George "Shorty" Crain, Elmer Royston and Earl Hollingsworth are just three of dozens of World War veterans that are to be honored at this weekend's SWLA All Veterans Reunion in Deridder. While all veterans will be honored at the celebration, World War Two vets are being highlighted. Hollingsworth was a radio operator on board a C-47 carrying paratroopers on D-Day.
"That night, we loaded up paratroopers and left about midnight and we dropped them about 1 o'clock," recalled Hollingsworth. "We made 3 trips the first day. I think the second was dropping supplies where we dropped the paratroopers. The third one, we towed a glider."
Royston's unit helped transport troops across the Rhine River during the Battle of the Bulge and remembers getting a compliment from one of the war's famous generals.
"We helped build the bridges across the Rhine," said Royston. "I remembered George Patton coming out while we were working on the bridge and said "you boys are doing a good job."
Shorty Crain joined the Navy when he was 17 and got in on the tail end of the war, helping transport soldiers back to the states.
"Some fellows that came back had spent all of their time in Japanese prison camps. They survived that. A cousin of mine was captured at Wake Island at the beginning of the war and spent the whole war in prison camp."
It's veterans like these that are being asked to gather together this Saturday and Sunday in Deridder.
For more information and a schedule of the reunion, go to www.swlaallveteransreunion.org