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UPDATE: 24-03-09-- 113th Airborne Disaster of 1945

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This week in 1944 was the first and only mission for for the 113 Airborne Division. Made up of recruits who had washed out of other combat Airborne units, the men of the 113th were given the choice to either join the Navy's Arctic Minesweeper Fleet, or stay in the airborne and be seconded to the USO as part of the 113th. The Unit was trained to drop into Allied territory as part of big War Bond Rallies or Woolworth 5¢ & 10¢ store openings. At their first even, a Tampa Bay Bond Rally, things went terribly awry.

The 'celebrities' at the war bond rally included Bing Crosby, actress Teresa Wright, dancer Ann Miller, and 'Hoverboy'. (A local body builder in a costume.) Wanting to add to the fun, 113th commander Major Paul "Honky" Horvath decided at the last minute to have his men parachute wearing 'Hoverboy-type buckets' instead of helmets. That, combined with giving them manual release parachutes, and the low I.Q.s and morale of the men, was determined to be primarily responsible for the ensuing tragedy. Posthumously awarded the Pewter Medal for Obedience Beyond The Call Of Duty were:

Private Israel "Hebe" Silverman
Private Sean "The Mic" O'Reilly
Private Thomas "Red Skin" Blackfoot
Private Mario "Dago" Rodriguez
Private Guido "Wop" Santora
Private Stanislaw "Polack" Prolaski
Corporal Kenneth "Chink" Chan

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