Tuesday, September 08, 2009

World War II Weekend at Eisenhower National Historic Site

National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
Gettysburg National Military Park and
Eisenhower National Historic Site
1195 Baltimore Pike, Suite 100
Gettysburg, PA 17325
717/ 338-9114 x10 phone
717/334-1891 fax

Eisenhower National Historic Site News Release

Contact: Carol Hegeman

World War II Weekend at Eisenhower National Historic Site

Gettysburg, PA – On September 19 and 20, the National Park Service will sponsor a World War II living history weekend at the Eisenhower National Historic Site. An authentic recreation of both Allied and German army camps, complete with original World War II vehicles, will be set up on the site. Over 200 living history enthusiasts will portray military personnel from the European Theater in 1944.

Living history volunteers will present programs on World War II medical services, weapons and equipment, communications, military vehicles, and the life of the common G.I. A mock Army Air Force bomber squadron mission briefing will be presented. Dozens of World War II vehicles will be on display.

Several featured guest speakers, all veterans of World War II, will give talks on their war time experiences.

At 10 a.m. Saturday, Richard Falvey, who served with the 2nd Battalion Headquarters Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, will speak about his experiences on D-D

At 11 a.m. Saturday, Gust Karras, who was part of OSS Group I in occupied Greece in 1944, will talk about the part of the war he experienced, fighting deep inside German held territory.

At 12 noon Saturday, Joseph Haines, who was with the 81st Heavy Signal Construction Battalion in the Pacific, will speak about his service in a segregated African-American unit on Okinawa in 1945.

At 1 p.m. Saturday, Robert Hutchings, who was an aide to Brigadier General Walter Bedell Smith, will share his story about what it was like serving at General Eisenhower’s Headquarters in Europe.

At 2 p.m. Saturday, Nick Phillips, who served with the 109th Regiment, 28th Infantry Division, will talk about the fighting in the Huertgen Forest, the Battle of the Bulge, and about life as a prisoner of war.

At 11 a.m. Sunday, Richard Hiller, who was with the 318th Regiment, 80th Infantry Division, will talk about Patton’s advance across France and the fighting in the Lorraine Region where he was wounded.

At 12 noon Sunday, Mahlon Fink, a veteran of the 26th Regiment, 5th Marine Division, will speak about the invasion of Japanese-held Iwo Jima in 1945. He was wounded on the twelfth day of the battle.

At 1 p.m. Sunday, Ted Jenkins, who served in the 409th Regiment, 103rd Division, will tell about the fighting in Southern France and the rugged Voges Mountains where he was captured in December 1944.

At 2 p.m. Sunday, Stephen Sherman, who served in the U.S. Army in both Europe and the Pacific with a segregated African-American unit, will tell his story. In late 1942 he met and befriended Dorie Miller, the U.S. Navy cook who had become a war hero during the attack on Pearl Harbor. In addition to living history and talks by veterans, an educational and entertaining feature will be provided for younger visitors. The Aces Museum for Minority World War II Veterans will present several puppet shows for children. The programs focus on the contributions to the war effort made by various minority groups. These will be presented at half past the hour from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. both days.

Historian-author Don Markle and National Security Agency employee Rick Henderson will be on site to display and explain a German World War II Enigma Code Machine. Members of the Victory Society will present several 1940s fashion shows during the event.

Several veterans, including many of the guest speakers, will be at the site’s bookstore to sign copies of books they are mentioned in or have authored. Authors Sharon Wells-Wagner and Steve Wagner will be on hand to autograph copies of their new book entitled Ordinary Heroes which is a collection of stories of many World War II veterans. Ed Shames will be available to sign Tonight We Die As Men - The Untold Story of the Third Battalion.

A special ceremony will take place Saturday at 2 p.m. in the camp of the 1st Polish Armored Division. Dignitaries from the Polish Embassy in Washington, D.C., will present a replica of the original unit’s flag to members of the living history group portraying the 10th Dragoon Regiment. The oldest surviving officer of the actual unit, Lt. Colonel Jan Karcz, will be present. The public is welcome to observe.

Sunday morning at 10 a.m. a recreation of World War II U.S. Army Chaplain’s Service will take place in the 82nd Airborne Division living history camp. Both days the public may purchase lunch in a recreated army mess tent sponsored by the Heidlersburg Fire Company. Picnic tables will be provided nearby.

Saturday night there will be a World War II style “USO” dance held at the U.S. Army Reserve Center at 1200 Fairfield Road, Gettysburg. The dance, which takes place from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., will feature 1940s big band music by the Gettysburg Big Band and is open to the public. Tickets are $5.00 and will be available at the door.

New this year, Gettysburg National Military Park Licensed Battlefield Guide Ralph Siegel will present two guided walks about the World War II dead buried in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. Though well known for Civil War burials, the National Cemetery is the final resting place for more than 400 soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen who died between 1941 and 1945. Some of the interments include those who fell at Pearl Harbor or on D-Day in Normandy. These free hour-long guided walks are offered Saturday at 5 p.m. and Sunday at 9 a.m. Meet inside the cemetery entrance off Taneytown Road. Parking is in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery parking area on the west side of Taneytown Road (State Route 134).

The encampment will be open to the public Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission to the Eisenhower National Historic Site is by shuttle bus. Buses depart regularly from the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center, 1195 Baltimore Pike. Weather permitting, on-site parking for cars only will also be available in a farm field accessible off of Emmitsburg Road, Business Route 15. Bus groups and wheelchair users should plan to use the shuttle system. For group reservations, call 1-877-874-2478. Fees to enter the site either by shuttle bus or by parking in the field are adults, $7.50; children 6-12, $5.00; children age 5 and under, free.

For more information contact the Eisenhower National Historic Site at 717/ 338-9114 or visit the web site at <>.


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