News of the San Gabriel Valley since 1966.

Monrovia VFW Honors the 101st Airborne

Paul Matinez and 2nd Bn., 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment.

by Jo Anne Disney

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On Saturday September 14, 2013, the Monrovia VFW was the site of a luncheon honoring the 101st Airborne.

History tells us that the 101st Airborne was “originally organized in November 1916, was demobilized and later reconstituted in June 1921 as an Organized Reserve Unit.” Later “the division was organized in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. …The reserve division was disbanded on August 15, 1942 and concurrently reconstituted in the Army of the United States as the 101st Airborne Division.” After training, “the division moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and joined the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR).” These men were known as the Screaming Eagles.  “During the early days of Vietnam, the Division made its transition from parachutes to helicopters as the method of insertion. In 1974 the Army terminated jump status for the Division and the Screaming Eagles formally became America’s Air Assault Division.”

The 101st Airborne have continued their bravery. I had the pleasure of meeting 3 former soldiers. Paul (Pablo) Martinez served in WWII in the 2nd Bn., 506th PIR. Mr. Martinez was only 16 years old when he enlisted. He participated in Normandy, Holland, Bastogne, and Germany. Mr. Martinez believes that the military helped to build his confidence and thereby making him successful in life. He was asked if he could go back and change anything in his military experience, he replied, “No.” Mr. Martinez is a first generation soldier. His son, Carlos Tamez Martinez, also served in the 101st Airborne in Vietnam, making him a second generation soldier. He was unable to be at the luncheon. Then I met with Mr. Martinez’s grandson, Mr. Brandon Scott Martinez, a third generation soldier. Brandon served in the 1st – 32nd Calvary Regime in Afghanistan. He believes that serving in the military helped him to mature and that the discipline he learned put him on the right track. He is preparing to attend Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena.

Finally, I was able to meet Mr. Jim McMullen, who served in the 101st Airborne in Vietnam and was part of the 2nd – 320 Artillery Division in 1966. There were many more soldiers in attendance and all rightfully being honored. In listening to all of the stories, it seems fitting to go back in time to the early days of WWII to quote a portion of the beginning of General Order Number five, ” The 101st Airborne Division … has no history, but it has a rendezvous with destiny.” It is amazing the acts of bravery these soldiers have performed and are still with us to share their chilling stories.

It was a pleasure meeting these brave men. We whole-heartedly thank them all for their brave service to our country.

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News of the San Gabriel Valley since 1966.
Monrovia VFW Honors the 101st Airborne