04 January 2013

8,800 Men and Three Babies

82nd Airborne Returns In Triumph To America Aboard Queen Mary

New York, Jan. 3, UPI--The battle-wise "All-American" 82nd Airborne Division returned home in triumph today aboard the Queen Mary ready to march up Fifth Avenue Jan. 12 in the greatest victory parade of the war.

Also aboard the British superliner was a set of seven-month-old triplets and their war-bride mother, Mrs. Robert H. Glass, an American Red Cross worker.

The babies, in bassinettes, were carried down the gangplank by three GI's. The high-spirited 82nd "adopted" the children during the crossing, collecting an estimated $3,000 as an educational fund for them.

Carrying rifles and helmets, the 8,800 smartly-uniformed members of the renowned airborne division will fulfill a "battlefield dream" when they parade up Fifth Avenue, their commanding general said.

"We'd say: 'when we get back we'll parade right up Fifth Avenue," reminisced the officer, six-foot Maj. Gen. James M. Gavin. "We've walked all over this damned world and we're going to walk all the way."

The Queen Mary was at the head of a fleet of 11 troopships bringing to New York a total of 30,837 servicemen.

The Queen was met by Gavin who flew home in advance of his men, and New York City's new mayor, William O'Dwyer, who stood bareheaded in the chilling wind and shouted over a loudspeaker to the troops:

"New York is just waiting to tear you apart!"

First to debark were members of the 82nd's honor company, the Anti-Tank Company of the 325th Glider Infantry. Smartly equipped with white gloves, pistol belts, bayonet scabbards and boot-laces, the company was reviewed by the mayor and Gavin.

Only about 700 or 800 men were originally with the 82nd. The remainder being replacements. The division suffered 13,000 casualties in action in Sicily, Italy, France and The Netherlands. Three thousand were killed.

- The Meriden Record, Meriden, CT, January 4, 1946


1 comment:

  1. Wow, triplets! makes you wonder what became of them...