11th Airborne Division and 187th Regiment

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As many of you know, this site is dedicated to my father Everett “Smitty” Smith, the 187th Regiment and the 11th Airborne Division as a whole. It is with this in mind that I am continuing the posts into the Korean War era and will then return to the very beginning of WWII, Pacific Theater.

1943 Camp MacKall Yearbook

1943 Camp MacKall Yearbook

The entire 11th A/B wrapped up their obligations in Japan for the occupation as of January 1949 with most of the 187th Regiment boarding the General Hersey for transport on 19 February. They docked in New Orleans, LA on 17 March and began heading to their new home at Camp Campbell, Kentucky. General Swing had remained their commander until January 1948 and in May 1949 they were under Brigadier General Lemel Mathewson and the 188th Regiment was deactivated. The 187th was reorganized and designated as the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment, with Col. Harvey Jablonsky in command.

Letter from Gen. Swing to his men

Letter from Gen. Swing to his men

The flimsy gliders that they had developed and used in the war were sent to the museums at Forts Bragg and Bennington and the 11th A/B spent their fall of 1949 honing their airborne and physical fitness programs. In the spring of 1950, they returned to Camp MacKall, NC were Smitty and the division were first formed into a top unit and stunned the ‘brass’ with their outstanding performance in the famous Knollwood Maneuvers. I covered the Knollwood Maneuvers at https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/camp-mackall-the-knollwood-maneuvers/ . The new 11th then participated in Exercise Swarmer over that same terrain.

Division HQ's Officers

Division HQ’s Officers

1 August 1950, Col. Frank Bowen Jr. faced the his men of the 187th Regiment in Theater Number Three and announced that the troops were slated for movement overseas. On 27 August, they became the 187th Regimental Combat Team along with the 674th Airborne Field Artillery Battalion, A Company of the 127th Airborne Engineer Battalion, Battery A of the 88th Airborne Antiaircraft Battalion and units of MPs, quartermasters, parachute maintenance riggers and medics. 1 September they were separated from the 11th Airborne Division. The 187th RCT “Rakkasans” were being sent to Korea and we will follow them in future posts.

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In December 1950, Major General Lyman Lemnitzer took command of the 11th A/B Division and were transferred to the 3rd Army to consolidate the airborne units. Between 1950 and 1956, the commanders would change six times as they became situated in Germany. They were deactivated 1 July 1958, but reactivated in February 1963 as the 11th Air Assault Division at Fort Benning, Georgia. On 30 June 1965, when they were once again deactivated; the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) was formed.

patches of the 11th A/B

patches of the 11th A/B

I wish to convey a special Thank You to Lt. General E.M. Flanagan, Jr. USA (Ret.). Not only as the author of The Angels:A History of the 11th Airborne Division and Rakkasans, but as the commander of the 11th A/B’s B Battery of the 457th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion and a columnist for Army Magazine. Being that Smitty’s records were lost in the St. Louis fire of 1973, his knowledge and memory were of great assistance to me.

Lt. General E.M. Flanagan, Jr.

Lt. General E.M. Flanagan, Jr.

I have had the honor of receiving two phone calls from the general, during my initial research, in which he thanked me for my letters to him. Both of those occasions will remain highlighted memories for me which I shall never forget.

Click on images to enlarge and read. Thank you.

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Farewell Salute –

Joe Zack Thompson – Dallas & Humble, TX; U.S. Naval Air Corps, WWII

Dr. Douglas MacInnis – Wisconsin & Laguna Beach, CA; Surgical Army Captain, Korean War

Murray Michael Rothberg – Agoura Hills, CA; U.S. Army, WWII

Harry Daily McCament – Plano & Houston, TX; U.S. Navy, Korean War aboard the USS Randolph CVA-15

Salvatore Cintorino – Rochester, NY; U.S. Army, WWII ETO, Purple Heart

James Wallis – Dallas, TX; U.S. Navy, WWII

John B. Boy – Johnson City, TN & LaBelle, FL; U.S. Navy, WWII, captain of the USS C350 (subchaser), USS PC613 (patrolcraft) & the USS Holton, DE-703 (destroyer escort).

