Friday, September 2, 2011

WWII Port Company Reunions

From September 22nd to 24th WWII veterans and their families will be attending the 1st Engineers Special Brigade Association reunion at The Hope Hotel at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio. These former 1st ESB men served in Africa, Sicily, Italy, Normandy, Holland, Belgium, Germany, and even Japan. They have been meeting regularly since the war.

490th Port Battalion veteran Charles Sprowl attended this reunion back in 2007. The 490th was attached to the 1st ESB for the Normandy invasion. My grandfather didn't do much more than exchange letters and Christmas cards with his old Army buddies, but many of the other veterans I speak to frequently met each other at their own informal reunions. For several different WWII Army units I have come upon 1945/46 documents listing men with their home addresses. It seems that these were put together to that the GIs could keep in touch after the war.

The 2007 1st Engineer Special Brigade Reunion

304th Port Company reunion, 1995 in Madison, WI

A groups of friends from the 304th Port Company met every few years. My grandfather was in this same company, but he didn't know these guys. From left to right: Tom Gardner, Bob Calfee, Jack Shireman, Ray Sonoski, Dick Justice, Matt Marvin, Dave Weaver, and Bruce Kramlich. I have spoken to all but to two of these veterans.

(click photo to see large version)

Gaetano Benza sent me a most impressive photo of a 1948 reunion at the Hotel Piccadilly in Brooklyn. He served in the 279th Port Company, which was attached to my grandfather's 519th Port Battalion for the Utah Beach invasion. They had some very well attended reunions for years after the war.

6 comments:

  1. Would any of you remember my dad, John Love. Survived the was and landing at Utah beach. slove@synapsense.com

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  2. Would any of you gentlemen remember my dad, TECH/4 Harold G. Rodman? He was in the 3497th MAM. He was with the unit since Camp Edwards, MA. He also was in England, Scotland, Algeria, Tunisia, Sicily, Italy, France, Belguim and Germany. He was from Downs, Illinois. Please let me know, Thank you, his son Glenn Rodman e-mail: hindere@hotmail.com

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  3. Would any of you gentlemen remember my dad, TECH/4 Harold G. Rodman? He was in the 3497th MAM. He was with the unit since Camp Edwards, MA. He also was in England, Scotland, Algeria, Tunisia, Sicily, Italy, France, Belguim and Germany. He was from Downs, Illinois. Please let me know, Thank you, his son Glenn Rodman e-mail: hindere@hotmail.com

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  4. If anyone is interested, there is a website called Togather We Served, TWS.COM you can create a profile for yourself or a loved one who served at any time in any branch of the military. I was able to contect with two of my old army buddies with this site. I created a page for my dad, Harold Rodman U.S. Army and my brother Gary Wall U. S. Navy. Check it out. Glenn Rodman hindere@hotmail.com

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  5. My dad Richard Leroy Hiles, was in the 201st Port Company, from 1943 to 1946. As I understand the history; the unit mobilized in FT Indiantown Gap, PA / Fort Mead, MD. The unit then moved west to Camp Atterbury, IN before deploying to Pearl Harbor. toward the end of the war I believe the unit went to the Philippines, then on to Okinawa. After the war the unit performed occupation duty in Korea.
    About 1967 dad was assisted by the local "Ma Bell' AT&T to conatct veterans from the unit for some reunions. The reunions lasted until somewhere around '98-2002. Unfortunately time has overtaken the soldiers and the roll call had declined to only 4 or 5 of the fellows.
    Was hoping someone had a little better detail, like the name(s) of the ships they sailed on.
    I may be able to find a list of some of the names, and have a Japanese flag the guys signed at the time they captured as well as a unit photo, and a couple personal photos from SCHOFIELD BARRACKS.

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  6. Anyone recall Alvin J Schultz..He had taken many photos..I can be reached at kelly71159@yahoo.com

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