great Britain. In the early morning of June 6, 1944, he was part of the airborne assault on Normandy. The unit landed in a field near the German headquarters. Sergeant Deibler said he doesn't know why he did it, but he took out his knife and cut out half of his unused reserve silk parachute canopy and stored it in his knapsack. He kept it there through 76 days of combat. At the first opportunity, he mailed the material back to Mary. She took the silk from the parachute, put it with a little more material and with the help of a seamstress, they made her wedding dress. Mary kept it ready until the two were wed on December 22, 1945. Now, that's a love story!
One more story before I end this post. By December 22, 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge, the German offensive had surrounded the town of Bastogne, Belgium. Inside the town, General Anthony McAuliffe commanded the 101st Airborne Division. That morning a German contingent approached the 101st under a flag of truce and handed a surrender ultimatum, stating the battalions were ready to annihilate the US troops. The note demanded a surrender within two hours or shelling would begin. The note was presented to General McAuliff, whose response was -- "Awe Nuts!"
This was the entire content of the note delivered to the Germans by Colonel Joseph Harper:
|Depiction of Colonel Harper presenting the message to the Germans.|
Alan loves watching old military and western movies. He actually watched the movie "Battle of the Bulge," starring Henry Fonda and knew all about this particular scene. Guess I need to watch more movies with him, so I can learn more history.
A few more pictures from the Airborne and Special Operations Museum.
|Each waiting for their turn to jump|