“Color Guard, post the colors.” A deafening silence filled the
room; then the whisper of a cadence flowed out between the flag
“Column left. March. Left, right, left, right...”
All eyes were locked onto the American flag carried by the Army
Reserve's 85th Support Command color guard team; each attendee
turned as the nation's colors made its way through the room to its
holding place for the ceremony. There in front of the flag proudly
stood two men from Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute
Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, for their 70th reunion,
Sept. 24, 2016, hosted at the Union League Club in Chicago.
September 24, 2016 - World War II veterans Brad Freeman, sitting
left, and Albert Mampre listen to speakers during the 70th
anniversary of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry
Regiment, 101st Airborne Division reunion in Chicago. Both men were
members of Easy Company and the only two members at the reunion.
(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Aaron Berogan)
The famed Easy Company became widely known in part due to
an HBO mini series called Band of Brothers. The 506th PIR
was an experimental airborne regiment created in 1942 in
Easy Company played a role in
Operation Overlord on D-Day, Operation Pegasus, and the
Battle of the Bulge. According to Chris Langlois, founder of the Band of Brothers Foundation,
three hundred and sixty men were listed as assigned to Easy
Company by the end of WWII, of those men forty-nine were
“It's great to be here,” said veteran Albert
“Al” Mampre. “I try to come to all of these (ceremonies) and
talk with others. There's not many of us left,” Mampre said
with a small chuckle.
Mampre was a staff sergeant
who worked as a medic with Easy Company from 1942 to 1945.
The 70th reunion was filled with remembrances for
those who had served in Easy Company. A slide show
presentation there documented how many of the soldiers and
their families lived after World War II; messages were also
read aloud about people who were grateful for the service of
these men to include a message from the former Commander in
Chief George W. Bush.
“During World War Two,
America's Armed Forces served with courage and selflessness...
Many of your fellow comrades gave their lives in defense of
our country during World War Two and we will never forget
these warriors,” read an email from Bush. “Your continued
commitment to our country is an inspiration.”
reunion was organized by the Band of Brothers Foundation, a
non-for-profit organization dedicated to keeping the history
of Easy Company alive.
“I thought that it was
important to honor these guys and create a legacy that would
continue with us,” said Langlois,
The night continued
with presentations and honors to include a reading of a
citywide proclamation from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, read by three
actors from HBO's Band of Brothers mini series. The
proclamation read for September 24, and September 25, 2016
to be ‘Band of Brothers Weekend' in Chicago.
an honor to be in the presence of two (soldiers) who had to
go through World War Two and to hear their stories,” said
Army Reserve Spc. Matthew Kelly, 85th Support Command.
At the conclusion of the night, the 85th Support Command
marched out to retrieve the colors. The look of patriotic
pride filled the room as the soldier's marching was the only
sound heard until it echoed completely out of earshot.
By U.S. Army Sgt. Aaron Berogan
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