National D-Day Memorial
Bedford, VA April 18
(photo courtesy of site staff)
This was our first year at the D-Day Memorial. The site staff did a wonderful job in welcoming
our contribution to their public program and planning the event. Over 350 Boy, Cub and Girl Scouts attended as well as regular weekend visitor traffic.
(photo courtesy of site staff)
Saturday's weather was warm but sunny. The WWII Polish LHG had four members in attendance all who drove a minimum of 4.5 hours to reach the site. The public interaction made the drive and set up worth while. Here Dennis Popiela discusses the Polish contribution to the Normandy campaign with visitors.
Here, the two inch mortar with its various bombs are on display.
Here Andrew stands guard while a visiting Girl Scout makes a phone call
Call now, operators are standing by. Pvt. Petronis dons his signals specialist uniform for the weekend.
A view of the Memorial Arch
In addition to the living history display the site also sponsored various WWII Veteran lectures to the public.
Each registered scout was also provided with a questionnaire booklet to accompany them through the various
display and interaction stations set up by the site staff.
Fort Indiantown Gap
The annual WWII Federation event was very memorable for us this year. As a unit we've been
attending this for seven years individually, much longer. Each year we gather to train in a
classroom setting, relying on the talents of the membership to set up and volunteer to present
various subjects pertinent to our impression. More than that, it's a time to enjoy each other's
company and reflect on how far we've come.
2015 was very special for us as we were honored to recieve a visit from
WWII Polish Army Veteran LtCol. Zwiatkowski
who traveled with his son and daughter all the way from Buffalo to participate.
Mr. Zwiatkowski spent Friday and Saturday relating his experiences in the
Armia Krawoja during the war years. We were also impressed with his stories
of Poland in the immediate postwar period as the Soviet communists attempted
to root out war time Polish patriots.
We were honored to have LtCol. Zwiatkowski lead our evening color ceremony.
The Dragoons pass in review before a true Polish hero.
After closing ceremonies at the barracks, we made the short trip to the FIG Community Club.
There a special dinner was prepared for us by their staff thanks to manager Steven Wood.
Here, we post the regimental colours before dinner.
A custom meal of smoked kielbasa, kapusta, pierogies and rye bread was served.
A toast to the armed forces of Poland and the United States.
Afterwards, Mr. Zwiatkowski produced his personal photo album with one of a kind pictures
of his time in the AK. Had he been caught by the communists afterwards, these
photos would have him quickly deported to Siberia or worse.
Back to work. Training on the wartime composition of the Dragoon recce patrol.
So, how do you use that cloth bandage which we're supposed to carry in our
BD trouser first aid pocket? Now we know.
Here Corporal Moore discusses the nuances of various British gas masks
and corresponding bags. Pay attention, this could save your life.
Probably not though. In fact, due to asbestos filters, you probably
shouldn't ever put on your original gas mask.
pchor. Petronis gives a class on period British map reading using an oversized reprint of
an original showing Ypres. Elements of the 1st Pol Armd Div liberated this town
from the Germans.
You get to start from here. The only road not underwater. Guess where the enemy will be.
Brian Neri our signals CWO gives us a class on the WS-19 set. This would have been seen in many of the
armoured vehicles occupied by the Dragoons. The best part was the fact the set is actually working. So we were able to tune in
and hear local weather and traffic reports. It's always interesting to
actually use the equipment and get hands on experience. Drag. Popiela instructs us on enemy personnel recognition and intel gathering.
Final class of the day. The 1919A4 .30 cal machine gun. Basic components and operation.
Although the .30 was not in the TO&E for Polish infantry as platoon support, it was
to be found in vehicles. Photographic documentation supports the upgrade
of some Dragoon universal carriers with this weapon in the field.
Therefore, we found it prudent to familiarize ourselves with this weapon.
Note to class, do not insert finger A into slot B.
After two days of training, time for fun at the WWII themed dance Saturday night.
Reports indicate there was vodka involved.
Denver Downs Fall Family Festival
As part of the family farm's living history weekend, I participated
in a multi-period display which ranged from the War Between the States
to Desert Storm.
I therefore attempted to realistically create a field impression of how
a Dragoon Recce carrier crew might live in the field as if they had just
been pulled off the line for rest and refit.
First order of business is to heat up some rations from your compo
crate, while chatting with the local population.
I attempted to gain intelligence on German troop movements from the
locals however I don't believe they were speaking French. Technically
neither was I.
The weekend accommodations were spartan but the straw was relatively
soft. Actually living out of one's toiletry roll for the weekend
is not particularly enjoyable.
Here I call in for heavy kielbasa support on my position. An air drop
of mustard to go along with would be nice as well.
You can't put a price on clean underwear and socks. Neither can the
people around you. Laundry in the field was the order of the day.