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The 82nd Airborne
Division Association

South Florida Chapter

The South Florida Trooper
Online Newsletter of The South Florida Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association
Volume Four, Issue 03 - May / June 2001

"America's Guard Of Honor"
Chartered By The US Congress
All The Way

All American Week

All American Week was great ! Six troopers from our 82nd Airborne, South Florida Chapter were in attendance: Don Moffett, Bob Niskanen, Irv Weinsoff, Frank Reviera, Avi Misrachi and Jimmy Campillo. The review was great; we marched and over 10,000 troops marched behind us. They looked fantastic. The jump on Friday was called off as it was too windy, but we did get to see some heavy equipment dropped.

Reported by Don Moffett

2001 Fourth Of July Parade:

Our 82nd Airborne Division Association, South Florida Chapter Color Guard will lead the parade sponsored by The Reporter of Tavernier, Florida. Line-up for the parade will be at 9AM at Anthony’s Clothing at MM98 in Key Largo. The parade itself will begin promptly at 10AM, and proceed up the northbound lane of US1 to the Waldorf Plaza at MM 100. As with last year’s parade, an awards ceremony and free community picnic will be held immediately after the parade at the new Key Largo Park located behind the Key Largo Shopper. Amy K Prodan - Parade Coordinator

Contact Gus Vass 1-954-989-2831 to volunteer for Color Guard Duty or to march along.

Don't forget Our next regular meeting will be 8PM on Tuesday, July 17th, 2001, at the:

VFW Post 1966
350 SW 25th Street
Fort Lauderdale FL 33315-2616
Phone 954-765-0791

"BEYOND VALOR" by Patrick K. O'Donnell

I am recommending members read the new book "BEYOND VALOR" by Patrick K. O'Donnell. It is a compilation of first hand experiences of WWII Ranger and Airborne Veterans who reveal the heart of Combat. While there are so many good service documentary books I strongly recommend that this book be given priority. This book can be ordered from your public library in any county.

Book Recommendation from Irv Weinsoff

Editorial Review from

The success of Tom Brokaw's Greatest Generation has sparked a renewed interest in books about World War II and the people who fought in it. Patrick K. O'Donnell maintains, however, that behind those official histories and carefully crafted memoirs lies a "hidden war" - "a bottled up, buried version shielded even from family members because many of the memories are too painful to discuss." In Beyond Valor, O'Donnell brings this hidden war to the surface, allowing men from the elite forces to tell their own stories, thus creating a fascinating combat history of WWII.

O'Donnell introduces readers to some of the greatest of the greatest generation - men such as Robert Kinney of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, wounded by a mortar at Anzio ("it tore my fanny open, took a big chunk of meat out of there - I could afford that"). While in the hospital, wounded members of the regiment were asked by one of their officers to return to the front:

We all went down, about forty of us in casts, bandages, arms in slings and everything. He said, "Your buddies up there are catching hell and we've got to go back if we can. You don't have to, we're not going to order you, but we're looking for volunteers." We said, "Hell, we'll go." We had just the best-spirited bunch of scrappers you ever saw.

There are also stories about compassion in the midst of carnage. Albert Hassenzahl of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment was seriously injured on a drop during the Normandy invasion. While waiting to be rescued, the wind blew his blanket off him. A man on an adjacent stretcher reached over and carefully tucked the blanket in around Hassenzahl. The other man was a German POW. "I didn't say a word to him, but I was able to move my head a little and looked over at him ... neither of us said a word, but mentally I might have said 'thank you' with my eyes and he might have said 'you're welcome' with his."

Though it will certainly appeal to them, O'Donnell insists that Beyond Valor is not aimed at war buffs - it's for the soldiers themselves. "My work has been one of preservation, done in gratitude for a generation that sacrificed so much." By sharing these stories, O'Donnell has helped to preserve and honor their memory. --Sunny Delaney

Click here to order "Beyond Valor" by Patrick K O'Donnell from

Have You Paid Your 2001 Association Dues Yet?

If your membership card doesn't say 2001,
you haven't paid for this year.
Please send your check for $12.50 payable to:

82nd Abn Div Assoc So Fl Chapter
c/o Joseph J Pappacoda, Secretary
Colee Station, Post Office Box 2454
Fort Lauderdale FL 33303-2454

If you'd like to make it out for a little extra,
anything over the annual $12.50
will go directly to our
South Florida Chapter's BOOSTER FUND
... Thanks for your continued help and support!

