Tag Archives: panther family

Panther Brigade Honors First Mass-Tactical Parachute Operation

Fort Bragg paratroopers and residents of South Carolina gathered in Camden, South Carolina on Thursday, March 29 to commemorate an event proving the 82nd Airborne was a viable concept in battle.

Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division and Kershaw County residents celebrated the 75th anniversary of the first mass parachute drop, an event largely seen as the proof-of-concept of large scale parachute operations in World War II.

The original jump occurred Monday, March 29th, 1943 and involved the entire 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment along with elements of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. Led by then-Col. James Gavin, the paratroopers jumped from more than 120 C-47 aircraft before assaulting a nearby bridge over the Wateree River.

“The training exercise not only proved mass-tactical parachute operations were feasible and could be successful, it provided the men of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment valuable training before they departed the United States for the European Theater where they would conduct four Regimental-sized combat jumps; Sicily, Salerno, Normandy and Holland,” said Col. Gregory Beaudoin, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

A ceremony including a wreath-laying by members of the community commemorated the event which also honored WWII veterans present and their family members.

“There Was Never A Plan “B”

As a boy, Capt. Oleksandr Ishchuk dreamed of serving in the Ukrainian Army. Today, he is fulfilling his life’s calling as Chaplain for the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

 

As a child, Capt. Oleksandr Ishchuk dreamed of becoming an officer in the Ukrainian Army. Today, he is fulfilling his life’s calling as a Chaplain in the United States Army’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.

“Serving in the U.S. Army as a chaplain is a fulfillment of the mission I know God calls me to,” said Ishchuk. “It is also an opportunity for me to serve the country that extended hospitality while offering refuge and endless opportunities to me and my family.”

When he was fifteen, Ishchuk became a Christian and, soon after that, a youth minister. In 2003, he and his family immigrated to the US from Ukraine. Almost immediately, Ishchuk had the opportunity to minister to a few friends; some veterans and others still serving in the Army. From them, he learned about military chaplaincy.

“From that point on, I felt a very clear and unmistakable calling to the ministry of military chaplaincy,” said Ishchuk. “From day one of Junior College, military chaplaincy was IT. There was never a ‘Plan B.”

Ishchuk grew up in the small Ukrainian village of Kamynitsa located on the border with Slovakia in the Carpathian Mountains. After immigrating to the US, he eventually graduated in 2014 with a Masters in Divinity from Western Seminary in Sacramento California and is currently endorsed by the Evangelical Church Alliance.

His family persecuted for their faith during the USSR’s occupation of Ukraine, Ishchuk sees the freedom to worship and practice his faith as the greatest freedom. Military chaplaincy, he says serves and protects that freedom for the American people while setting an example for the rest of the world.

“To serve in the U.S. Army as a Chaplain is an amazing gift from God and from the American people who trust me with their sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives,” said Ischchuk. “For this precious gift and privilege, I am very grateful”