Acadiana Chapter - 82nd Airborne Division Association
History of the Acadiana Chapter,
82nd Airborne Division Association
The Acadiana Chapter is the Louisiana Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association formed during WWII by the paratroopers of the Division prior to the parachute jump into Normandy on D-Day June 6, 1944.
The Acadiana Chapter was formed in January 1980 in Lafayette, Louisiana. An organizational meeting was held and 33 qualified veterans came with 31 joining. From that nucleus, the Chapter has grown to 176 members throughout Louisiana. Our members include paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division; 101st Airborne Division; 17th Airborne Division, 11th Airborne Division; 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion; 508th Airborne Regimental Combat Team, 173rd Airborne Brigade (Vietnam); and numerous Special Forces Groups. Their service spans WW II, Korea, Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, the Persian Gulf War, and Afghanistan and Iraq. Among our members we have retired Army Generals, senior NCO's and former enlisted men.
An annual Anniversary Banquet and a Spring Bar-B-Que in April are highlight meetings. Additionally the Chapter conducts events including trips to Ft. Polk, LA for interaction with the active duty Army.
The Acadiana Chapter has raised funds for and built two impressive monuments. The first is the monument to Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient, Captain Stephen Logan Bennett, USAF. He was from Lafayette, LA and was commissioned into the USAF through the Air Force ROTC at the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now University of Louisiana, Lafayette). This granite monument with bronze likeness and MOH citation stand at the Cajundome in Lafayette by the flagpole near the entrance. The other is a monument recognizing the "Louisiana Memorial Airborne Bridge." It is located at mile marker 121 on Interstate 10 in Louisiana. This is about 15 miles east of Lafayette, Louisiana. The Louisiana State Legislature at the request of the Acadiana Chapter passed Legislative Act 793 on July 10 1989 naming the 18.5 mile elevated bridge on I-10 over the Atchafalaya Swamp as the "Louisiana Airborne Memorial Bridge." The Acadiana Chapter members bought and paid for the monument and the benches surrounding it. We invite all Airborne veterans to stop if you are traveling on I-10 to see the monument. The dedication of the monument occurred on October 20, 1990.
In 2007 and 2009 the Chapter raised and presented $7,247.87 to the 82nd Division Chaplain’s office for their “Helping Hand” fund to assist lower enlisted soldiers and their families. We also donated over $1500 towards the new 82nd Memorial Monument to the fallen troopers of Iraq and Afghanistan. We have also sent donations to the VA Hospital in Alexandria, LA for their indigent patient fund. In 2011 and 2012 we raised over $3,000 for Wounded Warriors in Afghanistan.