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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 July 23, 2013, in Korean War, SMITTY, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 59 Comments.

  1. hey GP.. thanks for your articles. Chances are My Dad, Delbert Fish ( Del, Deeds, Fish etc) knew your dad. He was in the 187 Headquarters company. I believe the man who shouted ,as stated in your story; “One G.I. yelled out, ‘Get down you f–kin’ jerk! You want your head blown off?’ ” at Swing was my father… no shit.. He told that story many times.. He was from Warroad Minnesota and was actually used as an advance scout because he had been partially raised by Native Americans.. He was in the battle of the Fallen Timbers and he actually started that fight. He was coming thru the blow down when he heard a noise from the other side and opened fire. The guys on the other side were not happy, one of them yelled back ” Hey Fish is that you”. It was John Fealy also from Warroad Minnesota ( a town of about 800 at the time. He and Fealy had grown us just a couple of miles from each other..

    Liked by 1 person

    • It sure is a small world, isn’t it?!! It is such a pleasure to meet you. I do hope you’ll stick around here so maybe we can compare more notes, especially when I get back into the war and start posting for 1945. Your father sounds like someone my dad would certainly get along with!!

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  2. This blog is incredible! My Dad was a Sgt in the 11th airborne, 187th glider regiment. I am trying to determine what company. I have reasons to believe it was company A. I have just a few pictures. I also have a small notebook he had with him in the war, with names of some of the men he served with. This is absolutely priceless! My Dad rarely talked about the war with me, although some of my older siblings, particularly my brothers, do have a few stories that my Dad shared with them over the years. Dad passed away in 1995. Oh how he is missed!

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    • Thank you very much. You do know, that as a child of the 11th, you are entitled to join the 11th Airborne Association as an Associate member. I am very glad you located this site and do hope you will share your stories and photos. You could also start your own free blog with WordPress.com to keep your treasures online for all to see!!
      I hope we’ll be hearing more from you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank You! I would very much like to become an associate member of the 11th airborne. Would you mind posting a link to how I could do this? I’m not sure that I have enough stories to begin a blog for my Dad. I need to get all the specific, most accurate details( from siblings),that I can, before posting stories here. But I will. A quick background: His name was Boleslaw Limanowski, and went by the nickname “Ben”. My Dad served from 1943-1946 in the Southern Philippines; Luzon; New Guinea; Japan. I would ask my dad, when I was a kid, questions about his time in WWII and he didn’t share a whole lot with me personally, as it was painful for him to discuss. I don’t know if it would be appropriate for me to list the names he penned in his notebook? I am thinking maybe someone will know something? I will also scan in the future, a few pictures that I have, and share, if that is OK.- I find myself on this journey now, to get as much information as I am able, to share with my own boys, who ask for details. Thank you again for sharing your blog.- Joyce

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        • Joyce – I’m glad you’re interested! Here is the link. You will see the emails for the officers of the Assn. there. To join, contact Charles Magro, Treasurer. By joining, you will receive the “Voice of the Angels” newspaper quarterly where you can not only read stories of the paratroopers, but they have a “Taps” section (like my Farewell Salutes) and a “Wanted Man” column where you can submit your father’s name and say you’re looking for those troopers your father mentioned in his notebook. Tell them Member # 4511 sent you and says Hello !!
          http://www.11airbornedivision.com/

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Your postings always have such extensive and illuminating illustrations!

