Pennsylvania. State Archives
Described as a "transcendental experience," Civil War Veterans meet at
Gettysburg in 1913. Tragically, few historians were present to record their personal
stories. In contrast to the loss of this precious history, The Drop Zone captures the
voices of WWII veterans by preserving and sharing this important history through an
The Drop Zone Virtual Museum exists to
preserve and share the legacies of Americas WWII Airborne and Ranger veterans.
Paratroopers, Glidermen and Rangers were the wars elite combat troops. They
spearheaded World War IIs most crucial battles. They have left us a compelling
legacy of honor, courage, valor, sacrifice and dedication.
Through the Internet, we can now hear history as told by the men who lived it. Their
stories relate the events of places like Anzio and Arnhem, Normandy and Noemfoor,
Corregidor and Vierville, Bastogne and Sicily.
The Drop Zone captures the "voices" of the participants through these compelling
stories, collecting memories before they are lost to the ages and bridging the gap between
the computer age and Americas proudest generation. The Drop Zone also houses a
substantial archive of unpublished photos that add a human face to the drama of these
The Drop Zone Oral History Project does not exist to glorify war or to satisfy military
romantics. The goal of this project is to give back to veterans themselves, who made
and experienced this history, through their own words, a central place.
Our objective is to capture the voices of veterans from every WWII American Airborne,
Ranger and Glider Infantry unit. We hope to one day expand this effort to
include the Axis forces that fought against America's airborne forces.
The Drop Zone leverages the power of the
Internet. Some of these stories were gathered from
veterans through e-mail. The Virtual Reunion
|is an email-based discussion
group that provides veterans with an on-line forum to share their recollections and
personal stories. Hundreds of WWII Airborne veterans make up the Virtual Reunion. The
Virtual Reunion awakens memories that in many cases have been forgotten for decades. These
stories are then archived, indexed and form an important tool for verifying events,
sharing facts or opinions and helping nurture and expand our community.
Since our inception, the Drop Zone has been a
gathering place for WWII veterans. More than just a static web site, the Drop Zone is a
dynamic, living museum that consists of a large virtual community of veterans, family
members, professional and amateur historian and students.
Todays young people have a limited understanding of WWII
history. The experiences of individuals are often lost in a curriculum that stresses the
important events that occurred on a global scale, the larger-than-life issues that caused
the war and the importance it had on the late twentieth century. Now, using the power of
Internet technology, teachers can use the Drop Zone as an interactive teaching tool.
E-mail allows students to interact directly with the men who fought the war, to ask
questions about the sacrifices of an earlier age and to listen and learn from the men who
fought and lived through a world war.
Harry Akune (far right) a
Japanese-American who jumped on Corregidor as an interrogator. Akune gathered valuable
intelligence that saved lives and shortened the battle.
We understand the importance of
disseminating historically accurate information. We help veterans validate and verify all
information before it is published on the Drop Zone. We make use of an assortment of unit
journals, morning reports, other primary and secondary source material at our disposal.
Bradley Biggs,the first commissioned
African-American paratrooper officer, with his fellow Triple Nickles at Fort Bragg, 1943.
Members of the 509 Parachute Infantry Battalion.
Over time, The Drop Zone Oral History Project
intends to expand it's scope to include the voices of Korean and Vietnam War airborne
The Drop Zone Virtual Museum is comprised
entirely of volunteers, in keeping with the spirit of it's subject. Patrick
ODonnell, is our historian and the founder of the Drop Zone. He has personally
interviewed over 400 WWII Airborne veterans, attended dozens of reunions and is an expert
on the independant Airborne units as well as Airborne history in general. Our Webmaster
Peter Bostrom, Manager of Interactive Technology at the Morino Institute and a former
member of the U.S.Army's elite 75th Ranger Regiment's First Battalion. Several other
volunteers include Shawn Faherty, an active-duty U.S. Army Major, Quentin Fairchild, Sgt.
John Peterson, US Army, and Carl Fornaris, Esq. and Gant Asbary. Without these individuals
the Drop Zone Oral History Project would not exist. They welcome your feedback.
The Drop Zone has appeared in over a dozen major publications
including major newspapers all across the U.S. and in USA Today, The Stars & Stripes,
and nearly every Airborne publication in existence.
If you want, you can view this page in Adobe Acrobat
format, just click here. (You must first download and
install the Acrobat Reader.)
The Drop Zone
On-line WWII Oral History Project
P.O. Box 7351
Fairfax Station, VA 22039