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Ethan Krall of the 32nd Infantry Division | Reenactor Interview

1. Why did you choose your impression? 

I chose to portray a combat engineer from B Company, 114th Engineer Combat Battalion, 32nd Infantry Division because my grandfather served with this unit during WWII. I am also a new member to the Furious Fourth reenacting group, which portrays a mortar section from the 4th Infantry Division.

2. Can you tell us about your reenacting gear?

My gear is from my personal militaria collection which has all came from various flea markets and sales near my hometown. All of my field gear that I use is original. My uniforms are mostly reproductions from At The Front and WWII Impressions. I am currently waiting on a CMP M1 Garand but until I receive it I will borrow my friend's M1 for our events. 

Field Gear & Equipment:

Fixed Bale M1 Helmet
M1928 Haversack
M1923 Cartridge Belt
M1910 Shovel w/ carrier
M1924 First Aid Pouch
M1942 Canteen carrier
M1910 Canteen
M1942 Mess Kit w/ silverware
Shelter Half
First Pattern HBT Jacket and Trousers
"Rough Out" Service Shoes
M1938 Leggings
M1 Garand
M1 Bayonet
Mk. II Fragmentation Grenade

3. What's your favorite part of reenacting? 

My favorite part about reenacting is being able to pass on my grandfather's stories from when he served in WWII.

4. What group do you reenact with? 

This spring I formed a group to portray B Company, 114th Engineer Combat Battalion, 32nd Infantry Division along with my best friend. We have attended one public event so far this summer and plan to attend more. We are recruiting and looking for beginners or experienced reenactors who are interested in the unit history and who are looking to try something different, as groups portraying Pacific Theater units are far less common than units who served in the European Theater.

5. What have you learned from reenacting? 

From my first event I learned that being open and conversational with the public is key to making your display worthwhile. Even if the people you talk to aren't big WWII fans they will still greatly appreciate your knowledge and your display. Also, the conversations can be opportunities for you to learn something from the people you're talking to and possibly even talk to veterans.

6. Who's your favorite WWII hero? 

My favorite WWII hero hands down is my grandfather. He was a draftee and prior to Pearl Harbor was actually angered that he had to serve. Once Pearl Harbor happened, he then saw the purpose in his service. He served as a combat engineer but was often pressed into service as a regular infantryman due to firefights breaking out close to where the engineers worked during the New Guinea Campaign. He was a true citizen soldier. He stated after the war that he hated his time in the jungles of New Guinea, but would readily do it all again if his country needed him to. I got to know my grandfather very well as I grew up and was lucky enough to hear his stories. My grandfather John Henry Krall passed away in 2012, and ever since I have been building my collection, continuing my research, and began reenacting all to keep his stories and my memory of him alive.

7. What advice would you give to newbie reenactors? 

My advice for beginners looking to start reenacting would be to first thoroughly research the unit you want to portray. Investing the time in researching uniforms, weaponry, equipment, unit history or chronology of battle, photographs, etc. will make it easier for you to get it right from the start. Once you have your basis of historical knowledge, begin piecing together your impression. Perfecting it will take time and will come down to your own satisfaction, but do your best to be as correct as possible for your first event. Having a decent kit and knowledge of your unit's history for your first event will earn you a lot of respect from other reenactors and will make you a well-rounded reenactor overall.

Follow on Instagram: @wwii_rifleman

Learn about the 32nd Infantry Division:http://www.32nd-division.org/history/32hist.htm

1 comment

  1. Nice read....my wifes grand dad was a Red Arrow man