Picnic, SATURDAY, June 9th, 2001 - TOPEEKEEGEE YUGNEE PARK ( TY Park )

Take I-95 to Hollywood Florida Exit At Sheridan Street or Stirling Road - Go West about a mile to Park Road - Turn North from Sheridan or South from Stirling another mile or so to the main park entrance - Follow the signs to the Airborne! Pavilion (#14).

The June 9th Picnic begins Saturday at about 11:00 AM for the early-birds, about noon for the rest of us. Bring your wife (and/or girlfriend) but not both, thank you. Kids and grand-kids of all ages are welcome at what is a really enjoyable family affair. The covered Airborne pavilion is on the banks of a peaceful lake with fish, turtles, ducks and iguanas wandering about.Before lunch there're coffee and donuts for the early-birds. Most everyone is busy chowing down by noon and the eating and socializing take up the better part of the day.There's a short business meeting which takes place generally around 1:30 or so and never seems to interfere too much with the consumption of the complementary burgers, hotdogs and cold drinks which abound. If you plan on eating more than your share, bring a covered dish of your choice so the rest of us won't starve. We supply coffee and sodas - if you want beer or wine just bring your own.

All members and their families are welcome to attend. Troopers who are not yet members but who want to come to the picnic and check out the South Florida 82nd Airborne Chapter are welcome to do so, and may sign up on the spot to become members themselves. A new membership in The South Florida Chapter of The 82nd Airborne Division Association may just be the best $12.50 you'll spend this year.

May 15th Meeting at Fort Lauderdale VFW

Brian “Taz” Gehling was sworn in as our newest Chapter Director at our regular monthly meeting held May 15th at VFW Post 1966, 350 SW 25th Street, Fort Lauderdale.

Jim DeMatteo sent word regarding the fact he is currently on a six months’ detail to the Border Patrol Academy in Charleston, SC, where he is working as a firearms instructor.

Thanks to
Richard Sanborn of The Fifteenth Street Fisheries in Fort Lauderdale Florida for his $250 Booster Club donation.


At the May 15th meeting, there was discussion of support for the current 2001 campaign in the United States Senate to declare National Airborne Day on August 16th, 2001:

submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary: S. Res. 16 -

Whereas the Parachute Test Platoon was authorized by the War Department on June 25, 1940, to experiment with the potential use of airborne troops;

Whereas the Parachute Test Platoon was composed of 48 volunteers that began training in July, 1940;

Whereas the Parachute Test Platoon performed the first official Army parachute jump on August 16, 1940;

Whereas the success of the Parachute Test Platoon led to the formation of a large and successful airborne contingent serving from World War II until the present;

Whereas the 11th, 13th, 17th, 82nd, and 101st Airborne Divisions and the numerous other regimental and battalion- sized airborne units were organized following the success of the Parachute Test Platoon;

Whereas the 501st Parachute Battalion participated successfully and valiantly in achieving victory in World War II;

Whereas the airborne achievements during World War II provided the basis for continuing the development of a diversified force of parachute and air assault troops;

Whereas paratroopers, glidermen, and air assault troops of the United States were and are proud members of the world's most exclusive and honorable fraternity, have earned and wear the “Silver Wings of Courage”, have participated in a total of 93 combat jumps, and have distinguished themselves in battle by earning 69 Congressional Medals of Honor, the highest military decoration of the United States, and hundreds of Distinguished Service Crosses and Silver Stars;

Whereas these airborne forces have performed in important military and peacekeeping operations, wherever needed, in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Sinai, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Somalia, Haiti, and Bosnia; and

Whereas the Senate joins together with the airborne community to celebrate August 16, 2001 (the 61st anniversary of the first official parachute jump by the Parachute Test Platoon), as "National Airborne Day'':

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate - (1) designates August 16, 2001, as "National Airborne Day''; and (2) requests that the President issue a proclamation calling on Federal, State, and local administrators and the people of the United States to observe the day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

Mr THURMOND: Mr President, I am pleased to rise today to introduce a Senate resolution which designates August 16, 2001 as "National Airborne Day'';.

On June 25, 1940, the War Department authorized the Parachute Test Platoon to experiment with the potential use of airborne troops. The Parachute Test Platoon, which was composed of 48 volunteers, performed the first official army parachute jump on August 16, 1940. The success of the Platoon led to the formation of a large and successful airborne contingent that has served from World War Two until the present.

I was privileged to serve with the 82nd Airborne Division, one of the first airborne divisions to be organized. In a two-year period during World War Two, the regiments of the 82nd served in Italy at Anzio, in France at Normandy ( where I landed with them ), and at the Battle of the Bulge. The 11th, 13th, 17th, and 101st Airborne Divisions and numerous other regimental and battalion size airborne units were also organized following the success of the Parachute Test Platoon. In the last sixty years, these airborne forces have performed in important military and peace-keeping operations all over the world, and it is only fitting that we honor them.

