EPISODE 3

JOHN

July 17th, 1942: I join the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment! I’ve just learned it. I’m leaving tomorrow to Fort Benning in Georgia. James doesn’t yet know his assignment but we shall be separated … I would have like to stay together but the decision is not ours…
September 30th, 1942: I’m exhausted! We completed the first stage of training: individual training. For 13 weeks we trained hard, most of the time we were tired and were often hungry, rations are too small! I walked like I had never walked before: we had to walk 25 miles in 8h without equipment or 9 miles with arms and baggages … With the guys there were some tensions because of the lack of sleep but this adventure brings us closer together.
The next 8 months will be devoted to the training units with tactical exercises and the combined training which will include all the teams of the regiment…

JAMES

July 22nd, 1942: I joined the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment based in Toccoa tomorrow, I feel strange not to be able to share these events with John, I’ll write him when I will arrive at the camp.
January 15th, 1943: After walking 136 miles from Toccoa, I arrived today at Fort Benning in the “Parachute School,” I’ll stay a month and if all goes well I will get my patent paratrooper! We’ll have to validate 5 jumps: 4 during daylight  and 1 during night. I’m a little anxious: I trained a lot, but jump from a tower is not the same as jump from a plane!
John is here too! We are so happy to be together after all this time. I feel that last year we were kids and now we are men … I must say that I am physically stronger: daily, in Toccoa, in addition to the training we runup and down the Currahee Mount! CURRAHEE !!
February 12th: YESSS! John and I have our paratrooper wings! We managed our jumps! The last, the night jump was harder for me, I had a bad landing, since I have big pain on my back. I think I’ll be ok but it’ll take some time … Tonight I forget the pain and fatigue: it’s party, I hope they have enough beer for everyone !!

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