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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Thank You

Comrades in Arms:
I just now received my copy of THE HISTORY OF THE 101st AIRBORNE DIVISION (AIR ASSAULT).
I'm very, VERY pleased with it, and it sits on the shelf next to my personalized copy of 101st AIRBORNE DIVISION "SCREAMING EAGLES" , by Colonel Robert E. Jones (which has been sold out for several years).
As I read the booklet you just sent me, a few things caught my eye.
I was surprised to see the insignia of the 101st Infantry Division, which served during the First World War, as I'd never seen it before.
I didn't notice any mention of the Wisconsin Iron Brigade from the War Between the States, from which the 101st Airborne is descended, and from whom we inherited the eagle and the black shield of our 101st Airborne Division insignia.
For one whole year, in Viet Nam, the 101st Airborne was officially known as the 101st Air Cavalry Division.
That's a little known bit of trivia!
I was intrigued by the references to Camp Breckenridge, Kentucky, for my father was part of the cadre there when the 101st Airborne was reactivated.
He gave me a souvenir postcard of Camp Breckenridge, one of those foldout things with multiple scenes of the camp, and I have it tucked inside the cover of my 101st AIRBORNE DIVISION "SCREAMING EAGLES" , along with a Letter of Appreciation my father received, plus several souvenir documents I retained from my own service in Viet Nam (i.e., "Chieu Hoi" leaflets, et cetera).
That big leather bound volume was autographed by Roy E. Pickel, one of the original "Band of Brothers", who lived here at the Ol' Soldiers' Home, and recently passed on.
Many years ago, while serving in the Utah State Defense Force, I read about the creation of the Air Assault Qualification Badge, and realized that those of us who had served in Viet Nam with the 101st Airborne met that criteria.
Accordingly, at that time, I wrote to the Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division, seeking to have those wings retroactively awarded to every Viet Nam veteran who had completed the S.E.R.T.S. course at Camp Evans, Republic of Viet Nam.
In response, I received a very nice certificate from the Commandant of the Air Assault School, with a pair of wings attached, officially designating me an honorary Air Assault trooper.
Ever since, I've proudly worn my wings.
BUT - - -
Only when reading THE HISTORY OF THE 101st AIRBORNE DIVISION (AIR ASSAULT), did I learn that the Air Assault wings can NOT be awarded retroactively to Viet Nam "Screaming Eagles", because the wings are only retroactive to 1974.
Even so, receiving that copy of THE HISTORY OF THE 101st AIRBORNE DIVISION (AIR ASSAULT) was a very pleasant and totally unexpected surprise.
Thank you very much!
At Your Service,
Official Bard of Clan Henderson
Washington, D.C. 20011-8400
NOTE: "My unpopular and controversial personal opinions are independent of my Scottish clan."

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