Through passage of
“National Airborne Day”, the Senate will reaffirm our support for the members of the airborne community and also show our gratitude for their tireless commitment to our Nation's defense and ideals.”

National encourages all Chapter Members and their friends to contact their respective US Senators to encourage them to support Senate Resolution 16 which was presented to the US Senate on January 31st of this year.

Don’t Delay ! Phone Your Senator Today !

Just Click Here -

Sick Call

Sick Call Report from Joe Guilbert, our Chapter Chaplain, has Norm Gray hospitalized with cancer and Stu Franke with a heart attack. We wish a quick recovery to them both.

For information on our 55th Annual National Convention being held August 8-11, 2001, at the Radisson Hotel Charleston, SC, contact Vic Attaya at 1-843-588-9610 or refer to the complete registration information packet included in your Spring 2001 Paraglide.


Ex-Senator Bob Kerrey's admission about a 1969 Vietnam atrocity might have generated a media feeding frenzy, but it's not news to me.

Nine years ago at Newsweek, I got a call from a man who claimed he was a "former SEAL" and whispered last week's headline news. But after some picking and shoveling, editor Maynard Parker and I walked away. Years later, another Newsweek reporter, Gregory Vistica, came up with the same story, and it, too, was spiked.

We never ran with my story because:

• The allegation couldn't be backed up. Participants had conflicting recall, common among warriors even immediately after a fight and especially decades later. No big surprise. Most eyewitnesses to a traumatic experience -- battle-related or civilian -- remember it differently.

• The whisperer couldn't explain why, since military law was on his side, he didn't stop the massacre. You know, "Lt. Kerrey, cease/desist or I'll shoot you." Or why he didn't immediately report the "war crime" per Navy regs. Or why he then sat on it for so many years.

Another reason was based on my almost five years in Vietnam, where, during that shameful war, there were thousands of such atrocities. My parachute battalion's first big "kill" in 1965 was a night ambush at An Khe that destroyed a tribal family who hadn't gotten the word about the curfew. The draftee unit I skippered in 1969 -- as I've recently discovered while doing interviews for a new book -- had at least a dozen such horrors. Most were reported at the time as "enemy killed." Thirty-two years later, the participants say: It was the easy way out; we couldn't handle the shame; the command was constantly pushing the body-count figure.

Everywhere our young men fought in Vietnam, where there were civilians, there was carnage. Especially in the Mekong Delta -- where Kerrey's commandos were hunting and being hunted by an armed enemy who was everywhere.

Most of us have heard of William Calley's My Lai massacre, where hundreds of noncombatants were cut down in a bloodbath led by a madman. But ask anyone who fought in the Delta, where 35 percent of Vietnam's population lived, if civilians got caught in the middle of the cross fire -- and the answer has to be yes.

Few innocents were killed on purpose. But it was a war with no front, and few of the enemy in the Delta wore uniforms or fought by the rules of war. Also, many women, children and old men were "freedom fighters" not unlike Americans during our War of Independence.
My division in the Delta, the 9th, reported killing more than 20,000 Viet Cong in 1968 and 1969, yet less than 2,000 weapons were found on the "enemy" dead. How much of the "body count" consisted of civilians?

John Paul Vann told me in April 1969 when he was in charge of pacification in the Delta that "at least 30 percent were noncombatants" and that he'd spoken to President Nixon about having the 9th immediately pulled out of the Delta. A month later, the division got its marching orders.

Gen. Julian Ewell, who commanded the 9th, never ordered his soldiers to kill civilians. Nor did I. Nor, in my judgment, did Bob Kerrey. Nor did most of the scared young men -- lying out in the mud night after night thinking every sound was an enemy who'd soon take their lives -- purposely kill civilians.

The Vietnam War was a 25-year running sore in which more than 5 million Southeast Asians died, nearly half a million Americans bled and millions of others still bear the pain and the shame and the scars.

This week, Vistica finally presents his sensational story of events long ago in print, followed by Dan Rather on television. But neither was on that op; neither has been a combat grunt. Vistica never served; Rather did have a go at becoming a Marine but never completed boot camp. As far as I'm concerned, neither is qualified to pass judgment on soldiers or sailors.

Matter of fact, neither of these frequent military bashers is fit to shine Kerrey's one jungle boot -- the other having been left behind in Vietnam with his foot in it while he bravely answered his country's call.

