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Andrew of the 18th Luftwaffe Field Division | Reenactor Interview

1. Why did you choose your impression? 

I chose each of my impressions for a variety of reasons. My primary impression (the one I normally do reenactments with) is a 18th Luftwaffe field division impression. I chose it due to a fascination with the extremely poor reputation of these soldiers. They were basically "playing soldiers" much like we do today. My other two impressions are US impressions. One is my grandfather's unit, the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment, the reasoning behind this impression is explained in question six. The other is a USMC Corporal from 10th Marines of which I was a modern member in real life.

2. Can you tell us about your reenacting gear?

For this question I'll stick to my primary impression since a book would be needed to properly explain every piece of gear for my multiple impressions. I portray a member of a German air force field unit during the Normandy time frame. Such a soldier wears the typical Luftwaffe blue uniform, and a unique camouflage jacket that is only seen in the field divisions. My gear consists of that typical of a rifleman: belt, y-straps, ammo pouches, bread bag, canteen, gas mask can, helmet, bayonet, and of course a rifle. 

3. What's your favorite part of reenacting? 

My favorite part of reenacting is first and foremost the friendships I have made. I've been reenacting multiple eras since I was 12-13 years old, I'm now nearing 30. I'm as close to my reenacting family as I am my biological family. Nowhere else have I been able to meet such an outstanding group of people with the same interests as me. 

4. What group do you reenact with? 

The only WWII unit I am a member of currently is the 18th Field Division. I am an associate member of a couple of GI units, the 101st Living History Association and the 29th Infantry Division, but have not officially joined them, yet. All the units I associate with are currently seeking more recruits. 

5. What have you learned from reenacting?

The amount of knowledge I have learned over the years is immeasurable. Growing up hearing the stories from all the 517th veterans at reunions, and then researching and finding out more about the time frame of the stories has been the most memorable of it all.

6. Who's your favorite WWII hero? 

My WWII hero is my grandfather Pvt. Robert Vaught of the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment. It is an honor to know someone, and be related to him, from such a unknown, but tough and elite unit that fought in Italy, Southern France, The Bulge, The Ardennes, and into Germany. He survived it all basically without a scratch, and talks to this day about it in the most humble of ways. Truly an inspiration. 

7. What advice would you give to newbie reenactors? 

My advice for Newbies is to find an impression that calls to you, do your research on it, and do that impression to the best of your ability. Always remember that having a good impression is more than having the most expensive and authentic gear. It is a mindset. 

Follow the 18th Luftwaffe Field Division reenacting group on Facebook.

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