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Nick | 505th PIR

This is the eighth interview in my WWII reenactor interview series:

Josh | 502nd PIR and 5th Rangers

1. Why did you choose your impression?
I have been interested in WWII airborne units since I was 7 or 8 and got an 82nd airborne GI Joe from 21st century toys. A few years ago I found a book called "Descending From the Clouds" which is about 505th PIR member, Spencer Wurst, and it was all over after that.

2. Can you tell us about your reenacting gear?

I use a mix of original and reproduction gear to represent the three distinct periods of time that the 505 operated in the MTO and ETO. For the Sicilian and Italian campaigns I wear a standard M1942 jump suit with pistol belt and lift the dot rigger pouches. For Normandy I have a reinforced M42 jump suit which I have coated in canvak and gulf wax to approximate CC2 anti gas impregnating. Under those I wear a full wool uniform (shirt and trousers) and wool long johns. I wear the standard web gear and tie style rigger pouches. Finally for Operation Market Garden and beyond I wear an M43 combat uniform, cartridge belt and M43 (double buckle) combat boots. For all three time periods I carry an M1 Garand Rifle.

3. What's your favorite part of reenacting?
Having the chance to talk to WWII veterans and getting to hang out with my best friends.

4. What group do you reenact with? Are they recruiting?
My unit is G. Company, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. We are always looking for new members.

5. What have
 you learned from reenacting?

I have learned a lot about the history of my unit, and the gear they used obviously, but the most important thing I have learned is how tough these guys were/are. I have had several opportunities to do immersion events where I have dug/slept in foxholes, eaten K rations, been woken up by "enemy fire" and lived only off of what I could carry on my back. It was terrible and only had to do it for a weekend! Those guys did it for days, weeks or even longer.

6. Who's your favorite WWII hero?
General James Slim Jim Gavin. He was the youngest general in WWII and loved by his men because he lead from the front and never asked a man to do something he himself wouldn't do. I endeavor to lead my employees/co workers the same way. He is such an amazing guy that I've given my first born son the name James.

7. What advice would you give to newbie reenactors?

Find a quality unit that is made up of people you would hang out with even if you weren't in the hobby. Buy quality gear and read as much and you can about WWII in general and the unit you chose to reenact.


If you're a WWII reenactor and would like to be featured on Taking Dictation, email me at: authoremilyannputzke@gmail.com

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