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  4. I’ve just bumped into your blog… and WOW!!! You have so much research here. Thank you for sharing it!!! I’m really enjoying reading your posts!! My uncle was a Sgt in the 11th Airborne, 187th, Co B. His name was James “Jimmie” Sumrall. Just wondering if you’ve bumped into his name anywhere?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m afraid I am merely a member of the 11th A/B Association. It was my father who was in HQ Company/ 187th Regiment/11th Airborne Division.
      Welcome and I’m thrilled you found us. Does your site have photos of your uncle or info? You are always welcome here to share a story – we have a great bunch of friends around here and they love to hear the first hand tales. It gives the facts and statistics a reality perspective. If Jimmie Sumrall is no longer with us, feel free to put his info here in the comments to be included in the Farewell Salutes?
      Thanks for “bumping” into our direction, Tammy and I hope we’ll see more of you.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. My father was in Occupied Japan and sent to Korea. He would not talk about any of it to me. I have no idea what unit he was in. I do remember seeing a pin type insignia on his dress uniform. It said “God Our Reserve”. Could anyone out there tell me anything in reference to this. Dad has passed and this son needs to know. Thanks.

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    • I do hope you receive some response. I’ve seen signs the men had written that were similar, but not military issue. Hopefully someone will be more informed than I in this.

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  6. My father was in the 11th AB, 187th Glider Infantry. And I have a few pictures including a group if you would be interested. My father was very Proud to service his country even tho he was born in Mexico ! I miss him so !

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    • Do you have them posted on line somewhere? I would be thrilled to view the pictures and put them in with Smitty’s. Where your father was born shouldn’t matter – just what country he considered his loyalty stayed with!! Yes, I miss my father terribly as well.

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      • The pictures are in an album he put together. I would be happy to share them with you. Let me know how to send them, I sure with the help of my son-n-laws help you can have them by this weekend.

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        • I do not accept personal emails, [the reasons being far too long a story], so if you or your son-in-laws has a Linkedin or [least favorite] Facebook page – you can post them there for a short time. I’ll be able to save them to my album from there. It would be wonderful to see them and use them in my posts if you so allow. I greatly appreciate this trouble you are going to to get these pictures to me; I am always asking the readers to get their relatives and/or neighbors stories on line and this would be over the top!!

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          • Sir, I am most happy to share what I have with you. As soon as my son in law post them I will let you know where to find them. My sister and I were recently talking about these old pictures and that’s what got me looking on line and where I found you. It’s very interesting to look at these men and what they did and the sacrifices they made. Hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I have.

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            • My father and his unit is what started this blog in the first place. The scrapbook my grandmother created for him became damaged and I wanted everything saved on-line before it was too late – it just began growing from there and took on a life of its own! I’m very happy you found me and I will look forward to hearing about the pictures. Stop in any time. There are posts about their training at Camp MacKall, Polk, etc. It’s a pleasure to meet you.

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            • Linda,

              Please send any pictures you have to my email: buckmurray1@yahoo.com

              my grandfather was in the 187th Glider Infantry as well. I haven’t been able to locate any paperwork or pictures with him in them. If you can send anything to me that would mean the world to me.

              Liked by 1 person

              • If your grandfather was one of the originals at Camp MacKall, the yearbook is on-line to view. The only photos I have are already in my site (archives) and will posted again as we reach that time zone of the war. As a relative of a previous member, you are entitled to join the 11th A/B Division Association and would therefore receive the newspaper that is printed every quarter and includes pictures. It also has a column where fellow troopers are being searched for.
                https://sites.google.com/site/1943divisionyearbook/

                Please keep me informed of your progress and I will include his info here with my father’s data. I suppose you have already tried NAVA for copies of his records and I can presume they were burned in the St. Louis fire that also claimed 16-18 million others – that was a tragic loss. If you care to have his name listed in the Farewell Salutes here, please put his basic info here in the comments – Thank You for your interest.

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              • Buck, I appreciate your email. My son in law was sceptic al of me posting these and I was not able to post them to this site. Will get th to you ASAP . Thank You…,,Linda

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  7. What a wonderful compliment on your work…a personal call from the general. Awesome!

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  8. That must have been quite an honor talking to the general himself. Wow!

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  9. Your research is impeccable! As a us history teacher you are helping me create wonderful lessons and content knowledge.

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  10. Aside from the written records, oral history often gives more depth and meaning and connection to history. Thanks for weaving in first hand account where you can.

