Background on the 511th Association and creation Winds Aloft

The First Issue

News: On November 2, 1996, I, Jim Lorio, received a phone call from E. Gene Sprague, Col., USA (Ret.) newly elected President, 511th Parachute Infantry Association. I accepted his offer that I author a 511th PI Assn. column in the STATIC LINE. Editor, Don Lassen, Mr. Airborne, USA, graciously approved. The 511th PI Assn. columns will mainly include World War II and Army of Occupation of Japan historical events of the regiment and articles condensed from our quarterly newsletter, WINDS ALOFT. The first editor was Len Wallach, Maj., USA, (Ret.). The following is from the issue No. 1, June 30, 1986.

511TH PARACHUTE INFANTRY ASSN.: Founded, April 18, 1986. Founder was Matthew R. Pike, Lead Scout, 3rd Platoon, Co. G., serving from Camp Toccoa to Japan. 511th First Reunion: Matty Pike, the Airborne's version of a cross between a bulldog and a bull dozer, worked with Don Lassen, STATIC LINE, to hold our first 511th reunion in Atlanta, September, 1986, at the Sheraton Hotel.

WHERE DOES THIS TITLE COME FROM? WINDS ALOFT is an old aviator's term used when balloonists first went into God's heavens unannounced. Those early intruders into the sky, and the later flyers were surprised. What looked so beautiful and passive from earth, was really a fury of snarling winds waiting to rip man from his upward bound balloon and hurl him back to earth. Those white billowing clouds were ferocious. It was a common practice for flyers and later sky soldiers to inquire, "How are the winds aloft?" So, it seemed that WINDS ALOFT might be a suitable title for a bunch of crusty old paratroopers who need to greet each other through the 511th PIR's newsletter.

COAT OF ARMS AND DISTINCTIVE INSIGNIA: The Distincitive Insignia is the "unit crest". It consists of the Coat of Arms and the Motto. Our motto is "Strength From Above." Originally "Vigueur DeDessur" which translated as Strength is from above." Our Coat of Arms is officially listed at the Institute of Heraldry of the U.S. Army at Alexandria, Virginia, whose official description is as follows: SHIELD: Per fess nebuly abased azure and vert on a wedge arched in chief argent, between in base a Kris and a Polynesian war club saltirewise and a sun with rays (as depicted on the national flag of the Philippines) all or, a torii gules. MOTTO: Strength From Above. SYMBOLISM: Blue is the Infantry color. The blue and green signify the sky and the earth, the nebuly dividing line being the heraldic symbol for clouds. The white, wedged-shaped figure represents a parachute, for Airborne Infantry, and is also indicative of a wedge being driver from the sky to earth, thus alluding to the regimental motto, "Strength From Above." The sun with rays is for service in the Philippines; the crossed Kris and war club represents service in New Guinea; and the torii symbolizes service in Japan.

511th History . 25 June 1998 . Page 2 of 2



511TH PI ASSN. REUNION: Regimental Reunions are held every other year, alternating with the 11th Airborne Division Assn. Reunions. Hosted by Jacques Smith, the latest reunion was held at the Radisson Hotel in New Orleans, September 11-15, 1996. The following troopers were elected or reelected.

Association Officers, 1997-1998; Commander, Edward H. Lahti, President, E. Gene Spargue; 1st VP, Donald L. Price; 2nd VP, Allen F. Fox; Secty.Treas., Leo Kocher; Chaplain, Dr. Lee E. Walker; Sergeant-at-Arms, Dominic L. Carine.

Editorial Staff WINDS ALOFT - Jerry T. Davis, Ph.D., Editor, P.O. Box 397, Cedar Ridge, CA 95924; Ralph Ermatinger, and William A. Exline. Editor Emeritus: James W. Lorio, M.D.

Board of Trustees: Honorary Chairman, Edward H. Lahti; Chairman, E. Gene Spargue; RHQ, Service Co., Med. Det.; Frederick Thomas; 1st Bn., Max Polick; Alternate, Ralph Muentener; 2nd Bn., Howard W. Koser; Alternate, William F. Porteous; 3rd Bn., Charles Feuereisen; Alternate, John Santucci; Companies K, L, M, J.W. Marion. Past Presidents, Jack Bandoni (1995-1996); Joe Walsh (1993-1994); John Ringler (1990-1993); James Hendry (1988-1989); Patrick F. McGinnis (1986-1987). WINDS ALOFT is published quarterly by the 511th Parachute Infantry Association a non-profit association. Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(19). ID number 37-1223305. Library of Congress ISSN 1051-3485.

New 511th Members and Associate Membership (Active Duty, Veteran or Civilian) contact; Leo Kocher, 2514 Alexander Ct., Richmond, WA 99352, (509) 375-0220.



Source: STATIC LINE, February, 1997, Don Lassen, Editor, Box 87518, College Park, GA. 30337-0518.

WINDS ALOFT, quarterly Newsletter 511th Parachute Infantry Association, Editor, James W. Lorio, M.D., Issue No. 4, January, 1998 and Issues 10-11, July, 1989 and October, 1989.

Reproduced: James L. Dendy, Esq., and Mrs. Rhonda Graham, Baton Rouge, LA, July 29, 1998.

Copyright Patrick O’Donnell