Making History Project
"Preserving Veterans' Stories"
501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization

wwII oral history interview Archive

Veteran Oral History Interview: WWII Veteran Brodie Hand

US Paratrooper – 82nd Airborne and POW

Veteran Oral History InterviewVeteran oral history interview for WWII Veteran Brodie Hand is now available.

Patrick Russell conducted this interview on November 5, 2016, in Charleston, South Carolina during the annual reunion for the Family and Friends of the 508 Parachute Infantry Regiment Association.

Brodie Hand is an American Paratrooper from the 508 P.I.R. of the 82nd Airborne where he obtained the rank of Corporal. Brodie was born in a small town in the big state of Texas and volunteered for the U.S. Army during World War II. As a paratrooper, Brodie jumped on D-Day into Normandy and was captured by German forces on the first day.

Brodie remained a POW for the duration of World War II while working in a mine and reflects on that difficult experience during the interview. Additionally, Brodie describes his training to become a paratrooper, how he got captured, and the long journey home.

 

Day Three: 508 PIR Association Reunion

508PIR Banquet

Rock Merritt and Ernie Lawson

Oral History Presentation

Veterans Day is the perfect day to share an update for last Saturday’s events at the 508 Parachute Infantry Regiment Association Reunion.  On that day, I conducted an audio and video presentation to the membership.  My presentation focused on the progress of my oral history interviews and why preserving the legacy of all Veterans is important.  After my presentation, I filmed a panel discussion of 508 PIR Veterans and current service members.  The panel discussion focused on comparing and contrasting experiences and military service across the different eras.

508 PIR Oral History Interviews

Continuing that busy day, I later had the privilege to complete two oral history interviews.  The first interview was with Brodie Hand, a World War II Veteran who served in 508 Company C, 82nd Airborne Division.  Corporal Hand participated in the Normandy campaign as a paratrooper and subsequently was captured and became a POW for the rest of the war.  The second interview was with Justin Graham, an active duty service member with the 508 PIR, 82nd Airborne.  SSG Graham has been deployed three times to Afghanistan, in 2010, 2012, and 2014.  It was fantastic that these two heroes took the time to speak with me.  I was equally delighted to be able to compare and contrast a World War II Veteran with a current soldier.  What I can say definitively is that they both love their country, want the best for their country, and believe in the duty, honor, and respect.

508 PIR Dinner Banquet

The 508 PIR Association Reunion concluded that evening with a wonderful dinner banquet and was attended by a color guard of the 82nd Airborne as well as by many of active duty service members in their “dress blues”.  Looking forward to more good times next year when we meet again in Fort Bragg for the 2017 Reunion.  Airborne all the way!

 

508 PIR Oral History Inteview for Brodie Hand

CPL Brodie Hand

 

508 PIR oral history interview for Justin Graham

SSG Justin Graham

WWII Oral History Interview

WWII Oral History Interview of Veteran Robert ErskineWWII Veteran Robert Erskine

Last month I had the honor and privilege to interview World War II Veteran, Robert Erskine, in Jupiter, Florida.  Mr. Erskine was a medic who rose to the rank of Sergeant while serving in the 78th Infantry Division, 303 Medical Battalion.  Sgt. Erskine is a Battle of the Bulge Veteran, having participated in three major battle campaigns including the Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe.  In total, Sgt. Erskine was deployed to England, France, Belgium, Netherlands, and Germany.  For his efforts, Sgt. Erskine received three bronze battle stars, two Bronze Star medals for valor at the Battle of the Bulge and the Remagen Bridge crossing.  France has also honored Robert Erskine with the French Legion of Honor for his service in defending and liberating French soil.  Stay tuned for a video excerpt from the WWII oral history interview.