Camp Toccoa, Georgia

Discussion in 'WW2 Museums. Events, & places to see.' started by Buckeye67, Dec 6, 2005.

  1. Buckeye67

    Buckeye67 Junior Member

    Part 1:

    101st Airborne and/or Band of Brothers fans should be familiar with Camp Toccoa, Georgia - the birthplace of the 501st and 506th (and also the 511th and 517th) Parachute Infantry Regiments. I had to very good fortune of being able to attend the 2005 Camp Toccoa Reunion ( back in October. Here are some of my photos from the event (If anyone has trouble viewing these, I'll try and host them elsewhere).

    We began Friday morning at the Stephens County Historical Society:

    Inside they have various static displays of uniforms, equipment, photos and other memorabilia donated by veterans who passed through Camp Toccoa:

    There were only a few folks there at that time, and we heard someone mention that Jake McNiece was outside. For those who don't know, Jake McNiece is one of the more colorful characters of the 101st in WW2. He's one of the founding members of the "Filthy Thirteen" (the Demolition/Saboteur Section), and he's truly a delightful person.

    Here's a friend from another forum with Jake:

    Here's Jake and I:

    I'd obtained a copy of Jake's book (which I highly recommend) "The Filthy Thirteen" (co-authored by Richard Killblane, who was also in attendance) and after chatting with Jake, asked if he'd be so kind as to sign it for me. As he began to write he asked if I or my father had ever been in the military. I told him that yes, we both had. I then watch this incredible man, who made four combat jumps (Normandy, Holland, Bastogne and a 4th in Germany in '45 as a pathfinder), thank my father and I for OUR service. It was very humbling. I told him that his service was far more important than mine could ever have been and he replied "Well, it was just a war. Somebody had to fight it." The humility of the WW2 generation never ceases to amaze me.

    Anyway, on to more pics. We then went over to the area where Camp Toccoa originally stood. There's not much left of it.

    There's a memorial where the front gate was:

    This is the only structure left from the original Camp, IIRC, Bill Guarnere believes it to have been a mess hall:

    One of the original camp roads:

    Nearby is the Colonel Sink Memorial Trail, which is the road up Currahee Mountain:

    View from the top of Currahee (courtesy of my friend Rob):
  2. Buckeye67

    Buckeye67 Junior Member

    Part 2:

    That evening there was a book signing at an antique shop in Toccoa.

    Larry Alexander, author of "Biggest Brother" (Dick Winters biography):

    Jake McNiece and Richard Killblane:

    Mark Bando (101st Airborne historian and author):

    Of course, there were also various veterans at all of the events throughout the weekend:

    Jack Miller, D Co, 506th PIR. Wounded on D+3:

    Charles Craton Jr, H Co, 506th PIR (one of the nicest, friendliest gentlemen I've ever met):

    One of the highlights of the weekend was the dedication of a new exhibit. As you may know, members of Easy Co, 506th and (I believe) Able Co, 506th were housed in stables in Aldbourne. Apparently, these stables were due to be demolished, so some folks on both sides of the ocean got together and had the stables dismantled, shipped to Toccoa and reconstructed inside a new facility.

    Here are the gentlemen who dismantled the stable and reconstructed it:

    Saturday at the Stephens County airport there were demonstrations and displays by both the US Army (5th Ranger Training Battalion from Ft Benning, GA) and various WW2 reenactors. Sadly, I don't really have (m)any photos of Saturdays events. Needless to say, I was very impressed with the effort the US Army put out to honor the Camp Toccoa vets. Saturday evening there was a very nice banquet where I had the pleasure of being seated with Louis Holzworth, a veteran of the 517th PIR who - amongst his various decorations, was awarded four Purple Hearts (three in WW2, one in Korea).

    Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy these photos. I hope to make it back to Toccoa for the 2006 Reunion. It was a wonderful event!
  3. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor

    Great stuff buckeye, great pics, look like a good event.

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