Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Invading Georgia

Airborne Memorabilia
Curahee Military Museum

Just slightly off the beaten path in North Georgia, an intrepid traveler can find the Currahee Military Museum in Tocoa Georgia (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g35316-d1407449-Reviews-Currahee_Military_Museum-Toccoa_Georgia.html).  It was near here that Airborne units of the US Army trained for their daring drops into Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II.

Camp Tocoa T-shirt
Currahee Military Museum
The young paratroopers would train by running three miles up nearby Mount Currahee and three miles down.  This was depicteded in the TV series Band of Brothers (based on Stephen Ambrose's book) about Easy Company in the 101st Airborne division.

Virgin Mary surrounded by US paratroopers
St. Mere Eglise, France
Paratroopers trained here would drop into North Africa during Operation Torch in the fall of 1942.  Paratroopers that trained here would invade Sicily in July of 1943.  Paratroopers who trained here would drop at night near the beaches of Normandy by the town of St. Mere Eglise.

Graduating Class
Currahee Military Museum
At Currahee boys were transformed into men, men into warriors.

Shed used by Airborne in England
Transported to Tocoa, GA
In our work America Invades we wrote about the D-day Airborne drops...

"The vaulting began on the night of June 5 when private John Steele, a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne, got his chute caught on the tower of the church at Ste.-Mère-Église. He survived the conflagration and firefight that shook the sleepy Norman town that night by playing dead. A visitor to Ste.-Mère-Église today will find a stained-glass window in the church has the Virgin Mary surrounded by American paratroopers. The American paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st Divisions would secure the western flank of the Normandy invasion."  Source: America Invades www.amzn.com/1940598427.

Doris Hines in Atlanta
In our all too brief stay in Georgia, I also had the pleasure of taking my dear friend Doris Hines out to dinner in "Hotlanta".  Great to see you, Doris!

Why should you consider a visit to Currahee Museum or some other Military museum in your part of the country?  My answer: Go in order to preserve the memory of those who sacrificed so much for the freedom we enjoy today.  Better still, go with your kids so that they will know and never forget.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Invading the Carolinas

AI invades North Carolina
North Carolina is one of the most heavily militarized states in the union.   Many retired veterans live there.  The US Marines train at Camp Lejeune in NC.  Fort Bragg, named after a Confederate general was established as an artillery base in WWI and is an active base to this day.  Bragg is situated in Fayetteville, a somewhat seedy area, which is also known as "Fayettenam".

The AI tour, however, went to Raleigh.  Here we met up with some old friends who had also spent time living in the UK.

Desert at Plates
Steve Day is the proprietor of a gastronomic paradise known as Plates (http://www.plateskitchen.com/).  Everything on the menu was exceptional including some heavenly deserts.   They had a full bar featuring local micro brews on tap and a well-chosen wine list.  When in Raleigh be sure to dine at Plates!

The next day we made a brief stop in Charlotte where you can now find signed copies of America Invades at Park Road Books http://www.parkroadbooks.com/-- the best indy bookstore in Charlotte.

South Carolina

We cruised through South Carolina on our way to Georgia.  Sadly, we missed a state rich in military history.  We must return soon.

Special thanks to Steve and Kate Day, Ken and Julia Curtis.