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Zachary Pinkstaff of the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment | Reenactor Interview

To start off my new WWII reenacting series, I'm sharing an interview with 19 year old Zachary Pinkstaff, a Florida native who has been reenacting both the Civil War and WWII for 11 years.

1. Why did you choose your impression? 

I portray an alternate version of my grandfather, Technician 5th Grade Hugh Doyle Colding. He served with the 82nd Airborne's 320th Glider Field Artillery Battalion. Unfortunately, seeing as nobody does Glider Artillery as far as I know, I decided to portray my grandfather if he were in the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment, also 82nd Airborne Division. I chose this impression because I wanted to honor my grandfather's memory, and because I adore history. I never had the opportunity to meet my grandfather, but he is one of the main reasons I started reenacting.

2. Can you tell us about your reenacting gear?

The typical load out of the Glider Infantryman would be as follows:

1. M1936 Cartridge Belt
2. M1936 Suspenders (Optional for the mounting of a Mussette Bag)
3. M1928 Haversack
4. M1937 Wool Uniform (Optional M43 pants and wool shirt)
5. M1941 or M1943 Field Jacket
6. QM Issued OD tank top or white t-shirt
7. Steel M1 Helmet (Sometimes with helmet netting.)
8. M1 Garand, M1A1 Thompson Sub-Machinegun, M1 Carbine, or a Browning Automatic Rifle for fire support.
9. Personal Items within Haversack
10. D, K, or C-Rations
11. Type II Service Shoes, Jump Boots, M1943 Double-Buckle Boots, or Service Shoe, Reverse Upper. Also known as Roughouts.
12. M1936 Leggings

This of course is just a few of the things that would be carried or worn by a Glider Rider. I also wear some original gear. My haversack, mess kit, canteen, my M43 jacket are all original.

3. What's your favorite part of reenacting? 

My favorite thing about reenacting would have to be the people. I love meeting veterans, sitting by campfires, having a few drinks and enjoying the camaraderie. It's a very special thing for me. Nothing in the world can ever change that. I guess I can add on to this by saying that I love the history of it all. History is my life's blood. My "bread and butter" if you will. I love learning and listening, and even teaching. Especially the teaching part. Showing children and adults the joys of reenacting and showing them pieces of history makes me overwhelmingly happy.

4. What group do you reenact with? 

I've reenacted with several groups. Just recently I was in Chicago and Peoria, IL, portraying a soldier of the 9th Infantry Division's 60th Infantry Regiment. I also do living histories and displays with the Camp Blanding Military Museum.

On the subject of recruiting, Camp Blanding is always looking for volunteers at the museum on base. But if you don't live in Florida, you might not have much luck. Either way, it's an amazing group of people.

 5. What have you learned from reenacting? 

What have I learned from reenacting? Well, I've definitely learned a lot. I've learned much about many other units, including the 82nd and the 325th GIR. I am a part of many different Facebook pages with many people willing to help and teach people about what they need and how to improve their impressions. I've also learned that authenticity is key. "Farbyness is next to uncleanness" is a personal little saying of mine. You don't want to go to an event with cheap Chinese gear. Always buy from reputable companies.

6. Who's your favorite WWII hero? 

Wow, I have a lot of them, actually. If it's okay to list two, I'd have to say General George S. Patton and Audie Murphy. Both men were/are heroes in my eyes. Two of the best soldiers the Army ever saw.

7. What advice would you give to newbie reenactors? 

Again, farbyness is next to uncleanness. Always buy your gear from reputable sources, don't get offended when someone tries to critique your impression. They're only trying to help. But if they're being rude, just let it go and walk away. It's never a good idea to get into a fight on the Internet or real life. This is a hobby, not a contest. If you ever come across medals of Valor or purple hearts and such, DO NOT. I repeat DO. NOT. wear them on your dress uniform. If there's a name with the medal, try researching or ask other reenactors for help. Maybe the family would like to have it back to remember their relative. Also, for the love of God please remember proper field hygiene. Girls at the USO dance don't want a smelly G.I. dancing with them. But overall, just have fun. Learn, teach and experience. This is one of the best hobbies in the world. If you're a lover of history and you want to keep it alive, take up reenacting and live the reenactor life!

— T/5 Zachary D.J. Pinkstaff, Dog Co., 2nd Battalion, 325th Glider Inf. Reg't., 82nd Abn. Div.

Follow on Instagram: @the.guy.they.call.pinkstaff


  1. Can't wait to read more about this series, Emily! I want to start reenacting so this is going to be VERY helpful!