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    • I’m always trying to get that up front and personal feel of it. I don’t always get a clear picture otherwise. I’m especially noticing that in my Korean research – wish my uncle was alive – MSgt. James O’Leary, USMC

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  11. Hi to one of the best writers I’ve had a chance knowing through wordpress and having the pleasure of reading his articles. With such pleasure, I have nominated you for special awards!
    http://doniciasthoughts.wordpress.com/2013/07/23/a-bouquet-of-special-awards/

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  12. I’ve learned so much history from your entries. I’m looking forward to more! Thank you. And, of course, my undying gratitude to your father and all soldiers!

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    • With loyal friends like you supporting me, how can I stop? All this has been a work of pleasure, it is an added plus to find that people are learning from what I’ve found or just plain enjoying the photos.

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  13. I wish our politicians would remember, and honour, what these brave young people achieved and sacrificed before sacrificing more young lives on the insatiable altar of international war.

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  14. I, too, look forward to your Korean War posts. I was barely old enough to process the photos of the war in the LOOK and LIFE magazines my parents got in the mail, and the newspapers were “read” strictly for the funny pages.

    The one image that stuck with me, though, was a dead GI or Marine on a beach. Later, when I was five, my 12-year-old brother told me I had to serve in the military when I grew up. The image of the dead man popped up. I swore I’d never volunteer or be drafted!

    Of course, when my time came, I volunteered for service in the US Army, and the experience was good because I wasn’t sent to Vietnam. The peace talks assured a reduced American presence there, and my services as a 84C20 (Combat Motion Picture Photographer) were needed in West Germany. At least there was an opening there, I spoke poor German, and not to post me to a place where I’d work in that MOS meant the US Army’d have to break the contract we agreed to when I signed up and accepted for training in 84C20 skills on the delayed entry plan.

    Life is full of irony. I note I volunteered for three years of actiive duty to assure a guaranteed MOS to avoid the draft, which was two years of active duty wherever the US Army and fate chose to place me.

    Once at my duty station in the 69th Signal Company (Photo), I had access to WWII war films taken by other people in my MOS who got to make their European films with people shooting at them. Any number of times, in these unedited films, you’d see where the cameraman either dropped to the ground to take cover or, sadly, the camera continued to run where the cameraman dropped it after coming under fire or after wounded or killed. The films were silent.

    It was watching those silent documents of the invasion of Europe from D-Day on to the end that I came to appreciate the true meaning of “Combat” in Combat Motion Picture Photographer. It was a humbling epiphany.

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  15. Great graphics. Thanks for pulling together this information for your loyal fans.

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  16. I just love your blog! I still think it would be wonderful consolidated into a book. You’re SUCH a great writer, I think it would sell like hotcakes!

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  17. gpcox – Since I was in grammar school during the Korean War, I really don’t know much about it at all. I’m really looking forward to this history lesson from the great researcher gpcox…. Thanks for sharing.

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    • I hope I deserve your trust, because as I told warturoadam77, I don’t have as much info. I too was a youngster, but I’ve been researching and checking into my uncle’s records (he was a career Marine)

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  18. I enjoyed reading your posts about the Japanese war trials. I’m looking forward to reading about the Korean conflict–recently watched a documentary on the “Military Channel” about that very subject.

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  19. Thank you for this…too many words but I don’t know how to say them. Keep up the excellent work!

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  20. Pierre Lagacé

    This says it all…

    As many of you know, this site is dedicated to my father Everett “Smitty” Smith, the 187th Regiment and the 11th Airborne Division as a whole.

    I hope someone whose father was with 11th Airborne Division find all this.
    He or she will be speechless.

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  21. Very detailed rendition of a chapter of the 11 A/B – you must be proud and every reason to be proud of your father.

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  22. Honor where honor is due!!! Saluting in the typical military fashion!! Honored ….
    Reblog: http://hrexach.wordpress.com/

    Very well done. TY!!

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  23. A remarkable post, Koji – words do not do it justice.

    Like

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