Day One: 508 PIR Association Reunion

508-pir-logoParatrooper Reunion

Spent a wonderful day in Charleston, South Carolina with the 508 PIR Association for its 10th Anniversary Reunion.  For the first time, current members of the 82nd Airborne joined and participated in the festivities along with other paratroopers from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Central America and our current conflicts in the Middle East.  We all got an early start at 8:00 am with an invocation from CSM Kenneth “Rock” Merritt and the presentation of the Colors from a Color Guard of the 82nd Airborne.  LTC Browning, Battallion Commander for the 82nd Airborne provided perspective from across the generations through his guest speech.  From there, we were off to visit the famed aircraft carrier, the USS Yorktown CV-10.  The day was ended on a high note with a brief cruise and tour of Fort Sumter where the first shots of the Civil War were fired.  Met many old friends (Rock Merritt, George Shenkle, Ernie Lawson, Gene Garren, Richard O’Donnell, Ellen Peters, and Chris Harris) and many soon to be new friends.  Looking forward to Day Two.

Fort Sumter
Fort Sumter
USS Yorktown CV 10
USS Yorktown
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About Patrick Russell

Director and oral historian for the Making History Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Veteran stories for future generations. Resides in Miami, Florida, where he is a full-time mediator and has been a practicing lawyer since 1994. Proudly serves as a staff member for the University of Florida Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, in addition to being a member of the Oral History Association, American Historical Association; Friends and Family of the 508 P.I.R.; and the Battle of the Bulge Association. Graduated from Marquette University with a B.A. in Political Science, and a law degree from the University of Miami School of Law. Additional courses and workshops for oral history and museum studies have been taken at Baylor University and Harvard University, Harvard Extension School. Contact info: (305) 608-2977 or

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