have become Friends
The 82d Airborne Division "All American" is another favorite of some of our members . The C-47 Club, Belgian Chapter (supported by the 82d Airborne "All American" Jeep Group) organizes an annual winter march in the Belgian Bulge (Ardennes) . This yearly commemorative event called "In the Footsteps of the 82d Airborne Division" is always scheduled between January-February (winter in Europe) . Whatever the weather, some of our members have pledged to attend the march (notwithstanding the circumstances, be it rain, fog, snow, ice, hail, they're present) and have been there for the last 20 years . The hike takes place, in spite of the sometimes adverse Belgian weather, along hilly, rugged and difficult terrain, often in woods, and up and down, in country known to the Vets . Indeed, these guys fought (and died) here, and remembrances often come up again … accompanied by the necessary personal emotion … The march is organized along the defense perimeters and MLR manned by the various regiments of the "All Americans" during the Battle of the Bulge . The Veterans we meet belong not only to the 80th Abn AA Bn, 325th Gli Inf Regt, 504th Prcht Inf Regt, 505th Prcht Inf Regt, but also to other units related to the "All American" i.e. 507th Prcht Inf Regt, 508th Prcht Inf Regt and 551st Prcht Inf Bn .
When on site, visiting Veterans often look up Belgian families (where some of them had been welcomed in 1944-45) and keep close ties with children & grand-children of these same people . During these marches, there is always time to chat with known veteran troopers, or make new acquaintances among other visitors, and after meeting with them so often, it is natural that ties of friendship grow - so we not only keep in touch (also with their families), but even further meet in other places too, where they are attracted by historic events, e.g. Normandy . There is always time for an old 'war story', a drink among friends, or a sad moment (loss of a fellow trooper) to share, for we should never forget that we owe these Vets . They have contributed so much to our freedom, and some have given all !
Remark: some of our Belgian members not only often meet with "All American" Vets
during the yearly hike in the Bulge (January-February), but regularly plan additional encounters or just casually meet each other again
during the annual D-Day commemorations in Normandy (June), i.e. around, or in Ste-Mère-Eglise . Sgt "Andrew S. Vilinsky" is among
these, and has been actively involved with 82d Airborne Division Veterans for the past 19 years . "Strictly G.I." warmly welcomes any personal
inputs, testimonies, experiences, of WWII Veterans . It is a great honor for us to receive and be able to post some of your privileged witness
reports on our webpages - and a wonderful opportunity to research the WWII history of such elite units as the 82d Airborne Division !
God bless you all !