On this Memorial Day weekend I find myself going through my Dad’s military photos and paperwork. Unfortunately his World War II records and memorabilia was lost upon his return. All I remember him telling me about his World War Ii days is he was at Normandy on a Destroyer and served in the Pacific and was there on VJ Day.
However, I do have his records and articles from his second enlistment in the Army Airborne during the 1950′s including paratrooper training photos from the 1951 508th Airborne Infantry division.
I found the family photo albums when my Mom died in 2011, many I have never before, nor any of the articles. I’m in the process of scanning and restoring the photos and hope with this post maybe someone will remember, have memorabilia, or even the WW II personal items of Leo Thomas Tyrrell, also known as “Tiny Terry the Terrible” during his time on a destroyer in the European and Pacific theatre.
According to his discharge papers, Leo T. Tyrrell attended training at TIC Fort Benning, GA and QM School Fort Lee, VA between May 1951-Jan 1952. He completed the Basic Airborne and Parachute Packer and repairman courses as well as Basic Military Training.
Along with the photos were clippings of many training airborne maneuvers between 1951 and 1953 including the biggest maneuver in U.S. history Operation Longhorn. This military exercise at Fort Hood Texas involved where 3,089 troops of the 508th Regimental Combat Team dropped as part an Army exercise also included the 82nd Airborne in a make-believe war involving over 100,000 military personnel over a 17 day period. Over 20,000 civilians either participated as their towns were invaded, or watched maneuvers, unfortunately just like in a real war there were two fatalities and 221 were injured.
Below is a photo of my Dad, he’s inside the glider so it doesn’t do much good but I love the glider, someone told me they were left over from WWII
Dad was also stationed at Fort Bragg and Camp Drum NY, where he participated in Exercise Snowstorm at Snow Ridge ski resort near Turin New York. He was honorably discharged as a Private First Class on August 17th, 1954. It appears he was attached to the 623rd Quartermaster Company as his most significant duty assignment.
Leo Thomas (Terry) Tyrrell born 1925, died 1995
Miss you Dad, wish you had been around to see my kids grow and your grandsons become U.S. Marines.
- Books on the 82nd Airborne (amazon)
- Dad’s Airborne Shadowbox (ndjmom.wordpress.com)
- Band of Brothers Airborne Tradition Continues (waronterrornews.typepad.com)
- The Young Brothers “The Paratrooper Song-Sleep with Your Boots On!” [VETUNES AIRBORNE ROCKATORIUM] (k2globalcommunicationsllc.wordpress.com)