MOMENTS IN PASSING
The 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment in Australia & New Guinea
de Paul F. Whitman
The closer you get to the individual soldier doing the dirty work, the closer you get to the truth in war.
Being the "purveyor" of a website about the 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment, I have acquired a number of images from a number of collections. As much as I believe in websites as the educational resource of the future, and have published the images "free to air", there's something sensual - and reasssuringly permanent - about the feel of a book that I can't resist. Thus I am featuring the individual collections in their own publications. This is the second of the current pictorial series.
This book contains only a selection from the collection of images in the possession of Chet Nycum, of 3rd Platoon, "G" Company, 503d PIR. The images aren't all his, though many are. The ultimate photographers of many of the images are lost in the mists of time, or in this case perhaps, the fog of war. Essentially, this is a collection of the way that the paratroopers' see themselves. Many of the images were included in a larger collection which appeared from time to time at reunions of the 503d PRCT. Even at the reunions, many of the images lacked for any type of caption or identification.
In compiling and editing this volume, I determined that this not be a book about the war as much as it is about the faces of the young paratroopers who volunteered to fight it. Those faces express the freshness of their youthful naiveté and inexperience, the hopes and dreams of their future days still writ large in their eyes, and their fears quietly supressed in a air of bravado. Then, after their New Guinea experiences have conferred upon them their moment in passing, you can witness their passage towards being a combat veteran. The boy is now gone and the Paratroooper remains.
Through the Corregidor Historic Society and, more recently the 503d PRCT Heritage Regiment., Paul presents thirteen publications, all connected in some way with Corregidor and the US Armed Forces in the SWPA during WWII. He started developing the Corregidor.Org website about the 1941-42 siege and the 1945 retaking of Corregidor as a penance for being an insolvency lawyer. Now retired, he has produced ten websites, more than a dozen Military History books, and has co-produced, with Peter Parsons, the documentary of the 1945 retaking of Corregidor - "CORREGIDOR - THE ROAD BACK. He married Rosie in 1980, has three adult children, and hates cats. He lives between two shores, Corregidor and Brisbane, Australia.
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