Camp MacKall cont’d

1943 11th Airborne, Camp MacKall Yearbook

1943 11th Airborne, Camp MacKall Yearbook

The following story has been condensed from the “Angels: A History of the 11th Airborne Division” by MGeneral E.M. Flanagan Jr.

The 511th made waves for the 11th A/B Div.

General Swing, realized he was commanding an outfit of cocky paratroopers with special jump pay and glider troops who had no voice in their assignment and no extra pay to compensate for being forced to go to war in a rickety, undependable glider in equal hazardous duty.  Unless he took some drastic action, the division would be split.

511th Regimental patch.

511th Regimental patch.

Reports filtered back to Gen. Swing at Camp MacKall that the 511th troopers were full of arrogant, rowdy hell-raisers lacking in discipline.  But when the regiment joined up with the 11th Airborne, Swing was ready for them.  Henry Muller [G-2 officer] remembered:

 

“It was quite a shock to us.  Gen. Swing, who had heard terrible reports about the alleged rowdyism and unprofessionalism, was determined to ‘make us right.’  The first thing to go were the leather jackets [Air Corps ‘bomber jackets’ issued to flight crews] being worn by the paratrooper officers.  Next were the beloved boots for all ranks!  We were in a state of shock.

“That dreadful morning when we all had to put on ‘leggings’ nearly broke our spirits – but not for long.  The old horse artilleryman [Swing] knew what it would take to bring a high spirited horse under control.  In the long run it was good for us too-cocky paratroopers and helped prevent unhealthy rivalry between paratroopers and glidermen.  The glidermen had been referred to as ‘Haimes’ at this point.”

MGen. Joseph M. Swing

MGen. Joseph M. Swing

Unfettered by his superior officers, Gen. Swing would ensure that the entire division would operate as both paratroopers and glidermen.  He set up the 11th Airborne’s own jump schools at Camp Polk, New Guinea and the Philippines.

According to Smitty, the 511th continued to maintain their air of superiority throughout the war which also continued the rivalries; just unbeknownst to most the officers.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Paratrooper Humor – 

Para-Toast.

Para-Toast.

'I dropped out of Parachute School.'

‘I dropped out of Parachute School.’

post-19-1111162909

“It’s best not to speak to paratroopers about saluting. They’ll only ask you where you got your boots.”

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Gordon Anderson – Ellensburg, WA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 188th Reg./11th Airborne

Patrick Butler – San Francisco, CA; US Army Air Corps, PTO Occupation, 187th Reg,/ 11th A/B

Renfroe Colbert – Indian Trails, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, C/511th/11th A/B

11th A/B Soldiers Prayer

11th A/B Soldiers Prayer (Click on to read.)

William DeFlorio – Willowick, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, D/511th/11th A/B

Howard Englert – Stoney Creek, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ2/188/11th A/B

Valentine Geig – Port St.Lucie, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ/187th/11th A/B

Hassel Rogers – Ridgeway, VA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, C/674th Arty/11th A/B

Ted Timberlake – Cape Coral, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ/187th/11th A/B

Delbert Thomsen – Clinton, IA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ/ 457 Arty/11th A/B

James Wilson – Buffalo, OK; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, C/457th Arty/11th A/B

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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 October 5, 2015, in SMITTY, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 47 Comments.

  1. General Swing proved to be a very astute leader, quite a task to equalize Paratroopers and Glidermen.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very interesting spotlight and compelling to read so…
    Thanks for sharing… Best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There’s a rich history to paratroopers I’ve not explored before. Thanks for this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “Strength From Above” patch is quite the metaphor !

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love those cartoons! ‘Para Toast’ especially, and the guy who dropped out … boom boom~! Yay!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love stories about talented leaders. It is always inspiring to hear about things done right!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Did I read it right? It seems that the paratroopers were given “special privileges” compared to the other forces… I think that was unfair. It was good that Gen. Swing “made it right”. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • At the beginning, the paratroopers were considered the elite, just as pilots were – to have a division work together as a team – Swing had to make it right – they were the role models for what may or may NOT continue at this point. Thanks for your interest. [feel any different now that you’re 50?] 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Rivalry will always exist, but it was nice to see someone trying to lessen it at least. War is a big enough problem by itself.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The “Para Toast” looks good.

    Like

  10. Combining apples and oranges, forever the challenge. Still, I imagine the paratroopers (and glider pilots) earned the right to their pride. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • As glidermen became paratroopers and visa/versa they all became one unit – although the 511th held on to their feelings of superiority for a while longer. Thanks for coming by today.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Give up their boots! Like we use to say, the only way anybody is going to take my boots is to pry them off my cold dead feet. And not to pay extra money to the glider men!!! I can’t imagine being in those balsa coffins when they were under attack by ack ack or landing in a field of tapered stakes stuck in the ground at an angle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s what Swing wanted to correct. He needed everyone in his division to be equal. Thanks for your comment, Don; it’s obviously you of what you speak!! I appreciate your years of reading here.

      Like

  12. That was good management. I enjoyed the article and smiling also at “para-toast”. Every home should have one 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Good General. If he did that today, he’d be sued. It’s a different world.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I bet the person who wrote “Para-Toast” is long dead and gone, but isn’t it strange that he still make has the power to make me laugh out loud seventy years after he’s drawn it?

    Like

  15. I am sure that there was always rivalry between Paratroops and Glider men. We had, and still have ‘air-landing’ brigades here, and they all got the prestige of being ‘airborne.’ The Paras have none of that though, and still cherish their elite status.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Like

    • That’s why Swing insisted that the paratroopers learn how to be glidermen and the glidermen became paratroopers – no one was except – even the officers. No one was consider themselves more elite than another.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Pierre Lagacé

    FYI

    Never could open your link on the F-35 yesterday.

    Like

  1. Pingback: My Article Read (10-5-2015) | My Daily Musing

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