Camp MacKall (not without a problem or two)

Gen. Joseph M. Swing

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.

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:

Lt.General E.M. Flanagan

“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.”

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.

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes – 

Allen Bulmer – Bridgeport, CT; US Navy, WWII

Charles Coolidge Sr. – Chattanooga, TN; US Army, WWII, ETO, Co./3/141/36th Division, Medal of Honor

William A. Cotcamp – Whitney Point, NY; US Army Air Corps, Japanese Occupation, MP Cpl., 11th Airborne Division

Charles P. Dugan – Philadelphia, PA; US Army, Japanese Occupation,11th Airborne Division

Everett gasper (101) – Surry, IN; US Army, WWII, PTO, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Arthur Harrison – Patterson, NJ; US Army, WWII, ETO, 102nd Infantry Division

Kathryn (Hodak) Lininger – Nile, OH; US Army WAC, WWII

Howard S. Magers – Merry Oaks, KY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Oklahoma, Seaman 2nd Class, KIA (Pearl Harbor)

Prince Philip Mountbatten – Corfu, GRE; Royal Navy, WWII, CBI, HMS Ramillies;  ETO, HMS Valiant;  PTO, HMS Whelp, / Consort to the Queen of England

Ray O’Dell – OR; US Army, WWII, ETO, Combat Engineers

Lyle Reab – Phillips, NE; US Army, WWII, ETO, Pvt., 28th Infantry Division, KIA (Vossenack, GER)

Raymond A. Smith – USA; US Army, Korea, Pfc., Co A/1/32/72nd Infantry Division, KIA (Chosin Reservoir)

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About GP

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

Posted on April 12, 2021, in SMITTY, WWII. Bookmark the permalink. 102 Comments.

  1. That was a good decision from Swing to bring paratroopers and glidermen together and get rid of the divisiveness.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It seems Swing’s experience around horses gave him some astute insight into humans as well. Great post, GP. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He graduated in the star-studded West Point class of 1915. His fellow classmates included Dwight D. Eisenhower and Generals Bradley, Beukema, Ryder, Irwin, McNarney and Van Fleet. Van Fleet had relieved General Ridgeway as commander of the Eighth Army, which included the 187th RCT during the Korean War. But I’ll bet horses taught him quite a bit themselves.

      Like

  3. You are in need of good leader, for the possibility doing a great job. Great story, GP! Thank you for sharing, and have a lovely weekend! Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A good read! So many important people who need to be honored and remembered! Thank you for sharing General Swing with us!
    I see Prince Philip in the Farewell Salutes. That is a nice tribute to him.
    “A new man”, eh? He’s looking pretty good, but I’m sure the Army did teach him a few things that made him a even better man! 😉
    (((HUGS))) 🙂
    PS…How are you doing, GP?

    Liked by 3 people

  5. He he reminds me of the guy in that movie who loves the smell of napalm in the morning

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner and commented:
    Besides a great article, I also wanted to share the last photo. It fits with how many of us feel.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great story! Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great story.
    I like you will never see a refugee from America.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dear GP
    an interesting story about the symbolism of leather jackets and boots. It amazing the rivalry could be ended that easy.
    Thanks for sharing 🙏 🙏
    Keep well and take care, our dear friend
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Gen. Swing was a great disciplinarian. I bet you, after the initial shock, those guys ended up respecting him after having their bomber jackets and boots taken off.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. A fascinating piece of history. What a great tribute to your father’s life and achievements.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for your like of my article, “Tribulation Prophecies And Doctrine 1 – Day Of The Lord – Time Areas Within The Day Of The Lord ;” I appreciate your kindness.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. That’s a lovely thought about the Army making a new man of the new recruit !

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This is fascinating to me. My father was called Smitty too. I am glad you honor those who serve my friend and what a kind tribute at the end. Thanks for your service and sharing stories with us. Love ❤️ Joni

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Way to go, General Swing!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Instill discipline by taking away their leather jackets and cool boots, eh?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Your father was certainly proud of his unit and rightfully so. There has to be a bit of rivalry to keep everyone doing their best.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Of de rivaliteit tussen de parachutisten en zweefvliegers ondergronds verder door ging of niet ,doet er niet toe maar generaal Swings zorgde ervoor dat de 2 groepen naar de buitenwereld als 1 overkwamen en elkaar altijd zouden helpen

    Liked by 1 person

  19. There are always rivalries, as you say…when American troops were posted in the U.K. prior to D Day the jaundiced cry of the British servicemen was ‘ overpaid, over sexed, over here and over us’…but all that was forgotten when it came to action.
    It was not wise to post some regiments in close proximity though. Should soldiers of the Black Watch be in a pub and those of another regiment enter,the cry of the newcomers would be ‘a pint of broken squares, barman’ – a reference to the Black Watch supposedly breaking the square at the battle of Tamai in the First Sudan War 1884 – at which point the bonnnets were off and the glasses reversed on the bar.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Off topic but do you have knowledge of which bases or bases in S. Carolina had the blimps? I have a curiosity because my Dad was in the blimp division in WW2, but he didn’t talk about that stuff and now I’d like to know more. I think his base was in or near Charleston. My Dad is passed away now

    Liked by 1 person

  21. He took their jackets away!! He was a real meanie…

    Liked by 1 person

  22. “just unbeknownst to most the officers.” Laughing. I’ll bet. –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Great history, GP. Nice to see the prince honored in your Farewell Salute.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. Sounds like quite the leader! interesting though how the rivalry went underground.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There would always be a rivalry, same as other units. You see on TV, the Marines feeling better than the Navy – the Army and Navy at odds and then there’s the Air Force teased by most everyone. It adds competition and pride, but you know very well, if an outsider picked on any one of them – it would be a joint effort to adjust that situation! haha

      Liked by 3 people

  25. That rivalry existed here, with various units claiming to be ‘elite’. I’m sure it did a great deal for general morale and espirit de corps during WW2.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. ‘you will never see refugees from America.’ GP as nifty as this sounds it runs as contrary to the story you just posted about the paratroopers and glider pilots. The real reason we tend not to have refugees is when things get shitty people use the democracy to un-shitty them. They use government – the legislatures and the courts. There is a ton of history to confirm this. Armed militias not so much history confirming this. The attack on Congress to stop the election process that is things getting shitty. That was an attack on the Constitution. That was and attack on America.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Sorry GP. I like the post but not that meme about dusting off guns and calling for insurrection.

    Like

    • I am NOT inciting insurrection and after all these years, how could you say such a thing? It means that everyone runs to other countries and makes them accommodate them because they are attacked in some way. We didn’t run away when Pearl was bombed, nor did we flee Manhattan when the Trade Centers were leveled. No matter what this country goes through, Great Depression and all – how many felt they had to run away to another country?

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Good wrap up and good humor, GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Interesting approach. He didn’t eliminate the rivalries, but maybe he did enough to keep the unit together.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. This story could serve as a different sort of ammunition for those who favor dress codes for schools, if not uniforms. Clothes may not make the man (or the kid, for that matter) but they do influence attitudes, and they help to keep attention focused where it should be.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. In other words, rivalries don’t die easily, they just go underground.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Fun post, GP. Last cartoon reminded me of 6Jan.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. I tend to forget that the royals also served.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Thank you for sharing this history.

    Like

  1. Pingback: Camp MacKall (not without a problem or two) - The Washington County Auditor

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