© 2001 David H. Hackworth
Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc
Reported by Irv Weinsoff

Fort Lauderdale Beach - AIR & SEA Show - May 5th & 6th, 2001

Fort Lauderdale Beach - AIR & SEA Show - May 5th & 6th The 82nd Airborne Division Association, Inc, South Florida Chapter provided a uniform guard service to the Air & Sea Show which was held this year on Saturday, May 5th and Sunday, May 6th. It was reported that two million people turned out Friday and another two million Saturday on Fort Lauderdale Beach for this military display and our contribution in providing VIP area security was greatly appreciated by all.

Reported by Gus Vass

82nd Airborne May 2000 Security Detail
At AIR & SEA Show ( No 2001 photo available )

Tony Altobel, Steve Mueller, Gus Vass, Jim Bono, Joe
Lanzillo, Milt Azarkan, and (kneeling) Don Moffett -
en route before photo was taken: Ron Stirlacci

Honor Guard of The 82nd Airborne Division
Association Inc, South Florida Chapter

If you’d like to serve on the Honor Guard and
show the colors at various functions, contact

Ron Stirlacci at 1-954-730-0773
or Gus Vass at 1-954-989-2831

We can always use an extra trooper or two (or more)
to fill out our roster and make it to the various parades
or memorial activities when other members may not be
able to attend, to keep the ranks closed and our colors flying.

82nd Airborne Honor Guard : YOM HASHOAH

A Day Of Remembrance at the Holocaust Memorial - Miami Beach - April 22, 2001

The Holocaust Remembrance Day Program and Memorial Service Yom Hashoah.

Our 82nd Airborne South Florida Honor Guard presented the colors during this annual commemoration honoring the six million innocent men,women and children who were murdered in the holocaust.

Marching for the South Florida Chapter were:

Tony Altobel,

John Marlowe,

Bob Buffington,

Ron Stirlacci,

Gus Vass,

Ed Meyers,

Jim Battaglia,

Stu Franke

and Irv Weinsoff

Reported by Ron Stirlacci

Melinda Planutis Cancer Treatment Fund Raiser

Kevin A Thomas, Commander of the Sons of The American Legion, Thomas P Johnston Post 222 located at 4250 NE 5th Avenue, Oakland Park FL 33309-31523, advises that the American Legion has donated their hall and the services of the Sons of the American Legion for a fund raiser in support of Melinda Planutis. This is being organized by Charles Piper, a Legion member at Post 222. The event is being sponsored by The American Legion and Sons of The American Legion, to help raise money for Melinda's cancer treatment expenses. The event will be held at the address above on July 22, 2001, starting at 12:00 PM. Call 954-561-3655 for more information.

Reported by Brian "Taz" Gehling

Upcoming Airborne Activities - For Your Information

Here are some activities of regional and national interest which you may be interested in attending.
More info ...

55th Annual National Convention
Charleston, SC
August 8-11, 2001
Vic Attaya at 1-843-588-9610

Third Memorial Hwy. Anniversary

Windsor, CT
September 14-15, 2001
Paul Poirier 1-868-688-9396

40th Annual All Ohio Days

Dayton, OH
October 4-6, 2001
Jerry Swigart 1-513-898-2084

15th Annual All Florida Days

Kissimmee, FL
October 25-27, 2001
Eric Hammond 1-407-239-1723

Veterans Day Activities

Washington, DC
November 8-11, 2001
Frank Varelli 1-301-899-7431

56th Annual National Convention

Norfolk, VA
August 20-23, 2002
Laurence Bragg 1-757-622-6411

Got An AIRBORNE Activity You'd Like Everyone To Know About ?

We plan to use the South Florida Chapter WebSite to keep in closer contact and allow for more frequent updates of information regarding Chapter activities and functions.

Contact our WebMaster / Newsletter Editor (Bob Wirt) and be sure to send your article or announcement by SnailMail to PO Box 11280, Fort Lauderdale FL 33339-1280; or FAX to 1-954-565-5922; or e-mail (preferred)

The online WebSite as well as our Snail-Mail Newsletter are only as useful as you make them. If you have a Chapter activity you'd like to announce, please e-mail the particulars in advance so we can get the word out to everyone:

click here to Contact Our WebMaster and send your article or announcement

If you know of other Chapters' operations or functions which are open to our troopers and would like to pass the word along, send that information as well. Please include dates, addresses and phone numbers plus the contact individuals so we can ensure the word we pass along is complete and correct. We'll do our best to get your announcement onto the WebSite and into the Newsletter so you'll get the most member involvement and best turnout possible.

