Tag Archives: 307th BEB

All American Engineers Honor Valor, Sacrifice of WWII Waal River Crossing

Paratroopers from Company A, forefront, and Company B, rear, compete against each other during the 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion’s commemoration of the 74th anniversary of the Waal River Crossing on Wednesday, October 3, 2018 on Fort Bragg’s McKellar’s Pond. The paratroopers were competing to cross the lake five times in honor of Pfc. Willard Jenkins, killed by enemy fire while manning a rudder during the WWII river assault.

Members of the 82nd Airborne Division recently honored the valor and sacrifice of engineers who valiantly braved fierce enemy fire and artillery to ferry paratroopers across the Waal River during WWII’s Operation Market Garden.

All American Engineers of the 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion commemorated the 74th anniversary of the Waal River Crossing at Fort Bragg’s McKellar’s Lake on Oct. 3, 2018 with espirit de corps and fierce competition.

“This event provides an opportunity to commemorate the sacrifice our fellow engineer brethren of the 307th AEB made during Operation Market Garden on Sept. 20, 1944,” said Maj. Chris Pierce, the battalion’s Executive Officer. “It gives paratroopers a sense of what moving across a body of water while totally exposed to enemy fire is like.”

Wearing WWII-era uniforms and in a boat replicating the type used to cross the Waal River, members of the All American Airborne Legion and paratroopers from the 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion row across Fort Bragg’s McKellar’s Pond on October 3, 2018. The reenactment was part of the battalion’s commemoration of the WWII crossing of the Waal River by 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers under heavy enemy fire.

The Waal River Crossing during WWII was a daring feat; a daytime river crossing to ferry paratroopers of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment across 250 yards of moving water with no cover from enemy machine gun fire and artillery. Their objective was the north end of the Nijmegen Bridge; deemed essential if Operation Market Garden was to be successful.

Paratroopers of Company C, 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion would get them across. Three paratroopers manned each collapsible canvas boat with many of the occupants using their rifles to row in the absence of oars. Twenty-six boats departed in the first wave with only eleven of them returning to ferry more paratroopers across.

Paratroopers assigned to the 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division row Zodiac boats across Fort Bragg’s McKellar’s Pond on Wednesday, October 3, 2018 in commemoration of the 74th anniversary of the WWII Waal River Crossing. The paratroopers were competing to cross the lake five times in honor of Pfc. Willard Jenkins, killed by enemy fire while manning a rudder during the river assault.

In all, engineers of the 307th made five trips across the Waal River under heavy fire and the crossing eventually served as inspiration for the 1977 film “A Bridge Too Far.”

The event began at the 307th’s headquarters where companies of the battalion formed up in the early Fort Bragg morning. Racing more than two miles to McKellar’s Pond, each company formed teams that took turns carrying their assigned Zodiac Boat.

After all of the companies arrived, reenactors from the All American Airborne Legion and members of the battalion rowed across the lake in World War II-era uniforms and replicas of the collapsible boats while a narrator read a historical vignette of the river assault.

Paratroopers assigned to the Paratroopers assigned to the 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division begin their competition to cross Fort Bragg’s McKellar’s Pond five times Wednesday, October 3, 2018. The competition was in in commemoration of the 74th anniversary of the WWII Waal River Crossing and held in honor of Pfc. Willard Jenkins, killed by enemy fire while manning a rudder during the river assault.

Paratroopers then loaded into the Zodiacs and competed to be the first to row across McKellar’s Pond, each time delivering a paratrooper to form a five-person team required to sprint around the lake back to the starting point.

The memory of Pfc. Willard “Bud” Jenkins was honored throughout the competition. Jenkins was a paratrooper assigned to the 307th AEB at the time of the WWII Waal River Crossing. Jenkins was reportedly manning a rudder on one of the boats when he was shot in the chest and fell overboard.

Jenkins’ remains were recently identified and he was buried in his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania with members of the 307th in attendance to provide him military honors.

“Beastmaster” paratroopers assigned to Company B, 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team celebrate their victory during the battalion’s commemoration of the 74th anniversary of the Waal River Crossing. The paratroopers won the annual competition for the second time by being the first in the battalion to row five times across Fort Bragg’s McKellar’s Pond on Wednesday, October 3, 2018.

“Beastmasters” from Company B won the coveted paddle and bragging rights awarded to the victors of the annual competition for the second year in a row.

“The history of this is extremely important that we don’t forget the soldiers that fought against insurmountable odds to seize an objective,” said Capt. Aaron Scherffius, the company commander during his victory remarks.

P6 Sends – National Hispanic Heritage Month

Panther Paratroopers, Families, and Friends,

Contributions of Hispanic Americans continue to keep the Panther Brigade Ready, Competent, and Lethal as we train for the crucible of ground combat.

As our Nation celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15th to October 15th, leaders at all levels across the 3rd Brigade Combat Team understand the strength inherent within an all-inclusive, diverse force of Paratroopers.

Hispanic Americans serve in vital roles throughout our formation as Paratroopers, noncommissioned officers, and officers. They are experts at the art and science of preparing the Brigade to jump, fight, and win on any drop zone in the world.

The Panther Brigade draws strength and proficiency from its diversity. Command Sgt. Maj. Teakell and I are honored to serve alongside all of you. Be Ready. Be Competent. Be Lethal and see you on the drop zone.

COL Art Sellers – 3rd Brigade Commander Command Sgt. Maj. Reese Teakell – 3rd Brigade Command Sergeant Major

Ready, Competent, Lethal! H-Minus!

Panther 6 Sends – Hurricane Florence Response

Families of the Panther Brigade,

The safety of 3rd Brigade Combat Team Paratroopers and Families remains a top concern of leadership. Leaders are actively balancing this concern with the operational needs of the brigade.
Paratroopers are actively engaged in recovery operations from Tropical Storm Florence while preparing for the upcoming Network Integration Exercise beginning in early October on Fort Bliss, Texas.

Brigade leaders are aware numerous Paratroopers and their Families remain displaced from the rising waters of the Cape Fear and Little Rivers. We also continue to monitor flooding in the Fayetteville and Fort Bragg regions.
If you live in a region impacted by mandatory evacuation orders, your Paratrooper should inform their leadership and they will assist in obtaining financial reimbursement for your expenses.
The North Carolina Dept. of Transportation interactive map at: https://tims.ncdot.gov/tims/ can keep you current on road closures in the area.
The official Fort Bragg Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/fortbraggnc/ will keep you and your Paratrooper informed of the installation’s current operating and manning status.
As the situation in and around Fort Bragg continues to develop, brigade leaders will make decisions ensuring the safety and wellbeing of 3BCT Paratroopers and Families while preparing us for upcoming missions and operations.
Signed,
Col. Arthur W. Sellers, 3rd Brigade Commander
Command Sgt. Maj. Reese W. Teakell, 3rd Brigade Command Sergeant Major

 Links to Essential Information:

Monitor the depth of the Cape Fear River
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Monitor the depth of the Little River
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A complete list of shelters in NC
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A live map of road conditions on Fort Bragg and in the state of NC
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Cumberland County Road Closures
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Harnett County Road Closures
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Moore / Richmond County Road Closures
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Lee County Road Closures
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Hoke County Road Closures
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National Hurricane Center
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