Dedication

187th, Headquarters Company, 11th Airborne Division - Smitty is in the back row, 5th from the right

187th, Headquarters Company, 11th Airborne Division – Smitty is in the back row, 5th from the right

The first men of the 187th Regiment at Camp MacKall seen above as they embark on a journey into the Pacific to become the “Rakkasans” known worldwide for their participation in WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam War and Desert Storm…

Major William C. Lee, Father of the Airborne

Major William C. Lee, Father of the Airborne

Here is the 11th Airborne Song: DOWN FROM HEAVEN,
An original composition by: Lt. Col. Byron Paige
Arranged by: Sgt. George Whissen

11th A/B shoulder patch

11th A/B shoulder patch

Down from Heaven come Eleven and there’s Hell to pay below
Shout “Geronimo” “Geronimo”
Hit the silk and check your canopy and take a look around
The air is full of troopers set for the battle on the ground
Till we join the stick of “Angels” killed on Leyte and Luzon
Shout “Geronimo” “Geronimo”
It’s a gory road to glory but we’re ready here we go
Shout “Geronimo” “Geronimo”

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Special thanks to the Paratroopers of the 50’s for this info. Should you wish to hear this song and others, see old photos,etc. go to http://home.hiwaay.net/~magro/abn.html On their home page is an index with a massive amount of information about paratroopers of all decades.

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For Smitty – we always try to give the tough events a lighter side –

"Geronimo!"

“Geronimo!”

Click on photos to enlarge

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on May 24, 2013, in SMITTY, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 50 Comments.

  1. Looking for any information on Albert Pernesky 328043304. I know he was in the 11th Airborne and possibly attached to one of the glider units. Born in DuBois, Pa and later moved to Montague, Mi. Any information or possible photos would be appreciated.

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    • I’ll do my best, Robert. If you know what Mr. Pernesky basically looked in 1943, you might locate him in the yearbook….
      https://sites.google.com/site/1943divisionyearbook/
      pick a day when you have time; the pictures will enlarge for you and there about 100 pages with over 8,000 faces – so take it slow and easy. Have you tried the US Archives for info? I am presuming that you have and were told that his records were destroyed in the St. Louis fire along with 16 – 18 million others. So, best of luck to you and I’ll keep hunting on this end.

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  2. I stumbled upon your site here in my search to find more about my grandfather who, sadly, passed on the year I was born. My family has very seldom talked to me about him. I found pictures, plaques, and patches with the 11th Airborne that really piqued my interest in finding out who he was and how, where, what he was while with the 11th Airborne. This brings me to your picture up there with your father, Smitty. If I am correct in my assumption, my grandfather is the top row, third from the right. His name is Albert H. Ross. I would love to get in contact with you and find out as much as I can about these fine, brave men and hopefully gain some peace in my “soul searching” quest for answers.

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    • If your father was in Smitty’s unit, he was in the 187th Regiment, trained as a paratrooper, gliderist and infantryman. He received jungle warfare training in the Louisiana swamps and the jungles of New Guinea. I am very proud to make your acquaintance. I do not accept private emails, but if you like, I can give you a list of books to read by Gen. EM Flanagan (also of the 11th A/B),etc. Feel free to follow the footsteps of the 11th in the archives of this site and I will help you as best I can, come back and comment here as you wish. It is a pleasure to meet you, Kim, and I hope to hear from you again soon.
      PS. Have you attempted to retrieve Mr. Ross’ service records from NAVA?

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      • I am in the process of trying to get more info from my family, but to no avail. I know we have the wooden plaque with his Regiment, Battalion, and Company, and the laminated plaque with the required number of jumps he completed somewhere tucked away. My search would be easier if I had the information on them. I did memorize his service number and did a search on the WWII archives and found him but not much information as I would have hoped for. I haven’t yet looked into getting the service records as of yet, but I will be very soon. Thank you for the tip on NAVA. The list of books would be greatly appreciated! I have poked around the site, and I have to say, this is tremendously great what you do.
        Any more suggestions on finding out more about is valued and I thank you a thousand times for your help.

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        • You have a good start, especially for the NAVA search. An inexpensive way to find the best books for less, I found, is on Thriftbooks.com and Abe Books.com; because some of these are out of print. The best for you to start with are all by General E.M. Flanagan (Ret.) former commander of the 457th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion/11th A/B:
          1- The Angels: A History of the 11th Airborne Division
          2- The Rakkasans: The Combat History of the 187th Airborne Infantry
          3- The Los Banos Raid: The 11th Airborne Jumps at Dawn
          Good Luck!

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  3. I think more people seeing your blog is a good idea (for them – as they will enjoy your well considered posts), but awards are a great deal of work. It is an honor you deserve (and I respectfully disagree about the award being like a chain letter – well, maybe a bit like a chain letter). It is nice that you were nominated and the gesture was a kind and respectful one.
    Elephant
    PS Indeed, today I have thought of you and your father! So respect for his memory is . . . right here.

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  4. Congratulations, gpcox!

    I have nominated your blog for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

    More about this nomination is at

    http://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/very-inspiring-blogger-award-thanks-gwynnem/

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    • I thank you for the honor and sincerely hope you will not be upset with me when I refuse. I feel this site is a tribute to my father, his unit and the the era at the time and not about me, so I’m afraid I will have to back off. I hope this will not interfere in our friendship and you will understand.

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  5. I am thinking about you because it is Memorial Day weekend. Love your gravatar – you, with a perky hat and a military man’s smile. Appreciate your thoughts and seeing your posts. But most of all I very much appreciate your service!
    Elephant

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  6. Another great post! Love the cartoon. Reminds me a bit of some of the old 50’s comics.

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  7. Yesterday, Pacific. Now, South China Sea. Hopefully not. But Jesus of Nazareth — they just dont get it.

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  8. Heroes, each and every one of those men!

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  9. I like the song and all the information. Thank you for your terriffic research.

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  10. I thought a soft landing was one where you DIDN’T beat the cargo to the ground! πŸ˜‰

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  11. great work A comical side to serious events love it.

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  12. I guess I could Google but I’m too lazy… What’s the story behind “Rakkasans”? It almost sounds Japanese. πŸ™‚ The poem… Boy, was it direct or what? “Gory road to glory…”!

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  13. Great post!! I was wondering if it was ok to add a link to your blog and mention it in my post today?

    Like

  14. Loved the lyrics. I can imagine it being a great motivation. Can you tell me the definition of “stick” in the fifth line?

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  15. Love the old patches, would like to have my Dad’s WWII patches.

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  16. Great post!! I was wondering if I could add your blog to my blog roll and if I I could mention it in my post today?

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  17. The cartoon reminds me of the style that one of my uncles used to use in his drawings. Cute!

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    • I’ve been holding on to that since I started the blog. The way my research first started out – it was how I felt – one brick wall after another.

      Like

  18. Thanks for sharing, great post.

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  19. Love the Soft Landing!

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