82nd Airborne Division victory parade:
When the war in the European theatre of war ended in May 1945, the 82nd Airborne division’s job was done. In June 1945, many of the high
point veterans from the division were allowed to return home to their family and ceremonies were held to wave the men goodbye. Paratroopers
who didn’t have enough points, had to stay with the division in Europe.
It soon became clear that the 82nd Airborne Division was going to be transferred to Berlin to do occupational duty. The division was responsible
for the American sector in Berlin when the city was split up in an English, French and Russian sector. Just imagine that it must have been
strange for combat soldiers to change into garrison soldiers on guard duty in a devastated city.
For a while it was unsure what would happen to the 82nd Airborne division when they would return to the United States. At some point, the
brass of the division thought they were going to be disbanded. In November the 82nd Airborne division received good news. Because they had
a longer combat history than for example the 101st Airborne Division, the 82nd would stay active and the 101st was going to be disbanded on
November 30th 1945. All other airborne divisions and regiments were disbanded too. Low point men who weren’t allowed to return home yet from
those divisions were transferred to the 82nd Airborne division to strengthen their ranks.
On November 19 the 82nd Airborne Division was releaved from occupational duty and was going to be sent back to the United States. They also
recieved the news that they had the honor to walk the victory parade on fifth avenue in New York. After being relieved, the division was sent
to Camp Chicago. While waiting for the transfer back home, they would practice for the parade three times a day. Finally the division was sent
to Camp Lucky Strike in Le Havre, France, where the division boarded ships on December 29. Finally the division was going home.
On January 3, 1946, the division arrived in New York and was transferred to Camp Shanks. They practiced for the parade over and over. Finally,
on the morning of January 12, the division was moved by train from Camp Shanks to Manhattan, New York. Now, the division had to complete
their final assignment, operation homecoming. Words cannot describe how beautiful the parade was and how proud the men were to be part of it.
Bare in mind, that many of the men in the parade had an average age of 20-years-old and were battle hardened combat soldiers. They have
the right to be proud of what they accomplished. Just like every WWII veteran who participated in the liberation of fortress Europe.