My Dad was a two time veteran, first on a destroyer in World War Two and then later when he served in the 508th Airborne Infantry as part of the 82nd Airborne Division. 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.
I was recently contacted by a fellow Blogger who is documenting her family history and genealogy. Her Dad John G Hopkins was in the 508th with my Dad and there is a photo of the plane with the all the men sitting in front of it. My Dad is in the photo!! I think I have it narrowed down, he is either 4th from right on top row, or 4th from right on the bottom row.
Related 82nd Airborne articles
- Books on the 82nd Airborne (amazon)
- 82nd Airborne Association
- Home of the 508th Red Devils
- Dad’s Airborne Shadowbox (ndjmom.wordpress.com)
- My Dad in the 82nd Airborne
- The Young Brothers “The Paratrooper Song-Sleep with Your Boots On!” [VETUNES AIRBORNE ROCKATORIUM] (k2globalcommunicationsllc.wordpress.com)
Books About the 82nd and 508th Airborne
The Sword of St. Michael: The 82nd82nd Airborne (Military Power)Boots on the Ground: A Month withJUMP: INTO THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW:History of the 508th Parachute RegimentPut Us Down In Hell: The Combat