Members or the original 503rd PRCT. Tony Sierra, D Co., Angelo Bordanaro, E Co., Russ Nelson, E Co., Nelson Gatewood, 462nd, Kenny Lyle, 462nd and Gene Karbowski, 462nd. Photo courtesy of Todd M Mayer.
The 503rd PRCT Association just wrapped up its 60th annual reunion in Fayetteville, North Caroline. Although “Hot”, we all had a great time as we met with new friends and spent time catching up with old acquaintances. We had six veterans from the 503rd PRCT and 3 Veterans from the 503rd PIR, who served in the unit after Korea and before Vietnam attending. Along with that, we had a long list of Veteran’s wives, family members and friends at this year’s reunion.

On Thursday afternoon, our Hospitality suite was humming as our Veterans, Families and Friends settled in for another great reunion. Our good friend Tom served as our bartender and made sure everyone’s ice cold beverages were wiped dry from the cooler before being served, a critical job that did not go unnoticed.

Tom Hilburn, Dave Hudiburgh and Rick Miller. Posing with an original 503rd Regimental Flag that was used prior to Vietnam. The Colors were donated at last year’s reunion by Lt. John Keller, who served with the unit. Photo courtesy of Todd M Mayer.

On Friday morning our group headed over to the Airborne & Special Operations Museum. For those of you who have never been there, it’s a great museum and well worth a visit. It does a fantastic job of telling the history of America’s Airborne and Special Operations Units. The 503rd PRCT was well represented in the museum displays. Our group was given a special treat, when they brought out the original artwork of "The Rock", by Thomas M. McNeil of G Company, 503rd PIR. The original artwork was painted on a duffel bag. Mr. McNeil recently donated the artwork to the museum. It is currently not on display to the general public.

The original painted artwork of the “Rock” by Thomas M. McNeil. Photo courtesy of Todd Mayer.

Friday evening we had an informal banquet dinner, followed by our annual auction. The highlight of the auction included the auctioning off of Doc Llewellyn’s “last man standing” 1936 bourbon whisky. I did not sample, but I heard it was smooth. On Saturday morning the group headed over to the paratroop airdrop training area on the grounds of Fort Bragg. The group got to witness several paratrooper airdrops, along with meeting the active duty paratroopers themselves. Saturday afternoon we held our board and membership meetings. President Elect Nelson Gatewood is now President of the Association and Todd Mayer is President Elect. The terms run for two years. It was also decided that Rick Miller would look into hosting our 2017 reunion in Texas. Later that evening on Saturday, we held our formal banquet, were the new officers were introduced and upcoming events announced, followed by more socializing in our hospitality suite. At the end of the day, we all bid farewell and began packing for the return trip home.

Members of the shirt club”. On Friday afternoon an impromptu photo of all those who were hang ‘in around and were wearing an association shirt. Back Row- Bill Marr, Tom Hilburn, Dave Hudiburgh, Rick Miller, Nelson Gatewood, David Llewellyn, Middle Row- Sandy Weldon, Nancy Young Bottom Row- Phyllis Gatewood, Susan Weldon, Natalie Young, Rita Santo, Susan Marr. Photo courtesy of Todd Mayer

Rick Miller, Dave Hudiburgh, Sandi Kubicek, Tom Hilburn, Shirley Bates, Elizabeth Sierra, Tony Sierra, Angelo Bordanaro, Margaret Nelson, Russ Nelson, Phyllis Gatewood, Nelson Gatewood, Emilie Lyle, Kenny Lyle, Mary Karbowski, Johanna Hazarian,Gene Karbowski and Ruth Castillo. Photo courtesy of Todd M Mayer.
Copyright 2016 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team Association, WWII, Inc.       Last Modified: 6/14/2017 8:11:01 AM