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

82nd Airborne Archive

Day Two: 508 PIR Association Reunion

The Citadel

The Citadel

Visit to The Citadel

On the second day of the 508 PIR Association Reunion, we all visited The Citadel, a private military university in Charleston, South Carolina.  A mantra of The Citadel is “Honor – Duty – Respect”, a message we all can take to heart.  We received a very nice and informative tour of the campus by a Citadel Cadet.  This happened to be the 50th Reunion for the Class of 1966.  Afterwards, we were all treated to a twilight Parade by the Cadets which takes place on every Friday.  All 2,200 Cadets march in formation on the parade field that makes up the center of campus.  The World War II Veterans in our group were able to mix with current members of the 82nd Airborne as well as the Cadets of The Citadel.

Citadel Campus WWII Vets with Citadel Cadets Ernie Lawson with LTC Browning WWII and 82nd Airborne Citadel Twilight Parade


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

Final Salute: Duaine “Pinky” Pinkston

Duaine Pinkston

Farewell to a Hero

World War II Veteran, Duaine “Pinky” Pinkston, a Medic with the 82nd Airborne, passed away last Saturday.  I interviewed Pinky earlier this year while he was staying in Tampa, Florida for the winter.

His oral history interview was the centerpiece for my panel presentations this year at the Midwest World History Association annual conference and the Oral History Association annual conference.

We first met in 2014 during the 508 P.I.R. Reunion in Dallas, Texas.  Pinky was a kind-hearted gentle soul who saved many lives as a Medic, and he will be missed by all those who knew him.

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

Duaine Pinkston service photo