Acadiana Chapter - 82nd Airborne Division Association
A number of our Acadiana members gathered at Camp Claiborne for a ceremony commemorating the re-designation of the 82nd Infantry Division (which was reactivated in March 1942 at Camp Claiborne, LA to become the FIRST US Army “Airborne” Division on 15 August, 1942. The next day the 101st Infantry Division which was formed (as a new Division) at Camp Claiborne in March of 1942 to become the SECOND Airborne Division in the US Army. Both of them established histories of bravery and accomplishment in WWII.
The ceremony was arranged by the US Forrest Service (whose Kisatchie National Forrest housed Camp Claiborne during WWII). Mr. Douglas Rhodes, Deputy Forrest Ranger and Military Liaison was instrumental in organizing the ceremony.
This commemoration occurred on the same spot where WWI MOH recipient SGT Alvin York addressed the newly reactivated 82nd Infantry Division in March of 1942. Part of his speech was broadcast for the attendees to hear. A very large tent was set up which accommodated the approximately 300 in attendance. There was water and porta potties set up along with large fans set up to keep everyone comfortable. The weather that day was very pleasant and cooler than it had been.
Ft. Polk’s Commander MG Gary Brito, the Assistant Division Commanders of the 82nd and the 101st were present. They were: Colonel Chris Laneve of the 82nd Airborne Division and Brigadier General Kenneth Royar of Ft. Campbell, KY. Acadiana Chapter members present were: Randy Vidrine, Mark Melancon, Paul Cador, Ted Cox, Bob Romero, John Girard, Al Spinks, Bobby Martin, Malcolm Guidry, John Hurth, Lorne Quebodeaux, Ricky Sumrall and friends from Chapter 81 Chapter of the Special Forces Association (Breaux Bridge) were: Kenny Gakendorf, and Jerry Broussard. Additionally there were paratroopers from the Shreveport, LA area. There is an organizing effort to establish an 82nd Airborne Division Association Chapter there. The Acadiana Chapter endorses this and is offering assistance.
By CSM John R. "Randy" Vidrine (Ret.)
August 14, 2017
Monument Dedication at Camp Claiborne