Sick Call Notifications

If anyone knows of South Florida Chapter members who are ill or have died (these conditions are not necessarily connected, but certainly do occur in that order) please send the notifications to us via e-mail in care of both:

Chapter Chaplain - Joe Guilbert

Chapter WebMaster - Bob Wirt

For an illness, we'll need to know contact information about where cards may be sent or phone calls made, and what condition has knocked the Trooper low. In the case of a death, please provide some specific details or a link to the local newspaper's obituary so we can access it for the other Troopers who may not have known.

Thanks - AIRBORNE ! - Bob Wirt, Newsletter Editor / WebMaster

OnLine Roster : Some troopers who are online have their e-mail addresses published in The South Florida Trooper News Letter so that other Airborne Troopers can more easily maintain contact with them, and they are:

Jim Battaglia

Robert Buffington

Herb Bunch

Chris Collins

Jimmy Campillo

John Desormeau

Patrick Devine

Captain Laura M Foglesong

Jean-Marie Funke

Brian Gehling

Norman J. Gray

Joe Guilbert

Jimmy Harrison

Al Hernandez

Angel R Jerez

Joe Lanzillo

Larry Marks

Ted W Mauzey

Laren Melton

Edward Meyers

Don Moffett

Robert V. Niskanen

Joseph J Pappacoda ( Secretary )

Peter Portilla

French Shannon Jr

Leonard Sikora

Thomas Skrzyniecki

Ron Stirlacci

Jack Sullivan

Terry Watts

Phil Webb

Irv Weinsoff

Bob Wirt

If any others are interested in joining our e-mail group please let us know by sending your current e-mail address, preferably on-line, to:

Also, we plan to offer members personal page links from our domain for some nominal annual fee, which funds would go into our Booster Club to help cover online site costs. To see what a sample personal page might look like, click on the name Bob Wirt but keep in mind that your Webmaster just got carried away with his, not knowing when to stop posting stuff.

82nd Airborne Division Association, South Florida Chapter

Officers for 2000-2001

South Florida Chairman

Don Moffett
( Phyllis )


Bob Wirt
( Bettye )


Joseph J Pappacoda
( Sheri )

Judge Advocate

Ronald J.Stirlacci
( Lydia )


Ed Meyers
(954) 967-8182
( Lucille )

VA Hospital Representative
Irv Weinsoff
( Sylvia )

Directors for 2000-2001

Brian Gehling
1-954-731-2214 ( Herline )

Irv Weinsoff
1-305-573-1666 ( Sylvia )

Jim DeMatteo
1-954-432-8364 ( Janet )

French Shannon
1-954-472-3721 ( Marie )

Steve Mueller
1-954-970-9832 ( Pamela )

Jimmy Campillo
1-954-963-1454 ( Lucy )

Chapter Historian :

Beverlee Niskanen
Past National President

50th Anniversary Commemoration Parachute Jump
with The Phantom Airborne Brigade
and The Rakkasans - Russ Brambi, Secretary
Reported by: Ron Stirlacci
Click Here to see the Text and Photos about this Parachute Drop

---- Print, Clip & Mail ---- Print, Clip & Mail ---- Print, Clip & Mail ---- Print, Clip & Mail ----

Membership Application The South Florida Chapter 82nd Airborne Division Association
Telephone Number
( ________ ) _________-__________________
Check One
___ Renewal; ___ New Member; ___ Re-Instatement
Enclosed is $12.50, my membership dues for the year 2000, subscription to PARAGLIDE & Newsletter included.




_______________ 9-digit Zip


Airborne Unit(s)
Include all
Airborne Unit(s)
continue here:
Dates of Airborne Service
Month & Year for each
Dates of Airborne Service
continue here:

Present Occupation
Single ___ Married ___
Spouse's Name __________________ # Children____

Chapter Preference
New Members MUST include a copy of official proof of
either glider or airborne military qualification & service.
Mail Check payable to:
82nd Abn Div So FL Chapter
Joseph J Pappacoda, Secretary
Collee Station, Post Office Box 2454
Fort Lauderdale FL 33303-2454
Phone: 1-954-415-3053

---- Print, Clip & Mail ---- Print, Clip & Mail ---- Print, Clip & Mail ---- Print, Clip & Mail ----

If any of you lucky TROOPERS have enough spare time on your hands to spend it surfing the WEB click below to check in on our Fayetteville NC HQs

Click here for the October 2000 Newsletter Page

Click here for the November / December 2000 Newsletter Page

Click here for the January / February 2001 Newsletter Page

Click here for the March / April 2001 Newsletter Page

Contact Your WebMaster
Bob Wirt, Post Office Box 11280, Fort Lauderdale FL 33339-1280
Phone 1-954-565-8123 or FAX 1-954-565-5922